About this topic
Summary It seems that it's possible for Mary to utter the sentence ‘Whales are fish’ and thereby say that whales are fish. John might believe what Mary said, or not. If John and Mary both believe it then there is something that they both believe. That thing is false, however. That Mary can use that sentence to say that might be partly explained by the fact that ‘Whales are fish’ means that whales are fish. (The fact that Mary can use that sentence to convey that John doesn’t know much about Whales by adopting a certain tone of voice might also be partly explained by that meaning fact.) The preceding claims are not self-evident, but they are attractive. Taken at face value they suggest that there is a class of objects which can be believed, said, take truth values and serve as meanings. The standard name for such things is ‘propositions’. There are several debates at the intersection of philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and metaphysics about the nature of these entities and the roles they should play in our philosophical theories.
Key works There have been several important books on the nature of propositions in recent years: Schiffer 2003; King 2007Soames 2010; Moltmann 2013King et al 2014; Hanks 2015; Merricks 2015. These focus on structured propositions. A classic account of propositions as sets of worlds is Stalnaker 1984.
Introductions Hanks 2009Stevens 2008
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  1. Attitudinal Objects: Their Ontology and Importance for Philosophy and Natural Language Semantics.Friederike Moltmann - forthcoming - In Brian Brian & Christoph Schuringa (eds.), Judgment. Act and Object. Routledge Studies in Contemporary Philosophy. Routledge.
    This paper argues for the philosophical and semantic importance of attitudinal objects, entities such as judgments, claims, beliefs, demands, and desires, as an ontological category distinct from that of events and states and from that of propositions. The paper presents significant revisions and refinements of the notion of an attitudinal object as it was developed in my previous work.
  2. Arbitrary Reference, Numbers, and Propositions.Michele Palmira - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 26 (3):1069-1085.
    Reductionist realist accounts of certain entities, such as the natural numbers and propositions, have been taken to be fatally undermined by what we may call the problem of arbitrary identification. The problem is that there are multiple and equally adequate reductions of the natural numbers to sets (see Benacerraf, 1965), as well as of propositions to unstructured or structured entities (see, e.g., Bealer, 1998; King, Soames, & Speaks, 2014; Melia, 1992). This paper sets out to solve the problem by canvassing (...)
  3. Propositions Are Not Simple.Matt Duncan - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):351-366.
  4. Agglomerative Algebras.Jeremy Goodman - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophical Logic:1-18.
    This paper investigates a generalization of Boolean algebras which I call agglomerative algebras. It also outlines two conceptions of propositions according to which they form an agglomerative algebra but not a Boolean algebra with respect to conjunction and negation.
  5. Review of Peter Hanks, Propositional Content, Oxford University Press, 2015. [REVIEW]Andreas Stokke - 2016 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2.
  6. A Historically Informed Defence of the Multiple-Relation Theory of Judgment [Review of Samuel Lebens, Bertrand Russell and the Nature of Propositions: A History and Defense of the Multiple Relation Theory of Judgement].Landon D. C. Elkind - 2018 - Russell: The Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies 38:89-96.
    Book Review: Samuel Lebens (2017) "Bertrand Russell and the Nature of Propositions: a History and Defense of the Multiple Relation Theory of Judgement".
  7. Sense and Meaning.João Branquinho - 2005 - In Cognition and Content. Lisboa, Portugal:
    This paper discusses some relations between the notion of Fregean sense and the notion of linguistic meaning. It argues that these notions come apart from one another even in the case of non-indexical expressions. In particular, synonymous non-indexical expressions may be assigned different Fregean senses with respect to certain contexts of use.
  8. Logics for Modelling Collective Attitudes.Daniele Porello - 2018 - Fundamenta Infromaticae 158 (1-3):239-27.
    We introduce a number of logics to reason about collective propositional attitudes that are defined by means of the majority rule. It is well known that majoritarian aggregation is subject to irrationality, as the results in social choice theory and judgment aggregation show. The proposed logics for modelling collective attitudes are based on a substructural propositional logic that allows for circumventing inconsistent outcomes. Individual and collective propositional attitudes, such as beliefs, desires, obligations, are then modelled by means of minimal modalities (...)
  9. Truth Predicates, Truth Bearers, and Their Variants.Friederike Moltmann - forthcoming - Synthese:1-28.
    This paper argues that truth predicates in natural language and their variants, predicates of correctness, satisfaction and validity, do not apply to propositions (not even with 'that'-clauses), but rather to a range of attitudinal and modal objects. As such natural language reflects a notion of truth that is primarily a normative notion of correctness constitutive of representational objects. The paper moreover argues that 'true' is part of a larger class of satisfaction predicates whose semantic differences are best accounted for in (...)
  10. A Modal Account of Propositions.Andy Demfree Yu - 2017 - Dialectica 71 (4):463-488.
    In this paper, I motivate a modal account of propositions on the basis of an iterative conception of propositions. As an application, I suggest that the account provides a satisfying solution to the Russell-Myhill paradox. The account is in the spirit of recently developed modal accounts of sets motivated on the basis of the iterative conception of sets.
  11. Necessity and Propositions.Tristan Haze - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Sydney
    Some​ ​propositions​ ​are​ ​not​ ​only​ ​true,​ ​but​ ​could​ ​not​ ​have​ ​been​ ​otherwise. This​ ​thesis​ ​is​ ​about​ ​modality​ ​and​ ​the​ ​philosophy​ ​of​ ​language.​ ​Its​ ​centrepiece​ ​is​ ​a​ ​new​ ​account​ ​of the​ ​conditions​ ​under​ ​which​ ​a​ ​proposition​ ​is​ ​necessarily​ ​true​ ​in​ ​the​ ​above​ ​sense.
  12. Replies to Glick, Hanks and Magidor.Trenton Merricks - 2017 - Analysis 77 (2):393-411.
  13. Peirce's Account of Assertion.Jaime Alfaro Iglesias - 2016 - Dissertation, University of São Paulo
    One usually makes assertions by means of uttering indicative sentences like “It is raining”. However, not every utterance of an indicative sentence is an assertion. For example, in uttering “I will be back tomorrow”, one might be making a promise. What is to make an assertion? C.S. Peirce held the view that “to assert a proposition is to make oneself responsible for its truth” (CP 5.543). In this thesis, I interpret Peirce’s view of assertion and I evaluate Peirce’s reasons for (...)
  14. Against Naturalized Cognitive Propositions.Lorraine Juliano Keller - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (4):929-946.
    In this paper, I argue that Scott Soames’ theory of naturalized cognitive propositions faces a serious objection: there are true propositions for which NCP cannot account. More carefully, NCP cannot account for certain truths of mathematics unless it is possible for there to be an infinite intellect. For those who reject the possibility of an infinite intellect, this constitutes a reductio of NCP.
  15. Partial Content and Expressions of Part and Whole. Discussion of Stephen Yablo: Aboutness.Friederike Moltmann - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (3):797-808.
    In 'Aboutness' (MIT Press 2014), Yablo argues for the importance of the notions of partial content and partial truth. This paper argues that they are involved in a much greater range of entities than acknowledged by Yablo. The paper also argues that some of those entities involve a notion of partial satisfaction as well as partial existence (validity).
  16. Aboutness, Critical Notice. [REVIEW]Naomi Osorio-Kupferblum - 2016 - Analysis 76 (4):528-546.
    This Critical Notice is about aboutness in logic and language. In a first part, I discuss the origin of the issue and the philosophical background to Yablo's book Aboutness (PUP 2014), which is itself the subject of the second and main part of my paper.
  17. Translating Evaluative Discourse: The Semantics of Thick and Thin Concepts.Ranganathan Shyam - 2007 - Dissertation, York University
    According to the philosophical tradition, translation is successful when one has substituted words and sentences from one language with those from another by cross-linguistic synonymy. Moreover, according to the orthodox view, the meaning of expressions and sentences of languages are determined by their basic or systematic role in a language. This makes translating normative and evaluative discourse puzzling for two reasons. First, as languages are syntactically and semantically different because of their peculiar cultural and historical influences, and as values and (...)
  18. Operator Arguments Revisited.Juhani Yli-Vakkuri, John Hawthorne & Peter Fritz - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    Certain passages in Kaplan’s ‘Demonstratives’ are often read as constituting an argument for the conclusion that the presence of a non-vacuous sentential operator associated with a certain parameter of sentential truth in a language requires the assertoric contents-cum-compositional semantic values of sentences in that language to vary in truth value with that parameter. Thus, for example, the non-vacuity of a temporal sentential operator ‘always’ would require some of its operands to have assertoric contents that have different truth values at different (...)
  19. Singular Thought.Tim Crane & Jody Azzouni - 2011 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 85 (1):21-43.
    A singular thought can be characterized as a thought which is directed at just one object. The term ‘thought’ can apply to episodes of thinking, or to the content of the episode (what is thought). This paper argues that episodes of thinking can be just as singular, in the above sense, when they are directed at things that do not exist as when they are directed at things that do exist. In this sense, then, singular thoughts are not object-dependent.
  20. Précis of Propositions.Trenton Merricks - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (2):460-461.
  21. Propositionen.Lars Dänzer & Miguel Hoeltje - forthcoming - In Markus Schrenk (ed.), Handbuch Metaphysik. Metzler.
  22. Propositions as Cognitive Acts.Scott Soames - forthcoming - Synthese:1-15.
    The paper reviews the central components of the cognitive theory of propositions and explains both its empirical advantages for theories of language and mind and its foundational metaphysical and epistemological advantages over other theories. It then answers a leading objection to the theory, before closing by raising the issue of how questions, which are the contents of interrogative sentences, and directives, which are the contents of imperative sentences, are related to propositions.
  23. Securing Singular Thought About Merely Hypothetical Entities.Greg Ackerman - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (8):2193-2213.
    Although we are still in the dark when it comes to giving necessary and jointly sufficient criteria for what it takes to be thinking a singular thought, the paradigm cases are just ones where an agent is thinking about some particular object. When we erroneously think that Vulcan is a planet, our thought appears to be singular since it is, after all, about Vulcan. A promising way to explain this is to claim that there is something, a merely hypothetical entity, (...)
  24. Truth Analysis of the Gettier Argument.Yussif Yakubu - 2016 - Metaphilosophy 47 (3):449-466.
    Gettier presented the now famous Gettier problem as a challenge to epistemology. The methods Gettier used to construct his challenge, however, utilized certain principles of formal logic that are actually inappropriate for the natural language discourse of the Gettier cases. In that challenge to epistemology, Gettier also makes truth claims that would be considered controversial in analytic philosophy of language. The Gettier challenge has escaped scrutiny in these other relevant academic disciplines, however, because of its façade as an epistemological analysis. (...)
  25. De reandDe Se.François Recanati - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (3):249-269.
    For Perry and many authors, de se thoughts are a species of de re thought ; for Lewis, it is the other way round. To a large extent, the conflict between the two positions is merely apparent: it is due to insufficient appreciation of the crucial distinction between two types of de se thought. In view of this distinction, we can maintain both that de se thought is a special case of de re thought, and that de re thought is (...)
  26. The Mental Files Theory of Singular Thought: A Psychological Perspective.Michael Murez, Joulia Smortchkova & Brent Strickland - unknown
    We argue that the most ambitious version of the mental files theory of singular thought, according to which mental files are a wide-ranging psychological natural kind underlying all and only singular thinking, is unsupported by the available psychological data. Nevertheless, critical examination of the theory from a psychological perspective opens up promising avenues for research, especially concerning the relationship between our perceptual capacity to individuate and track basic individuals, and our higher level capacities for singular thought.
  27. Demythologizing the Third Realm: Frege on Grasping Thoughts.B. Scot Rousse - 2015 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 3 (1).
    In this paper, I address some puzzles about Frege’s conception of how we “grasp” thoughts. I focus on an enigmatic passage that appears near the end of Frege’s great essay “The Thought.” In this passage Frege refers to a “non-sensible something” without which “everyone would remain shut up in his inner world.” I consider and criticize Wolfgang Malzkorn’s interpretation of the passage. According to Malzkorn, Frege’s view is that ideas [Vorstellungen] are the means by which we grasp thoughts. My counter-proposal (...)
  28. I—On Propositions: What They Are and How They Mean.Bertrand Russell - 1919 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 2 (1):1-43.
  29. VI.—Symposium: “Facts and Propositions.”.F. P. Ramsey & G. E. Moore - 1927 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 7 (1):153-206.
  30. V.—Are There Propositions?G. Ryle - 1930 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 30 (1):91-126.
  31. Why Propositions.Sarah Tietz - unknown
  32. Propositions.Larry Wear Colter - unknown
  33. Saul, Salmon, and Superman.S. Predelli - 1999 - Analysis 59 (2):113-116.
  34. New Thinking About Propositions.John Collins - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (261):842-845.
  35. What is Meaning?Scott Soames - 2010 - Princeton University Press.
    The tradition descending from Frege and Russell has typically treated theories of meaning either as theories of meanings, or as theories of truth conditions. However, propositions of the classical sort don't exist, and truth conditions can't provide all the information required by a theory of meaning. In this book, one of the world's leading philosophers of language offers a way out of this dilemma. Traditionally conceived, propositions are denizens of a "third realm" beyond mind and matter, "grasped" by mysterious Platonic (...)
  36. Philosophical Propositions: An Introduction to Philosophy.Jonathan Westphal - 1998 - Routledge.
    _Philosophical Propositions_ is a fresh, up to date, and reliable introduction to philosophical problems. It takes seriously the need for philosophy to deal with definitive and statable propositions, such as God, certainty, time, personal identity, the mind/body problem, free will and determinism, and the meaning of life.
  37. Things We Mean.Stephen Schiffer - 2003 - Oxford University Press UK.
    If there exist such things as the things we mean, then those things are also the things we believe, and the things in terms of which we must understand all semantic notions. If such entities as the things we mean and believe exist, an account of their nature must be the most foundational concern in the theory of linguistic and mental representation.Schiffer argues that there are such things as the things we mean and believe. They are what he calls pleonastic (...)
  38. Thoughts and Propositions.Yoo Guan Tan - unknown
  39. Why Propositions Can't Be Sets of Truth-Supporting Circumstances.Scott Soames - 2009 - In Philosophical Essays, Volume 2: The Philosophical Significance of Language. Princeton University Press. pp. 72-80.
  40. Abstracting Propositions: How Many of Them Do We Need?Massimiliano Vignolo - 2010 - Conceptus: Zeitschrift Fur Philosophie 39 (95):7-30.
  41. Propositions, Facts, and Immediate Experience.George Louis Proctor - 1957 - Dissertation, University of Virginia
  42. A Formal Theory of Propositions.John Arthur Winnie - 1970 - Dissertation, University of Minnesota
  43. Propositions.Richard Orville Warner - 1976 - Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley
  44. Propositions.Larry Wear Colter - 1974 - Dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  45. The Existence of Propositions.Howard Andrew Pospesel - 1967 - Dissertation, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  46. The Logic of Hohfeldian Propositions.A. R. Anderson - 1970 - Logique Et Analyse 13 (49):231.
  47. What Propositions Could Not Be.Howard Kenneth Wettstein - 1976 - Dissertation, City University of New York
  48. Common Sense Propositions: A. C. Ewing.A. C. Ewing - 1973 - Philosophy 48 (186):363-379.
    Philosophers have not been sceptical only about metaphysics or religious beliefs. There are a great number of other beliefs generally held which they have had at least as much difficulty in justifying, and in the present article I ask questions as to the right philosophical attitude to these beliefs in cases where to our everyday thought they seem so obvious as to be a matter of the most ordinary common sense. A vast number of propositions go beyond what is merely (...)
  49. La R'ef'erence Vide Th'eories de la Proposition.Alain de Libera - 2002
  50. Achelier on La Proposition Et le Syllogisme. [REVIEW]Harold Chapman Brown - 1906 - Journal of Philosophy 3 (18):502.
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