David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Synthese 42 (2):275 - 295 (1979)
In the opening chapter of Subject and Predicate in Logic and Grammar,  Professor Strawson develops an explanation of the subjectpredicate distinction on the basis of a supposedly more fundamental distinction or contrast between, on the one hand, spatio-temporal particulars and, on the other, general concepts applicable to such particulars. At a basic level, he argues, these contrasted items occupy a central position in our thought about the world. They form the constituents of a fundamental type of judgment about the worldcomprising judgments to the effect that a certain spatio-temporal particular (pair, triple, etc., of such particulars) exemplifies a certain general concept. The basic class of subject-predicate sentences-the class for which the explanation is initially presented-comprises, Strawson claims, those sentences which are apt for the expression of judgments of this fundamental type. With respect to sentences of this basic class, a subject is, in effect, defined to be an expression which serves to specify the spatio-temporal particular (or one of the spatiotemporal particulars) in question in whatever judgment the sentence expresses, and a predicate is defined to be an expression which serves to specify the general concept in question. This explanation is subsequently generalized to cover subject-predicate sentences outside the basic class, such as sentences expressing judgments about abstract entities. I shall not be concerned with this part of Strawson's explanation. One advantage Strawson claims for this explanation is that it brings out that, and how, the subject-predicate distinction reflects certain fundamental features of our thought about the world. Another, not unconnected, advantage he claims for it is that it enables us to explain certain 'purely formal or syntactical' differences between subjects and predicates-such differences as that a predicate has always a fixed number of argument-places, whereas there is nothing analogous to this with singular terms (subject-expressions), and that predicates take the form of verb-phrases, subjects the form of noun phrases. Such purely formal or syntactical differences, he claims, themselves stand in need of explanation, and so cannot provide the materials for an adequate explanation of the subject-predicate distinction. Perhaps Strawson does not explicitly assert that no purely formal or syntactical characterization of the subject-predicate distinction could constitute an adequate explanation of it; but he leaves us in little doubt that this is his view of the matter
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Citations of this work BETA
Alexander Hofmann (1995). On the Nature of Meaning and its Indeterminacy: Davidson's View in Perspective. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 42 (1):15 - 40.
Crispin Wright (1983). Recent Work on Frege. Inquiry 26 (3):363 – 381.
Similar books and articles
Raymond Turner (1985). Three Theories of Nominalized Predicates. Studia Logica 44 (2):165 - 186.
Cheng-Chih Tsai (2009). Senses of Compositionality and Compositionality of Senses. Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations 8:86-104.
P. F. Strawson (1956). Singular Terms, Ontology and Identity. Mind 65 (260):433-454.
P. F. Strawson (1968). Singular Terms and Predication. Synthese 19 (1-2):393-412.
Linda Wetzel (1990). Dummett's Criteria for Singular Terms. Mind 99 (394):239-254.
Nino Cocchiarella (1992). Conceptual Realism Versus Quine on Classes and Higher-Order Logic. Synthese 90 (3):379 - 436.
Bob Hale (2011). The Bearable Lightness of Being (Vol 20, Pg 399, 2010). Axiomathes 21 (4):597 - 597.
P. F. Strawson (1961). Singular Terms and Predication. Journal of Philosophy 58 (15):393-412.
Alex Oliver & Timothy Smiley (2004). Multigrade Predicates. Mind 113 (452):609-681.
Danny Frederick (2011). P. F. Strawson on Predication. Polish Journal of Philosophy 5 (1):39-57.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads34 ( #94,011 of 1,724,745 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #134,580 of 1,724,745 )
How can I increase my downloads?