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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: Stalnaker 1984; Schiffer 2003; King 2007Soames 2010; Moltmann 2013King et al 2014; Hanks 2015; Merricks 2015; Soames 2015.
Introductions Hanks 2009Stevens 2008
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1035 found
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Propositions as Acts
  1. Iconic Propositions.Jesse J. Fitts - 2020 - Philosophia Scientiæ. Travaux d'Histoire Et de Philosophie des Sciences 24:99-123.
    Je défends ici la nécessité, et ébauche une première version, d’une théorie iconique des propositions. Selon celle-ci, les propositions sont comme les objets de représentation, ou similaires à eux. Les propositions, suivant cette approche, sont des propriétés que l’esprit instancie lorsqu’il modélise le monde. Je connecte cette théorie aux récents développements de la littérature académique sur les propositions, ainsi qu’à une branche de recherches en sciences cognitives, qui explique certains types de représentations mentales en termes d’iconicité. I motivate the need (...)
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  2. Propositions as Structured Cognitive Event‐Types.Wayne A. Davis - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  3. Actions, Products, and Truth-Bearers: A Critique of Twardowskian Accounts.Silver Bronzo - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (3):297-312.
    Friederike Moltmann has recently proposed an account of truth-bearers that draws on Kazimierz Twardowski’s action/product distinction. Her account is meant to provide a third way between the dominant view of primary truth-bearers as mind-independent entities and the recently revived construal of them as mental or linguistic acts. This paper argues that there is no room for Twardowskian accounts because they are based on a notion of “nonenduring product” that defies comprehension, and no need for them because the linguistic data that (...)
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  4. Wollen und Wahrheit.Michael Schmitz - 2016 - In Neil Roughley & Julius Schälike (eds.), Wollen. Seine Bedeutung, seine Grenzen. Münster: Mentis. pp. 43-70.
    In diesem Aufsatz argumentiere ich, dass die Standardauffassung von Propositionen und propositionalen Einstellungen inadäquat ist, ein Artefakt der gegenwärtig herrschenden theorielastigen Auffassung von Intentionalität, Sprache und Rationalität, und skizziere eine alternative Auffassung. Im folgenden Abschnitt belege ich erst einmal die These der Theorielastigkeit anhand einiger Beispiele vor allem aus der gegenwärtigen analytischen Philosophie. Der dritte Abschnitt erklärt, wie diese Theorielastigkeit im Standardverständnis von Propositionen und propositionalen Einstellungen verkörpert ist. Im vierten Abschnitt argumentiere ich, dass dieses Standardverständnis der Proposition zwei unvereinbare (...)
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  5. Force, Content and the Varieties of Subject.Michael Schmitz - 2019 - Language and Communication 69:115-129.
    This paper argues that to account for group speech acts, we should adopt a representationalist account of mode / force. Individual and collective subjects do not only represent what they e.g. assert or order. By asserting or ordering they also indicate their theoretical or practical positions towards what they assert or order. The ‘Frege point’ cannot establish the received dichotomy of force and propositional content. On the contrary, only the representationalist account allows a satisfactory response to it. It also allows (...)
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  6. Propositional Content by Peter Hanks (Review). [REVIEW]Peter Pagin - 2019 - Language 95 (2):377-380.
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  7. Act-Based Conceptions of Propositional Content, Edited by Friederike Moltmann and Mark Textor. [REVIEW]Sébastien Richard - 2019 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 96 (4):639-645.
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  8. Cognitive Acts and the Unity of the Proposition.Jeff Speaks - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-15.
    In this paper I do four things. I explain one clear thing that ‘the problem of the unity of the proposition’ might mean. I lay out a few different versions of the theory of propositions as...
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  9. Attitudinal Objects.Friederike Moltmann - forthcoming - In Chris Tillman (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Propositions. Routledge.
    This paper defends the view that attitudinal objects such as claims, beliefs, judgments, and requests form an ontological category of its own sharply distinguished from that of events and states and that of propositions. Attitudinal objects play a central role in attitude reports and avoid the conceptual and empirical problems for propositions. Unlike the latter, attitudinal objects bear a particular connection to normativity. The paper will also discuss the syntactic basis of a semantics of attitude reports based on attitudinal objects.
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  10. Neutral Predication.Thomas Hodgson - 2019 - Erkenntnis:1-9.
    Hanks has defended a novel account of what propositions are. His key argument against Soames' rival view is that predication is not neutral. According to Hanks, predication is essentially committal. I show that Hanks' argument for this conclusion raises problems for his own account of questions and orders.
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  11. Expressivism and Cognitive Propositions.James L. D. Brown - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (3):371-387.
    Expressivists about normative thought and discourse traditionally deny that there are nondeflationary normative propositions. However, it has recently been suggested that expressivists might avoid a number of problems by providing a theory of normative propositions compatible with expressivism. This paper explores the prospects for developing an expressivist theory of propositions within the framework of cognitive act theories of propositions. First, I argue that the only extant expressivist theory of cognitive propositions—Michael Ridge's ‘ecumenical expressivist’ theory—fails to explain identity conditions for normative (...)
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  12. Acts and Alternative Analyses.Arvid Båve - 2019 - Journal of Philosophy 116 (4):181–205.
    I show that the act-type theories of Soames and Hanks entail that every sentence with alternative analyses (including every atomic sentence with a polyadic predicate) is ambiguous, many of them massively so. I assume that act types directed toward distinct objects are themselves distinct, plus some standard semantic axioms, and infer that act-type theorists are committed to saying that ‘Mary loves John’ expresses both the act type of predicating [loving John] of Mary and that of predicating [being loved by Mary] (...)
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  13. Cognitive Propositions and Semantic Values.Wayne A. Davis - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-41.
    ABSTRACTIn recent work, Scott Soames has declared that we need a new conception of propositions to overcome critical objections to traditional theories of semantics and propositional attitudes. Pro...
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  14. Predication and the Frege–Geach Problem.Indrek Reiland - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (1):141-159.
    Several philosophers have recently appealed to predication in developing their theories of cognitive representation and propositions. One central point of difference between them is whether they take predication to be forceful or neutral and whether they take the most basic cognitive representational act to be judging or entertaining. Both views are supported by powerful reasons and both face problems. Many think that predication must be forceful if it is to explain representation. However, the standard ways of implementing the idea give (...)
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  15. Rethinking Language, Mind, and Meaning, by Scott Soames: Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015, Pp. Ix + 241, US$35. [REVIEW]Wayne A. Davis - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (4):825-828.
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  16. Review of Peter Hanks, Propositional Content, Oxford University Press, 2015. [REVIEW]Andreas Stokke - 2016 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2.
  17. The Redundancy of the Act.John Collins - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3519-3545.
    The theory that structured propositions are complex act-types has been independently articulated by Peter Hanks and Scott Soames. The present paper argues that the role of the act in such theories is supererogatory, for the individuation conditions of the act-based propositions remain wholly at the level of concepts and their formal combination, features which the traditional structured proposition theorist endorses. Thus, it is shown that the traditional problems for structured propositions are only ameliorable on the act conception by appeal to (...)
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  18. Analysing Attitudes: How Cognitive Realists Meet Felappi’s Challenge to Propositionalism.Brigham Daniel - 2017 - Analysis 77 (3):498-501.
    In a recent article, Giulia Felappi has leveled a challenge for those who believe that propositional attitudes involve relations between subjects and propositions: they must say more about what it is for a given proposition to figure as the content of one’s attitude. This note argues that Felappi’s challenge has already been met by proponents of act-theoretic conceptions of propositions.
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  19. Against Naturalized Cognitive Propositions.Lorraine 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.
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  20. Propositional Content, by Peter Hanks. Oxford University Press, 2015, X + 227 Pp. ISBN 978‐0‐19‐968489‐2 Hb £30.00. [REVIEW]Daniel Brigham - 2016 - European Journal of Philosophy 24 (4):184-189.
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  21. Propositional Content. [REVIEW]Indrek Reiland - 2017 - Philosophical Review 126 (1):132-136.
  22. On Cancellation.Peter Hanks - 2019 - Synthese 196 (4):1385-1402.
    In Hanks I defend a theory of propositions that locates the source of propositional unity in acts of predication that people perform in thought and speech. On my account, these acts of predication are judgmental or assertoric in character, and they commit the speaker to things being the way they are represented to be in the act of predication. This leads to a problem about negations, disjunctions, conditionals, and other kinds of embeddings. When you assert that a is F or (...)
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  23. Yes, the Search for Explanation is All We Have.Scott Soames - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (9):2565-2573.
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  24. Soames’s New Conception of Propositions.Ben Caplan - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (9):2533-2549.
    In this paper, I argue that, when it comes to explaining what can be described as “representational” properties of propositions, Soames’s new conception of propositions—on which the proposition that Seattle is sunny is the act of predicating the property being sunny of Seattle and to entertain that proposition is to perform that act—does not have an advantage over traditional ones.
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  25. Cognitive Propositions.Stephen Schiffer - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (9):2551-2563.
    Soames's new theory of "cognitive propositions" is presented and several prima facie objections are presented to it.
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  26. Rethinking Language, Mind, and Meaning.Scott Soames - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (9):2529-2532.
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  27. Propositions as Cognitive Acts.Scott Soames - 2019 - Synthese 196 (4):1369-1383.
    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.
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  28. Three Views On Propositions: King, Soames and Speaks. [REVIEW]Alexandru Radulescu - 2017 - Analysis 77 (1):189-197.
  29. New Thinking About Propositions. [REVIEW]John Collins - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (261):842-845.
  30. 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 (...)
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  31. Should Propositions Proliferate?Bjørn Jespersen - 2015 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (4):243-251.
    Soames's cognitive propositions are strings of acts to be performed by an agent, such as predicating a property of an individual. King takes these structured propositions to task for proliferating too easily. King's objection is based on an example that purports to show that three of Soames's propositions are really just one proposition. I translate the informally stated propositions King attributes to Soames into the intensional λ-calculus. It turns out that they are all β-equivalent to the proposition King claims Soames's (...)
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  32. Rethinking Language, Mind, and Meaning.Scott Soames - 2015 - Princeton University Press.
  33. Propositional Content.Peter Hanks - 2015 - Oxford University Press.
    Peter Hanks defends a new theory about the nature of propositional content, according to which the basic bearers of representational properties are particular mental or spoken actions. He explains the unity of propositions and provides new solutions to a long list of puzzles and problems in philosophy of language.
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  34. For Want of Cognitively Defined Propositions: A History of Insights and Lost Philosophical Opportunities.Scott Soames - 2014 - In Analytic Philosophy in America: And Other Historical and Contemporary Essays. Princeton University Press. pp. 71-103.
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  35. On Product‐Based Accounts of Propositional Attitudes.Giulia Felappi - 2014 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (4):302-313.
    Propositional attitude sentences, such as John believes that snow is white, are traditionally taken to express the holding of a relation between a subject and what ‘that’-clauses like ‘that snow is white’ denote, i.e. propositions. On the traditional account, propositions are abstract, mind- and language-independent entities. Recently, some have raised some serious worries for the traditional account and thought that we were mistaken about the kind of entities propositions are. Over the last ten years there has then been a boom (...)
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  36. Propositions, Attitudinal Objects, and the Distinction Between Actions and Products.Friederike Moltmann - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume on Propositions, Edited by G. Rattan and D. Hunter 43 (5-6):679-701.
    This paper argues that attitudinal objects, entities of the sort of John's judgment, John's thought, and John's claim, should play the role of propositions, as the cognitive products of cognitive acts, not the acts themselves.
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  37. An Empirically-Informed Cognitive Theory of Propositions.Berit Brogaard - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5):534-557.
    (2013). An empirically-informed cognitive theory of propositions. Canadian Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 43, Essays on the Nature of Propositions, pp. 534-557.
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  38. Not the Optimistic Type.Ben Caplan, Chris Tillman, Brian McLean & Adam Murray - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5):575-589.
    (2013). Not the optimistic type. Canadian Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 43, Essays on the Nature of Propositions, pp. 575-589.
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  39. Propositional or Non-Propositional Attitudes?Sean Crawford - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 168 (1):179-210.
    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 (...)
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  40. Cognitive Propositions.Scott Soames - 2013 - Philosophical Perspectives 27 (1):479-501.
  41. New Thinking About Propositions.Jeffrey C. King, Scott Soames & Jeff Speaks - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    Philosophy, science, and common sense all refer to propositions--things we believe and say, and things which are true or false. But there is no consensus on what sorts of things these entities are. Jeffrey C. King, Scott Soames, and Jeff Speaks argue that commitment to propositions is indispensable, and each defend their own views on the debate.
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  42. Act-Based Conceptions of Propositional Content. Contemporary and Historical Perspectives.Friederike Moltmann & Mark Textor (eds.) - 2017 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    Ever since Frege, propositions have played a central role in philosophy of language. Propositions are generally conceived as abstract objects that have truth conditions essentially and fulfill both the role of the meaning of sentences and of the objects or content of propositional attitudes. More recently, the abstract conception of propositions has given rise to serious dissatisfaction among a number of philosophers, who have instead proposed a conception of propositional content based on cognitive acts (Hanks, Moltmann, Soames). This approach is (...)
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  43. Propositional Attitudes and Mental Acts.Indrek Reiland - 2012 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 1 (3):239-245.
    Peter Hanks and Scott Soames have recently developed similar views of propositional attitudes on which they consist at least partly of being disposed to perform mental acts. Both think that to believe a proposition is at least partly to be disposed to perform the primitive propositional act: one the performance of which is part of the performance of any other propositional act. However, they differ over whether the primitive act is the forceless entertaining or the forceful judging. In this paper (...)
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  44. Unity and the Frege–Geach Problem.Christopher Hom & Jeremy Schwartz - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (1):15-24.
    The problem of the unity of the proposition asks what binds together the constituents of a proposition into a fully formed proposition that provides truth conditions for the assertoric sentence that expresses it, rather than merely a set of objects. Hanks’ solution is to reject the traditional distinction between content and force. If his theory is successful, then there is a plausible extension of it that readily solves the Frege–Geach problem for normative propositions. Unfortunately Hanks’ theory isn’t successful, but it (...)
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  45. What is Meaning (Soochow University Lectures in Philosophy) * by Scott Soames. [REVIEW]E. Manolakaki - 2013 - Analysis 73 (1):182-186.
  46. What is Meaning? (Review). [REVIEW]Brian Ball - 2011 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 41 (4):485-503.
  47. First-Person Propositions.Peter W. Hanks - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (1):155-182.
    A first-person proposition is a proposition that only a single subject can assert or believe. When I assert ‘I am on fire’ I assert a first-person proposition that only I have access to, in the sense that no one else can assert or believe this proposition. This is in contrast to third-person propositions, which can be asserted or believed by anyone.
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  48. Structured Propositions as Types.Peter W. Hanks - 2011 - Mind 120 (477):11-52.
    In this paper I defend an account of the nature of propositional content according to which the proposition expressed by a declarative sentence is a certain type of action a speaker performs in uttering that sentence. On this view, the semantic contents of proper names turn out to be types of reference acts. By carefully individuating these types, it is possible to provide new solutions to Frege’s puzzles about names in identity- and belief-sentences.
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  49. Comments on David Johnston's "Identity, Necessity, and Propositions".Peter Alward - manuscript
    Johnston maintains that the notion of a proposition -- ”a language independent (abstract) particular” -- can be dispensed with in philosophical semantics and replaced with that of a propositional act. A propositional act is a component of a speech act that is responsible for the propositional content of the speech act. Traditionally, it is thought that a propositional act yields the propositional content of a speech act by being an act of expressing a proposition. And it is the expressed proposition (...)
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  50. Propositions and Propositional Acts.D. K. Johnston - 2009 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (3):pp. 435-462.
    Suppose that John asks, ‘Is the window open?’ and Mary replies, ‘The window is open.’ Then John and Mary have produced two distinct utterances, and in doing so, they have performed two different kinds of speech act. But clearly there is something that these utterances have in common. According to the standard theory of speech acts, in these utterances different illocutionary forces have been applied to the same propositional content. Similarly, if John and Mary both believe that roses are red, (...)
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