A study in the cognition of individuals' identity: Solving the problem of singular cognition in object and agent tracking

Consciousness and Cognition 16 (2):276-293 (2007)
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Abstract

This article compares the ability to track individuals lacking mental states with the ability to track intentional agents. It explains why reference to individuals raises the problem of explaining how cognitive agents track unique individuals and in what sense reference is based on procedures of perceptual-motor and epistemic tracking. We suggest applying the notion of singular-files from theories in perception and semantics to the problem of tracking intentional agents. In order to elucidate the nature of agent-files, three views of the relation between object- and agent-tracking are distinguished: the Independence, Deflationary and Organism-Dependence Views. The correct view is argued to be the latter, which states that perceptual and epistemic tracking of a unique human organism requires tracking both its spatio-temporal object-properties and its agent-properties.

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