Still Unsuccessful: The Unsolved Problems of Success Semantics



Published 01-03-2018
Javier González de Prado Salas


Success semantics is a theory of content that characterizes the truth-conditions of mental representations in terms of the success-conditions of the actions derived from them.  Nanay (Philos Stud 165(1): 151-165, 2013) and Dokic and Engel (Frank Ramsey London: Routledge, 2003) have revised this theory in order to defend it from the objections that assailed its previous incarnations. I argue that both proposals have seemingly decisive flaws. More specifically, these revised versions of the theory fail to deal adequately with the open-ended possibility of unforeseen obstacles for the success of our actions. I suggest that the problem of ignored obstacles undermines success semantics quite generally, including alternative formulations such as Blackburn's.

How to Cite

González de Prado Salas, J. (2018). Still Unsuccessful: The Unsolved Problems of Success Semantics. THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, 33(1), 5–22.
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success semantics, naturalistic theories of content, mental representation, Frank Ramsey, teleosemantics