Context and Content: Essays on Intentionality in Speech and Thought

Paperback | April 1, 1999

byRobert C. Stalnaker

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In Context and Content Robert Stalnaker develops a philosophical picture of the nature of speech and thought and the relations between them. Two themes in particular run through these collected essays: the role that the context in which speech takes place plays in accounting for the waylanguage is used to express thought, and the role of the external environment in determining the contents of our thoughts. Stalnaker argues against the widespread assumption of the priority of linguistic over mental representation, which he suggests has had a distorting influence on ourunderstanding. The first part of the book develops a framework for representing contexts and the way they interact with the interpretation of what is said in them. This framework is used to help to explain a range of linguistic phenomena concerning presupposition and assertion, conditional statements, theattribution of beliefs, and the use of names, descriptions, and pronouns to refer. Stalnaker then draws out the conception of thought and its content that is implicit in this framework. He defends externalism about thought--the assumption that our thoughts have the contents they have in virtue ofthe way we are situated in the world--and explores the role of linguistic action and linguistic structure in determining the contents of our thoughts. Context and Content offers philosophers and cognitive scientists a summation of Stalnaker's important and influential work in this area. His new introduction to the volume gives an overview of this work and offers a convenient way in for those who are new to it. The Oxford Cognitive Science series is a new forum for the best contemporary work in this flourishing field, where various disciplines--cognitive psychology, philosophy, linguistics, cognitive neuroscience, and computational theory--join forces in the investigation of thought, awareness,understanding, and associated workings of the mind. Each book constitutes an original contribution to its subject, but will be accessible beyond the ranks of specialists, so as to reach a broad interdisciplinary readership. The series will be carefully shaped and steered with the aim of representingthe most important developments in the field and bringing together its constituent disciplines.

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In Context and Content Robert Stalnaker develops a philosophical picture of the nature of speech and thought and the relations between them. Two themes in particular run through these collected essays: the role that the context in which speech takes place plays in accounting for the waylanguage is used to express thought, and the role ...

Robert C. Stalnaker is Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

other books by Robert C. Stalnaker

Our Knowledge of the Internal World
Our Knowledge of the Internal World

Kobo ebook|Jul 1 2010

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.67 inPublished:April 1, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198237073

ISBN - 13:9780198237075

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Table of Contents

Introduction; PART I: REPRESENTING CONTEXTS: 1. Pragmatics; 2. Pragmatic Presuppositions; 3. Indicative Conditionals; 4. Assertion; 5. On the Representation of Context; PART II: ATTRIBUTING ATTITUDES: 6. Semantics for Belief; 7. Indexical Belief; 8. Belief Attribution and Context; PART III:EXTERNALISM: 9. On What's in the Head; 10. Narrow Content; 11. Twin Earth Revisited; IV: FORM AND CONTENT: 12. Mental Content and Linguistic Form; 13. The Problem of Logical Omniscience, I; 14. The Problem of Logical Omniscience, II; References; Index.

Editorial Reviews

`Context and Content will be read with great interest by scholars interested in semantics, pragmatics and philosophy. It is a tremendously interesting, instructive and useful book in that it presents a rigorous, balanced, and well considered theory. Furthermore, it is certain that many of theideas expounded in this book will have important and promising ramifications.'Alessandro Capone, Linguistics, Vol.36, 2000.