"Private Investigators and Public Speakers"


Location: E478 Corbett Hall


Alexander Sandgren, Umeå University

Corbett Family Hall, Room E478


In this paper I argue that linguistic content (roughly what people say when they use linguistic expressions) and the content of mental states and attitudes (beliefs, fears etc.) are autonomous: neither can be directly read of the other, even in the simplest cases. This view, which I call 'Autonomism' is adopted but only briefly defended in Lewis' 'Naming the colours' (1997). I argue for Autonomism (and make the case that it is an interesting view) via a discussion of the differences in the explanatory roles that mental content and linguistic content are supposed to play. The central idea is that these very different explanatory roles require autonomous contents to play them, and any attempt to force one kind of content into line with the other leads to trouble. 


This talk is part of the "What Are We Talking About" workshop.