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Thinking, Language, and Experience

Thinking, Language, and Experience

Hector-Neri Castañeda
Copyright Date: 1989
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Thinking, Language, and Experience
    Book Description:

    Thinking, Language, and Experience was first published in 1989. Hector-Neri Castañeda’s intricate and provocative essays have been widely influential, especially his work in epistemology and ethics, and his theory on the relation of thought to action. The fourteen essays in Thinking, Language, and Experience -- half of them written expressly for this volume -- demonstrate the breadth and richness of his recent work on the unitary structure of human experience. A comprehensive, unified study of phenomena at the intersection between experience, thinking, language, and reality, this book focuses on singular reference -- that is, reference to individuals insofar as they are thought of as individuals: indicators, quasi-indicators, proper names, singular descriptions. Castañeda establishes a large number of new facts -- linguistic, semantic, psychological, and sociological -- about the workings of language in human experience, and from them develops a network of new theories, all grounded in his comprehensive Guise Theory. These theories offer a systematic account for: the structure of human experience and the world at large; the mental powers required to think of the world and to undergo experiences; self-consciousness; the language for thinking of other minds; perception and the interaction between indexical reference and perceptual fields; and the role of subjectivity in perception and intentional action.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-5539-7
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-2)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-18)

    The ensuing reflections and theorizations focus on the interaction between experience, thinking, language using, and reality. The core of each experience is a flow of thinking episodes with interconnected contents. The fundamental, default form of thinking is oriented to reality and aims at the acquisition (and rehearsal) of true belief; the primary thought contents are thus piecemeal representations of the thinker's conception of reality. In other types of experience, however, thinking represents possibilities or even impossibilities. But thinking is always representational and, hence, symbolic or linguistic.

    Our major objective is to understand the large structure of the world and the...

  6. Part I. The Language of Singular Reference

    • 2 The Semantics and the Causal Roles of Proper Names in Our Thinking of Particulars: The Restricted-Variable/Retrieval View of Proper Names
      (pp. 21-61)

      Some years ago, Lars Bergman of Norris, Minnesota, a second-generation American of Swedish descent developed a successful vacation resort on a network of five small lakes. Because of their varying depths, these lakes harbor different types offish, and thus provide a rich and truly satisfying fishing experience—as even the most demanding connoisseurs acknowledge. When Lars died, his young daughter, Greta, inherited the resort. A brilliant entrepreneur, she developed it intoSummer Paradise, famous all over the world. But vacation business in Minnesota is seasonal. Seven months of the year, Bergman’s lakes are covered by ice. Thus, in the winter,...

    • 3 Singular Descriptions
      (pp. 62-67)

      To think of an individual, or a particular,asan individual is to segregate the individual in question from all other individuals in the world, or from all other individuals wecouldthink of, and pin it down before our minds. This is sometimes referred to as theepistemic identityor identifiability of the object in question. Now, whatever deeply in their metaphysical innards individuals may be, they must be segregated from one another by virtue of their accessible differences from one another; among those differences lie their properties and relations. On the other hand, the fundamental contents of mental...

    • 4 Indexical Reference Is Experiential Reference
      (pp. 68-87)

      The fundamental reality is that of existing individuals. Thus, to build one’s biography one has to deal with objects and persons in one’s environment as the individuals they are. One must locate them in the world by finding them in some experience or other, either confrontationally,in propria persona, or vicariously merely through their connections to confronted objects. In confronting an object or aspect of experience, one bestows on it a place in present experience thereby constituting it as a present and presented referent. Thus, confrontational reference, the fundamental way of thinking of individuals, isexecutiveor performative.

      We must...

    • 5 Attributing Reference to Others: The Language of Other Minds
      (pp. 88-108)

      We have been discussing the making of reference by a (mature) speaker of English, that is, a thinker who thinks in English, whether speaking or not, whether conversing or not. In dialogue we have the actual references that each interlocutor apprehends. These are also thinking references; the hearer’s references differ from the speaker’s references in their causation. Furthermore, a hearer, especially in the case of a dialogue in which he sees himself as the target of a seduction or sale, attributes to the speaker both expressed and unexpressed references. But a dialogue can proceed without the attribution of references to...

  7. Part II. Reference and Experience

    • 6 Perception: Its Internal Indexical Accusatives and Their Implicit Quasi-indexical Representation
      (pp. 111-124)

      Perception lies at the interface between mind and reality. It is a special interaction between a thinker’s environment and the thinker’s conceptual equipment, beliefs, and proclivities to believe. Through that interaction the perceiver gains the materials for building up a view of a world in which to find herself, and if she is sufficiently developed and lucky, she does indeed find herself in the world she creates.¹ Thus, in every perception there are three crucial elements: (a) the impingement of reality on, and the reaction to such impingement on the part of, the thinker’s perceptual mechanisms; (b) the beliefs and...

    • 7 Deliberation, Intentional Action, and Indexical Reference
      (pp. 125-131)

      For several decades I have been arguing that practical thinking (which manifests the dispositional states of intending, wanting, purposing, and their ilk, and which is exercised in acts of willing, commanding, advising, and their likes) has its own peculiar internal accusatives, and that indexicality is of the essence of such accusatives. I have called such accusativespractitions, so that the autonomy of morality, and more generally, the autonomy of practical thinking consists in the autonomy of practitions vis-à-vis propositions, the internal accusatives of believing and contemplative thinking. The unity of reason requires that practical thinking encompass contemplative thinking. Clearly, propositions...

    • 8 Personality, Anaphora, and Verbal Tenses
      (pp. 132-136)

      July 25, 1985

      Professors Barbara Partee and Emmon Bach

      Department of Linguistics

      University of Massachusetts

      Amherst, Mass.

      Dear Emmon and Barbara:

      I have finally been able to read your beautiful paper “Anaphora and Semantic Structure”.¹ I have enjoyed it very much and have learned a lot from it. You have persuaded me of the general claims of your paper. . . .

      I was touched by your reference to my work in your paper and by your use of the war-hero example.² Here I would like very much to have your reaction and instruction. I thought that the amnesiac hero...

    • 9 God and Knowledge: Omniscience and Indexical Reference
      (pp. 137-159)

      In a very intriguing and exciting paper¹ Norman Kretzmann has argued for the thesis (A) that God’s omniscience is incompatible with his immutability, and, in an appendix (420–421) suggested by certain results of mine,² for the thesis (B) that omniscience is incompatible with theism, that is, the doctrine that God is a person distinct from others. Kretzmann’s arguments depend on certain features of indexical reference, that is, reference to times, places, events, objects, or persons by means of demonstrative or personal pronouns or adverbs. The argument for (A) relies essentially on the fact that a person’s indexical references to...

    • 10 Self and Reality: Metaphysical Internalism, Selves, and the Holistic Indivisible Noumenon
      (pp. 160-175)

      The most radical forms of skepticism force us into Metaphysical Internalism. This is, very roughly, the view that all thought and talk about the world and the reality underlying it are internal to experience, whatever reality may be in itself beyond experience, indeed, even if there is no reality beyond experience.

      The world we encounter might certainly be all illusory, exhausted in its own appearance. Our lives could be coherent hallucinations created by an Evil Demon. Each of us could be a brain in a cask, perversely, or happily, manipulated by a clever experimenting scientist. I might have always been...

    • 11 Fiction and Reality: Ontological Questions about Literary Experience
      (pp. 176-205)

      Hans Kraut, the distinguished but not very famous novelist, wroteThere Is a Futurefive years ago. On page 2 we read this passage:

      (N*) Pamela had rented again the old bungalow at 123 Oak Street. She had it decorated and furnished exactly as she had done 20 years before. Her bed has the same pale blue sheets and pillowcases it had that afternoon when she strangled Randolph. She still loves him. She still hates him. She still lusts for his kisses and his embraces. She is still angry with him. But now she . . .

      Kraut tells us...

    • 12 The Language of Other Minds: Indicators and Quasi-Indicators
      (pp. 206-232)

      Crucial to many problems in the philosophy of mind, epistemology, and metaphysics are: (A) a clear understanding of the roles and interrelations of the types of words we employ to refer to the entities we encounter, and (B) a clear understanding of the logic of cognitive and linguistic verbs (like ‘think,’ ‘suppose,’ and ‘infer,’ on the one hand, and ‘say,’ ‘inform,’ ‘argue,’ and ‘show,’ on the other). My ultimate purpose here is to make a contribution toward both (A) and (B).1,2

      My contribution toward (A) consists mainly in showing, via principles (Q.7)–(Q.10) below, that a certain mechanism of reference...

  8. Part III. A Semantic and Ontological Theory for the Language of Experience:: Guise Theory

    • 13 Thinking and the Structure of the World Discours d’ontologie
      (pp. 235-261)

      This paper formulates a basic system of ontology that has several interesting qualities: (1) it is suggested very strongly by the most naive and simplest consideration of certain perplexities involving psychological states: (2) the system does justice to several apparently conflicting insights that have been debated by many philosophers; (3) the system separates the a priori from the empirical elements of the world very nicely and neatly; (4) indeed, the system concentrates all the empirical elements of the world on two irreducible dyadic predicates; (5) for this reason the system seems to be a nice formulation of a conception of...

    • 14 Method, Individuals, and Guise Theory
      (pp. 262-284)

      In his “Guise Theory,”¹ cited asGT, Plantinga raises grave issues about philosophical method and the nature of theories. He also deals deeply with crucial problems about the nature of the objects we can think of. The context of his illuminating discussion is Guise Theory. The essay is a powerful and brilliant pair of studies: one, an excellent summary exposition of Guise Theory (I have only one caveat); the other, a penetrating and instructive critique of this theory. The critique is tough, detailed, and purportedly devastating. Succinctly put, Guise Theory “is fundamentally mistaken” (GT, p. 43). He argues for this...

  9. Index
    (pp. 285-302)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 303-303)