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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 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: to 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.
Mental reference/Boer: it is hardly controversial to assume that it is a participation-independent relation, i.e. weakly metaphysical intentional.
It is controversial whether mental reference is also strongly metaphysical intentional.
Belief attribution: in everyday life, we regard e.g. "Some people believe that Atlantis sank in the sea" as true.
Problem: one may be afraid to attribute to these people an intentional relation to something non-existent.
Mental reference/Boer: Thesis: after having accepted the distinction "there is/exists", we can consider mental reference as an existence-independent relation.
On the other hand:
Belief/Boer: (instead of mental reference): here it is not so clear whether this is an existence-independent relation, solely because of the fact that we have the being/existent distinction.
Thought content/GI: Problem: we still do not know what thought contents are.
Platonism/N.B.: if we assume that thought content could be equated with propositions, states, or properties and that they would be accepted as Platonic in existence without having to participate in the world, then we would not have to assume the belief relation as existence-independent. But for this we need a proper theory of the nature of thought contents and attitude relations to them.
Mental reference/concept dependency/Boer: is it also dependent on the concept?
Concept dependency/logical form/Boer: according to (D5) would it be sufficient that mental reference (thinking about) implies that for a representation z, an intrinsic property of z and a behavior-determining relation Q:
A) x has Q z z
B) z contains something that expresses or maps y for x
C) Whether x has the relation Q to a representation of y depends on whether the representation has one or more of a range of intrinsic features. But this presupposes believe as a concept-dependent relation.
Believe/question: whether believe is a relation mediated by representations.
B) z has a fulfillment condition defined by y and
C) as above.
Believe/Representation/Boer: to clarify whether believe is a representational-mediated relation, we need a theory of propositional attitudes._____________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.
Steven E. Boer
Thought-Contents: On the Ontology of Belief and the Semantics of Belief Attribution (Philosophical Studies Series) New York 2010
Steven E. Boer
Knowing Who Cambridge 1986