Mental Files in Flux

Mental Files in Flux

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Francois Recanati has pioneered the 'mental file' framework for thinking about concepts and how we refer to the world in thought and language.

Mental files are based on 'epistemically rewarding' relations to objects in the environment. Standing in such relations to objects puts the subject in a position to gain information regarding them. The information thus gained goes into the file based on the relevant relation. Files do not merely store information about objects, however, they refer to them and serve as singular terms in the language of thought, with a relational (nondescriptivist) semantics. In this framework, the reference of
linguistic expressions is inherited from that of the files we associate with them. Crucially, files also play the role of 'modes of presentation'. They are used to account for cognitive significance phenomena illustrated by so-called 'Frege cases'.

In this new volume, Recanati considers what happens to mental files in a dynamic setting. Mental files are construed as both continuants (dynamic files) and as time-slices thereof (static files). Dynamic files are needed to account for confusion, recognition and tracking. Mental Files in Flux considers what happens to the relation of coreference de jure, central to the functional characterization of files, when one adopts a dynamic perspective. Only a weak form of coreference
de jure is said to hold between stages of the same dynamic file. The second part of the book argues that communication involves interpersonal dynamic files. Special attention is paid to the communication of indexical thoughts (de se contents) and communication using proper names.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 184 pages
  • 148 x 203 x 11mm | 244g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0198790368
  • 9780198790365
  • 2,085,706

Table of contents

Part 1: Coreference de jure and the flow of information
1: Coreference de jure in the mental file framework
2: Factivity, transparency, and weak coreference de jure
3: Transitivity and strong coreference de jure
4: Coreference de jure and sentence grammar
5: Cognitive dynamics
Part 2: Interpersonal coordination of mental files
6: Indexical thought
7: Communication across contexts
8: Dynamic files in communication
Appendix: Communication with centred contents: a survey
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Review quote

[To come]
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About Francois Recanati

Francois Recanati is a philosopher of language and mind based in Paris. His published works include Meaning and Force (CUP 1988), Direct Reference : From Language to Thought (Blackwell 1993), Oratio Obliqua, Oratio Recta (MIT Press/Bradford Books 2000), Literal Meaning (CUP 2004), Perspectival Thought (OUP 2007), Truth-Conditional Pragmatics (OUP 2010) and Mental Files (OUP 2012). He is a
Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an honorary doctor of Stockholm University, and a recipient of the CNRS silver medal.
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