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The Neural Basis of Free WillCriterial Causation$
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Peter Ulric Tse

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780262019101

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262019101.001.0001

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Implications of Criterial Causality for Mental Representation

Implications of Criterial Causality for Mental Representation

(p.151) 8 Implications of Criterial Causality for Mental Representation
The Neural Basis of Free Will

Peter Ulric Tse

The MIT Press

This chapter focuses on the neural code or neural information-processing, which is an instance of criterial causation. Criterial neural information-processing need not be algorithmic; in fact, it is not even representational. This implies that no necessary causal connection holds between a proposition or name and things or events in the world. Criterialism hearkens back to the descriptivist account of reference of Russell, Wittgenstein, and Frege, except that the criteria imposed by neurons cannot be understood at the level of descriptions, naming, semantics, or words. That being said, criterialism rejects Kripke’s criticisms of descriptivism. His main argument against descriptivism is rooted in a category error that confuses statements about the world with statements about models of the world. Although a criterial account of neural information-processing has some difficulty accounting for mental operations, it accounts well for other aspects of cognition.

Keywords:   neural code, neural information-processing, criterial causation, criterialism, descriptivist account of reference, Russell, Wittgenstein, Frege, Kripke, descriptivism

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