David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In Jean Petitot (ed.), Naturalizing Phenomenology. Stanford: Stanford University Press. 317--329 (1999)
Abstract The paper uses the tools of mereotopology (the theory of parts, wholes and boundaries) to work out the implications of certain analogies between the 'ecological psychology' of J. J Gibson and the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl. It presents an ontological theory of spatial boundaries and of spatially extended entities. By reference to examples from the geographical sphere it is shown that both boundaries and extended entities fall into two broad categories: those which exist independently of our cognitive acts (for example, the planet Earth, its exterior surface); and those which exist only in virtue of such acts (for example: the equator, the North Sea). The visual field, too, can be conceived as an example of an extended entity that is dependent in the sense at issue. The paper suggests extending this analogy by postulating entities which would stand to true judgments as the visual field stands to acts of visual perception. The judgment field is defined more precisely as that complex extended entity which comprehends all entities which are relevant to the truth of a given (true) judgment. The work of cognitive linguists such as Talmy and Langacker, when properly interpreted, can be shown to yield a detailed account of the structures of the judgment fields corresponding to sentences of different sorts. A new sort of correspondence-theoretic definition of truth for sentences of natural language can then be formulated on this basis
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