In this paper, I explore the question of whether the expected consequences of holding a belief can affect the rationality of doing so. Special attention is given to various ways in which one might attempt to exert some measure of control over what one believes and the normative status of the beliefs that result from the successful execution of such projects. I argue that the lessons which emerge from thinking about the case ofbelief have important implications for the way we (...) should think about the rationality of a number of other propositionalattitudes,such as regret, desire, and fear. Finally,I suggest that a lack of clarity with respect to the relevant issues has given rise to a number of rather serious philosophical mistakes. (shrink)
A prospective introduction -- The received view -- Troubles with the received view -- Are propositionalattitudes relations? -- Foundations of a measurement-theoretic account of the attitudes -- The basic measurement-theoretic account -- Elaboration and explication of the proposed measurement-theoretic account.
Philosophers of the modern period are often presented as making an elementary mistake: conflating propositional force with propositional content. Focusing on John Locke and the Port-Royalians, I argue that this charge is unfounded, and that both have the resources to construct a theory of propositionalattitudes.
How can the propositionalattitudes of several individuals be aggregated into overall collective propositionalattitudes? Although there are large bodies of work on the aggregation of various special kinds of propositionalattitudes, such as preferences, judgments, probabilities and utilities, the aggregation of propositionalattitudes is seldom studied in full generality. In this paper, we seek to contribute to filling this gap in the literature. We sketch the ingredients of a general theory of (...)propositional attitude aggregation and prove two new theorems. Our first theorem simultaneously characterizes some prominent aggregation rules in the cases of probability, judgment and preference aggregation, including linear opinion pooling and Arrovian dictatorships. Our second theorem abstracts even further from the specific kinds of attitudes in question and describes the properties of a large class of aggregation rules applicable to a variety of belief-like attitudes. Our approach integrates some previously disconnected areas of investigation. (shrink)
Intentionality, or the power of minds to be about, to represent, or to stand for things, remains central in the philosophy of mind. But the study of intentionality in the analytic tradition has been dominated by discussions of propositionalattitudes such as belief, desire, and visual perception. There are, however, intentional states that aren't obviously propositionalattitudes. For example, Indiana Jones fears snakes, Antony loves Cleopatra, and Jane hates the monster under her bed. The present paper (...) explores such mental states in an introductory but opinionated way. (shrink)
Propositionalism is the view that intentional attitudes, such as belief, are relations to propositions. Propositionalists argue that propositionalism follows from the intuitive validity of certain kinds of inferences involving attitude reports. Jubien (2001) argues powerfully against propositions and sketches some interesting positive proposals, based on Russell’s multiple relation theory of judgment, about how to accommodate “propositional phenomena” without appeal to propositions. This paper argues that none of Jubien’s proposals succeeds in accommodating an important range of propositional phenomena, (...) such as the aforementioned validity of attitude-report inferences. It then shows that the notion of a predication act-type, which remains importantly Russellian in spirit, is sufficient to explain the range of propositional phenomena in question, in particular the validity of attitude-report inferences. The paper concludes with a discussion of whether predication act-types are really just propositions by another name. (shrink)
Syntactical treatments of propositionalattitudes are attractive to artificial intelligence researchers. But results of Montague (1974) and Thomason (1980) seem to show that syntactical treatments are not viable. They show that if representation languages are sufficiently expressive, then axiom schemes characterizing knowledge and belief give rise to paradox. Des Rivières and Levesque (1988) characterize a class of sentences within which these schemes can safely be instantiated. These sentences do not quantify over the propositional objects of knowledge and (...) belief. We argue that their solution is incomplete, and extend it by characterizing a more inclusive class of sentences over which the axiom schemes can safely range. Our sentences do quantify over propositional objects. (shrink)
The propositionalattitudes are attitudes such as believing and desiring, taken toward propositions such as the proposition that snow flurries are expected, or that the Prime Minister likes poutine. Collectively, our views about the propositionalattitudes make up much of folk psychology, our everyday theory of how the mind works.
By drawing on empirical evidence, Matt King and Peter Carruthers have recently argued that there are no conscious propositionalattitudes, such as decisions, and that this undermines moral responsibility. Neil Levy responds to King and Carruthers, and claims that their considerations needn’t worry theorists of moral responsibility. I argue that Levy’s response to King and Carruthers’ challenge to moral responsibility is unsatisfactory. After that, I propose what I take to be a preferable way of dealing with their challenge. (...) I offer an account of moral responsibility that ties responsibility to consciously deciding to do X, as opposed to a conscious decision to do X. On this account, even if there are no conscious decisions, moral responsibility won’t be undermined. (shrink)
The folk Psychology frames propositionalattitudes as fundamental theoretical entities for the construction of a model designed to predict the behavior of a subject. A trivial, such as grasping a pen and writing reveals - something complex - about the behavior. When I take a pen and start writing I do, trivially, because I believe that a certain object in front of me is a pen and who performs a specific function that is, in fact, that of writing. (...) When I believe that the object that stands before me is a pen, I am in relation to "believe" with the propositional content: that in front of me is a pen. Philosophers of the proposition, from Frege onwards, have dedicated their studies to the analysis of what kinds of entities are the propositionalattitudes. Jerry Fodor says that now, the proper prediction of the psychology of common sense, can not be questioned and that the propositionalattitudes represent the most effective way to describe our behavior. What Fodor says, however, is that propositionalattitudes function, but not how they work. Most philosophers interested in the issue, we are dedicated to the search for a theory that can account consistently both a semantics for propositionalattitudes, both of these entities that seem to cause the behavior of a rational subject. There are two main paradigms in the theory of the proposition that contributed to the discussion of the propositionalattitudes. One is the one that begins with Gottlob Frege, the other with Bertrand Russell. Defenders of Frege argue that the paradigm scrub objects and properties can not be constituents of the propositional content which have a purely conceptual. In other words, the philosophers belonging to the paradigm of Frege, but not all, mean that you can test in a rigorous way the truth conditions of propositionalattitudes. Who defends the russellian’s paradigm argues that the propositional content are made by the objects and properties on which propositionalattitudes relate. The purpose of this article is not to rebuild - in detail - both paradigms, nor to reconstruct one but, in a sense, my work will be a completely partial objective is to demonstrate how the paradigm is more profitable russell not only to make a coherent semantic theory for propositional attitudes2 but also to predict the behavior of a rational subject thing, completely innovative, given the repeated objections in contemporary literature3. At the end of this paper will be drafted a proposal to build a consistent model to predict the behavior,of a rational agent, based on a referential theory of propositionalattitudes. (shrink)
I explore the possibility that propositionalattitudes are not basic in folk psychology, and that what we really ascribe to people are relations to individuals, those that the apparently propositional contents of beliefs, desires, and other states concern. In particular, the relation between a state and the individuals that it tracks shows how ascription of propositionalattitudes could grow out of ascription of relations between people and objects.
Propositional attitude sentences, such as John believes that snow is white, are traditionally taken to express the holding of a relation between a subject and what ‘that’-clauses like ‘that snow is white’ denote, i.e. propositions. On the traditional account, propositions are abstract, mind- and language-independent entities. Recently, some have raised some serious worries for the traditional account and thought that we were mistaken about the kind of entities propositions are. Over the last ten years there has then been a (...) boom of accounts of propositions in terms of mental acts . But Friederike Moltmann has recently suggested that in accounting for attitudes we should forget about mind- and language-independent entities and acts and follow Twardowski in focusing instead on attitudinal objects, which are the products of our mental life. In this paper, I will focus on some semantic problems that any product-based account seems to face. Moreover, I will show that product-based accounts may be also criticised on ontological grounds. My conclusion will be that we lack a reason to think that in accounting for propositionalattitudes we should focus on the alleged products of our mental lives. (shrink)
Donald davidson has proposed an account of indirect discourse that has been the subject of a great deal of discussion. Critics have contended that the theory saddles sentences in indirect discourse with implications they do not have, That the theory rests on an unsuitably obscure primitive notion that it cannot be extended to "de re" constructions and that it cannot be extended to sentences about other propositionalattitudes such as belief. In this paper, I formulate davidson's theory more (...) precisely than it has been formulated, Thus far, And defend the theory from all the criticisms just described. (shrink)
Propositionalattitudes, states like believing, desiring, intending, etc., have played a central role in the articulation of many of our major theories, both in philosophy and the social sciences. Until relatively recently, psychology was a prominent entry on the list of social sciences in which propositionalattitudes occupied center stage. In this century, though, behaviorists began to make a self-conscious effort to expunge "mentalistic" notions from their theorizing. Behaviorism has failed. Psychology therefore is again experiencing "formative (...) years," and two themes have caught the interest of philosophers. The first is that psychological theories evidently must exploit a vast array of relations obtaining among internal states. The second is that the use of mentalistic idioms seems to be explicit again in much of current theorizing. These two observations have led philosophers to wonder about the probable as well as the proper role of propositionalattitudes in future psychological theories. Some philosophers wonder, in particular, about the role of the contents of propositionalattitudes in the forthcoming theories. Their strategy is in part to discern what sorts of theory psychologists now will want to construct, and then discern what role propositional attitude contents might play in theories of those sorts. I consider here two sorts of theory, what I call minimal functional theories and what is known as propositional attitude psychology. ;I outline these two kinds of theory, and show how each defines a role for contents. Contents are ultimately eliminable in minimal functional theories. Although they play an apparently ineliminable role in propositional attitude psychology, they do so at an apparent cost. Propositional attitude psychology does not seem to accommodate a certain methodological principle, a principle of individualism in psychology, which is endorsed even by some of the philosophers most enamored of the approach. Such philosophers have two options: they can attempt to show that the conflict between the approach and the principle is not genuine, or they can reject the principle. I argue that the conflict is real, and recommend a qualified rejections of the principle. (shrink)
This book makes a stimulating contribution to the philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. It begins with a spirited defence of the view that propositions are structured and that propositional structure is 'psychologically real'. The author then develops a subtle view of propositions and attitude ascription. The view is worked out in detail with attention to such topics as the semantics of conversations, iterated attitude ascriptions, and the role of propositions as bearers of truth. Along the way important (...) issues in the philosophy of mind are addressed. Though intended primarily for professional philosophers and graduate students the book will also interest cognitive scientists and linguists. (shrink)
An ascent routine (AR) allows a speaker to self-ascribe a given propositional attitude (PA) by redeploying the process that generates a corresponding lower level utterance. Thus, we may report on our beliefs about the weather by reporting (under certain constraints) on the weather. The chief criticism of my AR account of self-ascription, by Alvin Goldman and others, is that it covers few if any PA’s other than belief and offers no account of how we can attain reliability in identifying (...) our attitude as belief, desire, hope, etc., without presupposing some sort of recognition process. The criticism can be answered, but only by giving up a tacit—and wholly unnecessary—assumption that has influenced discussions of ascent routines. Abandoning the assumption allows a different account of ARs that avoids the criticism and even provides an algorithm for finding a corresponding lower level utterance for any PA. The account I give is supported by research on children’s first uses of a propositional attitude vocabulary. (shrink)
Most contemporary philosophical discussions of intentionality start and end with a treatment of the propositionalattitudes. In fact, many theorists hold that all attitudes are propositionalattitudes. Our folk-psychological ascriptions suggest, however, that there are non-propositionalattitudes: I like Sally, my brother fears snakes, everyone loves my grandmother, and Rush Limbaugh hates Obama. I argue that things are as they appear: there are non-propositionalattitudes. More specifically, I argue that there are (...)attitudes that relate individuals to non-propositional objects and do so not in virtue of relating them to propositions. I reach this conclusion by not only showing that attempted analyses of apparently non-propositionalattitudes in terms of the propositional fail, but that some non-propositionalattitudes don’t even supervene on propositionalattitudes. If this is correct, then the common discussions of intentionality that address only propositionalattitudes are incomplete and those who hold that all intentional states are propositional are mistaken. (shrink)
It has been argued that naturalizing the mind will result in the elimination of the ontology of folk psychology (e.g. beliefs and desires). This paper draws from a wide range of empirical literature, including from developmental and cross-cultural psychology, in building an argument for a position dubbed restrictive materialism . The position holds that while the ontology of folk psychology is overextended, there is a restricted domain in which the application of the folk ontology remains secure. From the evidence of (...) developmental uniformity and cross-cultural ubiquity of beliefs and desires, it is argued that the ontology (but not the principles) of folk psychology may be incorrigible. Thus, even if radically false as a description of first-order brain processes, beliefs and desires might be an unavoidable second-order brain process. Given that the domain of psychology is how humans think, if the above argument is correct, then beliefs and desires will continue to earn their rightful place in the ontology of any future psychology, in just the same way as any other scientific entity. (shrink)
How can the propositionalattitudes of several individuals be aggregated into overall collective propositionalattitudes? Although there are large bodies of work on the aggregation of various special kinds of propositionalattitudes, such as preferences, judgments, probabilities and utilities, the aggregation of propositionalattitudes is seldom studied in full generality. In this paper, we seek to contribute to …lling this gap in the literature. We sketch the ingredients of a general theory of (...)propositional attitude aggregation and prove two new theorems. Our …rst theorem simultaneously characterizes some prominent aggregation rules in the cases of probability, judgment and preference aggregation, including linear opinion pooling and Arrovian dictatorships. Our second theorem abstracts even further from the speci…c kinds of attitudes in question and describes the properties of a large class of aggregation rules applicable to a variety of belief-like attitudes. Our approach integrates some previously disconnected areas of investigation. (shrink)
This article describes a theory of the computations underlying the selection of coordinated motion patterns, especially in reaching tasks. The central idea is that when a spatial target is selected as an object to be reached, stored postures are evaluated for the contributions they can make to the task. Weights are assigned to the stored postures, and a single target posture is found by taking a weighted sum of the stored postures. Movement is achieved by reducing the distance between the (...) starting angle and target angle of each joint. The model explains compensation for reduced joint mobility, tool use, practice effects, performance errors, and aspects of movement kinematics. Extensions of the model can account for anticipation and coarticulation effects, movement through via points, and hierarchical control of series of movements. References: 170. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore the question of whether the expected consequences of holding a belief can affect the rationality of doing so. Special attention is given to various ways in which one might attempt to exert some measure of control over what one believes and the normative status of the beliefs that result from the successful execution of such projects. I argue that the lessons which emerge from thinking about the case of belief have important implications for the way (...) we should think about the rationality of a number of other propositionalattitudes, such as regret, desire, and fear. Finally, I suggest that a lack of clarity with respect to the relevant issues has given rise to a number of rather serious philosophical mistakes. (shrink)
Peter Hanks and Scott Soames have recently developed similar views of propositionalattitudes on which they consist at least partly of being disposed to perform mental acts. Both think that to believe a proposition is at least partly to be disposed to perform the primitive propositional act: one the performance of which is part of the performance of any other propositional act. However, they differ over whether the primitive act is the forceless entertaining or the forceful (...) judging. In this paper I argue that Soames’s “forceless” approach has an advantage over Hanks’s “forceful” approach which faces a serious problem. (shrink)
The deflationary aim of this book, which occupies Part I, is to show that a widely held view has little to be said for it. The constructive aim, pursued in Part II, is to make plausible a measure-theoretic account of propositionalattitudes. The discussion is throughout instructive, illuminating and sensitive to the many intricacies surrounding attitude ascriptions and how they can carry information about a subject's psychology. There is close engagement with cognitive science. The book should be read (...) by anyone seriously engaged with issues about propositionalattitudes.According to the widely held view, which Matthews calls the Received View, the attitude of Φing that p is a matter of standing in a computational/functional relation to an explicit Representation that expresses the proposition that p, and thinking is ‘an inferential computational process defined over one or more of these Representations that eventuates in the production of either another Representation or a behavior’. The representations are understood to be sentences in a language of thought and thus to have a compositional syntax and semantics. The theory that Matthews aims to make plausible has it that ascriptions of propositionalattitudes in the form ‘X Φs that p’, ascribe a state to a person by relating that person to an abstract object that is the representative of the state in roughly the way that numbers on a scale are the measure-theoretic representations of certain physical magnitudes. We are to think of the role of ‘Jones believes that interest rates will fall’ by analogy with that of ‘Jones weighs 150lbs’. The latter depends on there being arithmetical relations defined over numbers that enable its particular assignment of a number to Jones's weight to represent physical properties that Jones has in virtue …. (shrink)
Philosophers of the modern period are often presented as having made an elementary error: that of confounding the atttitude one adopts toward a proposition with its content. By examining the works of Locke and the Port-Royalians, I show that this accusation is ill-founded and that Locke, in particular, has the resources to construct a theory of propositionalattitudes.
Propositions are central to at least most theorizing about the connection between our mental lives and the world: we use them in our theories of an array of attitudes including belief, desire, hope, fear, knowledge, and understanding. Unfortunately, when we press on these theories, we encounter a relatively neglected family of paradoxes first studied by Arthur Prior. I argue that these paradoxes present a fatal problem for most familiar resolutions of paradoxes. In particular, I argue that truth-value gap, contextualist, (...) situation theoretic, revision theoretic, ramified, and dialetheist approaches to the paradoxes must deny us the conceptual resources that they themselves make use of, on pain of contradiction. I then detail the costs of the extant strategies that avoid this issue: Hartry Field’s paracomplete approach; Andrew Bacon’s classical treatment of indeterminacy; a generalization of ideas from Prior, Nicholas J.J. Smith, and Hartley Slater; and free logics as recently explored by Bacon, John Hawthorne, and Gabriel Uzquiano. I argue that none of these is perfect, and that each restricts the theories we can endorse in a variety of areas of philosophy. I spell these restrictions out, showing, I hope, that the further investigation of these paradoxes must be a part of future research on propositionalattitudes. (shrink)
In the late 1970s and early 1980s a number of philosophers, notably Churchland, Field, Stalnaker, Dennett, and Davidson, began to argue that propositional attitude predicates are a species of measure predicate, analogous in important ways to numerical predicates by which we attribute physical magnitudes . Other philosophers, including myself, have subsequently developed the idea in greater detail. In this paper I sketch the general outlines of measurement‐theoretic accounts of propositionalattitudes, explaining in the briefest terms the basic (...) idea of such accounts, why some have thought such accounts plausible, how these accounts might go, what their implications might be both for our conception of propositionalattitudes and for their role in cognitive scientific theorizing, and where the potential problems with such accounts might lie. (shrink)
The reason for characterizing mental states as propositionalattitudes is sentence form: ‘S Vs that p’. However, many mental states are not ascribed by means of such sentences, and the sentences that ascribe them cannot be appropriately paraphrased. Moreover, even if a paraphrase were always available, that in itself would not establish the characterization. And the mental states that are ascribable by appropriate senses do not form any natural subset of mental states. A reason for the characterization relying (...) on beliefs, etc., about non‐existing things is also rejected. Last, some sentences ascribing abilities and dispositions have the same grammatical form as some senses that ascribe mental states, so that the attempt to paraphrase the latter would obscure the conceptual relations between the two sorts. It follows that mental states are not relations to propositions. (shrink)
In the late 1970s and early 1980s a number of philosophers, notably Churchland, Field, Stalnaker, Dennett, and Davidson, began to argue that propositional attitude predicates are a species of measure predicate, analogous in important ways to numerical predicates by which we attribute physical magnitudes. Other philosophers, including myself, have subsequently developed the idea in greater detail. In this paper I sketch the general outlines of measurement‐theoretic accounts of propositionalattitudes, explaining in the briefest terms the basic idea (...) of such accounts, why some have thought such accounts plausible, how these accounts might go, what their implications might be both for our conception of propositionalattitudes and for their role in cognitive scientific theorizing, and where the potential problems with such accounts might lie. (shrink)
The deflationary aim of this book, which occupies Part I, is to show that a widely held view has little to be said for it. The constructive aim, pursued in Part II, is to make plausible a measure-theoretic account of propositionalattitudes. The discussion is throughout instructive, illuminating and sensitive to the many intricacies surrounding attitude ascriptions and how they can carry information about a subject's psychology. There is close engagement with cognitive science. The book should be read (...) by anyone seriously engaged with issues about propositionalattitudes.According to the widely held view, which Matthews calls the Received View, the attitude of Φing that p is a matter of standing in a computational/functional relation to an explicit Representation that expresses the proposition that p, and thinking is ‘an inferential computational process defined over one or more of these Representations that eventuates in the production of either another Representation or a behavior’ . The representations are understood to be sentences in a language of thought and thus to have a compositional syntax and semantics . The theory that Matthews aims to make plausible has it that ascriptions of propositionalattitudes in the form ‘X Φs that p’, ascribe a state to a person by relating that person to an abstract object that is the representative of the state in roughly the way that numbers on a scale are the measure-theoretic representations of certain physical magnitudes . We are to think of the role of ‘Jones believes that interest rates will fall’ by analogy with that of ‘Jones weighs 150lbs’. The latter depends on there being arithmetical relations defined over numbers that enable its particular assignment of a number to Jones's weight to represent physical properties that Jones has in virtue …. (shrink)
Propositionalattitudes are often classified as non-phenomenal mental states. I argue that there is no good reason for doing so. The unwillingness to view propositionalattitudes as being essentially phenomenal stems from a biased notion of phenomenality, from not paying sufficient attention to the idioms in which propositionalattitudes are usually reported, from overlooking the considerable degree to which different intentional modes can be said to be phenomenologically continuous, and from not considering the possibility (...) that propositionalattitudes may be transparent, just like sensations and emotions are commonly held to be: there may be no appropriate way of describing their phenomenal character apart from describing the properties and objects they represent. (shrink)
Theories that seek to explain the status of psychological states experienced in fictional contexts either claim that those states are special propositionalattitudes specific to fictional contexts (make-believe attitudes), or else define them as normal propositionalattitudes by stretching the concept of a propositional attitude to include ‘objectless’ states that do not imply constraints such as truth or satisfaction. I argue that the first theory is either vacuous or false, and that the second, by (...) defining the reality of the states in question only nominally, risks having a result similar to the first. Then I put forward an explanation of how propositionalattitudes function in fictional contexts which meets the following requirements: (i) does not postulate the existence of attitudes specific to or definitive of fictionality; (ii) does not imply that we transgress our knowledge of the ontological claims of fictions for some attitudes (for example, fear) but not others (belief); (iii) explains how we can adopt normal propositionalattitudes towards fictions; (iv) allows explanation of how attitudes adopted during fictional response connect or are relevant to our broader systems of belief and volition. (shrink)
Sentences attributing beliefs, doubts, wants, and the like (propositionalattitudes, in Russell's terminology) have posed a major problem for semantics. Recently the pragmatic description of language has become more systematic. I shall discuss the formalization of pragmatics, and propose an analysis of belief attribution that avoids some main problems apparently inherent in the semantic approach.
In the course of the debates on Priscian's notion of the perfect sentence, the philosopher Peter Abelard developed a theory that closely resembles modern accounts of propositionalattitudes and that goes far beyond the established Aristotelian conceptions of the sentence. According to Abelard, the perfection of a sentence does not depend on the content that it expresses, but on the fact that the content is stated along with the propositional attitude towards the content. This paper tries to (...) provide an analysis and a consistent interpretation of Abelard's arguments within the framework of the mediaeval models of language and mind. (shrink)
This paper aims to discuss Quine’s last analysis of propositionalattitudes as involving intentionality and as regards human action and the very sub-ject matter of social sciences. As to this problem, Quine acquiesces in both Davidson’s anomalous monism and Dennett’s intentional stance. An al-ternative analysis is here presented, which is based on Howard Rachlin’s teleological behaviorism. Some problems regarding this approach are also considered. Intentionality and rationality are still to be saved, but they are construed according to a (...) lawful perspective to human behavior and social contexts of action. (shrink)
I shall examine Quine’s conception of logic, of propositionalattitudes, and of the unity of knowledge in order to show that there are some tensions in Quine’s system. I first propose a conception of the use or application of logic, stating that logic strictly speaking applies to intentional phenomena or to things that presuppose the existence of intentional phenomena. Then, I con-sider briefly Quine’s philosophy of logic and discuss some issues. In Quine’s philosophy, logic stays at the very (...) center of the web of our beliefs; it is cen-tral in science and ordinary knowledge as well. Then I examine Quine’s tendency to “quine” the mental, given his own maxim of minimum mutila-tion. Finally, I consider Quine’s thesis of the unity of knowledge, the thesis that there is continuity from ordinary to scientific knowledge. If I am right about the use of logic and the presence of the propositional attitude idiom in ordinary knowledge and social sciences and humanities, I think there is a problem of consistency in Quine’s system, and that Quine himself pointed to a part of the solution. (shrink)
Having briefly sketched the aims of our paper, namely, to logically analyse the ascription of propositionalattitudes to somebody else in terms, not of Fregean senses or of intensions-with-s, but of the intentional object of the person spoken about, say, the believer or intender (Section 1), we try to introduce the concept of an intentional object as simply as possible, to wit, as coming into view whenever two (or more) subjective belief-worlds strikingly diverge (Section 2). Then, we assess (...) the pros and cons of Frege’s view that the indirect reference of an expression is nothing but its customary sense (Sections 3–4), and call the reader’s attention to the fact that in belief ascriptions de re we take it for granted that the believer’s intentional object is at the same time a ‘citizen’ of the belief ascriber’s subjective world (or, for that matter, the real word), and that the idea of such a ‘dual citizenship’ is even more obviously presupposed in the cases of true belief and propositional knowledge (Section 5). Then, we try to argue that it is more fertile to take the belief ascriber’s intentional object to be, not the whole state of affairs the believer has in mind and thinks to exist, but the latter’s intentional object as such, that is, as being his intentional object (Section 6). Finally, we discuss the intricate and mostly neglected question of whether an intentional object’s inhabiting two or more subjective belief-worlds should be considered to be sort of a ‘transmundane identity’ in the numerical sense or rather in some deviant sense of the term, which can be specified as a momentous subcase of a ‘categorial difference’ (Section 7). (shrink)
Traditionally conceived, rational action is action founded on reasons. Reasons involve the propositionalattitudes — beliefs, desires, intentions, and the like. What are we to make of the propositionalattitudes? One possibility, a possibility endorsed by Donald Davidson, is that an agent’s possession of propositionalattitudes is a matter of that agent’s being interpretable in a particular way. Such a view accounts for the propositional content of the attitudes, but threatens to undercut (...) their causal and explanatory roles. I examine Davidson’s view and the suggestion that the explanatory value of appeals to propositionalattitudes is best understood on analogy with measurement systems, and argue that, appearances to the contrary, this conception of the propositionalattitudes can be reconciled with the idea that reasons are causes. (shrink)
In this article I will develop the ﬁrst steps of a wholly general theory of how indexical and reﬂexive pronouns function in propositional attitude ascriptions. This will involve a theory of ascriptions of de se beliefs and de se utterances, which can probably be also generalized so as to apply to ascriptions of other attitudes. It will also involve a theory about the ascriptions of beliefs or other attitudes a person has at a time about what happens (...) then (attitudes de praesente, as they are sometimes called) and the beliefs of a person concerning the one whom he is addressing (which I might call beliefs de recipiente) etc.. The most distinctive aspect of the theory will be that I will argue that many phenomena associated with such ascriptions that are nowadays most often viewed as pragmatic are semantic. I will use a system of symbolic logic to formalize such ascriptions. I will start from David Kaplan’s Logic of Demonstratives and generalize it into a logic I call Doxastic Logic of Demonstratives, DLD. Crucial to the semantics of the logic will be an exact deﬁnition of the adjustments of a character from one context to another. (shrink)
Book synopsis: Our mental lives are entwined with the world. There are worldly things that we have beliefs about and things in the world we desire to have happen. We find some things fearsome and others likable. The puzzle of intentionality — how it is that our minds make contact with the world — is one of the oldest and most vexed issues facing philosophers. Many contemporary philosophers and cognitive scientists have been attracted to the idea that our minds represent (...) the world. This book explores an important assumption about representation, namely, that when we represent things in the world, we represent them as having properties, and in this way our representations have "propositional" structure. The contributors examine what the commitment to propositionalism amounts to; illuminate why one might find the thesis attractive ; and consider ways in which one might depart from propositionalism. The hope is that this will lead towards a more complete understanding of how the mind and world are connected. (shrink)