By Asch, M.
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For the question of how it is that words connect their users with reality - and within what limits - falls squarely within the philosophy of language. Moreover, even a cursory look at the literature here will show just how complicated the story can get. It is enough to make one wonder how we ever do manage to say what people believe. However, for the sake of definiteness we ought to have at least a rough description of how things might go. In their ordinary employment, phrases like 'the British Museum' and 'the brasserie I used to visit' refer to items in the world.
But why not still insist that she is believingly related to the coat (wherever it is), the cupboard and the relationship described by the words 'being in'. That is, why not invent a complex entity made up of these three items, which certainly exist in the world even if they do not exist together in the way envisaged by Anne? Thus, we can say what her belief state is directed at, without thereby guaranteeing that it is true. ) The entity made up of the coat, the cupboard and the relationship is somewhat odd - it is a sort of abstract thing made up from concrete objects and relations - but that in itself is no special problem.
Of course, in doing so we will have to make constant reference to those mental items that are typical of the categories - items such as pains, beliefs and specific types of action. But in every case our inquiry will be general. For example, we shall be interested in belief to the extent that it is representative of the category of attitudinizing; the more specific characteristics of belief - what distinguishes it from other attitudes - will not figure prominently. This way of proceeding should not lead us into error in regard to the attitudes, as long as we bear in mind that it is only a first step.