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  1. Prior's Puzzle Generalized.Justin D'Ambrosio - manuscript
    Prior’s puzzle is standardly taken to be the puzzle of why, given the assumption that that-clauses denote propositions, substitution of “the proposition that P” for “that P” within the complements of many propositional attitude verbs is invalid. I show that Prior’s puzzle is much more general than is ordinarily supposed. There are two variants on the substitutional form of the puzzle—a quantificational variant and a pronominal variant—and all three forms of the puzzle arise in a wide range of grammatical positions, (...)
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  2. (Counter)Factual Want Ascriptions and Conditional Belief.Thomas Grano & Milo Phillips-Brown - manuscript
    What are the truth conditions of want ascriptions? According to a highly influential and fruitful approach, championed by Heim (1992) and von Fintel (1999), the answer is intimately connected to the agent’s beliefs: ⌜S wants p⌝ is true iff within S’s belief set, S prefers the p worlds to the ~p worlds. This approach faces a well-known and as-yet unsolved problem, however: it makes the entirely wrong predictions with what we call '(counter)factual want ascriptions', wherein the agent either believes p (...)
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  3. Ignorance Implicatures and Non-Doxastic Attitude Verbs.Kyle H. Blumberg - forthcoming - Proceedings of the 21st Amsterdam Colloquium.
    This paper is about conjunctions and disjunctions in the scope of non-doxastic atti- tude verbs. These constructions generate a certain type of ignorance implicature. I argue that the best way to account for these implicatures is by appealing to a notion of contex- tual redundancy (Schlenker, 2008; Fox, 2008; Mayr and Romoli, 2016). This pragmatic approach to ignorance implicatures is contrasted with a semantic account of disjunctions under `wonder' that appeals to exhausti cation (Roelofsen and Uegaki, 2016). I argue that (...)
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  4. A New Hope.Kyle H. Blumberg & John Hawthorne - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
    The analysis of desire ascriptions has been a central topic of research for philosophers of language and mind. This work has mostly focused on providing a theory of want reports, i.e. sentences of the form 'S wants p'. In this paper, we turn attention from want reports to a closely related, but relatively understudied construction, namely hope reports, i.e. sentences of the form 'S hopes p'. We present two contrasts involving hope reports, and show that existing approaches to desire fail (...)
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  5. Objects and Attitudes (Book Outline, Under Contract with Oxford University Press).Friederike Moltmann - forthcoming
    This book pursues a novel semantics of attitude reports and modal sentences based on the notion of an attitudinal or modal object and its truthmakers.
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  6. Outline of an Object-Based Truthmaker Semantics for Modals and Propositional Attitudes.Friederike Moltmann - forthcoming - In Dirk Kindermann, Peter Van Elswyk & Andy Egan (eds.), Unstructured Content. Oxford University Press.
    Against the background of standard possible-worlds semantics, this paper outlines a truthmaker approach to the semantics of attitude reports and modal sentences based on an ontology of attitudinal and modal objects.
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  7. What Does Decision Theory Have to Do with Wanting?Milo Phillips-Brown - forthcoming - Mind.
    Decision theory and folk psychology both purport to represent the same phenomena: our belief-like and desire- and preference-like states. They also purport to do the same work with these representations: explain and predict our actions. But they do so with different sets of concepts. There's much at stake in whether one of these two sets of concepts can be accounted for with the other. Without such an account, we'd have two competing representations and systems of prediction and explanation, a dubious (...)
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  8. Acts of Desire.Henry Ian Schiller - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-18.
    Act-based theories of content hold that propositions are identical to acts of predication that we perform in thought and talk. To undergo an occurrent thought with a particular content just is to perform the act of predication that individuates that content. But identifying the content of a thought with the performance of an act of predication makes it difficult to explain the intentionality of bouletic mental activity, like wanting and desiring. In this paper, I argue that this difficulty is insurmountable: (...)
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  9. On Content Uniformity for Beliefs and Desires.Daniel Skibra - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-31.
    The view that dominates the literature on intentional attitudes holds that beliefs and desires both have propositional content. A commitment to what I call “content uniformity” underlies this view. According to content uniformity, beliefs and desires are but different psychological modes having a uniform kind of content. Prima facie, the modes don’t place any constraint on the kinds of content the attitude can have. I challenge this consensus by pointing out an asymmetry between belief contents and desire contents which shows (...)
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  10. Revisionist Reporting.Kyle Blumberg & Harvey Lederman - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (3):755-783.
    Several theorists have observed that attitude reports have what we call “revisionist” uses. For example, even if Pete has never met Ann and has no idea that she exists, Jane can still say to Jim ‘Pete believes Ann can learn to play tennis in ten lessons’ if Pete believes all 6-year-olds can learn to play tennis in ten lessons and it is part of Jane and Jim’s background knowledge that Ann is a 6-year-old. Jane’s assertion seems acceptable because the claim (...)
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  11. Getting what you want.Lyndal Grant & Milo Phillips-Brown - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (7):1791-1810.
    It is commonly accepted that if an agent wants p, then she has a desire that is satisfied in exactly the worlds where p is true. Call this the ‘Satisfaction-is-Truth Principle’. We argue that this principle is false: an agent may want p without having a desire that is satisfied when p obtains in any old way. For example, Millie wants to drink milk but does not have a desire that is satisfied when she drinks spoiled milk. Millie has a (...)
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  12. Presumptuous Aim Attribution, Conformity, and the Ethics of Artificial Social Cognition.Owen C. King - 2020 - Ethics and Information Technology 22 (1):25-37.
    Imagine you are casually browsing an online bookstore, looking for an interesting novel. Suppose the store predicts you will want to buy a particular novel: the one most chosen by people of your same age, gender, location, and occupational status. The store recommends the book, it appeals to you, and so you choose it. Central to this scenario is an automated prediction of what you desire. This article raises moral concerns about such predictions. More generally, this article examines the ethics (...)
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  13. Variable Objects and Truthmaking.Friederike Moltmann - 2020 - In Mircea Dumitru (ed.), Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality. Themes from Kit Fine. Oxford University Press.
    This paper will focus on a philosophically significant construction whose semantics brings together two important notions in Kit Fine’s philosophy, the notion of truthmaking and the notion of a variable embodiment, or its extension, namely what I call a ‘variable object’. This is the construction of definite NPs like 'the number of people that can fit into the bus', 'the book John needs to write', and 'the gifted mathematician John claims to be'. Such NPs are analysed as standing for variable (...)
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  14. Tim Henning, From a Rational Point of View: How We Represent Subjective Perspectives in Practical Discourse. [REVIEW]Samuel Asarnow - 2019 - Ethics 130 (1):113-118.
    Reasons internalists claim that facts about normative reasons for action are facts about which actions would promote an agent’s goals and values. Reasons internalism is popular, even though paradigmatic versions have moral consequences many find unwelcome. This article reconstructs an influential but understudied argument for reasons internalism, the “if I were you” argument, which is due to Bernard Williams and Kate Manne. I raise an objection to the argument and argue that replying to it requires reasons internalists to accept controversial (...)
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  15. Paradoxical Desires.Ethan Jerzak - 2019 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 119 (3):335-355.
    I present a paradoxical combination of desires. I show why it's paradoxical, and consider ways of responding. The paradox saddles us with an unappealing trilemma: either we reject the possibility of the case by placing surprising restrictions on what we can desire, or we deny plausibly constitutive principles linking desires to the conditions under which they are satisfied, or we revise some bit of classical logic. I argue that denying the possibility of the case is unmotivated on any reasonable way (...)
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  16. Two Ways to Want?Ethan Jerzak - 2019 - Journal of Philosophy 116 (2):65-98.
    I present unexplored and unaccounted for uses of 'wants'. I call them advisory uses, on which information inaccessible to the desirer herself helps determine what she wants. I show that extant theories by Stalnaker, Heim, and Levinson fail to predict these uses. They also fail to predict true indicative conditionals with 'wants' in the consequent. These problems are related: intuitively valid reasoning with modus ponens on the basis of the conditionals in question results in unembedded advisory uses. I consider two (...)
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  17. Anankastic Conditionals Are Still a Mystery.Milo Phillips-Brown - 2019 - Semantics and Pragmatics 12 (13):1-17.
    ‘If you want to go to Harlem, you have to take the A train’ doesn’t look special. Yet a compositional account of its meaning, and the meaning of anankastic conditionals more generally, has proven an enigma. Semanticists have responded by assigning anankastics a unique status, distinguishing them from ordinary indicative conditionals. Condoravdi & Lauer (2016) maintain instead that “anankastic conditionals are just conditionals.” I argue that Condoravdi and Lauer don’t give a general solution to a well-known problem: the problem of (...)
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  18. Careful What You Wish.John Beverley - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (1):21-38.
    Dilip Ninan has raised a puzzle for centered world accounts of de re attitude reports extended to accommodate what he calls “counterfactual attitudes.” As a solution, Ninan introduces multiple centers to the standard centered world framework, resulting in a more robust semantics for de re attitude reports. However, while the so-called multi-centered world proposal solves Ninan’s counterfactual puzzle, this additional machinery is not without problems. In Section 1, I present the centered world account of attitude reports, followed by the extension (...)
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  19. Counterfactual Attitudes and the Relational Analysis.Kyle Blumberg - 2018 - Mind 127 (506):521-546.
    In this paper, I raise a problem for standard precisifications of the Relational Analysis of attitude reports. The problem I raise involves counterfactual attitude verbs. such as ‘wish’. In short, the trouble is this: there are true attitude reports ‘ S wishes that P ’ but there is no suitable referent for the term ‘that P ’. The problematic reports illustrate that the content of a subject’s wish is intimately related to the content of their beliefs. I capture this fact (...)
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  20. I Want to, But...Milo Phillips-Brown - 2018 - Sinn Und Bedeutung 21:951-968.
    I want to see the concert, but I don’t want to take the long drive. Both of these desire ascriptions are true, even though I believe I’ll see the concert if and only if I take the drive.Yet they, and strongly conflicting desire ascriptions more generally, are predicted incompatible by the standard semantics, given two standard constraints. There are two proposed solutions. I argue that both face problems because they misunderstand how what we believe influences what we desire. I then (...)
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  21. Cognitive Products and the Semantics of Attitude Verbs and Deontic Modals.Friederike Moltmann - 2017 - In Friederike Moltmann & Mark Textor (eds.), Act-Based Conceptions of Propositional Content. Contemporary and Historical Perspectives. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 254-289.
    This paper outlines a semantic account of attitude reports and deontic modals based on cognitive and illocutionary products, mental states, and modal products, as opposed to the notion of an abstract proposition or a cognitive act.
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  22. Linguistic Criteria of Intentionality.Ciecierski Tadeusz - 2016 - Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric 46 (1):35-58.
    The aim of this paper is to discuss theories that attempt to single out the class of intentional states by appealing to factors that are supposedly criterial for intentional sentences. The papers starts with distinguishing two issues that arise when one thinks about intentional expressions: the Taxonomy Problem and the Fundamental Demarcation Problem. The former concerns the relation between the classes of distinct intentional verbs and distinct intentional states. The latter concerns the question about how to distinguish intentional states and (...)
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  23. Desiring, Desires, and Desire Ascriptions.David Braun - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (1):141-162.
    Delia Graff Fara maintains that many desire ascriptions underspecify the content of the relevant agent’s desire. She argues that this is inconsistent with certain initially plausible claims about desiring, desires, and desire ascriptions. This paper defends those initially plausible claims. Part of the defense hinges on metaphysical claims about the relations among desiring, desires, and contents.
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  24. Advantages of Propositionalism.Neil Sinhababu - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (1):165-180.
    Propositionalism is the view that the contents of intentional attitudes have a propositional structure. Objectualism opposes propositionalism in allowing the contents of these attitudes to be ordinary objects or properties. Philosophers including Talbot Brewer, Paul Thagard, Michelle Montague, and Alex Grzankowski attack propositionalism about such attitudes as desire, liking, and fearing. This article defends propositionalism, mainly on grounds that it better supports psychological explanations.
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  25. Why Desire Reasoning is Developmentally Prior to Belief Reasoning.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen & John Michael - 2015 - Mind and Language 30 (5):526-549.
    The predominant view in developmental psychology is that young children are able to reason with the concept of desire prior to being able to reason with the concept of belief. We propose an explanation of this phenomenon that focuses on the cognitive tasks that competence with the belief and desire concepts enable young children to perform. We show that cognitive tasks that are typically considered fundamental to our competence with the belief and desire concepts can be performed with the concept (...)
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  26. Without Pretense: A Critique of Goldman’s Model of Simulation.Uku Tooming - 2015 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (3):561-575.
    In this paper I criticize Alvin Goldman's simulation theory of mindreading which involves the claim that the basic method of folk psychologically predicting behaviour is to form pretend beliefs and desires that reproduce the transitions between the mental states of others, in that way enabling to predict what the others are going to do. I argue that when it comes to simulating propositional attitudes it isn't clear whether pretend beliefs need to be invoked in order to explain relevant experimental results, (...)
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  27. Specifying Desires.Delia Graff Fara - 2013 - Noûs 47 (2):250-272.
    A report of a person's desire can be true even if its embedded clause underspecifies the content of the desire that makes the report true. It is true that Fiona wants to catch a fish even if she has no desire that is satisfied if she catches a poisoned minnow. Her desire is satisfied only if she catches an edible, meal-sized fish. The content of her desire is more specific than the propositional content of the embedded clause in our true (...)
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  28. Thinking About Complex Mental States: Language, Symbolic Activity and Theories of Mind.Emanuele Arielli - 2012 - In Sign Culture Zeichen Kultur. Würzburg, Germania: pp. 491-501.
    One of the most important contributions in Roland Posner’s work (1993) was the extension and development of the Gricean paradigm on meaning (1957) in a systematic framework, providing thus a general foundation of semiotic phenomena. According to this approach, communication consists in behaviors or artifacts based on reciprocal assumptions about the intentions and beliefs of the subjects involved in a semiotic exchange. Posner’s model develops with clarity the hierarchical relationships of semiotic phenomena of different complexity, from simple pre-communicative behaviors (like (...)
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  29. Minds, Models and Mechanisms: A New Perspective on Intentional Psychology.Eric Hochstein - 2012 - Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 24 (4):547-557.
    In this article, I argue that intentional psychology (i.e. the interpretation of human behaviour in terms of intentional states and propositional attitudes) plays an essential role in the sciences of the mind. However, this role is not one of identifying scientifically respectable states of the world. Rather, I argue that intentional psychology acts as a type of phenomenological model, as opposed to a mechanistic one. I demonstrate that, like other phenomenological models in science, intentional psychology is a methodological tool with (...)
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  30. Intensional Transitive Verbs.Graeme Forbes - 2008 - In Edward Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    A verb is transitive iff it usually occurs with a direct object, and in such occurrences it is said to occur transitively . Thus ‘ate’ occurs transitively in ‘I ate the meat and left the vegetables’, but not in ‘I ate then left’ (perhaps it is not the same verb ‘left’ in these two examples, but it seems to be the same ‘ate’). A verb is intensional if the verb phrase (VP) it forms with its complement is anomalous in at (...)
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  31. Attitude Problems: An Essay on Linguistic Intensionality.Graeme Forbes - 2006 - Clarendon Press.
    Ascriptions of mental states to oneself and others give rise to many interesting logical and semantic problems. Attitude Problems presents an original account of mental state ascriptions that are made using intensional transitive verbs such as 'want', 'seek', 'imagine', and 'worship'. Forbes offers a theory of how such verbs work that draws on ideas from natural language semantics, philosophy of language, and aesthetics.
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  32. Selfless Desires.Daniel Nolan - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (3):665-679.
    Unified theories of de se attitudes and de dicto attitudes, along the lines of David Lewis’s proposal, face a problem. Whether or not they are adequate for representing beliefs, they can misrepresent the content of many of our desires, which rank possible outcomes in which the agent with the desire does not exist. These desires are shown to play a role in the rational explanation of action, and recognising them is important in our understanding of ourselves. Lewis’s account of attitudes (...)
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  33. Desires, Scope, and Tense.Fara Delia Graff - 2003 - Philosophical Perspectives 17 (1):141-163.
    According to James McCawley (1981) and Richard Larson and Gabriel Segal (1995), the following sentence is three-ways ambiguous: -/- Harry wants to be the mayor of Kenai. -/- According to them also, the three-way ambiguity cannot be accommodated on the Russellian view that definite descriptions are quantified noun phrases. In order to capture the three-way ambiguity of the sentence, these authors propose that definite descriptions must be ambiguous: sometimes they are predicate expressions; sometimes they are Russellian quantified noun phrases. After (...)
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  34. Quantifiers and Propositional Attitudes.Willard van Orman Quine - 1956 - Journal of Philosophy 53 (5):177-187.