Mary Frances Egan

Invited Researcher at Maison Suger

Stay in France : from November 12th to December 12th, 2021

Mary Frances Egan was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and grew up in Canada. She received a BA and MA in Philosophy from the University of Manitoba and a Phd of Philosophy of Science from the University of Western Ontario in 1988. She has taught her entire career at Rutgers University in New Jersey. She was a research fellow at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) at the University of Bielefeld in Germany, the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Center for Mind, Brain, and Cognitive Evolution at the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany. She published extensively on issues of philosophy of mind and psychology and on the foundations of cognitive science.

Mary Frances Egan received the prix Jean Nicod 2021.

Research theme

"Deflating Mental Representation"
"Philosophers of mind tend to hold one of two views about the existence of mental representations: they are either robustly realist about representations, taking them to have objective reality independent of theorists’ explanatory interests, or they embrace some form of eliminativism. I develop and defend a distinctive ‘third way’, arguing that attributions of content to mental states do not pick out an essential property of mental states, but instead serve various important pragmatic and explanatory purposes. Mental content attributions are best understood as pragmatically motivated glosses.

Lecture 1: Representation in Computational Cognitive Science
Lecture 2: Naturalizing Intentionality: Theories and Glosses in Cognitive Science
Lecture 3: Belief and its Linguistic Representation
Lecture 4: Perceptual Experience"

Selected Publications

  • The Nature and Function of Content in Computational Models, in The Routledge Handbook of the Computational Mind,  M. Sprevak and M. Colombo (eds.), Routledge (2018), 247-258.  pdf
  • Function-Theoretic Explanation and the Search for Neural Mechanisms, in Explanation and Integration in Mind and Brain Science, David M. Kaplan (ed.), Oxford University Press (2017), 145-163.  ​​pdf
  • How to Think about Mental Content, Philosophical Studies 170 (2014), 115-135.   pdf
  • Explaining Representation: A Reply to Matthen, Philosophical Studies 170 (2014), 137-142.   pdf
  • Metaphysics and Computational Cognitive Science: Let's Not Let the Tail Wag the Dog, The Journal of Cognitive Science 13 (2012), 39-49.   pdf
  • Representationalism, The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Cognitive Science, E. Margolis, R. Samuels, and S. Stich (eds.), Oxford University Press (2012), 250-72.   pdf
  • Computational Models: A Modest Role for Content, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science (special issue on Computation  and Cognitive Science) 41 (2010), 253-259.   pdf
  • Wide Content, The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mind, A. Beckerman, B. McLaughlin, and S. Walter (eds.), Oxford University Press (2009), 351-66.   pdf
  • Is There a Role for Representational Content in Scientific Psychology?, Stich and His Critics, D. Murphy and M. Bishop (eds), Wiley-Blackwell (2009), 14-29.   pdf
  • Vision, The Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (online) (2009).   pdf
  • The Content of Color Experience, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76 (2008), 407-14.   pdf
  • Doing Cognitive Neuroscience: A Third Way, Synthese 153 (2006), 377-91.  (co-authored with Robert Matthews)   pdf
  • Naturalistic Inquiry: Where Does Mental Representation Fit In?  in Chomsky and His Critics, L. Antony and N. Hornstein (eds), Blackwell (2003), 89-104.   pdf
  • In Defense of Narrow Mindedness, MInd and Language 14 (1999), 177-94.   pdf
  • The Moon Illusion, Philosophy of Science 65 (1998), 604-23.   pdf
  • Folk Psychology and Cognitive Architecture, Philosophy of Science 62 (1995), 179-96.   pdf
  • Computation and Content, The Philosophical Review 104 (1995), 181-203.   pdf
  • Individualism, Computation, and Perceptual Content, Mind 101 (1992), 443-59.   pdf
  • Propositional Attitudes and the Language of Thought, Canadian Journal of Philosophy 21 (1991), 379-88.   pdf
Mis à jour le
29 November 2021