Beliefs are concrete particulars containing ideas of properties and notions of things, which also are concrete. The claim made in a belief report is that the agent has a belief (i) whose content is a specific singular proposition, and (ii) which involves certain of the agent's notions and ideas in a certain way. No words in the report stand for the notions and ideas, so they are unarticulated constituents of the report's content (like the relevant place in "it's raining"). The (...) belief puzzles (Hesperus, Cicero, Pierre) involve reports about two different notions. So the analysis gets the puzzling truth values right. (shrink)
In “On Sense and Reference,” surrounding his discussion of how we describe what people say and think, identity is Frege’s first stop and his last. We will follow Frege’s plan here, but we will stop also in the land of make-believe.
I wish first to motivate very briefly two points about the kind of context sensitive semantics needed for attitude reports, namely that reports are about referents and about mental representations; then I will compare two proposals for treating the attitudes, both of which capture the two points in question.
I hold that a belief report characterizes the subject's belief not only by its truth conditions, but also by the token mental representations involved in it (based on conversational hints). To what extent does a belief report specify the mental representations required to make it true? I advance two surprising theses: (i) many reports specify representations by actually referring to them, and (ii) it is not clear that any ordinary reports simply leave open what sorts of representations are required for (...) their truth. I defend these claims from the arguments of Marga Reimer and other critics. (shrink)
I explain and criticize a theory of beliefs and of belief sentences offered by Graeme Forbes. My main criticism will be directed at Forbes' idea that, as a matter of the semantic rules of belief reporting -- as a matter of the meaning of belief ascriptions -- to get at the subject's way of thinking in an attitude ascription, we must use expressions that are "linguistic counterparts" of the subject's expressions. I think we often do something like that, but that (...) we have other, equally good methods of getting at ways of thinking; so what is wanted is a more inclusive characterization of the rules of belief reporting by which we manage to do it -- a characterization more along the lines of: anything goes. (shrink)
It is controversial whether the truth conditions of attitude sentences are opaque. It is not, or shouldn't be controversial, however, that conditions of apt or unexceptionable usage are opaque. A framework for expressing such uncontroversial claims of opacity is developed, and within this framework it is argued that opacity resides at a locutionary level — that it is a matter of expressed content (which might not be truth-conditional). The same claim is made for a related pattern in attitude talk which (...) is labeled the moonlighting use of thing-talk. (shrink)