The associative theory of perception being developed on this site implies a causal theory of representation, or sense-derived mental content. Causal theories of mental content have certain well-researched problems. If a causal theory is being implied, it would be good to address them. I’d like to try to do this using the analysis of stream content presented in the posts starting soon about the role of substance in perception.
Statement of causal theories and their problems
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article, Causal Theories of Mental Content is used to explain the problems. In subsequent posts, sections of the article are quoted and responses given.
The SEP article is technical, and it would probably help to know a bit about semantic theory and relevant authors including Dretske, Fodor, Millikan, and Stampe, and also to know something of the disjunction problem.
The disjunction problem is how could a causal theory of inner representation account for mistaken identification of external objects and object types. For example, if I see a fox and mistakenly take it to be a dog (my internal representation of dog is activated) how is this possible? My internal representation of dog is created and henceforth activated by dogs, and a fox is not a dog. So how could a fox activate my inner dog representation if only dogs could do this? The conclusion seems to be that the inner representation is not of a dog but rather represents the disjunction fox-or-dog.
I want to propose a solution to this problem of disjunction using associative ideas presented elsewhere in this site.