Singular Thought: The Division of Explanatory Labor

Journal of Mind and Behavior 36 (1/2):83-99 (2015)
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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 files or individual concepts), as well as facts responsible for referential success (e.g., acquaintance conditions on referential success), are relevant in explaining the data pertaining to a theory of singular thought. What makes this approach particularly attractive is that there are good independent reasons to introduce both kinds of facts in theorizing about thought.
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