Mental filing

Noûs 56 (1):204-226 (2022)
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We offer an interpretation of the mental files framework that eliminates the metaphor of files, information being contained in files, etc. The guiding question is whether, once we move beyond the metaphors, there is any theoretical role for files. We claim not. We replace the file-metaphor with two theses: the semantic thesis that there are irreducibly relational representational facts (viz. facts about the coordination of representations); and the metasemantic thesis that processes tied to information-relations ground those facts. In its canonical statement, the ‘file’-theory makes reference to a certain kind of relational representational feature, and a certain kind of mental activity. Mental files need not come into it. In short, we posit mental filing without mental files. Our interpretation avoids awkward problems that arise on the standard interpretation and clarifies the explanatory commitments of the theory.

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Author Profiles

Rachel Goodman
University of Chicago (PhD)
Aidan Gray
University of Illinois, Chicago

Citations of this work

Minimal Fregeanism.Aidan Gray - 2022 - Mind 131 (522):429-458.
Mental Filing Systems: A User's Guide.Henry Clarke - 2021 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 8.
Singular Thought and Mental Files: An Introduction.Rachel Goodman & James Genone - 2020 - In Rachel Goodman, James Genone & Nick Kroll (eds.), Singular Thought and Mental Files. New York, NY, United States of America: Oxford University Press. pp. 1-17.
Coordination, Content, and Conflation.Kyle Landrum - 2023 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 101 (3):638-652.

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References found in this work

Reference and Consciousness.John Campbell - 2002 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Mental Files.François Recanati - 2012 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Semantic relationism.Kit Fine (ed.) - 2007 - Malden, MA: Blackwell.
The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans & John Mcdowell - 1986 - Philosophy 61 (238):534-538.

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