Minds, Machines, and Money: What Really Explains Behavior

  • Fred Dretske
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 77)


According to a certain philosophical picture of the way mind and body are related, the mind is to intentional action what money is to the behavior of a vending machine. Just as coins are in (or get deposited in) vending machines, beliefs, desires, and intentions are in us. Just as the right coins deposited in the machine cause the machine to behave in a certain way — to yield its contents: cokes, cigarettes, or candy, as the case may be — so the right mental entities occurring in us cause us to perform various actions. Furthermore, just as what makes money money is not its intrinsic character — shape, size and density of the coins, for example — but certain extrinsic or relational facts about these coins (the fact that they possess monetary value) so too what makes a belief a belief is not its intrinsic neurobiological character, but, rather, certain extrinsic facts about it — the fact that it has a certain meaning or content, the fact that it has certain intentional properties.


Causal Power Mental Causation Phenomenal State Extrinsic Property Causal Efficacy 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fred Dretske
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyStanford UniversityUSA

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