Consciousness and Meaning: Selected Essays

ISBN : 9780199673360

Brian Loar
352 ページ
156 x 234 mm

One of the most important problems of modern philosophy concerns the place of the mind - and in particular, of consciousness and intentionality - in a purely physical universe. Brian Loar was a major contributor to the discussion of this problem for over four decades.

This volume contains two parts; one a selection of Loar's essays on the philosophy of language, the other on the philosophy of mind. A common thread in Loar's essays on language is his engagement with the Gricean program of reducing linguistic representation in terms of mental representation. In the philosophy of mind he was mostly concerned with understanding consciousness and intentionality (mental representation) from the subjective perspective. The central concern that unifies Loar's work in mind and language is how to understand subjectivity in a physical universe. He was committed to the reality and reliability of the subjective perspective; and he found that subjective phenomena like intentionality and consciousness are, in a certain sense, ineliminable and irreducible to objective ones. At the same time he believed that intentionality and consciousness are grounded in the physical. One of his great contributions was showing how to reconcile these two positions by being a conceptual and explanatory anti-reductionist about both consciousness and intentionality but a metaphysical reductionist nonetheless. He had a deep commitment to both physicalism and to the reality and significance of the subjective point of view.


Part I Philosophy of Language
Stephen Schiffer: Introduction to Part I
1 Reference and Propositional Attitudes
2 Two Theories of Meaning
3 The Semantics of Singular Terms
4 Must Beliefs Be Sentences?
5 Names in Though
6 Truth beyond All Verification
7 The Supervenience of Social Meaning on Speaker's Meaning
Part II Philosophy of Mind
Katalin Balog: Introduction to Part II
8 Social Content and Psychological Content
9 Subjective Intentionality
10 Phenomenal States
11 Can We Explain Intentionality?
12 Elimination versus Nonreductive Physicalism
13 Reference from the First Person Perspective
14 Transparent Experience and the Availability of Qualia
15 Phenomenal Intentionality as the Basis of Mental Content


Brian Loar was a leading philosopher of mind and language for over forty years. Known as a subtle and elegant thinker, Loar developed a novel solution to the mind-body problem, contributed an influential account of phenomenal states and of phenomenal concepts, and presented what is perhaps the most fully articulated functionalist account of propositional attitudes in Mind and Meaning. Loar received his D. Phil. from Oxford University and taught at the University of Michigan, the University of Southern California, and Rutgers University until he retired in 2009.; Katalin Balog received her PhD at Rutgers University in 1998. She taught philosophy at Cornell University, and then Yale University between 1998 and 2010. In 2010 she moved to Rutgers University, Newark where she is still teaching. Her primary areas of research are the philosophy of mind and metaphysics. The problems that interest her most, the nature of consciousness, the self, and free will, lie at their intersection. Her recent work centers on the relationship between our subjective, internal understanding of the mind and the objective, scientific view of the world.; Stephanie Beardman specializes in metaethics and moral psychology. She is interested in diachronic rationality, the nature of practical reasons, and in the relevance of scientific studies to ethics. She received her Ph.D. from Rutgers University and has been an Assistant professor at Barnard College, Columbia University; a postdoctoral fellow in the Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology program at Washington University in St. Louis; and the recipient of a Time-Out Grant from Vassar College. Currently she is a Visiting Scholar at New York University.