Mental Files. Triggering Mechanisms, Metadata and ‘Discernibility of Identicals’


This paper initially follows the final part of the debate between singularism and descriptivism to the point of convergence, and discusses the notion of acquaintanceless singular thought (such that there is a compromise available between hitherto competing parties). Then a sketch of a mental files model is presented. Firstly, the triggering mechanisms for opening files are discussed. Two kinds of discourse situations, acquaintance-situations (A-situations) and decoding-situations (D-situations), are identified and different triggering mechanisms are postulated for each. Secondly, a bipartite structure of a file is introduced, combining an objectual part, encompassing what traditionally has been associated with the notion of a mental file, serving the purpose of storing information about the referent of the file, and a metadata part, serving the purpose of storing information about the file itself. Being capable of encoding a variety of types of mental files, this structure is then employed to illustrate how singularity/descriptivity of the files can be manipulated (as in the case of descriptive names) and how we can account for the cognitive discernibility of files containing identical objectual information and grounded with the same acquaintance relations.

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