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Propositions as Acts
  1. Iconic Propositions.Jesse J. Fitts - 2020 - Philosophia Scientiæ. Travaux d'Histoire Et de Philosophie des Sciences 24:99-123.
    Je défends ici la nécessité, et ébauche une première version, d’une théorie iconique des propositions. Selon celle-ci, les propositions sont comme les objets de représentation, ou similaires à eux. Les propositions, suivant cette approche, sont des propriétés que l’esprit instancie lorsqu’il modélise le monde. Je connecte cette théorie aux récents développements de la littérature académique sur les propositions, ainsi qu’à une branche de recherches en sciences cognitives, qui explique certains types de représentations mentales en termes d’iconicité. I motivate the need (...)
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  2. Wollen und Wahrheit.Michael Schmitz - 2016 - In Neil Roughley & Julius Schälike (eds.), Wollen. Seine Bedeutung, seine Grenzen. Münster: Mentis. pp. 43-70.
    In diesem Aufsatz argumentiere ich, dass die Standardauffassung von Propositionen und propositionalen Einstellungen inadäquat ist, ein Artefakt der gegenwärtig herrschenden theorielastigen Auffassung von Intentionalität, Sprache und Rationalität, und skizziere eine alternative Auffassung. Im folgenden Abschnitt belege ich erst einmal die These der Theorielastigkeit anhand einiger Beispiele vor allem aus der gegenwärtigen analytischen Philosophie. Der dritte Abschnitt erklärt, wie diese Theorielastigkeit im Standardverständnis von Propositionen und propositionalen Einstellungen verkörpert ist. Im vierten Abschnitt argumentiere ich, dass dieses Standardverständnis der Proposition zwei unvereinbare (...)
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  3. Force, Content and the Varieties of Subject.Michael Schmitz - 2019 - Language and Communication 69:115-129.
    This paper argues that to account for group speech acts, we should adopt a representationalist account of mode / force. Individual and collective subjects do not only represent what they e.g. assert or order. By asserting or ordering they also indicate their theoretical or practical positions towards what they assert or order. The ‘Frege point’ cannot establish the received dichotomy of force and propositional content. On the contrary, only the representationalist account allows a satisfactory response to it. It also allows (...)
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  4. Attitudinal Objects.Friederike Moltmann - forthcoming - In Chris Tillman (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Propositions. Routledge.
    This paper defends the view that attitudinal objects such as claims, beliefs, judgments, and requests form an ontological category of its own sharply distinguished from that of events and states and that of propositions. Attitudinal objects play a central role in attitude reports and avoid the conceptual and empirical problems for propositions. Unlike the latter, attitudinal objects bear a particular connection to normativity. The paper will also discuss the syntactic basis of a semantics of attitude reports based on attitudinal objects.
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  5. Acts of Desire.Henry Ian Schiller - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-18.
    Act-based theories of content hold that propositions are identical to acts of predication that we perform in thought and talk. To undergo an occurrent thought with a particular content just is to perform the act of predication that individuates that content. But identifying the content of a thought with the performance of an act of predication makes it difficult to explain the intentionality of bouletic mental activity, like wanting and desiring. In this paper, I argue that this difficulty is insurmountable: (...)
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  6. Acts and Alternative Analyses.Arvid Båve - 2019 - Journal of Philosophy 116 (4):181–205.
    I show that the act-type theories of Soames and Hanks entail that every sentence with alternative analyses (including every atomic sentence with a polyadic predicate) is ambiguous, many of them massively so. I assume that act types directed toward distinct objects are themselves distinct, plus some standard semantic axioms, and infer that act-type theorists are committed to saying that ‘Mary loves John’ expresses both the act type of predicating [loving John] of Mary and that of predicating [being loved by Mary] (...)
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  7. Predication and the Frege–Geach Problem.Indrek Reiland - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (1):141-159.
    Several philosophers have recently appealed to predication in developing their theories of cognitive representation and propositions. One central point of difference between them is whether they take predication to be forceful or neutral and whether they take the most basic cognitive representational act to be judging or entertaining. Both views are supported by powerful reasons and both face problems. Many think that predication must be forceful if it is to explain representation. However, the standard ways of implementing the idea give (...)
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  8. Review of Peter Hanks, Propositional Content, Oxford University Press, 2015. [REVIEW]Andreas Stokke - 2016 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2.
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  9. Acts and Their Objects.Barry Smith - 1983 - In Epistemology and Philosophy of Science. Vienna: Vienna: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky. pp. 85--88.
    I shall begin with the assumption that there are, among our mental acts. some which stand in direct contact with ohjects in the material world. The aim of this paper will he to clarify and to draw out certain implications of this somewhat trivial assumption, and ultimately to say something about the ontological structure of those of our acts which effect the function of bringing us into contact with material acts which serve. as we might say, as the most external (...)
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  10. Propositional Content. [REVIEW]Indrek Reiland - 2017 - Philosophical Review 126 (1):132-136.
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  11. On Product‐Based Accounts of Propositional Attitudes.Giulia Felappi - 2014 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (4):302-313.
    Propositional attitude sentences, such as John believes that snow is white, are traditionally taken to express the holding of a relation between a subject and what ‘that’-clauses like ‘that snow is white’ denote, i.e. propositions. On the traditional account, propositions are abstract, mind- and language-independent entities. Recently, some have raised some serious worries for the traditional account and thought that we were mistaken about the kind of entities propositions are. Over the last ten years there has then been a boom (...)
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  12. Propositions, Attitudinal Objects, and the Distinction Between Actions and Products.Friederike Moltmann - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume on Propositions, Edited by G. Rattan and D. Hunter 43 (5-6):679-701.
    This paper argues that attitudinal objects, entities of the sort of John's judgment, John's thought, and John's claim, should play the role of propositions, as the cognitive products of cognitive acts, not the acts themselves.
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  13. Propositional or Non-Propositional Attitudes?Sean Crawford - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 168 (1):179-210.
    Propositionalism is the view that intentional attitudes, such as belief, are relations to propositions. Propositionalists argue that propositionalism follows from the intuitive validity of certain kinds of inferences involving attitude reports. Jubien (2001) argues powerfully against propositions and sketches some interesting positive proposals, based on Russell’s multiple relation theory of judgment, about how to accommodate “propositional phenomena” without appeal to propositions. This paper argues that none of Jubien’s proposals succeeds in accommodating an important range of propositional phenomena, such as the (...)
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  14. Act-Based Conceptions of Propositional Content. Contemporary and Historical Perspectives.Friederike Moltmann & Mark Textor (eds.) - 2017 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    Ever since Frege, propositions have played a central role in philosophy of language. Propositions are generally conceived as abstract objects that have truth conditions essentially and fulfill both the role of the meaning of sentences and of the objects or content of propositional attitudes. More recently, the abstract conception of propositions has given rise to serious dissatisfaction among a number of philosophers, who have instead proposed a conception of propositional content based on cognitive acts (Hanks, Moltmann, Soames). This approach is (...)
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  15. Propositional Attitudes and Mental Acts.Indrek Reiland - 2012 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 1 (3):239-245.
    Peter Hanks and Scott Soames have recently developed similar views of propositional attitudes on which they consist at least partly of being disposed to perform mental acts. Both think that to believe a proposition is at least partly to be disposed to perform the primitive propositional act: one the performance of which is part of the performance of any other propositional act. However, they differ over whether the primitive act is the forceless entertaining or the forceful judging. In this paper (...)
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  16. Comments on David Johnston's "Identity, Necessity, and Propositions".Peter Alward - manuscript
    Johnston maintains that the notion of a proposition -- ”a language independent (abstract) particular” -- can be dispensed with in philosophical semantics and replaced with that of a propositional act. A propositional act is a component of a speech act that is responsible for the propositional content of the speech act. Traditionally, it is thought that a propositional act yields the propositional content of a speech act by being an act of expressing a proposition. And it is the expressed proposition (...)
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Propositions as Sets of Worlds
  1. The Propositional Benacerraf Problem.Jesse Fitts - forthcoming - In Chris Tillman (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Propositions. Routledge:
    Writers in the propositions literature consider the Benacerraf objection serious, often decisive. The objection figures heavily in dismissing standard theories of propositions of the past, notably set-theoretic theories. I argue that the situation is more complicated. After explicating the propositional Benacerraf problem, I focus on a classic set-theoretic theory of propositions, the possible worlds theory, and argue that methodological considerations influence the objection’s success.
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  2. Agglomerative Algebras.Jeremy Goodman - 2019 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 48 (4):631-648.
    This paper investigates a generalization of Boolean algebras which I call agglomerative algebras. It also outlines two conceptions of propositions according to which they form an agglomerative algebra but not a Boolean algebra with respect to conjunction and negation.
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  3. Impossible Worlds and Partial Belief.Edward Elliott - 2019 - Synthese 196 (8):3433-3458.
    One response to the problem of logical omniscience in standard possible worlds models of belief is to extend the space of worlds so as to include impossible worlds. It is natural to think that essentially the same strategy can be applied to probabilistic models of partial belief, for which parallel problems also arise. In this paper, I note a difficulty with the inclusion of impossible worlds into probabilistic models. Under weak assumptions about the space of worlds, most of the propositions (...)
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  4. Descriptions and Non-Doxastic Attitude Ascriptions.Wojciech Rostworowski - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (6):1311-1331.
    This paper addresses a certain objection to the quantificational theory of definite descriptions. According to this objection, the quantificational account cannot provide correct interpretations of definite descriptions embedded in the non-doxastic attitude ascriptions and therefore ought to be rejected. In brief, the objection says that the quantificational theory is committed to the view that a sentence of the form “The F is G” is equivalent to the claim that there is a unique F and it is G, while the ascription (...)
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  5. Content, the Possible and the Impossible.Felappi Giulia - 2017 - Analysis 77 (3):648-658.
    What are contents? The answer provided by the possible worlds approach is that contents are sets of possible worlds. This approach incurs serious problems and to solve them Jago suggests, in The Impossible, to get rid of the ‘possible’ bit and allowing some impossible worlds to be part of the game. In this note, I briefly consider the metaphysics behind Jago’s account and then focus on whether Jago is right in thinking that his worlds and his worlds only can do (...)
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  6. A Hyperintensional Account of Metaphysical Equivalence.Kristie Miller - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (269):772-793.
    This paper argues for a particular view about in what metaphysical equivalence consists: namely, that any two metaphysical theories are metaphysically equivalent if and only if those theories are strongly hyperintensionally equivalent. It is consistent with this characterisation that said theories are weakly hyperintensionally distinct, thus affording us the resources to model the content of propositional attitudes directed towards metaphysically equivalent theories in such a way that non-ideal agents can bear different propositional attitudes towards metaphysically equivalent theories.
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  7. Partial Content and Expressions of Part and Whole. Discussion of Stephen Yablo: Aboutness.Friederike Moltmann - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (3):797-808.
    In 'Aboutness' (MIT Press 2014), Yablo argues for the importance of the notions of partial content and partial truth. This paper argues that they are involved in a much greater range of entities than acknowledged by Yablo. The paper also argues that some of those entities involve a notion of partial satisfaction as well as partial existence (validity).
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  8. Propositions as Truthmaker Conditions.Mark Jago - 2017 - Argumenta 2 (2):293-308.
    Propositions are often aligned with truth-conditions. The view is mistaken, since propositions discriminate where truth conditions do not. Propositions are hyperintensional: they are sensitive to necessarily equivalent differences. I investigate an alternative view on which propositions are truthmaker conditions, understood as sets of possible truthmakers. This requires making metaphysical sense of merely possible states of affairs. The theory that emerges illuminates the semantic phenomena of samesaying, subject matter, and aboutness.
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  9. Propositions.Sean Crawford - 2005 - In Keith Brown (ed.), The Encyclopaedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd ed. Elsevier.
    A number of traditional roles that propositions are supposed to play are outlined. Philosophical theories of the nature of propositions are then surveyed, together with considerations for and against, with an eye on the question whether any single notion of a proposition is suited to play all or any of these roles. Approaches discussed include: (1) the structureless possible-worlds theory; (2) the structured Russellian theory; and (3) the structured Fregean theory. It is noted that it is often unclear whether these (...)
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  10. Granularity Problems.Jens Christian Bjerring & Wolfgang Schwarz - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (266):22-37.
    Possible-worlds accounts of mental or linguistic content are often criticized for being too coarse-grained. To make room for more fine-grained distinctions among contents, several authors have recently proposed extending the space of possible worlds by "impossible worlds". We argue that this strategy comes with serious costs: we would effectively have to abandon most of the features that make the possible-worlds framework attractive. More generally, we argue that while there are intuitive and theoretical considerations against overly coarse-grained notions of content, the (...)
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  11. “Assertion” and Intentionality.Jason Stanley - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (1):87-113.
    Robert Stalnaker argues that his causal-pragmatic account of the problem of intentionality commits him to a coarse-grained conception of the contents of mental states, where propositions are represented as sets of possible worlds. Stalnaker also accepts the "direct reference" theory of names, according to which co-referring names have the same content. Stalnaker's view of content is thus threatened by Frege's Puzzle. Stalnaker's classic paper "Assertion" is intended to provide a response to this threat. In this paper, I evaluate Stalnaker's claim (...)
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  12. Propositional Contingentism.Peter Fritz - 2016 - Review of Symbolic Logic 9 (1):123-142.
    According to propositional contingentism, it is contingent what propositions there are. This paper presents two ways of modeling contingency in what propositions there are using two classes of possible worlds models. The two classes of models are shown to be equivalent as models of contingency in what propositions there are, although they differ as to which other aspects of reality they represent. These constructions are based on recent work by Robert Stalnaker; the aim of this paper is to explain, expand, (...)
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  13. Hyperintensional Propositions.Mark Jago - 2015 - Synthese 192 (3):585-601.
    Propositions play a central role in contemporary semantics. On the Russellian account, propositions are structured entities containing particulars, properties and relations. This contrasts sharply with the sets-of-possible-worlds view of propositions. I’ll discuss how to extend the sets-of-worlds view to accommodate fine-grained hyperintensional contents. When this is done in a satisfactory way, I’ll argue, it makes heavy use of entities very much like Russellian tuples. The two notions of proposition become inter-definable and inter-substitutable: they are not genuinely distinct accounts of how (...)
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  14. Collective De Se Thoughts and Centered Worlds.Shen-yi Liao - 2014 - Ratio 27 (1):17-31.
    Two lines of investigation into the nature of mental content have proceeded in parallel until now. The first looks at thoughts that are attributable to collectives, such as bands' beliefs and teams' desires. So far, philosophers who have written on collective belief, collective intentionality, etc. have primarily focused on third-personal attributions of thoughts to collectives. The second looks at de se, or self-locating, thoughts, such as beliefs and desires that are essentially about oneself. So far, philosophers who have written on (...)
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  15. Chalmers on the Objects of Credence.Jesse Fitts - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (2):343-358.
    Chalmers (Mind 120(479): 587–636, 2011a) presents an argument against “referentialism” (and for his own view) that employs Bayesianism. He aims to make progress in a debate over the objects of belief, which seems to be at a standstill between referentialists and non-referentialists. Chalmers’ argument, in sketch, is that Bayesianism is incompatible with referentialism, and natural attempts to salvage the theory, Chalmers contends, requires giving up referentialism. Given the power and success of Bayesianism, the incompatibility is prima facie evidence against referentialism. (...)
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  16. What Are Centered Worlds?Shen-yi Liao - 2012 - Philosophical Quarterly 62 (247):294-316.
    David Lewis argues that centered worlds give us a way to capture de se, or self-locating, contents in philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. In recent years, centered worlds have also gained other uses in areas ranging widely from metaphysics to ethics. In this paper, I raise a problem for centered worlds and discuss the costs and benefits of different solutions. My investigation into the nature of centered worlds brings out potentially problematic implicit commitments of the theories that employ (...)
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  17. Imagine the Possibilities: Information Without Overload.Mark Jago - 2006 - Logique Et Analyse 49 (196):345–371.
    Information is often modelled as a set of relevant possibilities, treated as logically possible worlds. However, this has the unintuitive consequence that the logical consequences of an agent's information cannot be informative for that agent. There are many scenarios in which such consequences are clearly informative for the agent in question. Attempts to weaken the logic underlying each possible world are misguided. Instead, I provide a genuinely psychological notion of epistemic possibility and show how it can be captured in a (...)
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  18. Impossible Worlds and Propositions: Against the Parity Thesis.Francesco Berto - 2010 - Philosophical Quarterly 60 (240):471-486.
    Accounts of propositions as sets of possible worlds have been criticized for conflating distinct impossible propositions. In response to this problem, some have proposed to introduce impossible worlds to represent distinct impossibilities, endorsing the thesis that impossible worlds must be of the same kind; this has been called the parity thesis. I show that this thesis faces problems, and propose a hybrid account which rejects it: possible worlds are taken as concrete Lewisian worlds, and impossibilities are represented as set-theoretic constructions (...)
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Propositions as Simple
  1. Replies to Glick, Hanks, and Magidor.Trenton Merricks - 2017 - Analysis 77 (2):393-411.
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  2. Replies to Wang, Speaks, and Pautz.Trenton Merricks - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (2):487-505.
    Replies for a symposium on Propositions.
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  3. Propositions and Properties.Adam Pautz - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (2):478-486.
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  4. Précis of Propositions.Trenton Merricks - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (2):460-461.
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  5. Propositions.George Bealer - 1998 - Mind 107 (425):1-32.
    Recent work in philosophy of language has raised significant problems for the traditional theory of propositions, engendering serious skepticism about its general workability. These problems are, I believe, tied to fundamental misconceptions about how the theory should be developed. The goal of this paper is to show how to develop the traditional theory in a way which solves the problems and puts this skepticism to rest. The problems fall into two groups. The first has to do with reductionism, specifically attempts (...)
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Structured Propositions
  1. A Theory of Structured Propositions.Andrew Bacon - manuscript
    This paper argues that the theory of structured propositions is not undermined by the Russell-Myhill paradox. I develop a theory of structured propositions in which the Russell-Myhill paradox doesn't arise: the theory does not involve ramification or compromises to the underlying logic, but rather rejects common assumptions, encoded in the notation of the $\lambda$-calculus, about what properties and relations can be built. I argue that the structuralist had independent reasons to reject these underlying assumptions. The theory is given both a (...)
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  2. The Propositional Benacerraf Problem.Jesse Fitts - forthcoming - In Chris Tillman (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Propositions. Routledge:
    Writers in the propositions literature consider the Benacerraf objection serious, often decisive. The objection figures heavily in dismissing standard theories of propositions of the past, notably set-theoretic theories. I argue that the situation is more complicated. After explicating the propositional Benacerraf problem, I focus on a classic set-theoretic theory of propositions, the possible worlds theory, and argue that methodological considerations influence the objection’s success.
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  3. Force, Content and the Varieties of Subject.Michael Schmitz - 2019 - Language and Communication 69:115-129.
    This paper argues that to account for group speech acts, we should adopt a representationalist account of mode / force. Individual and collective subjects do not only represent what they e.g. assert or order. By asserting or ordering they also indicate their theoretical or practical positions towards what they assert or order. The ‘Frege point’ cannot establish the received dichotomy of force and propositional content. On the contrary, only the representationalist account allows a satisfactory response to it. It also allows (...)
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  4. Existentialism, Aliens and Referentially Unrestricted Worlds.Michael Longenecker - 2019 - Synthese 196 (9):3723-3738.
    Existentialism claims that propositions that directly refer to individuals depend on those individuals for their existence. I argue for two points regarding Existentialism. First, I argue that recent accounts of Existentialism run into difficulties accommodating the possibility of there being a lonely alien electron. This problem is distinct from one of the better-known alien problems—concerning iterated modal properties of aliens—and can’t be solved using a standard response to the iterated case. Second, though the lonely alien electron problem might seem to (...)
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  5. Acts of Desire.Henry Ian Schiller - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-18.
    Act-based theories of content hold that propositions are identical to acts of predication that we perform in thought and talk. To undergo an occurrent thought with a particular content just is to perform the act of predication that individuates that content. But identifying the content of a thought with the performance of an act of predication makes it difficult to explain the intentionality of bouletic mental activity, like wanting and desiring. In this paper, I argue that this difficulty is insurmountable: (...)
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  6. Acts and Alternative Analyses.Arvid Båve - 2019 - Journal of Philosophy 116 (4):181–205.
    I show that the act-type theories of Soames and Hanks entail that every sentence with alternative analyses (including every atomic sentence with a polyadic predicate) is ambiguous, many of them massively so. I assume that act types directed toward distinct objects are themselves distinct, plus some standard semantic axioms, and infer that act-type theorists are committed to saying that ‘Mary loves John’ expresses both the act type of predicating [loving John] of Mary and that of predicating [being loved by Mary] (...)
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  7. Predication and the Frege–Geach Problem.Indrek Reiland - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (1):141-159.
    Several philosophers have recently appealed to predication in developing their theories of cognitive representation and propositions. One central point of difference between them is whether they take predication to be forceful or neutral and whether they take the most basic cognitive representational act to be judging or entertaining. Both views are supported by powerful reasons and both face problems. Many think that predication must be forceful if it is to explain representation. However, the standard ways of implementing the idea give (...)
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  8. Concept Designation.Arvid Båve - 2019 - American Philosophical Quarterly 56 (4):331-344.
    The paper proposes a way for adherents of Fregean, structured propositions to designate propositions and other complex senses/concepts using a special kind of functor. I consider some formulations from Peacocke's works and highlight certain problems that arise as we try to quantify over propositional constituents while referring to propositions using "that"-clauses. With the functor notation, by contrast, we can quantify over senses/concepts with objectual, first-order quantifiers and speak without further ado about their involvement in propositions. The functor notation also turns (...)
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  9. Review of Peter Hanks, Propositional Content, Oxford University Press, 2015. [REVIEW]Andreas Stokke - 2016 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2.
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  10. Descriptions and Non-Doxastic Attitude Ascriptions.Wojciech Rostworowski - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (6):1311-1331.
    This paper addresses a certain objection to the quantificational theory of definite descriptions. According to this objection, the quantificational account cannot provide correct interpretations of definite descriptions embedded in the non-doxastic attitude ascriptions and therefore ought to be rejected. In brief, the objection says that the quantificational theory is committed to the view that a sentence of the form “The F is G” is equivalent to the claim that there is a unique F and it is G, while the ascription (...)
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  11. Why 0-Adic Relations Have Truth Conditions: Essence, Ground, and Non-Hylomorphic Russellian Propositions.Cody Gilmore - forthcoming - In Chris Tillman (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Propositions. London: Routledge.
    I formulate an account, in terms of essence and ground, that explains why atomic Russellian propositions have the truth conditions they do. The key ideas are that (i) atomic propositions are just 0-adic relations, (ii) truth is just the 1-adic version of the instantiation (or, as I will say, holding) relation (Menzel 1993: 86, note 27), and (iii) atomic propositions have the truth conditions they do for basically the same reasons that partially plugged relations, like being an x and a (...)
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1 — 50 / 259