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Colin McGinn

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199251582

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199251584.001.0001

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Conceptual Causation: Some Elementary Reflections

Conceptual Causation: Some Elementary Reflections

Chapter:
(p.152) 7 Conceptual Causation: Some Elementary Reflections
Source:
Knowledge and Reality
Author(s):

Colin McGinn (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199251584.003.0008

Building on the ‘weak externalist’ position suggested in ‘The Structure of Content’ and developed in Mental Content, McGinn considers the topic of conceptual causation: in particular, the intentionality involved in a concept bringing about a behavioural effect. McGinn's main thesis—that conceptual causation ‘involves’ intentionality in the sense that a ‘mental power comes harnessed to a worldly parameter’—relies heavily on a distinction between two features of causation: causal parameters (i.e. the context in which a causal event occurs: including the object, place, and time) and causal powers (i.e. the properties of the objects which ‘drive nature's motor’).

Keywords:   causal explanation, causation, concepts, content, externalism, Fodor, intentionality, narrow content, psychological explanation, Putnam, representation, Twin Earth, wide content

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