Synthese 193 (11):3521-3534 (2016)

Giulia Felappi
University of Southampton
In English, in order to speak about Arthur’s attitudes, we use sentences like “Arthur believes that natural language is messy”. For sentences of this kind we have a standard theory, according to which the ‘that’-clause ‘that natural language is messy’ denotes a proposition. As Prior showed for the first time, the standard theory appears to be at odds with some linguistic data. Geach and Prior both assumed that linguistic data are to be taken as reliable guides to a correct semantic account and I will start by raising some worries concerning their methodology. Because of these data, Prior and Geach suggested some non-standard accounts. I will then show that if we take linguistic data seriously, their non-standard accounts do not fare any better than the standard theory. My general conclusion will thus not only be that Prior’s and Geach’s methodology is disputable, but also that their conclusions do not seem to follow even if we grant the reliability of their methodology.
Keywords Arthur Prior  Peter Geach  Propositional attitude sentences   The standard theory  Natural language  Linguistic data
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-015-0903-1
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References found in this work BETA

The Nature and Structure of Content.Jeffrey C. King - 2007 - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
Mental Acts: Their Content and Their Objects.Peter Thomas Geach - 1957 - London, England: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Conceptions of Truth.Wolfgang Künne - 2003 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
The Things We Mean.Stephen R. Schiffer - 2003 - Oxford University Press.

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