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  1. A Puzzle About Belief-About.Alex Rausch - forthcoming - Mind.
    I present a puzzle for the standard, propositional semantic account of belief reports by considering novel inferences which it incorrectly predicts to be invalid under assumptions that are plausible by its advocates’ own lights. In response, I propose a conservative departure from the standard view on which certain ‘that’-clauses designate novel devices of semantic type that I call open propositions. After outlining some desiderata for a theory of open propositions, I provide some reasons for advocates of the standard view to (...)
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  2. Cognitive Significance.Aidan Gray - 2021 - In Stephen Biggs & Heimir Geirsson (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Linguistic Reference. New York, NY, USA:
    Frege's Puzzle is a founding problem in analytic philosophy. It lies at the intersection of central topics in the philosophy of language and mind: the theory of reference, the nature of propositional attitudes, the nature of semantic theorizing, the relation between semantics and pragmatics, etc. This chapter is an overview of the puzzle and of the space of contemporary approaches to it.
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  3. Fine-Grained Semantics for Attitude Reports.Harvey Lederman - 2021 - Semantics and Pragmatics 14 (1).
    I observe that the “concept-generator” theory of Percus and Sauerland (2003), Anand (2006), and Charlow and Sharvit (2014) does not predict an intuitive true interpretation of the sentence “Plato did not believe that Hesperus was Phosphorus”. In response, I present a simple theory of attitude reports which employs a fine-grained semantics for names, according to which names which intuitively name the same thing may have distinct compositional semantic values. This simple theory solves the problem with the concept-generator theory, but, as (...)
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  4. The Multiple Relation Theory and Schiffer’s Puzzle.Stefan Rinner - 2021 - Synthese 198 (10):9117-9137.
    Following Russell, philosophers like Moltmann, Jubien, Boër, and Newman analyse ‘John believes that Mary is French’ as ‘R ’, instead of analysing it as ‘R ’. Thus, for these philosophers, instead of relations holding between agents and truth-bearing entities, propositional attitude verbs, like ‘belief’, express relations holding between agents and the properties and objects our thoughts and speech acts are about. This is also known as the Multiple Relation Theory. In this paper, I will discuss the Multiple Relation Theory primarily (...)
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  5. Russellians Can Solve the Problem of Empty Names with Nonsingular Propositions.Thomas Hodgson - 2020 - Synthese 197:5411–5433.
    Views that treat the contents of sentences as structured, Russellian propositions face a problem with empty names. It seems that those sorts of things cannot be the contents of sentences containing such names. I motivate and defend a solution to the problem according to which a sentence may have a singular proposition as its content at one time, and a nonsingular one at another. When the name is empty the content is a nonsingular Russellian structured proposition; when the name is (...)
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  6. Naive Russellians and Schiffer’s Puzzle.Stefan Rinner - 2020 - Erkenntnis:1-20.
    Neo-Russellians like Salmon and Braun hold that: the semantic contents of sentences are structured propositions whose basic components are objects and properties, names are directly referential terms, and a sentence of the form ‘n believes that S’ is true in a context c iff the referent of the name n in c believes the proposition expressed by S in c. This is sometimes referred to as ‘the Naive Russellian theory’. In this talk, I will discuss the Naive Russellian theory primarily (...)
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  7. Lost in Translation?Giulia Felappi & Marco Santambrogio - 2019 - Topoi 38 (2):265-276.
    According to neo-Russellianism, in a sentence such as John believes that Mont Blanc is 4000 m high, any other proper name co-referring with Mont Blanc can be substituted for it without any change in the proposition expressed. Prima facie, our practice of translation shows that this cannot be correct. We will then show that neo-Russellians have a way out of this problem, which consists in holding that actual translations are not a matter of semantics, but also make an attempt at (...)
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  8. Singular Thoughts and de Re Attitude Reports.James Openshaw - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (4):415-437.
    It is widely supposed that if there is to be a plausible connection between the truth of a de re attitude report about a subject and that subject’s possession of a singular thought, then ‘acquaintance’-style requirements on singular thought must be rejected. I show that this belief rests on poorly motivated claims about how we talk about the attitudes. I offer a framework for propositional attitude reports which provides both attractive solutions to recalcitrant puzzle cases and the key to preserving (...)
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  9. Precis of Jonathan Berg, Direct Belief: An Essay on the Semantics, Pragmatics, and Metaphysics of Belief: Mouton Series in Pragmatics, 13. Berlin & Boston: De Gruyter Mouton, 2012.Jonathan Berg - 2017 - Philosophia 45 (1):7-17.
    In Direct Belief I argue for the Theory of Direct Belief, which treats having a belief about an individual as an unmediated relation between the believer and the individual the belief is about. After a critical review of alternative positions, I use Grice’s theory of conversational implicature to provide a detailed pragmatic account of substitution failure in belief ascriptions and go on to defend this view against objections, including those based on an unwarranted “Inner Speech” Picture of Thought. The work (...)
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  10. Replies to Davis, Everett, Jacquette, Nottelmann, and Smith.Jonathan Berg - 2017 - Philosophia 45 (1):107-124.
    Replies to comments by Wayne Davis, Anthony Everett, Dale Jacquette, Nikolaj Nottelmann, and Tiddy Smith, on my book Direct Belief: An Essay on the Semantics, Pragmatics, and Metaphysics of Belief.
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  11. Berg on Belief Reports.Anthony Everett - 2017 - Philosophia 45 (1):35-47.
    Jonathan Berg’s insightful and lucid book Direct Belief develops a pragmatic account of our intuitions about Frege-cases. More precisely Berg argues that our practice of belief-reporting normally exhibits certain regularities. He argues that utterances of belief reports typically conversationally implicate that the reports adhere to these regularities. And he uses these implicatures to explain our intuitions about Frege-cases. I explore and unpack Berg’s pragmatic account, considering and offering responses to three natural worries that might be raised. In particular, I respond (...)
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  12. Semantics and Pragmatics of Referentially Transparent and Referentially Opaque Belief Ascription Sentences.Dale Jacquette - 2017 - Philosophia 45 (1):49-71.
    This essay takes a critical look at Jonathan Berg’s theory of direct belief. Berg’s analysis of the concept of direct belief is considered insightful, but doubts are raised concerning his generalization of the purely extensional truth conditional semantics of direct belief ascription sentences to the truth conditional semantics of all belief ascription sentences. Difficulties are posed that Berg does not discuss, but that are implied by the proposal that the truth conditional semantics of belief ascription sentences generally are those of (...)
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  13. Bertrand Russell and the Nature of Propositions: A History and Defence of the Multiple Relation Theory of Judgement.Samuel Lebens - 2017 - New York: Routledge.
    Bertrand Russell and the Nature of Propositions offers the first book-length defence of the Multiple Relation Theory of Judgement (MRTJ). Although the theory was much maligned by Wittgenstein and ultimately rejected by Russell himself, Lebens shows that it provides a rich and insightful way to understand the nature of propositional content. In Part I, Lebens charts the trajectory of Russell’s thought before he adopted the MRTJ. Part II reviews the historical story of the theory: What led Russell to deny the (...)
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  14. Russellianism Unencumbered.Mark McCullagh - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2819-2843.
    Richard Heck, Jr has recently argued against Russellianism about proper names not in the usual way—by appeal to “intuitions” about the truth conditions of “that”-clause belief ascriptions—but by appeal to our need to specify beliefs in a way that reflects their individuation. Since beliefs are individuated by their psychological roles and not their Russellian contents, he argues, Russellianism is precluded in principle from accounting for our ability to specify beliefs in ordinary language. I argue that Heck thus makes things easier (...)
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  15. Is Radical Millianism Worth its Methodological Costs? A Critique of Jonathan Berg’s Theory of Direct Belief.Nikolaj Nottelmann - 2017 - Philosophia 45 (1):73-100.
    This article focuses on Jonathan Berg’s Theory of Direct Belief as presented in his 2012 book Direct Belief. An Essay on the Semantics, Pragmatics, and Metaphysics of Belief. After regimenting Berg’s key theses and discussing the sources of their general unpopularity, I proceed to reconstruct Berg’s book-length argument for his conclusions. I here make explicit that Berg relies on a range of strong meta-semantic principles and assumptions. I conclude that even if Berg has brought considerable methodological rigor to the on-going (...)
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  16. Who’s Who?: Direct Belief and Symmetrical Substitution.Tiddy Smith - 2017 - Philosophia 45 (1):101-105.
    According to Jonathan Berg’s Theory of Direct Belief, a belief about some individual is an unmediated dyadic relation between the believer and that individual. Berg’s thesis incorporates a Millian account of proper names, and invokes conversational implicature to explain well-known anti-substitution intuitions. In this critical note, I present a puzzle for the Theory of Direct Belief involving symmetrical substitution in false identity belief reports.
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  17. Schiffer's Puzzle: A Kind of Fregean Response.Ray Buchanan - 2016 - In Gary Ostertag (ed.), Meanings and Other Things. Oxford University Press.
    In ‘What Reference Has to Tell Us about Meaning’, Stephen Schiffer argues that many of the objects of our beliefs, and the contents of our assertoric speech acts, have what he calls the relativity feature. A proposition has the relativity feature just in case it is an object-dependent proposition ‘the entertainment of which requires different people, or the same person at different times or places, to think of [the relevant object] in different ways’ (129). But as no Fregean or Russellian (...)
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  18. Indexical Sinn: Fregeanism Versus Millianism.João Branquinho - 2014 - Revista de Filosofia Aurora 26 (39):465-486.
    This paper discusses two notational variance views with respect to indexical singular reference and content: the view that certain forms of Millianism are at bottom notational variants of a Fregean theory of reference, the Fregean Notational Variance Claim; and the view that certain forms of Fregeanism are at bottom notational variants of a direct reference theory, the Millian Notational Variance Claim. While the former claim rests on the supposition that a direct reference theory could be easily turned into a particular (...)
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  19. Attitude Ascriptions and Acceptable Translations.Mark Pinder - 2014 - Analysis 74 (3):530-540.
    Critical notice of Mark Richard's 'Context and the Attitudes: Meaning in Context, Volume 1'.
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  20. De Re Belief.David Kaplan - 2013 - In Richard Hull (ed.), Presidential Addresses of The American Philosophical Association 1981–1990. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 25-37.
  21. On Non-Pragmatic Millianism.Andrea Onofri - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (2):305-327.
    Speakers often judge the sentence “Lois Lane believes that Superman flies” to be true and the sentence “Lois Lane believes that Clark Kent flies” to be false. If Millianism is true, however, these sentences express the very same proposition and must therefore have same truth value. “Pragmatic” Millians like Salmon and Soames have tried to explain speakers’ “anti-substitution intuitions” by claiming that the two sentences are routinely used to pragmatically convey different propositions which do have different truth values. “Non-Pragmatic” Millians (...)
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  22. Direct Belief: An Essay on the Semantics, Pragmatics, and Metaphysics of Belief.Jonathan Berg - 2012 - De Gruyter Mouton.
    Jonathan Berg argues for the Theory of Direct Belief, which treats having a belief about an individual as an unmediated relation between the believer and the individual the belief is about. After a critical review of alternative positions, Berg uses Grice's theory of conversational implicature to provide a detailed pragmatic account of substitution failure in belief ascriptions and goes on to defend this view against objections, including those based on an unwarranted "Inner Speech" Picture of Thought. The work serves as (...)
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  23. Philosophy of Language and Webs of Information.Heimir Geirsson - 2012 - Routledge.
    Introduction and overview -- Reference -- Propositions: structure and objects -- Reporting attitudes -- Singular propositions and acquaintance -- Beliefs and belief reports -- Empty names -- Attitude contexts: beliefs and justification.
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  24. The Reference Book.John Hawthorne & David Manley - 2012 - Oxford University Press.
    This book critically examines some widespread views about the semantic phenomenon of reference and the cognitive phenomenon of singular thought. It begins with a defense of the view that neither is tied to a special relation of causal or epistemic acquaintance. It then challenges the alleged semantic rift between definite and indefinite descriptions on the one hand, and names and demonstratives on the other—a division that has been motivated in part by appeals to considerations of acquaintance. Drawing on recent work (...)
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  25. Russell on Substitutivity and the Abandonment of Propositions.Ian Proops - 2011 - Philosophical Review 120 (2):151-205.
    The paper argues that philosophers commonly misidentify the substitutivity principle involved in Russell’s puzzle about substitutivity in “On Denoting”. This matters because when that principle is properly identified the puzzle becomes considerably sharper and more interesting than it is often taken to be. This article describes both the puzzle itself and Russell's solution to it, which involves resources beyond the theory of descriptions. It then explores the epistemological and metaphysical consequences of that solution. One such consequence, it argues, is that (...)
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  26. Frege's Puzzle and Descriptive Enrichment.Jeff Speaks - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 83 (2):267-282.
    Millians sometimes claim that we can explain the fact that sentences like "If Hesperus exists, then Hesperus is Phosphorus" seem a posteriori to speakers in terms of the fact that utterances of sentences of this sort would typically pragmatically convey propositions which really are a posteriori. I argue that this kind of pragmatic explanation of the seeming a posterioricity of sentences of this sort fails. The main reason is that for every sentence like the above which (by Millian lights) is (...)
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  27. A Pragmatic Defense of Millianism.Arvid Båve - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 138 (2):271 - 289.
    A new kind of defense of the Millian theory of names is given, which explains intuitive counter-examples as depending on pragmatic effects of the relevant sentences, by direct application of Grice’s and Sperber and Wilson’s Relevance Theory and uncontroversial assumptions. I begin by arguing that synonyms are always intersubstitutable, despite Mates’ considerations, and then apply the method to names. Then, a fairly large sample of cases concerning names are dealt with in related ways. It is argued that the method, as (...)
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  28. On the Persistence of Indexical Belief.Joao Branquinho - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 39:21-30.
    This paper is devoted to an examination of the topic of cognitive dynamics as introduced by David Kaplan in his essay ‘Demonstratives’. I discuss two approaches to cognitive dynamics: the directly referential approach, which I take as best represented in Kaplan’s views, and the neo-Fregean approach, which I take as best represented in Gareth Evans’s views. The upshot of my discussion is twofold. On the one hand, I argue that both Kaplan’s account and Evans’s account are on the whole defective (...)
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  29. A Problem for Russellian Theories of Belief.Gary Ostertag - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 146 (2):249 - 267.
    Russellianism is characterized as the view that ‘that’-clauses refer to Russellian propositions, familiar set-theoretic pairings of objects and properties. Two belief-reporting sentences, S and S*, possessing the same Russellian content, but differing in their intuitive truthvalue, are provided. It is argued that no Russellian explanation of the difference in apparent truthvalue is available, with the upshot that the Russellian fails to explain how a speaker who asserts S but rejects S* can be innocent of inconsistency, either in what she says (...)
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  30. Frege’s Puzzle and Frege Cases: Defending a Quasi-Syntactic Solution.Robert D. Rupert - 2008 - Cognitive Systems Research 9:76-91.
    There is no doubt that social interaction plays an important role in language-learning, as well as in concept acquisition. In surprising contrast, social interaction makes only passing appearance in our most promising naturalistic theories of content. This is particularly true in the case of mental content (e.g., Cummins, 1996; Dretske, 1981, 1988; Fodor, 1987, 1990a; Millikan, 1984); and insofar as linguistic content derives from mental content (Grice, 1957), social interaction seems missing from our best naturalistic theories of both.1 In this (...)
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  31. Illogical, but Rational.David Braun - 2006 - Noûs 40 (2):376–379.
    Stephen Schiffer says that Nathan Salmon and I are committed to the special-case consequence. He also says that it is possible for - to be true.
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  32. The New Leibniz's Law Arguments for Pluralism.Bryan Frances - 2006 - Mind 115 (460):1007-1022.
    For years philosophers argued for the existence of distinct yet materially coincident things by appealing to modal and temporal properties. For instance, the statue was made on Monday and could not survive being flattened; the lump of clay was made months before and can survive flattening. Such arguments have been thoroughly examined. Kit Fine has proposed a new set of arguments using the same template. I offer a critical evaluation of what I take to be his central lines of reasoning.
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  33. The Resilience of Illogical Belief.Nathan Salmon - 2006 - Noûs 40 (2):369–375.
    Although Professor Schiffer and I have many times disagreed, I share his deep and abiding commitment to argument as a primary philosophical tool. Regretting any communication failure that has occurred, I endeavor here to make clearer my earlier reply in “Illogical Belief” to Schiffer’s alleged problem for my version of Millianism.1 I shall be skeletal, however; the interested reader is encouraged to turn to “Illogical Belief” for detail and elaboration. I have argued that to bear a propositional attitude de re (...)
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  34. A Problem for a Direct-Reference Theory of Belief Reports.Stephen Schiffer - 2006 - Noûs 40 (2):361-368.
    (1) The propositions we believe and say are _Russellian_ _propositions_: structured propositions whose basic components are the objects and properties our thoughts and speech acts are about. (2) Many singular terms.
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  35. Do Conversational Implicatures Explain Substitutivity Failures?Cara Spencer - 2006 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (1):126–139.
    The Russellian approach to the semantics of attitude ascriptions faces a problem in explaining the robust speaker intuitions that it does not predict. A familiar response to the problem is to claim that utterances of attitude ascriptions may differ in their Gricean conversational implicatures. I argue that the appeal to Grice is ad hoc. First, we find that speakers do not typically judge an utterance false merely because it implicates something false. The apparent cancellability of the putative implicatures is irrelevant, (...)
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  36. A Puzzle About Disbelief.Gary Ostertag - 2005 - Journal of Philosophy 102 (11):573 - 593.
    According to the naive theory of belief reports, our intuition that “Lois believes that Kent flies” is false results from our mistakenly identifying what this sentence implicates, which is false, with what it says, which is true. Whatever the merits of this proposal, it is here argued that the naive theory’s analysis of negative belief reports—sentences such as “Lois doesn't believe that Kent flies”—gives rise to equally problematic clashes with intuition, but that in this case no “pragmatic” explanation is available. (...)
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  37. A Millian Propositional Guise for One Puzzling English Gal.Chris Tillman - 2005 - Analysis 65 (3):251–258.
  38. Pure Russellianism.Sean Crawford - 2004 - Philosophical Papers 33 (2):171-202.
    Abstract According to Russellianism, the content of a Russellian thought, in which a person ascribes a monadic property to an object, can be represented as an ordered couple of the object and the property. A consequence of this is that it is not possible for a person to believe that a is F and not to believe b is F, when a=b. Many critics of Russellianism suppose that this is possible and thus that Russellianism is false. Several arguments for this (...)
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  39. A Solution for Russellians to a Puzzle About Belief.Sean Crawford - 2004 - Analysis 64 (3):223-29.
    According to Russellianism (or Millianism), the two sentences ‘Ralph believes George Eliot is a novelist’ and ‘Ralph believes Mary Ann Evans is a novelist’ cannot diverge in truth-value, since they express the same proposition. The problem for the Russellian (or Millian) is that a puzzle of Kaplan’s seems to show that they can diverge in truth-value and that therefore, since the Russellian holds that they express the same proposition, the Russellian view is contradictory. I argue that the standard Russellian appeal (...)
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  40. The Price of Innocent Millianism.Stefano Predelli - 2004 - Erkenntnis 60 (3):335-356.
    According to the view I call `innocent Millianism', that-clauses differing only for occurrences of co-referential names provide the same contribution to the intensional profile of a belief report. It is widely believed by friends and foes of innocent Millianism alike that this approach entails either the denial of what I label a `naïve' account ofbelief reports, or a dismissive attitude towards our semantic intuitions. In this essay, I counter that the conjunction of innocent Millianism and the naïve view of belief (...)
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  41. Naming, Necessity, and Beyond. [REVIEW]Nathan Salmon - 2003 - Mind 112 (447):475-492.
  42. Cognitive Significance, Attitude Ascriptions, and Ways of Believing Propositions.David Braun - 2002 - Philosophical Studies 108 (1-2):65-81.
    We use names to talk about objects. We use predicates to talk about properties and relations. We use sentences to attribute properties and relations to objects. We say things when we utter sentences, often things we believe.
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  43. A Test for Theories of Belief Ascription.B. Frances - 2002 - Analysis 62 (2):116-125.
    These days the two most popular approaches to belief ascription are Millianism and Contextualism. The former approach is inconsistent with the existence of ordinary Frege cases, such as Lois believing that Superman flies while failing to believe that Clark Kent flies. The Millian holds that the only truth-conditionally relevant aspect of a proper name is its referent or extension. Contextualism, as I will define it for the purposes of this essay, includes all theories according to which ascriptions of the form (...)
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  44. Russellianism and Explanation.David Braun - 2001 - Noûs 35 (s15):253-289.
    Many philosophers think that the Substitution Objection decisively refutes Russellianism. This objection claims that sentences (1) and (2) can differ in truth value. Therefore, it says, the sentences express different propositions, and so Russellianism is false.
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  45. Russellianism and Prediction.David Braun - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 105 (1):59 - 105.
    Russellianism (also called `neo-Russellianism, `Millianism, and `thenaive theory') entails that substitution of co-referring names inattitude ascriptions preserves truth value and proposition expressed.Thus, on this view, if Lucy wants Twain to autograph her book, thenshe also wants Clemens to autograph her book, even if she says ``I donot want Clemens to autograph my book''. Some philosophers (includingMichael Devitt and Mark Richard) claim that attitude ascriptions canbe used to predict behavior, but argue that if Russellianism weretrue, then this would not be so. (...)
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  46. Simple and Sophisticated "Naive" Semantics.Peter Alward - 2000 - Dialogue 39 (1):101-122.
    RÉSUMÉ: Je critique dans cet article la théorie «naïve» des attributions de croyances, selon laquelle la signification d'un nom propre dans la clause qui figure comme complément d'une telle attribution est son référent. Je soutiens que l'usage que nous faisons de ces attributions dans l'explication du comportement oblige à rejeter la version simple de la sémantique «naïve» au profit de sa cousine plus sophistiquée. Et je soutiens que la théorie «naïve» sophistiquée se compare défavorablement à des versions plausibles de la (...)
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  47. Disquotation and Substitutivity.Bryan Frances - 2000 - Mind 109 (435):519-25.
    Millianism is reasonable; that is, it is reasonable to think that all there is to the semantic value of a proper name is its referent. But Millianism appears to be undermined by the falsehood of Substitutivity, the principle that interchanging coreferential proper names in an intentional context cannot change the truth value of the resulting belief report. Mary might be perfectly rational in assenting to ‘Twain was a great writer’ as well as ‘Clemens was not a great writer’. Her confusion (...)
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  48. Defending the Defense.Bryan Frances - 1999 - Mind 108 (431):563-566.
    My hunch has always been that in the end, Fregeanism will defeat Millianism. So I suspect that my (1998) arguments on behalf of Millianism are flawed. Peter Graham (1999) is confident he has found the flaws, but he has not. I hope that some clarification will encourage others to reveal the errors.
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  49. Contradictory Belief and Epistemic Closure Principles.Bryan Frances - 1999 - Mind and Language 14 (2):203–226.
    Kripke’s puzzle has puts pressure on the intuitive idea that one can believe that Superman can fly without believing that Clark Kent can fly. If this idea is wrong then many theories of belief and belief ascription are built from faulty data. I argue that part of the proper analysis of Kripke’s puzzle refutes the closure principles that show up in many important arguments in epistemology, e.g., if S is rational and knows that P and that P entails Q, then (...)
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  50. Substitution, Simple Sentences, and Sex Scandals.Jennifer M. Saul - 1999 - Analysis 59 (2):106-112.
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