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Propositional Content

Oxford University Press (2015)

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  1. Frege’s Puzzle and Act-Based Propositions.Nikhil Mahant - 2022 - Acta Analytica 37 (2).
    I argue that the act-based accounts of propositions, like the one defended by Soames, cannot be used to address Frege’s Puzzle without also giving up the Millian view of names. I begin by identifying two puzzles—both of which have been called Frege’s puzzle—and discuss the act-based theorist’s solution to the first puzzle. I then raise an objection against the solution and argue that it cannot be overcome unless a concession is made. Making the concession, however, would make it impossible for (...)
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  • A Causal-Mentalist View of Propositions.Jeremiah Joven Joaquin & James Franklin - 2022 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 29 (1):47-77.
    In order to fulfil their essential roles as the bearers of truth and the relata of logical relations, propositions must be public and shareable. That requirement has favoured Platonist and other nonmental views of them, despite the well-known problems of Platonism in general. Views that propositions are mental entities have correspondingly fallen out of favour, as they have difficulty in explaining how propositions could have shareable, objective properties. We revive a mentalist view of propositions, inspired by Artificial Intelligence work on (...)
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  • Making AI Intelligible: Philosophical Foundations.Herman Cappelen & Joshua Dever - 2021 - New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
    Can humans and artificial intelligences share concepts and communicate? Making AI Intelligible shows that philosophical work on the metaphysics of meaning can help answer these questions. Herman Cappelen and Josh Dever use the externalist tradition in philosophy to create models of how AIs and humans can understand each other. In doing so, they illustrate ways in which that philosophical tradition can be improved. The questions addressed in the book are not only theoretically interesting, but the answers have pressing practical implications. (...)
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  • What is logical deflationism? Two non-metalinguistic conceptions of logic.Lionel Shapiro - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-28.
    This paper compares two ways of holding that logic is special among the sciences in that it has no restricted class of entities as its subject matter, but instead concerns all entities alike. One way is Williamson’s explanation of how inquiry into logical consequence and logical truth only superficially concerns the linguistic or conceptual entities that bear these properties. Williamson draws on ideas familiar from deflationism about truth, and his account has been called “deflationary.” I argue that the analogy is (...)
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  • Logical Form: Between Logic and Natural Language.Andrea Iacona - 2018 - Cham, Switzerland: Springer Verlag.
    Logical form has always been a prime concern for philosophers belonging to the analytic tradition. For at least one century, the study of logical form has been widely adopted as a method of investigation, relying on its capacity to reveal the structure of thoughts or the constitution of facts. This book focuses on the very idea of logical form, which is directly relevant to any principled reflection on that method. Its central thesis is that there is no such thing as (...)
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  • Objects and Attitudes (Book Outline, Under Contract with Oxford University Press).Friederike Moltmann - forthcoming
    This book pursues a novel semantics of attitude reports and modal sentences based on the notion of an attitudinal or modal object and its truthmakers.
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  • Sellars's Ontological Nominalism.Ryan Simonelli - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.
    Wilfrid Sellars is widely known for two positions that he calls “nominalism.” On the one hand, there is his “psychological nominalism,” according to which any awareness one might have of abstract entities—be they properties, relations, or facts—is a thoroughly linguistic affair, and so cannot be presupposed in thinking about the process of learning a (first) language. On the other hand, there is his ontological nominalism, according to which the world, as it is in itself, is fundamentally a world of concrete (...)
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  • How to Understand Rule-Constituted Kinds.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2021 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 13 (1):7-27.
    The paper distinguishes between two conceptions of kinds defined by constitutive rules, the one suggested by Searle, and the one invoked by Williamson to define assertion. Against recent arguments to the contrary by Maitra, Johnson and others, it argues for the superiority of the latter in the first place as an account of games. On this basis, the paper argues that the alleged disanalogies between real games and language games suggested in the literature in fact don’t exist. The paper relies (...)
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  • Truthmaking, Satisfaction and the Force-Content Distinction.Friederike Moltmann - forthcoming - In Gabriele Mras & Michael Schmitz (eds.), Force, Content, and the Unity of the Proposition. Routledge.
    This paper presents a novel perspective on the force-content distinction making use of truthmaker semantics and an ontology of attitudinal objects, things that are neither acts (or states) nor propositions. It gives a novel norm-based definition of the notion of direction of fit, strictly linking truth and (non-action-guiding) correctness.
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  • Expressivism and Cognitive Propositions.James L. D. Brown - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (3):371-387.
    Expressivists about normative thought and discourse traditionally deny that there are nondeflationary normative propositions. However, it has recently been suggested that expressivists might avoid a number of problems by providing a theory of normative propositions compatible with expressivism. This paper explores the prospects for developing an expressivist theory of propositions within the framework of cognitive act theories of propositions. First, I argue that the only extant expressivist theory of cognitive propositions—Michael Ridge's ‘ecumenical expressivist’ theory—fails to explain identity conditions for normative (...)
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  • Rules of Use.Indrek Reiland - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    In the middle of the 20th century, it was a common Wittgenstein-inspired idea in philosophy that for a linguistic expression to have a meaning is for it to be governed by a rule of use. In other words, it was widely believed that meanings are to be identified with use-conditions. However, as things stand, this idea is widely taken to be vague and mysterious, inconsistent with “truth-conditional semantics”, and subject to the Frege-Geach problem. In this paper I reinvigorate the ideas (...)
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  • Higher‐Order Metaphysics.Lukas Skiba - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (10):1-11.
    Subverting a once widely held Quinean paradigm, there is a growing consensus among philosophers of logic that higher-order quantifiers (which bind variables in the syntactic position of predicates and sentences) are a perfectly legitimate and useful instrument in the logico-philosophical toolbox, while neither being reducible to nor fully explicable in terms of first-order quantifiers (which bind variables in singular term position). This article discusses the impact of this quantificational paradigm shift on metaphysics, focussing on theories of properties, propositions, and identity, (...)
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  • Force, Content and the Varieties of Unity.Michael Schmitz - 2022 - In Gabriele Mras & Michael Schmitz (eds.), Force, content and the unity of the proposition. New York: Routledge. pp. 71-90.
    In this paper I propose three steps to overcome the force-content dichotomy and dispel the Frege point. First, we should ascribe content to force indicators. Through basic assertoric and directive force indicators such as intonation, word order and mood, a subject presents its position of theoretical or practical knowledge of a state of affairs as a fact, as something that is the case, or as a goal, as something to do. Force indicators do not operate on truth- or satisfaction evaluable (...)
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  • Replies to Wang, Speaks, and Pautz.Trenton Merricks - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (2):487-505.
    Replies for a symposium on Propositions.
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  • Co-Subjective Consciousness Constitutes Collectives.Michael Schmitz - 2018 - Journal of Social Philosophy 49 (1):137-160.
    In this paper I want to introduce and defend what I call the "subject mode account" of collective intentionality. I propose to understand collectives from joint attention dyads over small informal groups of various types to organizations, institutions and political entities such as nation states, in terms of their self-awareness. On the subject mode account, the self-consciousness of such collectives is constitutive for their being. More precisely, their self-representation as subjects of joint theoretical and practical positions towards the world – (...)
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  • What do propositions explain? Inflationary vs. deflationary perspectives and the case of singular propositions.Manuel García-Carpintero & Michele Palmira - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-21.
    In this paper we take up the question of the explanatory significance of the notion of propositional content. Our first goal is to disentangle two types of approach: According to what we call inflationism, propositions should be taken seriously enough to expect explanatory payoffs from them. The alternative deflationary approach rejects this claim. Our second goal is to explore the inflationism vs. deflationism contrast in depth by focusing on the distinction between singular and general propositions. We argue that inflationism fails (...)
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  • Meaning Underdetermines What is Said, Therefore Utterances Express Many Propositions.Thomas Hodgson - 2018 - Dialectica 72 (2):165-189.
    Linguistic meaning underdetermines what is said. This has consequences for philosophical accounts of meaning, communication, and propositional attitude reports. I argue that the consequence we should endorse is that utterances typically express many propositions, that these are what speakers mean, and that the correct semantics for attitude reports will handle this fact while being relational and propositional.
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  • Should Propositions Proliferate?Bjørn Jespersen - 2015 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (4):243-251.
    Soames's cognitive propositions are strings of acts to be performed by an agent, such as predicating a property of an individual. King takes these structured propositions to task for proliferating too easily. King's objection is based on an example that purports to show that three of Soames's propositions are really just one proposition. I translate the informally stated propositions King attributes to Soames into the intensional λ-calculus. It turns out that they are all β-equivalent to the proposition King claims Soames's (...)
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  • A Wittgensteinian Role-Based Account of Assertion.Ivan Milić & Reining Stefan - 2017 - Philosophical Investigations 40 (2):139-153.
    According to an “orthodox” reading proposed by Dummett and more recently endorsed by Lugg and Price, the later Wittgenstein rejects the idea of grouping together certain utterances as a single class of assertions. We offer an alternative commentary on the Philosophical Investigations §§21–24, developing what we call a Wittgensteinian role-based account of assertion. We then examine whether this role-based account can solve the problem of on-stage utterances. In the course of this, the merits of the account are shown and compared (...)
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  • Act‐Type Theories of Propositions.Thomas Hodgson - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (11).
    Many philosophers believe in things, propositions, which are the things that we believe, assert etc., and which are the contents of sentences. The act-type theory of propositions is an attempt to say what propositions are, to explain how we stand in relations to them, and to explain why they are true or false. The core idea of the act-type theory is that propositions are types of acts of predication. The theory is developed in various ways to offer explanations of the (...)
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  • Teaching & Learning Guide For: Act‐Type Theories of Propositions.Thomas Hodgson - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (12):e12795.
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  • Unity and Application.Geoffrey Hall - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    Propositions represent the entities from which they are formed. This fact has puzzled philosophers and some have put forward radical proposals in order to explain it. This paper develops a primivitist account of the representational properties of propositions that centers on the operation of application. As we will see, this theory wins out over its competitors on grounds of strength, systematicity and unifying power.
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  • "Saying 'Thank You!' and Expressing Gratitude: A Response to Schwartz".Indrek Reiland - manuscript
    This is a short response piece to Jeremy Schwartz's "Saying 'Thank You' and Meaning It", published in Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 2020, 98, pp. 718-731. -/- Schwartz argues against the received view that 'Thank You! is for expressing gratitude, claiming instead that it is for expressing one's judgment that gratitude is appropriate or fitting. I argue against the judgment view while defending the received one. -/- I mainly consider the objection that the judgment view is implausible since it makes ‘Thank (...)
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  • On Representationalism, Common-Factorism, and Whether Consciousness is Here and Now.Pär Sundström - 2018 - Philosophical Studies:1-12.
    A strong form of representationalism says that every conscious property of every mental state can be identified with some part of the state’s representational properties. A weaker representationalism says that some conscious property of some mental state can be identified with some part of the state’s representational properties. David Papineau has recently argued that all such theories are incorrect since they construe consciousness as consisting in “relations to propositions or other abstract objects outside space and time”, whereas consciousness is “concrete” (...)
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  • Reference, Predication, Judgment and Their Relations.Indrek Reiland - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Over the course of the past ten-plus years, Peter Hanks and Scott Soames have developed detailed versions of Act-Based views of propositions which operate with the notions of reference to objects, indicating properties, predication, and judgment (or entertaining). In this paper I discuss certain foundational aspects of the Act-Based approach having to do with the relations between these notions. In particular, I argue for the following three points. First, that the approach needs both an atomistically understood thin notion of reference, (...)
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  • Grammar Constrains Acts of Predication.Thomas Hodgson - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Båve has argued that act-type theories of propositions entail unwanted ambiguity of sentences such as ‘Donald loves Joan’. King has argued that act-type theories of propositions entail an unwanted abundance of propositions. I reply that a version of the act-type theory can avoid these objections. The key idea is that grammar constrains the acts that can be performed by the utterance of a sentence. I present enough of the details of this version of the act-type theory to show how it (...)
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  • Framing the Epistemic Schism of Statistical Mechanics.Javier Anta - 2021 - Proceedings of the X Conference of the Spanish Society of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science.
    In this talk I present the main results from Anta (2021), namely, that the theoretical division between Boltzmannian and Gibbsian statistical mechanics should be understood as a separation in the epistemic capabilities of this physical discipline. In particular, while from the Boltzmannian framework one can generate powerful explanations of thermal processes by appealing to their microdynamics, from the Gibbsian framework one can predict observable values in a computationally effective way. Finally, I argue that this statistical mechanical schism contradicts the Hempelian (...)
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  • Acts of Desire.Henry Ian Schiller - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (9):955-972.
    ABSTRACT Act-based theories of content hold that propositions are identical to acts of predication that we perform in thought and talk. To undergo an occurrent thought with a particular content is just to perform the act of predication that individuates that content. But identifying the content of a thought with the performance of an act of predication makes it difficult to explain the intentionality of bouletic mental activity, like wanting and desiring. In this paper, I argue that this difficulty is (...)
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  • Linguistic Mistakes.Indrek Reiland - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-16.
    Ever since the publication of Kripke’s Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language, there’s been a raging debate in philosophy of language over whether meaning and thought are, in some sense, normative. Most participants in the normativity wars seem to agree that some uses of meaningful expressions are semantically correct while disagreeing over whether this entails anything normative. But what is it to say that a use of an expression is semantically correct? On the so-called orthodox construal, it is to say (...)
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  • Truth and Falsity in Communication: Assertion, Denial, and Interpretation.Kensuke Ito - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-18.
    Our linguistic communication is, in part, the exchange of truths. It is an empirical fact that in daily conversation we aim at truths, not falsehoods. This fact may lead us to assume that ordinary, assertion-based communication is the only possible communicative system for truth-apt information exchange, or at least has priority over any alternatives. This assumption is underwritten in three traditional doctrines: that assertion is a basic notion, in terms of which we define denial; that to predicate truth of a (...)
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  • First Among Equals: Co-Hyperintensionality for Structured Propositions.Bjørn Jespersen - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):4483-4497.
    Theories of structured meanings are designed to generate fine-grained meanings, but they are also liable to overgenerate structures, thus drawing structural distinctions without a semantic difference. I recommend the proliferation of very fine-grained structures, so that we are able to draw any semantic distinctions we think we might need. But, in order to contain overgeneration, I argue we should insert some degree of individuation between logical equivalence and structural identity based on structural isomorphism. The idea amounts to forming an equivalence (...)
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  • Embedding Speech-Act Propositions.Jeremy Schwartz & Christopher Hom - 2020 - Synthese 198 (11):10959-10977.
    Hanks develops a theory of propositions as speech-act types. Because speech acts play a role in the contents themselves, the view overturns Frege’s force/content distinction, and as such, faces the challenge of explaining how propositions embed under logical operators like negation. The attempt to solve this problem has lead Hanks and his recent commentators to adopt theoretically exotic resources, none of which, we argue, is ultimately successful. The problem is that although there are three different ways of negating the sentence (...)
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  • Introduction: Primitivism Versus Reductionism About the Problem of the Unity of the Proposition.Manuel García-Carpintero & Bjørn Jespersen - 2019 - Synthese 196 (4):1209-1224.
    We present here the papers selected for the volume on the Unity of Propositions problems. After summarizing what the problems are, we locate them in a spectrum from those aiming to provide substantive, reductive explanations, to those with a more deflationary take on the problems.
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  • What Propositional Structure Could Not Be.Lorraine Keller - 2019 - Synthese 196 (4):1529-1553.
    The dominant account of propositions holds that they are structured entities that have, as constituents, the semantic values of the constituents of the sentences that express them. Since such theories hold that propositions are structured, in some sense, like the sentences that express them, they must provide an answer to what I will call Soames’ Question: “What level, or levels, of sentence structure does semantic information incorporate?”. As it turns out, answering Soames’ Question is no easy task. I argue in (...)
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  • Anatomy of a Proposition.Bjørn Jespersen - 2019 - Synthese 196 (4):1285-1324.
    This paper addresses the mereological problem of the unity of structured propositions. The problem is how to make multiple parts interact such that they form a whole that is ultimately related to truth and falsity. The solution I propose is based on a Platonist variant of procedural semantics. I think of procedures as abstract entities that detail a logical path from input to output. Procedures are modeled on a function/argument logic, but are not functions. Instead they are higher-order, fine-grained structures. (...)
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  • Propositions, Representation, and Truth.Geoff Georgi - 2019 - Synthese 196 (3):1019-1043.
    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 (...)
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  • The Redundancy of the Act.John Collins - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3519-3545.
    The theory that structured propositions are complex act-types has been independently articulated by Peter Hanks and Scott Soames. The present paper argues that the role of the act in such theories is supererogatory, for the individuation conditions of the act-based propositions remain wholly at the level of concepts and their formal combination, features which the traditional structured proposition theorist endorses. Thus, it is shown that the traditional problems for structured propositions are only ameliorable on the act conception by appeal to (...)
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  • On Propositions and Fineness of Grain (Again!).Jeffrey King - 2019 - Synthese 196 (4).
  • Unity Through Truth.Bryan Pickel - 2019 - Synthese 196 (4):1425-1452.
    Renewed worries about the unity of the proposition have been taken as a crucial stumbling block for any traditional conception of propositions. These worries are often framed in terms of how entities independent of mind and language can have truth conditions: why is the proposition that Desdemona loves Cassio true if and only if she loves him? I argue that the best understanding of these worries shows that they should be solved by our theory of truth and not our theory (...)
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  • A General Argument Against Structured Propositions.Peter Pagin - 2019 - Synthese 196 (4):1501-1528.
    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 (...)
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  • Force Cancellation.François Recanati - 2019 - Synthese 196 (4):1403-1424.
    Peter Hanks and Scott Soames both defend pragmatic solutions to the problem of the unity of the proposition. According to them, what ties together Tim and baldness in the singular proposition expressed by ‘Tim is bald’ is an act of the speaker : the act of predicating baldness of Tim. But Soames construes that act as force neutral and noncommittal while, for Hanks, it is inherently assertive and committal. Hanks answers the Frege–Geach challenge by arguing that, in complex sentences, the (...)
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  • Soames’s New Conception of Propositions.Ben Caplan - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (9):2533-2549.
    In this paper, I argue that, when it comes to explaining what can be described as “representational” properties of propositions, Soames’s new conception of propositions—on which the proposition that Seattle is sunny is the act of predicating the property being sunny of Seattle and to entertain that proposition is to perform that act—does not have an advantage over traditional ones.
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  • Content Pluralism.Alex Grzankowski & Ray Buchanan - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    How fine-grained are the contents of our beliefs and other cognitive attitudes? Are the contents of our beliefs individuated solely in terms of the objects, properties, and relations that figure in their truth conditions, or rather in terms of our concepts, or modes of presentation of those objects, properties, and relations? So-called Millians famously maintain the former whereas their Fregean rivals hold the latter. Though much ink was spilled on the question of grain, relatively little was ever achieved by way (...)
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  • Rules of Belief and the Normativity of Intentional Content.Derek Green - 2021 - Acta Analytica 36 (2):159-69.
    Mental content normativists hold that the mind’s conceptual contents are essentially normative. Many hold the view because they think that facts of the form “subject S possesses concept c” imply that S is enjoined by rules concerning the application of c in theoretical judgments. Some opponents independently raise an intuitive objection: even if there are such rules, S’s possession of the concept is not the source of the enjoinment. Hence, these rules do not support mental content normativism. Call this the (...)
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  • ‘The Nature of the Question Demands a Separation’: Frege on Distinguishing Between Content and Force.Mark Textor - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (2):226-240.
    ABSTRACT Recently, the content/force distinction has had a bad press. It has been argued that the distinction is not properly motivated and that it makes the problem of the unity of the proposition intractable. I will argue that Frege’s version of the content/force distinction is immune from these objections. In order to do so, I will reconstruct his argument that ‘the nature of a question’ requires a distinction between force and content. I will answer the concern about the unity of (...)
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  • Propositional Complexity and the Frege–Geach Point.Silver Bronzo - 2019 - Synthese 198 (4):3099-3130.
    It is almost universally accepted that the Frege–Geach Point is necessary for explaining the inferential relations and compositional structure of truth-functionally complex propositions. I argue that this claim rests on a disputable view of propositional structure, which models truth-functionally complex propositions on atomic propositions. I propose an alternative view of propositional structure, based on a certain notion of simulation, which accounts for the relevant phenomena without accepting the Frege–Geach Point. The main contention is that truth-functionally complex propositions do not include (...)
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  • Millianism and Translation.Andrea Raimondi - 2020 - Topoi 39 (5):1193-1197.
    According to Millianism about proper names, what a proper name semantically contributes to the sentence in which it figures is simply its referent; therefore, co-referring proper names are intercheangable salva veritate and salva significatione. In their 2019 paper published in Topoi, Felappi and Santambrogio formulate a thought-provoking argument against Millianism. Their argument aims at establishing that our normal practice of translation shows that Millianism cannot be correct. I argue that Millians can successfully reply. I will address in turn two versions (...)
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  • Speech Act Theoretic Semantics.Daniel Harris - 2014 - Dissertation, CUNY
    I defend the view that linguistic meaning is a relation borne by an expression to a type of speech act, and that this relation holds in virtue of our overlapping communicative dispositions, and not in virtue of linguistic conventions. I argue that this theory gives the right account of the semantics–pragmatics interface and the best-available semantics for non-declarative clauses, and show that it allows for the construction of a rigorous compositional semantic theory with greater explanatory power than both truth-conditional and (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Propositions.Jeffrey C. King - 2017 - Oxford Handbooks Online.
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  • Truthmaker Semantics for Natural Language: Attitude Verbs, Modals, and Intensional Transitive Verbs.Friederike Moltmann - 2020 - Theoretical Linguistics 3:159-200.
    This paper gives an outline of truthmaker semantics for natural language against the background of standard possible-worlds semantics. It develops a truthmaker semantics for attitude reports and deontic modals based on an ontology of attitudinal and modal objects and on a semantic function of clauses as predicates of such objects. It also présents new motivations for 'object-based truthmaker semantics' from intensional transitive verbs such as ‘need’, ‘look for’, ‘own’, and ‘buy’ and gives an outline of their semantics. This paper is (...)
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