David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Quarterly 55 (220):462–474 (2005)
Sententialism is the view that intensional positions in natural languages occur within clausal complements only. According to proponents of this view, intensional transitive verbs such as 'want', 'seek' or 'resemble' are actually propositional attitude verbs in disguise. I argue that 'conceive' cannot fit this mould: conceiving-of is not reducible to conceiving-that. I offer a new diagnosis of where Berkeley's 'master argument' goes astray, analysing what is odd about saying that Hylas conceives a tree which is not conceived. A sententialist semantics cannot account for the absurdity in attitude ascriptions of this type: we need to acknowledge irreducibly non-propositional conceiving
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