Existence, Participation, and Fictional Realism
Ethan Landes (Brandeis University)
Recent  debate  on  the  status  of  fictional  characters  has  centered  on  whether  fictional characters  exist  in  some  meaningful  sense.  Fictional  realists  such  as  Kripke  and Thomasson, who hold that fictional entities exist and can be referred to de re, face the problem of explaining why, in certain contexts, it is natural to say that “Santa Claus does not exist.” In this paper, I examine a metalinguistic solution to this problem proposed by Amie Thomasson and adjust it in the face of criticism. I argue that when we affirm or deny  something's  existence,  we  are  commenting  on  a  past  or  potential  speaker's reference,  specifically  the  intended  ontological  level  of  participation.  We  deny  Santa Claus's existence, on this account, while commenting on the intention to refer to someone participating  in  the  world.  The  solution  I  propose  defends  fictional  realism  from  a significant line of attack and offers insight into what we mean when we say something does not exist.

Indeterminacy, Meaning, and Intentions
Philip Zigman (CUNY)
Buchanan  (2010)  offers  compelling  reasons  to  reject  the  traditional  view  that  what  a speaker means must (in the case of indicative speech) always be a proposition. Instead, he argues that what a speaker means may be indeterminate—there are occasions where it is clear  a  speaker  means  something,  but  there  is  no  proposition  the  speaker  means.  This view is also defended by Sperber and Wilson (ms), among others, with respect to both implicatures and what is said. I explore two consequences of this indeterminacy. The first is that it steers us towards a view of communication where success is possible even if what the speaker means and what the hearer interprets are not identical. The second is that we have to reconsider Grice’s analysis of utterer’s meaning.

Essential Indexicality Without Indexicals
Pengbo Liu (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
It is widely accepted that indexical thoughts are in some sense essential to actions and action-explanations. Recently, however, a number of authors have challenged this view. The goal of this paper is twofold. First, I will clarify the nature of the so-called problem of the essential indexical; Second, I will respond to some of their challenges. I begin by revisiting  Perry’s  classical  discussion  of  indexical  beliefs.  I  argue  that  there  are  many related  but  distinct  ways  to  understand  the  essentiality  of  indexical  thoughts.  In  the second section, I distinguish between two kinds of indexicality, i.e., implicit indexicality and explicit indexicality, and only latter requires the employment of indexical concepts. I then apply this distinction to refute one kind of objections to essential indexicality: that indexical belief is not always necessary to motivate or explain actions. 

Practical Reasoning and the Contextual Content of the First-Person Perspective
Jae Hong Kim (Ryerson University)
In  Intention,  G.  E.  M.  Anscombe  claims  that  Aristotle  discovered  a  different  kind  of reasoning  in  addition  to  "the  reasoning  ordinarily  considered  in  philosophy";  practical reasoning.  She  deems  practical  reasoning  a  unique  kind  of  reasoning  in  its  own  right, owing  to  its  conclusion  being  an  action  and  its  form  being  means-end  reasoning.
However, Judith Thomson, among others, claims that only theoretical reasoning belies any series of mental events worthy of the ascription "reasoning", and thus that there is no unique  kind  of  reasoning  to  be  called  "practical"  at  all.  In  this  paper,  I  first  outline Anscombe's  view,  and  then  consider  Judith  Thomson's  objections.  Afterwards,  rather than siding with one particular view of practical reasoning, I will argue that both views suffer from neglecting what mental content is essential to supposed pieces of practical reasoning: the contextual content of the first-person perspective. If I am right, I will have pointed  out  one  essential  component  that  any  answer  to  the  fundamental  question,  "Is there a distinct species of reasoning to be called practical reasoning?" must account for. 

Levelling the Field: Levels Talk in Cognitive Neuroscience
Luke Kersten (Carleton University)
Early  in  the  history  of  neuroscience  it  seemed  that  merely  recording  individual  cell activity would reveal how the brain performed various cognitive functions. However, by the early seventies the cell-recording program had faltered. Many began to question the sufficiency  of  a  purely  neurological  approach  to  cognition.  Talk  of  different  levels  of investigation, explanation, and organization began to emerge.  Levels talk has only grown in  popularity  since,  as  any  cursory  glance  at  an  intro  cognitive  science  textbook  will reveal.  Yet  in  spite  of  its  popularity  and  wide  spread  acceptance,  levels  talk  remains marred in confusion. Not least this is because there are two distinct conceptions running through most discussions of levels. The present paper aims to address this state of affairs by (i) disambiguating two views of levels and (ii) arguing for a particular vision of levels talk within cognitive science. 

Phenomenology, Content, and the Individuation of Perceptual Capacities
Thomas Breed (University of Pittsburgh)
Prior  to  the  emergence  of  contemporary  relationalist  theories  of  perception  (with Campbell  2002  and  Martin  2002),  representationalism  was  the  default  assumption  in contemporary philosophy of perception. The last decade has seen a number of disputes between  relationalists  and  representationalists,  driven  by  the  assumption  that  the  two positions  are  incompatible  and  in  competition  with  each  other.  Recently,  however, Susanna Schellenberg has developed a distinctive account of perception that attempts to combine the insights of both approaches. In this paper, I will argue that Schellenberg’s explanation of the phenomenology of experience stands in tension with the principle she uses  to  individuate  perceptual  capacities.  I  will  consider  a  natural  modification  of  this principle  that  avoids  the  initial  concern,  but  argue  that  this  modified  view  faces  a variation of the same problem. Rather than inheriting the strengths of relationalism from within  a  representationalist  framework,  Schellenberg’s  account  thus  inherits  the weaknesses of relationalism. 

How Should Embodied Mind Theorists Account for Interpersonal Kinesthetic Diversity?
Lauren Alpert (CUNY)
Human embodiment varies dramatically, from lithe figures of acrobats to bulky frames of sumo  wrestlers.  In  this  paper,  I  supply  empirical  support  from  the  science  of  motor control  to  defend  a  claim  that  these  variant  forms  of  human  embodiment  impact  the character  of  the  kinesthetic  experiences  arising  from  bodily  movement.  My  primary objective, however, is to suggest an upshot of this hypothesis for embodied views of the mind. Though a number of prominent embodied mind theories claim that the particulars of a creature’s embodiment will shape its mental life, they fail to specify exactly what details,  at  what  level(s)  of  physical  description,  should  have  an  impact  on  one’s phenomenology. My defense of interpersonal kinesthetic diversity shows that embodied mind  theories  can  acknowledge  that  intraspecies  body  diversity  is  a  rich  source  of phenomenological  variety,  without  having  to  allow  that  every  physical  detail  of embodiment is mentally significant. 

A Problem for Gallagher’s Direct Perception Account of Infant False-Belief Uunderstanding: Intentions Are Not Directly Perceivable
Ryan Ferguson (University of Maryland, College Park)
In the last ten years, a large body of experimental data has been amassed, which suggests that infants aged 6 to 18 months can reason about the false beliefs of other agents. Some have  attempted  to  explain  infants’  performance  in  these  experiments  by  positing  a capacity to represent, attribute, and make inferences about the propositional attitudes of other  agents  (Baillargeon  et  al.,  2010;  Carruthers,  2013).  An  alternative  account, proposed by Shaun Gallagher (2012; Gallagher & Povinelli 2012), maintains that infants’ performance can be explained primarily in terms of direct, enactive perceptual abilities. In  particular,  infants  can  directly  perceive  the  intentions  of  other  agents  as  well  as affordances for interacting with them. In this paper, I’ll argue that Gallagher’s account is implausible,  since  it  relies  on  the  thesis  that  intentions  are  directly  perceivable.  This thesis  lacks  adequate  support,  at  least  for  the  kinds  of  intentions  required  to  explain infants’ performance.