Partial Propositions and Cognitive Content

Recently there has been a surge of new Fregeans who claim that the direct designation theory, as understood by contemporary Russellians, does not, and cannot, account for the different cognitive significance of statements containing different but codesignative names or indexicals. Instead, they say we must use a fine grained notion of propositions; one which builds a mode of presentation into proposition in addition to including in them the object referred to by the name or indexical in the sentence expressing the proposition. Thus we have Mark Richard, John Perry, and Mark Crimmins championing theories that build the mode of presentation into propositions, making the mode of presentation affect the truth conditions of belief reports. What is interesting, though, is that all three accept the direct designationalists claim that proper names, indexicals, and demonstratives are directly referential.I present four problems for the direct designation theorists and argue that the problem the new Fregeans use to motivate their move to include cognitive significance in propositions is the least basic of the four problems. I then provide an account of beliefs of singular propositions which does not require us to build modes of presentations into propositions and which solves the problems posed for the direct designation theory.
Keywords cognitive significance  propositions  Russellianism
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DOI 10.5840/jpr_1996_21
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