David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Many of our thoughts are about particular individuals (persons, things, places, etc.). For example, one can spot a certain Ferrari and think that it is red. What enables this thought to latch onto that particular object? It cannot be how the Ferrari looks, for this could not distinguish one Ferrari from another just like it. In general, how a thought represents something cannot determine which thing it represents. What a singular thought latches onto seems to depend also on features of the context in which the thought occurs. This suggests that its content is essentially indexical, contextually variable much as the content of an utterance like 'I am hungry' depends on who utters it and when (see DEMONSTRATIVES AND INDEXICALS). The indexical model of singular thought is not limited to thoughts about individuals one perceives, like the Ferrari driving by, but applies also to thoughts about individuals one remembers or has been informed of, like an old bicycle or Christopher Columbus. In each case, a certain contextual relation, based on perception, memory, or communication, connects thought to object.
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