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Mental Files

Oxford University Press (2012)

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  1. Cognitivism, Significance and Singular Thought.Rachel Goodman - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (263):236-260.
    This paper has a narrow and a broader target. The narrow target is a particular version of what I call the mental-files conception of singular thought, proposed by Robin Jeshion, and known as cognitivism. The broader target is the MFC in general. I give an argument against Jeshion's view, which gives us preliminary reason to reject the MFC more broadly. I argue Jeshion's theory of singular thought should be rejected because the central connection she makes between significance and singularity does (...)
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  • What Motivates Fregean Anti-Individualism?Johan Peter Gersel - 2017 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 94 (1-2):153-172.
    In Anti-Individualism and Knowledge Jessica Brown criticises views of content that combine Fregean Sense and anti-individualism. Brown assumes that all Fregean theories are motivated by a picture of the rational thinker as someone who will always have transparent access to the simple inferential consequences of his thoughts. This picture, Brown argues, is incompatible with anti-individualism about content. While traditional Fregean theories have indeed had such motivation, Brown’s mistake is in attributing this motivation to the modern Fregean anti-individualist. My goal in (...)
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  • The Mental Files Theory of Singular Thought: A Psychological Perspective.Michael Murez, Joulia Smortchkova & Brent Strickland - unknown
    We argue that the most ambitious version of the mental files theory of singular thought, according to which mental files are a wide-ranging psychological natural kind underlying all and only singular thinking, is unsupported by the available psychological data. Nevertheless, critical examination of the theory from a psychological perspective opens up promising avenues for research, especially concerning the relationship between our perceptual capacity to individuate and track basic individuals, and our higher level capacities for singular thought.
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  • Acquaintance and First-Person Attitude Reports.Henry Ian Schiller - 2019 - Analysis 79 (2):251-259.
    It is often assumed that singular thought requires that an agent be epistemically acquainted with the object the thought is about. However, it can sometimes truthfully be said of someone that they have a belief about an object, despite not being interestingly epistemically acquainted with that object. In defense of an epistemic acquaintance constraint on singular thought, it is thus often claimed that belief ascriptions are context sensitive and do not always track the contents of an agent’s mental states. This (...)
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  • Do Acquaintance Theorists Have an Attitude Problem?Rachel Goodman - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (1):67-86.
    ABSTRACTThis paper is about the relevance of attitude-ascriptions to debates about singular thought. It examines a methodology reject this methodology, the literature lacks a detailed examination of its implications and the challenges faced by proponents and critics. I isolate an assumption of the methodology, which I call the tracking assumption: that an attitude-ascription which states that s Φ's that P is true iff s has an attitude, of Φ-ing, which is an entertaining of the content P. I argue that the (...)
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  • Reference, Truth, and Biological Kinds.Marcel Weber - 2014 - In: J. Dutant, D. Fassio and A. Meylan (Eds.) Liber Amicorum Pascal Engel.
    This paper examines causal theories of reference with respect to how plausible an account they give of non-physical natural kind terms such as ‘gene’ as well as of the truth of the associated theoretical claims. I first show that reference fixism for ‘gene’ fails. By this, I mean the claim that the reference of ‘gene’ was stable over longer historical periods, for example, since the classical period of transmission genetics. Second, I show that the theory of partial reference does not (...)
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  • 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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  • Names in Strange Places.Aidan Gray - 2017 - Linguistics and Philosophy 40 (5):429-472.
    This paper is about how to interpret and evaluate purported evidence for predicativism about proper names. I aim to point out some underappreciated thorny issues and to offer both predicativists and non-predicativists some advice about how best to pursue their respective projects. I hope to establish three related claims: that non-predicativists have to posit relatively exotic, though not entirely implausible, polysemic mechanisms to capture the range of data that predicativists have introduced ; that neither referentialism nor extant versions of predicativism (...)
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  • Ultra-Liberal Attitude Reports.Kyle Blumberg & Ben Holguín - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (8):2043-2062.
    Although much has been written about the truth-conditions of de re attitude reports, little attention has been paid to certain ‘ultra-liberal’ uses of those reports. We believe that if these uses are legitimate, then a number of interesting consequences for various theses in philosophical semantics follow. The majority of the paper involves describing these consequences. In short, we argue that, if true, ultra-liberal reports: bring counterexamples to a popular approach to de re attitude ascriptions, which we will call ‘descriptivism’; and (...)
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  • More on Fictional Names and Psychologistic Semantics: Replies to Comments.Emar Maier - 2017 - Theoretical Linguistics 43 (1-2):103-120.
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  • Visual Reference and Iconic Content.Santiago Echeverri - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (4):761-781.
    Evidence from cognitive science supports the claim that humans and other animals see the world as divided into objects. Although this claim is widely accepted, it remains unclear whether the mechanisms of visual reference have representational content or are directly instantiated in the functional architecture. I put forward a version of the former approach that construes object files as icons for objects. This view is consistent with the evidence that motivates the architectural account, can respond to the key arguments against (...)
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  • Thought About Properties: Why the Perceptual Case is Basic.Dominic Alford-Duguid - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (271):221-242.
    This paper defends a version of the old empiricist claim that to think about unobservable physical properties a subject must be able to think perception-based thoughts about observable properties. The central argument builds upon foundations laid down by G. E. M. Anscombe and P. F. Strawson. It bridges the gap separating these foundations and the target claim by exploiting a neglected connection between thought about properties and our grasp of causation. This way of bridging the gap promises to introduce substantive (...)
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  • The Edenic Theory of Reference.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (3):276-308.
    I argue for a theory of the optimal function of the speech act of referring, called the edenic theory. First, the act of singular reference is defined directly in terms of Gricean communicative intentions. Second, I propose a doxastic constraint on the optimal performance of such acts, stating, roughly, that the speaker must not have any relevant false beliefs about the identity or distinctness of the intended object. In uttering a singular term on an occasion, on this theory, one represents (...)
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  • Indistinguishable Senses.Aidan Gray - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Fregeanism and Relationism are competing families of solutions to Frege’s Puzzle, and by extension, competing theories of propositional representation. My aim is to clarify what is at stake between them by characterizing and evaluating a Relationist argument. Relationists claim that it is cognitively possible for distinct token propositional attitudes to be, in a sense, qualitatively indistinguishable: to differ in no intrinsic representational features. The idea of an ‘intrinsic representational feature’ is not, however, made especially clear in the argument. I clarify (...)
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  • Singular Thoughts and de Re Attitude Reports.James Openshaw - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (4):415-437.
    It is widely supposed that if there is to be a plausible connection between the truth of a de re attitude report about a subject and that subject’s possession of a singular thought, then ‘acquaintance’-style requirements on singular thought must be rejected. I show that this belief rests on poorly motivated claims about how we talk about the attitudes. I offer a framework for propositional attitude reports which provides both attractive solutions to recalcitrant puzzle cases and the key to preserving (...)
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  • Identity, Causality, and Pronoun Ambiguity.Eyal Sagi & Lance J. Rips - 2014 - Topics in Cognitive Science 6 (4):663-680.
    This article looks at the way people determine the antecedent of a pronoun in sentence pairs, such as: Albert invited Ron to dinner. He spent hours cleaning the house. The experiment reported here is motivated by the idea that such judgments depend on reasoning about identity . Because the identity of an individual over time depends on the causal-historical path connecting the stages of the individual, the correct antecedent will also depend on causal connections. The experiment varied how likely it (...)
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  • Towards a Theory of Singular Thought About Abstract Mathematical Objects.James E. Davies - forthcoming - Synthese.
    This essay uses a mental files theory of singular thought—a theory saying that singular thought about and reference to a particular object requires possession of a mental store of information taken to be about that object—to explain how we could have such thoughts about abstract mathematical objects. After showing why we should want an explanation of this I argue that none of three main contemporary mental files theories of singular thought—acquaintance theory, semantic instrumentalism, and semantic cognitivism—can give it. I argue (...)
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  • Singular Thought: The Division of Explanatory Labor.Andrei Moldovan - 2015 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 36 (1/2):83-99.
    A tacit assumption in the literature devoted to singular thought is that singular thought constitutes a unitary phenomenon, and so a correct account of it must encompass all instances. In this essay, I argue against such a unitary account. The superficial feature of singularity might result from ver y different deep-level phenomena. Following Taylor (2010) and Crane (2013), I distinguish between the referential fitness and the referential success of a thought. I argue that facts responsible for referential fitness (e.g., mental (...)
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  • Embedded Attitudes.Kyle Blumberg & Ben Holguín - forthcoming - Journal of Semantics.
    This paper presents a puzzle involving embedded attitude reports. We resolve the puzzle by arguing that attitude verbs take restricted readings: in some environments the denotation of attitude verbs can be restricted by a given proposition. For example, when these verbs are embedded in the consequent of a conditional, they can be restricted by the proposition expressed by the conditional’s antecedent. We formulate and motivate two conditions on the availability of verb restrictions: (i) a constraint that ties the content of (...)
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  • Concept Designation.Arvid Båve - forthcoming - American Philosophical Quarterly 56 (4).
    The paper proposes a way for adherents of Fregean, structured propositions to designate propositions (and other complex senses/concepts), using a special kind of functor. Investigating some formulations by Peacocke, I highlight certain problems that arise when we try to quantify over propositional constituents while referring to propositions using “that”-clauses (I also consider some other kinds of proposition designator). With the functor notation, by contrast, we can quantify over senses/concepts with ordinary quantifiers and speak without further ado about how they can (...)
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  • On the Supposed Connection Between Proper Names and Singular Thought.Rachel Goodman - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):197-223.
    A thesis I call the name-based singular thought thesis is part of orthodoxy in contemporary philosophy of mind and language: it holds that taking part in communication involving a proper name puts one in a position to entertain singular thoughts about the name’s referent. I argue, first, that proponents of the NBT thesis have failed to explain the phenomenon of name-based singular thoughts, leaving it mysterious how name-use enables singular thoughts. Second, by outlining the reasoning that makes the NBT thesis (...)
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  • Expressivism About Reference and Quantification Over the Non-Existent Without Meinongian Metaphysics.Stephen Barker - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (S2):215-234.
    Can we believe that there are non-existent entities without commitment to the Meinongian metaphysics? This paper argues we can. What leads us from quantification over non-existent beings to Meinongianism is a general metaphysical assumption about reality at large, and not merely quantification over the non-existent. Broadly speaking, the assumption is that every being we talk about must have a real definition. It’s this assumption that drives us to enquire into the nature of beings like Pegasus, and what our relationship as (...)
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  • De Se Thought and Communication: An Introduction.Stephan Torre - forthcoming - In Manuel Garcia-Carpintero & Stephan Torre (eds.), About Oneself: De Se Thought and Communication. Oxford University Press. pp. 1-21.
    This chapter provides a critical overview of various influential accounts of de se attitudes including those proposed by Frege, Lewis and Perry. It also addresses the charge that there is nothing distinctive about de se attitudes. The second half outlines a widely accepted and influential model of communication and various complications that arise in applying this model to the communication of de se thoughts. The final section provides an overview of the papers in this volume.
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  • Representation Without Thought: Confusion, Reference, and Communication.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2015 - Dissertation, CUNY Graduate Center
    I develop and argue for a novel theory of the mental state of identity confusion. I also argue that this mental state can corrupt the proper function of singular terms in linguistic communication. Finally, I propose a theory according to which identity confusion should be treated as a the source of a new sort of linguistic performance error, similar to malapropism, slips of the tongue, and so-called intentional obfuscation (inducing false belief by manipulating language in specific ways). -/- Going into (...)
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  • Representation in Cognitive Science.Nicholas Shea - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    How can we think about things in the outside world? There is still no widely accepted theory of how mental representations get their meaning. In light of pioneering research, Nicholas Shea develops a naturalistic account of the nature of mental representation with a firm focus on the subpersonal representations that pervade the cognitive sciences.
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  • Mental Files: Replies to My Critics.François Recanati - 2013 - Disputatio 5 (36):207-242.
    My responses to seven critical reviews of my book *Mental Files* published in a special issue of the journal Disputatio, edited by F. Salis. The reviewers are: Keith Hall, David Papineau, Annalisa Coliva and Delia Belleri, Peter Pagin, Thea Goodsell, Krista Lawlor and Manuel Garcia-Carpintero.
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  • Empty Singular Terms in the Mental-File Framework.François Recanati - 2013 - In Manuel Garcia-Carpintero & Genoveva Marti (eds.), Empty Representations. Oxford University Press. pp. 162-185.
    Mental files, in Recanati's framework, function as 'singular terms in the language of thought' ; they serve to think about objects in the world (and to store information about them). But they have a derived, metarepresentational function : they serve to represent how other subjects think about objects in the world. To account for the metarepresentational use of files, Recanati introduces the notion of an 'indexed file', i.e. a vicarious file that stands, in the subject's mind, for another subject's file (...)
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  • Reference Through Mental Files : Indexicals and Definite Descriptions.François Recanati - 2013 - In Carlo Penco & Filippo Domaneschi (eds.), What Is Said and What Is Not. Stanford. pp. 159-173.
    Accounts for referential communication (and especially communication by means of definite descriptions and indexicals) in the mental file framework.
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  • Indexing the World? Visual Tracking, Modularity, and the Perception–Cognition Interface.Santiago Echeverri - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (1):215-245.
    Research in vision science, developmental psychology, and the foundations of cognitive science has led some theorists to posit referential mechanisms similar to indices. This hypothesis has been framed within a Fodorian conception of the early vision module. The article shows that this conception is mistaken, for it cannot handle the ‘interface problem’—roughly, how indexing mechanisms relate to higher cognition and conceptual thought. As a result, I reject the inaccessibility of early vision to higher cognition and make some constructive remarks on (...)
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  • Beyond Concepts.Laura Schroeter - 2019 - Analysis 79 (2):363-377.
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  • Indexical Thought: The Communication Problem.François Recanati - 2015 - In Manuel Garcia-Carpintero & Stehpan Torre (eds.), About Oneself. pp. 141-178.
    What characterizes indexical thinking is the fact that the modes of presentation through which one thinks of objects are context-bound and perspectival. Such modes of presentation, I claim, are mental files presupposing that we stand in certain relations to the reference : the role of the file is to store information one can gain in virtue of standing in that relation to the object. This raises the communication problem, first raised by Frege : if indexical thoughts are context-bound and relation-based, (...)
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  • First Person Thought.François Recanati - 2014 - In Julien Dutant, Davide Fassion & Anne Meylan (eds.), Liber Amicorum Pascal Engel. pp. 506-511.
    First person thoughts are the sort of thought one may express by using the first person ; they are also thoughts that are about the thinker of the thought. Neither characterization is ultimately satisfactory. A thought can be about the thinker of the thought by accident, without being a first person thought. The alternative characterization of first person thought in terms of first person sentences also fails, because it is circular : we need the notion of a first person thought (...)
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  • Commentary on Daniel Morgan, 'A Demonstrative Model of First-Person Thought'.François Recanati - unknown
    This response was written for the Vth Online Consciousness Conference.
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  • Attitudes and Mental Files in Discourse Representation Theory.Emar Maier - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (2):473-490.
    I present a concrete DRT-based syntax and semantics for the representation of mental states in the style of Kamp. This system is closely related to Recanati’s Mental Files framework, but adds a crucial distinction between anchors, the analogues of mental files, and attitudes like belief, desire and imagination. Attitudes are represented as separate compartments that can be referentially dependent on anchors. I show how the added distinctions help defend the useful notion of an acquaintance-based mental file against Ninan’s :368–377 2015) (...)
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  • Mental Graphs.James Pryor - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (2):309-341.
    I argue that Frege Problems in thought are best modeled using graph-theoretic machinery; and that these problems can arise even when subjects associate all the same qualitative properties to the object they’re thinking of twice. I compare the proposed treatment to similar ideas by Heck, Ninan, Recanati, Kamp and Asher, Fodor, and others.
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  • A Mental Files Approach to Delusional Misidentification.Sam Wilkinson - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (2):389-404.
    I suggest that we can think of delusional misidentification in terms of systematic errors in the management of mental files. I begin by sketching the orthodox “bottom-up” aetiology of delusional misidentification. I suggest that the orthodox aetiology can be given a descriptivist or a singularist interpretation. I present three cases that a descriptivist interpretation needs to account for. I then introduce a singularist approach, one that is based on mental files, and show how it opens the way for different and (...)
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  • Twofileness. A Functionalist Approach to Fictional Characters and Mental Files.Enrico Terrone - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-19.
    This paper considers two issues raised by the claim that fictional characters are abstract artifacts. First, given that artifacts normally have functions, what is the function of a fictional character? Second, given that, in experiencing works of fictions, we usually treat fictional characters as concrete individuals, how can such a phenomenology fit with an ontology according to which fictional characters are abstract artifacts? I will indirectly address the second issue by directly addressing the first one. For this purpose, I will (...)
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  • On Identity Statements: In Defense of a Sui Generis View.Tristan Haze - 2016 - Disputatio 8 (43):269-293.
    This paper is about the meaning and function of identity statements involving proper names. There are two prominent views on this topic, according to which identity statements ascribe a relation: the object-view, on which identity statements ascribe a relation borne by all objects to themselves, and the name-view, on which an identity statement 'a is b' says that the names 'a' and 'b' codesignate. The object- and name-views may seem to exhaust the field. I make a case for treating identity (...)
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  • Introduction.Fiora Salis - 2013 - Disputatio 5 (36):i-vi.
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  • The Self File and Immunity to Error Through Misidentification.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2013 - Disputatio 5 (36):191-206.
    Recanati’s (2007, 2009) argues for a Lewisian subjectless view of the content of “implicit” de se thought, on the basis that we can thus better explain the phenomenon of immunity to error through misidentification. The paper argues that this is not the case, and suggests that such a view is in tension with Recanati’s mental files approach to de re thought in general and the SELF concept in particular.
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  • Some Observations on François Recanati’s Mental Files.Annalisa Coliva & Delia Belleri - 2013 - Disputatio 5 (36):107-117.
    Coliva-Belleri_Some-observations-on-François-Recanatis-Mental-Files.
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  • Why Frege Cases Do Involve Cognitive Phenomenology but Only Indirectly.Alberto Voltolini - 2016 - Philosophical Explorations 19 (2):205-221.
    In this paper, I want to hold, first, that a treatment of Frege cases in terms of a difference in cognitive phenomenology of the involved experiential mental states is not viable. Second, I will put forward another treatment of such cases that appeals to a difference in intentional objects metaphysically conceived not as exotica, but as schematic objects, that is, as objects that have no metaphysical nature qua objects of thought. This allows their nature to be settled independently of their (...)
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  • Left Inferior-Parietal Lobe Activity in Perspective Tasks: Identity Statements.Aditi Arora, Benjamin Weiss, Matthias Schurz, Markus Aichhorn, Rebecca C. Wieshofer & Josef Perner - 2015 - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9.
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  • Confusion is Corruptive Belief in False Identity.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (2):204-227.
    Speakers are confused about identity if they mistake one thing for two or two things for one. I present two plausible models of confusion, the Frege model and the Millikan model. I show how a prominent objection to Fregean models fails and argue that confusion consists in having false implicit beliefs involving the identity relation. Further, I argue that confused identity has characteristic corruptive effects on singular cognition and on the proper function of singular terms in linguistic communication.
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  • Frege Puzzles and Mental Files.Henry Clarke - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (2):351-366.
    This paper proposes a novel conception of mental files, aimed at addressing Frege puzzles. Classical Frege puzzles involve ignorance and discovery of identity. These may be addressed by accounting for a more basic way for identity to figure in thought—the treatment of beliefs by the believer as being about the same thing. This manifests itself in rational inferences that presuppose the identity of what the beliefs are about. Mental files help to provide a functional characterization of a mind capable of (...)
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  • Belief Files in Theory of Mind Reasoning.Ágnes Melinda Kovács - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (2):509-527.
    Humans seem to readily track their conspecifics’ mental states, such as their goals and beliefs from early infancy. However, the underlying cognitive architecture that enables such powerful abilities remains unclear. Here I will propose that a basic representational structure, the belief file, could provide the foundation for efficiently encoding, and updating information about, others’ beliefs in online social interactions. I will discuss the representational possibilities offered by the belief file and the ways in which the repertoire of mental state reasoning (...)
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  • Thinking of Oneself as the Thinker: The Concept of Self and the Phenomenology of Intellection.Marie Guillot - 2016 - Philosophical Explorations 19 (2):138-160.
    The indexical word “I” has traditionally been assumed to be an overt analogue to the concept of self, and the best model for understanding it. This approach, I argue, overlooks the essential role of cognitive phenomenology in the mastery of the concept of self. I suggest that a better model is to be found in a different kind of representation: phenomenal concepts or more generally phenomenally grounded concepts. I start with what I take to be the defining feature of the (...)
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  • Against the Mental Files Conception of Singular Thought.Rachel Goodman - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (2):437-461.
    It has become popular of late to identify the phenomenon of thinking a singular thought with that of thinking with a mental file. Proponents of the mental files conception of singular thought claim that one thinks a singular thought about an object o iff one employs a mental file to think about o. I argue that this is false by arguing that there are what I call descriptive mental files, so some file-based thought is not singular thought. Descriptive mental files (...)
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  • From Meaning to Content.Francois Recanati - 2018 - In Derek Ball & Brian Rabern (eds.), The Science of Meaning: Essays on the Metatheory of Natural Language Semantics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    According to a widespread picture due to Kaplan, there are two levels of semantic value: character and content. Character is determined by the grammar, and it determines content with respect to context. In this chapter Recanati criticizes that picture on several grounds. He shows that we need more than two levels, and rejects the determination thesis: that linguistic meaning as determined by grammar determines content. Grammatical meaning does not determine assertoric content, he argues, but merely constrains it — speaker’s meaning (...)
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  • Introduction.[author unknown] - forthcoming - Introduction 5 (36):i-vi.
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