Singular truth-conditions without singular propositions

Synthese 195 (6):2741-2760 (2018)
Gregory Bochner
University of Fribourg
In this paper I argue that propositionalism is what generates a tension between referentialism and harmony. Harmony can be preserved if we replace propositionalism by centred referentialism, according to which referential thoughts and utterances about an object have descriptive contents that must be evaluated relative to a world centred on that object at the relevant time. By disentangling truth-conditions and contents, this move allows us to dissolve the tension between referentialism and descriptivism. The view that emerges has three main components: the truth-conditions of a referential utterance or thought involves its referent ; its reference is determined by causal relations of acquaintance in the context of use ; and its cognitive value is fully explained by associated descriptions or truth-conditional contents.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-017-1354-7
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