Cognitive focus

Imogen Dickie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The first part of the chapter motivates a unifying alternative to causal theories and description theories of reference and aboutness. The alternative account is built around a claim which the chapter argues brings out the significance for theories of reference and aboutness of the fact that justification is truth conducive: the claim that an aboutness-fixing relation is one which secures what the chapter calls “cognitive focus” on an object of thought. The second part of the chapter argues that a “singular thought” just is a thought made available by a cognitive focus relation, and uses the cognitive focus framework to advance the discussion of descriptive names. An Appendix explains why, though the proposal is a “mental files” proposal, it is better stated without use of this term.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSingular Thought and Mental Files
EditorsRachel Goodman, James Genone, Nick Kroll
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780198746881
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2020


  • Reference
  • Aboutness
  • Singular thought
  • Mental files
  • Descriptive names

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