Chapter

Cognitive states as relational

Ori Simchen

in Necessary Intentionality

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199608515
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738241 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608515.003.0005
Cognitive states as relational

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In this final chapter it is argued that cognitive attitudes such as hunting, wanting, and worshipping, but also believing and the rest of the so-called propositional attitudes, are in the first instance direct relations to their objects. The proposal treats specific attitudes—cognitive states directed at particular things—as primary in the order of metaphysical explanation, and treats the rest (termed ‘generic’) as secondary. On the emerging view, specific attitudes are necessarily about whatever they are about in a way akin to the way the fact of my sitting on a certain chair could not obtain without the chair in question. The basic orientation is to explore the attitudes directly rather than via a proposed semantics for their reports. Along the way, several familiar objections to the idea that in cognitive states we bear direct relations to particular things are discussed in detail.

Keywords: cognitive attitude; de re; de dicto

Chapter.  24375 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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