more from Gilbert Harman

Single Idea 12600

[catalogued under 19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 7. Meaning Holism / c. Meaning by Role]

Full Idea

In (nonsolipsistic) conceptual role semantics the content of thought is not in an 'intrinsic nature', but is rather a matter of how mental states are related to each other, to things in the external world, and to things in a context understood as normal.

Gist of Idea

The content of thought is relations, between mental states, things in the world, and contexts


Gilbert Harman ((Nonsolipsistic) Conceptual Role Semantics [1987], 12.3.3)

Book Reference

Harman,Gilbert: 'Reasoning Meaning and Mind' [OUP 1999], p.221

A Reaction

This is part of Harman's functional view of consciousness, which I find rather dubious. If things only have identity because of some place in a flow diagram, we must ask why that thing has that place in that diagram.