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Imogen Dickie develops an account of aboutness-fixing for thoughts about ordinary objects, and of reference-fixing for the singular terms we use to express them.
Extant discussions of this topic tread a weary path through descriptivist proposals, causalist alternatives, and attempts to combine the most attractive elements of each.
The account developed here is a new beginning. It starts with two basic principles. The first connects aboutness and truth: a belief isabout the object upon whose properties its truth or falsity depends.
The second connects truth and justification: justification is truth conducive; in general and allowing exceptions, a subject whose beliefs are justified will be unlucky if they are not true, and not merely lucky if they are.
Theseprinciples-one connecting aboutness and truth; the other truth and justification-combine to yield a third principle connecting aboutness and justification: a body of beliefs is about the object upon which its associated means of justification converges; the object whose properties a subject justifying beliefs in this way will be unlucky to get wrong and not merely luck to get right.
The first part of the book proves a precise version of this principle.
Its remaining chapters use the principleto explain how the relations to objects that enable us to think about them-perceptual attention; understanding of proper names; grasp of descriptions-do their aboutness-fixing and thought-enabling work.
The book includes discussions of the nature of singular thought and the relation betweenthought and consciousness.
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