In this paper I defend an account of the nature of propositional content according to which the proposition expressed by a declarative sentence is a certain type of action a speaker performs in uttering that sentence. On this view, the semantic contents of proper names turn out to be types of reference acts. By carefully individuating these types, it is possible to provide new solutions to Frege’s puzzles about names in identity- and belief-sentences.
A first-person proposition is a proposition that only a single subject can assert or believe. When I assert ‘I am on fire’ I assert a first-person proposition that only I have access to, in the sense that no one else can assert or believe this proposition. This is in contrast to third-person propositions, which can be asserted or believed by anyone.
In 1913 Wittgenstein raised an objection to Russell’s multiple relation theory of judgment that eventually led Russell to abandon his theory. As he put it in the Tractatus, the objection was that “the correct explanation of the form of the proposition, ‘A makes the judgement p’, must show that it is impossible for a judgement to be a piece of nonsense. (Russell’s theory does not satisfy this requirement,” (5.5422). This objection has been widely interpreted to concern type restrictions on the (...) constituents of judgment. I argue that this interpretation is mistaken and that Wittgenstein’s objection is in fact a form of the problem of the unity of the proposition. (shrink)
The problem of the source of necessity is the problem of explaining what makes necessary truths necessarily true. Simon Blackburn has presented a dilemma intended to show that any reductive, realist account of the source of necessity is bound to fail. Although Blackburn's dilemma faces serious problems, reflection on the form of explanations of necessities reveals that a revised dilemma succeeds in defeating any reductive account of the source of necessity. The lesson is that necessity is metaphysically primitive and irreducible.