Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 58 (4):805-26 (1998)
AbstractThis paper develops a novel version of anti-platonism, called semantic fictionalism. The view is a response to the platonist argument that we need to countenance propositions to account for the truth of sentences containing `that'-clause singular terms, e.g., sentences of the form `x believes that p' and `σ means that p'. Briefly, the view is that (a) platonists are right that `that'-clauses purport to refer to propositions, but (b) there are no such things as propositions, and hence, (c) `that'-clause-containing sentences of the above sort are not true-they are useful fictions. Semantic fictionalism is an extension of Hartry Field's mathematical fictionalism, but my defense of the view is not analogous to his. One of the many virtues of my defense is its generality: it explains how we can adopt a fictionalist stance towards all abstract singular terms, e.g., mathematical singular terms and `that'-clauses
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