Problems for Russellian Act-Type Theories

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
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Abstract

I here discuss two problems facing Russellian act-type theories of propositions, and argue that Fregean act-type theories are better equipped to deal with them. The first relates to complex singular terms like '2+2', which turn out not to pose any special problem for Fregeans at all, whereas Soames' theory currently has no satisfactory way of dealing with them (particularly, with such "mixed" propositions as the proposition that 2+2 is greater than 3). Admittedly, one possibility stands out as the most promising one, but it requires that the Russellian treat complex properties as constituents of propositions. This leads to the second major problem for Russellians: that of proliferating propositions. I show how the most direct solution to this problem, that of rejecting complex predicative propositional constituents is available to Fregeans but very implausible for Russellians, since this virtually means rejecting complex properties.

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Arvid Båve
University of Lisbon

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