Philosophical Studies

, Volume 137, Issue 3, pp 409–415 | Cite as

Thoughts and ideas

  • Robin Jeshion

Consider this proposition: Walruses are clumsy on land. You’re not to affirm it or deny it or otherwise judge it. Just consider it. “Merely” entertain the thought.

Wayne Davis believes that many of our current theories of meaning and communication, and large class of theories in cognitive psychology, have neglected a crucial aspect of human psychology. By focusing so much on the cognitive attitudes of beliefs and desires, theorists have not attended enough to what he calls pure cogitative thinking. Such thinking is just what you did a moment ago—entertained or considered a proposition, without necessarily entering any judgment or having any belief about that proposition.

Why be so invested in and concerned with such “pure” attitudinally neutral thought? Davis thinks that, by and large, Grice was right about how to best understand meaning. The familiar story is that words mean what thinkers make them mean. And thinkers make words mean what they mean by their intentions. Thinkers mean...


Propositional Attitude Prototype Structure Concept Possession Constituent Concept Unconscious Belief 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, HMNSS Building, Room 1604University of CaliforniaRiversideUSA

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