Ideas of François Recanati, by Theme

[French, b.1952, Institut Jean-Nicod, Paris. Director of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.]

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5. Theory of Logic / A. Overview of Logic / 4. Pure Logic
A train of reasoning must be treated as all happening simultaneously
5. Theory of Logic / F. Referring in Logic / 1. Naming / d. Singular terms
Mental files are the counterparts of singular terms
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 6. Identity between Objects
Identity statements are informative if they link separate mental files
11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 1. Perceptual Realism / b. Direct realism
There is a continuum from acquaintance to description in knowledge, depending on the link
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 9. Indexical Thought
Indexicals apply to singular thought, and mental files have essentially indexical features
Indexicality is closely related to singularity, exploiting our direct relations with things
Indexicality is not just a feature of language; examples show it also occurs in thought
How can we communicate indexical thoughts to people not in the right context?
18. Thought / B. Mechanics of Thought / 5. Mental Files
A mental file treats all of its contents as concerning one object
The reference of a file is fixed by what it relates to, not the information it contains
There are transient 'demonstrative' files, habitual 'recognitional' files, cumulative 'encyclopedic' files
Files are hierarchical: proto-files, then first-order, then higher-order encyclopedic
A file has a 'nucleus' through its relation to the object, and a 'periphery' of links to other files
Files can be confused, if two files correctly have a single name, or one file has two names
Encylopedic files have further epistemic links, beyond the basic one
Singular thoughts need a mental file, and an acquaintance relation from file to object
Expected acquaintance can create a thought-vehicle file, but without singular content
An 'indexed' file marks a file which simulates the mental file of some other person
Reference by mental files is Millian, in emphasising acquaintance, rather than satisfaction
Mental files are concepts, which are either collections or (better) containers
The Frege case of believing a thing is both F and not-F is explained by separate mental files
18. Thought / C. Content / 1. Content
The content of thought is what is required to understand it (which involves hearers)
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 1. Concepts / a. Nature of concepts
Mental files are individual concepts (thought constituents)
19. Language / B. Reference / 1. Reference theories
There may be two types of reference in language and thought: descriptive and direct
19. Language / B. Reference / 3. Direct Reference / a. Direct reference
In super-direct reference, the referent serves as its own vehicle of reference
Direct reference is strong Millian (just a tag) or weak Kaplanian (allowing descriptions as well)
19. Language / B. Reference / 4. Descriptive Reference / a. Sense and reference
Sense determines reference says same sense/same reference; new reference means new sense
We need sense as well as reference, but in a non-descriptive form, and mental files do that
Sense is a mental file (not its contents); similar files for Cicero and Tully are two senses
19. Language / B. Reference / 4. Descriptive Reference / b. Reference by description
A rigid definite description can be attributive, not referential: 'the actual F, whoever he is….'
Problems with descriptivism are reference by perception, by communications and by indexicals
Descriptivism says we mentally relate to objects through their properties
Definite descriptions reveal either a predicate (attributive use) or the file it belongs in (referential)
Singularity cannot be described, and it needs actual world relations
A linguistic expression refers to what its associated mental file refers to
19. Language / C. Assigning Meanings / 5. Fregean Semantics
Fregean modes of presentation can be understood as mental files
19. Language / C. Assigning Meanings / 9. Indexical Semantics
Indexical don't refer; only their tokens do
If two people think 'I am tired', they think the same thing, and they think different things
Indexicals (like mental files) determine their reference relationally, not by satisfaction
19. Language / C. Assigning Meanings / 10. Two-Dimensional Semantics
In 2-D semantics, reference is determined, then singularity by the truth of a predication
Two-D semantics is said to help descriptivism of reference deal with singular objects
19. Language / D. Propositions / 3. Concrete Propositions
Russellian propositions are better than Fregean thoughts, by being constant through communication
19. Language / D. Propositions / 4. Mental Propositions
There are speakers' thoughts and hearers' thoughts, but no further thought attached to the utterance
19. Language / F. Communication / 5. Pragmatics / a. Contextual meaning
The Naive view of communication is that hearers acquire exactly the thoughts of the speaker