Propositional Attitudes

Assistant editor: Steve Pearce (University of Western Ontario)
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  1. Wittgenstein's Attitudes.Fabien Schang - 2008 - In Alexander Hieke & Hannes Leitgeb (eds.), Reduktion und Elimination in Philosophie und den Wissenschaften. pp. 289-291.
    What's wrong with modalities in (Wittgenstein 1922)? In (Suszko 1968), the writer argued that "Wittgenstein was somewhat confused and wrong in certain points. For example, he did not see the clear-cut distinction between language (theory) and metalanguage (metatheory): a confusion between use and mention of expressions". Furthermore, a modal logic was proposed in (von Wright 1986) as depicting Wittgenstein's bipolarity thesis in a S5 frame. -/- The aim of the present paper is to deal with the specific case of epistemic (...)
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  2. Espace logique et modalités chez Wittgenstein.Fabien Schang - 2014 - AL-Mukhatabat 9:230-242.
    L'article s'intéresse aux obstacles épistémologiques qui empêchèrent Wittgenstein d'admettre l'idée moderne de logique modale et, en particulier, les logiques d'attitudes propositionnelles. Tout en proposant un aperçu rétrospectif de la logique des modalités épistémiques, nous verrons que ces obstacles reposent avant tout sur la nature de l'espace logique présenté dans le Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus et le statut métaphysique du sujet. Des passages éclairants seront rappelés pour justi.
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  3. Les attitudes russelliennes.Fabien Schang - 2017 - Cahiers de Philosophie de L’Université de Caen 54:149-168.
    Russell prétend qu’un examen des croyances est indispensable pour définir nos raisonnements quotidiens et comprendre ce que les philosophes entendent par la notion de vérité. Cela étant, l’auteur considère qu’une étude de ces croyances n’a aucun rapport avec la logique, laquelle concerne uniquement le vrai et le faux. En d’autres termes, Russell associe croyance et psychologie tout en réservant le domaine de la logique au thème de la proposition, vraie ou fausse par définition. Une certaine théorie de la vérité sous-tend (...)
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  4. The Publicity of Thought.Andrea Onofri - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (272).
    An influential tradition holds that thoughts are public: different thinkers share many of their thoughts, and the same applies to a single subject at different times. This ‘publicity principle’ has recently come under attack. Arguments by Mark Crimmins, Richard Heck and Brian Loar seem to show that publicity is inconsistent with the widely accepted principle that someone who is ignorant or mistaken about certain identity facts will have distinct thoughts about the relevant object—for instance, the astronomer who does not know (...)
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  5. Objects of Thought? On the Usual Way Out of Prior’s Objection to the Relational Theory of Propositional Attitude Sentences.Giulia Felappi - 2016 - Analysis 76 (4):438-444.
    Traditionally, ‘that’-clauses occurring in attitude attributions are taken to denote the objects of the attitudes. Prior raised a famous problem: even if Frege fears that the Begriffsschrift leads to a paradox, it is unlikely that he fears a proposition, a sentence or what have you as the alleged object denoted by the ‘that’-clause. The usual way out is to say that ‘that’-clauses do not contribute the objects of the attitudes but their contents. I will show that, if we accept this (...)
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  6. Why Fuss About These Quirks of the Vernacular? Propositional Attitude Sentences in Prior’s Nachlass.Giulia Felappi - 2016 - Synthese 193 (11):3521-3534.
    In English, in order to speak about Arthur’s attitudes, we use sentences like “Arthur believes that natural language is messy”. For sentences of this kind we have a standard theory, according to which the ‘that’-clause ‘that natural language is messy’ denotes a proposition. As Prior showed for the first time, the standard theory appears to be at odds with some linguistic data. Geach and Prior both assumed that linguistic data are to be taken as reliable guides to a correct semantic (...)
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  7. Lies, Half-Truths, and Falsehoods About Tarski’s 1933 “Liar” Antinomies.John Corcoran & Joaquin Miller - 2012 - Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 18 (1):140-141.
    We discuss misinformation about “the liar antinomy” with special reference to Tarski’s 1933 truth-definition paper [1]. Lies are speech-acts, not merely sentences or propositions. Roughly, lies are statements of propositions not believed by their speakers. Speakers who state their false beliefs are often not lying. And speakers who state true propositions that they don’t believe are often lying—regardless of whether the non-belief is disbelief. Persons who state propositions on which they have no opinion are lying as much as those who (...)
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  8. Dynamic Semantics, Imperative Logic and Propositional Attitudes.Berislav Žarnić - 2002 - Uppsala Universitet.
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  9. Naturalismus und Intentionalität.Geert Keil - 2000 - In Geert Keil & Herbert Schnädelbach (eds.), Naturalismus. Suhrkamp. pp. 187-204.
    Naturalism in theoretical philosophy comes in three kinds: metaphysical, scientific and semantical. Metaphysical naturalism holds that only natural things exist, scientific (or methodological) naturalism holds that the methods of natural science provide the only avenue to truth, semantic (or analytic) naturalism tries to provide sufficient nonintentional conditions for intentional phenomena. The paper argues that analytic naturalism does not render metaphysical or scientific naturalism obsolete, but can be understood as a further step in elaborating upon these programmes. The intentional idiom of (...)
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  10. The Mental States of Persons and Their Brains.Tim Crane - 2015 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 76:253-270.
    Cognitive neuroscientists frequently talk about the brain representing the world. Some philosophers claim that this is a confusion. This paper argues that there is no confusion, and outlines one thing that might mean, using the notion of a model derived from the philosophy of science. This description is then extended to make apply to propositional attitude attributions. A number of problems about propositional attitude attributions can be solved or dissolved by treating propositional attitudes as models.
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  11. Advantages of Propositionalism.Neil Sinhababu - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (1):165-180.
    Propositionalism is the view that the contents of intentional attitudes have a propositional structure. Objectualism opposes propositionalism in allowing the contents of these attitudes to be ordinary objects or properties. Philosophers including Talbot Brewer, Paul Thagard, Michelle Montague, and Alex Grzankowski attack propositionalism about such attitudes as desire, liking, and fearing. This article defends propositionalism, mainly on grounds that it better supports psychological explanations.
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  12. On Product‐Based Accounts of Propositional Attitudes.Giulia Felappi - 2014 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (4):302-313.
    Propositional attitude sentences, such as John believes that snow is white, are traditionally taken to express the holding of a relation between a subject and what ‘that’-clauses like ‘that snow is white’ denote, i.e. propositions. On the traditional account, propositions are abstract, mind- and language-independent entities. Recently, some have raised some serious worries for the traditional account and thought that we were mistaken about the kind of entities propositions are. Over the last ten years there has then been a boom (...)
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  13. Singuläre Propositionen und das Fassen eines Gedankens.Wolfgang Barz - 2011 - Allgemeine Zeitschrift für Philosophie 36 (1):71-93.
    This essay develops the thesis that Frege’s notion of grasping does not refer to some special psychological relation between a subject and a proposition. Instead, the verb “to grasp” is a contextually defined technical term that, taken by itself, has no meaning. If that is right, then not only Frege’s resentment to the idea of grasping singular propositions is unfounded. The view that intentionality without representations is possible, championed by some advocates of the New Theory of Reference, is groundless as (...)
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  14. Why My I is Your You: On the Communication of de Se Attitudes.Emar Maier - 2016 - In Manuel Garcia-Carpintero & Stephan Torre (eds.), About Oneself: De Se Thought and Communication. Oxford University Press.
    The communication of de se attitudes poses a problem for “participant- neutral” analyses of communication in terms of propositions expressed or proposed updates to the common ground: when you tell me “I am an idiot”, you express a first person de se attitude, but as a result I form a different, second person attitude, viz. that you are an idiot. I argue that when we take seriously the asymmetry between speaker and hearer in semantics this problem disappears. To prove this (...)
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  15. Propositions and Higher-Order Attitude Attributions.Kirk Ludwig - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5):741-765.
    An important objection to sententialist theories of attitude reports is that they cannot accommodate the principle that one cannot know that someone believes that p without knowing what it is that he believes. This paper argues that a parallel problem arises for propositionalist accounts that has gone largely unnoticed, and that, furthermore, the usual resources for the propositionalist do not afford an adequate solution. While non-standard solutions are available for the propositionalist, it turns out that there are parallel solutions that (...)
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  16. Lewis, Loar and the Logical Form of Attitude Ascriptions.S. Beck - 1988 - South African Journal of Philosophy 7 (2):100-104.
    In this article, the attempts by David Lewis and Brian Loar to make perspicuous the logical form of sentences ascribing propositional attitudes to individuals are set out and criticized. Both work within the assumption of the truth of 'type' physicalism, and require that logically perspicuous attitude ascriptions be compatible with the demands of such a doctrine. It is argued that neither carry out this task successfully - Lewis's perspicuous ascriptions have counter-intuitive implications, while Loar's avoidance of these undermines type physicalism (...)
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  17. From Tracking Relations to Propositional Attitudes.Adam Morton - 2009 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 5 (2):7-18.
    I explore the possibility that propositional attitudes are not basic in folk psychology, and that what we really ascribe to people are relations to individuals, those that the apparently propositional contents of beliefs, desires, and other states concern. In particular, the relation between a state and the individuals that it tracks shows how ascription of propositional attitudes could grow out of ascription of relations between people and objects.
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  18. Week Eleven: Objections to Jackson.Brian Weatherson - manuscript
    One of the benefits of the 2D framework we looked at last week was that it explained how we could understand a sentence without knowing which proposition it expressed. And we could do this even if we give an account of understanding which is closely tied to the possible worlds semantics we use to analyse propositions. Really this can be done very easily, without appeal to any high-flying Kripkean cases. In “Analytic Metaphysics” Jackson discusses a very simple case of it. (...)
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  19. Neosentimentalism and the Valence of Attitudes.Katie McShane - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (3):747-765.
    Neosentimentalist accounts of value need an explanation of which of the sentiments they discuss are pro-attitudes, which attitudes are con-attitudes, and why. I argue that this project has long been neglected in the philosophical literature, even by those who make extensive use of the distinction between pro- and con-attitudes. Using the attitudes of awe and respect as exemplars, I argue that it is not at all clear what if anything makes these attitudes pro-attitudes. I conclude that neither our intuitive sense (...)
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  20. Supposition and Desire in a Non-Classical Setting.J. Robert G. Williams - unknown
    *These notes were folded into the published paper "Probability and nonclassical logic*. Revising semantics and logic has consequences for the theory of mind. Standard formal treatments of rational belief and desire make classical assumptions. If we are to challenge the presuppositions, we indicate what is kind of theory is going to take their place. Consider probability theory interpreted as an account of ideal partial belief. But if some propositions are neither true nor false, or are half true, or whatever—then it’s (...)
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  21. Peter Hare on the Proposition.John Corcoran - 2010 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 46 (1):21-34.
    Peter H. Hare (1935-2008) developed informed, original views about the proposition: some published (Hare 1969 and Hare-Madden 1975); some expressed in conversations at scores of meetings of the Buffalo Logic Colloquium and at dinners following. The published views were expository and critical responses to publications by Curt J. Ducasse (1881-1969), a well-known presence in American logic, a founder of the Association for Symbolic Logic and its President for one term.1Hare was already prominent in the University of Buffalo's Philosophy Department in (...)
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  22. On the Identification of Properties and Propositional Functions.George Bealer - 1989 - Linguistics and Philosophy 12 (1):1 - 14.
    Arguments are given against the thesis that properties and propositional functions are identical. The first shows that the familiar extensional treatment of propositional functions -- that, for all x, if f(x) = g(x), then f = g -- must be abandoned. Second, given the usual assumptions of propositional-function semantics, various propositional functions (e.g., constant functions) are shown not to be properties. Third, novel examples are given to show that, if properties were identified with propositional functions, crucial fine-grained intensional distinctions would (...)
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  23. Quantifiers and Propositional Attitudes: Quine Revisited.Sean Crawford - 2008 - Synthese 160 (1):75 - 96.
    Quine introduced a famous distinction between the ‘notional’ sense and the ‘relational’ sense of certain attitude verbs. The distinction is both intuitive and sound but is often conflated with another distinction Quine draws between ‘dyadic’ and ‘triadic’ (or higher degree) attitudes. I argue that this conflation is largely responsible for the mistaken view that Quine’s account of attitudes is undermined by the problem of the ‘exportation’ of singular terms within attitude contexts. Quine’s system is also supposed to suffer from the (...)
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  24. Knowledge in Action.John Gibbons - 2001 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (3):579-600.
    This paper argues that the role of knowledge in the explanation and production of intentional action is as indispensable as the roles of belief and desire. If we are interested in explaining intentional actions rather than intentions or attempts, we need to make reference to more than the agent’s beliefs and desires. It is easy to see how the truth of your beliefs, or perhaps, facts about a setting will be involved in the explanation of an action. If you believe (...)
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  25. Semantics for Opaque Contexts.Kirk Ludwig & Greg Ray - 1998 - Philosophical Perspectives 12 (S12):141-66.
    In this paper, we outline an approach to giving extensional truth-theoretic semantics for what have traditionally been seen as opaque sentential contexts. We outline an approach to providing a compositional truth-theoretic semantics for opaque contexts which does not require quantifying over intensional entities of any kind, and meets standard objections to such accounts. The account we present aims to meet the following desiderata on a semantic theory T for opaque contexts: (D1) T can be formulated in a first-order extensional language; (...)
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  26. Models in the Brain (Book Summary).Dan Ryder - manuscript
    The central idea is that the cerebral cortex is a model building machine, where regularities in the world serve as templates for the models it builds. First it is shown how this idea can be naturalized, and how the representational contents of our internal models depend upon the evolutionarily endowed design principles of our model building machine. Current neuroscience suggests a powerful form that these design principles may take, allowing our brains to uncover deep structures of the world hidden behind (...)
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  27. Thought, Language, and the Argument From Explicitness.Agustín Vicente & Fernando Martínez-Manrique - 2008 - Metaphilosophy 39 (3):381–401.
    This article deals with the relationship between language and thought, focusing on the question of whether language can be a vehicle of thought, as, for example, Peter Carruthers has claimed. We develop and examine a powerful argument—the "argument from explicitness"—against this cognitive role of language. The premises of the argument are just two: (1) the vehicle of thought has to be explicit, and (2) natural languages are not explicit. We explain what these simple premises mean and why we should believe (...)
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The Language of Thought
  1. Best Test Theory of Extension.Robert D. Rupert - 1996 - Dissertation, University of Illinois at Chicago
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  2. "LOT2" by Jerry A. Fodor. [REVIEW]Tim Crane - 2009 - The Times Literary Supplement 1.
    In G.K. Chesterton’s The Man who was Thursday, six of the seven anarchists named after different days of the week turn out to be secret policemen. Chesterton’s hero Syme finds himself opposed to not just a disparate group of anarchists, but to the unified forces of authority. A similar thing seems to have happened in recent years to Jerry Fodor. When Fodor published The Language of Thought in 1975 his targets were, as he says, ‘a mixed bag’: reductionists, behaviourists, empiricists, (...)
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  3. Attitude, Inference, Association: On the Propositional Structure of Implicit Bias.Eric Mandelbaum - 2016 - Noûs 50 (3):629-658.
    The overwhelming majority of those who theorize about implicit biases posit that these biases are caused by some sort of association. However, what exactly this claim amounts to is rarely specified. In this paper, I distinguish between different understandings of association, and I argue that the crucial senses of association for elucidating implicit bias are the cognitive structure and mental process senses. A hypothesis is subsequently derived: if associations really underpin implicit biases, then implicit biases should be modulated by counterconditioning (...)
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  4. From “Thought and Language” to “Thinking for Speaking”.Dan I. Slobin - 1996 - In J. Gumperz & S. Levinson (eds.), Rethinking Linguistic Relativity. Cambridge University Press. pp. 70--96.
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  5. Does the Idea of a "Language of Thought" Make Sense?John-Michael Kuczynski - 2002 - Communication and Cognition: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly Journal 35 (4):173-192.
    Sense-perceptions do not have to be deciphered if their contents are to be uploaded, the reason being that they are presentations, not representations. Linguistic expressions do have to be deciphered if their contents are to be uploaded, the reason being that they are representations, not presentations. It is viciously regressive to suppose that information-bearing mental entities are categorically in the nature of representations, as opposed to presentations, and it is therefore incoherent to suppose that thought is mediated by expressions or, (...)
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  6. Embodied Social Cognition.Shannon Spaulding - 2011 - Philosophical Topics 39 (1):141-162.
    In this paper I evaluate embodied social cognition, embodied cognition’s account of how we understand others. I identify and evaluate three claims that motivate embodied social cognition. These claims are not specific to social cognition; they are general hypotheses about cognition. As such, they may be used in more general arguments for embodied cognition. I argue that we have good reasons to reject these claims. Thus, the case for embodied social cognition fails. Moreover, to the extent that general arguments for (...)
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  7. The Waning of Materialism. Edited by R. Koons and G. Bealer. (OUP 2010). [REVIEW]David Yates - 2012 - Philosophical Quarterly 62 (247):420-422.
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  8. LOT 2: The Language of Thought Revisited. [REVIEW]Robert D. Rupert - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (3):559-562.
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  9. The Central System as a Computational Engine.Susan Schneider - unknown
    The Language of Thought program has a suicidal edge. Jerry Fodor, of all people, has argued that although LOT will likely succeed in explaining modular processes, it will fail to explain the central system, a subsystem in the brain in which information from the different sense modalities is integrated, conscious deliberation occurs, and behavior is planned. A fundamental characteristic of the central system is that it is “informationally unencapsulated” -- its operations can draw from information from any cognitive domain. The (...)
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  10. Mental Maps.Ben Blumson - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (2):413-434.
    It's often hypothesized that the structure of mental representation is map-like rather than language-like. The possibility arises as a counterexample to the argument from the best explanation of productivity and systematicity to the language of thought hypothesis—the hypothesis that mental structure is compositional and recursive. In this paper, I argue that the analogy with maps does not undermine the argument, because maps and language have the same kind of compositional and recursive structure.
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  11. Philosophy and Cognitive Sciences: Proceedings of the 16th International Wittgenstein Symposium (Kirchberg Am Wechsel, Austria 1993).Roberto Casati & Barry Smith (eds.) - 1994 - Vienna: Wien: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky.
    Online collection of papers by Devitt, Dretske, Guarino, Hochberg, Jackson, Petitot, Searle, Tye, Varzi and other leading thinkers on philosophy and the foundations of cognitive Science. Topics dealt with include: Wittgenstein and Cognitive Science, Content and Object, Logic and Foundations, Language and Linguistics, and Ontology and Mereology.
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  12. The Language of Thought: No Syntax Without Semantics.Tim Crane - 1990 - Mind and Language 5 (3):187-213.
    Many philosophers think that being in an intentional state is a matter of being related to a sentence in a mental language-a 'Language of Thought' (see especially Fodor 1975, 1987 Appendix; Field 1978). According to this view-which I shall call 'the LT hypothesis'-when anyone has a belief or a desire or a hope with a certain content, they have a sentence of this language, with that content, 'written' in their heads. The claim is meant quite literally: the mental representations that (...)
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  13. Another Argument Against the Thesis That There is a Language of Thought.John-Michael M. Kuczynski - 2004 - Communication and Cognition: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly Journal 37 (2):83-103.
    One cannot have the concept of a red object without having the concept of an extended object. But the word "red" doesn't contain the word "extended." In general, our concepts are interconnected in ways in which the corresponding words are not interconnected. This is not an accidental fact about the English language or about any other language: it is inherent in what a language is that the cognitive abilities corresponding to a person's abilities to use words cannot possibly be reflected (...)
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  14. The Fodorian Fallacy.François Recanati - 2002 - Analysis 62 (4):285-89.
    In recent years Fodor has repeatedly argued that nothing epistemic can be essential to, or constitutive of, any concept. This holds in virtue of a constraint which Fodor dubs the Compositionality Constraint. I show that Fodor's argument is fallacious because it rests on an ambiguity.
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  15. Revealing the Language of Thought.Brent Silby - manuscript
    Language of thought theories fall primarily into two views. The first view sees the language of thought as an innate language known as mentalese, which is hypothesized to operate at a level below conscious awareness while at the same time operating at a higher level than the neural events in the brain. The second view supposes that the language of thought is not innate. Rather, the language of thought is natural language. So, as an English speaker, my language of thought (...)
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  16. Thought, Language, and the Argument From Explicitness.Agustín Vicente & Fernando Martínez-Manrique - 2008 - Metaphilosophy 39 (3):381–401.
    This article deals with the relationship between language and thought, focusing on the question of whether language can be a vehicle of thought, as, for example, Peter Carruthers has claimed. We develop and examine a powerful argument—the "argument from explicitness"—against this cognitive role of language. The premises of the argument are just two: (1) the vehicle of thought has to be explicit, and (2) natural languages are not explicit. We explain what these simple premises mean and why we should believe (...)
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The Intentional Stance
  1. The Unity of Unconsciousness.Tim Crane - 2017 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 117 (1):1-21.
    What is the relationship between unconscious and conscious intentionality? Contemporary philosophy of mind treats the contents of conscious 10 intentional mental states as the same kind of thing as the contents of un- conscious mental states. According to the standard view that beliefs and desires are propositional attitudes, for example, the contents of these states are propositions, whether or not the states are conscious or unconscious. I dispute this way of thinking of conscious and unconscious content, and propose an alternative, (...)
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  2. Can Science Explain Consciousness?Bruiger Dan - manuscript
    For diverse reasons, the problem of phenomenal consciousness is persistently challenging. Mental terms are characteristically ambiguous, researchers have philosophical biases, secondary qualities are excluded from objective description, and philosophers love to argue. Adhering to a regime of efficient causes and third-person descriptions, science as it has been defined has no place for subjectivity or teleology. A solution to the “hard problem” of consciousness will require a radical approach: to take the point of view of the cognitive system itself. To facilitate (...)
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  3. Fictionalism and the Folk.Adam Toon - 2016 - The Monist 99 (3):280-295.
    Mental fictionalism is the view that, even if mental states do not exist, it is useful to talk as if they do. Mental states are useful fictions. Recent philosophy of mind has seen a growing interest in mental fictionalism. To date, much of the discussion has concerned the general features of the approach. In this paper, I develop a specific form of mental fictionalism by drawing on Kendall Walton’s work on make-believe. According to the approach I propose, talk of mental (...)
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  4. Daniel Dennett's Intuition Pumps. [REVIEW]Brendan Shea - 2015 - Reason Papers 37 (2).
    A review of Daniel Dennett's Intuition Pumps (W.V. Norton: 2013).
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  5. Minds, Models and Mechanisms: A New Perspective on Intentional Psychology.Eric Hochstein - 2012 - Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 24 (4):547-557.
    In this article, I argue that intentional psychology (i.e. the interpretation of human behaviour in terms of intentional states and propositional attitudes) plays an essential role in the sciences of the mind. However, this role is not one of identifying scientifically respectable states of the world. Rather, I argue that intentional psychology acts as a type of phenomenological model, as opposed to a mechanistic one. I demonstrate that, like other phenomenological models in science, intentional psychology is a methodological tool with (...)
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  6. The Normative Character of Interpretation and Mental Explanation.Paul D. Thorn - 1998 - Dissertation, Simon Fraser University
    This essay is devoted to the study of useful ways of thinking about the nature of interpretation, with particular attention being given to the so called normative character of mental explanation. My aim of illuminating the nature of interpretation will be accomplished by examining several views, some of which are common to both Donald Davidson and Daniel Dennett, concerning its unique characteristics as a method of prediction and explanation. Moreover, some of the views held by Davidson and Dennett will be (...)
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  7. Lifting the Veil of Morality: Choice Blindness and Attitude Reversals on a Self-Transforming Survey.Lars Hall, Petter Johansson & Thomas Strandberg - 2012 - PLoS ONE 7 (9):e45457. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.
    Every day, thousands of polls, surveys, and rating scales are employed to elicit the attitudes of humankind. Given the ubiquitous use of these instruments, it seems we ought to have firm answers to what is measured by them, but unfortunately we do not. To help remedy this situation, we present a novel approach to investigate the nature of attitudes. We created a self-transforming paper survey of moral opinions, covering both foundational principles, and current dilemmas hotly debated in the media. This (...)
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