Structured Propositions in a Generative Grammar

Mind (510):329-366 (2019)
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Semantics in the Montagovian tradition combines two basic tenets. One tenet is that the semantic value of a sentence is an intension, a function from points of evaluations into truth-values. The other tenet is that the semantic value of a composite expression is the result of applying the function denoted by one component to arguments denoted by the other components. Many philosophers object to intensional semantics on the grounds that intensionally equivalent sentences do not substitute salva veritate into attitude ascriptions. They propose instead that the semantic values of sentences must be structured propositions. In rejecting intensional semantics, philosophers who endorse structured propositions also usually reject functional compositionality, undermining both tenets of the Montagovian programme. I defend a semantic theory that incorporates both structured propositions and functional compositionality. I argue that this semantic theory can preserve many explanatory benefits of Montague semantics. Finally, I show how treating composition functional application can resolve core problems internal to a theory of structured propositions.

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Bryan Pickel
University of Glasgow

Citations of this work

Fregeanism, sententialism, and scope.Harvey Lederman - 2022 - Linguistics and Philosophy 45 (6):1235-1275.
Pretense, Cancellation, and the Act Theory of Propositions.Manuel García-Carpintero - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
The Functional Composition of Sense.Bryan Pickel - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):6917-6942.

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References found in this work

Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
Themes From Kaplan.Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.) - 1989 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Semantics in generative grammar.Irene Heim & Angelika Kratzer - 1998 - Malden, MA: Blackwell. Edited by Angelika Kratzer.
Situations and attitudes.Jon Barwise & John Perry - 1981 - Journal of Philosophy 78 (11):668-691.

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