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Abstract: it is red. What enables this thought to latch onto that particular object? It cannot be how the Ferrari looks, for this could not distinguish one Ferrari from another just like it. In general, how a thought represents something cannot determine which thing it represents. What a singular thought latches onto seems to depend also on features of the context in which the thought occurs. This suggests that its content is essentially indexical, contextually variable much as the content of an utterance like 'I am hungry' depends on who utters it and when (see DEMONSTRATIVES AND INDEXICALS ). The indexical model of singular thought is not limited to thoughts about individuals one perceives, like the Ferrari driving by, but applies also to thoughts about individuals one remembers or has been informed of, like an old bicycle or Christopher Columbus. In each case, a certain contextual relation, based on perception, memory, or communication, connects thought to object
Abstract: In this paper I shall focus on Castaneda's notion of quasi-indicators and I shall defend the following theses: (i) Essential indexicals (‘I’, ‘here’ and ‘now’) are intrinsically perspectival mechanisms of reference and, as such, they are not reducible to any other mechanism reference...
Abstract: Indexicals are inevitably autobiographical, even when we are not talking about ourselves. For example, if you hear me say, "That portrait right there is beautiful," you can surmise not only that I ascribe beauty to an object of my immediate awareness but also something about my spatial relation to it. Again, if I praise you directly within earshot of others by using the words, "You did that very well!," my concern need not be to cause them to think the exact thought I have; they might not be in a position to address you as you and I might not care what they think of your performance. My purpose is to get them to ascribe to me an attitude that I express with a second-person indexical, to convince them that I am an encouraging and supportive person inasmuch as I addressed someone with words of praise. Indexicals are autobiographical not only because they issue from a speaker--all utterances do--but because they reveal something about the speaker's orientation toward and encounter with objects in a way that non-indexical language fails to do. For this reason, care must be taken in reporting indexically-expressed thoughts. Suppose the Chair of my Department informs me, (1)I am upset about the Dean's report. I cannot relate what he said by reiterating his words within indirect discourse, viz., (2)The Chair said that I am upset about the Dean's report. Because 'I' expresses speaker's reference, my assertion of (2) would cause a hearer to misconstrue who is said to be upset.i Alternatively, the sentence, (3)The Chair said that the Chair is upset about the Dean's report
Abstract: I want to know whether I consumed the Canada Health recommended portion of fruits and vegetables yesterday. I try to remember, and I conclude that I ate five servings of fruits and vegetables during the course of the day. Presumably, propositions like the following figure in my calculations: 1. For lunch yesterday, I ate a grilled tomato with my hamburger. Usually, the remembered image of eating the tomato will figure in the provenance of remembering 1
Abstract: ”Self-beliefs” are beliefs of the sort one ordinarily has about oneself, and expresses with the first person. These contrast with the beliefs one has in ”Casta˜neda cases,” in which one has a belief about oneself without knowing it. This paper advances an account of the nature of self-belief. According to this account, self-belief is a special case of interacting with things via notions that serve as repositories for information about objects with certain important relations to the knower, and as motivators for actions the success of which is dependent on the object in that relation to the agent. Identity is such a relation, and ”self-notions” play this special role: they are the repositories for information gained in normally self-informative ways, and the motivators of types of action whose success normally depends on facts about the agent. Self-beliefs involve such self-notions, while the beliefs that one has about oneself in Casta˜neda cases do not
Abstract: Some time ago, John Perry argued that the content of an indexical belief, that is, a belief expressible with a sentence containing an indexical or demonstrative, cannot be a proposition. I consider several of his arguments for this view, and show that they can be extended to show that belief expressible with other non-indexical expressions such as natural kind terms and proper names presents the very same problem for the traditional picture. I then suggest that if indexical belief has any special status, this is not because it has a special kind of content, but rather because action is impossible if agents do not have indexical belief
Abstract: In this paper, I take issue with the familiar view that the problem of the essential indexical is a merely technical problem, which can be solved through a straightforward revision of the familiar model of belief content. (The familiar model just says that the content of belief is a proposition.) I do not object to these technical fixes, but I think they leave some questions unanswered. Specifically, they deny us an attractive account of what it is for different people to completely agree on their conception of what the world is like, according to which complete agreement consists in having beliefs with the same propositional content, but they do not give us anything to replace it with. Here, I consider whether we can say anything general about the relation between my beliefs and your beliefs (including, of course, our indexical beliefs), when you and I completely agree about what the world is like
Abstract: A widely accepted view in the discussion of personal identity is that the notion of psychological continuity expresses a one-many or many-one relation. I argue that the belief is unfounded. Briefly: a notion of psychological continuity expresses a one-many or many-one relation only if it includes as a constituent psychological properties whose relation with their bearer is one-many or many-one; but the relation between an indexical psychological state (a psychological state with indexical content) and its bearer in which it is first tokened is not a one-many or many-one relation. It follows that not all types of psychological continuity may take a one-many or many-one form. Since the Lockean account of personal identity relies on the availability of a notion of psychological continuity featuring indexical psychological states, the conclusion of this paper cast strong doubt on the plausibility of the Lockean theory.