« Gluttony: Another Sign of Decline | Main | Why Live a Long Time? »

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

“Sainsbury's solution to the Prior puzzle is to reject the first limb of the aporetic triad by maintaining that ALL intentional states are relational.”

Are you sure you have interpreted him correctly? In Thinking about Things, 27–8, (quoted in R&I pp 27-28) he says that in the sentences “The story is about Prince Andrei” and “The story is about Napoleon”, the words “The story is about – ” do not introduce a relation in either case.

“Intentional Relations” was written earlier, but I can’t see where he says what you attribute to him above.

I linked to the article. Did you read it? Not only did I link to it, I quoted chunks of it. Right at the beginning of the last block quotation we read, "Metaphysical relationality is the fundamental feature of intentional states, the nature they all share." Note the 'all.'

Read the opening sentence of the second paragraph.

I suggest that you take the time to read the article carefully and then read my summary and critique carefully.

I read that article and I am familiar with Sainsbury’s broader thinking on this.

Sainsbury’s view is that “Jake is thinking about Prince Andrei” does not express a relation. I.e. while it is a relational expression, it does not express or signify a relation between Jake and Prince Andrei (for there is no such person as Prince Andrei).

His view is perfectly consistent with his view that the truth condition of e.g. “Jake is thinking about Prince Andrei” involves Jake being in “a two-place relational state”. This should be obvious from the last part where he says that the state is “relational in the relevant way not because there is such an object as Obama, but because the truth-making state is a relational one, holding between Raoul and, in the typical case, the concept OBAMA.”

In my example, the truth-making state would hold between Jake and the concept PRINCE ANDREI.

I concede that Sainsbury is not always the clearest of writers.

Or perhaps I am misreading your reading of Sainsbury. Apologies if so.

But then you might have been clearer that on Sainsbury's view, what makes "Jake is thinking of Andrei" true is not a relation between Jake and someone called 'Andrei'.

On the possibility of singular concepts, that is a separate question.

“What makes an Obama representation about Obama?” I.e. what makes

(*) this mental representation is about Obama

true?

My answer (possibly not Sainsbury’s) is to note that sentence (1) contains a token of the proper name ‘Obama’, and I assume that in the context it is used, it makes sense, i.e. has a sense (not necessarily a referent). Then I claim that the representation must contain some mental token which has the very same sense.

The condition for two singular term tokens to have the same sense is that there must be the right kind of anaphoric connection (‘co-reference’) between them. The nature of that connection is spelled out at great length in R&I.

>>Sainsbury’s view is that “Jake is thinking about Prince Andrei” does not express a relation. I.e. while it is a relational expression, it does not express or signify a relation between Jake and Prince Andrei (for there is no such person as Prince Andrei).<<

You are missing the point of the article (and that is all I am basing myself on). S. is saying that a relation obtains between the thinker and a representation both in the case of thinking about Obama and in the case of thinking about Pegasus. So he solves the Prior puzzle by rejecting my (1) in the OP. S. makes it very clear that he is proposing a representationalist theory of intentionality.

>>But then you might have been clearer that on Sainsbury's view, what makes "Jake is thinking of Andrei" true is not a relation between Jake and someone called 'Andrei'.<<

I was very clear about that.

OK. Turning to Sainsbury's view, rather than your view of his view. I am puzzled about his opening sentence.

In some intentional states, the mind is related to the world. When I think about Obama, I stand in a relation to him: the state I am in could not exist unless he exists.

My emphasis. Can you make sense of that? In the context of his stated view in that article, I mean?

The opening sentences are indeed puzzling. They do not cohere with what he says in the main body of the article. What he wants to say is that intentionality involves a relation both when one thinks about what exists and when one thinks about what does not exist. The relation, however, ties the subject to a representation. Concepts are one species of representation. So when I think of Obama I am related to the concept OBAMA and when I think of Pegasus I am related to the concept PEGASUS. Since both concepts exist, we have a genuine relation in both cases despite the fact that nothing in reality answers to the concept PEGASUS while something does in the case of the concept OBAMA.

Charitably viewed, all he is doing at the outset is making the obvious point that some intentional states have existing intentional objects and some do not.

"the state I am in could not exist unless he exists." This could mean that Obama himself enters into the content of my thought of him. But then how would this jibe with Sainsbury's later talk of the concept OBAMA? No concept can capture the haecceity of a singular item. How could a representation of that very man Obama not have Obama himself as a constituent?

Is this what is bugging you, Ed?

>Is this what is bugging you, Ed?

Indeed it is. The essence of a representational state, as I understand it, is its Cartesian indifference to what is external. If the talk of 'the concept OBAMA' is to be interpreted representationally, then a mental state that includes that concept must exist whether or not Obama exists. But that does not jibe with his statement that "the state I am in could not exist unless he exists."

What is the next step? Note that a key thesis of R&I is that there can be singular concepts.

This morning I began studying Sainsbury's "Intentionality without Exotica." I am five pages into it. I will write a post on it later after I finish studying it. He distinguishes internal versus external singularity. More later. I will see what you have to say about singular concepts. S. speaks of "individual concepts."

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo
Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 10/2008

Categories

Categories

December 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  
Blog powered by Typepad