Acta cum fundamentis in re

Dialectica 38 (2‐3):157-178 (1984)
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Abstract
It will be the thesis of this paper that there are among our mental acts some which fall into the category of real material relations. That is: some acts are necessarily such as to involve a plurality of objects as their relata or fundamenta. Suppose Bruno walks into his study and sees a cat. To describe the seeing, here, as a relation, is to affirm that it serves somehow to tie Bruno to the cat. Bruno's act of seeing, unlike his feeling depressed, his putative thinking-about-Santa-Claus or his musing, abstractedly, about the tallest spy, has at least two fundamenta: it is, as a matter of necessity, dependent for its existence upon both Bruno himself and the cat that he sees. This idea will naturally raise echoes of Russell's doctrine of knowledge by acquaintance. 'I am acquainted with an object', Russell tells us, 'when I have a direct cognitive relation to that object, i. e. when I am directly aware of the object itself' (1918, p. 209). And indeed a distinction in many ways like that between acquaintance and description will find a place within the theory here projected, but there are crucial differences.
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