Thursday, July 31, 2008

Demonstrative Thoughts About A City

In Varieties of Reference, Evans says that a subject, sitting in a room in his house, cannot have demonstrative thoughts about the city he lives in:

"Sitting in a room in a house, a subject is not in informational contact with a city; if he believes there is a city around him, this belief cannot be based solely upon what is available to him in perception, nor can he make judgments about the city on that basis (save, perhaps, judgments which hold good of it in virtue of the condition of its parts)" (p.177).

But Evans attaches a footnote to that remark, and says, "The situation is different when we are aloft in some high building and can survey the city beneath us".

Evans thereby furnishes a reason for living or working up high: the ability to entertain demonstrative thoughts about the city you live in. There are thoughts that those in skyscrapers can have that those living close to the surface of the earth cannot.

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