Philosophia 49 (3):1177-1186 (2021)

Matteo Plebani
University of Turin
Recent work in the philosophy of language attempts to elucidate the elusive notion of aboutness. A natural question concerning such a project has to do with its motivation: why is the notion of aboutness important? Stephen Yablo offers an interesting answer: taking into consideration not only the conditions under which a sentence is true, but also what a sentence is about opens the door to a new style of criticism of certain philosophical analyses. We might criticize the analysis of a given notion not because it fails to assign the right truth conditions to a class of sentences, but because it characterizes those sentences as being about something they are not about. In this paper, I apply Yablo’s suggestion to a case study. I consider meta-fictionalism, the view that the content of a mathematical claim S is ‘according to standard mathematics, S’. I argue, following Woodward, that, on certain assumptions, meta-fictionalism assigns the right truth-conditions to typical assertoric utterances of mathematical statements. However, I also argue that meta-fictionalism assigns the wrong aboutness conditions to typical assertoric utterances of mathematical statements.
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DOI 10.1007/s11406-020-00272-9
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References found in this work BETA

Aboutness.Stephen Yablo - 2014 - Princeton University Press.
Aboutness in Imagination.Franz Berto - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (8):1871-1886.
A Theory of Truthmaker Content I: Conjunction, Disjunction and Negation.Kit Fine - 2017 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 46 (6):625-674.

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