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Necessary IntentionalityA Study in the Metaphysics of Aboutness$
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Ori Simchen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199608515

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608515.001.0001

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Cognitive states as relational

Cognitive states as relational

(p.111) 5 Cognitive states as relational
Necessary Intentionality

Ori Simchen

Oxford University Press

In this final chapter it is argued that cognitive attitudes such as hunting, wanting, and worshipping, but also believing and the rest of the so-called propositional attitudes, are in the first instance direct relations to their objects. The proposal treats specific attitudes—cognitive states directed at particular things—as primary in the order of metaphysical explanation, and treats the rest (termed ‘generic’) as secondary. On the emerging view, specific attitudes are necessarily about whatever they are about in a way akin to the way the fact of my sitting on a certain chair could not obtain without the chair in question. The basic orientation is to explore the attitudes directly rather than via a proposed semantics for their reports. Along the way, several familiar objections to the idea that in cognitive states we bear direct relations to particular things are discussed in detail.

Keywords:   cognitive attitude, de re, de dicto

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