Details

Thought-Contents


Thought-Contents

On the Ontology of Belief and the Semantics of Belief Attribution
Philosophical Studies Series, Band 104

von: Steven E. Boër

171,19 €

Verlag: Springer
Format: PDF
Veröffentl.: 23.11.2006
ISBN/EAN: 9781402050855
Sprache: englisch
Anzahl Seiten: 380

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Beschreibungen

<p>This book provides a formal ontology of senses and the belief-relation that grounds the distinction between de dicto, de re, and de se beliefs as well as the opacity of belief reports. According to this ontology, the relata of the belief-relation are an agent and a special sort of object-dependent sense (a "thought-content"), the latter being an "abstract" property encoding various syntactic and semantic constraints on sentences of a language of thought.</p>
According to our commonsense view of the matter, beliefs, desires, intentions and the like are special kinds of internal states the possession of which by a given cr- ture potentially explains its behavior and otherwise renders the creature intelligible to us. So-called folk psychology provides us with a rough-and-ready network of counterfactuals delimiting the role supposedly played by these internal states v- à-vis perceptual input, inference, and behavioral output in a normal member of our species. The exact empirical details of this network do not matter here, for we are not undertaking further re nement or systematization of the relevant counterfac- als. Instead, our topic is the ontological analysis of the internal states that occupy the nodes of this complex network and the bearing of that analysis on the truth conditions of the sentences we use to ascribe beliefs and related states. The relevant counterfactuals canonically describe particular belief-, desire-, and intention-states as states of believing, desiring, and intending that such-a- such. The use of in nitival clauses to describe desires and intentions is not really an exception, for desiring or intending to do A (or to be F) is just having a self-regarding desire or intention that oneself does A (or that oneself is F). By the lights of our commonsense psychology, then, to be in a particular belief-, desire-, or intention-state is to bear the corresponding attitudinal relation— believing, desiring, or intending—to a certain content.
Preliminaries.- Terms of the Art.- Adequacy Conditions and Failed Theories.- Ontology.- Logical Forms and Mental Representations: The Lesson Russell's Multiple Relation Theory of Judgment.- Thought-Contents, Senses, and the Belief Relation: the Proto-Theory.- Thought-Contents, Senses, and the Belief Relation: the Full Theory.- Semantics.- Belief Reports and Compositional Semantics.- Meeting the Semantical Adequacy Conditions.- Objections and Replies.- Rear-Guard Action.- The Case for Object-Dependent Thoughts.- A Critique of Rival Accounts of Singular Thoughts.
<p>Provides a novel formal ontology of thought-contents which integrates the Chisholm-Lewis thesis that belief is a relation to properties with Fodor’s thesis that thinking transpires in a language of thought</p>
<p>Constructs a compositional formal semantics that handles reports of arbitrarily complex beliefs</p>
<p>Solves standard puzzles about belief attributions in an intuitively satisfying way</p>
<p>Avoids the difficulties encountered by most if not all extant accounts that accept opacity as a genuine semantic datum</p>
<p>Offers the only account in the literature of how to understand Russell’s account of logical forms in a way that vindicates his Multiple Relation theory of de re belief</p>

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