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Knowledge and RealitySelected Essays$
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Colin McGinn

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199251582

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199251584.001.0001

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The Structure of Content

The Structure of Content

(p.111) 6 The Structure of Content
Knowledge and Reality

Colin McGinn (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In this precursor to his Mental Content (1989), McGinn defends and explores the implications of his dual‐component theory of mental and linguistic content. According to McGinn, our concept of belief combines two components: the first (apropos of belief's causal‐explanatory role) consists in a mode of representation of things in the world, the second (apropos of belief's truth‐bearing role) involves the semantic relations between such representations and the things represented. The case is analogous for linguistic content, which is also structurally duplex; meaning, for McGinn, consists in both reference and mode of presentation. Having situated his dual‐component theory relative to several standard accounts of meaning, McGinn concludes the essay by considering its implications, notably for the conditions under which mental and linguistic content can be ascribed, and for the nature of radical interpretation.

Keywords:   belief, externalism, linguistic content, meaning, mental content, propositional attitude, radical interpretation, semantics, truth, weak externalism

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