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Structured Propositions as Types

Mind 120 (477):11-52 (2011)

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  1. Concept Designation.Arvid Båve - 2019 - American Philosophical Quarterly 56 (4):331-344.
    The paper proposes a way for adherents of Fregean, structured propositions to designate propositions and other complex senses/concepts using a special kind of functor. I consider some formulations from Peacocke's works and highlight certain problems that arise as we try to quantify over propositional constituents while referring to propositions using "that"-clauses. With the functor notation, by contrast, we can quantify over senses/concepts with objectual, first-order quantifiers and speak without further ado about their involvement in propositions. The functor notation also turns (...)
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  • What Role Should Propositions Have in the Theory of Meaning? Review Essay: Scott Soames. What is Meaning?Kirk Ludwig - 2012 - Philosophia 40 (4):885-901.
  • A Theory of Propositions.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2016 - Logic and Logical Philosophy 25 (1):83-125.
    In this paper I present a new theory of propositions, according to which propositions are abstract mathematical objects: well-formed formulas together with models. I distinguish the theory from a number of existing views and explain some of its advantages  chief amongst which are the following. On this view, propositions are unified and intrinsically truth-bearing. They are mind- and language-independent and they are governed by logic. The theory of propositions is ontologically innocent. It makes room for an appropriate interface with (...)
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  • Acts of Desire.Henry Ian Schiller - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-18.
    Act-based theories of content hold that propositions are identical to acts of predication that we perform in thought and talk. To undergo an occurrent thought with a particular content just is to perform the act of predication that individuates that content. But identifying the content of a thought with the performance of an act of predication makes it difficult to explain the intentionality of bouletic mental activity, like wanting and desiring. In this paper, I argue that this difficulty is insurmountable: (...)
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  • The Frege-Geach Problem for Normative Propositions.Richard Anderson - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Connecticut
    The aim of this dissertation is to provide support for the following claim: if Hanks’ theory of propositions as act-types is correct, then there exists a plausible extension of this theory that solves the Frege-Geach problem for normative propositions. I assume that Hanks’ theory is correct, and in this framework develop an account of semantic expressivism that addresses three versions of the Frege-Geach problem: the embedding, inference and negation problems. First, I examine in detail one existing attempt to support the (...)
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  • Neutral Predication.Thomas Hodgson - 2019 - Erkenntnis:1-9.
    Hanks has defended a novel account of what propositions are. His key argument against Soames' rival view is that predication is not neutral. According to Hanks, predication is essentially committal. I show that Hanks' argument for this conclusion raises problems for his own account of questions and orders.
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  • The Edenic Theory of Reference.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (3):276-308.
    I argue for a theory of the optimal function of the speech act of referring, called the edenic theory. First, the act of singular reference is defined directly in terms of Gricean communicative intentions. Second, I propose a doxastic constraint on the optimal performance of such acts, stating, roughly, that the speaker must not have any relevant false beliefs about the identity or distinctness of the intended object. In uttering a singular term on an occasion, on this theory, one represents (...)
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  • Are Propositions Mere Measures Of Mind?Gurpreet Rattan - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2):433-452.
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  • The Analytic Tradition in Philosophy.Gary Ostertag - 2019 - Analysis 79 (3):560-571.
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  • 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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  • Not the Optimistic Type.Ben Caplan, Chris Tillman, Brian McLean & Adam Murray - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5):575-589.
    (2013). Not the optimistic type. Canadian Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 43, Essays on the Nature of Propositions, pp. 575-589.
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  • Propositional Attitudes and Mental Acts.Indrek Reiland - 2012 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 1 (3):239-245.
    Peter Hanks and Scott Soames have recently developed similar views of propositional attitudes on which they consist at least partly of being disposed to perform mental acts. Both think that to believe a proposition is at least partly to be disposed to perform the primitive propositional act: one the performance of which is part of the performance of any other propositional act. However, they differ over whether the primitive act is the forceless entertaining or the forceful judging. In this paper (...)
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  • Predication and the Frege–Geach Problem.Indrek Reiland - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (1):141-159.
    Several philosophers have recently appealed to predication in developing their theories of cognitive representation and propositions. One central point of difference between them is whether they take predication to be forceful or neutral and whether they take the most basic cognitive representational act to be judging or entertaining. Both views are supported by powerful reasons and both face problems. Many think that predication must be forceful if it is to explain representation. However, the standard ways of implementing the idea give (...)
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  • Soames’s New Conception of Propositions.Ben Caplan - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (9):2533-2549.
    In this paper, I argue that, when it comes to explaining what can be described as “representational” properties of propositions, Soames’s new conception of propositions—on which the proposition that Seattle is sunny is the act of predicating the property being sunny of Seattle and to entertain that proposition is to perform that act—does not have an advantage over traditional ones.
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  • Cognitive Propositions and Semantic Values.Wayne A. Davis - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-41.
    ABSTRACTIn recent work, Scott Soames has declared that we need a new conception of propositions to overcome critical objections to traditional theories of semantics and propositional attitudes. Pro...
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  • The Redundancy of the Act.John Collins - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3519-3545.
    The theory that structured propositions are complex act-types has been independently articulated by Peter Hanks and Scott Soames. The present paper argues that the role of the act in such theories is supererogatory, for the individuation conditions of the act-based propositions remain wholly at the level of concepts and their formal combination, features which the traditional structured proposition theorist endorses. Thus, it is shown that the traditional problems for structured propositions are only ameliorable on the act conception by appeal to (...)
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  • On Cancellation.Peter Hanks - 2019 - Synthese 196 (4):1385-1402.
    In Hanks I defend a theory of propositions that locates the source of propositional unity in acts of predication that people perform in thought and speech. On my account, these acts of predication are judgmental or assertoric in character, and they commit the speaker to things being the way they are represented to be in the act of predication. This leads to a problem about negations, disjunctions, conditionals, and other kinds of embeddings. When you assert that a is F or (...)
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  • First-Person Propositions.Peter W. Hanks - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (1):155-182.
    A first-person proposition is a proposition that only a single subject can assert or believe. When I assert ‘I am on fire’ I assert a first-person proposition that only I have access to, in the sense that no one else can assert or believe this proposition. This is in contrast to third-person propositions, which can be asserted or believed by anyone.
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  • Compositionality and Sandbag Semantics.Elmar Geir Unnsteinsson - 2014 - Synthese 191 (14):3329-3350.
    It is a common view that radical contextualism about linguistic meaning is incompatible with a compositional explanation of linguistic comprehension. Recently, some philosophers of language have proposed theories of 'pragmatic' compositionality challenging this assumption. This paper takes a close look at a prominent proposal of this kind due to François Recanati. The objective is to give a plausible formulation of the view. The major results are threefold. First, a basic distinction that contextualists make between mandatory and optional pragmatic processes needs (...)
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  • If Structured Propositions Are Logical Procedures Then How Are Procedures Individuated?Marie Duží - 2017 - Synthese 196 (4):1249-1283.
    This paper deals with two issues. First, it identifies structured propositions with logical procedures. Second, it considers various rigorous definitions of the granularity of procedures, hence also of structured propositions, and comes out in favour of one of them. As for the first point, structured propositions are explicated as algorithmically structured procedures. I show that these procedures are structured wholes that are assigned to expressions as their meanings, and their constituents are sub-procedures occurring in executed mode. Moreover, procedures are not (...)
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  • Russellians Can Have a No Proposition View of Empty Names.Thomas Hodgson - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (7):670-691.
    Russellians can have a no proposition view of empty names. I will defend this theory against the problem of meaningfulness, and show that the theory is in general well motivated. My solution to the problem of meaningfulness is that speakers’ judgements about meaningfulness are tracking grammaticality, and not propositional content.
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  • Propositions, Structure and Representation.Thomas Hodgson - 2012 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112 (3pt3):339-349.
    Neo-Russellian theories of structured propositions face challenges to do with both representation and structure which are sometimes called the problem of unity and the Benacerraf problem. In §i, I set out the problems and Jeffrey King's solution, which I take to be the best of its type, as well as an unfortunate consequence for that solution. In §§ii–iii, I diagnose what is going wrong with this line of thought. If I am right, it follows that the Benacerraf problem cannot be (...)
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  • Phenomenal Dispositions.Henry Ian Schiller - forthcoming - Synthese:1-12.
    In this paper, I argue against a dispositional account of the intentionality of belief states that has been endorsed by proponents of phenomenal intentionality. Specifically, I argue that the best characterization of a dispositional account of intentionality is one that takes beliefs to be dispositions to undergo occurrent judgments. I argue that there are cases where an agent believes that p, but fails to have a disposition to judge that p.
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  • Content, Mood, and Force.Francois Recanati - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (7):622-632.
    In this survey paper, I start from two classical theses of speech act theory: that speech act content is uniformly propositional and that sentence mood encodes illocutionary force. These theses have been questioned in recent work, both in philosophy and linguistics. The force/content distinction itself – a cornerstone of 20‐century philosophy of language – has come to be rejected by some theorists, unmoved by the famous ‘Frege–Geach’ argument. The paper reviews some of these debates.
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  • Self-Consciousness and Reductive Functionalism.Arvid Båve - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (266):1-21.
    It is argued that although George Bealer's influential ‘Self-Consciousness argument’ refutes standard versions of reductive functionalism (RF), it fails to generalize in the way Bealer supposes. To wit, he presupposes that any version of RF must take the content of ‘pain’ to be the property of being in pain (and so on), which is expressly rejected in independently motivated versions of conceptual role semantics (CRS). Accordingly, there are independently motivated versions of RF, incorporating CRS, which avoid Bealer's main type of (...)
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  • On Product‐Based Accounts of Propositional Attitudes.Giulia Felappi - 2014 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (4):302-313.
    Propositional attitude sentences, such as John believes that snow is white, are traditionally taken to express the holding of a relation between a subject and what ‘that’-clauses like ‘that snow is white’ denote, i.e. propositions. On the traditional account, propositions are abstract, mind- and language-independent entities. Recently, some have raised some serious worries for the traditional account and thought that we were mistaken about the kind of entities propositions are. Over the last ten years there has then been a boom (...)
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  • Representation Without Thought: Confusion, Reference, and Communication.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2015 - Dissertation, CUNY Graduate Center
    I develop and argue for a novel theory of the mental state of identity confusion. I also argue that this mental state can corrupt the proper function of singular terms in linguistic communication. Finally, I propose a theory according to which identity confusion should be treated as a the source of a new sort of linguistic performance error, similar to malapropism, slips of the tongue, and so-called intentional obfuscation (inducing false belief by manipulating language in specific ways). -/- Going into (...)
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  • Propositional or Non-Propositional Attitudes?Sean Crawford - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 168 (1):179-210.
    Propositionalism is the view that intentional attitudes, such as belief, are relations to propositions. Propositionalists argue that propositionalism follows from the intuitive validity of certain kinds of inferences involving attitude reports. Jubien (2001) argues powerfully against propositions and sketches some interesting positive proposals, based on Russell’s multiple relation theory of judgment, about how to accommodate “propositional phenomena” without appeal to propositions. This paper argues that none of Jubien’s proposals succeeds in accommodating an important range of propositional phenomena, such as the (...)
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  • The Prenective View of Propositional Content.Robert Trueman - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1799-1825.
    Beliefs have what I will call ‘propositional content’. A belief is always a belief that so-and-so: a belief that grass is green, or a belief that snow is white, or whatever. Other things have propositional content too, such as sentences, judgments and assertions. The Standard View amongst philosophers is that what it is to have a propositional content is to stand in an appropriate relation to a proposition. Moreover, on this view, propositions are objects, i.e. the kind of thing you (...)
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  • Constructing Meanings.Jason Stanley - 2014 - Analysis 74 (4):662-676.
  • Predication as Ascription.David Liebesman - 2015 - Mind 124 (494):517-569.
    I articulate and defend a necessary and sufficient condition for predication. The condition is that a term or term-occurrence stands in the relation of ascription to its designatum, ascription being a fundamental semantic relation that differs from reference. This view has dramatically different semantic consequences from its alternatives. After outlining the alternatives, I draw out these consequences and show how they favour the ascription view. I then develop the view and elicit a number of its virtues.
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  • Rethinking Language, Mind, and Meaning, by Scott Soames: Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015, Pp. Ix + 241, US$35. [REVIEW]Wayne A. Davis - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (4):825-828.
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  • Benacerraf’s Revenge.Ben Caplan & Chris Tillman - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (S1):111-129.
    In a series of recent publications, Jeffrey King (The nature and structure of content, 2007; Proc Aristot Soc 109(3):257–277, 2009; Philos Stud, 2012) argues for a view on which propositions are facts. He also argues against views on which propositions are set-theoretical objects, in part because such views face Benacerraf problems. In this paper, we argue that, when it comes to Benacerraf problems, King’s view doesn’t fare any better than its set-theoretical rivals do. Finally, we argue that his view faces (...)
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  • Propositions and Higher-Order Attitude Attributions.Kirk Ludwig - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5):741-765.
    An important objection to sententialist theories of attitude reports is that they cannot accommodate the principle that one cannot know that someone believes that p without knowing what it is that he believes. This paper argues that a parallel problem arises for propositionalist accounts that has gone largely unnoticed, and that, furthermore, the usual resources for the propositionalist do not afford an adequate solution. While non-standard solutions are available for the propositionalist, it turns out that there are parallel solutions that (...)
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  • Propositions, Attitudinal Objects, and the Distinction Between Actions and Products.Friederike Moltmann - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume on Propositions, Edited by G. Rattan and D. Hunter 43 (5-6):679-701.
    This paper argues that attitudinal objects, entities of the sort of John's judgment, John's thought, and John's claim, should play the role of propositions, as the cognitive products of cognitive acts, not the acts themselves.
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  • The Metaphysics of Propositional Constituency.Lorraine Keller - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5-6):655-678.
    (2013). The metaphysics of propositional constituency. Canadian Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 43, Essays on the Nature of Propositions, pp. 655-678.
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  • What Are the Primary Bearers of Truth?Peter Hanks - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5):558-574.
    (2013). What are the primary bearers of truth? Canadian Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 43, Essays on the Nature of Propositions, pp. 558-574.
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  • Two Aspects of Propositional Unity.Gary Ostertag - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5):518-533.
    (2013). Two aspects of propositional unity. Canadian Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 43, Essays on the Nature of Propositions, pp. 518-533.
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  • Introduction.David Hunter & Gurpreet Rattan - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5-6):515-517.
    (2013). Introduction. Canadian Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 43, Essays on the Nature of Propositions, pp. 515-517.
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  • Grammar, Ontology, and the Unity of Meaning.Ulrich Reichard - 2013 - Dissertation, University of Durham
    Words have meaning. Sentences also have meaning, but their meaning is different in kind from any collection of the meanings of the words they contain. I discuss two puzzles related to this difference. The first is how the meanings of the parts of a sentence combine to give rise to a unified sentential meaning, as opposed to a mere collection of disparate meanings (UP1). The second is why the formal ontology of linguistic meaning changes when grammatical structure is built up (...)
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  • Unity Through Truth.Bryan Pickel - 2019 - Synthese 196 (4):1425-1452.
    Renewed worries about the unity of the proposition have been taken as a crucial stumbling block for any traditional conception of propositions. These worries are often framed in terms of how entities independent of mind and language can have truth conditions: why is the proposition that Desdemona loves Cassio true if and only if she loves him? I argue that the best understanding of these worries shows that they should be solved by our theory of truth and not our theory (...)
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  • Structured Propositions and Trivial Composition.Bryan Pickel - forthcoming - Synthese:1-16.
    Structured propositions are often invoked to explain why intensionally equivalent sentences do not substitute salva veritate into attitude ascriptions. As the semantics is standardly developed—for example, in Salmon, Soames :47–87, 1987) and King :516–535, 1995), the semantic value of a complex expression is an ordered complex consisting of the semantic values of its components. Such views, however, trivialize semantic composition since they do not allow for independent constraints on the meaning of complexes. Trivializing semantic composition risks “trivializing semantics” Semantics versus (...)
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  • Are Propositions Mere Measures Of Mind?Gurpreet Rattan - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (3).
    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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  • Recent Work on Structured Meaning and Propositional Unity.Bjørn Jespersen - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (9):620-630.
    Logical semantics includes once again structured meanings in its repertoire. The leading idea is that semantic and syntactic structure are more or less isomorphic. A key motive for reintroducing sensitivity to semantic structure is to obtain fine‐grained meanings, which are individuated more finely than in possible‐world semantics, namely up to necessary equivalence. Just getting the truth‐conditions right is deemed insufficient for a full semantic analysis of sentences. This paper surveys some of the most recent contributions to the program of structured (...)
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  • Cutting It (Too) Fine.John Collins - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (2):143-172.
    It is widely held that propositions are structured entities. In The Nature and Structure of Content (2007), Jeff King argues that the structure of propositions is none other than the syntactic structure deployed by the speaker/hearers who linguistically produce and consume the sentences that express the propositions. The present paper generalises from King’s position and claims that syntax provides the best in-principle account of propositional structure. It further seeks to show, however, that the account faces serve problems pertaining to the (...)
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  • Unity and the Frege–Geach Problem.Christopher Hom & Jeremy Schwartz - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (1):15-24.
    The problem of the unity of the proposition asks what binds together the constituents of a proposition into a fully formed proposition that provides truth conditions for the assertoric sentence that expresses it, rather than merely a set of objects. Hanks’ solution is to reject the traditional distinction between content and force. If his theory is successful, then there is a plausible extension of it that readily solves the Frege–Geach problem for normative propositions. Unfortunately Hanks’ theory isn’t successful, but it (...)
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  • The Case of the Disappearing Semicolon: Expressive-Assertivism and the Embedding Problem.Thorsten Sander - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (4):959-979.
    Expressive-Assertivism, a metaethical theory championed by Daniel Boisvert, is sometimes considered to be a particularly promising form of hybrid expressivism. One of the main virtues of Expressive-Assertivism is that it seems to offer a simple solution to the Frege-Geach problem. I argue, in contrast, that Expressive-Assertivism faces much the same challenges as pure expressivism.
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