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Minds without MeaningsAn Essay on the Content of Concepts$
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Jerry A. Fodor and Zenon W. Pylyshyn

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027908

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027908.001.0001

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Reference beyond the Perceptual Circle

Reference beyond the Perceptual Circle

(p.133) 5 Reference beyond the Perceptual Circle
Minds without Meanings

Jerry A. Fodor

Zenon W. Pylyshyn

The MIT Press

This chapter examines reference beyond the perceptual circle (PC) based on the argument that whatever is outside the PC that can be referred to must be causally connected, in one way or another, to something(s) that is inside the PC. It suggests that there are different kinds of empty concepts, and that empty extensions don't make a conclusive case against referential semantics. It also considers the implications of reference to abstracta for a referential-causal theory of conceptual content. Finally, it discusses one kind of causal chain that supports the reference of mental representations to things-in-the-world, and connects distal objects that are outside the PC to mental representations.

Keywords:   reference, perceptual circle, empty concepts, referential semantics, abstracta, referential-causal theory, conceptual content, causal chain, mental representations, distal objects

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