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Summary It seems that it's possible for Mary to utter the sentence ‘Whales are fish’ and thereby say that whales are fish. John might believe what Mary said, or not. If John and Mary both believe it then there is something that they both believe. That thing is false, however. That Mary can use that sentence to say that might be partly explained by the fact that ‘Whales are fish’ means that whales are fish. (The fact that Mary can use that sentence to convey that John doesn’t know much about Whales by adopting a certain tone of voice might also be partly explained by that meaning fact.) The preceding claims are not self-evident, but they are attractive. Taken at face value they suggest that there is a class of objects which can be believed, said, take truth values and serve as meanings. The standard name for such things is ‘propositions’. There are several debates at the intersection of philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and metaphysics about the nature of these entities and the roles they should play in our philosophical theories.
Key works There have been several important books on the nature of propositions in recent years: Schiffer 2003; King 2007Soames 2012; Moltmann 2013King et al 2014; Hanks 2015; Merricks 2015. These focus on structured propositions. A classic account of propositions as sets of worlds is Stalnaker 1984.
Introductions Hanks 2009Stevens 2008
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  1. R. A.-M. (1974). Esquisse d'Une Théorie Nominaliste de la Proposition. Review of Metaphysics 27 (4):793-794.
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  2. Tuomo Aho (1994). On the Philosophy of Attitude Logic. Distributed by Akateeminen Kirjakauppa.
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  3. Kazimierz Ajdukiewicz (1967). Proposition as the Connotation of Sentence. Studia Logica 20 (1):87 - 98.
  4. A. R. Anderson (1970). The Logic of Hohfeldian Propositions. Logique Et Analyse 13 (49):231.
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  5. John Anderson (1926). Discussions: The Truth of Propositions. Mind 35 (140):237-241.
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  6. John Anderson (1926). The Truth of Propositions. Mind 35 (140):466-472.
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  7. László Antal (1964). Content, Meaning, and Understanding. The Hague, Mouton.
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  8. Sebastian Bab & Klaus Robering (eds.) (2010). Judgements and Propositions: Logical, Linguistic, and Cognitive Issues. Logos.
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  9. Kent Bach (2002). Review of Krista Lawlor, New Thoughts About Old Things: Cognitive Policies As the Ground of Singular Concepts. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2002 (2).
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  10. Yehoshua Bar-Hillel (1955). Information and Content: A Semantic Analysis. Synthese 9 (1):299 - 305.
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  11. E. C. Benecke (1898). On the Logical Subject of the Proposition. Mind 7 (25):34-54.
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  12. Andrea Bonomi, Imperfect Propositions.
    The aim of this paper1 is to provide a unified semantic analysis for three important readings of the Italian Imperfetto (and Presente): the PROGressive, the HABitual, and the FUTurate reading. To highlight the role of the utterance context in setting the relevant parameters of interpretation, explicit temporal adverbials are left out of the scene and prominence is given to the situations where the context provides the temporal information required to discriminate between alternative readings, by exploiting a single logical form. The (...)
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  13. Justus Buchler (1979). Toward a General Theory of Human Judgment. Dover Publications.
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  14. Ben Caplan, Chris Tillman, Brian McLean & Adam Murray (2014). Not the Optimistic Type. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5-6):575-589.
    (2013). Not the optimistic type. Canadian Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 43, Essays on the Nature of Propositions, pp. 575-589.
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  15. Gaetano Chiurazzi (2005). Teorie Del Giudizio. Aracne.
  16. Arkadiusz Chrudzimski (2001). Die Intentionalitätstheorie Anton Martys. Grazer Philosophische Studien 62 (1):175-214.
    The point of departure for Anton Marty's theory of intentionality is Franz Brentano's ontology of intentionality as outlined in the unpublished manuscript of his logic-lectures from the second half of the 1880's. This rich ontology comprises immanent objects, immanent propositional contents and states of affairs. The late Marty rejects all immanent entities in Brentano's sense and explains intentionality in terms of counterfactualconditionals.However,contraryto the late Brentano,he insists on the indispensability of the category of states of affairs . Consequently Marty can formulate (...)
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  17. Bertrand de Jouvenel (1967/2012). The Art of Conjecture. New York, Basic Books.
    Reprint of: Art of conjecture / Translated from the French by Nikita Lary. -- New York, Basic Books [1967].
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  18. Alain de Libera (2002). La R'ef'erence Vide Th'eories de la Proposition. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
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  19. der Schaar & Maria Sandra (1991). G.F. Stout's Theory of Judgment and Proposition: Proefschrift Ter Verkrijging Van De Graad Van Doktor. M.S. Van Der Schaar.
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  20. Jonathan Harrison (2004). The Logical Function of ‘That’, or Truth, Propositions and Sentences. Philosophy 79 (1):67-96.
    (i) It is propositions, not sentences, that are true or false. It is true ‘Dogs bark’ does not make sense. It is true that dogs bark does. (ii) and (iii) Davidson wrong about ‘that’. (iv) The difference between ‘implies’ and ‘if ... then ...’. (v), (vi), (vii) and (viii) Russell, not Quine, right about the subject matter of logic. (ix) The objectual and substitutional interpretations of quantifiers compatible. (x), (xi), (xii), (xiii), (xiv), (xv) and (xvi) Implications for well-known theories of (...)
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  21. Richard Holton & Huw Price (2003). Ramsey on Saying and Whistling: A Discordant Note. Noûs 37 (2):325–341.
    In 'General Propositions and Causality' Ramsey rejects his earlier view that universal generalizations are infinite conjunctions, arguing that they are not genuine propositions at all. We argue that his new position is unstable. The issues about infinity that lead Ramsey to the new view are essentially those underlying Wittgenstein's rule-following considerations. If they show that generalizations are not genuine propositions, they show that there are no genuine propositions. The connection raises interesting historical questions about the direction of influence between Ramsey (...)
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  22. Delton Thomas Howard (1946/1970). Analytical Syllogistics. New York,Ams Press.
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  23. John Kadvany (2007). Positional Value and Linguistic Recursion. Journal of Indian Philosophy 35 (5-6):487-520.
  24. Daya Krishna (ed.) (1991). Saṃvāda, a Dialogue Between Two Philosophical Traditions. Indian Council of Philosophical Research in Association with Motilal Banarsidass Publishers.
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  25. Frauke Annegret Kurbacher (2005). Selbstverhältnis Und Weltbezug: Urteilskraft in Existenz-Hermeneutischer Perspektive. Olms.
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  26. C. H. Langford (1929). General Propositions. Mind 38 (152):436-457.
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  27. Donald S. Lee (1981). Belief, Reference, and Proposition. Tulane Studies in Philosophy 30:59-81.
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  28. Sandra Lehmann & Sophie Loidolt (eds.) (2011). Urteil Und Fehlurteil. Turia + Kant.
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  29. Alfonso Maierù & Luisa Valente (eds.) (2004). Medieval Theories on Assertive and Non-Assertive Language: Acts of the 14th European Symposium on Medieval Logic and Semantics, Rome, June 11-15, 2002. [REVIEW] L.S. Olschki.
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  30. Peter Millican, Statements and Modality Strawson, Quine and Wolfram.
    Over a period of more than twenty years, Sybil Wolfram gave lectures at Oxford University on Philosophical Logic, a major component of most of the undergraduate degree programmes. She herself had been introduced to the subject by Peter Strawson, and saw herself as working very much within the Strawsonian tradition. Central to this tradition, which began with Strawson's seminal attack on Russell's theory of descriptions in ‘On Referring' (1950), is the distinction between a sentence and what is said by a (...)
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  31. Madhabendranath Mitra (1988). Language, Truth, and Predication. New Statesman Pub. Co..
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  32. Friederike Moltmann (forthcoming). Partial Content and Expressions of Part and Whole. Discussion of Stephen Yablo: Aboutness. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies.
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  33. Matteo Negro (2007). Concepts, Normes Et Jugements. The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 6:9-12.
    Conceptual activity is a normative activity, consisting in using or exercising rules which are functional in the formation of language, particularly judgments and propositions. Concepts, the essential elements of propositional content, are not to be considered as simple properties or predicates, but instead as constituting the rules of correct judgment. Two aspects of these claims are to be underlined. First, the dimension of normativity: the concept itself is a rule, a mode of functioning of understanding. Second, the notion of understanding (...)
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  34. Naomi Osorio-Kupferblum (forthcoming). Aboutness, Critical Notice. [REVIEW] Analysis:anw027.
    This Critical Notice is about aboutness in logic and language. In a first part, I discuss the origin of the issue and the philosophical background to Yablo's book Aboutness (PUP 2014), which is itself the subject of the second and main part of my paper.
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  35. Felipe Pardo Fariña (2013). La temática de los universales y su presencia en la cristología de algunos autores. Veritas: Revista de Filosofia da PUCRS 29:141-166.
    El autor comienza por delimitar el significado de los conceptos universal y singular, y continúa con una reseña histórica acerca de su utilización en el pensamiento de algunos filósofos, para finalmente establecer la comprensión de la relación entre el universal y lo singular referida a Jesucristo en la trama de algunas Cristologías. The author begins by defining the concepts of singular and universal, continuing with a historical review regarding their use in the thought of some philosophers, in order to finally (...)
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  36. Artur Rojszczak & Barry Smith (2003). Theories of Judgment. In Thomas Baldwin (ed.), The Cambridge History of Philosophy 1870-1945. Cambridge University Press
    The dominant theory of judgment in 1870 was one or other variety of combination theory: the act of judgment is an act of combining concepts or ideas in the mind of the judging subject. In the decades to follow a succession of alternative theories arose to address defects in the combination theory, starting with Bolzano’s theory of propositions in themselves, Brentano’s theory of judgment as affirmation or denial of existence, theories distinguishing judgment act from judgment content advanced by Brentano’s students (...)
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  37. Pierre Sauriol (1976). La structure tétrahexaédrique du système complet des propositions catégoriques. Dialogue 15 (3):479-501.
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  38. John Venn (1880). On the Forms of Logical Proposition. Mind 5 (19):336-349.
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Pleonastic Propositions
  1. Thomas Hofweber, From Remnants to Things, and Back Again.
    forthcoming in Meanings and other Things: essays on Stephen Schiffer Gary Ostertag (ed.) MIT Press 2007. Schiffer substantially changed his view about propositions and that-clauses somewhere between his two most recent books: Remnants of Meaning and The Things We Mean. I look at what problems his earlier view had, and what reason Schiffer gives for giving it up in favor of his more recent view. I argue that Schiffer’s reasons are not very good reasons, and that instead the problems for (...)
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  2. Thomas Hofweber (2006). Schiffer's New Theory of Propositions. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (1):211–217.
    Every fifteen years or so Stephen Schiffer writes a state of the art book on the philosophy of language, with special emphasis on belief ascriptions, meaning, and propositions. The latest is his terrific new book The Things we Mean. It is again full of ideas, insights, arguments, expositions, and theories. For us, however, who believe that that-clauses are first and foremost clauses, not referring expressions, and that they thus do not refer to propositions or anything else, The Things we Mean (...)
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  3. Andrea Iacona (2002). Propositions. Name.
  4. Kris McDaniel (2015). Propositions: Individuation and Invirtuation. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (4):757-768.
    The pressure to individuate propositions more finely than intensionally—that is, hyper-intensionally—has two distinct sources. One source is the philosophy of mind: one can believe a proposition without believing an intensionally equivalent proposition. The second source is metaphysics: there are intensionally equivalent propositions, such that one proposition is true in virtue of the other but not vice versa. I focus on what our theory of propositions should look like when it's guided by metaphysical concerns about what is true in virtue of (...)
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  5. Stephen R. Schiffer (2003). The Things We Mean. Oxford University Press.
    Stephen Schiffer presents a groundbreaking account of meaning and belief, and shows how it can illuminate a range of crucial problems regarding language, mind, knowledge, and ontology. He introduces the new doctrine of 'pleonastic propositions' to explain what the things we mean and believe are. He discusses the relation between semantic and psychological facts, on the one hand, and physical facts, on the other; vagueness and indeterminacy; moral truth; conditionals; and the role of propositional content in information acquisition and explanation. (...)
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  6. Massimiliano Vignolo (2009). Pleonastic Entities: Fictional Characters and Propositions. Philosophical Investigations 32 (1):65-78.
    Stephen Schiffer holds that propositions are pleonastic entities. I will argue that there is a substantial difference between propositions and fictional characters, which Schiffer presents as typical pleonastic entities. My conclusion will be that if fictional characters are typical pleonastic entities, then Schiffer fails to show that propositions are pleonastic entities.
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Propositions and Facts
  1. Laurynas Adomaitis (2012). Richard Gaskin: The Unity of the Proposition. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 12 (1):106-111.
    Richard Gaskin’s work on the problem of the unity of the proposition (“the problem”, henceforth) has sometimes been called magisterial due to its vast historical and conceptual scope. Indeed, the author engages in lengthy discussions of the conceptions of propositions that have been overlooked by most previous investigations on the problem. Not only aspects of Frege’s and Russell’s theories of propositions that appear most problematic are subject to Gaskin’s investigation, it also includes Prabhākara semantics, the approach of Gregory of Rimini (...)
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  2. I. Angelelli & P. Pérez-Ilzarbe (eds.) (2000). Medieval and Renaissance Logic in Spain. Olms.
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  3. C. J. Ducasse (1942). Is a Fact a True Proposition?--A Reply. Journal of Philosophy 39 (5):132-136.
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  4. C. J. Ducasse (1940). Propositions, Opinions, Sentences, and Facts. Journal of Philosophy 37 (26):701-711.
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  5. Heather Dyke (2012). Propositions: Truth Vs. Existence. In James Maclaurin (ed.), Ratiois Defensor.
    I argue that there is an inherent tension in the notion of a proposition that gives us reason to doubt that there can be any single entity that plays all the roles and possesses all the features normally attributed to propositions. The tension is that some of the roles and features of propositions require them to be essentially representational, while others require them to be non-representational. I first present what I call the standard view of propositions: a series of theses (...)
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  6. Christopher Gilbert (1998). The Role of Thoughts in Wittgenstein's Tractatus. Linguistics and Philosophy 21 (4):341-352.
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