Seven Puzzles of Thought

Seven Puzzles of Thought : And How to Solve Them: An Originalist Theory of Concepts

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How can one think about the same thing twice without knowing that it's the same thing? How can one think about nothing at all (for example Pegasus, the mythical flying horse)? Is thinking about oneself special? One could mistake one's car for someone else's, but it seems one could not mistake one's own headache for someone else's. Why not?

R. M. Sainsbury and Michael Tye provide an entirely new theory-called 'originalism'- which provides simple and natural solutions to these puzzles and more. Originalism's central thesis is that concepts, the constituents of thoughts, are to be individuated by their origin, rather than epistemically or semantically. The doctrine has further valuable consequences for the nature of thought, our knowledge of our own thoughts, the nature of experience, the epistemology of perception-based beliefs,
and for arguments based on conceivability. Sainsbury and Tye argue that although thought is special, there is no special mystery attaching to the nature of thought. Their account of the mind considers it as part of nature, as opposed to something with supernatural powers-which means that human
beings have more opportunities to make mistakes than many have liked to think.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 206 pages
  • 165 x 241 x 18mm | 462g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0199695318
  • 9780199695317
  • 2,820,952

Table of contents

Preface ; 1. The puzzles ; 2. Roads not taken ; 3. Overview of an originalist theory of concepts ; 4. The originalist theory defended and elaborated ; 5. Concept externalism, originalism and privileged access ; 6. The metaphysics of thought ; 7. The puzzles solved ; 8. Further applications: originalism and experience ; 9. Objections and replies ; References ; Index
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Review quote

Besides the importance of its principal topic and the exciting inventiveness of the theory it elaborates, this book has quite a few further merits. The seven puzzles give it an engaging overall structure. Its theses and objections to competing positions are clearly stated, aptly illustrated, and ingeniously supported. The many subsidiary issues of language and mind that are taken up provide an illuminating and satisfying breadth and depth. And this is all conducted
with the sly dry wit and relaxed elegance characteristic of its authors * Paul Horwich, Mind *
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About R. M. Sainsbury

R. M. Sainsbury taught at the University of Oxford, University of Essex, and University of London (where he was Susan Stebbing Professor of Philosophy) before coming to the University of Texas in 2002

Michael Tye encountered philosophy at Oxford, and taught at Temple University, St Andrews, and the University of London before coming to Austin in 2003. He is Dallas TACA Centennial Professor in Liberal Arts
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