Thinking about Things

ISBN : 9780198803348

Mark Sainsbury
224 Pages
138 x 216 mm
Pub date
May 2018
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In the blink of an eye, I can redirect my thought from London to Austin, from apples to unicorns, from former President Obama to the mythical flying horse, Pegasus. How is this possible? How can we think about things that do not exist, like unicorns and Pegasus? They are not there to be thought about, yet we think about them just as easily as we think about things that do exist. Thinking About Things addresses these and related questions, taking as its framework a representational theory of mind. It explains how mental states are attributed, what their aboutness consists in, whether or not they are relational, and whether any of them involve nonexistent. The explanation centers on a new theory of what is involved in attributing attitudes like thinking, hoping, and wanting. These attributions are intensional: some of them seem to involve nonexistent things, and they typically have semantic and logical peculiarities, like the fact that one cannot always substitute one expressio


1 Intentionality and Intensionality
2 Something
3 A Display Theory of Attitude Attribution
4 Nonspecificity
5 Inference
6 Relationality and Representation

About the author: 

Mark Sainsbury is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. Previously he was Susan Stebbing Professor of Philosophy at King's College London. He was the editor of Mind from 1990 to 2000. He is author of Russell (1979), Paradoxes (1988), Logical Forms (1991), Departing from Frege (2002), Reference Without Referents (2005), Fiction and Fictionalism (2009), and co-author with Michael Tye of Seven Puzzles of Thought and How to Solve Them (2012).

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