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Profile: Cara Spencer (Howard University)
  1. Cara Spencer, Is There a Problem of the Essential Indexical?
    Some time ago, John Perry argued that the content of an indexical belief, that is, a belief expressible with a sentence containing an indexical or demonstrative, cannot be a proposition. I consider several of his arguments for this view, and show that they can be extended to show that belief expressible with other non-indexical expressions such as natural kind terms and proper names presents the very same problem for the traditional picture. I then suggest that if indexical belief has any (...)
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  2. Cara Spencer, Indexical Knowledge and Phenomenal Knowledge.
    A familiar story about phenomenal knowledge likens it to indexical knowledge, i.e. knowledge about oneself typically expressed with sentences containing indexicals or demonstratives. The popularity of this sort of story owes in part to its promise of resolving some longstanding puzzles about phenomenal knowledge. One such puzzle arises from the compelling arguments that we can have full objective knowledge of the world while lacking some phenomenal knowledge. I argue that the widespread optimism about the indexical account on this score is (...)
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  3. Cara Spencer, Shared Indexical Belief.
    In this paper, I take issue with the familiar view that the problem of the essential indexical is a merely technical problem, which can be solved through a straightforward revision of the familiar model of belief content. (The familiar model just says that the content of belief is a proposition.) I do not object to these technical fixes, but I think they leave some questions unanswered. Specifically, they deny us an attractive account of what it is for different people to (...)
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  4. Cara Spencer (2010). Review of Scott Soames, Philosophical Essays Volume 2: The Philosophical Significance of Language. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2010 (6).
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  5. Cara Spencer (2009). Review of Neil Feit, Belief About the Self: A Defense of the Property Theory of Content. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2009 (2).
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  6. Allison Barnes, Cara Spencer, Gavin B. Sullivan & Sam Coleman (2007). Preamble. Philosophical Psychology 20 (6):815 – 833.
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  7. Allison Barnes, Cara Spencer, Gavin B. Sullivan & Sam Coleman (2007). Reviews. [REVIEW] Philosophical Psychology 20 (6):815 – 833.
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  8. Cara Spencer (2007). Reflecting the Mind: Indexicality and Quasi-Indexicality - by Eros Corazza. Philosophical Books 48 (2):183-185.
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  9. Cara Spencer (2007). Unconscious Vision and the Platitudes of Folk Psychology. Philosophical Psychology 20 (3):309 – 327.
    Since we explain behavior by ascribing intentional states to the agent, many philosophers have assumed that some guiding principle of folk psychology like the following, which I call intentional states and actions (ISA), must be true: "If A and B are different actions, then the agents performing them must differ in their intentional states at the time they are performed." Recent results in the physiology of vision present a prima facie problem for this principle. These results show that some visual (...)
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  10. Cara Spencer (2006). Do Conversational Implicatures Explain Substitutivity Failures? Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (1):126–139.
    The Russellian approach to the semantics of attitude ascriptions faces a problem in explaining the robust speaker intuitions that it does not predict. A familiar response to the problem is to claim that utterances of attitude ascriptions may differ in their Gricean conversational implicatures. I argue that the appeal to Grice is ad hoc. First, we find that speakers do not typically judge an utterance false merely because it implicates something false. The apparent cancellability of the putative implicatures is irrelevant, (...)
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  11. Cara Spencer (2006). Keeping Track of Objects in Conversation. In Manuel Garcia-Carpintero & Josep Macià (eds.), Two-Dimensional Semantics. Clarendon Press.
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  12. Cara Spencer (2002). Representing What Others Say. ProtoSociology: An International Journal of Interdisciplinary Research 17:26-45.
    The semantics of belief reports has recently received a great deal of attention.1 Speech reports have largely been left behind in this discussion. Here I extend a familiar recent account of attitude reports, the Russellian theory, to the special case of speech reports. I then consider how it compares to Davidson’s paratactic theory with respect to a few examples that raise special problems about speech reports. Neither theory accounts for everything we want to say about these cases. I suggest that (...)
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  13. Cara Spencer (2001). Belief and the Principle of Identity. Synthese 129 (3):297 - 318.
    In Propositional Attitudes, Mark Richard claims that some natural and formal language sentences of the form( x)( y)(x = y [y/x])are false. He suggests a substitution for that is sensitive to certain ancillary features of the variable letter as well as the assignment, and then argues that this substitution generates a false instance of the above-mentioned schema. I reject Richard's argument and argue further that the sentence is not an instance of that schema. I then argue that his putative natural (...)
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  14. Cara Spencer (1998). On the Metaphysics of Belief. Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    There is a traditional picture of belief, according to which someone's having a belief is that person's standing in a certain relation to an abstract object, a proposition. My dissertation examines the metaphysical demands that two problems for this picture of belief make on these abstract objects. The first problem comes to us from Frege's "On Sense and Reference," and the second concerns a certain sort of one's beliefs about oneself, which I call "indexical beliefs." ;Frege notes that someone can (...)
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