Mind and Language (forthcoming)
|Abstract||In this essay, I argue in favor of evidential constraints on singular thoughts and thoughts with singular purport. In typical cases of singular thought, I claim, a thinker stands in an evidential relation to the object of thought suitable for providing knowledge of the object’s existence. Furthermore, a thinker may generate representations that purport to refer to particular objects in response to appropriate, though defeasible, evidence of the existence of such an object. I motivate these constraints by considering a number of examples introduced in a recent paper by Robin Jeshion in support of a view she calls ‘cognitivism’. Although I agree with Jeshion that acquaintance is not required for all cases of singular thought, I argue that her account doesn’t go far enough in rejecting semantic instrumentalism, the view that we can generate singular thoughts arbitrarily, by manipulating the mechanisms of direct reference.|
|Keywords||Singular Thought Reference Acquaintance Semantic Instrumentalism Liberalism De Re Belief|
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