Get access

Demonstrative Thought

Authors

  • JOSEPH LEVINE

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Philosophy University of Massachusetts
      Department of Philosophy, 352 Bartlett Hall, University of Massachusetts, 130 Hicks Way, Amherst, MA 01003-9269, USA
      Email:jle@philos.umass.edu
    Search for more papers by this author

  • I want to thank Louise Antony, Jerry Fodor, Zenon Pylyshyn, Georges Rey, Susanna Siegel, Kelly Trogdon, two anonymous referees, and audiences at the Philosophy of Mind colloquium in Budapest, the Analytic Philosophy colloquium in Dubrovnik, Haverford College, the Cognitive Science colloquium at CUNY, and the University of Manitoba for helpful feedback and criticism.

Department of Philosophy, 352 Bartlett Hall, University of Massachusetts, 130 Hicks Way, Amherst, MA 01003-9269, USA
Email:jle@philos.umass.edu

Abstract

In this paper I propose a model of demonstrative thought. I distinguish token-demonstratives, that pick out individuals, from type-demonstratives, that pick out kinds, or properties, and provide a similar treatment for both. I argue that it follows from my model of demonstrative thought, as well as from independent considerations, that demonstration, as a mental act, operates directly on mental representations, not external objects. That is, though the relation between a demonstrative and the object or property demonstrated is semantically direct, the mechanism by which a demonstrative acquires its referent involves mediation by a perceptual representation. Finally, I argue that so-called ‘demonstrative concepts'—which I treat as type-demonstratives—cannot perform the various philosophical functions that have been assigned to them.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary