In Chris Tillman & Adam R. Murry (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Propositions. Routledge (2022)

Susan Brower-Toland
Saint Louis University
Propositions are items that play certain theoretical roles: (among other things) they serve as objects of belief, fundamental bearers of truth-value, and the semantic contents of sentences. In this paper, I examine the key role Ockham played in the development of later medieval debates about propositions. Unlike contemporary philosophers, who typically assume that propositions are abstract entities of some sort, Ockham holds a nominalist view of propositions according to which token entities—namely, token mental representations—play the proposition role. While Ockham's view generates a great deal of controversy and discussion I argue that it isn't his nominalism about propositions per se that proves objectionable. Indeed, insofar as few medieval philosophers countenance abstract objects, the view that token mental representations function as fundamental bearers of truth and as the semantic content of sentences is fairly standard. What does prove controversial, I claim, is Ockham's contention that token mental states—what he refers to as ‘mental sentences’—serve as objects for propositional attitudes. My discussion in the paper explores both (i) the reasons why Ockham’s attempt to treat mental representations as objects for belief and knowledge proved controversial and (ii) what alternative positions emerged in the subsequent debate about propositional attitudes.
Keywords Medieval, Propositions, Ockham, Judgment, Objects of Judgment,  Propositions  Ockham   Judgment  Objects of Judgment,  propositional attitudes  complexe significabile
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