The structure of propositions and cross-linguistic syntactic variability

Croatian Journal of Philosophy (39):399-419 (2013)
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Abstract

In Jeffrey King’s theory of structured propositions, propositional structure mirrors the syntactic structure of natural language sentences that express it. I provide cases where this claim individuates propositions too finely across languages. Crucially, King’s paradigmatic proposition-fact ^that Dara swims^ cannot be believed by a monolingual Greek speaker, due to Greek syntax requiring an obligatory article in front of proper names. King’s two possible replies are: (i) to try to streamline the syntax of Greek and English; or (ii) to insist that English speakers can believe propositions inexpressible in Greek. I argue that the former option entails giving up a neo-Russelian framework, and the latter makes King’s account arbitrary or trivial. I conclude that the mirroring claim is untenable.

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Vasilis Tsompanidis
National Autonomous University of Mexico

Citations of this work

Grammar constrains acts of predication.Thomas Hodgson - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

The nature and structure of content.Jeffrey C. King - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Reference and proper names.Tyler Burge - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (14):425-439.
On the linguistic complexity of proper names.Ora Matushansky - 2008 - Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (5):573-627.
Questions of Unity.Jeffrey C. King - 2009 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 109 (1pt3):257-277.

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