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.
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