Anti-Descriptivism, Mental Files, And The Communication Of Singular Thoughts

Manuscrito 32 (1):7-32 (2009)

Authors
Francois Recanati
Institut Jean Nicod
Abstract
In this paper, I argue that singular thought about an object involves nondescriptive or de re ways of thinking of that object, that is, modes of presentation resting on contextual relations of ‘acquaintance’ to the object. Such modes of presentation I analyse as mental files in which the subject can store information gained through the acquaintance relations in question. I show that the mental -file approach provides a solution to a vexing problem regarding the communication of singular thoughts: If singular thoughts depend upon contextual relations to the objects of thought, how can they be communicated across contexts? What makes communication possible when the speaker and the addressee do not stand in the same contextual relations to the objects the speaker’s thought is about?
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