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Summary One view about the nature of propositions is that they can be identified with sets of possible worlds.
Key works Stalnaker 1984
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87 found
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  1. The Problem of Communication in De Se Thoughts.Aran Arslan - manuscript
    The problem of communication in de se thoughts is the problem of communication of first-person or self-locating thoughts across the speakers of a conversation. The problem mainly stems from the lack of a proper account of attitude and content — an account that is supposed to explain whether or how the context of linguistic utterances is related to the semantic content of a sentence, assertion and belief. In this paper, after introducing two new semantic items, namely, almost-impossible and almost-necessary propositions, (...)
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  2. Unstructured Content.Dirk Kindermann, Peter van Elswyk, Andy Egan & Cameron Domenico Kirk-Giannini (eds.) - forthcoming - Oxford University Press.
    The original essays in this volume present new research on unstructured theories of content, which have traditionally played a central role in linguistics and philosophy of language. The volume explores a wide range of themes related to unstructured content, including both the continued controversy over whether unstructured theories individuate contents too coarsely and various applications of unstructured theories to topics like rationality, epistemic commitment, semantic expressivism, relevance, and propositional attitude ascriptions. It contains contributions from different theoretical perspectives, including both those (...)
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  3. Critical Notice of Stalnaker's "Propositions: Ontology and Logic". [REVIEW]Buchanan Ray - forthcoming - Analysis.
  4. Hyperintensionality and Overfitting.Francesco Berto - 2024 - Synthese 1 (4):1-21.
    A hyperintensional epistemic logic would take the contents which can be known or believed as more fine-grained than sets of possible worlds. I consider one objection to the idea: Williamson’s Objection from Overfitting. I propose a hyperintensional account of propositions as sets of worlds enriched with topics: what those propositions, and so the attitudes having them as contents, are about. I show that the account captures the conditions under which sentences express the same content; that it can be pervasively applied (...)
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  5. Synonymy.Nathan Salmón - 2024 - In Alessandro Capone, Pietro Perconti & Roberto Graci (eds.), Philosophy, Cognition and Pragmatics. Springer Nature Switzerland. pp. 45-52.
    Alonzo Church famously provided three principal competing criteria for “strict synonymy,” i.e., sameness of semantic content. These are his Alternatives (0), (1), and (2)—numbered in order of increasing course-grainedness of content. On Alternative (2), expressions are deemed strictly synonymous iff they are logically equivalent. This criterion seems hopeless as an account of the objects of propositional attitude. On Alternative (1), expressions are deemed synonymous iff they are λ-convertible. Alternative (1) also evidently conflicts with discourse about the attitudes. On Alternative (0), (...)
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  6. An Algorithmic Impossible-Worlds Model of Belief and Knowledge.Zeynep Soysal - 2024 - Review of Symbolic Logic 17 (2):586-610.
    In this paper, I develop an algorithmic impossible-worlds model of belief and knowledge that provides a middle ground between models that entail that everyone is logically omniscient and those that are compatible with even the most egregious kinds of logical incompetence. In outline, the model entails that an agent believes (knows) φ just in case she can easily (and correctly) compute that φ is true and thus has the capacity to make her actions depend on whether φ. The model thereby (...)
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  7. Propositions as (Flexible) Types of Possibilities.Nate Charlow - 2022 - In Chris Tillman & Adam Murray (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Propositions. Routledge. pp. 211-230.
    // tl;dr A Proposition is a Way of Thinking // -/- This chapter is about type-theoretic approaches to propositional content. Type-theoretic approaches to propositional content originate with Hintikka, Stalnaker, and Lewis, and involve treating attitude environments (e.g. "Nate thinks") as universal quantifiers over domains of "doxastic possibilities" -- ways things could be, given what the subject thinks. -/- This chapter introduces and motivates a line of a type-theoretic theorizing about content that is an outgrowth of the recent literature on epistemic (...)
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  8. The Propositional Benacerraf Problem.Jesse Fitts - 2022 - In Chris Tillman & Adam Murray (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Propositions. Routledge.
    Writers in the propositions literature consider the Benacerraf objection serious, often decisive. The objection figures heavily in dismissing standard theories of propositions of the past, notably set-theoretic theories. I argue that the situation is more complicated. After explicating the propositional Benacerraf problem, I focus on a classic set-theoretic theory of propositions, the possible worlds theory, and argue that methodological considerations influence the objection’s success.
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  9. Truthmaker account of propositions.Mark Jago - 2022 - In Chris Tillman & Adam Murray (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Propositions. Routledge.
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  10. A metalinguistic and computational approach to the problem of mathematical omniscience.Zeynep Soysal - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 106 (2):455-474.
    In this paper, I defend the metalinguistic solution to the problem of mathematical omniscience for the possible-worlds account of propositions by combining it with a computational model of knowledge and belief. The metalinguistic solution states that the objects of belief and ignorance in mathematics are relations between mathematical sentences and what they express. The most pressing problem for the metalinguistic strategy is that it still ascribes too much mathematical knowledge under the standard possible-worlds model of knowledge and belief on which (...)
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  11. The problem of closure and questioning attitudes.Richard Teague - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-19.
    The problem of closure for the traditional unstructured possible worlds model of attitudinal content is that it treats belief and other cognitive states as closed under entailment, despite apparent counterexamples showing that this is not a necessary property of such states. One solution to this problem, which has been proposed recently by several authors (Schaffer 2005; Yalcin 2018; Hoek forthcoming), is to restrict closure in an unstructured setting by treating propositional attitudes as question-sensitive. Here I argue that this line of (...)
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  12. Hyperintensionality.Francesco Berto & Daniel Nolan - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    An overview of hyperintensionality is provided. Hyperintensional languages have expressions with meanings that are more fine-grained than necessary equivalence. That is, the expressions may necessarily co-apply and yet be distinct in meaning. Adequately accounting for theories cast in hyperintensional languages is important in the philosophy of language; the philosophy of mind; metaphysics; and elsewhere. This entry presents a number of areas in which hyperintensionality is important; a range of approaches to theorising about hyperintensional matters; and a range of debates that (...)
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  13. Centred Propositions, What is Asserted, and Communication.Jakub Rudnicki - 2021 - Theoria 87 (1):187-206.
    In recent years there has been a heated debate on how to accommodate John Perry's observations about the essentiality of indexicality into our models of linguistic communication. This article is an attempt at providing a new perspective on this issue. I argue that we should jettison two elements taken for granted by the views I present, and criticize, here: no centring, uncentring, recentring and multicentring. These elements are: (1) taking the asserted content to be a part of the communication process (...)
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  14. On Stalnaker’s Simple Theory of Propositions.Peter Fritz - 2020 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 50 (1):1-31.
    Robert Stalnaker recently proposed a simple theory of propositions using the notion of a set of propositions being consistent, and conjectured that this theory is equivalent to the claim that propositions form a complete atomic Boolean algebra. This paper clarifies and confirms this conjecture. Stalnaker also noted that some of the principles of his theory may be given up, depending on the intended notion of proposition. This paper therefore also investigates weakened constraints on consistency and the corresponding classes of Boolean (...)
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  15. Many problems of the many.Hao Hong - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):3101-3116.
    David Lewis offers two solutions to the problem of the many, one of which relies on supervaluationism and the other on the notion of “almost-identity” for the most part. In this paper, I argue that Lewis’ other metaphysical views constitute reasons to prefer his second solution to the first one. Specifically, Lewis’ theory of propositions and his counterpart theory give rise to two similar problems of the many, which I call “the problem of many propositions” and “the problem of many (...)
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  16. Impossible worlds and partial belief.Edward Elliott - 2019 - Synthese 196 (8):3433-3458.
    One response to the problem of logical omniscience in standard possible worlds models of belief is to extend the space of worlds so as to include impossible worlds. It is natural to think that essentially the same strategy can be applied to probabilistic models of partial belief, for which parallel problems also arise. In this paper, I note a difficulty with the inclusion of impossible worlds into probabilistic models. Under weak assumptions about the space of worlds, most of the propositions (...)
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  17. Propositions, representation, and truth.Geoff Georgi - 2019 - Synthese 196 (3):1019-1043.
    Theories of propositions as sets of truth-supporting circumstances are committed to the thesis that sentences or other representations true in all and only the same circumstances express the same proposition. Theories of propositions as complex, structured entities are not committed to this thesis. As a result, structured propositions can play a role in our theories of language and thought that sets of truth-supporting circumstances cannot play. To illustrate this difference, I sketch a theory of transparent, non-deflationary truth consistent with some (...)
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  18. A general argument against structured propositions.Peter Pagin - 2019 - Synthese 196 (4):1501-1528.
    The standard argument against ordered tuples as propositions is that it is arbitrary what truth-conditions they should have. In this paper we generalize that argument. Firstly, we require that propositions have truth-conditions intrinsically. Secondly, we require strongly equivalent truth-conditions to be identical. Thirdly, we provide a formal framework, taken from Graph Theory, to characterize structure and structured objects in general. The argument in a nutshell is this: structured objects are too fine-grained to be identical to truth-conditions. Without identity, there is (...)
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  19. Vagueness and Thought.Andrew Bacon - 2018 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
    Vagueness is the study of concepts that admit borderline cases. The epistemology of vagueness concerns attitudes we should have towards propositions we know to be borderline. On this basis Andrew Bacon develops a new theory of vagueness in which vagueness is fundamentally a property of propositions, explicated in terms of its role in thought.
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  20. Singular truth-conditions without singular propositions.Gregory Bochner - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2741-2760.
    In this paper I argue that propositionalism is what generates a tension between referentialism and harmony. Harmony can be preserved if we replace propositionalism by centred referentialism, according to which referential thoughts and utterances about an object have descriptive contents that must be evaluated relative to a world centred on that object at the relevant time. By disentangling truth-conditions and contents, this move allows us to dissolve the tension between referentialism and descriptivism. The view that emerges has three main components: (...)
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  21. Meaning and Modality.Jesse Fitts - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
    I intended to write four papers whose topics faintly concerned separate issues in meaning and modality. As it turned out, chapters 1-3 all roughly concern the same topic: propositions. While I argue for two different theses in chapters 1 and 2, I try to understand the changing propositions literature in both. In addition to arguing for the respective theses in chapters 1 and 2, accounting for this change is a parallel goal for the chapters taken together. Chapter 3 examines particular (...)
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  22. Agglomerative Algebras.Jeremy Goodman - 2018 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 48 (4):631-648.
    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.
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  23. Descriptions and non-doxastic attitude ascriptions.Wojciech Rostworowski - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (6):1311-1331.
    This paper addresses a certain objection to the quantificational theory of definite descriptions. According to this objection, the quantificational account cannot provide correct interpretations of definite descriptions embedded in the non-doxastic attitude ascriptions and therefore ought to be rejected. In brief, the objection says that the quantificational theory is committed to the view that a sentence of the form “The F is G” is equivalent to the claim that there is a unique F and it is G, while the ascription (...)
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  24. Belief as Question‐Sensitive.Seth Yalcin - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (1):23-47.
  25. Granularity problems.Jens Christian Bjerring & Wolfgang Schwarz - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (266):22-37.
    Possible-worlds accounts of mental or linguistic content are often criticized for being too coarse-grained. To make room for more fine-grained distinctions among contents, several authors have recently proposed extending the space of possible worlds by "impossible worlds". We argue that this strategy comes with serious costs: we would effectively have to abandon most of the features that make the possible-worlds framework attractive. More generally, we argue that while there are intuitive and theoretical considerations against overly coarse-grained notions of content, the (...)
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  26. Content, the Possible and the Impossible.Felappi Giulia - 2017 - Analysis 77 (3):648-658.
    What are contents? The answer provided by the possible worlds approach is that contents are sets of possible worlds. This approach incurs serious problems and to solve them Jago suggests, in The Impossible, to get rid of the ‘possible’ bit and allowing some impossible worlds to be part of the game. In this note, I briefly consider the metaphysics behind Jago’s account and then focus on whether Jago is right in thinking that his worlds and his worlds only can do (...)
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  27. Propositions as Truthmaker Conditions.Mark Jago - 2017 - Argumenta 2 (2):293-308.
    Propositions are often aligned with truth-conditions. The view is mistaken, since propositions discriminate where truth conditions do not. Propositions are hyperintensional: they are sensitive to necessarily equivalent differences. I investigate an alternative view on which propositions are truthmaker conditions, understood as sets of possible truthmakers. This requires making metaphysical sense of merely possible states of affairs. The theory that emerges illuminates the semantic phenomena of samesaying, subject matter, and aboutness.
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  28. A Hyperintensional Account of Metaphysical Equivalence.Kristie Miller - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (269):772-793.
    This paper argues for a particular view about in what metaphysical equivalence consists: namely, that any two metaphysical theories are metaphysically equivalent if and only if those theories are strongly hyperintensionally equivalent. It is consistent with this characterisation that said theories are weakly hyperintensionally distinct, thus affording us the resources to model the content of propositional attitudes directed towards metaphysically equivalent theories in such a way that non-ideal agents can bear different propositional attitudes towards metaphysically equivalent theories.
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  29. 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 of partial truth. This paper argues that those notions 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 (and partial validity).
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  30. Are Propositions Essentially Representational?Bryan Pickel - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (3).
    Jeffrey King argues that nothing has truth conditions except by being taken to be true or false by rational agents. But – for good reason – King claims that propositions possess truth conditions essentially and intrinsically. I will argue that King cannot have both: if the truth conditions of a proposition depend on the reactions of rational agents, then the possession of truth conditions can't follow from the intrinsic nature or existence of the proposition. This leaves two options. Either, nothing (...)
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  31. The Objects of Belief and Credence.David Braun - 2016 - Mind 125 (498):469-497.
    David Chalmers uses Bayesian theories of credence to argue against referentialism about belief. This paper argues that Chalmers’s Bayesian objections to referentialism are similar to older, more familiar objections to referentialism. There are familiar responses to the old objections, and there is a predictable way to modify those old responses to meet Chalmers’s Bayesian objections. The new responses to the new objections are no less plausible than the old responses to the old objections. Chalmers’s positive theory of belief and credence (...)
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  32. Referentialism and the Objects of Credence: A Reply to Braun.David J. Chalmers - 2016 - Mind 125 (498):499-510.
  33. Every Proposition is a Counterfactual.Charles B. Cross - 2016 - Acta Analytica 31 (2):117-137.
    I present and discuss two logical results. The first shows that a non-trivial counterfactual analysis exists for any contingent proposition that is false in at least two possible worlds. The second result identifies a set of conditions that are individually necessary and jointly sufficient for the success of a counterfactual analysis. I use these results to shed light on the question whether disposition ascribing propositions can be analyzed as Stalnaker-Lewis conditional propositions. The answer is that they can, but, in order (...)
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  34. Propositional Contingentism.Peter Fritz - 2016 - Review of Symbolic Logic 9 (1):123-142.
    According to propositional contingentism, it is contingent what propositions there are. This paper presents two ways of modeling contingency in what propositions there are using two classes of possible worlds models. The two classes of models are shown to be equivalent as models of contingency in what propositions there are, although they differ as to which other aspects of reality they represent. These constructions are based on recent work by Robert Stalnaker; the aim of this paper is to explain, expand, (...)
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  35. 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.
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  36. The Principle of Sufficient Reason Defended: There Is No Conjunction of All Contingently True Propositions.Christopher M. P. Tomaszewski - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (1):267-274.
    Toward the end of his classic treatise An Essay on Free Will, Peter van Inwagen offers a modal argument against the Principle of Sufficient Reason which he argues shows that the principle “collapses all modal distinctions.” In this paper, a critical flaw in this argument is shown to lie in van Inwagen’s beginning assumption that there is such a thing as the conjunction of all contingently true propositions. This is shown to follow from Cantor’s theorem and a property of conjunction (...)
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  37. Hyperintensional propositions.Mark Jago - 2015 - Synthese 192 (3):585-601.
    Propositions play a central role in contemporary semantics. On the Russellian account, propositions are structured entities containing particulars, properties and relations. This contrasts sharply with the sets-of-possible-worlds view of propositions. I’ll discuss how to extend the sets-of-worlds view to accommodate fine-grained hyperintensional contents. When this is done in a satisfactory way, I’ll argue, it makes heavy use of entities very much like Russellian tuples. The two notions of proposition become inter-definable and inter-substitutable: they are not genuinely distinct accounts of how (...)
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  38. Propositions: Individuation and Invirtuation.Kris McDaniel - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (4):757-768.
    The pressure to individuate propositions more finely than intensionally—that is, hyper-intensionally—has two distinct sources. One source is the philosophy of mind: one can believe a proposition without believing an intensionally equivalent proposition. The second source is metaphysics: there are intensionally equivalent propositions, such that one proposition is true in virtue of the other but not vice versa. I focus on what our theory of propositions should look like when it's guided by metaphysical concerns about what is true in virtue of (...)
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  39. Propositions.Trenton Merricks - 2015 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
    Trenton Merricks presents an original argument for the existence of propositions, and defends an account of their nature. He draws a variety of controversial conclusions, for instance about supervaluationism, the nature of possible worlds, truths about non-existent entities, and whether and how logical consequence depends on modal facts.
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  40. Worlds and Propositions Set Free.Otávio Bueno, Christopher Menzel & Edward N. Zalta - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (4):797–820.
    The authors provide an object-theoretic analysis of two paradoxes in the theory of possible worlds and propositions stemming from Russell and Kaplan. After laying out the paradoxes, the authors provide a brief overview of object theory and point out how syntactic restrictions that prevent object-theoretic versions of the classical paradoxes are justified philosophically. The authors then trace the origins of the Russell paradox to a problematic application of set theory in the definition of worlds. Next the authors show that an (...)
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  41. Chalmers on the objects of credence.Jesse Fitts - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (2):343-358.
    Chalmers (Mind 120(479): 587–636, 2011a) presents an argument against “referentialism” (and for his own view) that employs Bayesianism. He aims to make progress in a debate over the objects of belief, which seems to be at a standstill between referentialists and non-referentialists. Chalmers’ argument, in sketch, is that Bayesianism is incompatible with referentialism, and natural attempts to salvage the theory, Chalmers contends, requires giving up referentialism. Given the power and success of Bayesianism, the incompatibility is prima facie evidence against referentialism. (...)
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  42. The Impossible: An Essay on Hyperintensionality.Mark Jago - 2014 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
    Mark Jago presents an original philosophical account of meaningful thought: in particular, how it is meaningful to think about things that are impossible. We think about impossible things all the time. We can think about alchemists trying to turn base metal to gold, and about unfortunate mathematicians trying to square the circle. We may ponder whether God exists; and philosophers frequently debate whether properties, numbers, sets, moral and aesthetic qualities, and qualia exist. In many philosophical or mathematical debates, when one (...)
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  43. Collective De Se Thoughts and Centered Worlds.Shen-yi Liao - 2014 - Ratio 27 (1):17-31.
    Two lines of investigation into the nature of mental content have proceeded in parallel until now. The first looks at thoughts that are attributable to collectives, such as bands' beliefs and teams' desires. So far, philosophers who have written on collective belief, collective intentionality, etc. have primarily focused on third-personal attributions of thoughts to collectives. The second looks at de se, or self-locating, thoughts, such as beliefs and desires that are essentially about oneself. So far, philosophers who have written on (...)
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  44. Indexical Beliefs and Communication: Against Stalnaker on Self‐Location.Clas Weber - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (3):640-663.
    Beliefs are commonly analyzed as binary relations between subjects and propositions. Perry and Lewis have shown that the standard account has difficulties in handling self-locating beliefs. Robert Stalnaker has recently put forward a version of the standard account that is supposed to overcome this problem. Stalnaker's motivation for defending the propositional account of belief is that it comes with a simple and powerful propositional model of communication. In this paper I argue that Stalnaker's proposal fails. The only way of upholding (...)
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  45. Are Concepts Creatures of Darkness?Laura Schroeter - 2013 - Analytic Philosophy 54 (2):277-292.
    In Our Knowledge of the Internal World, Robert Stalnaker presents a sophisticated new defense of a radically externalist and contextualist approach to mental content. Stalnaker holds that unstructured propositions—sets of possible worlds—can provide a complete account of mental content, including Fregean cognitive significance phenomena. So there is no theoretical job for concepts to fulfill. Stalnaker sees concepts as ‘creatures of darkness’ that encourage theoretical confusion. Concepts are a vestige of the mistaken internalist picture of the mind: internal states that are (...)
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  46. Variations on a Montagovian theme.Wolfgang Schwarz - 2013 - Synthese 190 (16):3377-3395.
    What are the objects of knowledge, belief, probability, apriority or analyticity? For at least some of these properties, it seems plausible that the objects are sentences, or sentence-like entities. However, results from mathematical logic indicate that sentential properties are subject to severe formal limitations. After surveying these results, I argue that they are more problematic than often assumed, that they can be avoided by taking the objects of the relevant property to be coarse-grained (“sets of worlds”) propositions, and that all (...)
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  47. Are propositions sets of possible worlds?A. Hoffmann - 2012 - Analysis 72 (3):449-455.
    The possible-worlds analysis of propositions identifies a proposition with the set of possible worlds where it is true. This analysis has the hitherto unnoticed consequence that a proposition depends for its existence on the existence of every proposition that entails it. This peculiar consequence places the possible-worlds analysis in conflict with the conjunction of two compelling theses. One thesis is that a phrase of the form ‘the proposition that S’ is a rigid designator. The other thesis is that a proposition (...)
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  48. What Are Centered Worlds?Shen-yi Liao - 2012 - Philosophical Quarterly 62 (247):294-316.
    David Lewis argues that centered worlds give us a way to capture de se, or self-locating, contents in philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. In recent years, centered worlds have also gained other uses in areas ranging widely from metaphysics to ethics. In this paper, I raise a problem for centered worlds and discuss the costs and benefits of different solutions. My investigation into the nature of centered worlds brings out potentially problematic implicit commitments of the theories that employ (...)
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  49. Structures and circumstances: two ways to fine-grain propositions.David Ripley - 2012 - Synthese 189 (1):97 - 118.
    This paper discusses two distinct strategies that have been adopted to provide fine-grained propositions; that is, propositions individuated more finely than sets of possible worlds. One strategy takes propositions to have internal structure, while the other looks beyond possible worlds, and takes propositions to be sets of circumstances, where possible worlds do not exhaust the circumstances. The usual arguments for these positions turn on fineness-of-grain issues: just how finely should propositions be individuated? Here, I compare the two strategies with an (...)
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  50. Expressing Credences.Daniel Rothschild - 2012 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112 (1pt1):99-114.
    After presenting a simple expressivist account of reports of probabilistic judgements, I explore a classic problem for it, namely the Frege-Geach problem. I argue that it is a problem not just for expressivism but for any reasonable account of ascriptions of graded judgements. I suggest that the problem can be resolved by appropriately modelling imprecise credences.
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