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  1. Is there such a thing as “semantic content”?Sergeiy Sandler - manuscript
    The distinction between the semantic content of a sentence or utterance and its use is widely employed in formal semantics. Semantic minimalism in particular understands this distinction as a sharp dichotomy. I argue that if we accept such a dichotomy, there would be no reason to posit the existence of semantic contents at all. I examine and reject several arguments raised in the literature that might provide a rationale for assuming semantic contents, in this sense, exist, and conclude that Ockham’s (...)
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  2. Questions, content and the varieties of force.Michael Schmitz - manuscript
    In addition to the Frege point, Frege also argued for the force-content distinction from the fact that an affirmative answer to a yes-no question constitutes an assertion. I argue that this fact more readily supports the view that questions operate on and present assertions and other forceful acts themselves. Force is neither added to propositions as on the traditional view, nor is it cancelled as has recently been proposed. Rather higher level acts such as questioning, but also e.g. conditionalizing, embed (...)
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  3. The Euthyphro Challenge in Metasemantics.Bar Luzon - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    This paper argues that functionalist metasemantic views, such as Conceptual Role Semantics and Interpretivism, face a Euthyphro challenge. The challenge, put roughly, is this: functionalist metasemantic views reverse the order of explanation. According to such views, representational mental states have the contents that they do partly because they play certain roles in our mental lives. According to an intuitive picture of the roles that representational mental states play in our mental lives, however, these states play the roles they do partly (...)
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  4. Eavesdropping: What is it good for?Jonathan Phillips & Matthew Mandelkern - forthcoming - Semantics and Pragmatics.
    Eavesdropping judgments (judgments about truth, retraction, and consistency across contexts) about epistemic modals have been used in recent years to argue for a radical thesis: that truth is assessment-relative. We argue that judgments for 'I think that p' pattern in strikingly similar ways to judgments for 'Might p' and 'Probably p'. We argue for this by replicating three major experiments involving the latter and adding a condition with the form 'I think that p', showing that subjects respond in the same (...)
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  5. Semantics without semantic content.Daniel W. Harris - 2022 - Mind and Language 37 (3):304-328.
    I argue that semantics is the study of the proprietary database of a centrally inaccessible and informationally encapsulated input–output system. This system’s role is to encode and decode partial and defeasible evidence of what speakers are saying. Since information about nonlinguistic context is therefore outside the purview of semantic processing, a sentence’s semantic value is not its content but a partial and defeasible constraint on what it can be used to say. I show how to translate this thesis into a (...)
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  6. Narrow Content. [REVIEW]Ethan Jerzak - 2021 - Philosophical Review 130 (3):475-480.
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  7. New Foundations (Natural Language as a Complex System, or New Foundations for Philosophical Semantics, Epistemology and Metaphysics, Based on the Process-Socio-Environmental Conception of Linguistic Meaning and Knowledge).Gustavo Picazo - 2021 - Journal of Research in Humanities and Social Science 9 (6):33–44.
    In this article, I explore the consequences of two commonsensical premises in semantics and epistemology: (1) natural language is a complex system rooted in the communal life of human beings within a given environment; and (2) linguistic knowledge is essentially dependent on natural language. These premises lead me to emphasize the process-socio-environmental character of linguistic meaning and knowledge, from which I proceed to analyse a number of long-standing philosophical problems, attempting to throw new light upon them on these grounds. In (...)
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  8. Ludwig’s Punch and Bertie’s Comeback. Reconciling Russell and Wittgenstein on the Content of Desires.Peter Baumann - 2020 - Russell: The Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies 40 (2):132-149.
    Desires are contentful mental states. But what determines the content of a desire? Two different classic answers were proposed by Russell and by Wittgenstein, starting in the 1910s. Russell proposed a behaviorist account according to which the content of the desire is fixed by the type of state that puts an end to the relevant kind of behavior which was triggered by some initial discomfort. The desire’s content consists in its “satisfaction conditions”. Wittgenstein criticized such an account for neglecting the (...)
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  9. The Truth and Nothing but the Truth: Non-Literalism and The Habits of Sherlock Holmes.Heidi Savage - 2020 - Southwest Philosophy Review 36 (2).
    Abstract: Many, if not most philosophers, deny that a sentence like ‘Sherlock Holmes smokes’ could be true. However, this attitude conflicts with the assignment of true to that sentence by natural language speakers. Furthermore, this process of assigning truth values to sentences like ‘Sherlock Holes smokes’ seems indistinguishable from the process that leads speakers to assign true to other sentences, those like ‘Bertrand Russell smokes’. I will explore the idea that when speakers assign the value true to the first sentence, (...)
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  10. 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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  11. On the supposed connection between proper names and singular thought.Rachel Goodman - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):197-223.
    A thesis I call the name-based singular thought thesis is part of orthodoxy in contemporary philosophy of mind and language: it holds that taking part in communication involving a proper name puts one in a position to entertain singular thoughts about the name’s referent. I argue, first, that proponents of the NBT thesis have failed to explain the phenomenon of name-based singular thoughts, leaving it mysterious how name-use enables singular thoughts. Second, by outlining the reasoning that makes the NBT thesis (...)
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  12. Theories of Aboutness.Peter Hawke - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (4):697-723.
    Our topic is the theory of topics. My goal is to clarify and evaluate three competing traditions: what I call the way-based approach, the atom-based approach, and the subject-predicate approach. I develop criteria for adequacy using robust linguistic intuitions that feature prominently in the literature. Then I evaluate the extent to which various existing theories satisfy these constraints. I conclude that recent theories due to Parry, Perry, Lewis, and Yablo do not meet the constraints in total. I then introduce the (...)
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  13. Is there a deductive argument for semantic externalism? Reply to Yli-Vakkuri.Sarah Sawyer - 2018 - Analysis 78 (4):675-681.
    Juhani Yli-Vakkuri has argued that the Twin Earth thought experiments offered in favour of semantic externalism can be replaced by a straightforward deductive argument from premisses widely accepted by both internalists and externalists alike. The deductive argument depends, however, on premisses that, on standard formulations of internalism, cannot be satisfied by a single belief simultaneously. It does not therefore, constitute a proof of externalism. The aim of this article is to explain why.
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  14. The Unity of Unconsciousness.Tim Crane - 2017 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 117 (1):1-21.
    What is the relationship between unconscious and conscious intentionality? Contemporary philosophy of mind treats the contents of conscious 10 intentional mental states as the same kind of thing as the contents of un- conscious mental states. According to the standard view that beliefs and desires are propositional attitudes, for example, the contents of these states are propositions, whether or not the states are conscious or unconscious. I dispute this way of thinking of conscious and unconscious content, and propose an alternative, (...)
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  15. Attitudes Towards Objects.Alex Grzankowski - 2016 - Noûs 50 (2):314-328.
    This paper offers a positive account of an important but under-explored class of mental states, non-propositional attitudes such as loving one’s department, liking lattice structures, fearing Freddy Krueger, and hating Sherlock Holmes. In broadest terms, the view reached is a representationalist account guided by two puzzles. The proposal allows one to say in an elegant way what differentiates a propositional attitude from an attitude merely about a proposition. The proposal also allows one to offer a unified account of the non-propositional (...)
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  16. Limits of propositionalism.Alex Grzankowski - 2016 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (7-8):819-838.
    Propositionalists hold that, fundamentally, all attitudes are propositional attitudes. A number of philosophers have recently called the propositionalist thesis into question. It has been argued, successfully I believe, that there are attitudes that are of or about things but which do not have a propositional content concerning those things. If correct, our theories of mind will include non-propositional attitudes as well as propositional attitudes. In light of this, Sinhababu’s recent attack on anti-propositionalists is noteworthy. The present paper aims to sharpen (...)
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  17. Review of 'Wittgenstein and the End of Philosophy-by Daniel Hutto 2nd Ed. (2006).Michael Starks - 2016 - In Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st Century: Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization-- Articles and Reviews 2006-2017 2nd Edition Feb 2018. Michael Starks. pp. 259-270.
    One of the leading exponents of W's ideas on the language games of inner and outer (the `Two Selves' operation of our personality or intentionality or EP etc.) is the prolific Daniel Hutto (DH). His approach is called `Radical Enactivism' and is well explained in numerous recent books and papers (see my review of Radicalizing Enactivism) and a new one is appearing as I write (Evolving Enactivism). It is a development of or version of the Embodied Mind ideas now current (...)
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  18. Kant on de re. Some aspects of the Kantian non-conceptualism debate.Luca Forgione - 2015 - Kant Studies Online (1):32-64.
    In recent years non-conceptual content theorists have taken Kant as a reference point on account of his notion of intuition (§§ 1-2). The present work aims at exploring several complementary issues intertwined with the notion of non-conceptual content: of these, the first concerns the role of the intuition as an indexical representation (§ 3), whereas the second applies to the presence of a few epistemic features articulated according to the distinction between knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description (§ 4). (...)
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  19. Pictures Have Propositional Content.Alex Grzankowski - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (1):151-163.
    Although philosophers of art and aesthetics regularly appeal to a notion of ‘pictorial content’, there is little agreement over its nature. The present paper argues that pictures have propositional contents. This conclusion is reached by considering a style of argument having to do with the phenomenon of negation intended to show that pictures must have some kind of non-propositional content. I first offer reasons for thinking that arguments of that type fail. Second, I show that when properly understood, such arguments (...)
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  20. Relativism 1: Representational Content.Max Kölbel - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (1):38-51.
    In the pair of articles of which this is the first, I shall present a set of problems and philosophical proposals that have in recent years been associated with the term “relativism”. All these problems and proposals concern the question of how we should represent thought and speech about certain topics. The main issue here is whether we should model such mental states or linguistic acts as involving representational contents that are absolutely correct or incorrect, or whether, alternatively, their correctness (...)
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  21. Image Content.Mohan Matthen - 2014 - In Berit Brogaard (ed.), Does Perception Have Content? Oxford University Press. pp. 265-290.
    The senses present their content in the form of images, three-dimensional arrays of located sense features. Peacocke’s “scenario content” is one attempt to capture image content; here, a richer notion is presented, sensory images include located objects and features predicated of them. It is argued that our grasp of the meaning of these images implies that they have propositional content. Two problems concerning image content are explored. The first is that even on an enriched conception, image content has certain expressive (...)
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  22. Reconsidering the Logic of Emotion.Simone Gozzano - 2013 - Philosophia 41 (3):787-794.
    It is customarily assumed that propositional attitudes present two independent components: a propositional component and a psychological component, in the form of an attitude. These two components are caught by means of two different methods: propositions by some model theoretic theory, psychological attitudes by making appeal to their functional or psychological role. Some authors have seek a convergence by individuating propositions by Functional role semantics. In this paper I show that when it comes to emotional attitudes with propositional content, either (...)
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  23. The Content of Deduction.Mark Jago - 2013 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 42 (2):317-334.
    For deductive reasoning to be justified, it must be guaranteed to preserve truth from premises to conclusion; and for it to be useful to us, it must be capable of informing us of something. How can we capture this notion of information content, whilst respecting the fact that the content of the premises, if true, already secures the truth of the conclusion? This is the problem I address here. I begin by considering and rejecting several accounts of informational content. I (...)
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  24. Bildung, Meaning, and Reasons.Matteo Bianchin - 2012 - Verifiche: Rivista Trimestrale di Scienze Umane 41 (1-3):73-102.
    By endorsing that Bildung is a condition for thought, McDowell explicitly sets out to revive a theme in classical german philosophy. As long as the concept of Bildung is intended to play a role in McDowell’s theory of meaning and reasons, however, it is best understood in the light of its distinctive combination of neo-Fregeanism about content and Wittgensteinianism about rule-following. The Fregean part is there to warrant that reasons are objective, the Wittgensteinian move is to account for our grasping (...)
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  25. Not All Attitudes are Propositional.Alex Grzankowski - 2012 - European Journal of Philosophy (3):374-391.
    Most contemporary philosophical discussions of intentionality start and end with a treatment of the propositional attitudes. In fact, many theorists hold that all attitudes are propositional attitudes. Our folk-psychological ascriptions suggest, however, that there are non-propositional attitudes: I like Sally, my brother fears snakes, everyone loves my grandmother, and Rush Limbaugh hates Obama. I argue that things are as they appear: there are non-propositional attitudes. More specifically, I argue that there are attitudes that relate individuals to non-propositional objects and do (...)
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  26. Norms of intentionality: norms that don’t guide.Benjamin Jarvis - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 157 (1):1-25.
    More than ever, it is in vogue to argue that no norms either play a role in or directly follow from the theory of mental content. In this paper, I present an intuitive theory of intentionality (including a theory of mental content) on which norms are constitutive of the intentional properties of attitude and content in order to show that this trend is misguided. Although this theory of intentionality—the teleological theory of intentional representation—does involve a commitment to representational norms, these (...)
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  27. The representational theory of consciousness.David Bourget - 2010 - Dissertation, Australian National University
    A satisfactory solution to the problem of consciousness would take the form of a simple yet fully general model that specifies the precise conditions under which any given state of consciousness occurs. Science has uncovered numerous correlations between consciousness and neural activity, but it has not yet come anywhere close to this. We are still looking for the Newtonian laws of consciousness. -/- One of the main difficulties with consciousness is that we lack a language in which to formulate illuminating (...)
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  28. The particularity and phenomenology of perceptual experience.Susanna Schellenberg - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 149 (1):19-48.
    I argue that any account of perceptual experience should satisfy the following two desiderata. First, it should account for the particularity of perceptual experience, that is, it should account for the mind-independent object of an experience making a difference to individuating the experience. Second, it should explain the possibility that perceptual relations to distinct environments could yield subjectively indistinguishable experiences. Relational views of perceptual experience can easily satisfy the first but not the second desideratum. Representational views can easily satisfy the (...)
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  29. A Semantics for Virtual Environments and the Ontological Status of Virtual Objects.David Leech Anderson - 2009 - APA Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers 9 (1):15-19.
    Virtual environments engage millions of people and billions of dollars each year. What is the ontological status of the virtual objects that populate those environments? An adequate answer to that question requires a developed semantics for virtual environments. The truth-conditions must be identified for “tree”-sentences when uttered by speakers immersed in a virtual environment (VE). It will be argued that statements about virtual objects have truth-conditions roughly comparable to the verificationist conditions popular amongst some contemporary antirealists. This does not mean (...)
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  30. A false dilemma for anti-individualism.Mikkel Gerken - 2007 - American Philosophical Quarterly 44 (4):329-42.
    It is often presupposed that an anti-individualist about representational mental states must choose between two accounts of no-reference cases. One option is said to be an ‘illusion of thought’ version according to which the subject in a no-reference case fails to think a first-order thought but rather has the illusion of having one. The other is a ‘descriptive’ version according to which one thinks an empty thought via a description. While this presupposition is not uncommon, it rarely surfaces in an (...)
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  31. Toward a New Theory of Content.George Bealer - 1994 - In R. Casati, B. Smith & G. White (eds.), Philosophy and Cognitive Sciences: Proceedings of the 16th International Wittgenstein Symposium (Kirchberg Am Wechsel, Austria 1993). Holder-Pichler-Tempsky. pp. 179-92.
    The purpose of this paper is to lay out the algebraic approach to propositions and then to show how it can be implemented in new solutions to Frege's puzzle and a variety of related puzzles about content.
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  32. The Ubiquity of Computation.Eric Dietrich - 1993 - Think (misc) 2 (June):27-29.
    For many years now, Harnad has argued that transduction is special among cognitive capacities -- special enough to block Searle's Chinese Room Argument. His arguments (as well as Searle's) have been important and useful, but not correct, it seems to me. Their arguments have provided the modern impetus for getting clear about computationalism and the nature of computing. This task has proven to be quite difficult. Which is simply to say that dealing with Harnad's arguments (as well as Searle's) has (...)
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