Semantics

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By Francois Recanati

Francois Recanati provides his idea of psychological records, a brand new means of knowing reference in language and concept. He goals to recast the "nondescriptivist" method of reference that has ruled the philosophy of language and brain within the past due 20th century. in keeping with Recanati, we refer via psychological records, which play the function of so-called "modes of presentation." The reference of linguistic expressions is inherited from that of the records we go together with them. The reference of a dossier is decided relationally, now not satisfactionally: so a dossier isn't really to be equated to the physique of (mis)information it includes. records are like singular phrases within the language of notion, with a nondescriptivist semantics.In distinction to different philosophers, Recanati deals an indexical version in line with which documents are typed by means of their functionality, that's to shop info derived via specific sorts of relation to things within the surroundings. the kind of the dossier corresponds to the kind of contextual relation it exploits. Even indifferent documents or "encyclopedia entries" are in response to epistemically lucrative kinfolk to their referent, on Recanati's account.Among the subjects mentioned during this wide-ranging publication are: acquaintance relatives and singular concept; cognitive importance; the vehicle/content contrast; the character of indexical suggestions; co-reference de jure and judgments of id; cognitive dynamics; recognitional and perceptual suggestions; pressured idea and the transparency requirement on modes of presentation; descriptive names and "acquaintanceless" singular idea; the communique of indexical concepts; two-dimensional defences of Descriptivism; the Generality Constraint; perspective ascriptions and the "vicarious" use of psychological records; first-person considering; token-reflexivity in language and concept.

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As several authors noticed, however, the ‘merge’ model is not adequate to describe the cognitive effects of identity judgements. Two linked files may end up being merged, after some time (especially as new information accumulates), but there are all sorts of reasons also for not automatically merging two files that are linked (Lawlor 2001: 62–5 and 92–3). For example, it would be very risky to merge two files on the basis of an identity judgement that one may accept 3 On the distinction between different forms of recognition, see Chapter 7.

But the description has been used referentially: the speaker has a certain properties that the object (or property) is the referent. A non-ascriptive mode is one that reaches its target, establishes a referential relation, by some other method. The object isn’t referred to by virtue of its satisfaction of any conditions explicitly represented in the mode of presentation, but rather by its standing in some particular relation to the representation’ (Levine 1998: 457). 5 See Chapter 3, §3. 20 c a n descr ip t i v ism accou n t for singu l a r it y?

2 Thus if I learn that Cicero is Tully, this allows me to put together the pieces of information in the two files, and to infer that some bald man is well-read. (Schroeter 2007: 601); ‘Updating one’s files involves being disposed to collect information as if there is some one individual that one’s file F has always been about. One’s screening and pruning dispositions are responsive to this purported fact’ (Lawlor 2001: 88); ‘Cluster[ing] information about [an object] reflects the putative fact that it is all information about a single [object]’ (Recanati 1993: 183); ‘Each mental file is a repository of information that the agent takes to be about a single individual.

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