Jerry Fodor’s Theory of Content
Fodor’s project is that of providing a naturalistic account of meaning. The way in which he proposes to do this is by providing a sufficient condition for the content of mental states. This condition must, to be naturalistic, be framed in non-intentional/non-semantic terms. The account aims to provide an account of meaning that is compatible with physicalism, and is therefore very interesting from a metaphysical standpoint.
The key problem Fodor’s theory wants to solve is what is called the disjunction problem. This is the problem of naturalistically specifying contents that are sufficiently fine-grained to reconstruct the contents of propositional attitudes. This is a problem common to naturalistic theories of content. Fodor seeks to solve this problem by appealing to asymmetric dependencies among causal laws.
I argue that though Fodor’s proposal is the best available for naturalizing meaning it does not succeed in solving the disjunction problem and providing a naturalistic account of meaning.