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, (...) rather than merely in the complements of propositional attitude verbs. The generalized puzzle shows that a range of proposed solutions to the original puzzle fail, or are radically incomplete, and also reveals the connections between Prior’s puzzle and debates over the nature of semantic types and higher-order quantification. I go on to develop a novel, higher-order solution to the generalized form of the puzzle, and I argue that this higher-approach is superior to its first-order alternatives. (shrink)
Among philosophers, Fregeanism and sententialism are widely considered two of the leading theories of the semantics of attitude reports. Among linguists, these approaches have received little recent sustained discussion. This paper aims to bridge this divide. I present a new formal implementation of Fregeanism and sententialism, with the goal of showing that these theories can be developed in sufficient detail and concreteness to be serious competitors to the theories which are more popular among semanticists. I develop a modern treatment of (...) quantifying in for Fregeanism and sententialism, in the style of Heim and Kratzer, and then show how these theories can—somewhat surprisingly—account for “third readings” on the model of the “Standard Solution” from possible-worlds semantics. The resulting Fregean/sententialist proposal has a distinctive attraction: it treats data related to counterfactual attitudes —which have proven challenging to accommodate in the setting of possible worlds semantics—straightforwardly as third readings. (shrink)
The article explains on the two-year experiment after the author’s finalization of dissertation. The thesis of the dissertation was hidden in the last chapter with analytical linguistics. It was done so with the fascist development of the Chinese Communist regime with neo- Nazi characteristics. Since numerous prior warnings on the political downshifts & coup d’état in China was willfully ignored by the university, the linguistic innovations in dissertation found a balance between multilateralism and outer space (security). The experiments were conducted (...) with a combination of physical unit analysis & thermonuclear dynamics analysis. It describes the experiment process in terms of gravitation as gravitational singularity and Bekenstein-Penrose singularity. Detailed research process is elaborated in the article concerning the sociopolitical interactions the research involved. (shrink)
Ramsification is a well-known method of defining theoretical terms that figures centrally in a wide range of debates in metaphysics. Prior's puzzle is 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 sometimes fails to preserve truth, and other times fails to preserve grammaticality. On the surface, Ramsification and Prior's puzzle appear to have little to do with each other. But Prior's (...) puzzle is much more general than is ordinarily appreciated, and Ramsification requires a solution to the generalized form of Prior's puzzle. Without such a solution, a wide range of theories will either fail to imply their Ramsey sentences, or have Ramsey sentences that are ill-formed. As a consequence, definitions of theoretical terms given using the Ramsey sentence will be either incorrect or nonsensical. I present a partial solution to the puzzle that requires making use of a neo-Davidsonian language for scientific theorizing, but the would-be Ramsifier still faces serious challenges. (shrink)
I observe that the “concept-generator” theory of Percus and Sauerland (2003), Anand (2006), and Charlow and Sharvit (2014) does not predict an intuitive true interpretation of the sentence “Plato did not believe that Hesperus was Phosphorus”. In response, I present a simple theory of attitude reports which employs a fine-grained semantics for names, according to which names which intuitively name the same thing may have distinct compositional semantic values. This simple theory solves the problem with the concept-generator theory, but, as (...) I go on to show, it has problems of its own. I present three examples which the concept-generator theory can accommodate, but the simple fine-grained theory cannot. These examples motivate the full theory of the paper, which combines the basic ideas behind the concept-generator theory with a fine-grained semantics for names. The examples themselves are of interest independently of my theory: two of them constrain the original concept-generator theory more tightly than previously discussed examples had. (shrink)
The problem of intentional inexistence arises because the following (alleged) intuitions are mutually conflicting: it seems that sometimes we think about things that do not exist; it seems that intentionality is a relation between a thinker and what such a thinker thinks about; it seems that relations entail the existence of what they relate. In this paper, I argue for what I call a radical relationist solution. First, I contend that the extant arguments for the view that relations entail the (...) existence of their relata are wanting. In this regard, I defend a kind of pluralism about relations according to which more than one kind of relation involves non-existents. Second, I contend that there are reasons to maintain that all thoughts are relations between thinkers and the things they are about. More accurately, I contend that the radical relationist solution is to be preferred to both the intentional content solution (as developed by Crane) and the adverbial property solution (as developed by Kriegel). Finally, I argue that once the distinction between thinking “X” and thinking about X has been drawn, the radical relationist solution can handle issues like ontological commitment, substitutivity failure, scrutability, and non-specificity. (shrink)
This is a reply to the commentaries on my paper 'Truthmaker Semantics for Natural Language: Attitude Verbs, Modals, and Intensional Transitive Verbs'. The paper is a commissioned 'target' article, with commentaries by W. Davis, B. Arsenijevic, K. Moulton, K. Liefke, M. Kaufman, R. Matthews, P. Portner and A. Rubinstein, P. Elliott, and G. Ramchand.
Goodman and Lederman (2020) argue that the traditional Fregean strategy for preserving the validity of Leibniz’s Law of substitution fails when confronted with apparent counterexamples involving proper names embedded under propositional attitude verbs. We argue, on the contrary, that the Fregean strategy succeeds and that Goodman and Lederman’s argument misfires.
The apparently obviously true doctrine of opacity has been thought to be inconsistent with two others, to which many philosophers of language are also attracted: the referentialist account of the semantics of proper names and indexicals, on the one hand, and the principle of semantic innocence, on the other. I discuss here one of the most popular strategies for resolving the apparent inconsistency, namely Mark Richard’s theory of belief ascriptions, and raise three problems for it. Finally, I propose an alternative (...) theory of the semantics of belief-ascribing sentences that clearly avoids the three problems that trouble Richard’s theory, and advocate it as the best available strategy for resolving the apparent inconsistency between the doctrine of opacity, referentialism, and the principle of semantic innocence. (shrink)
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 (...) she reports Pete as believing is entailed by Pete’s beliefs if they are revised in light of Jane and Jim’s background knowledge. We provide a semantic theory of revisionist reports based on this idea. We observe that the admissible “revisions” are limited in a striking way. Jane cannot say ‘Pete thinks Ann is a 6-year-old and can play tennis in ten lessons’ in the same context that she can say ‘Pete believes Ann can learn to play tennis ten lessons’, even though this too follows from Jane and Jim’s background knowledge together with what Pete believes. Our theory predicts the infelicity of these latter reports. It also has the resources to predict the truth of “exported” attitude reports and casts the relationship between these reports and “singular thought” in a new light. We conclude by discussing how revisionist reports make trouble for a simplistic view of the connection between the relations expressed by attitude verbs in natural language and the relations of most interest to philosophers of mind and cognitive science. (shrink)
It is widely held within contemporary metaethics that there is a lack of linguistic support for evaluative expressivism. On the contrary, it seems that the predictions that expressivists make about evaluative discourse are not borne out. An instance of this is the so-called problem of missing Moorean infelicity. Expressivists maintain that evaluative statements express non-cognitive states of mind in a similar manner to how ordinary descriptive language expresses beliefs. Conjoining an ordinary assertion that p with the denial of being in (...) the corresponding belief state famously gives rise to Moorean infelicity:?? It’s raining but I don’t believe that it’s raining. If expressivists are right, then conjoining evaluative statements with the denial of being in the relevant non-cognitive state of mind should give rise to similar infelicity. However, as several theorists have pointed out, this does not seem to be the case. Statements like the following are not infelicitous: Murder is wrong but I don’t disapprove of it. In this paper, I argue that evaluative statements express the kind of states that are attributed by ‘find’-constructions in English and that these states are non-cognitive in nature. This addresses the problem of missing Moorean infelicity and, more generally, goes to show that there are linguistic facts which support expressivism about evaluative discourse. (shrink)
In The Things We Mean, Stephen Schiffer defends a novel account of the entities to which belief reports relate us and to which their that-clauses refer. For Schiffer, the referred-to entities—propositions—exist in virtue of contingencies of our linguistic practices, deriving from “pleonastic restatements” of ontologically neutral discourse. Schiffer’s account of the individuation of propositions derives from his treatment of that -clause reference. While that -clauses are referential singular terms, their reference is not determined by the speaker’s referential intentions. Rather, their (...) reference is determined in a top-down manner—in Schiffer’s words, “by what the speaker and audience mutually take to be essential to the truth-value of the belief report.” While this accounts for a deep disanalogy between belief reports and other relational propositions—a disanalogy emphasized by Schiffer—I argue that the proposal runs into trouble when we consider the case of de re belief. I close by showing how a modification of Schiffer’s approach—one differing in essential ways from the theory developed in Things—is capable of handling these difficulties. (shrink)
Section 31 of Quine's Word and Object contains an eyebrow-raising argument, purporting to show that if an agent, Tom, believes one truth and one falsity and has some basic logical acumen, and if belief contexts are always transparent, then Tom believes everything. Over the decades this argument has been debated inconclusively. In this paper I clarify the situation and show that the trouble stems from bad presentation on Quine’s part.
There is a certain argument against the principle of the indiscernibility of identicals, or the thesis that whatever is true of a thing is true of anything identical with that thing. In this argument, PInI is used together with the self-evident principle of the necessity of self-identity to reach the conclusion, which is held to be paradoxical and, thus, fatal to PInI. My purpose is to show that the argument in question does not have this consequence. Further, I argue that (...) PInI is a universally valid principle which can be used to prove the necessity of identity. (shrink)
The standard view of "believes" and other propositional attitude verbs is that such verbs express relations between agents and propositions. A sentence of the form “S believes that p” is true just in case S stands in the belief-relation to the proposition that p; this proposition is the referent of the complement clause "that p." On this view, we would expect the clausal complements of propositional attitude verbs to be freely intersubstitutable with their corresponding proposition descriptions—e.g., "the proposition that p"—as (...) they are in the case of "believes." In many cases, however, intersubstitution of that-clauses and proposition descriptions fails to preserve truth value or even grammaticality. These substitution failures lead some philosophers to reject the standard view of propositional attitude reports. Others conclude that propositional attitude verbs are systematically ambiguous. I reject both these views. On my view, the that-clause complements of propositional attitude verbs denote propositions, but proposition descriptions do not. (shrink)
There is a certain popular argument, deriving from Ruth Barcan and Saul Kripke, from the conjunction of the Principle of the Indiscernibility of Identicals (PInI, for short) and the Principle of the Necessity of Self-Identity to the Thesis of the Necessity of Identity. My purpose is to show that this argument does not work, not at least in the form it is often presented. I also give a correct formulation of the argument and point out that PInI is not even (...) needed in the argument for the necessity of identity. (shrink)
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 (...) such as, e.g., “S wants the F to be G” is not equivalent to the statement that S wants there to be a F and for it to be G. I argue that this objection is invalid as it rests on a false assumption concerning the substitutivity of the relative clauses in the non-doxastic attitude ascriptions. (shrink)
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 (...) the explanatory work he posits them for. (shrink)
This paper defends the claim that although ‘Superman is Clark Kent and some people who believe that Superman flies do not believe that Clark Kent flies’ is a logically inconsistent sentence, we can still utter this sentence, while speaking literally, without asserting anything false. The key idea is that the context-sensitivity of attitude reports can be - and often is - resolved in different ways within a single sentence.
According to a Millian theory of names, co-referring names are intersubstitutable salva veritate in all contexts, including the that-clauses of belief reports. This leads the Millian to famously argue, among other things, that if Lois Lane believes that Superman can fly then she also believes that Clark Kent can fly. Although the Millian provides an ingenious account that explains our strong anti-substitution intuitions in such cases, this paper argues that the Millian account leads to a new problem of enlightenment in (...) identity reports. Specifically, a believer A may come to discover that two names refer to the same individual S, but whether A is enlightened about the identity of S will depend on the number of guises through which A holds contradictory beliefs about S. (shrink)
I start out by reviewing the semantics of ‘seem’. As ‘seem’ is a subject-raising verb, ‘it seems’ can be treated as a sentential operator. I look at the semantic and logical properties of ‘it seems’. I argue that ‘it seems’ is a hyperintensional and contextually flexible operator. The operator distributes over conjunction but not over disjunction, conditionals or semantic entailments. I further argue that ‘it seems’ does not commute with negation and does not agglomerate with conjunction. I then show that (...) the mental states expressed by perceptual uses of ‘seem’ have non-conceptual, yet perspectival contents. In the final part of the paper I argue that while the content of the mental states expressed by perceptual uses of ‘seem’ are non-conceptual, having a mental state of this type requires possessing conceptual abilities corresponding to what the mental state represents. (shrink)
Speakers often judge the sentence “Lois Lane believes that Superman flies” to be true and the sentence “Lois Lane believes that Clark Kent flies” to be false. If Millianism is true, however, these sentences express the very same proposition and must therefore have same truth value. “Pragmatic” Millians like Salmon and Soames have tried to explain speakers’ “anti-substitution intuitions” by claiming that the two sentences are routinely used to pragmatically convey different propositions which do have different truth values. “Non-Pragmatic” Millians (...) like Braun, on the other hand, have argued that the Millian should not appeal to pragmatics and opt instead for a purely psychological explanation. I will present two objections against Non-Pragmatic Millianism. The first one is that the view cannot account for the intuitions of speakers who accept the identity sentence “Superman is Clark Kent”: applying a psychological account in this case, I will argue, would yield wrong predictions about speakers who resist substitution with simple sentences. I will then consider a possible response from the non-pragmatic Millian and show that the response would in fact require an appeal to pragmatics. My conclusion will be that Braun’s psychological explanation of anti-substitution intuitions is untenable, and that the Millian is therefore forced to adopt a pragmatic account. My second objection is that Non-Pragmatic Millianism cannot account for the role that certain commonsense intentional generalizations play in the explanation of behavior. I will consider a reply offered by Braun and argue that it still leaves out a large class of important generalizations. My conclusion will be that Braun’s non-pragmatic strategy fails, and that the Millian will again be forced to adopt a pragmatic account of intentional generalizations if he wants to respond to the objection. In light of my two objections, my general conclusion will be that non-pragmatic versions of Millianism should be rejected. This has an important consequence: if Millianism is true, then some pragmatic Millian account must be correct. It follows that, if standard objections against pragmatic accounts succeed, then Millianism must be rejected altogether. (shrink)
The paper argues that philosophers commonly misidentify the substitutivity principle involved in Russell’s puzzle about substitutivity in “On Denoting”. This matters because when that principle is properly identified the puzzle becomes considerably sharper and more interesting than it is often taken to be. This article describes both the puzzle itself and Russell's solution to it, which involves resources beyond the theory of descriptions. It then explores the epistemological and metaphysical consequences of that solution. One such consequence, it argues, is that (...) Russell must abandon his commitment to propositions. (shrink)
In this essay, I propose an analysis of Quine’s example ’Giorgione was so-called because of his size’, grounded on the idea of an obstinate demonstrative. In the first sections, I discuss the advantages and drawbacks of the demonstrative and logophoric treatments of ‘so called’, I highlight certain parallelisms with Davidson’s paratactic view of quotation, and I introduce independent considerations in favor of the idea of an obstinate demonstrative. In the second half of my essay, I apply this notion to Quine’s (...) example, and I discuss its consequences with respect to the principle of substitutivity of coreferential singular terms. (shrink)
In his famous 1979 article 'A Puzzle About Belief' Saul Kripke presents two puzzles regarding belief attribution, and he uses them to cast doubt on classical substitution arguments against the Millian view that a proper name has a 'denotation' (or reference) but no 'connotation' (or sense). In this article, I present Kripke's puzzles in what I take to be their most revealing form, discuss their relevance to the abovementioned arguments, briefly survey the ways in which philosophers have responded to these (...) puzzles, and call attention to some issues related to the puzzles that have yet to receive the consideration they deserve. (shrink)
A new kind of defense of the Millian theory of names is given, which explains intuitive counter-examples as depending on pragmatic effects of the relevant sentences, by direct application of Grice’s and Sperber and Wilson’s Relevance Theory and uncontroversial assumptions. I begin by arguing that synonyms are always intersubstitutable, despite Mates’ considerations, and then apply the method to names. Then, a fairly large sample of cases concerning names are dealt with in related ways. It is argued that the method, as (...) applied to the various cases, satisfies the criterion of success: that for every sentence in context, it is a counter-example to Millianism to the extent that it has pragmatic effects (matching speakers’ intuitions). (shrink)
For years philosophers argued for the existence of distinct yet materially coincident things by appealing to modal and temporal properties. For instance, the statue was made on Monday and could not survive being flattened; the lump of clay was made months before and can survive flattening. Such arguments have been thoroughly examined. Kit Fine has proposed a new set of arguments using the same template. I offer a critical evaluation of what I take to be his central lines of reasoning.
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.
One is often told that sentences expressing or reporting mental states endowed with intentionality—the feature of being “directed upon” an object that some mental states possess—contain contexts that both prevent those sentences to be existentially generalized and are filled by referentially opaque occurrences of singular terms. Failure of existential generalization and referential opacity have been traditionally said to be the basic characterizations of intentionality from a linguistic point of view. I will call those contexts directional contexts. In what follows, I (...) will argue that this traditional conception is incorrect. First, the above characterizations do not provide both necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for directional contexts. Appearances notwithstanding, these characterizations are not the adequate linguistic counterparts of two elements folk-psychologically featuring intentionality, namely existence-independence and the possible apparent aspectual character of the intentional object, the target of a mental state endowed with intentionality. Indeed, they do not retain the prima facie ontological commitment to intentional objects the above elements contain. I will replace failure of existential generalization and referential opacity with other linguistic factors, namely success of mere existentially unloaded particular quantification and pseudo-opacity. I will contend that they provide both necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for directional contexts, and claim that these factors are the adequate counterparts of the above folk-psychological elements, precisely because they retain the prima facie ontological commitment to intentionalia those elements possess. (shrink)
Referentialism is the view that all there is to the meaning of a singular term is its referent. Referentialism entails Substitutivity, i.e., that co-referring terms are intersubstitutable salva veritate . Frege's Paradox shows that Referentialism is inconsistent given two principles: Disquotation says that if S assents to 'P', then S believes that P, and Consistency says that if S believes that P and that not-P, then S is not fully rational. Kripke's strategy was to save Substitutivity by showing that those (...) intuitively plausible principles already led to paradox. I argue that this generalising strategy fails. The Descriptivist, who thinks that a singular term has descriptive meaning, will reject Substitutivity in Frege's Paradox, and deny that Consistency finds application in Kripke's Paradox. The Referentialist, however, may reject Consistency: if the logical properties of the contents of S's beliefs are not reflectively accessible, then S can hold contradictory beliefs without being irrational. Even if successful against Frege's and Kripke's Paradox, this response is ineffective against a strengthened version of the former which rests on Disquotation and Substitutivity, and a strengthened version of the latter which rests only on Disquotation. (shrink)
Among the entities that can be mentally or linguistically represented are mental and linguistic representations themselves. That is, we can think and talk about speech and thought. This phenomenon is known as metarepresentation. An example is "Authors believe that people read books." -/- In this book François Recanati discusses the structure of metarepresentation from a variety of perspectives. According to him, metarepresentations have a dual structure: their content includes the content of the object-representation (people reading books) as well as the (...) "meta" part (the authors' belief). Rejecting the view that the object representation is mentioned rather than used, Recanati claims that since metarepresentations carry the content of the object representation, they must be about whatever the object representation is about. Metarepresentations are fundamentally transparent because they work by simulating the representation they are about. -/- Topics covered in this wide-ranging work include the analysis of belief reports and talk about fiction, world shifting, opacity and substitutivity, quotation, the relation between direct and indirect discourse, context shifting, semantic pretense, and deference in language and thought. (shrink)
It is shown that the coherence of de re belief ascriptions is doubtful in view of certain plausible principles. Subsequently, it is argued, the standard argument against substitutivity in de dicto ascriptions loses some of its power. Also, some possible reactions to these results are considered.
Propositional attitude ascribing sentences seem to give rise to failures of substitution. Is this phenomena best accounted for semantically, by constructing a semantics for propositional attitude ascribing sentences that invalidates the Substitution Principle, or pragmatically? In this paper I argue against semantic accounts of such phenomena. I argue that any semantic theory that respects all our apparent substitution failure intuitions will entail that the noun-phrase position outside the scope of the attitude verb is not open to substitution salva veritate, which (...) is counter-intuitive. (shrink)
In this fascinating work, Scott Soames offers a new conception of the relationship between linguistic meaning and assertions made by utterances. He gives meanings of proper names and natural kind predicates and explains their use in attitude ascriptions. He also demonstrates the irrelevance of rigid designation in understanding why theoretical identities containing such predicates are necessary, if true.
Many philosophers think that the Substitution Objection decisively refutes Russellianism. This objection claims that sentences (1) and (2) can differ in truth value. Therefore, it says, the sentences express different propositions, and so Russellianism is false.
Russellianism (also called `neo-Russellianism, `Millianism, and `thenaive theory') entails that substitution of co-referring names inattitude ascriptions preserves truth value and proposition expressed.Thus, on this view, if Lucy wants Twain to autograph her book, thenshe also wants Clemens to autograph her book, even if she says ``I donot want Clemens to autograph my book''. Some philosophers (includingMichael Devitt and Mark Richard) claim that attitude ascriptions canbe used to predict behavior, but argue that if Russellianism weretrue, then this would not be so. (...) They conclude that Russellianism isfalse. I defend Russellianism from this objection. I present severalanalyses of ``sentence S can be used to predict event E''. I arguethat, on each of these analyses, attitude ascriptions can be used topredict behavior, even if Russellianism is true. Furthermore, if myarguments are incorrect, and attitude ascriptions cannot be used topredict behavior under Russellianism, then Russellians can explainaway the intuition that they can be so used. (shrink)
The semantic puzzles posed by propositional attitude contexts have, since Frege, been understood primarily in terms of certain substitution puzzles. We will take as paradigmatic of such substitution puzzles cases in which two coreferential proper names cannot be intersubstituted salva veritate in the context of an attitude verb. Thus, for example, the following sentences differ in truth value: (1) Lois Lane believes Superman can fly. (2) Lois Lane believes Clark Kent can fly. despite the fact that "Superman" and "Clark Kent" (...) pick out the same individual.1 Equivalently, the following sentence may be true: (3) Lois Lane believes that Superman can fly, but that Clark Kent cannot fly. despite the coreferentiality of the names. (It will at times be convenient to appeal to this conjunctive attitude report in order to fix a single context of utterance.) Substitution failures such as these create a puzzle when conjoined with the assumptions (a) that attitude reports report a binary relation between an individual and some object of that individual's attitude and (b) that that object of the attitude is determined by the content of the complement sentence in the attitude report. If all of the terms in two complement sentences (e.g., "Superman can fly" and "Clark Kent can fly") have the same semantic content, then, prima facie, they ought to generate the same object of believe and, a fortiori, materially equivalent attitude reports. Frege, famously, attempts to defuse the puzzle by positing a semantic value of sense in addition to that of reference, and thereby distinguishing the semantic contents of the two complement sentences. (shrink)
Millianism is reasonable; that is, it is reasonable to think that all there is to the semantic value of a proper name is its referent. But Millianism appears to be undermined by the falsehood of Substitutivity, the principle that interchanging coreferential proper names in an intentional context cannot change the truth value of the resulting belief report. Mary might be perfectly rational in assenting to ‘Twain was a great writer’ as well as ‘Clemens was not a great writer’. Her confusion (...) does not seem to preclude her from assenting to those sentences in a normal, understanding manner. That is, Assent-for-Mary is true: Mary can knowingly assent to ‘Twain was a great writer’ and ‘Clemens was not a great writer’. By Disquotation—the rough principle that if in ordinary circumstances one assents to “P”, then one believes that P—Mary believes that Twain was a great writer and she believes that it’s not the case that Clemens was a great writer. If Substitutivity were true, then since ‘Mary believes that Twain was a great writer’ is true, ‘Mary believes that Clemens was a great writer’ would have to be true too. But then Mary would amount to a refutation of the plausible principle Consistency that, roughly put, no rational adult can have occurrently held and reflectively considered and compared contradictory beliefs. Since Disquotation, Assent-for-Mary, and Consistency are true, Substitutivity has to go. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss two influential analyzes of belief reports, John Perry's and Marc Crimmins's "Contextual View," and Scott Soames's and Nathan Salmon's "Radical View". It is often alleged that the "Contextual View," unlike the "Radical View," is able to account for the apparent invalidity of arguments involving the substitution of coreferential names. I counter that the "Contextual View" and the "Radical View" are on a par with the respect to our intuitions regarding failures of substitutivity.
My hunch has always been that in the end, Fregeanism will defeat Millianism. So I suspect that my (1998) arguments on behalf of Millianism are flawed. Peter Graham (1999) is confident he has found the flaws, but he has not. I hope that some clarification will encourage others to reveal the errors.
In this paper, I defend a well-known theory of belief reports from an important objection. The theory is Russellianism, sometimes also called `neo-Russellianism', `Millianism', `the direct reference theory', `the "Fido"-Fido theory', or `the naive theory'. The objection concernssubstitution of co-referring names in belief sentences. Russellianism implies that any two belief sentences, that differ only in containing distinct co-referring names, express the same proposition (in any given context). Since `Hesperus' and `Phosphorus' both refer to the planet Venus, this view implies that (...) all utterances of (1) and.. (shrink)
In this article I offer a three-pronged defense of Millian theories, all of which share the rough idea that all there is to a proper name is its referent, so it has no additional sense. I first give what I believe to be the first correct analysis of Kripke’s puzzle and its anti-Fregean lessons. The main lesson is that the Fregean’s arguments against Millianism and for the existence of semantically relevant senses (that is, individuative elements of propositions or belief contents (...) that are sensitive to our varying personal conceptions of the referents of those elements) are viciously circular. Thus, the Fregean must give new arguments for her central claims. Second, I offer an original, positive argument for the Millian idea that the thoughts that Cicero was bald and that Tully was bald are identical. Incredibly, the argument appeals to nothing but highly intuitive, pre-theoretical principles regarding folk psychological usage—traditionally the source of Fregean intuitions. Third, I examine one of the most important recent papers on Kripke’s puzzle, that by David Sosa (1996). Sosa claims to have found a way to turn the tables on Kripke’s puzzle by using it to argue against Millian theories. I argue that Sosa’s argument on behalf of the Fregean is question-begging. I conclude that Millian theories can be seriously defended without any use of theoretical constructs such as guises or Russellian propositions, and Fregeans need to start over arguing for their theory’s central claims. (shrink)
Saul Kripke's puzzle about belief demonstrates the lack of soundness of the traditional argument for the Fregean fundamental principle that the sentences 'S believes that a is F' and 'S believes that b is F' can differ in truth value even if a = b. This principle is a crucial premise in the traditional Fregean argument for the existence of semantically relevant senses, individuative elements of beliefs that are sensitive to our varying conceptions of what the beliefs are about. Joseph (...) Owens has offered a new argument for this fundamental principle, one that is not subject to Kripke's criticisms. I argue that even though Owens' argument avoids Kripke's criticisms, it has other flaws. (shrink)