The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 35, 1998

Philosophy of Mind

Luciano B. Mariano
Pages 156-163

Double Disjunctivitis

Direct Informational Semantics, according to which [X]s represent (express/mean) X if ‘Xs cause [X]s’ is a law, and Fodorian naturalistic semantics both suffer from double disjunctivitis. I argue that robustness, properly construed, characterizes both represented properties and representing symbols: two or more properties normally regarded as non-disjunctive may each be nomologically connected to a non-disjunctive symbol, and two or more non-disjunctive symbols may each be nomologically connected to a property. This kind of robustness bifurcates the so-called disjunction problem into a Represented-Disjunction Problem, of which Fodor was aware, and a Representer-Disjunction Problem, of which he was on the whole oblivious. Fodor fails to solve these problems: his solution to the former, the Asymmetric Dependence Condition, presupposes a successful solution to the latter, while possible responses that Fodor might make to the latter either beg the former or cannot be met or else flout the Naturalistic Requirement and the Atomistic Requirement. Even setting the Representer-Disjunction Problem aside, the Represented-Disjunction Problem does not get solved, because the robustness involving phonological/orthographic sequences (tokens and types) guarantees that nothing can meet the Asymmetrical Dependence Condition. Indeed there is a serious problem of individuating phonological/orthographic tokens and types in a manner that satisfies Fodor’s expectations. This is made manifest by the presence of orthographic tokens embedded in larger tokens.