Michael Schmitz
University of Vienna
[This is an old version which is superseded by the published version. I keep it here for the record, as it has been cited.] A strict dichotomy between the force / mode of speech acts and intentional states and their propositional content has been a central feature of analytical philosophy of language and mind since the time of Gottlob Frege and Bertrand Russell. Recently this dichotomy has been questioned by philosophers such as Peter Hanks (2015, 2016) and Francois Recanati (2016), who argue that we can't account for propositional unity independently of the forceful acts of speakers and propose new ways of responding to the notorious 'Frege point' by appealing to a notion of force cancellation. In my paper I will offer some supplementary criticisms of the traditional view, but also a way of reconceptualizing the force-content distinction which allows us to preserve certain of its features, and an alternative response to the Frege point that rejects the notion of force cancellation in favor of an appeal to intentional acts that create additional forms of unity at higher levels of intentional organization: acts such as questioning a statement or order, or merely putting it forward or entertaining it; pretending to state or order; or conjoining or disjoining statements or orders. This allows us to understand how we can present a forceful act without being committed to it. In contrast, the Frege point confuses a lack of commitment to with a lack of commitment or force in what is put forward.
Keywords Propositions  Frege point  Illocutionary force  The unity of the proposition  Fiction  Questions  Practical questions  Force-content distinction  Peter Hanks  Francois Recanati
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Mind and World.John McDowell - 1994 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

View all 31 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Unity and the Frege–Geach Problem.Christopher Hom & Jeremy Schwartz - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (1):15-24.
Force Cancellation.François Recanati - 2019 - Synthese 196 (4):1403-1424.
The Unity of the Proposition.Peter Hanks - 2002 - Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley
Content, Mood, and Force.Francois Recanati - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (7):622-632.
Illocutionary Force and Semantic Content.Mitchell Green - 2000 - Linguistics and Philosophy 23 (5):435-473.
Questions of Unity.Jeffrey C. King - 2009 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 109 (1pt3):257-277.
Frege, Fiction and Force.Jessie Munton - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3669-3692.
Propositional Content.Peter Hanks - 2015 - Oxford University Press.


Added to PP index

Total views
139 ( #82,928 of 2,498,778 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #80,348 of 2,498,778 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes