Philip Pettit

in The Common Mind

Published in print September 1996 | ISBN: 9780195106459
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199872251 | DOI:

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A subject will be a thinking subject if and only if, among the things that it can do intentionally, it can do things that are designed to promote the prospect of its meeting various constraints of rationality – to promote the prospect of its having beliefs that are indeed true, for example, or the prospect of its performing actions that are indeed desirable. This chapter is devoted to building up a picture of what it is like for an intentional system to be, not just intentional, but capable of thought – to be a subject like one of us. I identify two crucial requirements that must be fulfilled by any thinking system and most of the chapter is given to how these are met in the human case. I describe the first requirement as that of intentional ascent, the second as that of rule‐following. The discussion of rule‐following offers an “ethocentric” line on the well‐known Wittgensteinian problems.

Keywords: ethocentrism; rule‐following; thought

Chapter.  31521 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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