1. G. W. Fitch (2004). On Kripke and Statements. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 28 (1):295–308.
    I will focus on what seems to be a problem for Kripke’s position with respect to certain necessary a posteriori truths and true negative existentials. I shall tentatively suggest that within Kripke’s work a solution to the problem in question can be found provided one is willing to distinguish statements from propositions.
    Direct download (8 more)  
    My bibliography  
    Export citation  
Back    All discussions

Fitch's 'On Kripke and Statements'
In 1976 Fitch proposed a tight argument against Kripkean a posteriori necessary truths. He argued that if 'Hesperus' and 'Phosphorus' are rigid designators with no descriptive content, then 'Hesperus is Phosphorus' and 'Phosphorus is Phosphorus' express the same proposition, one we can know a priori.

In this 2004 paper he tries to rescue Kripke's position by adding a new kind of entities in addition to sentences and propositions, namely, statements. He writes on p. 302:

"A statement is an interpreted sentence (type). The difference, for example, between the sentence “You are a philosopher” and the statement that you are a philosopher is that the former is uninterpreted and could mean (in some language) any number of things. The statement expressed by our use of the sentence given our interpretation according to the rules of our language is something like the indicated person has the property of being a philosopher. The proposition asserted by the utterance of the sentence in a given context of use is something else again. If direct reference theorists are correct, the singular proposition asserted is a complex entity involving a particular person (namely the person indicated)."
<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
I can hardly make sense of Fitch's statements. He never comes near in the paper to a reasonably clear definition of them. Has Fitch elaborated further on this issue anywhere? Or has anyone? Or can anyone help  clarify the question?


Fitch's 'On Kripke and Statements'
Reply to Laureano Luna
A sentence (type) can be interpreted as anything in different languages, it is mere a sequence of symbols. The sentence type "you are a philosopher" has nothing different from "jey esf e qhoniriqhas". They can be meaningful after being interpreted, but they themselves are not meaningful at all. Their structure could be random.I guess a statement is something a competent speaker of certain language grasp from the sequence of symbols, regardless of the context it occurs. In this case, "you" is not meaningless any more, for a competent English speaker grasps it as "the listener" or "the indicated man". And "you are a philosopher" is now interpreted in English as "the listener of this assertion is a philosopher". "Phosphorus is Hesperus" can be interpreted as "the thing (person) named as 'Phosphorus' is the thing (person) named 'Hesperus'" by someone speaks English but know nothing about stars or has a poor vocabulary, or "the evening star is the morning star" by some smarter speaker. For some descriptivists, statements can definitely interpreted as sentences containing descriptions as the examples above. For the Millians, I guess, statements are logical forms with variables which are not assigned value. For example, "Phosphorus is Hesperus" may be interpreted as the statement "x=y" or "x=x" (for some radical Millians). Notice x and y are not assigned here any individual yet.
Propositions are something like "Fa" or "a=a", they are either true or false and their truth value are fixed. "You are a philosopher" can express the proposition "David Chalmers is a philosopher" or "Nathan Salmon is a philosopher" in different context, but in each case the proposition and its truth value is fixed. The proposition "David Chalmers is a philosopher" ascribe the property "being a philosopher" to the object Chalmers, it is talking about metaphysical things about an (fixed, definite) object has a property.In a Millian view, it does not mean "someone called 'David Chalmers' is a philosopher", because in this case the object is not fixed and it can be both true and false with respect to different scenarios.

Fitch's 'On Kripke and Statements'
Reply to Meiwen Wan
Thank you, Meiwen Wan.

The difference between sentences, on the one side, and statements and propositions, on the other, is clear.

I find a problem with the statement/proposition distinction.

As you put it, it seems that the difference is that statements are a kind of context-dependent Russellian propositional functions: 'the listener is a philosopher' seems to be the same as 'x listens to y at occasion z and x is a philosopher', which I understand as an open formula.

Well, propositional functions cannot be a priori, a posteriori, necessary, contingent... since they do not reach to make a claim, to assert a particular state of affairs. So, I don't understand how they can play a role in Fitch's discussion of Kripke's a posteriori necessities.

Could it be that Fitch is assigning statements an intensional (with 's') nature and propositions an extensional or referential nature, in a Millian sense? Could it be then that Fitch is understanding under 'statements' essentially the same as non-Millian propositions?

Any other hint?

Fitch's 'On Kripke and Statements'
Reply to Meiwen Wan

I have two general queries along the same line as the above. (1) Do any of you distinguish among the following:(a) what, if anything, sentences or other linguistic tokens (utterances, visible marks, etc.), or tokens that are syntactical arrangements of such tokens, mean such utterances or marks, (b ) what we do, in fact, intend or use them to mean, (c) what it would be a good idea if we all used them to mean; and (2) do any of you hold that such tokens or syntactical arrangements of tokens are ident- ical with their senses, if any, or  that their referring relations (if any) are a physical relation between them and their referents?.If not, what does constitute the referring relation?

This is by way of suggesting that we do not know that Hesperus is identical with Phosphorus be- cause we know that "Hesperus" has the same referent as "Phosphorus"; rather, we know that 'Hes- perus' has the same referent 'as Phosphorus' because we know that Hesperus is identical with Phosphorus regardless of how they are named and know that they are, as it happens, named "Hes- perus" and 'Phosphorus'. In other words, I have doubts about the notion (as I see it) of making language prior to cognition