The natural origins of convention

Ian Ravenscroft

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Neo-pragmatists propose that content is determined by social convention (Haugeland in Philosophical Perspectives, 4: 383-427, 1990). A convention is a coordination problem in which each agent prefers any solution to none, yet has no preference amongst the alternative solutions. This paper argues that the best known theory of convention, David Lewis’ (1969), cannot yield a theory of content because it appeals to beliefs and other states that themselves have content. The question then arises whether a theory of convention that does not appeal to states with content can be developed. The idea that a radical enactivist approach to convention based on basic emotions is then tentatively proposed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)731-739
    Number of pages9
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015


    • Content
    • Convention
    • Neo-pragmatism
    • Radical enactivism


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