Institut Jean Nicod

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Context and Content Lectures


Imogen Dickie (University of Toronto - Professeure invitée à l'ENS, Dpt d'études cognitives).

Thought's anchor: reference as a cognitive achievement


Les 8, 10, 13 et 14 octobre et les 5 et 7 novembre 2014 de 16h à 18h

Institut Jean-Nicod, Ecole normale supérieure, Pavillon Jardin, 29, rue d'Ulm 75005 Paris. Salle de réunion, RDC.


I shall develop an account of how the relations to ordinary objects that enable us to think about them do their aboutness-fixing work. The account is built around two foundational claims. The first captures the significance for accounts of aboutness of the fact that justification is truth conducive. The second concerns why we are in the business of thinking about particular things at all: I shall argue that we are in this business because the mind has a basic need to represent things outside itself. I shall explain and defend these claims in the first two lectures. Then I shall use them to give accounts of aboutness-fixing for perceptual demonstrative thoughts, proper-name-based thoughts, and descriptive thoughts. In the last lecture I shall use the framework to provide a new defence of the traditional claim that there can be no thought without subjective consciousness.

Schedule for the lectures:

Lecture 1 – Introduction and proof of the aboutness and justification principle. [audio recording- mp3]

Lecture 2 – The mind has a basic need to represent things outside itself. [audio recording - mp3]

Lecture 3Perceptual demonstratives. [audio recording - mp3]

Lecture 4Proper names [audio recording - mp3]

Lecture 5The delicate question of reference by description [audio recording - mp3]

Lecture 6Thought and consciousness [audio recording - mp3]