The Structure of Content

Colin McGinn

in Knowledge and Reality

Published in print February 2002 | ISBN: 9780199251582
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598012 | DOI:
 The Structure of Content

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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

Chapter.  21767 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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