For journal of philosophy

On the back of the dust jacket of this fine book, one can barely make out two representations of a customized penny for our thoughts, drawn by John Haugeland. Accompanying Honest Abe on the heads side appear the words AExistential Commitment,@ AThought,@ and ASelf;@ while tails shows the Lincoln Memorial and E pluribus unum , surrounded by two unlikely additions: AConstituted Domain, @ and AObjects@. Haugeland explains: AThe basic Kantian/Heideggerian conclusion can be summed up this way: the constituted objective world and the free constituting subject are intelligible only as two sides of one coin. @ Not everything with eyes and ears and a brain is a Afree constituting subject @; apes and dogs and dolphins don =t have ontologies because they don =t have thoughts; they don =t have thoughts because they don =t have the Acensoriousness@ in their cultures or social structures that provides the leverage for Understanding, distinguishing a true thought from a false thought, and without that, thoughts cannot really have content. There are, to be sure, important differences in the Umwelt or manifest image of different species, but cats have no more metaphysics than clams or chrysanthemums do. Objects are constituted by people only, and our ultimately moral sense of norms, of AExistential@ commitment, far from being a sort of ethical add-on to the factual world of objects and properties, is the very ground on which our capacity to know, and reflect upon, objects depends
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