This is a statement from Richard Carrier's critique of me:
Cognitive science has established that the brain is a computer that constructs and runs virtual models. All conscious states of mind consist of or connect with one or more virtual models. The relation these virtual models have to the world is that of corresponding or not corresponding to actual systems in the world.
Let's set aside the question of whether the brain has really been shown to be a computer. I take it that this is what a materialist position on intentionality is going to have to look like. But now I have to ask one simple question. In virtue of what is a something in the brain a model of something else, either concrete, or, to make things even harder, abstract. One way in which something can be a model of something else is it is resembles it. Then perhaps a mind is needed to recognize the resemblance, but perhaps one could argue that the modeling relationship exists even with no one there to recognize the modeling. (If a tree models in the forest...) But the trouble is that there is nothing in the squishy grey matter of my brain that resembles, say, a tree in the forest. If I see a green pine tree, where is the green thing in my brain the represents the green pine tree?
Now it is true that some things represent others without physical resemblance. So the word "red" is not red, but it represents red nonetheless. But that relationship seems relative to a mind who uses the term "red" for red things. But this relatioship does not seem to require an independently existing mind.
So, in virtue of what is a virtual model a model.
The link is to Darek Barefoot's excellent reply to Richard Carrier.
Labels: argument from intentionality