This paper presents an account of the manner in which a proposition’s immediate structural features are related to its core truth-conditional features. The leading idea is that for a proposition to have a certain immediate structure is just for certain entities to play certain roles in the correct theory of the brute facts regarding that proposition’s truth conditions. The paper explains how this account addresses certain worries and questions recently raised by Jeffery King and Scott Soames.
The overwhelming majority of those who theorize about implicit biases posit that these biases are caused by some sort of association. However, what exactly this claim amounts to is rarely specified. In this paper, I distinguish between understandings of association as a theory of learning, a theory of cognitive structure, a theory of mental processes, and as an implementation base for cognition. I then argue that the crucial senses of association for elucidating implicit bias are the cognitive structure (...) and mental process senses. A hypothesis is subsequently derived: if associations really underpin implicit biases, then implicit biases should be modulated by counterconditioning or extinction but should not be modulated by rational argumentation. This hypothesis is false; implicit biases are not, at heart, predicated on any associative structures or associative processes but instead arise because of unconscious propositionally structured beliefs. I conclude by discussing how the case study of implicit bias illuminates problems with popular dual process models of cognitive architecture. (shrink)
The paper argues that the objects of belief should not be conceived as sets of possible worlds or propositions of set of centered possible worlds or egocentric propositions (this is the propositional conception), but rather as sets of pairs consisting of a centered world and a sequence of objects (this is the intentional conception of the objects of belief). The paper explains the deep significance of this thesis for the framework of two-dimensional semantics, indeed for any framework trying to (...) adequately relate semantics and epistemology (which is here construed as what I call the Congruence Principle). I give three arguments for this thesis, two preliminary indecisive ones by way of examples, and third theoretical one alluding to a deep principle of philosophical psychology (which I call the Invariance Principle). This paper is an improved and up-dated version of my paper No. 25. It will appear in Causation, Coherence, and Concepts. A Collection of Essays of mine. (shrink)
Attempts to characterize unarticulated constituents (henceforth: UCs) by means of quantification over the parts of a sentence and the constituents of the proposition it expresses come to grief in more complicated cases than are commonly considered. In particular, UC definitions are inadequate when we consider cases in which the same constituent appears more than once in a proposition that only has one word with the constituent as its semantic value. This article explores some consequences of trying to repair the formal (...) definitions. (shrink)
In sections 1 through 5, I develop in detail what I call the standard theory of worlds and propositions, and I discuss a number of purported objections. The theory consists of five theses. The first two theses, presented in section 1, assert that the propositions form a Boolean algebra with respect to implication, and that the algebra is complete, respectively. In section 2, I introduce the notion of logical space: it is a field of sets that represents the propositional (...)structure and whose space consists of all and only the worlds. The next three theses, presented in sections 3, 4, and 5, respectively, guarantee the existence of logical space, and further constrain its structure. The third thesis asserts that the set of propositions true at any world is maximal consistent; the fourth thesis that any two worlds are separated by a proposition; the fifth thesis that only one proposition is false at every world. In sections 6 through 10, I turn to the problem of reduction. In sections 6 and 7, I show how the standard theory can be used to support either a reduction of worlds to propositions or a reduction of propositions to worlds. A number of proposition-based theories are developed in section 6, and compared with Adams's world-story theory. A world-based theory is developed in section?, and Stalnaker's account of the matter is discussed. Before passing judgment on the proposition based and world-based theories, I ask in sections 8 and 9 whether both worlds and propositions might be reduced to something else. In section 8, I consider reductions to linguistic entities; in section 9, reductions to unfounded sets. After rejecting the possibility of eliminating both worlds and propositions, I return in section 10 to the possibility of eliminating one in favor of the other. I conclude, somewhat tentatively, that neither worlds nor propositions should be reduced one to the other, that both worlds and propositions should be taken as basic to our ontology. (shrink)
Some accounts of mental content represent the objects of belief as structured, using entities that formally resemble the sentences used to express and report attitudes in natural language; others adopt a relatively unstructured approach, typically using sets or functions. Currently popular variants of the latter include classical and neo-classical propositionalism, which represent belief contents as sets of possible worlds and sets of centered possible worlds, respectively; and property self-ascriptionism, which employs sets of possible individuals. I argue against their contemporary proponents (...) that all three views are ineluctably plagued by generation gaps: they either overgenerate beliefs, undergenerate them, or both. (shrink)
Originally motivated by a sophism, Pardo's discussion about the unity of mental propositions allows him to elaborate on his ideas about the nature of propositions. His option for a non-composite character of mental propositions is grounded in an original view about syncategorems: propositions have a syncategorematic signification, which allows them to signify aliquid aliqualiter, just by virtue of the mental copula, without the need of any added categorematic element. Pardo's general claim about the simplicity of mental propositions is developed into (...) several specific thesis about mental propositions: a) it is not judgement which gives its unity to mental propositions, but judicative acts always follow some previous apprehensive act that is simple in its own right; b) this simplicity is compatible with a certain kind of complexity, that can be explained in terms of the "causal history" of the acts of knowing; c) traditional conceptions about subject and predicate must be recast, while keeping their usual explicative power concerning logical properties; d) of course, the traditional conception about the copula has been modified, giving rise to a fully innovative conception of the nature of mental propositions. Nevertheless, this innovative conception of mental language seems still infected by certain "common sense" prejudices, which lead Pardo to propose also a provocative conception of vocal language, which I consider unnecessary. (shrink)
The general fact of the impossibility of a bivalent, truth-functional semantics for the propositional structures determined by quantum mechanics should be more subtly demarcated according to whether the structures are taken to be orthomodular latticesP L or partial-Boolean algebrasP A; according to whether the semantic mappings are required to be truth-functional or truth-functional ; and according to whether two-or-higher dimensional Hilbert spaceP structures or three-or-higher dimensional Hilbert spaceP structures are being considered. If the quantumP structures are taken to be (...) orthomodular latticesP L, then bivalent mappings which preserve the operations and relations of aP L must be truth-functional . Then as suggested by von Neumann and Jauch-Piron and as proven in this paper, the mere presence of incompatible elements in aP L is sufficient to rule out any semantical or hidden-variable proposal which imposes this strong condition, for anytwo-or-higher dimensional Hilbert spaceP L structure. Thus from the orthomodular lattice perspective, the peculiarly non-classical feature of quantum mechanics and the peculiarly non-Boolean feature of the quantum propositional structures is the existence of incompatible magnitudes and propositions. However, the weaker truth-functionality condition can instead be imposed upon the semantic or hidden-variable mappings on theP L structures, although such mappings ignore the lattice meets and joins of incompatibles and preserve only the partial-Boolean algebra structural features of theP L structures. Or alternatively, the quantum propositional structures can be taken to be partial-Boolean algebrasP A, where bivalent mappings which preserve the operations and relations of aP A need only be truth-functional (c). In either case, the Gleason, Kochen-Specker proofs show that any semantical or hidden variable proposal which imposes this truth-functionality (c) condition is impossible for anythree-or-higher dimensional Hilbert spaceP A orP L structures. But such semantical or hidden-variable proposals are possible for any two dimensional Hilbert spaceP A orP L structures, in spite of the presence of incompatibles in these structures, in spite of the fact that Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle applies to the incompatible elements in these structures, and in spite of the fact that these structures are non-Boolean in the Piron sense. (shrink)
It is argued that taken together, two widely held claims ((i) sentences express structured propositions whose structures are functions of the structures of sentences expressing them; and (ii) senteces have underlying structures that are the input to semantic interpretation) suggest a simple, plausible theory of propositionalstructure. According to this theory, the structures of propositions are the same as the structures of the syntactic inputs to semantics they are expressed by. The theory is defended against a variety of (...) objections. (shrink)
This book makes a stimulating contribution to the philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. It begins with a spirited defense of the view that propositions are structured and that propositionalstructure is "psychologically real." The author then develops a subtle view of propositions and attitude ascription. The view is worked out in detail with attention to such topics as the semantics of conversations, iterated attitude ascriptions, and the role of propositions as bearers of truth. Along the way (...) important issues in the philosophy of mind are addressed. (shrink)
We describe a knowledge representation and inference formalism, based on an intensional propositional semantic network, in which variables are structures terms consisting of quantifier, type, and other information. This has three important consequences for natural language processing. First, this leads to an extended, more natural formalism whose use and representations are consistent with the use of variables in natural language in two ways: the structure of representations mirrors the structure of the language and allows re-use phenomena such (...) as pronouns and ellipsis. Second, the formalism allows the specification of description subsumption as a partial ordering on related concepts (variable nodes in a semantic network) that relates more general concepts to more specific instances of that concept, as is done in language. Finally, this structured variable representation simplifies the resolution of some representational difficulties with certain classes of natural language sentences, namely, donkey sentences and sentences involving branching quantifiers. The implementation of this formalism is called ANALOG (A NAtural LOGIC) and its utility for natural language processing tasks is illustrated. (shrink)
Neo-Russellian theories of structured propositions face challenges to do with both representation and structure which are sometimes called the problem of unity and the Benacerraf problem. In §i, I set out the problems and Jeffrey King's solution, which I take to be the best of its type, as well as an unfortunate consequence for that solution. In §§ii–iii, I diagnose what is going wrong with this line of thought. If I am right, it follows that the Benacerraf problem cannot (...) be used to motivate the view that propositions are irreducible elements of our ontology. (shrink)
Eliminative materialism is a popular view of the mind which holds that propositional attitudes, the typical units of our traditional understanding, are unsupported by modern connectionist psychology and neuroscience, and consequently that propositional attitudes are a poor scientific postulate, and do not exist. Since our traditional folk psychology employs propositional attitudes, the usual argument runs, it too represents a poor theory, and may in the future be replaced by a more successful neurologically grounded theory, resulting in a (...) drastic improvement in our interpersonal relationships. I contend that these eliminativist arguments typically run together two distinct capacities: the folk psychological mechanisms which we use to understand one another, and scientific and philosophical guesses about the structure of those understandings. Both capacities are ontologically committed and therefore empirical. However, the commitments whose prospects look so dismal to the eliminativist, in particular the causal and logical image of propositional attitudes, belong to the guesses, and not necessarily to the underlying mechanisms. It is the commitments of traditional philosophical perspectives about the operation of our folk psychology which are contradicted by?new evidence and modeling methods in connectionist psychology. Our actual folk psychology was not clearly committed to causal, sentential propositional attitudes, and thus is not directly threatened by connectionist psychology. (shrink)
I this paper, I draw on recent research on the radically embodied and perceptual bases of conceptualization in linguistics and cognitive science to develop a new way of reading and evaluating abstract concepts in social theory. I call this approach Sociological Idea Analysis. I argue that, in contrast to the traditional view of abstract concepts, which conceives them as amodal “presuppositions” removed from experience, abstract concepts are irreducibly grounded in experience and partake of non-negotiable perceptual-symbolic features from which a non- (...) class='Hi'>propositional “logic” naturally follows. This implies that uncovering the imagistic bases of allegedly abstract notions should be a key part of theoretical evaluation of concepts in social theory. I provide a case study of the general category of “structure” in the social and human sciences to demonstrate the analytic utility of the approach. (shrink)
Belief in propositions no longer brings about the sorts of looks it did when Quine's affinity for desert landscapes held sway in the Anglo-American philosophical scene. People are doing work in the metaphysics of propositions, trying to figure out what sorts of creatures propositions are. In philosophers like Frege, Russell, and Moore we have strong shoulders upon which to stand. But, there is much more work that needs to be done. I will try to do a bit of that work (...) here. In the paper, I will probe the notion that propositions are structured entities, and that it is useful to think of their structure as resembling the structure of the sentences which express them. First, I will speak briefly to the issue of why one might find it rational to believe that propositions exist. In the second part of the paper, I will argue that we should think of propositions as having structure. In the last section, I will examine the nature of the structure of propositions. I will consider a recent account given by Jeffrey King of the nature of the relation that unifies constituents. I conclude by sketching my own view of the relation that holds between propositional constituents in virtue of which they compose a proposition. 1 I Why Believe in Propositions? Propositions are taken to be abstract entities that are a) the primary bearers of truth and falsity, b) the objects of our propositional attitudes, and c) the referents of "that-. (shrink)
The paper deals with the question of the structure of knowledge and the precise relationship between propositional "knowledge that" and dispositional "knowledge how." In the first part of my essay, I provide an analysis of the term 'knowing how' and argue that the usual alternatives in the recent epistemological debate – knowing how is either a form of propositional or dispositional knowledge – are misleading. In fact it depends on the semantic and pragmatic context of the usage (...) of this term whether 'knowing how' refers to a type of dispositional knowledge, to propositional knowledge, or to a hybrid form of both. Only in the first case, can one say that dispositional know how cannot be reduced to any form of propositional knowledge. Yet, this case is the most interesting one to consider in the investigation of the nature of knowledge, if one assumes that knowing that p presupposes "having found out that p." Having found something out, however, presupposes certain acts of epistemic inquiry and corresponding epistemic abilities. Examined more carefully, it is shown that the dispositional knowledge-how is a necessary condition for propositional knowledge-that, hence propositional knowledge-that is a species of the dispositional knowledge-how. Accordingly, dispositional knowledge has to be understood as being at the very core of our notion of knowledge, including propositional knowledge. (shrink)
According to Peacocke, concepts are individuated by their possession conditions, which are specified in terms of conditions in which certain propositions containing those concepts are believed. In support, Peacocke tries to explain what it is for a thought to have a structure and what it is for a belief to have a propositional content. I show that the possession condition theory cannot answer such fundamental questions. Peacocke’s theory founders because concepts are metaphysically fundamental. They individuate the propositions and (...) thoughts containing them, which in turn individuate the propositional attitudes that are relations to those propositions or thoughts. (shrink)
From a Kuhnian perspective, a paradigmatic revolution in management science will significantly improve our understanding of the business world and show practitioners (including managers and consultants) how to become much more effective. Without an objective measure of revolution, however, the door is open for spurious claims of revolutionary advance. Such claims cause confusion among scholars and practitioners and reduce the legitimacy of university management programs. Metatheoretical methods, based on insights from systems theory, provide new tools for analyzing the structure (...) of theory. Propositional analysis is one such method that may be applied to objectively quantify the formal robustness of management theory. In this chapter, I use propositional analysis to analyze different versions of a theory as it evolves across 1,500 years of history. This analysis shows how the increasing robustness of theory anticipates the arrival of revolution and suggests an innovative and effective way for scholars and practitioners to develop and evaluate theories of management. (shrink)
Although ‘glue semantics’ is the most extensively developed theory of semantic composition for LFG, it is not very well integrated into the LFG projection architecture, due to the absence of a simple and well-explained correspondence between glue-proofs and f-structures. In this paper I will show that we can improve this situation with two steps: (1) Replace the current quantificational formulations of glue (either Girard’s system F, or first order linear logic) with strictly propositional linear logic (the quantifier, unit and (...) exponential free version of either MILL or ILL, depending on whether or not tensors are used). (2) Reverse the direction of the standard σ-projection from f-structure to meaning, giving one going from the (atomic nodes of) the glue-proof to the f-structure, rather than from the f-structure to a ‘semantic projection’ which is itself somehow related to the glue-proof. As a side effect, the standard semantic projection of LFG glue semantics can be dispensed with. A result is that LFG sentence structures acquire a level composed of strictly binary trees, constructed out of nodes representing function application and lambda abstraction, with a significant resemblance to external and internal merge in the Minimalist Program. This increased resemblance between frameworks might assist in making useful comparisons. (shrink)
Our purpose is to formulate a complete logic of propositions that takes into account the fact that propositions are both senses provided with truth values and contents of conceptual thoughts. In our formalization, propositions are more complex entities than simple functions from possible worlds into truth values. They have a structure of constituents (a content) in addition to truth conditions. The formalization is adequate for the purposes of the logic of speech acts. It imposes a stronger criterion of (...) class='Hi'>propositional identity than strict equivalence. Two propositions P and Q are identical if and only if, for any illocutionary force F, it is not possible to perform with success a speech act of the form F(P) without also performing with success a speech act of the form F(Q). Unlike hyperintensional logic, our logic of propositions is compatible with the classical Boolean laws of propositional identity such as the symmetry and the associativity of conjunction and the reduction of double negation. (shrink)
Quantified propositional intuitionistic logic is obtained from propositional intuitionistic logic by adding quantifiers p, p, where the propositional variables range over upward-closed subsets of the set of worlds in a Kripke structure. If the permitted accessibility relations are arbitrary partial orders, the resulting logic is known to be recursively isomorphic to full second-order logic (Kremer, 1997). It is shown that if the Kripke structures are restricted to trees of at height and width at most , the (...) resulting logics are decidable. This provides a partial answer to a question by Kremer. The result also transfers to modal S4 and some Gödel–Dummett logics with quantifiers over propositions. (shrink)
Deaf children whose hearing losses are so severe that they cannot acquire spoken language, and whose hearing parents have not exposed them to sign language, use gestures called homesigns to communicate. Homesigns have been shown to contain many of the properties of natural languages. Here we ask whether homesign has structure building devices for negation and questions. We identify two meanings (negation, question) that correspond semantically to propositional functions, that is, to functions that apply to a sentence (whose (...) semantic value is a proposition, φ) and yield another proposition that is more complex (¬φ for negation; ?φ for question). Combining φ with.. (shrink)
Joannis Buridani de semantice propositionum doctrinaDissertatio proposita Joannis Buridani de semantice propositionum sententiam, quae in suis operibus logicis continetur, pertractat. Quaestio de semantice propositionali duplici modo sumi potest: scil. vel pure semantice (quarendo definitionem veritatis) vel ontologice (inquirendo de statu ontologico “complexesignificabilium”). In utraque quaestione solvenda Buridanus doctrinam semanticam quae “terminismus” dicitur assumit. Notionem veritatis Buridanus non ex significatione sed ex suppositione explicat, quo pacto possibile redditur, veritatem inductive per valorem semanticum propositionis partium definiri. Quaestionem alteram circa semanticen complexionis “accusativi (...) cum infinitivo” seu “dicti” propositionis Buridanus ad semanticen terminorum reducit, propositionis structuram logicam explicando. Buridani principalis modus procedendi ergo in hoc consistit, quod ipse “obligationibus ontologicis” alicuius discursus evadere studet, abnegando “denotativam” doctrinam semanticam. Translatio: Lukáš NovákJohn Buridan’s Propositional SemanticsThe paper deals with Buridan’s approach to the problems of propositional semantics, contained in his logical works. This question can be conceived both as semantic (definition of truth) and ontological (ontological status of states of affairs). Buridan’s solution of both of these questions is based upon a terminist theory of meaning. Theory of truth is constructed as suppositional, not as significational, which enables the definition of truth in terms of the semantic values of components of a particular kind of proposition. The other important problem, the semantic analysis of accusative and infinitive constructions (i.e. of sentential nominalizations), is solved within the semantics of terms by exhibiting the logical structure of a proposition. Buridan’s crucial strategy is therefore the elimination of the apparent ontological commitments of a particular discourse in terms of dismissing the denotative theory of meaning. (shrink)
In our previous paper , we have studied Kripke-type semantics for propositional logics without the contraction rule. In this paper, we will extend our argument to predicate logics without the structure rules. Similarly to the propositional case, we can not carry out Henkin's construction in the predicate case. Besides, there exists a difficulty that the rules of inference () and () are not always valid in our semantics. So, we have to introduce a notion of normal models.
This paper is concerned with the structure of texts in which aproof is presented. Some parts of such a text are assumptions, otherparts are conclusions. We show how the structural organisation of thetext into assumptions and conclusions helps to check the validity of theproof. Then we go on to use the structural information for theformulation of proof rules, i.e., rules for the (re-)construction ofproof texts. The running example is intuitionistic propositional logicwith connectives , and. We give new proofs (...) of some familiar results aboutthe proof theory of this logic to indicate how the new techniques workout. (shrink)
Over a period of several decades spanning the origin of the Vienna Circle, Schlick repeatedly attacked Husserl''s phenomenological method for its reliance on the ability to intuitively grasp or see essences. Aside from its significance for phenomenologists, the attack illuminates significant and little-explored tensions in the history of analytic philosophy as well. For after coming under the influence of Wittgenstein, Schlick proposed to replace Husserl''s account of the epistemology of propositions describing the overall structure of experience with his own (...) account based on the structure of language rather than on the intuition of essences. I discuss both philosophers'' accounts of the epistemology of propositions describing the structure of experience. For both philosophers, this epistemology was closely related to the general epistemology of logic; nevertheless, neither philosopher had a completely coherent account of it. Comparison of the two approaches shows that perennial and severe theoretical obstacles stand in the way of giving an epistemology of the structure of experience, a central requirement for both philosophers'' theories. Consideration of these obstacles sheds a new light on the reasons for the historically decisive split between the continental and the analytic traditions, as well as on the subsequent development of the analytic tradition away from the structural description of experience. (shrink)
In  A. Wroski proved that there is a strongly finite consequence C which is not finitely based i.e. for every consequence C + determined by a finite set of standard rules C C +. In this paper it will be proved that for every strongly finite consequence C there is a consequence C + determined by a finite set of structural rules such that C(Ø)=C +(Ø) and = (where , are consequences obtained by adding to the rules of C, (...) C + respectively the rule of substitution). Moreover it will be shown that under certain assumptions C=C +. (shrink)
Justice makes demands upon us. But these demands, important though they may be, are not the only moral demands that we face. Our lives ought to be responsive to other values too. However, some philosophers have identified an apparent tension between those values and norms, such as justice, that seem to transcend the arena of small-scale interpersonal relations and those that are most at home in precisely that arena. How, then, are we to engage with all of the values and (...) norms that we take to apply to us? In this article, I discuss one way that we might hope to resolve the tension and its relation to John Rawls's `basic structure restriction'. The prospect of resolution is offered by the idea of a `division of moral labour', according to which the pursuit of certain values is assigned to institutions and not to individuals. According to Rawls's basic structure restriction, principles of justice are applicable only to the institutions of the basic structure of society. The possibility of a connection between the division of moral labour and the basic structure restriction readily suggests itself. Taking G.A. Cohen's well-known `incentives' critique of the basic structure restriction as a starting point, I consider five ways in which that restriction might be defended by appeal to the division of moral labour. I conclude that none of these defences succeeds, for none convinces that the conditions in which it makes sense to apply the division of moral labour idea obtain for Rawls's conception of distributive justice. Although the division of moral labour is an attractive proposal, it can do no work in a Rawlsian context. Key Words: Cohen • distributive justice • egalitarian ethos • equality • Rawls. (shrink)
Some of the most interesting recent work in philosophy of language and metaphysics is focused on questions about propositions, the abstract, truth-bearing contents of sentences and beliefs. The aim of this guide is to give instructors and students a road map for some significant work on propositions since the mid-1990s. This work falls roughly into two areas: challenges to the existence of propositions and theories about the nature and structure of propositions. The former includes both a widely discussed puzzle (...) about propositional designators as well as direct and indirect arguments against the existence of propositions. The latter is dominated by what is currently the central debate about the metaphysics of propositions, i.e. whether they are structured, composite entities or unstructured ontological simples. This issue has eclipsed older debates about whether propositions can be identified with sets of possible worlds or other kinds of sentence intensions. Author Recommends 1. Soames, Scott. 'Direct Reference, Propositional Attitudes, and Semantic Content.' Philosophical Topics 15 (1987): 47–87. Reprinted in Propositions and Attitudes . Eds. N. Salmon and S. Soames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. 197–239. Essential groundwork for more recent work on propositions. Soames gives a careful and exacting presentation of the case against identifying propositions with sets of possible worlds or other truth-supporting circumstances. Also contains a detailed statement of the Russellian conception of propositions on which propositions are ordered sets of objects, properties and relations. 2. King, Jeffrey. 'Designating Propositions.' The Philosophical Review 111 (2002): 341–71. Sometimes substituting a definite description for a corresponding 'that'-clause can lead to bizarre changes in truth-conditions: compare 'Bill fears that Hillary will be president' with 'Bill fears the proposition that Hillary will be president'. This puzzle about propositional designators threatens the relational analysis of propositional attitude reports, the view that 'believes' expresses a relation to the proposition designated by its 'that'-clause, and thereby poses an indirect threat to the existence of propositions. King's solution posits an ambiguity in verbs like 'fear' that embed both 'that'-clauses and definite descriptions. 3. Jubien, Michael. 'Propositions and the Objects of Thought.' Philosophical Studies 104 (2001): 47–62. A direct attack on the existence of propositions. Jubien deploys an analogue of the problem that Paul Benacerraf raised for set-theoretical reductions of numbers against metaphysical reductions of propositions. Just as numbers can be reduced to sets in many different ways, any reduction of propositions brings with it equally good variants, thus making any such reduction arbitrary and unmotivated. The only alternative is to treat propositions as abstract metaphysical primitives. As Jubien argues, however, abstract primitive entities are incapable of doing what propositions must do, i.e. represent objects and states of affairs on their own, without the input of thinking subjects. The upshot is the propositions cannot be reduced and they cannot be primitive, and so they must not exist. 4. Hanks, Peter. 'How Wittgenstein Defeated Russell's Multiple Relation Theory of Judgment.' Synthese 154 (2007): 121–46. Scepticism about propositions has recently led some philosophers, Jubien included, to resuscitate Russell's multiple relation theory of judgment, the idea that judgment is a many-place relation to objects, properties and relations. This paper explains why Russell himself abandoned that theory, and why the theory is still refuted by an objection due to Wittgenstein. 5. Hofweber, Thomas. 'Inexpressible Properties and Propositions.' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics . 2 vols. Ed. D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. 155–206. An indirect attack on the existence of propositions. Hofweber argues that sentences like 'Bill believes something that Hillary asserted' do not commit us to the existence of propositions. His view is that propositional quantification is an instance of what he calls 'internal' or 'inferential role' quantification, a kind of quantification that carries no ontological implications. 6. Schiffer, Stephen. The Things We Mean . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. esp. chs 1–2. Schiffer defends his theory of pleonastic propositions, on which propositions are unstructured, have no parts, and are very finely grained. 7. Bealer, George. 'Propositions.' Mind 107 (1998): 1–32. Bealer defends his algebraic theory of propositions, which, like Schiffer's pleonastic account, treats propositions as unstructured metaphysical simples. 8. King, Jeffrey. The Nature of and Structure of Content . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. The best developed current theory of the structure in structured propositions. King identifies propositions with certain kinds of facts in which objects, properties and relations are bound together by amalgams of syntactic and semantic relations. 9. Hanks, Peter. 'Recent Work on Propositions.' Philosophy Compass 4 (2009): 1–18. A survey of work on propositions since the mid-1990s that complements this teaching and learning guide. Contains responses to Jubien's and Hofweber's arguments against propositions and critical discussions of Schiffer's pleonastic propositions and King's theory of propositionalstructure. Online Resources 1. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/propositions/ Propositions (Matthew McGrath) 2. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/propositions-structured/ Structured Propositions (Jeffrey King) 3. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/propositions-singular/ Singular Propositions (Greg Fitch) Sample Partial Syllabus The following partial syllabus can be used as a unit on recent work on propositions in graduate level courses in philosophy of language or metaphysics. Week 1: A Substitution Puzzle About Propositional Designators King, Jeffrey. 'Designating Propositions'. Moltmann, Friederike. 'Propositional Attitudes Without Propositions.' Synthese 135 (2003): 77–118. Week 2: The Benacerraf Problem and Propositional Representation Benacerraf, Paul. 'What Numbers Could Not Be.' Philosophical Review 74 (1965): 47–73. Jubien, Michael. 'Propositions and the Objects of Thought.' Week 3: Propositional Quantification Hofweber, Thomas. 'Inexpressible Properties and Propositions'. Hofweber, Thomas. 'A Puzzle about Ontology.' Noûs 39 (2005): 256–83. Week 4: Schiffer on Pleonastic Propositions Schiffer, Stephen. 'Language-Created Language-Independent Entities.' Philosophical Topics 24 (1996): 149–67. Schiffer, Stephen. The Things We Mean , chs 1–2. Week 5: King on Structured Propositions King, Jeffrey. 'Structured Propositions and Complex Predicates.' Noûs , 29 (1995): 516–35. King, Jeffrey. The Nature and Structure of Content , chs 1–3. Focus Questions 1. Why does identifying propositions with sentence intensions, e.g. sets of possible worlds, 'require the attitudes to have a particular sort of closure under logical consequence, which they clearly don't have' (Mark Richard)? 2. How does the difference between (a) and (b) pose a threat to the existence of propositions? (a) Bill fears that Hillary will be president. (b) Bill fears the proposition that Hillary will be president. 3. What is the Benacerraf problem for metaphysical reductions of propositions? 4. Why must a proposition represent 'on its own cuff' (Michael Jubien)? Why is this a problem for the view that propositions are primitive abstract entities? 5. What does it mean to say that propositions are structured ? Give two different accounts of what propositionalstructure might be. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore the question of whether the expected consequences of holding a belief can affect the rationality of doing so. Special attention is given to various ways in which one might attempt to exert some measure of control over what one believes and the normative status of the beliefs that result from the successful execution of such projects. I argue that the lessons which emerge from thinking about the case ofbelief have important implications for the way we (...) should think about the rationality of a number of other propositional attitudes,such as regret, desire, and fear. Finally,I suggest that a lack of clarity with respect to the relevant issues has given rise to a number of rather serious philosophical mistakes. (shrink)
Most contemporary philosophical discussions of intentionality start and end with a treatment of the propositional attitudes. In fact, many theorists hold (tacitly if not explicitly) that all attitudes are propositional attitudes. Our folk-psychological ascriptions suggest, however, that there are non-propositional attitudes: I like Sally, my brother fears snakes, everyone loves my grandmother, and Rush Limbaugh hates Obama. I argue that things are as they appear: there are non-propositional attitudes. More specifically, I argue that there are attitudes (...) that relate individuals to non-propositional objects and do so not in virtue of relating them to propositions. I reach this conclusion by not only showing that attempted analyses of apparently non-propositional attitudes in terms of the propositional fail, but that some non-propositional attitudes don't even supervene on propositional attitudes. If this is correct, then the common discussions of intentionality that address only propositional attitudes are incomplete and those who hold that all intentional states are propositional are mistaken. (shrink)
A prospective introduction -- The received view -- Troubles with the received view -- Are propositional attitudes relations? -- Foundations of a measurement-theoretic account of the attitudes -- The basic measurement-theoretic account -- Elaboration and explication of the proposed measurement-theoretic account.
The semantic paradoxes are often associated with self-reference or referential circularity. Yablo (1993), however, has shown that there are infinitary versions of the paradoxes that do not involve this form of circularity. It remains an open question what relations of reference between collections of sentences afford the structure necessary for paradoxicality. In this essay, we lay the groundwork for a general investigation into the nature of reference structures that support the semantic paradoxes and the semantic hypodoxes. We develop a (...) functionally complete infinitary propositional language endowed with a denotation assignment and extract the reference structural information in terms of graph-theoretic properties. We introduce the new concepts of dangerous and precarious reference graphs, which allows us to rigorously define the task: classify the dangerous and precarious directed graphs purely in terms of their graph-theoretic properties. Ungroundedness will be shown to fully characterize the precarious reference graphs and fully characterize the dangerous finite graphs. We prove that an undirected graph has a dangerous orientation if and only if it contains a cycle, providing some support for the traditional idea that cyclic structure is required for paradoxicality. This leaves the task of classifying danger for infinite acyclic reference graphs. We provide some compactness results, which give further necessary conditions on danger in infinite graphs, which in conjunction with a notion of self-containment allows us to prove that dangerous acyclic graphs must have infinitely many vertices with infinite out-degree. But a full characterization of danger remains an open question. In the appendices we relate our results to the results given in Cook (2004) and Yablo (2006) with respect to more restricted sentences systems, which we call F-systems. (shrink)
The theory of mind debate has reached a “hybrid consensus” concerning the status of theory-theory and simulation-theory. Extant hybrid models either specify co-dependency and implementation relations, or distribute mentalizing tasks according to folk-psychological categories. By relying on a non-developmental framework these models fail to capture the central connection between simulation and theory. I propose a “dynamic” hybrid that is informed by recent work on the nature of similarity cognition. I claim that Gentner’s model of structure-mapping allows us to understand (...) simulation as a process in which psychological representations are aligned, causing the spontaneous abstraction of theoretical generalizations about the psychological domain. (shrink)
The nontechnical ability to identify or match argumentative structure seems to be an important reasoning skill. Instruments that have questions designed to measure this skill include major standardized tests for graduate school admission, for example, the United States-Canadian Law School Admission Test (LSAT), the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), and the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Writers and reviewers of such tests need an appropriate foundation for developing such questions--they need a proper representation of phenomenological argumentative structure--for legitimacy, and (...) because these tests affect people's lives. This paper attempts to construct an adequate and appropriate representation of such structure, that is, the logical structure that an argument is perceived to have by mature reasoners, albeit ones who are untrained in logic. (shrink)
How do we figure out the fundamental nature of the world from a mathematically formulated physical theory? To figure out the nature of a world’s spacetime, we follow this rule: posit the least spacetime structure to the world that’s required by the fundamental dynamical laws. Applied to special relativity, for example, this rule tells us to not posit an absolute simultaneity structure. I suggest that we use this rule for more than just spacetime structure. We should also (...) posit the least statespace structure required by the fundamental dynamical laws. This rule yields surprising conclusions. Applied to classical mechanics, it suggests that a world governed by the theory has less fundamental structure than we ordinarily think. For the theory’s statespace imparts less structure to a world’s physical space than we ordinarily think. (shrink)
Propositional logic, also known as sentential logic and statement logic, is the branch of logic that studies ways of joining and/or modifying entire propositions, statements or sentences to form more complicated propositions, statements or sentences, as well as the logical relationships and properties that are derived from these methods of combining or altering statements. In propositional logic, the simplest statements are considered as indivisible units, and hence, propositional logic does not study those logical properties and relations that (...) depend upon parts of statements that are not themselves statements on their own, such as the subject and predicate of a statement. The most thoroughly researched branch of propositional logic is classical truth-functional propositional logic, which studies logical operators and connectives that are used to produce complex statements whose truth-value depends entirely on the truth-values of the simpler statements making them up, and in which it is assumed that every statement is either true or false and not both. However, there are other forms of propositional logic in which other truth-values are considered, or in which there is consideration of connectives that are used to produce statements whose truth-values depend not simply on the truth-values of the parts, but additional things such as their necessity, possibility or relatedness to one another. (shrink)
Reprinted in Philosophy of Religion: An Anthology, Wadsworth 2013, 6th edition, with an additional section entitled, "Reasons for the Common View," eds Michael Rea and Louis Pojman. What is propositional faith? At a first approximation, we might answer that it is the psychological attitude picked out by standard uses of the English locution “S has faith that p,” where p takes declarative sentences as instances, as in “He has faith that they’ll win”. Although correct, this answer is not nearly (...) as informative as we might like. Many people say that there is a more informative answer. They say that, at the very least, propositional faith requires propositional belief. More precisely, they say that faith that p requires belief that p or that it must be partly constituted by belief that p. This view is common enough; call it the Common View. I have two main aims in this paper: (i) to exhibit the falsity of the Common View and the paucity of reasons for it, and (ii) to sketch a more accurate and comprehensive account of what propositional faith is. (shrink)
A technical artefact is often described in two ways: by means of a physicalistic model of its structure and dynamics, and by a functional account of the contributions of the components of the artefact to its capacities. These models do not compete, as different models of the same phenomenon in physics usually do; they supplement each other and cohere. Coherence is shown to be the result of a mapping of role-contributions on physicalistic relations that is brought about by the (...) concept of function. It results a sandwich-like structure of the two models, which can be reconstructed as a two-sorted theory element. (shrink)
Against David Schenck's interpretation, I argue that it is not absolutely clear that Merleau-Ponty ever meant to replace what Schenck refers to as the "unity of meanings" interpretation of "structure" with a "material meanings" interpretation. A particular problem-setting -- for example, an attempt to understand the "truth in naturalism" or the "truth in dualism" -- may very well require a particular mode of expression. I argue that the mode of expression chosen by Merleau-Ponty for these purposes, while unfortunate in (...) some of its apparent implications, need not be interpreted as recommitting him to the doctrine he spent his life working to renounce. I have argued that this would have been clearer had he been able to avail himself of James J. Gibson's notion of affordances, which capture perfectly what he was reaching for. (shrink)
This paper examines the idea that there might be natural kinds of causal processes, with characteristic diachronic structure, in much the same way that various chemical elements form natural kinds, with characteristic synchronic structure. This claim -- if compatible with empirical science -- has the potential to shed light on a metaphysics of essentially dispositional properties, championed by writers such as Bird and Ellis.
The structure of words is often thought to provide important evidence regarding the structure of concepts. At the same time, most contemporary linguists posit a great deal of structure in words. Such a trend makes some atomists about concepts uncomfortable. The details of linguistic methodology undermine several strategies for avoiding positing structure in words. I conclude by arguing that there is insufficient evidence to hold that word-structure bears any interesting relation to the structure of (...) concepts. (shrink)
Propositionalism is the view that intentional attitudes, such as belief, are relations to propositions. Propositionalists argue that propositionalism follows from the intuitive validity of certain kinds of inferences involving attitude reports. Jubien (2001) argues powerfully against propositions and sketches some interesting positive proposals, based on Russell’s multiple relation theory of judgment, about how to accommodate “propositional phenomena” without appeal to propositions. This paper argues that none of Jubien’s proposals succeeds in accommodating an important range of propositional phenomena, such (...) as the aforementioned validity of attitude-report inferences. It then shows that the notion of a predication act-type, which remains importantly Russellian in spirit, is sufficient to explain the range of propositional phenomena in question, in particular the validity of attitude-report inferences. The paper concludes with a discussion of whether predication act-types are really just propositions by another name. (shrink)
Syntactical treatments of propositional attitudes are attractive to artificial intelligence researchers. But results of Montague (1974) and Thomason (1980) seem to show that syntactical treatments are not viable. They show that if representation languages are sufficiently expressive, then axiom schemes characterizing knowledge and belief give rise to paradox. Des Rivières and Levesque (1988) characterize a class of sentences within which these schemes can safely be instantiated. These sentences do not quantify over the propositional objects of knowledge and belief. (...) We argue that their solution is incomplete, and extend it by characterizing a more inclusive class of sentences over which the axiom schemes can safely range. Our sentences do quantify over propositional objects. (shrink)
Contemporary epistemology has assumed that knowledge is represented in sentences or propositions. However, a variety of extensions and alternatives to this view have been proposed in other areas of investigation. We review some of these proposals, focusing on (1) Ryle's notion of knowing how and Hanson's and Kuhn's accounts of theory-laden perception in science; (2) extensions of simple propositional representations in cognitive models and artificial intelligence; (3) the debate concerning imagistic versus propositional representations in cognitive psychology; (4) recent (...) treatments of concepts and categorization which reject the notion of necessary and sufficient conditions; and (5) parallel distributed processing (connectionist) models of cognition. This last development is especially promising in providing a flexible, powerful means of representing information nonpropositionally, and carrying out at least simple forms of inference without rules. Central to several of the proposals is the notion that much of human cognition might consist in pattern recognition rather than manipulation of rules and propositions. (shrink)
More often than not, recently popular structuralist interpretations of physical theories leave the central concept of a structure insufficiently precisified. The incipient causal sets approach to quantum gravity offers a paradigmatic case of a physical theory predestined to be interpreted in structuralist terms. It is shown how employing structuralism lends itself to a natural interpretation of the physical meaning of causal set theory. Conversely, the conceptually exceptionally clear case of causal sets is used as a foil to illustrate how (...) a mathematically informed rigorous conceptualization of structure serves to identify structures in physical theories. Furthermore, a number of technical issues infesting structuralist interpretations of physical theories such as difficulties with grounding the identity of the places of highly symmetrical physical structures in their relational profile and what may resolve these difficulties can be vividly illustrated with causal sets. (shrink)
Dewey and Russell's debate over the status of logic in the twentieth-century is, by now, well-trodden ground for scholarly inquiry. However, Dewey's novel theory of propositions, first articulated in his 1938 Logic: The Theory of Inquiry, has received comparatively less attention than the debate that touched upon it. The paucity of interest among philosophers of language is probably due to a variety of reasons, such as the theory's unorthodox character and, what at least appears to be, its naive simplicity when (...) compared to other more common (syntactic and pragmatic) theories of propositions. In this paper, I would like to examine the three most extensive treatments, one by the late H.S. Thayer, another by Tom Burke, and the most recent exposition by Larry Hickman, with the intention of reviving scholarly interest in Dewey's theory of propositional form. Another objective of the present project is to situate Dewey's theory relative to more contemporary theories and debates about propositional form in the philosophy of language literature. (shrink)
Monomodal logic has exactly two maximally normal logics, which are also the only quasi-normal logics that are Post complete, and they are complete for validity in Kripke frames. Here we show that addition of a propositional constant to monomodal logic allows the construction of continuum many maximally normal logics that are not valid in any Kripke frame, or even in any complete modal algebra. We also construct continuum many quasi-normal Post complete logics that are not normal. The set of (...) extensions of S4.3 is radically altered by the addition of a constant: we use it to construct continuum many such normal extensions of S4.3, and continuum many non-normal ones, none of which have the finite model property. But for logics with weakly transitive frames there are only eight maximally normal ones, of which five extend K4 and three extend S4. (shrink)
Let A, B, C stand for sentences expressing propositions; let A be a component of C; let C A/B be just like C except for replacing some occurrence of A in C by an occurrence of B; let = be a binary connective for propositional identity read as ‘the proposition that __ is the very same proposition as …’. Then authors defend adding ‘from C = C A/B infer A = B’ to Prior’s rules for propositional identity, appearing (...) in OBJECTS OF THOUGHT. (shrink)
E.T.A. Hoffmann invente la notion de structure pour décrire la forme musicale, lorsque, dans la célèbre recension de la Cinquième symphonie de Beethoven, il l’emploie pour défendre le compositeur contre les accusations de fantaisie débridée et d’imagination désordonnée. Mais est-ce à dire que l’écrivain romantique est un précurseur du structuralisme ? Le langage musical a selon lui un sens spirituel qui ne se laisse pas réduire à l’analyse structurelle. Nécessaire à la pensée de la musique, la notion de (...) class='Hi'>structure est néanmoins insuffisante car elle ne relève précisément que de la pensée langagière. La structure est une échelle pour s’élever au-dessus d’une écoute chaotique, mais dont il faut se débarrasser si on veut retrouver la signification de la musique. La pensée de l’art, du point de vue du romantisme hoffmannien, est aussi une autocritique de la pensée face à l’art. (shrink)
We give a semantical account of propositional identity which is stronger than mutual entailment. That is, according to our account: (1) if A = B is true in a model, so are A 'validates' B and B 'validates' A. (2) There exist models m such that A 'validates' B and B 'validates' A are true in m but A = B is not true in m. According to our account the following rule is sound: (3) from (.. A..) = (...) (.. B..) infer A = B. The paper respondes to a criticism of an earlier paper by James Freeman . (shrink)
In his essay ‘“Conceptual Truth”’, Timothy Williamson (2006) argues that there are no truths or entailments that are constitutive of understanding the sentences involved. In this reply I provide several examples of entailment patterns that are intuitively constitutive of understanding in just the way that Williamson rejects, and I argue that Williamson’s argument does nothing to show otherwise. Williamson bolsters his conclusion by appeal to a certain theory about the nature of understanding. I argue that his theory fails to consider (...) the role that the structure of a sentence plays in determining its meaning. The cases I present suggest that this role imposes greater cognitive requirements on understanding than Williamson can acknowledge. (shrink)
In the paper I consider how empirical material, from either history or sociology, features in Kuhn’s account of science in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and argue that the study of scientific practice did not offer him data to be used as evidence for defending hypotheses but rather cultivated a sensitivity for detail and difference which helped him undermine an idealized conception of science. Recent attempts in the science studies literature, appealing to Wittgenstein’s philosophy, have aimed at reducing philosophy (...) to multifaceted empirical research in relation to science. I discuss how this turn which is at odds with Wittgenstein’s philosophy, cannot be a continuation of Kuhn’s project which bears similarities to Wittgenstein’s. (shrink)
Anderson and Belnap devise a model theory for entailment on which propositional identity equals proposional coentailment. This feature can be reasonably questioned. The authors devise two extensions of Anderson and Belnap’s model theory. Both systems preserve Anderson and Belnap’s results for entailment, but distinguish coentailment from identity.
While the human agent must have the capacity for reflexivity, intentionality and consciousness, the same agent must also be affected by the social world in which she lives: herein lies the essence of the structure and agency dialectic. This paper argues that while some realists are in principle committed to a dialectical relationship between structure and agency, there is some dissonance between this commitment and the concepts of agency that they develop. I highlight the exclusion of the unconscious (...) and habit from realist notions of agency and argue that this oversight serves to unbalance the dialectic between structure and agency thereby leading to the over-empowerment of agency. The concepts of agency developed by Margaret Archer, Anthony Giddens and Pierre Bourdieu are discussed in this paper. Archer's concept of agency is argued to focus exclusively on reflexivity whilst neglecting to include the unconscious and habit. Giddens is shown to develop a much improved concept of agency, which includes the unconscious, however, his rejection of the independent causal powers of structure and agency problematises his commitment to the dialectic. A much improved approach to theorising agency, developed within a critical realist framework, is offered drawing on Bourdieu's concept of habitus. The paper concludes with a discussion of gender, and considers how the unconscious and habit can help to better understand the myriad ways in which gender functions in society. (shrink)
In this paper, I highlight the importance of models and social structure to Kuhn’s conception of science, and then use these elements to sketch a Kuhnian classification of scientific controversies. I show that several important sorts of non-revolutionary scientific disagreements were both identified and analyzed in Structure. Ultimately, I contend that Kuhn’s conception of science supports an approach to scientific controversies that has the potential to both reveal the importantly different sources of scientific disagreements and to provide useful (...) resources for understanding their endurance and eventual termination. Several brief examples are used to suggest the power of a Kuhnian analysis and this analysis is contrasted with several more contemporary alternatives. (shrink)
We show that the relational semantics of the Lambek calculus, both nonassociative and associative, is also sound and complete for its extension with classical propositional logic. Then, using filtrations, we obtain the finite model property for the nonassociative Lambek calculus extended with classical propositional logic.
We show that there are denumerably many Post-complete normal modal logics in the language which includes an additional propositional constant. This contrasts with the case when there is no such constant present, for which it is well known that there are only two such logics.
We give a semantical account of propositional identity which is stronger than mutual entailment. That is, according to our account: (1) if A = B is true in a model, so are A 'validates' B and B 'validates' A. (2) There exist models m such that A 'validates' B and B 'validates' A are true in m but A = B is not true in m. According to our account the following rule is sound: (3) from (.. A..) = (...) (.. B..) infer A = B. The paper is a response to a paper by James Freeman to an earlier paper by us. (shrink)
pt. 1. Modernity, sociology and the structure/agency debate -- pt. 2. Critical theory; structuration theory; critical realism; and identity theory -- pt. 3. Structure/agency theories applied -- pt. 4. Network theory, globalisation theory, hegemony -- pt. 5. Conclusion/continuation.
In at least some cases of future directed propositional hoping, facts about the hoper become puzzling if one supposes that the object of hoping is a future tensed proposition. These facts are easily explained by the alternative suppostion that the hoper accepts a future tensed proposition but bears the hopingattitude toward a disjunctively tensed proposition. Parallel remarks apply to past directed and present directed prepositional hoping. Thus, at least some instances of hoping have as their objects disjunctively tensed rather (...) than purely tensed propositions. Propositional remembering may possibly resemblepropositional hoping in this respect. (shrink)
I argue that the best way to solve Russell's problem of the relationship between propositions and their constituents is to think of propositions as properties of worlds. I argue that this view preserves the strengths and avoids some of the weaknesses of the view of the metaphysics of propositions defended by Jeff King in his _The Nature and Structure of Content_, and that it provides an explanation of the representational properties of propositions and the nature of indexical belief. I (...) conclude by discussing some problems about how to think about the semantics of propositional attitude ascriptions, if a view of this sort is correct. (shrink)
Belief in propositions has had a long and distinguished history in analytic philosophy. Three of the founding fathers of analytic philosophy, Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, and G. E. Moore, believed in propositions. Many philosophers since then have shared this belief; and the belief is widely, though certainly not universally, accepted among philosophers today. Among contemporary philosophers who believe in propositions, many, and perhaps even most, take them to be structured entities with individuals, properties, and relations as constituents. For example, the (...) proposition that Glenn loves Tracy has Glenn, the loving relation, and Tracy as constituents. What is it, then, that binds these constituents together and imposes structure on them? And if the proposition that Glenn loves Tracy is distinct from the proposition that Tracy loves Glenn yet both have the same constituents, what is about the way these constituents are structured or bound together that makes them two different propositions? In The Nature and Structure of Content, Jeffrey C. King formulates a detailed account of the metaphysical nature of propositions, and provides fresh answers to the above questions. In addition to explaining what it is that binds together the constituents of structured propositions and imposes structure on them, King deals with some of the standard objections to accounts of propositions: he shows that there is no mystery about what propositions are; that given certain minimal assumptions, it follows that they exist; and that on his approach, we can see how and why propositions manage to have truth conditions and represent the world as being a certain way. The Nature and Structure of Content also contains a detailed account of the nature of tense and modality, and provides a solution to the paradox of analysis. Scholars and students working in the philosophy of mind and language will find this book rewarding reading. (shrink)
Unbound anaphoric pronouns or ‘E-type pronouns’ have presented notorious problems for semantic theory, leading to the development of dynamic semantics, where the primary function of a sentence is not considered that of expressing a proposition that may act as the object of propositional attitudes, but rather that of changing the current information state. The older, ‘E-type’ account of unbound anaphora leaves the traditional notion of proposition intact and takes the unbound anaphor to be replaced by a full NP whose (...) semantics is assumed to be known (e.g. a definite description). In this paper, I argue that there are serious problems with any version of the E-type account as well as the (original form of the) dynamic account. I will explore a new account based on structured propositions, which can be considered a conservative extension of a traditional proposition-based semantics, but which at the same time incorporates some crucial insights of the dynamic account. (shrink)
The paper shows that the paradox of the totality of propositions rest on assumptions characteristic of some theories of structured contents (like Jeffrey King's "new account of structured propositions").
The distinctions among facts, propositions, and events are supported by linguistic analyses segregating factive, propositional, and eventive predicates. The concepts of fact, proposition, and event may be basic categories of human understanding, as well as being ontologically significant. FPE theory was developed in part to reject the identification of facts with true propositions. The degree of ‘fineness’ of individuations within each category results from how closely event-, fact-, or proposition-individuation mirrors linguistic semantic structure. Event structure is not (...) reflected in many event phrases. Fact- and proposition-structure typically does reflect semantic structures of factive and propositional clauses. The relevant properties for event individuation are all expressible by eventive predicates. Fact and proposition individuation is not as straightforward, because so many factives and propositionals do not express properties relevant to the Leibnizian principle. The intractability of proposition individuation may be overcome through an explanation of fact cognition. (shrink)
An ongoing debate in the philosophy of emotion concerns the relationship between two prima facie aspects of emotional states. The first is affective: felt and/or motivational. The second, which I call object-identifying, represents whatever the emotion is about or directed towards. “Componentialists” – such as R. S. Lazarus, Jesse Prinz, and Antonio Damasio – assume that an emotion’s object-identifying aspect can have the same representational content as a non-emotional state’s, and that it is psychologically separable or dissociable from the emotion’s (...) affective aspect. Some further hold that emotions have no object-identifying aspects of their own, and can properly be said to be about things only in virtue of their associations with other mental states (such as beliefs or perceptions). By contrast, “blenderists” – such as Peter Goldie, York Gunther, and Matthew Ratcliffe – insist that the two aspects are indissociable, because the affective aspect “infuses” the object-identifying aspect, altering the subject’s concept or percept of the object. As a result, an emotion’s object-identifying aspect cannot possibly have the same representational content as any non-emotional state’s. I argue that the strongest blenderist arguments fail to rule out plausible componentialist alternatives, and that the blenderists’ broader motivations are orthogonal to structural issues. (shrink)
Norms are apt for reasoning because they have propositionalstructure and content; they are practical because they aim to guide action, rather than to describe aspects of the world. These two features hold equally of norms construed sociologically as the norms of specific social groups, and of norms conceived abstractly as principles of action. On either view, norms are indeterminate while acts are particular and determinate. Consequently norms cannot fully specify which particular act is to be done. Are (...) they then not genuinely action-guiding unless supplemented by practical judgment? Yet accounts of practical judgement are often thin, sometimes seeing it as blind, unreasoned `picking' of one rather than another enactment of a norm. However, on another view practical judgement carries the substantive task of seeking ways of acting that satisfy a plurality of norms, which can be both reasoned and practical. Key Words: direction of fit judgement moral conflict norms practical principles remainders. (shrink)
The concept of a trope (understood as an individual property and not as a figure of speech) plays an important role in contemporary analytical metaphysics. It is, however, often far from clear what the logic of this concept really is. Indeed, there are two equally important intuitions underlying the concept of trope, two intuitions that generate two quite different conceptual frameworks. According to the first intuition, a trope is a particularised property – a property taken as an individual aspect of (...) a particular object. A trope is thus the colour of this table or the shape of this sculpture. In the light of this conception tropes are, as it were, direct abstractions from concrete individuals. According to the second intuition a trope is still such an individual (and abstract) colour or such an individual (and abstract) shape, but now it is not only abstracted from the concrete individual of which it is a trope but also taken in abstraction from the very fact that it has been abstracted this way. We can imagine that the cognitive access to these tropes is obtained by a kind of a double abstraction. All this can sound puzzling at first blush, but in what follows I hope to make the matter a little clearer. Let us anticipate briefly. On the second view, tropes are construed not so much as abstractions from concrete individuals, but rather as primitive items of which the concrete individuals are composed. Tropes so construed are, as it were, metaphysically prior to concrete individuals. We will call tropes of this kind unstructured tropes, whereas tropes conceived as aspects of individual things will be called propositional tropes. This terminology is justified because tropes understood as aspects of things seem to involve something like propositionalstructure, a structure that tropes conceived as primitive “building blocks” of reality definitely lack. It is sometimes believed that these two concepts of trope are nearly equivalent, that the difference between them is for the most part verbal. Yet it will turn out that there is an important ontological difference here. Propositional tropes are non-trivially propositional and unstructured tropes are non-trivially deprived of such a structure (althought not necessarily deprived of any dependence-links with respect to other tropes). It will be argued that tropes are metaphysically interesting only on the second conception (i.e., as primitive, unstructured items), whereas only on the first conception (tropes as propositionally structured entities) can they function as semantically efficient truthmakers. The moral of the paper will be that our trust in tropes must be mitigated. A trope ontology could plausibly be viewed as a serious metaphysical alternative, but its semantical possibilities should not be exaggerated. (shrink)
Aristotle was the first thinker to devise a logical system. He drew upon the emphasis on universal definition found in Socrates, the use of reductio ad absurdum in Zeno of Elea, claims about propositionalstructure and negation in Parmenides and Plato, and the body of argumentative techniques found in legal reasoning and geometrical proof. Yet the theory presented in Aristotle’s five treatises known as the Organon—the Categories, the De interpretatione, the Prior Analytics, the Posterior Analytics, and the Sophistical (...) Refutations—goes far beyond any of these. (shrink)
Much of ordinary memory is autobiographical; memory of what one saw and did, where and when. It may derive from your own past experiences, or from what other people told you about your past life. It may be phenomenologically rich, redolent of that autumn afternoon so long ago, or a few austere reports of what happened. But all autobiographical memory is first-person memory, stateable using ‘I’. It is a memory you would express by saying, ‘I remember I . . .’.
At least since Russell’s influential discussion in The Principles of Mathematics, many philosophers have held there is a problem that they call the problem of the unity of the proposition. In a recent paper, I argued that there is no single problem that alone deserves the epithet the problem of the unity of the proposition. I there distinguished three problems or questions, each of which had some right to be called a problem regarding the unity of the proposition; and I (...) showed how the account of propositions formulated in my book The Nature and Structure of Content [2007 Oxford University Press] solves each of these problems. In the present paper, I take up two of these problems/questions yet again. For I want to consider other accounts of propositions and compare their solutions to these problems, or lack thereof, to mine. I argue that my account provides the best solutions to the unity problems. (shrink)
Current attempts to understand psychological content divide into two families of views. According to externalist accounts such as those advanced by Tyler Burge and Ruth Millikan, psychological content does not supervene on the physical features of the individual subject, but is fixed partially by the nature of the world external to her.1 In the rival functional role theories developed by Ned Block and Brian Loar, content does supervene on the physical features of the individual, and is, in addition, determined solely (...) by the role it plays in the causal network of an individual's sensations, behavior, and mental states.2 Over the past fifteen years, criticism of these two types of views has often focussed on their capacity to individuate content in an acceptable way, and both seem to be deficient in this respect. (shrink)
The author revises the formulation of propositional modal logic by interposing a domain of structured propositions between the modal language and the models. Interpretations of the language (i.e., ways of mapping the language into the domain of propositions) are distinguished from models of the domain of propositions (i.e., ways of assigning truth values to propositions at each world), and this contrasts with the traditional formulation. Truth and logical consequence are defined, in the first instance, as properties of, and relations (...) among, propositions. (shrink)
In some recent developments of semantic theory, in particular certain versions of dynamic semantics, ‘internal’ contexts, that is, contexts defined in terms of the interlocutors’ pragmatic presuppositions or the information accumulated in the discourse have come to play a central role, replacing the notion of propositional content in favor of a notion of context change potential as the meaning of sentences. I will argue that there are a number of fundamental problems with this conception of sentence meaning and outline (...) a way of dealing with the ‘dynamic phenomena’ from the perspective of the traditional distinctions between propositional content and (internal) context as well between propositional content and illocutionary force, using structured propositions and minimal discourse-driven internal context. (shrink)
The present trend towards an atheoretical statistical method of psychiatric classification has prompted many psychiatrists to conceive of "mental disorder", or for that matter any other psychopathological designation, as an indexical cluster of properties and events more than a distinct psychological impairment. By employing different combinations of inclusion and exclusion criteria, the current American Psychiatric Association's scheme (called DSM-III) hopes to avoid the over-selectivity of more metaphysical systems and thereby provide the clinician with a flexible means of dealing with a (...) wide diversity of cases. In the hope of redirecting future inquiry, the paper will argue: (1) that this recent trend might appear to be clinically beneficial, but in point of fact it is riddled by unsound theoretical conclusions which leave the field without a deeply reaching base for understanding and treating mental disorder, and (2) that, a fortiori, "mental disorder" is best conceived as not a cluster of properties and events, nor a metaphorical reaction to a breakdown in social interpersonal relations, but as a deeply laid condition characterized by the absence of an imaginally integrated system. (shrink)
This article proposes that Goffman's "Frame Analysis" can be interpreted as a step toward unpacking the idea of context. His analysis implies a recursive model involving frames within frames. The key problem is that neither Goffman nor anyone else has clearly defined what is meant by a frame. I propose that it can be represented by a word, phrase, or proposition. A subjective context can be represented as an assembly of these items, joined together by operators such as and, since, (...) if, not, and then. Furthermore, this model can be combined with the recursive levels of mutual awareness in earlier approaches to consensus. The combination would represent the inter subjective context: it can be used to find the minimum amount of background that would allow consensual interpretations of discourse. It could also construct a chain that links discourse to the institutional level, the micro-macro pathway from word and gesture to social structure. Goffman hinted that mathematical notation might be used to represent a frame assembly. By adding levels of awareness to such notation, it could represent social facts. Because the use of vernacular words rather than concepts is a problem in social science, Goffman's approach has a general as well as a particular significance. (shrink)
In the logical, philosophical and linguistic literature, a number of theoretical frameworks have been proposed for the meaning of questions (see Ginzburg (1995), Groenendijk & Stokhof (1997) for recent overviews). I will concentrate on two general approaches that figured prominently in linguistic semantics, which I will call the proposition set approach and the structured meaning approach (sometimes called the “propositional” and the “categorial” or “functional” approach). I will show that the proposition set approach runs into three problems: It does (...) not always predict the right focus structure in answers, it is unable to distinguish between polarity (yes/no) and a certain type of alternative questions, and it does not allow to formulate an important condition for a type of multiple constituent questions. On the other hand, I will show that the main argument brought forward against the structured meaning framework, namely that it does not give us an elegant way to account for embedded questions, does not withstand closer scrutiny. In this I will take up an issue raised in von Stechow (1990), namely, that the greater expressive power of the structured meaning approach might be necessary for the proper treatment of semantic phenomena like question formation and focusation. (shrink)