Volume 13, Issue 2, 2013
Bach’s Constraint on Extending Acquaintance
Some Questions and a Modest Proposal
My aim in this paper is to examine how Kent Bach’s theory of singular thought about material objects meets the requirements of transmitting de re thought. I identify a certain possible paradox haunting Bach’s move of extending acquaintance in order to widen the scope of singular thought and I attempt to answer this possible paradox. First, I briefly present the manner in which Bach motivates extended acquaintance and which constraints he puts on it. I then address the problem of the sorites paradox which might lead not only to Bach’s communication-based de re thoughts, but perception-based de re thoughts in general, thus defined. Finally, I offer my tentative solution to the problem of extended acquaintance which consists in introducing two constraints on singular thought, namely (i) the (external) acquaintance constraint and (ii) the (internal) cognitive significance constraint, and two types of representations, namely indexical-iconic representations and indexical-discursive representations which are together crucial for having a singular thought.