Should Propositions Proliferate?

Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (4):243-251 (2015)

Abstract

Soames's cognitive propositions are strings of acts to be performed by an agent, such as predicating a property of an individual. King takes these structured propositions to task for proliferating too easily. King's objection is based on an example that purports to show that three of Soames's propositions are really just one proposition. I translate the informally stated propositions King attributes to Soames into the intensional λ-calculus. It turns out that they are all β-equivalent to the proposition King claims Soames's three propositions are identical to. I argue on philosophical grounds against identifying β-equivalent propositions. The reason is that β-conversion obliterates too many of the procedural distinctions that are central to an act-based theory such as Soames's and which are worth preserving. In fact, β-expansion allows the addition of a fifth proposition that highlights additional procedural distinctions and propositional structure. The welcome conclusion is that we have five procedurally distinct, if equivalent, propositions

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References found in this work

Propositional Content.Peter Hanks - 2015 - Oxford University Press.
New Thinking About Propositions.Jeffrey C. King, Scott Soames & Jeff Speaks - 2014 - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
Universals.Frank P. Ramsey - 1925 - Mind 34 (136):401-417.
Russell’s Notion of Scope.Saul A. Kripke - 2005 - Mind 114 (456):1005-1037.
On Fineness of Grain.Jeffrey C. King - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (3):763-781.

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