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Singular Thought and Mental Files$
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Rachel Goodman, James Genone, and Nick Kroll

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198746881

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198746881.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 07 March 2021

Cognitive Focus

Cognitive Focus

(p.223) 11 Cognitive Focus
Singular Thought and Mental Files

Imogen Dickie

Oxford University Press

The first part of the chapter motivates a unifying alternative to causal theories and description theories of reference and aboutness. The alternative account is built around a claim which the chapter argues brings out the significance for theories of reference and aboutness of the fact that justification is truth conducive: the claim that an aboutness-fixing relation is one which secures what the chapter calls “cognitive focus” on an object of thought. The second part of the chapter argues that a “singular thought” just is a thought made available by a cognitive focus relation, and uses the cognitive focus framework to advance the discussion of descriptive names. An Appendix explains why, though the proposal is a “mental files” proposal, it is better stated without use of this term.

Keywords:   reference, aboutness, singular thought, mental files, descriptive names

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