David’s epistemic understanding of two-dimensional semantics has these two features. First, although he considers at least two construals of epistemically possible worlds, on one of them they are centered metaphysically possible worlds. Second, David intends epistemic two-dimensional semantics to yield a theory of propositional-attitude content, as well as having application to the semantics of natural language expressions. These two features come together in David’s “The Components of Content,” where he deploys the apparatus of epistemic two-dimensional semantics to provide an account (...) of propositional-attitude content, and where, for reasons of simplicity and familiarity, epistemically possible worlds are taken to be centered metaphysically possible worlds. My talk is about this account of content. (shrink)
(1) The propositions we believe and say are _Russellian_ _propositions_: structured propositions whose basic components are the objects and properties our thoughts and speech acts are about. (2) Many singular terms.
To a first approximation, _propositional content_ is whatever _that-clauses_ contribute to what is ascribed in utterances of sentences such as Ralph believes _that Tony Curtis is alive_. Ralph said _that Tony Curtis is alive_. Ralph hopes _that Tony Curtis is alive_. Ralph desires _that Tony Curtis is alive_.
Stephen Schiffer presents a groundbreaking account of meaning and belief, and shows how it can illuminate a range of crucial problems regarding language, mind, knowledge, and ontology. He introduces the new doctrine of 'pleonastic propositions' to explain what the things we mean and believe are. He discusses the relation between semantic and psychological facts, on the one hand, and physical facts, on the other; vagueness and indeterminacy; moral truth; conditionals; and the role of propositional content in information acquisition and explanation. (...) This radical new treatment of meaning will command the attention of everyone who works on fundamental questions about language, and will attract much interest from other areas of philosophy. (shrink)
Suppose we think in a language of thought. Then Paul Boghossian' is prepared to argue, first, that there may be ambiguous Mentalese expression types that have unambiguous tokens, and, second, that the way in which this is possible allows for otherwise valid theoretical or practical reasoning to be rendered invalid owing to equivocation of a sort that may be undetectable to the reasoner. Paul sees this as a possible basis from which to launch an argument for what some might call (...) "narrow content", and this is a question I'll take up later. (shrink)
What is it for marks or sounds to have meaning, and what is it for someone to mean something in producing them? Answering these and related questions, Schiffer explores communication, speech acts, convention, and the meaning of linguistic items in this reissue of a seminal work on the foundations of meaning. A new introduction takes account of recent developments and places his theory in a broader context.