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Propositions

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

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  1. Operator arguments revisited.Juhani Yli-Vakkuri, John Hawthorne & Peter Fritz - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (11):2933-2959.
    Certain passages in Kaplan’s ‘Demonstratives’ are often taken to show that non-vacuous sentential operators associated with a certain parameter of sentential truth require a corresponding relativism concerning assertoric contents: namely, their truth values also must vary with that parameter. Thus, for example, the non-vacuity of a temporal sentential operator ‘always’ would require some of its operands to have contents that have different truth values at different times. While making no claims about Kaplan’s intentions, we provide several reconstructions of how such (...)
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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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  • The «One over Many» Argument for Propositions.Esteban Withrington - 2023 - Contrastes: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 28 (1):61-79.
    The meanings of utterances and thoughts are commonly regarded in philosophical semantics as abstract objects, called «propositions», which account for how different utterances and thoughts can be synonymous and which constitute the primary truth-bearers. I argue that meanings are instead natural properties that play causal roles in the world, that the kind of «One over Many» thinking underlying the characterization of shared meanings as abstract objects is misguided and that utterances and thoughts having truth-values in virtue of their meanings does (...)
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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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  • "That"-clauses and propositional anaphors.Peter van Elswyk - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (10):2861-2875.
    This paper argues that "that"-clauses do not reference propositions because they are not intersubstitutible with other expressions that do reference propositions. In particular, "that"-clauses are shown to not be intersubstitutible with propositional anaphors like "so." The substitution failures are further argued to support a semantics on which "that"-clauses are predicates.
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Qualitative properties and relations.Jan Plate - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (4):1297-1322.
    This paper is concerned with two concepts of qualitativeness that apply to intensional entities. I propose an account of pure qualitativeness that largely follows the traditional understanding established by Carnap, and try to shed light on its ontological presuppositions. On this account, an intensional entity is purely qualitative iff it does not ‘involve’ any particular. An alternative notion of qualitativeness—which I propose to refer to as a concept of strict qualitativeness—has recently been introduced by Chad Carmichael. However, Carmichael’s definition presupposes (...)
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  • Ordinal Type Theory.Jan Plate - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Higher-order logic, with its type-theoretic apparatus known as the simple theory of types (STT), has increasingly come to be employed in theorizing about properties, relations, and states of affairs—or ‘intensional entities’ for short. This paper argues against this employment of STT and offers an alternative: ordinal type theory (OTT). Very roughly, STT and OTT can be regarded as complementary simplifications of the ‘ramified theory of types’ outlined in the Introduction to Principia Mathematica (on a realist reading). While STT, understood as (...)
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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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  • Structured propositions and the logical form of predication.Gary Ostertag - 2019 - Synthese 196 (4):1475-1499.
    Jeffrey King, Scott Soames, and others have recently challenged the familiar identification of a Russellian proposition, such as the proposition that Brutus stabbed Caesar, with an ordered sequence constructed out of objects, properties, and relations. There is, as they point out, a surplus of candidate sequences available that are each equally serviceable. If so, any choice among these candidates will be arbitrary. In this paper, I show that, unless a controversial assumption is made regarding the nature of nonsymmetrical relations, none (...)
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  • Emotional Intentionality and the Attitude‐Content Distinction.Jonathan Mitchell - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (2):359-386.
    Typical emotions share important features with paradigmatic intentional states, and therefore might admit of distinctions made in theory of intentionality. One such distinction is between attitude and content, where we can specify the content of an intentional state separately from its attitude, and therefore the same content can be taken up by different intentional attitudes. According to some philosophers, emotions do not admit of this distinction, although there has been no sustained argument for this claim. In this article, I argue (...)
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  • Replies to Glick, Hanks, and Magidor.Trenton Merricks - 2017 - Analysis 77 (2):393-411.
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  • Propositional contingentism and possible worlds.Christopher James Masterman - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-34.
    Propositional contingentism is the view that what propositions there are is a contingent matter—certain propositions ontologically depend on objects which themselves only contingently exist. Possible worlds are, loosely, complete ways the world could have been. That is to say, the ways in which everything in its totality could have been. Propositional contingentists make use of possible worlds frequently. However, a neglected, but important, question concerns whether there are any notions of worlds which are both theoretically adequate and consistent with propositional (...)
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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: [email protected] 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • What propositional structure could not be.Lorraine Juliano Keller - 2019 - Synthese 196 (4):1529-1553.
    The dominant account of propositions holds that they are structured entities that have, as constituents, the semantic values of the constituents of the sentences that express them. Since such theories hold that propositions are structured, in some sense, like the sentences that express them, they must provide an answer to what I will call Soames’ Question: “What level, or levels, of sentence structure does semantic information incorporate?”. As it turns out, answering Soames’ Question is no easy task. I argue in (...)
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  • The metaphysics of propositional constituency.Lorraine Keller - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5-6):655-678.
    In this paper, I criticize Structured Propositionalism, the most widely held theory of the nature of propositions according to which they are structured entities with constituents. I argue that the proponents of Structured Propositionalism have paid insufficient attention to the metaphysical presuppositions of the view – most egregiously, to the notion of propositional constituency. This is somewhat ironic, since the friends of structured propositions tend to argue as if the appeal to constituency gives their view a dialectical advantage. I criticize (...)
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • The Uniqueness of Necessary Truth and the Status of S4 and S5.Marco Hausmann - 2021 - Theoria 87 (6):1635-1650.
    The aim of this paper is to relate the debate about the status of S4 and S5 as modal logics for metaphysical modality to the debate about the identity of propositions. The necessary truth of the characteristic axioms of S4 and S5 (when interpreted in terms of metaphysical modality) is derived from a view about the identity of propositions, the view that necessarily equivalent propositions are identical.
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Epistemic Thought Experiments and Intuitions.Manhal Hamdo - 2023 - Springer Verlag.
    This work investigates intuitions' nature, demonstrating how philosophers can best use them in epistemology. First, the author considers several paradigmatic thought experiments in epistemology that depict the appeal to intuition. He then argues that the nature of thought experiment-generated intuitions is not best explained by an a priori Platonism. Second, the book instead develops and argues for a thin conception of epistemic intuitions. The account maintains that intuition is neither a priori nor a posteriori but multi-dimensional. It is an intentional (...)
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  • Unity and Application.Geoffrey Hall - 2021 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 8.
    Propositions represent the entities from which they are formed. This fact has puzzled philosophers and some have put forward radical proposals in order to explain it. This paper develops a primitivist account of the representational properties of propositions that centers on the operation of application. As we will see, this theory wins out over its competitors on grounds of strength, systematicity and unifying power.
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  • Grasping a Proposition and Cancellation.Faraz Ghalbi - 2024 - Dialogue 63 (1):185-199.
    RésuméRécemment, Indrek Reiland a proposé une nouvelle version de la théorie des propositions comme type d'actes (ATT) dans laquelle la prédication demeure un acte d'engagement. Cependant, le problème Frege-Geach peut être abordé sans recourir à la manœuvre d'annulation de Peter Hanks. Dans cet article, je soutiens que si nous considérons la prédication comme un acte d'engagement, nous devrons alors nous attaquer à un autre problème : celui des actes représentationnels qui n'ont pas de dimension d'engagement. Je soutiens que Reiland a (...)
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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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  • 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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  • 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 are not Simple.Matt Duncan - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):351-366.
    Some philosophers claim that propositions are simple—i.e., lack parts. In this paper, I argue that this claim is mistaken. I start with the widely accepted claim that propositions are the objects of beliefs. Then I argue that the objects of beliefs have parts. Thus, I conclude that propositions are not simple. My argument for the claim that the objects of beliefs have parts derives from the fact that beliefs are productive and systematic. This fact lurks in the background of debates (...)
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  • Knowledge of things.Matt Duncan - 2020 - Synthese 197 (8):3559-3592.
    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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  • 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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  • Presentism and the grounding objection.Thomas M. Crisp - 2007 - Noûs 41 (1):90–109.
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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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  • Syntax, Truth, and the Fate of Sentences.John Collins - 2023 - Philosophical Quarterly 74 (1):125-144.
    Truth appears to be a predicate of sentence-like structures. This raises the question of what a sentence is (or what it is to be sentence-like) such that it is truth-apt. A natural move is to treat sentences and truth-aptness as somehow conceptually or metaphysical coeval—made for each other. This resolution conflicts, however, with now standard approaches in syntactic theory that treat sentences as mere epiphenomena. Siding with the developments in syntax, the paper argues that truth-aptness properly belongs, not to sentences, (...)
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  • The denial of moral dilemmas as a regulative ideal.Michael Cholbi - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (2):268-289.
    The traditional debate about moral dilemmas concerns whether there are circumstances in which an agent is subject to two obligations that cannot both be fulfilled. Realists maintain there are. Irrealists deny this. Here I defend an alternative, methodologically-oriented position wherein the denial of genuine moral dilemmas functions as a regulative ideal for moral deliberation and practice. That is, moral inquiry and deliberation operate on the implicit assumption that there are no genuine moral dilemmas. This view is superior to both realism (...)
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Pure Logic and Higher-order Metaphysics.Christopher Menzel - 2024 - In Peter Fritz & Nicholas K. Jones (eds.), Higher-Order Metaphysics. Oxford University Press.
    W. V. Quine famously defended two theses that have fallen rather dramatically out of fashion. The first is that intensions are “creatures of darkness” that ultimately have no place in respectable philosophical circles, owing primarily to their lack of rigorous identity conditions. However, although he was thoroughly familiar with Carnap’s foundational studies in what would become known as possible world semantics, it likely wouldn’t yet have been apparent to Quine that he was fighting a losing battle against intensions, due in (...)
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  • The Propositional Benacerraf Problem.Jesse Fitts - 2022 - In Chris Tillman & Adam Murray (eds.), 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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  • Meaning and Metaphysical Necessity.Tristan Grotvedt Haze - 2022 - New York: Routledge.
    This book is about the idea that some true statements would have been true no matter how the world had turned out, while others could have been false. It develops and defends a version of the idea that we tell the difference between these two types of truths in part by reflecting on the meanings of words. It has often been thought that modal issues—issues about possibility and necessity—are related to issues about meaning. In this book, the author defends the (...)
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  • Castles Built on Clouds: Vague Identity and Vague Objects.Benjamin L. Curtis & Harold W. Noonan - 2014 - In Ken Akiba & Ali Abasnezhad (eds.), Vague Objects and Vague Identity: New Essays on Ontic Vagueness. Dordrecht, Netherland: Springer. pp. 305-326.
    Can identity itself be vague? Can there be vague objects? Does a positive answer to either question entail a positive answer to the other? In this paper we answer these questions as follows: No, No, and Yes. First, we discuss Evans’s famous 1978 argument and argue that the main lesson that it imparts is that identity itself cannot be vague. We defend the argument from objections and endorse this conclusion. We acknowledge, however, that the argument does not by itself establish (...)
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