Acta Analytica 36 (4):553-561 (2021)

Authors
Julie Wulfemeyer
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Abstract
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 notion of cognitive focus intended to do this narrowing. The notion borrows three key aspects from visual focus and some technological aides—causation, amplification, and suppression. I suggest a broader application of this framework to address the conjunction problem not only in ordinary contexts of perceptual focus but also in evidence cases involving non-perceptual cognitive focus. I further suggest cognitive focus is helpful in distinguishing referential vs. attributive thought.
Keywords cognitive focus  causal theories  having in mind  reference
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DOI 10.1007/s12136-021-00462-4
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References found in this work BETA

On Denoting.Bertrand Russell - 2005 - Mind 114 (456):873 - 887.
Naming and Necessity.S. Kripke - 1972 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 45 (4):665-666.
Reference and Definite Descriptions.Keith S. Donnellan - 1966 - Philosophical Review 75 (3):281-304.
Naming and Necessity.Saul A. Kripke - 1985 - Critica 17 (49):69-71.
The Causal Theory of Names.Gareth Evans - 1973 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 47 (1):187–208.

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Citations of this work BETA

Towards a Sensible Bifurcationism.Jessica Pepp - 2022 - Theoria 88 (2):348-364.

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