Kevin Vond left a comment on the last post (discussion with Gerardo Primero) and mentioned Donald Davidson's article "Mental Events," which got me thinking this morning. I think that Davidson is, in basic metaphysical terms, the very opposite of the sort of eliminativism that I am discussing: eliminativism about symbolic content playing a causal role in the functioning of the nervous system, on a reasonably well-naturalized model of nervous system function. And I think that Davidson is guilty of the mereological fallacy.
Davidson's view in "MEs" is that he can simultaneously hold that metaphysically speaking intentional states and causes just are identical with neural states and causes (or, intentional properties supervene on neural properties), and meaning holism, the view that parts of language have meaning (are interpretable)only within a larger context of an entire language and the web of intentional states that are also being attributed to a particular person. Thus the "anomalous" part is that there can be, according to this "anomalous monism," no "psychophysical laws," nomological rules for mapping back from the neural processes to the intentional processes.
Thus brain states, according to Davidson, just are intentional states under a different description (and I see where Kevin picks up on the Spinozistic side of this). This is precisely the view that Wittgenstein opposes. Davidson locates all of the causal power in the linguistic and logical relations between propositional attitudes (beliefs, desires, etc.). These attitudes are individuated in terms of their propositional content. This is sometimes called a "sentential" model of mental representation, involving as it does sentences, understood as tokens of propositions, in the head. It's more useful to call it a formal model: formal representation and supervenience on physical processes go together. This intentional realist camp includes Descartes, Kant, Chomsky, and Fodor as well as Davidson.
I think that this may be all wrong (I think that representational models of mind may be all wrong), on the basic grounds being discussed in the last post. Note also that elsewhere Davidson ("Thought and Talk") argues that non-linguistic animals can't have intentional states, because intentional states are propositional attitudes. Thus the subsequent interest in whether animals could learn grammar. This is Chomsky's view as well, at least the early Chomsky would argue that animals could not think (he's more liberal on that now). Of course that is backwards, thought precedes talk by a very long way. Understanding sea slugs is indeed a big help.
PS Kevin and Gerardo, "Discuss Amongst Yourselves" is a reference to a popular humor show in the US, just a joke!
(Also thanks and a tip o' the hat to Brood's Philosophy Power Blogroll for the shout-out.)