Propositions on the Cheap

Philosophical Studies:1-20 (2018)
Alex Grzankowski
Birkbeck College
Ray Buchanan
University of Texas at Austin
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 entities such as facts, types of mental or linguistic acts, and even properties. But we think that the metaphysical story about propositions is much simpler than either the classical theorist or the revisionist would have you believe. In what follows, we argue that a proper understanding of the nature of our cognitive relations to propositions shows that the question of whether propositions themselves represent is, at best, a distraction. We will argue that once this distraction is removed, the possibility of a very pleasing, minimalist story of propositions emerges; a story that appeals only to assumptions that are (or, at least ought to be) shared by all theorists in the relevant debate.
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-018-1168-6
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The Metaphysics of Propositional Constituency.Lorraine Juliano Keller - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5-6):655-678.
A Study of Concepts.Robert Hanna & Christopher Peacocke - 1994 - Philosophical Review 103 (3):541.
Rethinking Language, Mind, and Meaning.Scott Soames - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (9):2529-2532.
Is Belief a Propositional Attitude?Ray Buchanan - 2012 - Philosophers' Imprint 12.

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