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Thinking of Nothing

Tuesday, March 7, 2023, 3:40 pm – 5:20 pm

This colloquium talk is planned as an in-person event. Registration is only required for non-CEU members. Please check the COVID safety rules here to enter the building.



If one accepts that the propositional representational content actually thought by a thinker is truth conditional, and that the content thought by the thinker of a demonstrative thought is irreducibly singular, then one should accept an object-dependent view of demonstrative thought, according to which if there is demonstrative reference failure then no demonstrative thought occurs. This is because demonstrative reference failure in such cognitive episodes results in their having no truth conditions that could constitute such a demonstrative thought. Some object-independent theorists who accept the aforementioned assumptions try to avoid this conclusion by using a free logic to generate truth conditions consistent with reference failure. I argue that this attempt is unsuccessful. But it’s important to realize that object-dependence does not imply that failure to form a demonstrative thought means that one’s mind is a cognitive blank, that no cognitive processes at all are occurring, or even that there are no representational contents 


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