David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Synthese 120 (2):229-263 (1999)
Those inclined to believe in the existence of propositions as traditionally conceived might seek to reduce them to some other type of entity. However, parsimonious propositionalists of this type are confronted with a choice of competing candidates – for example, sets of possible worlds, and various neo-Russellian and neo-Fregean constructions. It is argued that this choice is an arbitrary one, and that it closely resembles the type of problematic choice that, as Benacerraf pointed out, bedevils the attempt to reduce numbers to sets – should the number 2 be identified with the set Ø or with the set Ø, Ø? An “argument from arbitrary identification” is formulated with the conclusion that propositions (and perhaps numbers) cannot be reduced away. Various responses to this argument are considered, but ultimately rejected. The paper concludes that the argument is sound: propositions, at least, are sui generis entities.
|Keywords||Philosophy Philosophy Epistemology Logic Metaphysics Philosophy of Language|
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Sean Crawford (2014). Propositional or Non-Propositional Attitudes? Philosophical Studies 168 (1):179-210.
Bradley Armour-Garb & James A. Woodbridge (2012). The Story About Propositions. Noûs 46 (4):635-674.
Ben Caplan & Chris Tillman (2013). Benacerraf's Revenge. Philosophical Studies 166 (1):111-129.
Jane Heal (2001). On Speaking Thus: The Semantics of Indirect Discourse. Philosophical Quarterly 51 (205):433-454.
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