The abstract structure of inquiry—the process of acquiring and changing beliefs about the world—is the focus of this important book. It first discusses propositions and propositional attitudes (the cluster of activities that constitute inquiry) in general, taking the position that the "pragmatic" rather than the "linguistic" picture better solves philosophical problems about the nature of mental representation, and better accounts for the phenomena of thought and speech.
The diversity of topics discussed in this book reflects the breadth of Judith Jarvis Thomson's philosophical work. Throughout her long career at MIT, Thomson's straightforward approach and emphasis on problem-solving have shaped philosophy in significant ways. Some of the book's contributions discuss specific moral and political issues such as abortion, self-defense, the rights and obligations of prospective fathers, and political campaign finance.