Success semantics is a theory of content that characterizes the truth-conditions of mental representations in terms of the success-conditions of the actions derived from them. Nanay (Philos Stud 165(1): 151-165, 2013) and Dokic and Engel (Frank Ramsey London: Routledge, 2003) have revised this theory in order to defend it from the objections that assailed its previous incarnations. I argue that both proposals have seemingly decisive flaws. More specifically, these revised versions of the theory fail to deal adequately with the open-ended possibility of unforeseen obstacles for the success of our actions. I suggest that the problem of ignored obstacles undermines success semantics quite generally, including alternative formulations such as Blackburn's.
- Frank Ramsey
- Mental representation
- Naturalistic theories of content
- Success semantics