Dialectica 70 (1):29-48 (2016)

Delia Belleri
University of Lisbon
It has been argued by many authors that sentences fail to express full-blown propositions: a phenomenon known as semantic underdeterminacy. In some cases, this thesis is accompanied by a conception of thought as fully propositional. This implies that sentences fail to fully express our thoughts. Against this, I argue that many thoughts can be fully expressed by sentences, where by ‘fully expressed’ I mean encoded by a sentence plus minimal contextual information. These are thoughts that may be characterized as less than fully propositional. I provide examples of such thoughts and argue that they plausibly constitute a non-negligible part of our mental life. As I show, these thoughts can be fully expressed by sentences that fail to express full-blown propositions. So it is not the case that sentences even generally fail to fully express our thoughts.
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DOI 10.1111/1746-8361.12126
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