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Propositions

Mind 107 (425):1-32 (1998)

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  1. Replies to Glick, Hanks, and Magidor.Trenton Merricks - 2017 - Analysis 77 (2):393-411.
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  • Eternalism and Propositional Multitasking: In Defence of the Operator Argument.Clas Weber - 2012 - Synthese 189 (1):199-219.
    It is a widely held view in philosophy that propositions perform a plethora of different theoretical roles. Amongst other things, they are believed to be the semantic values of sentences in contexts, the objects of attitudes, the contents of illocutionary acts, and the referents of that-clauses. This assumption is often combined with the claim that propositions have their truth-values eternally. In this paper I aim to show that these two assumptions are incompatible: propositions cannot both fulfill the mentioned roles and (...)
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  • Structures and Circumstances: Two Ways to Fine-Grain Propositions.David Ripley - 2012 - Synthese 189 (1):97 - 118.
    This paper discusses two distinct strategies that have been adopted to provide fine-grained propositions; that is, propositions individuated more finely than sets of possible worlds. One strategy takes propositions to have internal structure, while the other looks beyond possible worlds, and takes propositions to be sets of circumstances, where possible worlds do not exhaust the circumstances. The usual arguments for these positions turn on fineness-of-grain issues: just how finely should propositions be individuated? Here, I compare the two strategies with an (...)
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  • Introduction: Primitivism Versus Reductionism About the Problem of the Unity of the Proposition.Manuel García-Carpintero & Bjørn Jespersen - 2019 - Synthese 196 (4):1209-1224.
    We present here the papers selected for the volume on the Unity of Propositions problems. After summarizing what the problems are, we locate them in a spectrum from those aiming to provide substantive, reductive explanations, to those with a more deflationary take on the problems.
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  • Operator Arguments Revisited.Juhani Yli-Vakkuri, John Hawthorne & Peter Fritz - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    Certain passages in Kaplan’s ‘Demonstratives’ are often read as constituting an argument for the conclusion that the presence of a non-vacuous sentential operator associated with a certain parameter of sentential truth in a language requires the assertoric contents-cum-compositional semantic values of sentences in that language to vary in truth value with that parameter. Thus, for example, the non-vacuity of a temporal sentential operator ‘always’ would require some of its operands to have assertoric contents that have different truth values at different (...)
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  • Propositions, Representation, and Truth.Geoff Georgi - 2019 - Synthese 196 (3):1019-1043.
    Theories of propositions as sets of truth-supporting circumstances are committed to the thesis that sentences or other representations true in all and only the same circumstances express the same proposition. Theories of propositions as complex, structured entities are not committed to this thesis. As a result, structured propositions can play a role in our theories of language and thought that sets of truth-supporting circumstances cannot play. To illustrate this difference, I sketch a theory of transparent, non-deflationary truth consistent with some (...)
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  • The Redundancy of the Act.John Collins - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3519-3545.
    The theory that structured propositions are complex act-types has been independently articulated by Peter Hanks and Scott Soames. The present paper argues that the role of the act in such theories is supererogatory, for the individuation conditions of the act-based propositions remain wholly at the level of concepts and their formal combination, features which the traditional structured proposition theorist endorses. Thus, it is shown that the traditional problems for structured propositions are only ameliorable on the act conception by appeal to (...)
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  • Logical Validity, Necessary Existence and the Nature of Propositions.Ofra Magidor - 2017 - Analysis 77 (2):379-393.
    © The Authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Analysis Trust. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.comIn Propositions, Trenton Merricks defends a certain vision of the metaphysics of propositions: propositions exist necessarily and they primitively and essentially represent the world as being a certain way. The book is compact but rich: it is packed with arguments, moves at a fast pace, yet is written with admirable clarity.While I am sympathetic to many of Merrick’s conclusions, (...)
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  • Structured Propositions as Types.Peter W. Hanks - 2011 - Mind 120 (477):11-52.
    In this paper I defend an account of the nature of propositional content according to which the proposition expressed by a declarative sentence is a certain type of action a speaker performs in uttering that sentence. On this view, the semantic contents of proper names turn out to be types of reference acts. By carefully individuating these types, it is possible to provide new solutions to Frege’s puzzles about names in identity- and belief-sentences.
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  • Propositions Are Not Simple.Matt Duncan - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):351-366.
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  • Arbitrary Reference, Numbers, and Propositions.Michele Palmira - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 26 (3):1069-1085.
    Reductionist realist accounts of certain entities, such as the natural numbers and propositions, have been taken to be fatally undermined by what we may call the problem of arbitrary identification. The problem is that there are multiple and equally adequate reductions of the natural numbers to sets (see Benacerraf, 1965), as well as of propositions to unstructured or structured entities (see, e.g., Bealer, 1998; King, Soames, & Speaks, 2014; Melia, 1992). This paper sets out to solve the problem by canvassing (...)
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  • Propositions, Structure and Representation.Thomas Hodgson - 2012 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112 (3pt3):339-349.
    Neo-Russellian theories of structured propositions face challenges to do with both representation and structure which are sometimes called the problem of unity and the Benacerraf problem. In §i, I set out the problems and Jeffrey King's solution, which I take to be the best of its type, as well as an unfortunate consequence for that solution. In §§ii–iii, I diagnose what is going wrong with this line of thought. If I am right, it follows that the Benacerraf problem cannot be (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Can Reasons Be Propositions? Against Dancy's Attack on Propositionalism.Attila Tanyi & Morganti Matteo - 2017 - Theoria 83 (3):185-205.
    The topic of this article is the ontology of practical reasons. We draw a critical comparison between two views. According to the first, practical reasons are states of affairs; according to the second, they are propositions. We first isolate and spell out in detail certain objections to the second view that can be found only in embryonic form in the literature – in particular, in the work of Jonathan Dancy. Next, we sketch possible ways in which one might respond to (...)
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  • Propositions as Structured Entities.Matthew Davidson - unknown
    Belief in propositions no longer brings about the sorts of looks it did when Quine's affinity for desert landscapes held sway in the Anglo-American philosophical scene. People are doing work in the metaphysics of propositions, trying to figure out what sorts of creatures propositions are. In philosophers like Frege, Russell, and Moore we have strong shoulders upon which to stand. But, there is much more work that needs to be done. I will try to do a bit of that work (...)
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  • The Opacity of Definition.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    This paper is concerned with logical attributes of (real) definition. In particular, I argue that substitution principles give rise to reflexive definitions: cases in which something is directly and exclusively defined in terms of itself. Many maintain that definition is both substitutable and irreflexive, so these standard commitments are at odds. As a corollary, I demonstrate that the claims in ‘Real Definition’ Rosen (2015) are logically inconsistent. I close with a brief discussion of the implications this has for the opacity (...)
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  • Semantic Objects and Paradox: A Study of Yablo's Omega-Liar.Benjamin John Hassman - unknown
    To borrow a colorful phrase from Kant, this dissertation offers a prolegomenon to any future semantic theory. The dissertation investigates Yablo's omega-liar paradox and draws the following consequence. Any semantic theory that accepts the existence of semantic objects must face Yablo's paradox. The dissertation endeavors to position Yablo's omega-liar in a role analogous to that which Russell's paradox has for the foundations of mathematics. Russell's paradox showed that if we wed mathematics to sets, then because of the many different possible (...)
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  • The Semantics of Implicit Content.Dan Zeman - 2011 - Dissertation, University of Barcelona
    The main aim of the thesis is to give a semantic account of implicit content – the kind of content that plays a crucial role in implicit communication. Implicit communication is a species of communication in which a speaker communicates certain contents that go over and above the contents retrievable from the linguistic meaning of the words used. The focus of the thesis is a certain kind of implicit communication involving locations (when sentences such as “It is raining” are used (...)
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  • Strange Kinds, Familiar Kinds, and the Charge of Arbitrariness.Daniel Z. Korman - 2010 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics:119-144.
    Particularists in material-object metaphysics hold that our intuitive judgments about which kinds of things there are and are not are largely correct. One common argument against particularism is the argument from arbitrariness, which turns on the claim that there is no ontologically significant difference between certain of the familiar kinds that we intuitively judge to exist (snowballs, islands, statues, solar systems) and certain of the strange kinds that we intuitively judge not to exist (snowdiscalls, incars, gollyswoggles, the fusion of the (...)
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  • Fregean Equivocation and Ramsification on Sparse Theories: Response to McCullagh.George Bealer - 2000 - Mind and Language 15 (5):500-510.
    This paper begins with a brief summary of the Self-consciousness Argument, developed in the author’s paper “Self-consciousness.” (This argument is designed to refute the extant versions of functionalism -- American functionalism, Australian functionalism, and language-of-thought functionalism.) After this summary is given, two thesis are defended. The first is that the Self-consciousness Argument is not guilty of a Fregean equivocation regarding embedded occurrences of mental predicates, as has been suggested by many commentators, including Mark McCullagh. The second thesis is that the (...)
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  • Predication as Ascription.David Liebesman - 2015 - Mind 124 (494):517-569.
    I articulate and defend a necessary and sufficient condition for predication. The condition is that a term or term-occurrence stands in the relation of ascription to its designatum, ascription being a fundamental semantic relation that differs from reference. This view has dramatically different semantic consequences from its alternatives. After outlining the alternatives, I draw out these consequences and show how they favour the ascription view. I then develop the view and elicit a number of its virtues.
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  • Deep Platonism.Chad Carmichael - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2):307-328.
    According to the traditional bundle theory, particulars are bundles of compresent universals. I think we should reject the bundle theory for a variety of reasons. But I will argue for the thesis at the core of the bundle theory: that all the facts about particulars are grounded in facts about universals. I begin by showing how to meet the main objection to this thesis (which is also the main objection to the bundle theory): that it is inconsistent with the possibility (...)
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  • Benacerraf’s Revenge.Ben Caplan & Chris Tillman - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (S1):111-129.
    In a series of recent publications, Jeffrey King (The nature and structure of content, 2007; Proc Aristot Soc 109(3):257–277, 2009; Philos Stud, 2012) argues for a view on which propositions are facts. He also argues against views on which propositions are set-theoretical objects, in part because such views face Benacerraf problems. In this paper, we argue that, when it comes to Benacerraf problems, King’s view doesn’t fare any better than its set-theoretical rivals do. Finally, we argue that his view faces (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Propositional Constituency.Lorraine Keller - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5-6):655-678.
    (2013). The metaphysics of propositional constituency. Canadian Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 43, Essays on the Nature of Propositions, pp. 655-678.
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  • Words and Images in Argumentation.Axel Arturo Barceló Aspeitia - 2012 - Argumentation 26 (3):355-368.
    Abstract In this essay, I will argue that images can play a substantial role in argumentation: exploiting information from the context, they can contribute directly and substantially to the communication of the propositions that play the roles of premises and conclusion. Furthermore, they can achieve this directly, i.e. without the need of verbalization. I will ground this claim by presenting and analyzing some arguments where images are essential to the argumentation process. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-14 DOI 10.1007/s10503-011-9259-y Authors (...)
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  • Modal Scepticism, Unqualified Modality, and Modal Kinds.Andrea Sauchelli - 2012 - Philosophia 40 (2):403-409.
    I formulate and defend two sceptical theses on specific parts of our modal knowledge (unqualified and absolute modalities). My main point is that unqualified modal sentences are defective in that they fail to belong unambiguously to specific modal kinds and thus cannot be evaluated; hence, we must be sceptical of beliefs involving them.
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  • Abstracting Propositions.Anthony Wrigley - 2006 - Synthese 151 (2):157-176.
    This paper examines the potential for abstracting propositions – an as yet untested way of defending the realist thesis that propositions as abstract entities exist. I motivate why we should want to abstract propositions and make clear, by basing an account on the neo-Fregean programme in arithmetic, what ontological and epistemological advantages a realist can gain from this. I then raise a series of problems for the abstraction that ultimately have serious repercussions for realism about propositions in general. I first (...)
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  • Knowledge of Things.Matt Duncan - forthcoming - Synthese:1-34.
    As I walk into a restaurant to meet up with a friend, I look around and see all sorts of things in my immediate environment—tables, chairs, people, colors, shapes, etc. As a result, I know of these things. But what is the nature of this knowledge? Nowadays, the standard practice among philosophers is to treat all knowledge, aside maybe from “know-how”, as propositional. But in this paper I will argue that this is a mistake. I’ll argue that some knowledge is (...)
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  • Scott Soames's Beyond Rigidity: The Unfinished Semantic Agenda of Naming and Necessity. [REVIEW]Peter Hanks - 2006 - Noûs 40 (1):184–203.
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  • It's Not What It Seems. A Semantic Account of ‘Seems’ and Seemings.Berit Brogaard - 2013 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (2-3):210-239.
    I start out by reviewing the semantics of ‘seem’. As ‘seem’ is a subject-raising verb, ‘it seems’ can be treated as a sentential operator. I look at the semantic and logical properties of ‘it seems’. I argue that ‘it seems’ is a hyperintensional and contextually flexible operator. The operator distributes over conjunction but not over disjunction, conditionals or semantic entailments. I further argue that ‘it seems’ does not commute with negation and does not agglomerate with conjunction. I then show that (...)
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  • Truthmaker Internalism and the Mind-Dependence of Propositions.Robin Stenwall - 2016 - Acta Analytica 31 (1):59-76.
    It is generally thought that truthmaking has to be an internal relation because if it weren’t, then, as David Armstrong argues, “everything may be a truthmaker for any truth”. Depending on whether we take an internal relation to be one that is necessitated by the mere existence of its terms or one that supervenes on the intrinsic properties of its relata, the truthbearers involved in the truthmaking relation must either have their contents essentially or intrinsically. In this paper, I examine (...)
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  • Presentism and the Grounding Objection.Thomas M. Crisp - 2007 - Noûs 41 (1):90–109.
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  • Compositionality and Structured Propositions.Lorraine Juliano Keller & John A. Keller - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (4):313-323.
    In this article, we evaluate the Compositionality Argument for structured propositions. This argument hinges on two seemingly innocuous and widely accepted premises: the Principle of Semantic Compositionality and Propositionalism (the thesis that sentential semantic values are propositions). We show that the Compositionality Argument presupposes that compositionality involves a form of building, and that this metaphysically robust account of compositionality is subject to counter-example: there are compositional representational systems that this principle cannot accommodate. If this is correct, one of the most (...)
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  • Recent Work on Propositions.Peter Hanks - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (3):469-486.
    Propositions, the abstract, truth-bearing contents of sentences and beliefs, continue to be the focus of healthy debates in philosophy of language and metaphysics. This article is a critical survey of work on propositions since the mid-90s, with an emphasis on newer work from the past decade. Topics to be covered include a substitution puzzle about propositional designators, two recent arguments against propositions, and two new theories about the nature of propositions.
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  • On the Ignorance, Knowledge, and Nature of Propositions.Pierre Le Morvan - 2015 - Synthese 192 (11):3647-3662.
    Deploying distinctions between ignorance of \ and ignorance that \ , and between knowledge of \ and knowledge that \ , I address a question that has hitherto received little attention, namely: what is it to have knowledge of propositions? I then provide a taxonomy of ontological conceptions of the nature of propositions, and explore several of their interesting epistemological implications.
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  • Why the Tuple Theory of Structured Propositions Isn't a Theory of Structured Propositions.Bjørn Jespersen - 2003 - Philosophia 31 (1-2):171-183.
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  • A Measurement Theoretic Account of Propositions.Eli Dresner - 2006 - Synthese 153 (1):1-22.
    In the first section of this paper I review Measurement Theoretic Semantics – an approach to formal semantics modeled after the application of numbers in measurement, e.g., of length. In the second section it is argued that the measurement theoretic approach to semantics yields a novel, useful conception of propositions. In the third section the measurement theoretic view of propositions is compared with major other accounts of propositional content.
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