Language and Thought

John Heil

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mind

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780199262618
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

 Language and Thought

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This article aims to explore a pattern of reasoning about language and thought that seems to virtually guarantee a distortion of what precisely constitutes thinking. The guiding idea is a simple one, an idea officially embraced by many philosophers, but an idea the implications of which are too easily neglected. The article states a belief in the thesis that something functions as a representation only in so far as it is given a use by a representing agent. This thesis — that representation requires a representing agent — applies in equal measure to non-linguistic ‘pictorial’ and to linguistic representations.

Keywords: language and thought; representation; representing agent; linguistic representations; conscious thinking; non-linguistic thoughts

Article.  8081 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language ; Philosophy of Mind

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