Concerning cases involving temporal indexicals Kaplan has argued that Fregean thoughts cannot be the bearers of cognitive significance due to the alleged fact that one can think the same thought from one occasion to the next without realizing this—thus linking the issue of cognitive significance to that of belief retention. Kaplan comes up with his own version of the Fregean strategy for accounting for belief retention that does not face this kind of a problem; but he finds it deficient because (...) it leads us to implausibly deny that one who is lost in time retains the beliefs one held before this occurred. I take issue with Kaplan though in conformity with his plausible demands about belief retention and argue that a situation does not arise in which one can fail to realize that one is thinking the same thought from one occasion to the next. I also argue that thoughts are the bearers of cognitive significance as well as explanatory of belief retention. (shrink)
Focusing on the 'today'/'yesterday' case, I argue that Perry is wrong in accounting for and explaining indexical belief states in terms of Kaplanian characters and in taking these states to be internal (narrow) mental states inside the subject's mind. It is shown that this view is at odds with Perry's own reliance on remembering a past day as a necessary condition for retaining a belief about it. As a better tool for explaining appropriate indexical beliefs, I offer an alternative which (...) is neo-Fregean in that it takes senses or modes of presentation as playing only a cognitive, not a semantic role. It, however, takes remembering a past day as necessary for retaining a belief about it, rather than keeping track of time as urged by Evans. I also consider unfeasible Evans's further requirement which he takes over from Frege: that in order to retain a belief about a certain past day we need to think of it now under the same mode of presentation as we did on that very day. (shrink)
Anti-individualists hold that having a thought with a certain intentional content is a relational rather than an intrinsic property of the subject. Some anti-individualists also hold that thought-content serves to explain the subject’s cognitive perspective. Since there seems to be a tension between these two views, much discussed in the philosophical literature, attempts have been made to resolve it. In an attempt to reconcile these views, and in relation to perception-based demonstrative thoughts, Stalnaker (Our knowledge of the internal world, Oxford (...) University Press, Oxford, 2008) argues that an anti-individualist account of the facts that determine thought-content can be reconciled with a suitably qualified version of a principle of epistemic transparency. Acknowledging this, and in agreement with the view that thought-content should serve to explain the subject’s cognitive perspective, I argue that, his intentions notwithstanding, this view of transparency of thought-contents does not serve to explain the subject’s cognitive perspective on Stalnaker’s own terms and that the intricacies involved in his argumentation for saving his anti-individualist project are indirectly supportive of an individualist account of the subject’s cognitive perspective. In so doing, I leave intact some of his key claims that are plausible in their own right. (shrink)
According to a criterion of difference for thoughts derived from Frege, two thoughts are different if it is at the same time possible for a rational subject to take conflicting epistemic attitudes toward them. But applying this criterion to perception-based demonstrative thoughts seems to slice thoughts too finely and lead to their proliferation which makes the criterion implausible. I argue that such a proliferation of thoughts is blocked by transforming this criterion into a related one that is shown to be (...) essential in individuating thoughts as they are conceived of in this paper. This has to do with the fact that what makes demonstrative sense synchronically or diachronically the same is the subject’s unreflective taking-for-granted that the object that she is perceiving is a single object that does not require her to keep track of it in the sense supposed by Evans and Campbell. (shrink)
It is often thought that endowing a demonstrative with a Fregean sense leaves no room for maintaining that it is also a rigid designator. In addition, some philosophers claim that indexicals - surely the paradigms of singular reference - pose a serious threat to the Fregean sense/ reference approach as they do not comply with the view that singular terms have Fregean senses. In this paper I argue that neither of these is true.
It is argued that none of the speaker's referential intentions accompanying his utterance of a demonstrative are semantically significant but rather the associated demonstration (or some other source of salience). It is constitutive of the speaker's having the specifically referential intention - held by Kent Bach to be semantically significant - that the speaker is taking, and relying upon, his accompanying gesture (or some other source of salience) as semantically significant, making it the case that this intention is not even (...) partly semantically significant. The same is then shown to hold for the speaker's remaining referential intentions: his intention aimed at a perceived object, believed by David Kaplan to be semantically significant, as well as the intention to refer to the object that he has in mind. (shrink)
John Perry has urged that a semantic theory for natural languages ought to be concerned with the issue of cognitive significance—of how true identity statements containing different (utterances of) indexicals and proper names can be informative, held to be unaccountable by the referentialist view. The informativeness that he has in mind—one that has puzzled Frege, Kaplan and Wettstein—concerns knowledge about the world. In trying to solve this puzzle on referentialist terms, he comes up with the notion of cognitive significance as (...) a special kind of a second-order content which should account for cognitive significance in the former sense. Focusing on his treatment of perceptual demonstratives, I argue that he fails to do so both on the level of second-order contents containing demonstrative utterances and on the level of second-order contents containing perceptual buffers as new notions associated with the perceptions and used to temporarily store ideas we gain from the perceptions, which he holds to be causally connected to each other. (shrink)
Philosophy is for Schopenhauer not a sort of scientific pursuit nor is science a sort of philosophical pursuit, and it is in this context that he propounds his view of scientific knowledge and of knowledge in general. Those few philosophers who have given it proper consideration, notably Gardiner (1967) and Hamlyn (1980, 1999), and more recently Young (2005), have pointed out that Schopenhauer's view presents some serious, seemingly insurmountable, difficulties. In this chapter I try to redress the balance by arguing (...) that Schopenhauer can be credited with a coherent and viable, in some respects indeed very perceptive view of (scientific) knowledge once a couple of misconceptions, which are the source of these difficulties but which are neither required by this view nor are of any use to it, are disposed of. I offer instead some adequate replacements which are to its benefit, much as they are in line with the overall framework and the objectives of his philosophy. This will also enable us to assess this view in the context of the debates that have emerged in the modern-day philosophy of science and epistemology. (shrink)
This book argues that there is a common cognitive mechanism underlying all indexical thoughts, in spite of their seeming diversity. Indexical thoughts are mental representations, such as beliefs and desires. They represent items from a thinker's point of view or her cognitive perspective. We typically express them by means of sentences containing linguistic expressions such as 'this ' or 'that ', adverbs like 'here', 'now', and 'today', and the personal pronoun 'I'. While generally agreeing that representing the world from a (...) thinker's cognitive perspective is a key feature of indexical thoughts, philosophers disagree as to whether a thinker's cognitive perspective can be captured and rationalized by semantic content and, if so, what kind of content this is. This book surveys competing views and then advances its own positive account. Ultimately, it argues that a thinker's cognitive perspective - or her indexical point of view - is to be explained in terms of the content that is believed and asserted as the only kind of content that there is which thereby serves as the bearer of cognitive significance. The Indexical Point of View will be of interest to philosophers of mind and language, linguists, and cognitive scientists. (shrink)
This chapter contains sections titled: The Principle of Sufficient Reason and Knowledge Some Epistemological Distinctions Non‐Conceptual Knowledge of Objects Non‐Conceptual Knowledge of Causal Relations Causal Regularity and Its Cognitive Status Induction and Scientific Method Empirical Knowledge and Its Experiential Basis Two Related Issues Scientific and Philosophical Knowledge Concluding Remarks References Further Reading.