Against characterizing mental states as propositional attitudes

Philosophical Quarterly 47 (186):84-89 (1997)
Abstract
The reason for characterizing mental states as propositional attitudes is sentence form: ‘S Vs that p’. However, many mental states are not ascribed by means of such sentences, and the sentences that ascribe them cannot be appropriately paraphrased. Moreover, even if a paraphrase were always available, that in itself would not establish the characterization. And the mental states that are ascribable by appropriate senses do not form any natural subset of mental states. A reason for the characterization relying on beliefs, etc., about non‐existing things is also rejected. Last, some sentences ascribing abilities and dispositions have the same grammatical form as some senses that ascribe mental states, so that the attempt to paraphrase the latter would obscure the conceptual relations between the two sorts. It follows that mental states are not relations to propositions
Keywords Belief  Epistemology  Knowledge  Proposition  Russell
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Alex Grzankowski (2013). Non‐Propositional Attitudes. Philosophy Compass 8 (12):1123-1137.
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