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Summary Propositions are often said to be the entities which play one or more roles in our theories of language, mind, etc. Which roles do they play, and what does this tell us about what they are like?
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  1. added 2020-09-09
    On Content Uniformity for Beliefs and Desires.Daniel Skibra - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-31.
    The view that dominates the literature on intentional attitudes holds that beliefs and desires both have propositional content. A commitment to what I call “content uniformity” underlies this view. According to content uniformity, beliefs and desires are but different psychological modes having a uniform kind of content. Prima facie, the modes don’t place any constraint on the kinds of content the attitude can have. I challenge this consensus by pointing out an asymmetry between belief contents and desire contents which shows (...)
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  2. added 2020-09-06
    The Nature of Content: A Critique of Yli-Vakkuri and Hawthorne.Sarah Sawyer - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    In their book, Narrow Content, Juhani Yli-Vakkuri and John Hawthorne attempt to argue against the claim that there is a kind of thought content which is both narrow and theoretically significant. However, their failure to distinguish indexical from non-indexical thought renders their arguments ineffective; a large class of the arguments they present are in fact irrelevant to the question of whether thought content is narrow. The unified treatment of thought content they advocate fails to capture the distinctively mental aspects of (...)
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  3. added 2020-08-21
    Unstructured Content.Dirk Kindermann, Peter van Elswyk & Andy Egan (eds.) - forthcoming - Oxford University Press.
  4. added 2020-08-13
    Propositions and Truth-Bearers.Jeffrey C. King - 2018 - In Michael Glanzberg (ed.), The Oxford handbook of truth. Oxford University Press. pp. 307-332.
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  5. added 2020-08-10
    Dynamic Semantics.Karen S. Lewis - 2017 - Oxford Handbooks Online.
    This article focuses on foundational issues in dynamic and static semantics, specifically on what is conceptually at stake between the dynamic framework and the truth-conditional framework, and consequently what kinds of evidence support each framework. The article examines two questions. First, it explores the consequences of taking the proposition as central semantic notion as characteristic of static semantics, and argues that this is not as limiting in accounting for discourse dynamics as many think. Specifically, it explores what it means for (...)
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  6. added 2020-07-31
    Confessions of a Schmentencite: Towards an Explicit Semantics.Jonathan Schaffer - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-31.
    ABSTRACTNatural language semantics is heir to two formalisms. There is the extensional machinery of explicit variables traditionally used to model reference to individuals, and the intensional mach...
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  7. added 2020-04-17
    Propositions, What Are They Good For?Stephen Schiffer - 2012 - In Richard Schantz (ed.), Prospects for Meaning (Current Issues in Theoretical Philosophy, Vol. 3). Walter de Gruyter.
    Although there is a vast literature on whether propositional attitudes are relations to propositions, a crucial question that ought to lie at the heart of this debate is not often enough seriously addressed. This is the question of the contribution propositions make to the ways in which we benefit from having our propositional-attitude concepts, if those concepts are concepts of relations to propositions. Unless propositions can be shown to confer a benefit that no non-propositions could provide, we should probably doubt (...)
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  8. added 2020-03-12
    Locke and Arnauld on Judgment and Proposition.Maria van der Schaar - 2008 - History and Philosophy of Logic 29 (4):327-341.
    To understand pre-Fregean theories of judgment and proposition, such as those found in Locke and the Port-Royal logic, it is important to distinguish between propositions in the modern sense and propositions in the pre-Fregean sense. By making this distinction it becomes clear that these pre-Fregean theories cannot be meant to solve the propositional attitude problem. Notwithstanding this fact, Locke and Arnauld are able to make a distinction between asserted and unasserted propositions (in their sense). The way Locke makes this distinction (...)
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  9. added 2020-03-09
    Propositionalism About Intention: Shifting the Burden of Proof.Lucy Campbell - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (2):230-252.
    ABSTRACTA widespread view in the philosophy of mind and action holds that intentions are propositional attitudes. Call this view ‘Propositionalism about Intention’. The key alternative holds that intentions have acts, or do-ables, as their contents. Propositionalism is typically accepted by default, rather than argued for in any detail. By appealing to a key metaphysical constraint on any account of intention, I argue that on the contrary, it is the Do-ables View which deserves the status of the default position, and Propositionalism (...)
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  10. added 2020-03-05
    A Puzzle About Meaning and Communication.Ray Buchanan - 2010 - Noûs 44 (2):340-371.
  11. added 2020-03-03
    The Story About Propositions.Bradley Armour-Garb & James A. Woodbridge - 2012 - Noûs 46 (4):635-674.
    It is our contention that an ontological commitment to propositions faces a number of problems; so many, in fact, that an attitude of realism towards propositions—understood the usual “platonistic” way, as a kind of mind- and language-independent abstract entity—is ultimately untenable. The particular worries about propositions that marshal parallel problems that Paul Benacerraf has raised for mathematical platonists. At the same time, the utility of “proposition-talk”—indeed, the apparent linguistic commitment evident in our use of 'that'-clauses (in offering explanations and making (...)
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  12. added 2020-02-23
    Do We Need Propositions?Gordon Barnes - 2019 - Disputatio 11 (52):1-8.
    Trenton Merricks argues that we need propositions to serve as the premises and conclusions of modally valid arguments. A modally valid argument is an argument in which, necessarily, if the premises are true, then the conclusion is also true. According to Mer- ricks, the premises and conclusions of modally valid arguments have their truth conditions essentially, and they exist necessarily. Sentences do not satisfy these conditions. Thus, we need propositions. Merricks’ argument adds a new chapter to the longstanding debate over (...)
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  13. added 2020-02-07
    The Elusive Case for Relationalism About the Attitudes: Reply to Rattan.Robert J. Matthews - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2):453-462.
    The question I address here is whether there is anything about what Rattan describes as the normative and perspectival aspects of propositional attitudes that demands a relational account of the attitudes, specifically anything that cannot equally well be explained on measurement-theoretic accounts of the sort that I (and others) have defended which do not incorporate or presume a cognitive relation to a proposition. I argue that there is not.
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  14. added 2020-02-07
    Are Propositions Mere Measures Of Mind?Gurpreet Rattan - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2):433-452.
    According to the Relational View of Propositional Attitude Reports (‘Relational View of Reports’, for short), attitude reports report thinkers as standing in cognitive relations to propositions. One difficult question for the view is: What is the nature of the cognitive relation(s) thinkers stand in to propositions in having propositional attitudes? One promise of The Measure Theory of Mind (sometimes, ‘The Measure Theory’ or ‘Measure Theory’ for short) is that it can avoid having to answer this question by allowing attitude reports (...)
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  15. added 2020-02-05
    Multiple Propositions, Contextual Variability, and the Semantics/Pragmatics Interface.Arthur Sullivan - 2013 - Synthese 190 (14):2773-2800.
    A ‘multiple-proposition phenomenon’ is a putative counterexample to the widespread implicit assumption that a simple indicative sentence semantically expresses at most one proposition. Several philosophers and linguists have recently developed hypotheses concerning this notion. The guiding questions motivating this research are: Is there an interesting and homogenous semantic category of MP phenomena? If so, what is the import? Do MP theories have any relevance to important current questions in the study of language? I motivate an affirmative answer to, and then (...)
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  16. added 2020-01-30
    Content in a Dynamic Context.Una Stojnić - 2019 - Noûs 53 (2):394-432.
    The standing tradition in theorizing about meaning, since at least Frege, identifies meaning with propositions, which are, or determine, the truth-conditions of a sentence in a context. But a recent trend has advocated a departure from this tradition: in particular, it has been argued that modal claims do not express standard propositional contents. This non-propositionalism has received different implementations in expressivist semantics and certain kinds of dynamic semantics. They maintain that the key aspect of interpretation of modal claims is the (...)
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  17. added 2020-01-28
    What Role Should Propositions Have in the Theory of Meaning? Review Essay: Scott Soames. What is Meaning?: Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010. Pp. Ix, 132.Kirk Ludwig - 2012 - Philosophia 40 (4):885-901.
  18. added 2020-01-27
    Constructing Meanings.Jason Stanley - 2014 - Analysis 74 (4):662-676.
  19. added 2020-01-23
    Perspectivism.Jeremy Goodman & Harvey Lederman - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Consider the sentence “Lois knows that Superman flies, but she doesn’t know that Clark flies”. In this paper we defend a Millian contextualist semantics for propositional attitude ascriptions, according to which ordinary uses of this sentence are true but involve a mid-sentence shift in context. Absent any constraints on the relevant parameters of context sensitivity, such a semantics would be untenable: it would undermine the good standing of systematic theorizing about the propositional attitudes, trivializing many of the central questions of (...)
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  20. added 2020-01-22
    The Face‐Value Theory, Know‐That, Know‐Wh and Know‐How.Giulia Felappi - 2019 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (1):63-72.
    For sentences such as (1), "Columbus knows that the sea is unpredictable", there is a face-value theory, according to which ‘that’-clauses are singular terms denoting propositions. Famously, Prior raised an objection to the theory, but defenders of the face-value theory such as Forbes, King, Künne, Pietroski and Stanley urged that the objection could be met by maintaining that in (1) ‘to know’ designates a complex relation along the lines of being in a state of knowledge having as content. Is the (...)
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  21. added 2020-01-22
    Expressions, Sentences, Propositions.John Collins - 2003 - Erkenntnis 59 (2):233 - 262.
    The paper articulates and defends the view that paired structures of mentally 'represented' phonological and semantic features should, for all theoretical purposes, replace the notions of proposition and sentence. Following Chomsky, I refer to such pairs as expressions (EXP). In the first part, I elaborate the notion of an EXP and contrast it with that of sentence/proposition. The paper's second part questions a range of considerations which putatively show that propositions are fundamental to our understanding of meaning and cognitive attitudes. (...)
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  22. added 2020-01-19
    De Se Relativism.Dirk Kindermann & Andy Egan - 2019 - In Martin Kusch (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Relativism. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 518-527.
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  23. added 2020-01-19
    Meaning Underdetermines What is Said, Therefore Utterances Express Many Propositions.Thomas Hodgson - 2018 - Dialectica 72 (2):165-189.
    Linguistic meaning underdetermines what is said. This has consequences for philosophical accounts of meaning, communication, and propositional attitude reports. I argue that the consequence we should endorse is that utterances typically express many propositions, that these are what speakers mean, and that the correct semantics for attitude reports will handle this fact while being relational and propositional.
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  24. added 2020-01-19
    A Propositional Semantics for Substitutional Quantification.Geoff Georgi - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (5):1183-1200.
    The standard truth-conditional semantics for substitutional quantification, due to Saul Kripke, does not specify what proposition is expressed by sentences containing the particular substitutional quantifier. In this paper, I propose an alternative semantics for substitutional quantification that does. The key to this semantics is identifying an appropriate propositional function to serve as the content of a bound occurrence of a formula containing a free substitutional variable. I apply this semantics to traditional philosophical reasons for interest in substitutional quantification, namely, theories (...)
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  25. added 2020-01-19
    Could Propositions Explain Anything?William G. Lycan - 1974 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 3 (3):427 - 434.
    In “Quine on Meaning and Existence, I,” Gilbert Harman makes the following exegetical claim about Quine's attitude towards the postulation of propositions:Quine is not against the postulation of intensional objects because he has a ‘taste for desert landscapes.’ It is not that he thinks intensional objects, propositions or meanings, are a queer kind of entity. His complaint is not that intensional objects, as something abstract, offend his sensibilities in the way that they no doubt offend the sensibilities of Nelson Goodman. (...)
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  26. added 2020-01-19
    Propositions and Eternal Sentences.Charles Sayward - 1968 - Mind 77 (308):537-542.
    Two different uses of ‘proposition’ are distinguished: the meaning of an eternal sentence is distinguished from that which can be asserted, believed, conjectured, and so on. It is argued that, in the second sense of ‘proposition’, it is not the case that every proposition can be expressed by an eternal sentence.
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  27. added 2020-01-07
    Is Belief a Propositional Attitude?Ray Buchanan - 2012 - Philosophers' Imprint 12.
    According to proponents of the face-value account, a beliefreport of the form ‘S believes that p’ is true just in case the agentbelieves a proposition referred to by the that-clause. As againstthis familiar view, I argue that there are cases of true beliefreports of the relevant form in which there is no proposition that thethat-clause, or the speaker using the that-clause, can plausibly betaken as referring to. Moreover, I argue that given the distinctiveway in which the face-value theory of belief-reports (...)
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  28. added 2019-12-16
    Centred Propositions, What is Asserted, and Communication.Jakub Rudnicki - forthcoming - Theoria.
    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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  29. added 2019-11-18
    Emotional Experience and Propositional Content.Jonathan Mitchell - 2019 - Dialectica 73 (4):535-561.
    Those arguing for the existence of non-propositional content appeal to emotions for support, although there has been little engagement in those debates with developments in contemporary theory of emotion, specifically in connection with the kind of mental states that emotional experiences are. Relatedly, within emotion theory, one finds claims that emotional experiences per se have non-propositional content without detailed argument. This paper argues that the content of emotional experience is propositional in a weak sense, associated with aspectual experience and correctness (...)
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  30. added 2019-10-23
    Two Roles for Propositions: Cause for Divorce?Mark Schroeder - 2013 - Noûs 47 (3):409-430.
    Nondescriptivist views in many areas of philosophy have long been associated with the commitment that in contrast to other domains of discourse, there are no propositions in their particular domain. For example, the ‘no truth conditions’ theory of conditionals1 is understood as the view that conditionals don’t express propositions, noncognitivist expressivism in metaethics is understood as advocating the view that there are not really moral propositions,2 and expressivism about epistemic modals is thought of as the view that there is no (...)
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  31. added 2019-10-18
    Propositions on the Cheap.Alex Grzankowski & Ray Buchanan - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3159-3178.
    According to the classical account, propositions are sui generis, abstract, intrinsically-representational entities and our cognitive attitudes, and the token states within us that realize those attitudes, represent as they do in virtue of their propositional objects. In light of a desire to explain how it could be that propositions represent, much of the recent literature on propositions has pressured various aspects of this account. In place of the classical account, revisionists have aimed to understand propositions in terms of more familiar (...)
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  32. added 2019-10-15
    Names of Truth Bearers, and “That”‐Clauses: A Dilemma for Millians.Paolo Bonardi - 2017 - Theoria 83 (3):175-184.
    Millianism is the doctrine according to which the semantic content of a proper name is exhausted by its referent. This article raises and attempts to solve a dilemma for Millians: either a proper name of a truth bearer is in turn a truth bearer ; or having a truth bearer as semantic content is not sufficient for a linguistic expression to be a truth bearer. As it will be shown in the manuscript, the dilemma does not arise with “that”-clauses in (...)
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  33. added 2019-10-15
    Truth-Bearers and Modesty.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2011 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 82 (1):49–75.
    In this paper I discuss Künne’s Modest Theory of truth, and develop a variation on a worry that Field expresses with respect to Horwich’s related view. The worry is not that deflationary accounts are false, but rather that, because they take propositions as truth-bearers, they are not philosophically interesting. Compatibly with the intuitions of ordinary speakers, we can understand proposition so that the proposals do account for a property that such truth-bearers have. Nevertheless, we saliently apply the truth-concept also to (...)
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  34. added 2019-08-25
    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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  35. added 2019-08-25
    Referentialism and the Objects of Credence: A Reply to Braun.David J. Chalmers - 2016 - Mind 125 (498):499-510.
  36. added 2019-08-25
    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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  37. added 2019-08-25
    Frege’s Puzzle and the Objects of Credence.David J. Chalmers - 2011 - Mind 120 (479):587-635.
    The objects of credence are the entities to which credences are assigned for the purposes of a successful theory of credence. I use cases akin to Frege's puzzle to argue against referentialism about credence : the view that objects of credence are determined by the objects and properties at which one's credence is directed. I go on to develop a non-referential account of the objects of credence in terms of sets of epistemically possible scenarios.
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  38. added 2019-08-23
    The Linguistic Basis for Propositions.Peter van Elswyk - forthcoming - In Chris Tillman (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Propositions.
    Propositions are traditionally regarded as performing vital roles in theories of natural language, logic, and cognition. This chapter offers an opinionated survey of recent literature to assess whether they are still needed to perform three linguistic roles: be the meaning of a declarative sentence in a context, be what is designated by certain linguistic expressions, and be the content of illocutionary acts. After considering many of the relevant choice-points, I suggest that there remains a linguistic basis for propositions, but not (...)
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  39. added 2019-08-23
    Structured Propositions in a Generative Grammar.Bryan Pickel - 2019 - Mind (510):329-366.
    Semantics in the Montagovian tradition combines two basic tenets. One tenet is that the semantic value of a sentence is an intension, a function from points of evaluations into truth-values. The other tenet is that the semantic value of a composite expression is the result of applying the function denoted by one component to arguments denoted by the other components. Many philosophers object to intensional semantics on the grounds that intensionally equivalent sentences do not substitute salva veritate into attitude ascriptions. (...)
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  40. added 2019-08-23
    Propositional Anaphors.Peter van Elswyk - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (4):1055-1075.
    Propositions are posited to perform a variety of explanatory roles. One important role is being what is designated by a dedicated linguistic expression like a "that"-clause. In this paper, the case that propositions are needed for such a role is bolstered by defending that there are other expressions dedicated to designating propositions. In particular, it is shown that natural language has anaphors for propositions. Complement "so" and the response markers "yes" and "no" are argued to be such expressions.
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  41. added 2019-08-23
    Truth Predicates, Truth Bearers, and Their Variants.Friederike Moltmann - 2018 - Synthese:1-28.
    This paper argues that truth predicates in natural language and their variants, predicates of correctness, satisfaction and validity, do not apply to propositions (not even with 'that'-clauses), but rather to a range of attitudinal and modal objects. As such natural language reflects a notion of truth that is primarily a normative notion of correctness constitutive of representational objects. The paper moreover argues that 'true' is part of a larger class of satisfaction predicates whose semantic differences are best accounted for in (...)
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  42. added 2019-08-23
    Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language.Friederike Moltmann - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
    This book pursues the question of how and whether natural language allows for reference to abstract objects in a fully systematic way. By making full use of contemporary linguistic semantics, it presents a much greater range of linguistic generalizations than has previously been taken into consideration in philosophical discussions, and it argues for an ontological picture is very different from that generally taken for granted by philosophers and semanticists alike. Reference to abstract objects such as properties, numbers, propositions, and degrees (...)
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  43. added 2019-08-23
    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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  44. added 2019-08-23
    The Logical Function of ‘That’, or Truth, Propositions and Sentences.Jonathan Harrison - 2004 - Philosophy 79 (1):67-96.
    (i) It is propositions, not sentences, that are true or false. It is true ‘Dogs bark’ does not make sense. It is true that dogs bark does. (ii) and (iii) Davidson wrong about ‘that’. (iv) The difference between ‘implies’ and ‘if ... then ...’. (v), (vi), (vii) and (viii) Russell, not Quine, right about the subject matter of logic. (ix) The objectual and substitutional interpretations of quantifiers compatible. (x), (xi), (xii), (xiii), (xiv), (xv) and (xvi) Implications for well-known theories of (...)
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  45. added 2019-08-23
    Proposition as the Connotation of Sentence.Kazimierz Ajdukiewicz - 1967 - Studia Logica 20 (1):87 - 98.