Writers in the propositions literature consider the Benacerraf objection serious, often decisive. The objection figures heavily in dismissing standard theories of propositions of the past, notably set-theoretic theories. I argue that the situation is more complicated. After explicating the propositional Benacerraf problem, I focus on a classic set-theoretic theory of propositions, the possible worlds theory, and argue that methodological considerations influence the objection’s success.
The original essays in this volume present new research on unstructured theories of content, which have traditionally played a central role in linguistics and philosophy of language. The volume explores a wide range of themes related to unstructured content, including both the continued controversy over whether unstructured theories individuate contents too coarsely and various applications of unstructured theories to topics like rationality, epistemic commitment, semantic expressivism, relevance, and propositional attitude ascriptions. It contains contributions from different theoretical perspectives, including both those (...) sympathetic to unstructured theories of content and those who are skeptical, as well as from different methodological backgrounds, with philosophy, logic, and linguistics all represented. With contributions from leading scholars in philosophy and linguistics, this volume will be of interest to anyone working in logic, metaphysics, or the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
In this paper, I develop an algorithmic impossible-worlds model of belief and knowledge that provides a middle ground between models that entail that everyone is logically omniscient and those that are compatible with even the most egregious kinds of logical incompetence. In outline, the model entails that an agent believes (knows) φ just in case she can easily (and correctly) compute that φ is true and thus has the capacity to make her actions depend on whether φ. The model thereby (...) captures the standard view that belief and knowledge ground are constitutively connected to dispositions to act. As I explain, the model improves upon standard algorithmic models developed by Parikh, Halpern, Moses, Vardi, and Duc, among other ways, by integrating them into an impossible-worlds framework. The model also avoids some important disadvantages of recent candidate middle-ground models based on dynamic epistemic logic or step logic, and it can subsume their most important advantages. (shrink)
// tl;dr A Proposition is a Way of Thinking // -/- This chapter is about type-theoretic approaches to propositional content. Type-theoretic approaches to propositional content originate with Hintikka, Stalnaker, and Lewis, and involve treating attitude environments (e.g. "Nate thinks") as universal quantifiers over domains of "doxastic possibilities" -- ways things could be, given what the subject thinks. -/- This chapter introduces and motivates a line of a type-theoretic theorizing about content that is an outgrowth of the recent literature on epistemic (...) modality, according to which contentful thought is broadly "informational" in its nature and import. The general idea here is that an object of thought is not a way *the world* could be, but rather a way *one's perspective* could be (with respect to a relevant representational question). I will spend the middle part of this chapter motivating and developing a version of this strategy that is, I’ll argue, well-suited to explaining clear phenomena concerning the attribution of perspectival attitudes -- in particular, attitudes towards loosely information-sensitive propositions -- with which extant approaches struggle. My overarching goal here will be to motivate a distinctive version of the "informational" approach -- the "Flexible Types" approach, which is based on the theory proposed in Charlow (2020). According to the Flexible Types approach, propositional attitude verbs are quantifiers over sets of possibilities, but a possibility is a type-flexible notion -- sometimes a possible world, sometimes a perspective, sometimes a set of possible worlds, sometimes a set of perspectives. -/- After introducing the Flexible Types approach, this chapter circles back to more traditional concerns for the analysis of propositions as types of possibilities -- Frege's Puzzle and the problem of Logical Omniscience. Here too the Flexible Types approach bears fruit. Although there are certainly significant differences -- I note some in the concluding section -- the gist of this theory is Hinitkkan or Lewisian in spirit (if not quite in letter). We can make progress on addressing the challenges for the analysis of propositional content in terms of types of possibilities, through empirically driven refinement of our notion of what kind of thing a "doxastic possibility" is. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend the metalinguistic solution to the problem of mathematical omniscience for the possible-worlds account of propositions by combining it with a computational model of knowledge and belief. The metalinguistic solution states that the objects of belief and ignorance in mathematics are relations between mathematical sentences and what they express. The most pressing problem for the metalinguistic strategy is that it still ascribes too much mathematical knowledge under the standard possible-worlds model of knowledge and belief on which (...) these are closed under entailment. I first argue that Stalnaker's fragmentation strategy is insufficient to solve this problem. I then develop an alternative, computational strategy: I propose a model of mathematical knowledge and belief adapted from the algorithmic model of Halpern et al. which, when combined with the metalinguistic strategy, entails that mathematical knowledge and belief require computational abilities to access metalinguistic information, and thus aren't closed under entailment. As I explain, the computational model generalizes beyond mathematics to a version of the functionalist theory of knowledge and belief that motivates the possible-worlds account in the first place. I conclude that the metalinguistic and computational strategies yield an attractive functionalist, possible-worlds account of mathematical content, knowledge, and inquiry. (shrink)
The problem of closure for the traditional unstructured possible worlds model of attitudinal content is that it treats belief and other cognitive states as closed under entailment, despite apparent counterexamples showing that this is not a necessary property of such states. One solution to this problem, which has been proposed recently by several authors (Schaffer 2005; Yalcin 2018; Hoek forthcoming), is to restrict closure in an unstructured setting by treating propositional attitudes as question-sensitive. Here I argue that this line of (...) response is unsatisfying as it stands because the problem of closure is more general than is typically discussed. A version of the problem recurs for attitudes like wondering, entertaining, considering, and so on, which are directed at questions rather than propositions. For such questioning attitudes, the appeal to question-sensitivity is much less convincing as a solution to the problem of closure. (shrink)
An overview of hyperintensionality is provided. Hyperintensional languages have expressions with meanings that are more fine-grained than necessary equivalence. That is, the expressions may necessarily co-apply and yet be distinct in meaning. Adequately accounting for theories cast in hyperintensional languages is important in the philosophy of language; the philosophy of mind; metaphysics; and elsewhere. This entry presents a number of areas in which hyperintensionality is important; a range of approaches to theorising about hyperintensional matters; and a range of debates that (...) attention to hyperintensional constructions has generated. (shrink)
In recent years there has been a heated debate on how to accommodate John Perry's observations about the essentiality of indexicality into our models of linguistic communication. This article is an attempt at providing a new perspective on this issue. I argue that we should jettison two elements taken for granted by the views I present, and criticize, here: no centring, uncentring, recentring and multicentring. These elements are: (1) taking the asserted content to be a part of the communication process (...) and (2) assumptions that the indexical belief of the speaker, when successfully communicated, must be acquired by the hearer as indexical, too. The theory of indexical communication that I propose here is laid out in the mental files framework and devoid of the two aforementioned elements. (shrink)
Robert Stalnaker recently proposed a simple theory of propositions using the notion of a set of propositions being consistent, and conjectured that this theory is equivalent to the claim that propositions form a complete atomic Boolean algebra. This paper clarifies and confirms this conjecture. Stalnaker also noted that some of the principles of his theory may be given up, depending on the intended notion of proposition. This paper therefore also investigates weakened constraints on consistency and the corresponding classes of Boolean (...) algebras. (shrink)
David Lewis offers two solutions to the problem of the many, one of which relies on supervaluationism and the other on the notion of “almost-identity” for the most part. In this paper, I argue that Lewis’ other metaphysical views constitute reasons to prefer his second solution to the first one. Specifically, Lewis’ theory of propositions and his counterpart theory give rise to two similar problems of the many, which I call “the problem of many propositions” and “the problem of many (...) counterparts” respectively. While both Lewis’ solutions may solve the problem of the many with respect to objects in the actual world, I argue that only his second solution can solve the problem of many propositions and the problem of many counterparts. Therefore, for anyone who accepts Lewis’ metaphysical views on propositions and counterparts, they should embrace Lewis’ second solution to the problem of the many for the reason of unification. (shrink)
One response to the problem of logical omniscience in standard possible worlds models of belief is to extend the space of worlds so as to include impossible worlds. It is natural to think that essentially the same strategy can be applied to probabilistic models of partial belief, for which parallel problems also arise. In this paper, I note a difficulty with the inclusion of impossible worlds into probabilistic models. Under weak assumptions about the space of worlds, most of the propositions (...) which can be constructed from possible and impossible worlds are in an important sense inexpressible; leaving the probabilistic model committed to saying that agents in general have at least as many attitudes towards inexpressible propositions as they do towards expressible propositions. If it is reasonable to think that our attitudes are generally expressible, then a model with such commitments looks problematic. (shrink)
Theories of propositions as sets of truth-supporting circumstances are committed to the thesis that sentences or other representations true in all and only the same circumstances express the same proposition. Theories of propositions as complex, structured entities are not committed to this thesis. As a result, structured propositions can play a role in our theories of language and thought that sets of truth-supporting circumstances cannot play. To illustrate this difference, I sketch a theory of transparent, non-deflationary truth consistent with some (...) theories of structured propositions, but inconsistent with any theory of propositions as sets of truth-supporting circumstances. (shrink)
The standard argument against ordered tuples as propositions is that it is arbitrary what truth-conditions they should have. In this paper we generalize that argument. Firstly, we require that propositions have truth-conditions intrinsically. Secondly, we require strongly equivalent truth-conditions to be identical. Thirdly, we provide a formal framework, taken from Graph Theory, to characterize structure and structured objects in general. The argument in a nutshell is this: structured objects are too fine-grained to be identical to truth-conditions. Without identity, there is (...) no privileged mapping from structured objects to truth-conditions, and hence structured objects do not have truth-conditions intrinsically. Therefore, propositions are not structured objects. (shrink)
Vagueness is the study of concepts that admit borderline cases. The epistemology of vagueness concerns attitudes we should have towards propositions we know to be borderline. On this basis Andrew Bacon develops a new theory of vagueness in which vagueness is fundamentally a property of propositions, explicated in terms of its role in thought.
In this paper I argue that propositionalism is what generates a tension between referentialism and harmony. Harmony can be preserved if we replace propositionalism by centred referentialism, according to which referential thoughts and utterances about an object have descriptive contents that must be evaluated relative to a world centred on that object at the relevant time. By disentangling truth-conditions and contents, this move allows us to dissolve the tension between referentialism and descriptivism. The view that emerges has three main components: (...) the truth-conditions of a referential utterance or thought involves its referent ; its reference is determined by causal relations of acquaintance in the context of use ; and its cognitive value is fully explained by associated descriptions or truth-conditional contents. (shrink)
I intended to write four papers whose topics faintly concerned separate issues in meaning and modality. As it turned out, chapters 1-3 all roughly concern the same topic: propositions. While I argue for two different theses in chapters 1 and 2, I try to understand the changing propositions literature in both. In addition to arguing for the respective theses in chapters 1 and 2, accounting for this change is a parallel goal for the chapters taken together. Chapter 3 examines particular (...) propositional roles---the objects of the attitudes and the objects of credence. Finally, chapter 4 changes the subject to the second conjunct in the title---modality, specifically of the epistemic kind. (shrink)
This paper investigates a generalization of Boolean algebras which I call agglomerative algebras. It also outlines two conceptions of propositions according to which they form an agglomerative algebra but not a Boolean algebra with respect to conjunction and negation.
This paper addresses a certain objection to the quantificational theory of definite descriptions. According to this objection, the quantificational account cannot provide correct interpretations of definite descriptions embedded in the non-doxastic attitude ascriptions and therefore ought to be rejected. In brief, the objection says that the quantificational theory is committed to the view that a sentence of the form “The F is G” is equivalent to the claim that there is a unique F and it is G, while the ascription (...) such as, e.g., “S wants the F to be G” is not equivalent to the statement that S wants there to be a F and for it to be G. I argue that this objection is invalid as it rests on a false assumption concerning the substitutivity of the relative clauses in the non-doxastic attitude ascriptions. (shrink)
Possible-worlds accounts of mental or linguistic content are often criticized for being too coarse-grained. To make room for more fine-grained distinctions among contents, several authors have recently proposed extending the space of possible worlds by "impossible worlds". We argue that this strategy comes with serious costs: we would effectively have to abandon most of the features that make the possible-worlds framework attractive. More generally, we argue that while there are intuitive and theoretical considerations against overly coarse-grained notions of content, the (...) same kinds of considerations also prohibit an overly fine-grained individuation of content. An adequate notion of content, it seems, should have intermediate granularity. However, it is hard to construe a notion of content that meets these demands. Any notion of content, we suggest, must be either implausibly coarse-grained or implausibly fine-grained (or both). (shrink)
What are contents? The answer provided by the possible worlds approach is that contents are sets of possible worlds. This approach incurs serious problems and to solve them Jago suggests, in The Impossible, to get rid of the ‘possible’ bit and allowing some impossible worlds to be part of the game. In this note, I briefly consider the metaphysics behind Jago’s account and then focus on whether Jago is right in thinking that his worlds and his worlds only can do (...) the explanatory work he posits them for. (shrink)
Propositions are often aligned with truth-conditions. The view is mistaken, since propositions discriminate where truth conditions do not. Propositions are hyperintensional: they are sensitive to necessarily equivalent differences. I investigate an alternative view on which propositions are truthmaker conditions, understood as sets of possible truthmakers. This requires making metaphysical sense of merely possible states of affairs. The theory that emerges illuminates the semantic phenomena of samesaying, subject matter, and aboutness.
This paper argues for a particular view about in what metaphysical equivalence consists: namely, that any two metaphysical theories are metaphysically equivalent if and only if those theories are strongly hyperintensionally equivalent. It is consistent with this characterisation that said theories are weakly hyperintensionally distinct, thus affording us the resources to model the content of propositional attitudes directed towards metaphysically equivalent theories in such a way that non-ideal agents can bear different propositional attitudes towards metaphysically equivalent theories.
In 'Aboutness' (MIT Press 2014), Yablo argues for the importance of the notions of partial content and partial truth. This paper argues that they are involved in a much greater range of entities than acknowledged by Yablo. The paper also argues that some of those entities involve a notion of partial satisfaction as well as partial existence (validity).
Jeffrey King argues that nothing has truth conditions except by being taken to be true or false by rational agents. But – for good reason – King claims that propositions possess truth conditions essentially and intrinsically. I will argue that King cannot have both: if the truth conditions of a proposition depend on the reactions of rational agents, then the possession of truth conditions can't follow from the intrinsic nature or existence of the proposition. This leaves two options. Either, nothing (...) can do the job that motivates positing propositions. Or, there is no need to explain what bestows a truth condition on a proposition. (shrink)
David Chalmers uses Bayesian theories of credence to argue against referentialism about belief. This paper argues that Chalmers’s Bayesian objections to referentialism are similar to older, more familiar objections to referentialism. There are familiar responses to the old objections, and there is a predictable way to modify those old responses to meet Chalmers’s Bayesian objections. The new responses to the new objections are no less plausible than the old responses to the old objections. Chalmers’s positive theory of belief and credence (...) is structurally similar to typical referential theories of those objects, but his theory is more speculative and dubious. (shrink)
I present and discuss two logical results. The first shows that a non-trivial counterfactual analysis exists for any contingent proposition that is false in at least two possible worlds. The second result identifies a set of conditions that are individually necessary and jointly sufficient for the success of a counterfactual analysis. I use these results to shed light on the question whether disposition ascribing propositions can be analyzed as Stalnaker-Lewis conditional propositions. The answer is that they can, but, in order (...) for a counterfactual analysis to work, the antecedent and consequent must be related in a particular way, and David Lewis’s Time’s Arrow constraints on comparative world similarity must be relaxed. The upshot is that counterfactual analyses are easy to come by, in principle, even if not in practice. In that sense, it’s easy to be iffy. (shrink)
According to propositional contingentism, it is contingent what propositions there are. This paper presents two ways of modeling contingency in what propositions there are using two classes of possible worlds models. The two classes of models are shown to be equivalent as models of contingency in what propositions there are, although they differ as to which other aspects of reality they represent. These constructions are based on recent work by Robert Stalnaker; the aim of this paper is to explain, expand, (...) and, in one aspect, correct Stalnaker's discussion. (shrink)
This Critical Notice is about aboutness in logic and language. In a first part, I discuss the origin of the issue and the philosophical background to Yablo's book Aboutness (PUP 2014), which is itself the subject of the second and main part of my paper.
Toward the end of his classic treatise An Essay on Free Will, Peter van Inwagen offers a modal argument against the Principle of Sufficient Reason which he argues shows that the principle “collapses all modal distinctions.” In this paper, a critical flaw in this argument is shown to lie in van Inwagen’s beginning assumption that there is such a thing as the conjunction of all contingently true propositions. This is shown to follow from Cantor’s theorem and a property of conjunction (...) with respect to contingent propositions. Given the failure of this assumption, van Inwagen’s argument against the Principle of Sufficient Reason cannot succeed, at least not without the addition of some remarkable and previously unacknowledged qualifications. (shrink)
Propositions play a central role in contemporary semantics. On the Russellian account, propositions are structured entities containing particulars, properties and relations. This contrasts sharply with the sets-of-possible-worlds view of propositions. I’ll discuss how to extend the sets-of-worlds view to accommodate fine-grained hyperintensional contents. When this is done in a satisfactory way, I’ll argue, it makes heavy use of entities very much like Russellian tuples. The two notions of proposition become inter-definable and inter-substitutable: they are not genuinely distinct accounts of how (...) propositions represent what they represent. Semantic theorists may move freely between the two conceptions of what propositions are. Nevertheless, the two approaches give different accounts of the metaphysical nature of propositions. I argue that the sets-of-worlds view provides an adequate account of the nature of propositions, whereas the Russellian view cannot. (shrink)
The pressure to individuate propositions more finely than intensionally—that is, hyper-intensionally—has two distinct sources. One source is the philosophy of mind: one can believe a proposition without believing an intensionally equivalent proposition. The second source is metaphysics: there are intensionally equivalent propositions, such that one proposition is true in virtue of the other but not vice versa. I focus on what our theory of propositions should look like when it's guided by metaphysical concerns about what is true in virtue of (...) what. In this paper I articulate and defend a metaphysical theory of the individuation of propositions, according to which two propositions are identical just in case they occupy the same nodes in a network of invirtuation relations. Invirtuation is here taken to be a primitive relation of metaphysical explanation exemplified by propositions that, in conjunction with truth, defines the notion of true in virtue of. After formulating the theory, I compare it with a view.. (shrink)
Trenton Merricks presents an original argument for the existence of propositions, and defends an account of their nature. He draws a variety of controversial conclusions, for instance about supervaluationism, the nature of possible worlds, truths about non-existent entities, and whether and how logical consequence depends on modal facts.
The authors provide an object-theoretic analysis of two paradoxes in the theory of possible worlds and propositions stemming from Russell and Kaplan. After laying out the paradoxes, the authors provide a brief overview of object theory and point out how syntactic restrictions that prevent object-theoretic versions of the classical paradoxes are justified philosophically. The authors then trace the origins of the Russell paradox to a problematic application of set theory in the definition of worlds. Next the authors show that an (...) object-theoretic analysis of the Kaplan paradox reveals that there is no genuine paradox at all, as the central premise of the paradox is simply a logical falsehood and hence can be rejected on the strongest possible grounds—not only in object theory but for the very framework of propositional modal logic in which Kaplan frames his argument. The authors close by fending off a possible objection that object theory avoids the Russell paradox only by refusing to incorporate set theory and, hence, that the object-theoretic solution is only a consequence of the theory’s weakness. (shrink)
Chalmers (Mind 120(479): 587–636, 2011a) presents an argument against “referentialism” (and for his own view) that employs Bayesianism. He aims to make progress in a debate over the objects of belief, which seems to be at a standstill between referentialists and non-referentialists. Chalmers’ argument, in sketch, is that Bayesianism is incompatible with referentialism, and natural attempts to salvage the theory, Chalmers contends, requires giving up referentialism. Given the power and success of Bayesianism, the incompatibility is prima facie evidence against referentialism. (...) In this paper, I review Chalmers’ arguments and give some responses on behalf of the referentialist. (shrink)
￼Mark Jago presents an original philosophical account of meaningful thought: in particular, how it is meaningful to think about things that are impossible. We think about impossible things all the time. We can think about alchemists trying to turn base metal to gold, and about unfortunate mathematicians trying to square the circle. We may ponder whether God exists; and philosophers frequently debate whether properties, numbers, sets, moral and aesthetic qualities, and qualia exist. In many philosophical or mathematical debates, when one (...) side of the argument gets things wrong, it necessarily gets them wrong. As we consider both sides of one of these philosophical arguments, we will at some point think about something that’s impossible. Yet most philosophical accounts of meaning and content hold that we can’t meaningfully think or reason about the impossible. -/- In The Impossible, Jago argues that we often gain new information, new beliefs, and, sometimes, fresh knowledge through logic, mathematics, and philosophy. That is why logic, mathematics, and philosophy are useful. We therefore require accounts of knowledge and belief, of information and content, and of meaning which allow space for the impossible. Jago’s aim in this book is to provide such accounts. He gives a detailed analysis of the concept of hyperintensionality, whereby logically equivalent contents may be distinct, and develops a theory in terms of possible and impossible worlds. Along the way, he provides a theory of what those worlds are and how they feature in our analysis of normative epistemic concepts: knowledge, belief, information, and content. (shrink)
Two lines of investigation into the nature of mental content have proceeded in parallel until now. The first looks at thoughts that are attributable to collectives, such as bands' beliefs and teams' desires. So far, philosophers who have written on collective belief, collective intentionality, etc. have primarily focused on third-personal attributions of thoughts to collectives. The second looks at de se, or self-locating, thoughts, such as beliefs and desires that are essentially about oneself. So far, philosophers who have written on (...) the de se have primarily focused on de se thoughts of individuals. This paper looks at where these two lines of investigations intersect: collective de se thoughts, such as bands' and teams' beliefs and desires that are essentially about themselves. There is a surprising problem at this intersection: the most prominent framework for modeling de se thoughts, the framework of centered worlds, cannot model a special class of collective de se thoughts. A brief survey of this problem's solution space shows that collective de se thoughts pose a new challenge for modeling mental content. (shrink)
Beliefs are commonly analyzed as binary relations between subjects and propositions. Perry and Lewis have shown that the standard account has difficulties in handling self-locating beliefs. Robert Stalnaker has recently put forward a version of the standard account that is supposed to overcome this problem. Stalnaker's motivation for defending the propositional account of belief is that it comes with a simple and powerful propositional model of communication. In this paper I argue that Stalnaker's proposal fails. The only way of upholding (...) the propositional account of belief is by abandoning the simple account of communication. (shrink)
In Our Knowledge of the Internal World, Robert Stalnaker presents a sophisticated new defense of a radically externalist and contextualist approach to mental content. Stalnaker holds that unstructured propositions—sets of possible worlds—can provide a complete account of mental content, including Fregean cognitive significance phenomena. So there is no theoretical job for concepts to fulfill. Stalnaker sees concepts as ‘creatures of darkness’ that encourage theoretical confusion. Concepts are a vestige of the mistaken internalist picture of the mind: internal states that are (...) supposed to ensure transparent access to the objects, kinds, or properties our thoughts represent. I argue there are better reasons for positing concepts—reasons that are independent of the internalist project. (shrink)
What are the objects of knowledge, belief, probability, apriority or analyticity? For at least some of these properties, it seems plausible that the objects are sentences, or sentence-like entities. However, results from mathematical logic indicate that sentential properties are subject to severe formal limitations. After surveying these results, I argue that they are more problematic than often assumed, that they can be avoided by taking the objects of the relevant property to be coarse-grained (“sets of worlds”) propositions, and that all (...) this has little to do with the choice between operators and predicates. (shrink)
The possible-worlds analysis of propositions identifies a proposition with the set of possible worlds where it is true. This analysis has the hitherto unnoticed consequence that a proposition depends for its existence on the existence of every proposition that entails it. This peculiar consequence places the possible-worlds analysis in conflict with the conjunction of two compelling theses. One thesis is that a phrase of the form ‘the proposition that S’ is a rigid designator. The other thesis is that a proposition (...) which is directly about an object – a singular proposition – depends for its existence on the existence of the object. I defend these theses and conclude that the cost of the possible-worlds analysis is prohibitively high. (shrink)
David Lewis argues that centered worlds give us a way to capture de se, or self-locating, contents in philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. In recent years, centered worlds have also gained other uses in areas ranging widely from metaphysics to ethics. In this paper, I raise a problem for centered worlds and discuss the costs and benefits of different solutions. My investigation into the nature of centered worlds brings out potentially problematic implicit commitments of the theories that employ (...) them. In addition, my investigation shows that the conception of centered worlds widely attributed to David Lewis is not only problematic, but in fact not his. (shrink)
This paper discusses two distinct strategies that have been adopted to provide fine-grained propositions; that is, propositions individuated more finely than sets of possible worlds. One strategy takes propositions to have internal structure, while the other looks beyond possible worlds, and takes propositions to be sets of circumstances, where possible worlds do not exhaust the circumstances. The usual arguments for these positions turn on fineness-of-grain issues: just how finely should propositions be individuated? Here, I compare the two strategies with an (...) eye to the fineness-of-grain question, arguing that when a wide enough range of data is considered, we can see that a circumstance-based approach, properly spelled out, outperforms a structure-based approach in answering the question. (Part of this argument involves spelling out what I take to be a reasonable circumstance-based approach.) An argument to the contrary, due to Soames, is also considered. (shrink)
After presenting a simple expressivist account of reports of probabilistic judgements, I explore a classic problem for it, namely the Frege-Geach problem. I argue that it is a problem not just for expressivism but for any reasonable account of ascriptions of graded judgements. I suggest that the problem can be resolved by appropriately modelling imprecise credences.
In this paper I argue that a principal argument in favor of the existence of non-conceptual content (henceforth NCC) fails. That is, I do not accept that considerations regarding the richness of our perceptual experiences support the existence of NCC. I argue instead that the existence of NCC is empirically motivated. Here is an outline of the paper. First, I set out the distinction between conceptual content and NCC as we understand it. Second, I consider the richness argument (RA), and (...) argue that it fails. I argue in particular that RA (or RA-style arguments) are either self-defeating or confl ict with reasonably established accounts of early perceptual processing. Third, I tackle a residual phenomenological puzzle and offer a solution to it. Fourth, I argue that the existence of NCC enjoys empirical support. I argue in particular that states associated with early stages of visual perceptual processing have NCC. (shrink)
The objects of credence are the entities to which credences are assigned for the purposes of a successful theory of credence. I use cases akin to Frege's puzzle to argue against referentialism about credence : the view that objects of credence are determined by the objects and properties at which one's credence is directed. I go on to develop a non-referential account of the objects of credence in terms of sets of epistemically possible scenarios.
The paper shows that the paradox of the totality of propositions rest on assumptions characteristic of some theories of structured contents (like Jeffrey King's "new account of structured propositions").
Accounts of propositions as sets of possible worlds have been criticized for conflating distinct impossible propositions. In response to this problem, some have proposed to introduce impossible worlds to represent distinct impossibilities, endorsing the thesis that impossible worlds must be of the same kind; this has been called the parity thesis. I show that this thesis faces problems, and propose a hybrid account which rejects it: possible worlds are taken as concrete Lewisian worlds, and impossibilities are represented as set-theoretic constructions (...) out of them. This hybrid account (1) distinguishes many intuitively distinct impossible propositions; (2) identifies impossible propositions with extensional constructions; (3) avoids resorting to primitive modality, at least so far as Lewisian modal realism does. (shrink)