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Fixing Reference

Oxford University Press (2015)

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  1. The Inference Objection to Evidence Cases.Julie Wulfemeyer - 2022 - Philosophia 50 (1):361-368.
    Chastain and Sawyer, among others, claim that direct cognitive relations can be initiated in evidence cases. Direct cognitive relations will here include Chastain’s knowledge-of and Sawyer’s trace-based acquaintance, as well as related notions such as having-in-mind and singular thought. Against this controversial claim, it is often objected that such cases are better understood as cases of inference rather than cases of direct thought. When one detects something by its footprint, the objection goes, one merely infers that it exists rather than (...)
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  • Cognitive Focus.Julie Wulfemeyer - 2021 - Acta Analytica 36 (4):553-561.
    Philosophers of mind and language who advance causal theories face a sort of conjunction problem. When we say that the thing had in mind or the thing referred to is a matter of what causally impacted the thinker or speaker, we must somehow narrow down the long conjunction of items in a causal chain, all of which contributed to the having in mind, but only one of which becomes the object of thought or the linguistic referent. Here, I sketch a (...)
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  • Reply to Critics.J. R. G. Williams - 2021 - Analysis 81 (3):536-548.
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  • Intuitions on Semantic Reference.Massimiliano Vignolo & Filippo Domaneschi - 2022 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 13 (3):755-778.
    Since Machery et al. Cognition 92, B1-B12 attacked Kripke’s refutation of classical descriptivism, their experiment has been repeated several times, in its original version or in some revised ones, by theorists with contrasting intents. Some repeated the experiment for confirming its results, others for proving them unreliable. One striking characteristic of those surveys is that they mostly replicated the data collected in Machery et al.’s Cognition 92, B1-B12, 2004 experiment: less than 60% of Westerners showed preference for the causal-historical response. (...)
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  • The Motivational Structure of Appreciation.Servaas van der Berg - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (276):445-466.
    On a widely held view in aesthetics, appreciation requires disinterested attention. George Dickie famously criticized a version of this view championed by the aesthetic attitude theorists. I revisit his criticisms and extract an overlooked challenge for accounts that seek to characterize appreciative engagement in terms of distinctive motivation: at minimum, the motivational profile such accounts propose must make a difference to how appreciative episodes unfold over time. I then develop a proposal to meet this challenge by drawing an analogy between (...)
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  • The Goal of Conversation.Zoltán Gendler Szabó - 2020 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 94 (1):57-86.
    Dickie presents an argument against the traditional, broadly Gricean view of conversation. She argues that speakers must sometimes be more specific than required for sharing knowledge on a topic of common concern. Her proposed solution is to claim that the goal of conversation is not just sharing knowledge but also sharing cognitive focus. In response, I argue that her proposal faces both conceptual and empirical difficulties, and that the traditional view can handle the problem of non-specificity by acknowledging that in (...)
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  • The Uneasy Heirs of Acquaintance.Susanna Siegel - 2019 - Philosophical Issues 29 (1):348-365.
    My contribution to the first round of a tetralog with Bill Brewer, Anil Gupta, and John McDowell. Each of us has written a response to the writings of the other three philosophers on the topic "Empirical Reason". My initial contribution focuses on what we know a priori about perception. In the second round, we will each respond to the each writer's first-round contributions.
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  • Inquiry & Ordinary Truthmakers.Arthur Schipper - 2022 - Metaphysica 23 (2):247-273.
    This paper argues that accepting an ordinary approach to truthmakers and rejecting something I call “the metaphysical knowledge assumption” allows us to account for inquiry in terms of truthmaking. §1 introduces inquiry and the potential place of truthmakers in inquiry. §2 presents the relevant ordinary notion of truthmakers. §3 presents and motivates MKA. This assumption, I argue, makes a truthmaker-focused account of inquiry whose objects are not the fundamental nature of things impossible and thus should be rejected. The ordinary picture, (...)
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  • Beyond Concepts.Laura Schroeter - 2019 - Analysis 79 (2):363-377.
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  • Acts of Desire.Henry Ian Schiller - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (9):955-972.
    ABSTRACT Act-based theories of content hold that propositions are identical to acts of predication that we perform in thought and talk. To undergo an occurrent thought with a particular content is just to perform the act of predication that individuates that content. But identifying the content of a thought with the performance of an act of predication makes it difficult to explain the intentionality of bouletic mental activity, like wanting and desiring. In this paper, I argue that this difficulty is (...)
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  • Turning Aboutness About.Alexander Sandgren - 2021 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly (1):136-155.
    There are two families of influential and stubborn puzzles that many theories of aboutness (intentionality) face: underdetermination puzzles and puzzles concerning representations that appear to be about things that do not exist. I propose an approach that elegantly avoids both kinds of puzzle. The central idea is to explain aboutness (the relation supposed to stand between thoughts and terms and their objects) in terms of relations of co-aboutness (the relation of being about the same thing that stands between the thoughts (...)
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  • Is Dickie's Account of Aboutness‐Fixing Explanatory?Jessica Pepp - 2020 - Theoria 86 (6):801-820.
    Imogen Dickie's book Fixing Reference promises to reframe the investigation of mental intentionality, or what makes thoughts be about particular things. Dickie focuses on beliefs, and argues that if we can show how our ordinary means of belief formation sustain a certain connection between what our beliefs are about and how they are justified, we will have explained the ability of these ordinary means of belief formation to generate beliefs that are about particular objects. A worry about Dickie's approach is (...)
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  • Thinking About Many.James Openshaw - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2863-2882.
    The notorious problem of the many makes it difficult to resist the conclusion that almost coincident with any ordinary object are a vast number of near-indiscernible objects. As Unger was aware in his presentation of the problem, this abundance raises a concern as to how—and even whether—we achieve singular thought about ordinary objects. This paper presents, clarifies, and defends a view which reconciles a plenitudinous conception of ordinary objects with our having singular thoughts about those objects. Indeed, this strategy has (...)
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  • A Puzzle About Seeing for Representationalism.James Openshaw & Assaf Weksler - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (9):2625-2646.
    When characterizing the content of a subject’s perceptual experience, does their seeing an object entail that their visual experience represents it as being a certain way? If it does, are they thereby in a position to have perceptually-based thoughts about it? On one hand, representationalists are under pressure to answer these questions in the affirmative. On the other hand, it seems they cannot. This paper presents a puzzle to illustrate this tension within orthodox representationalism. We identify several interesting morals which (...)
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  • Refitting the mirrors: on structural analogies in epistemology and action theory.Lisa Miracchi & J. Adam Carter - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-28.
    Structural analogies connect Williamson’s epistemology and action theory: for example, action is the direction-of-fit mirror image of knowledge, and knowledge stands to belief as action stands to intention. These structural analogies, for Williamson, are meant to illuminate more generally how ‘mirrors’ reversing direction of fit should be understood as connecting the spectrum of our cognitive and practically oriented mental states. This paper has two central aims, one negative and the other positive. The negative aim is to highlight some intractable problems (...)
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  • Review of Fixing Reference By Imogen Dickie. [REVIEW]Nicholas K. Jones - 2017 - Philosophy 92 (1):148-153.
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  • Sensing Mind-Independence.Ivan V. Ivanov - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):14931-14949.
    I propose that the fundamental challenge Berkeley left realists is to account for experiences’ ability to present items as mind-independent, consistent with the claim that experiences always present themselves among the items of awareness. By exploring two ways of responding to this challenge, and ruling out the second, I hope to show that realists aiming to secure a role for experiences in grounding our grasp of mind-independence need to adopt a specific view of perceptual experience. They must take experiences to (...)
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  • Properties in sight and in thought.Ivan V. Ivanov - 2019 - Synthese 198 (8):7049-7071.
    The main focus of acquaintance theorists has been the nature and mechanism of perceptual acquaintance with particulars. Generally, one’s view of perceptual acquaintance with general features has taken its bearings from one’s view of perceptual acquaintance with particulars. This has led to the glossing over of significant differences in the mechanisms of perceptual acquaintance with particulars and with general features. The difference in mechanisms suggests a difference in the sort of epistemic state at play in the two kinds of cases. (...)
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  • Cognitive Hunger: Remarks on Imogen Dickie's Fixing Reference.Richard Heck - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (3):738-744.
    The main focus of my comments is the role played in Dickie's view by the idea that "the mind has a need to represent things outside itself". But there are also some remarks about her (very interesting) suggestion that descriptive names can sometimes fail to refer to the object that satisfies the associated description.
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  • Minimal Fregeanism.Aidan Gray - 2022 - Mind 131 (522):429-458.
    Among the virtues of relationist approaches to Frege’s puzzle is that they put us in a position to outline structural features of the puzzle that were only implicit in earlier work. In particular, they allow us to frame questions about the relation between the explanatory roles of sense and sameness of sense. In this paper, I distinguish a number of positions about that relation which have not been clearly distinguished. This has a few pay-offs. It allows us to shed light (...)
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  • Indistinguishable Senses.Aidan Gray - 2020 - Noûs 54 (1):78-104.
    Fregeanism and Relationism are competing families of solutions to Frege’s Puzzle, and by extension, competing theories of propositional representation. My aim is to clarify what is at stake between them by characterizing and evaluating a Relationist argument. Relationists claim that it is cognitively possible for distinct token propositional attitudes to be, in a sense, qualitatively indistinguishable: to differ in no intrinsic representational features. The idea of an ‘intrinsic representational feature’ is not, however, made especially clear in the argument. I clarify (...)
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  • Trading on Identity and Singular Thought.Rachel Goodman - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (2):296-312.
    On the traditional relationalist conception of singular thought, a thought has singular content when it is based on an ‘information relation’ to its object. Recent work rejects relationalism and suggests singular thoughts are distinguished from descriptive thoughts by their inferential role: only thoughts with singular content can be employed in ‘direct’ inferences, or inferences that ‘trade on identity’. Firstly this view is insufficiently clear, because it conflates two distinct ideas—one about a kind of inference, the other a kind of process (...)
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  • Mental Filing.Rachel Goodman & Aidan Gray - 2022 - Noûs 56 (1):204-226.
    We offer an interpretation of the mental files framework that eliminates the metaphor of files, information being contained in files, etc. The guiding question is whether, once we move beyond the metaphors, there is any theoretical role for files. We claim not. We replace the file-metaphor with two theses: the semantic thesis that there are irreducibly relational representational facts (viz. facts about the coordination of representations); and the metasemantic thesis that processes tied to information-relations ground those facts. In its canonical (...)
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  • Sortals, bodies, and variables. A critique of Quine’s theory of reference.Ramiro Glauer & Frauke Hildebrandt - 2022 - Synthese 200 (4):1-21.
    Among the philosophical accounts of reference, Quine’s The Roots of Reference stands out in offering an integrated account of the acquisition of linguistic reference and object individuation. Based on a non-referential ability to distinguish bodies, the acquisition of sortals and quantification are crucial steps in learning to refer to objects. In this article, we critically re-assess Quine’s account of reference. Our critique will proceed in three steps with the aim of showing that Quine effectively presupposes what he sets out to (...)
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  • Reference in Fiction.Stacie Friend - 2019 - Disputatio 11 (54):179-206.
    Most discussions of proper names in fiction concern the names of fictional characters, such as ‘Clarissa Dalloway’ or ‘Lilliput.’ Less attention has been paid to referring names in fiction, such as ‘Napoleon’ or ‘London’. This is because many philosophers simply assume that such names are unproblematic; they refer in the usual way to their ordinary referents. The alternative position, dubbed Exceptionalism by Manuel García-Carpintero, maintains that referring names make a distinctive semantic contribution in fiction. In this paper I offer a (...)
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  • Towards a Theory of Singular Thought About Abstract Mathematical Objects.James E. Davies - 2019 - Synthese 196 (10):4113-4136.
    This essay uses a mental files theory of singular thought—a theory saying that singular thought about and reference to a particular object requires possession of a mental store of information taken to be about that object—to explain how we could have such thoughts about abstract mathematical objects. After showing why we should want an explanation of this I argue that none of three main contemporary mental files theories of singular thought—acquaintance theory, semantic instrumentalism, and semantic cognitivism—can give it. I argue (...)
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  • Acquaintance.Matt Duncan - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (3):e12727.
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  • Understanding Singular Terms.Imogen Dickie - 2020 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 94 (1):19-55.
    This paper uses a puzzle arising from cases of felicitous underspecification in uses of demonstratives to motivate a new model of communication using singular terms.
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  • A Lemma From Nowhere.Imogen Dickie - 2020 - Critica 52 (154).
    This paper uses cases involving empty singular terms to argue for a claim about the goal of ordinary belief-forming activity, and shows how this claim generates new foundations for the theory of reference.
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  • Still the same dilemma for conceptual engineers: reply to Koch.Max Deutsch - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (11):3659-3670.
    Steffen Koch raises several objections to my critique of conceptual engineering. Here, I reply to these objections, arguing that Koch fails to adequately defend the “standard rationale” for conceptual engineering, and that the dilemma I have posed for “conceptual re-engineering”, a dilemma that presents this practice as either infeasible or else trivial, survives Koch’s objections unscathed. I conclude that conceptual engineering, both in terms of its conception and rationale, remains problematic.
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  • Coordination in Thought.Henry Clarke - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (1):191-212.
    Coordination in thought is the treatment of beliefs by the believer as being about the same thing. Such treatment can be indirect, via an identity belief, or direct. Direct coordination presents a problem concerning how this treatment is justified. Dickie accounts for the justification of coordination in terms of aptness to a motivational state: coordination serves to fulfil a need to represent things outside the mind. I argue that this account gets the problem coordination presents wrong, and so does not (...)
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  • Are there epistemic conditions necessary for demonstrative thought?Michael Barkasi - 2019 - Synthese 198 (7):6111-6138.
    Starting with Gareth Evans, there’s an important tradition of theorizing about perception-based demonstrative thought which assigns necessary epistemic conditions to it. Its core idea is that demonstrative reference in thought is grounded in information links, understood as links which carry reliable information about their targets and which a subject exploits for demonstrative reference by tokening the mental files fed by these links. Perception, on these views, is not fundamental to perception-based demonstrative thought but is only the information link exploited in (...)
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  • Frege Cases and Bad Psychological Laws.Mahrad Almotahari & Aidan Gray - forthcoming - Mind.
    We draw attention to a series of implicit assumptions that have structured the debate about Frege’s Puzzle. Once these assumptions are made explicit, we rely on them to show that if one focuses exclusively on the issues raised by Frege cases, then one obtains a powerful consideration against a fine-grained conception of propositional-attitude content. In light of this consideration, a form of Russellianism about content becomes viable.
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  • Thinking Through Illusion.Dominic Alford‐Duguid - 2020 - European Journal of Philosophy 28 (3):617-638.
    Perception of a property (e.g. a colour, a shape, a size) can enable thought about the property, while at the same time misleading the subject as to what the property is like. This long-overlooked claim parallels a more familiar observation concerning perception-based thought about objects, namely that perception can enable a subject to think about an object while at the same time misleading her as to what the object is like. I defend the overlooked claim, and then use it to (...)
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  • Thought About Properties: Why the Perceptual Case is Basic.Dominic Alford-Duguid - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (271):221-242.
    This paper defends a version of the old empiricist claim that to think about unobservable physical properties a subject must be able to think perception-based thoughts about observable properties. The central argument builds upon foundations laid down by G. E. M. Anscombe and P. F. Strawson. It bridges the gap separating these foundations and the target claim by exploiting a neglected connection between thought about properties and our grasp of causation. This way of bridging the gap promises to introduce substantive (...)
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  • On the Explanatory Power of Hallucination.Dominic Alford-Duguid & Michael Arsenault - 2017 - Synthese 194 (5).
    Pautz has argued that the most prominent naive realist account of hallucination—negative epistemic disjunctivism—cannot explain how hallucinations enable us to form beliefs about perceptually presented properties. He takes this as grounds to reject both negative epistemic disjunctivism and naive realism. Our aims are two: First, to show that this objection is dialectically ineffective against naive realism, and second, to draw morals from the failure of this objection for the dispute over the nature of perceptual experience at large.
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  • Other People.Kieran Setiya - forthcoming - In Sarah Buss & Nandi Theunissen (eds.), Rethinking the Value of Humanity.
    Argues for the role of personal acquaintance in both love and concern for individuals, as such. The challenge is to say what personal acquaintance is and why it matters in the way it does. These questions are addressed through the work of Emmanuel Levinas. Topics include: the ethics of aggregation, the basis of moral standing, and the value of human life.
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  • Principles of Acquaintance.Jessica Pepp - 2019 - In Thomas Raleigh & Jonathan Knowles (eds.), Acquaintance: New Essays. Oxford University Press.
    The thesis that in order to genuinely think about a particular object one must be (in some sense) acquainted with that object has been thoroughly explored since it was put forward by Bertrand Russell. Recently, the thesis has come in for mounting criticism. The aim of this paper is to point out that neither the exploration nor the criticism have been sensitive to the fact that the thesis can be interpreted in two different ways, yielding two different principles of acquaintance. (...)
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  • Representation in Cognitive Science.Nicholas Shea - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    How can we think about things in the outside world? There is still no widely accepted theory of how mental representations get their meaning. In light of pioneering research, Nicholas Shea develops a naturalistic account of the nature of mental representation with a firm focus on the subpersonal representations that pervade the cognitive sciences.
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  • Transcendental Idealism Without Tears.Nicholas Stang - 2017 - In Tyron Goldschmidt (ed.), Idealism: New Essays in Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. pp. 82-103.
    This essay is an attempt to explain Kantian transcendental idealism to contemporary metaphysicians and make clear its relevance to contemporary debates in what is now called ‘meta-metaphysics.’ It is not primarily an exegetical essay, but an attempt to translate some Kantian ideas into a contemporary idiom.
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  • Philosophical Investigation Series: Selected Texts on Metaphysics, Language and Mind / Série Investigação Filosófica: Textos Selecionados de Metafísica, Linguagem e Mente.Rodrigo Cid & Pedro Merlussi (eds.) - 2020 - Pelotas: Editora da UFPel / NEPFIL Online.
    Um dos grandes desafios da era da informação consiste em filtrar informações claras, rigorosas e atualizadas sobre tópicos importantes. O mesmo vale para a filosofia. Como encontrar conteúdo filosófico confiável em meio a milhares de artigos publicados diariamente na internet? Para ir ainda mais longe, como encontrar uma introdução a algum tópico com uma lista de referências bibliográficas atualizadas e que seja organizada por um especialista da área? Já que você começou a ler este livro, é provável que tenha ouvido (...)
     
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  • Theories of Meaning.Jeff Speaks - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Attention.Christopher Mole - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • Joint Attention and Communication.Rory Harder - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Joint attention occurs when two (or more) individuals attend together to some object. It has been identified by psychologists as an early form of our joint engagement, and is thought to provide us with an understanding of other minds that is basic in that sophisticated conceptual resources are not involved. Accordingly, it has also attracted the interest of philosophers. Moreover, a very recent trend in the psychological and philosophical literature on joint attention consists of developing the suggestion that it holds (...)
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  • Mental Filing Systems: A User's Guide.Henry Clarke - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    How seriously should we take the idea that the mind employs mental files? Goodman and Gray (2022) argue that mental filing – a thinker rationally treating her cognitive states as being about the same thing – can be explained without files. Instead, they argue that the standard commitments of mental file theory, as represented by Recanati’s indexical model, are better seen in terms of a relational representational feature of object representations, which in turn is based on the epistemic links a (...)
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  • An Agent of Attention: An Inquiry Into the Source of Our Control.Aaron Henry - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Toronto
    When performing a skilled action—whether something impressive like a double somersault or something mundane like reaching for a glass of water—you exercise control over your bodily movements. Specifically, you guide their course. In what does that control consist? In this dissertation, I argue that it consists in attending to what you are doing. More specifically, in attending, agents harness their perceptual and perceptuomotor states directly and practically in service of their goals and, in doing so, settle the fine-grained manner in (...)
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  • Logical Form and the Limits of Thought.Manish Oza - 2020 - Dissertation, University of Toronto
    What is the relation of logic to thinking? My dissertation offers a new argument for the claim that logic is constitutive of thinking in the following sense: representational activity counts as thinking only if it manifests sensitivity to logical rules. In short, thinking has to be minimally logical. An account of thinking has to allow for our freedom to question or revise our commitments – even seemingly obvious conceptual connections – without loss of understanding. This freedom, I argue, requires that (...)
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  • Getting a Moral Thing Into a Thought: Metasemantics for Non-Naturalists.Preston J. Werner - 2020 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics. Oxford University Press. pp. 140-169.
    Non-naturalism is the view that normative properties are response-independent, irreducible to natural properties, and causally inefficacious. An underexplored question for non-naturalism concerns the metasemantics of normative terms. Ideally, the non-naturalist could remain ecumenical, but it appears they cannot. Call this challenge the metasemantic challenge. This chapter suggests that non-naturalists endorse an epistemic account of reference determination of the sort recently defended by Imogen Dickie, with some modifications. An important implication of this account is that, if correct, a fully fleshed out (...)
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  • Singular Thought and Mental Files: An Introduction.Rachel Goodman & James Genone - 2020 - In Singular Thought and Mental Files. Oxford, UK: pp. 1-17.
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  • Names and Singular Thought.Rachel Goodman - 2020 - In Routledge Handbook of Linguistic Reference. New York, NY, USA: pp. 421-435.
    Influential work on proper names, most centrally associated with Kripke (1980), has had a significant influence in the literature on singular thought. The dominant position among contemporary singularists is that we can think singular thoughts about any object we can refer to by name and that, given the range of cases in which it is possible to refer using a name, name use in fact enables singular thought about a name's referent. I call this the extended name-based thought thesis (extended-NBT). (...)
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