Ever since Frege, propositions have played a central role in philosophy of language. Propositions are generally conceived as abstract objects that have truth conditions essentially and fulfill both the role of the meaning of sentences and of the objects or content of propositional attitudes. More recently, the abstract conception of propositions has given rise to serious dissatisfaction among a number of philosophers, who have instead proposed a conception of propositional content based on cognitive acts (Hanks, Moltmann, Soames). This approach is (...) not entirely new, though, but has important precedents in early analytic philosophy and phenomenology. The aim of this volume is bring together some of the most important texts from the relevant historical literature and new contributions from contemporary proponents of act-based conceptions of propositional content. (shrink)
L'auteur expose la tentative faite par Bolzano de définir le concept de proposition en soi analytique à l'aide du concept de variation de représentation. Puis, il discute les difficultés qui résultent de ce modèle quant à la définition bolzanienne du concept étroit de vérité logiquement analytique ou de vérité logique. En conclusion, il compare la définition bolzanienne du concept de proposition en soi analytique et la définition husserlienne: celle-ci se découvre être une application de l'idée fondamentale de Bolzano — employer (...) la variation de représentation pour définir les concepts logiques fondamentaux. The author tries to outline Bolzano's proposal to define the concept of an analytic proposition by using the concept of idea variation. He discusses the problems that arise for Bolzano's attempt to define the concept of a logical truth on the same lines. He ends by comparing Bolzano's and Husserl's definition of the concept of an analytical proposition: Husserl's definition can be seen as an original application of Bolzano's basic idea to define basic logical notions with recourse to the concept of idea variation. (shrink)
Bolzano incorporated Kant's distinction between intuitions and concepts into the doctrine of propositions by distinguishing between conceptual (Begriffssätze an sich) and intuitive propositions (Anschauungssätze an sich). An intuitive proposition contains at least one objective intuition, that is, a simple idea that represents exactly one object; a conceptual proposition contains no objective intuition. After Bolzano, philosophers dispensed with the distinction between conceptual and intuitive propositions. So why did Bolzano attach philosophical importance to it? I will argue that, ultimately, the value of (...) the distinction lies in the fact that conceptual and intuitive truths have different objective grounds: if a conceptual truth is grounded at all, its ground is a conceptual truth. The difference in grounds between conceptual and intuitive truths motivates Bolzano's criticism of Kant's view that intuition plays the fundamental role in mathematics, a conceptual science by Bolzano's lights. (shrink)
Brentano held that every mental phenomenon has an object and is conscious (the dual relation thesis). The dual relation thesis faces a number of well-known problems. The paper explores how Brentano tried to overcome these problems. In considering Brentano's responses, the paper sheds light on Brentano's theory of judgement that underpins his philosophy of mind.
Does (affirmative) judgement have a logical dual, negative judgement? Whether there is such a logical dualism was hotly debated at the beginning of the twentieth century. Frege argued in ?Negation? (1918/9) that logic can dispense with negative judgement. Frege's arguments shaped the views of later generations of analytic philosophers, but they will not have convinced such opponents as Brentano or Windelband. These philosophers believed in negative judgement for psychological, not logical, reasons. Reinach's ?On the Theory of Negative Judgement? (1911) spoke (...) to the concerns of these philosophers. While Frege took the distinction between affirmative and negative judgement to be logically redundant, Reinach argued that it is the result of confusing judgement with a different mental act. In this article, I present Reinach's arguments against the ?old logical dualism? in context, analyse them and discuss Reinach's innovative use of the notion of focus in the theory of judgement. Recently, there has been a revival of the view that sentential negation is grounded in a prior mental act of rejection. In the final section, I argue that Reinach's analysis of rejection poses a challenge for the revivalists. (shrink)
Keith Hossack argues in his The Metaphysics of Knowledge(2007) that knowledge is a simple and metaphysically fundamental relation between a thinker and a fact: knowledge is uptake of fact. Facts are conceived as combinations of particulars and universals, distinct from true propositions. Hossacks's general argument is, roughly, that one can define central philosophical concepts (belief, content, justification, etc.) if one assumes that knowledge is primitive, but that knowledge cannot be defined in terms of such concepts. In this paper, I will (...) question Hossack's view of knowledge and his use of knowledge in the theory of content. To anticipate one of the main points: there is knowledge that cannot be uptake of a fact, because there is no fact to be taken up. The conclusion is that Hossack needs either to revise his theory of facts or his metaphysics of knowledge. Something has to give. (shrink)
According to Frege, judgement is the ‘logically primitive activity’. So what is judgement? In his mature work, he characterizes judging as ‘acknowledging the truth’ (‘Anerkennen der Wahrheit’). Frege’s remarks about judging as acknowledging the truth of a thought require further elaboration and development. I will argue that the development that best suits his argumentative purposes takes acknowledging the truth of a thought to be a non-propositional attitude like seeing an object; it is a mental relation between a thinker, a thought, (...) and an object, namely a truth-value. (shrink)
Frege held that singular terms can refer only to objects, not to concepts. I argue that the counter-intuitive consequences of this claim ('the concept paradox') arise from Frege's mirroring principle that an incomplete expression can only express an incomplete sense and stand for an incomplete reference. This is not, as is sometimes thought, merely because predicates and singular terms cannot be intersubstituted salva veritate ( congruitate ). The concept paradox, properly understood, poses therefore a different, harder, challenge. An investigation of (...) the foundations of the mirroring principle also sheds light on the role which language plays in Frege's epistemology of logic. (shrink)
Frege’s writings contain arguments for the thesis (i) that a thought expressed by a sentence S is a structured object whose composition pictures the composition of S, and for the thesis (ii) that a thought is an unstructured object. I will argue that Frege’s reasons for both (i) and (ii) are strong. Frege’s explanation of the difference in sense between logically equivalent sentences rests on assumption (i), while Frege’s claim that the same thought can be decomposed differently makes (ii) plausible. (...) Thoughts are supposed to do work that requires that they be structured and work that requires that they be unstructured. But this cannot be! While the standard response to this problem is to reject either (i) or (ii), I propose a charitable repair in the spirit of Frege’s theory that accepts both. The key idea can be found in Frege’s Basic Laws of Arithmetic(BL, GGA). Frege argues that the thought expressed by a sentence is determined by the truth-conditions that can be derived from the semantic axioms for the sentence constituents. The fact that the same axiomatic truth-condition can be derived in different ways from different semantic axioms suggests a Fregean solution of the dilemma: A thought is a type that is instantiated by all sequences of senses (decomposed thoughts) that have the same axiomatic truth-conditions. This allows for multiple decomposability of the same thought (for different decomposed thoughts can have the same axiomatic truth-conditions) and for a notion of containment (the decomposed thought contains those senses whose semantic axioms are needed in the derivation of the truth-conditions). My proposal combines the virtues of (i) and (ii) without inheriting their vices. (shrink)
Arguments for and against the existence of demonstrative concepts of shades and shapes turn on the assumption that demonstrative concepts must be recognitional capacities. The standard argument for this assumption is based on the widely held view that concepts are those constituents of propositional attitudes that account for an attitude's inferential potential. Only if demonstrative concepts of shades are recognitional capacities, the standard argument goes, can they account for the inferential potential of demonstrative judgements about shades. Shades are conceived as (...) colour universals. Shade a is different from shade b iff it is possible to distinguish a from b visually. In this paper I will argue that the standard argument is based on a mistaken view of inference. We can correctly draw inferences from a demonstrative judgement about something x , even if we are not able to recognise or re-identify the previously demonstrated x during our reasoning. We are prima facie entitled to rely on our preservative memory as retaining our initial demonstrative apprehension of x . The fact that preservative memory entitles us to assume sameness of referent over time is linguistically manifest in the use of anaphoric pronouns: if we can no longer recognise and demonstrate our original demonstratum, we can use anaphoric expressions to pick it up, thereby ensuring sameness of reference. ('That is a nice bird. Now it has vanished. So there is a nice bird that has just vanished.') Since preservation of the initial episode of apprehending x grounds our reasoning from demonstrative judgements, there is no longer a reason to require demonstrative concepts to be recognitional capacities. The standard argument does not get off the ground. 1. (shrink)
Michael Devitt has argued that a satisfactory explanation of the authority of linguistic intuitions need not assume that they are derived from tacit knowledge of principles of grammar. Devitt’s Modest Explanation is based on a controversial construal of linguistic intuitions as meta-linguistic central-processor judgements. I will argue that there are non-judgemental responses to linguistic strings, linguistic seemings, which are evidence for linguistic theories. Devitt cannot account for their epistemic authority. This spoils his ‘modest explanation’. Devitt’s opponent, the Voice of Competence (...) View, is back in business. (shrink)
Frege holds the distinction between complete (saturated) and incomplete (unsaturated) things to be a basic distinction of logic. Many disagree. In this paper I will argue that one can defend Frege's distinction against criticism if one takes, inspired by Frege, a wh -question to be the paradigm incomplete expression.
Nelson Goodman and, following him, Catherine Z. Elgin and Keith Lehrer have claimed that sometimes a sample is a symbol that stands for the property it is a sample of. The relation between the sample and the property it stands for is called 'exemplification' (Goodman, Elgin) or 'exemplarisation' (Lehrer). Goodman and Lehrer argue that the notion of exemplification sheds light on central problems in aesthetics and the philosophy of mind. However, while there seems to be a phenomenon to be captured, (...) Goodman's account of exemplification has several flaws. In this paper I will offer an alternative account of exemplification that is inspired by Grice's idea that one can communicate something by providing one's audience with intention-independent evidence and letting them draw the obvious conclusion for themselves. This explication of exemplification will solve the problems that arose for Goodman's theory in the spirit of his approach.1. (shrink)
Does the English demonstrative pronoun 'that' (including complex demonstratives of the form 'that F') have sense and reference? Unlike many other philosophers of language, Frege answers with a resounding 'No'. He held that the bearer of sense and reference is a so-called 'hybrid proper name' (Künne) that contains the demonstrative pronoun and specific circumstances of utterance such as glances and acts of pointing. In this paper I provide arguments for the thesis that demonstratives are hybrid proper names. After outlining why (...) Frege held the hybrid proper name view, I will defend it against recent criticism, and argue that it is superior to views that take demonstrative pronouns to be the bearer of semantic properties. (shrink)
According to Horwich’s use theory of meaning, the meaning of a word W is engendered by the underived acceptance of certain sentences containing W. Horwich applies this theory to provide an account of semantic stipulation: Semantic stipulation proceeds by deciding to accept sentences containing an as yet meaningless word W. Thereby one brings it about that W gets an underived acceptance property. Since a word’s meaning is constituted by its (basic) underived acceptance property, this decision endows the word with a (...) meaning. The use-theoretic account of semantic stipulation contrasts with the standard view that semantic stipulation proceeds by assigning the meaning (reference) to W that makes a certain set of sentences express true propositions. In this paper I will argue that the use-theoretic account does not work. I take Frege to have already made the crucial point: "a definition does not assert anything but lays down something ["etwas festsetzt"]” (Frege 1899, 36). A semantic stipulation for W cannot be the decision to accept a sentence containing W or be explained in terms of such an acceptance. Semantic stipulation constitutes a problem for Horwich's use theory of meaning, especially his basic notion of acceptance. (shrink)
Although an important part of the origins of analytic philosophy can be traced back to philosophy in Austria in the first part of the twentieth century, remarkably little is known about the specific contribution made by Austrian philosophy and philosophers. In The Austrian Contribution to Analytic Philosophy prominent analytic philosophers take a fresh look at the roots of analytic philosophy in the thought of influential but often overlooked Austrian philosophers, including Brentano, Meinong, Bolzano, Husserl, and Witasek. The contributors to this (...) volume investigate central topics in theoretical philosophy, such as intentionality, consciousness, memory, attributes, and truth as well as political philosophy and aesthetics. This original collection will be of interest to anyone studying the origins of analytic philosophy as well as contemporary debates in philosophy of language, metaphysics and mind. (shrink)
The truth-conditional theory of sense holds that a theory of truth for a natural language can serve as a theory of sense: if knowledge of a theory of truth for a language L is sufficient for understanding utterance of L-sentences, the T-sentences of the theory 'show' the sense of the uttered object-language sentences. In this paper I aim to show that indexicals create a serious problem for this prima facie attractive theoretical option. The so-called 'instantiation problem' is that a truth-theory (...) for indexical languages needs to contain universal statements that show how the reference of indexicals depends on features of the utterance context. Now one can deduce from such statements T-sentences that do not show the sense of an indexical sentence on an occasion of use. I survey proposed solutions to the instantiation problem by Evans and Sainsbury and, unfortunately, find them all wanting. Perhaps there is nothing like the sense-giving truth-condition for an indexical sentence. (shrink)
I argue against the thesis that the thought expressed by the utterance of an indexical sentence can be re-expressed by means of a quasi-indicator in a belief-ascription. Constructivley, I propose that we describe throught by means of quasi-indicators.
Michael Dummett holds that the sense of a natural language proper name is part of its linguistic meaning. I argue that this view sits uncomfortably with Frege's observation that the sense of a natural language proper name varies from speaker to speaker. Moreover, the thesis under discussion is not supported by Frege's views on communication. Recently Richard Heck has tried to develop an argument which is intended to show that assertoric communication with sentences containing proper names is only possible if (...) Dummett's thesis or a version of it is true. I will challenge this argument and argue that it does not support Dummett's thesis. (shrink)
Most discussions of Kripke's Naming and Necessity focus either on Kripke's so-called "historical theory of reference" or his thesis that names are rigid designators. But in response to problems of the rigidity thesis Kripke later points out that his thesis about proper names is a stronger one: proper names are de jure rigid. This sets the agenda for my paper. Certain problems raised for Kripke's view show that the notion of de jure rigidity is in need of clarification. I will (...) try to clarify the notion of de jure rigidity by analyzing characterizations of it given in the literature. I will argue in particular that Kripke can count descriptive names as de jure rigid and that the concept of de jure rigidity should not be explained with recourse to the concept of a semantical rule. The second part of the paper is a critical discussion of arguments intended to show that proper names are not de jure rigid. I will show that these arguments are unconvincing by using Dummett's distinction between assertoric content and ingredient sense. (shrink)
Bolzano holds that every sentence can be paraphrased into a sentence of the form "A has b". Bolzano's arguments for this claim are reconstructed and discussed. Since they crucially rely on Bolzano's notion of paraphrase, this notion is investigated in detail. Bolzano has usually been taken to require that in a correct paraphrase the sentence to be paraphrased and the paraphrasing sentence express the same proposition. In view of Bolzano's texts and systematical considerations this interpretation is rejected: Bolzano only holds (...) that the sentence to be paraphrased and the paraphrasing sentence must be equipollent ("gleichgeltend"). It is shown that even this modest view of paraphrase does not help Bolzano in sustaining his claim that all sentences have the form "A has b". (shrink)