Ideas of William Lyons, by Theme

[Irish, fl. 1995, Of the University of Dublin.]

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11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 4. Belief / a. Beliefs
Belief is the most important propositional attitude
     Full Idea: Belief might be accorded the status of core or chief propositional attitude.
     From: William Lyons (Approaches to Intentionality [1995], p.126)
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 4. Intentionality / b. Intentionality theories
Consciousness no longer seems essential to intentionality
     Full Idea: In contrast with Brentano and Husserl, consciousness or attention are no longer seen as essential to intentionality.
     From: William Lyons (Approaches to Intentionality [1995], Intro)
     A reaction: This strikes me as being correct, although there seem to be plenty of current philosophers who do not accept it (e.g. Searle). I think philosophy of mind may be stuck in the dark ages if thinkers don't accept this proposal.
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 4. Connectionism
Perceptions could give us information without symbolic representation
     Full Idea: It is possible to give an account of concept-formation without a language of thought or representation, based on perception, which in the brain seems to involve information without representation.
     From: William Lyons (Approaches to Intentionality [1995], p.66)
     A reaction: This claim strikes me as being a little too confident. One might say that a concept IS a representation. However, the perception of several horses might 'blur' together to form a generalised horse.
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 2. Propositional Attitudes
Propositional attitudes require representation
     Full Idea: How else, other than via some form of representational system, could a human organism contain information as a content over which it could operate or 'attitudinise'?
     From: William Lyons (Approaches to Intentionality [1995], Intro)
     A reaction: Depends what you mean by 'representational'. In its vaguest sense, this is just a tautology - content must be held in the mind in some form or other, but that tells us nothing.
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 4. Folk Psychology
Folk psychology works badly for alien cultures
     Full Idea: It is not easy to employ our folk psychology in the understanding of persons in a very different culture.
     From: William Lyons (Approaches to Intentionality [1995], p.241)
     A reaction: This strikes me as a highly significant problem for the friends of folk psychology. It also breaks down in extreme situations, or with mental illness. It seems closer to culture than to brain structure.
18. Thought / C. Content / 1. Content
All thinking has content
     Full Idea: I cannot say I am simply thinking but not thinking about anything.
     From: William Lyons (Approaches to Intentionality [1995], Intro)
     A reaction: Hard to disagree. However, I can plausibly reply to 'What are you thinking?' with 'Nothing', if my consciousness is freewheeling. Utterly disconnected content isn't really what we call 'thinking'.