Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Content: content is that part of a statement, which can be expressed by another statement, which differs in a respect from the original statement, e.g. it uses other expressions with the same reference. That, in which the second statement deviates belongs then to the vocabulary, to the syntax or grammar, the matching can be called content. See also Semantic content, Conceptual content, Mental content.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Steven E. Boer on Content - Dictionary of Arguments

Definition Thought/Boer: can be common to different states of mind.
Proposition/Boer: I do not call it thought content, because this expression brings too much ballast with it.
Intensional transitive verbs: have three conditions, each of which is sufficient for itself:
(i) failure of the principle of the substitutability of identity
(ii) quantification permits a specific "narrow range"
(iii) there is no existential (ontological) commitment.
Direct objects/direct object/propositional settings/Boer: it is controversial whether the relation to direct thought objects can be analyzed as propositional attitudes. E.g. "search": here it is certainly the case, e.g. "worship": seems to contradict this analysis.

Fulfillment conditions/EB/proopositional attitudes/individuation/Boer: N.B.: The fulfillment conditions do not appear to be sufficient to individuate a propositional attitude.

On the other hand:
Thought content/GI: seems to be sufficient for the individuation of a propositional attitude.
Truth conditions: (and hence also the fulfillment conditions) can be the same for two beliefs, while the subject is not sure whether it is the same object. E.g. woodchucks/groundhogs.

Propositional attitudes/Individuation/Lewis: (1969)(1): the mere existence of a convention of this kind presupposes that speakers from a community have certain propositional attitudes with certain fulfillment conditions.

Abstract objects/propositional attitudes/Boer: in order to believe that patience is a virtue, one must think of patience.

Definition mental reference/Terminology/Boer: Thinking of: be a mental analogue to speaker reference.
Speaker reference/some authors: thesis: never exists in isolation, but is only a partial aspect of a speech act (utterance).
Mental reference: should then only be a partial aspect of thinking-of-something. Probably, there is also predication.
Definition mental reference/Boer: be in a state of thought with a content of thought which defines a fulfillment condition of which the object is a constituent.
Problem: non-existent objects.
Thought content/GI/Boer: must be carefully distinguished from any objects that it might contain.
Definition object of thought/object/GO/Boer: "object of the propositional attitudes ψ" is clearly only the item/s to which a subject by the power of having ψ refers to. (s) So not the propositional attitudes themselves.
Individuation/identification/Boer: should be identified by a that-sentence (in a canonical attribution of ψ).
That-sentence/Boer: is the content (thought content).
Content/thought content/Boer: is the that-sentence.
Thinking about/Boer: what you think of something is the object itself.

1. David Lewis 1969. Convention: A Philosophical Study, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Boer I
Steven E. Boer
Thought-Contents: On the Ontology of Belief and the Semantics of Belief Attribution (Philosophical Studies Series) New York 2010

Boer II
Steven E. Boer
Knowing Who Cambridge 1986

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