Propositions are not Simple

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):351-366 (2017)
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Some philosophers claim that propositions are simple—i.e., lack parts. In this paper, I argue that this claim is mistaken. I start with the widely accepted claim that propositions are the objects of beliefs. Then I argue that the objects of beliefs have parts. Thus, I conclude that propositions are not simple. My argument for the claim that the objects of beliefs have parts derives from the fact that beliefs are productive and systematic. This fact lurks in the background of debates about the metaphysics of propositions. But its import for these debates has yet to be fully appreciated. So here I bring the point to the fore, and thus make manifest a powerful argument against simple propositions.

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Matt Duncan
Rhode Island College

Citations of this work

Pretense, Cancellation, and the Act Theory of Propositions.Manuel García-Carpintero - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
A Causal-Mentalist View of Propositions.Jeremiah Joven Joaquin & James Franklin - 2022 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 29 (1):47-77.
Emotional Intentionality and the Attitude‐Content Distinction.Jonathan Mitchell - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (2):359-386.

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References found in this work

The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by John Henry McDowell.
The Nature of Necessity.Alvin Plantinga - 1974 - Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
The origin of concepts.Susan Carey - 2009 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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