Relativizing the Opposition between Content and State Nonconceptualism

  • Roberto Sá Pereira
Schlagworte: nonconceptualism, state view, content view


Content nonconceptualism (CNC, henceforth) and State conceptualism (SNC, henceforth) are motivated by constraints of content-attribution that pull in opposite directions, namely, the so-called cognitive significance requirement (CSR, henceforth) and what I would like to call here the same representing constraint (SRR, henceforth). The solution to this apparent contradiction is the rejection of the real content view (RV, henceforth) and the adherence to what I call here Content-pragmatism (CPR, henceforth). In CPR, “proposition” is not as real as a mental state, but rather is a term of art that semanticists use, as a matter of theoretical convenience, to classify mental states. What follows from CPR is Content-pluralism (CP, henceforth): there is no such a thing as the content of experience. Because both criticisms and the defense of SNC overlook CPR and CP, they are ineffective. In this paper, I will argue that the opposition between SNC and CNC is a real one, but only a relative one, that is, relative to the opposite constraints to be met, namely CSR and SRR. If we want to meet CSR, the best we can do is to let the content of experience be modeled as neo-Fregean content, namely a compound of non-conceptual modes of presentation of objects and properties. In this case, CNC prevails. In contrast, if we want to meet SRR, the best we can do is let the content of experience be modeled either as a Russellian compound of objects and properties or as a function from possible worlds to truth-values. In this case, SNC prevails.