In defence of object-dependent thoughts

Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 98 (2):201-210 (1998)
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The existence of object-dependent thoughts has been doubted on the grounds that reference to such thoughts is unnecessary or 'redundant' in the psychological explanation of intentional action. This paper argues to the contrary that reference to object-dependent thoughts is necessary to the proper psychological explanation of intentional action upon objects. Section I sets out the argument for the alleged explanatory redundancy of object-dependent thoughts; an argument which turns on the coherence of an alternative 'dual-component' model of explanation. Section II rebuts this argument by showing the dual-component model to be incoherent precisely because of its exclusion of object-dependent thoughts. Section III concludes with a conjecture about the further possible significance of object-dependent thoughts for the prediction of action

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Sean Crawford
University of Manchester


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