ⓘ Mental content ..

Cartesian theater

Cartesian theater is a derisive term coined by philosopher and cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett to refer pointedly to a defining aspect of what he calls Cartesian materialism, which he considers to be the often unacknowledged remnants of Cartesian dualism in modern materialist theories of the mind.

Cognitive module

A cognitive module is a specialized tool or sub-unit that can be used by other parts to resolve cognitive tasks. It is used in theories of the modularity of mind and the closely related society of mind theory and was developed by Jerry Fodor. It became better known throughout cognitive psychology by means of his book, The Modularity of Mind. The nine aspects he lists that make up a mental module are domain specificity, mandatory operation, limited central accessibility, fast processing, informational encapsulation,shallow’ outputs, fixed neural architecture, characteristic and specific bre ...


Memetics is the study of information and culture based on an analogy with Darwinian evolution. Proponents describe memetics as an approach to evolutionary models of cultural information transfer. Memetics describes how an idea can propagate successfully, but doesnt necessarily imply a concept is factual. Critics contend the theory is "untested, unsupported or incorrect". The term meme was coined in Richard Dawkins 1976 book The Selfish Gene, but Dawkins later distanced himself from the resulting field of study. Analogous to a gene, the meme was conceived as a "unit of culture" which is "ho ...

Mental substance

Mental substance is the idea held by dualists and idealists, that minds are made-up of non-physical substance. This substance is often referred to as consciousness. This is opposed to the materialists, who hold that what we normally think of as mental substance is ultimately physical matter i.e., brains. Descartes, who was most famous for the assertion "I think therefore I am", has had a lot of influence on the mind–body problem. He describes his theory of mental substance which he calls res cogitans distinguishing it from the res extensa in the Second Meditation II.8 and in Principia Phil ...

Propositional attitude

A propositional attitude is a mental state held by an agent toward a proposition. Linguistically, propositional attitudes are denoted by a verb e.g. "believed" governing an embedded "that" clause, for example, Sally believed that she had won. Propositional attitudes are often assumed to be the fundamental units of thought and their contents, being propositions, are true or false from the perspective of the person. An agent can have different propositional attitudes toward the same proposition e.g., "S believes that her ice-cream is cold," and "S fears that her ice-cream is cold". A number ...

Propositional representation

Propositional representation is the psychological theory, first developed in 1973 by Dr. Zenon Pylyshyn, that mental relationships between objects are represented by symbols and not by mental images of the scene.

Tabula rasa

Tabula rasa is the theory that individuals are born without built-in mental content and that therefore all knowledge comes from experience or perception. Epistemological proponents of tabula rasa disagree with the doctrine of innatism which holds that the mind is born already in possession of certain knowledge. Generally, proponents of the tabula rasa theory also favour the "nurture" side of the nature versus nurture debate when it comes to aspects of ones personality, social and emotional behaviour, knowledge and sapience.