The Metaphysics of Representation

ISBN : 9780198850205

J. Robert G. Williams
240 ページ
135 x 135 mm

Representing the world is a puzzling thing. How can it be that mundane events such as processing a thought-and from there putting those thoughts into words-acquire this property of 'aboutness'? How can expressions, which depend on anything from the most fundamental regularities in the universe to trivial matters of gossip, be either true or false? In The Metaphysics of Representation, J. Robert G. Williams tells a story about how representational properties arise out of a fundamentally non-representational world. The representational properties of language are reduced, via convention, to the representational properties of thoughts. The representational properties of thoughts are reduced, via principles of rationalization, to the representational properties of perception and intention. And this most fundamental layer of representation is explained in terms of the functions they have to communicate. Williams integrates work from rival traditions to present a combined perspective in the metaphysics of representation, give new predictions and explanations of representational phenomena, and offer new solutions to long-standing problems.


0 A Manifesto and A Plan
Part I: Radical Interpretation
1 Radical Interpretation as a Metaphysics of Mental Content
2 Radical Interpretation and the Logical Form of Thoughts
3 Radical Interpretation and Reference Magnetism
4 Radical Interpretation and the Referential Stability of Wrongness
5 Reducing Mental Representation?
Part II: Linguistic Representation
6 From Mental Representation to Linguistic Representation
7 Linguistic Convention and Shared Mental Content
8 Elegant Interpretations
Part III: Source Intentionality
9 The Basis of Radical Interpretation
10 Laying the Foundations
Overall conclusions: scope and limits


J. Robert G. Williams is Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Leeds. Prior to joining Leeds in 2005, he studied as a graduate at the University of Oxford and the University of St Andrews. He works on philosophy of logic, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, metaphysics, and epistemology, with a particular focus on the metaphysics of representation and the nature of indeterminacy.