Mental Files

Paperback | January 15, 2013

byFrancois Recanati

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Francois Recanati presents his theory of mental files, a new way of understanding reference in language and thought. He aims to recast the 'nondescriptivist' approach to reference that has dominated the philosophy of language and mind in the late twentieth century. According to Recanati, werefer through mental files, which play the role of so-called 'modes of presentation'. The reference of linguistic expressions is inherited from that of the files we associate with them. The reference of a file is determined relationally, not satisfactionally: so a file is not to be equated to the body of (mis)information it contains. Files are like singular terms in the language of thought, with a nondescriptivist semantics.In contrast to other philosophers, Recanati offers anindexical model according to which files are typed by their function, which is to store information derived through certain types of relation to objects in the environment. The type of the file corresponds to the type of contextual relation it exploits. Even detached files or 'encyclopedia entries'are based on epistemically rewarding relations to their referent, on Recanati's account.Among the topics discussed in this wide-ranging book are: acquaintance relations and singular thought; cognitive significance; the vehicle/content distinction; the nature of indexical concepts; co-reference de jure and judgments of identity; cognitive dynamics; recognitional and perceptual concepts;confused thought and the transparency requirement on modes of presentation; descriptive names and 'acquaintanceless' singular thought; the communication of indexical thoughts; two-dimensional defences of Descriptivism; the Generality Constraint; attitude ascriptions and the 'vicarious' use of mentalfiles; first-person thinking; token-reflexivity in language and thought.

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Francois Recanati presents his theory of mental files, a new way of understanding reference in language and thought. He aims to recast the 'nondescriptivist' approach to reference that has dominated the philosophy of language and mind in the late twentieth century. According to Recanati, werefer through mental files, which play the ro...

Francois Recanati is the Director of Institut Jean-Nicod in Paris. He is the author of Perspectival Thought (OUP, 2007), Truth-Conditional Pragmatics (OUP, 2010), and many other publications in the philosophy of language and mind.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.07 inPublished:January 15, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199659990

ISBN - 13:9780199659999

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Table of Contents

PrefacePart I. Singular Thought and Acquaintance : Rejecting Descriptivism1. Singularism vs Descriptivism2. Can Descriptivism Account for Singularity?Part II. Introducing Files3. Non-Descriptive Modes of Presentation as Mental Files4. Mental Files and IdentityPart III. The Indexical Model5. Mental Indexicals6. Stable Files7. The Dynamics of FilesPart IV. Mental Files and Coreference8. The Circularity Objection [followed by Appendix]9. Coreference De Jure: The Transitivity ObjectionPart V. Epistemic Transparency10. Slow Switching11. Transparency and its LimitsPart VI. Beyond Acquaintance12. Descriptive Names13. Singular Thought without AcquaintancePart VII : Vicarious Files14. Mental Files in Attitude Ascription15. Indexed Files at WorkPart VIII. The Communication of Singular Thoughts16. Frege and the Sense of 'I'17. Reference Through Mental Files: Indexicals and Definite DescriptionsPart IX. Conclusion18. The Mental File Framework and Its CompetitorsReferencesIndex