What is a Theory of Content?

Michael Morris

in The Good and the True

Published in print November 1992 | ISBN: 9780198239444
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679919 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Philosophical Monographs

What is a Theory of Content?

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This chapter discusses the content of propositional attitudes. It also examines conceptual content and informational content. A reduction of the concepts of content must meet the condition of adequacy imposed by the knowledge constraint. A theory of content must explain how it is that the nature of concepts determines the nature of reality. It must be capable of generating a theory of knowledge; must generate the right substitution conditions for belief contexts; must explain what it is for words to be meaningful in the way they are; and must be extensional at base. A further consequence of the extensionality constraint is that we cannot give an atomistic account of word-meaning. We cannot explain word-meaning in terms of certain items being paired or associated with concepts, or with objects or properties.

Keywords: theory of content; propositional attitudes; conceptual content; informational content; reduction; knowledge constraint; reality; substitution conditions; word-meaning

Chapter.  4227 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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