Reference, Predication, Judgment and their Relations

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
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Over the course of the past ten-plus years, Peter Hanks and Scott Soames have developed detailed versions of Act-Based views of propositions which operate with the notions of reference to objects, indicating properties, predication, and judgment (or entertaining). In this paper I discuss certain foundational aspects of the Act-Based approach having to do with the relations between these notions. In particular, I argue for the following three points. First, that the approach needs both an atomistically understood thin notion of reference, a bare act of thinking of o, as well as a more involved notion, something like making o a target of predication. Second, that the acts of thinking of o and indication of the property of being F are in no sense parts of the acts of predication of being F of o and judgment that o is F. Rather, the former are simply necessary preconditions for the performance of the latter. The acts of predication or judgment are emphatically not structured sequences of separate acts but unities in and of themselves. Finally, that we should understand the Act-Based theorists’ claim that to predicate is to judge as the claim that judgment can be reductively analyzed in terms of predication. Furthermore, while predication is metaphysically a multiple relation between a predicator, a target, and the property predicated, judgment is a monadic property, just one that has propositional content.

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Indrek Reiland
University of Vienna


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