A false dilemma for anti-individualism

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

It is often presupposed that an anti-individualist about representational mental states must choose between two accounts of no-reference cases. One option is said to be an ‘illusion of thought’ version according to which the subject in a no-reference case fails to think a first-order thought but rather has the illusion of having one. The other is a ‘descriptive’ version according to which one thinks an empty thought via a description. While this presupposition is not uncommon, it rarely surfaces in an explicit manner. Often, it is visible only when a theorist argues directly from the falsity of one of the two views to the truth of the other. However, Jessica Brown’s recent work on anti-individualism clearly illustrates the presupposition. In contention with Brown’s and others presupposition, arguments for two conclusions about the nature of anti-individualism are set forth. First, the choice between the illusion and descriptive version of anti-individualism is a dilemma. Each version of anti-individualism is prone to problems. Second, the choice is a false dilemma. There is another, less problematic, anti-individualistic account of reference failure.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Philosophical Quarterly
Volume44
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)329-342
ISSN0003-0481
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes

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Anti-individualism
False Dilemma
Presupposition
Thought
Illusion
Descriptive
Theorists
Visible
Mental State

Cite this

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title = "A false dilemma for anti-individualism",
abstract = "It is often presupposed that an anti-individualist about representational mental states must choose between two accounts of no-reference cases. One option is said to be an ‘illusion of thought’ version according to which the subject in a no-reference case fails to think a first-order thought but rather has the illusion of having one. The other is a ‘descriptive’ version according to which one thinks an empty thought via a description. While this presupposition is not uncommon, it rarely surfaces in an explicit manner. Often, it is visible only when a theorist argues directly from the falsity of one of the two views to the truth of the other. However, Jessica Brown’s recent work on anti-individualism clearly illustrates the presupposition. In contention with Brown’s and others presupposition, arguments for two conclusions about the nature of anti-individualism are set forth. First, the choice between the illusion and descriptive version of anti-individualism is a dilemma. Each version of anti-individualism is prone to problems. Second, the choice is a false dilemma. There is another, less problematic, anti-individualistic account of reference failure.",
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A false dilemma for anti-individualism. / Gerken, Mikkel.

In: American Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 44, No. 4, 10.2007, p. 329-342.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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N2 - It is often presupposed that an anti-individualist about representational mental states must choose between two accounts of no-reference cases. One option is said to be an ‘illusion of thought’ version according to which the subject in a no-reference case fails to think a first-order thought but rather has the illusion of having one. The other is a ‘descriptive’ version according to which one thinks an empty thought via a description. While this presupposition is not uncommon, it rarely surfaces in an explicit manner. Often, it is visible only when a theorist argues directly from the falsity of one of the two views to the truth of the other. However, Jessica Brown’s recent work on anti-individualism clearly illustrates the presupposition. In contention with Brown’s and others presupposition, arguments for two conclusions about the nature of anti-individualism are set forth. First, the choice between the illusion and descriptive version of anti-individualism is a dilemma. Each version of anti-individualism is prone to problems. Second, the choice is a false dilemma. There is another, less problematic, anti-individualistic account of reference failure.

AB - It is often presupposed that an anti-individualist about representational mental states must choose between two accounts of no-reference cases. One option is said to be an ‘illusion of thought’ version according to which the subject in a no-reference case fails to think a first-order thought but rather has the illusion of having one. The other is a ‘descriptive’ version according to which one thinks an empty thought via a description. While this presupposition is not uncommon, it rarely surfaces in an explicit manner. Often, it is visible only when a theorist argues directly from the falsity of one of the two views to the truth of the other. However, Jessica Brown’s recent work on anti-individualism clearly illustrates the presupposition. In contention with Brown’s and others presupposition, arguments for two conclusions about the nature of anti-individualism are set forth. First, the choice between the illusion and descriptive version of anti-individualism is a dilemma. Each version of anti-individualism is prone to problems. Second, the choice is a false dilemma. There is another, less problematic, anti-individualistic account of reference failure.

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