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Propositional Attitudes. FACTS AND STATES OF AFFAIRS.

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Presentation on theme: "Propositional Attitudes. FACTS AND STATES OF AFFAIRS."— Presentation transcript:

1 Propositional Attitudes


3 Common Three-Way Equivalence: Sentence meanings The objects of the attitudes The referents of that-clauses

4 Propositional Attitudes Agent + Attitude + Content Attitudes = belief, knowledge, desire, hope, etc. The functionalist consensus What are the objects of the attitudes (contents)?

5 Propositional Attitude Ascriptions Subject + Attitude Verb + that-Clause Attitude Verbs = believe, know, desire, hope, etc. Attitudes distinct from their ascriptions Contents of that-clauses objects of attitudes?

6 Evidence for Equivalence Anaphora: Today is Tuesday but John doesnt know it. Conjunction Reduction: Its true that its raining and John believes that its raining. Its true that, and John knows that, its raining.

7 Correspondence Theory Truth as correspondence with the facts. Sentences/ statements are true/ false No semantically evaluable semantic entities Obtaining Sentences mean facts?

8 Facts Objects, properties, and relations Going together in the world Instantiation The Unity of the Fact (problem thereof)

9 Platos Third Man a is F a instantiates F-ness instantiate instantiation, instantiation> instantiate instantiation etc.

10 We note that when a detective says Let's look at the facts he does not crawl round the carpet, but proceeds to utter a string of statements. (Austin, Truth)

11 The Multiple Relations Theory No such thing as false facts. What do we believe when we believe something false? Belief is a relation to semantically unjoined objects, properties, and relations. Problem of unity: order.

12 States of Affairs Like facts, but dont need to actually exist, only possibly exist.

13 Problems for SofA Problems for SofA = Meanings No impossible states of affairs (going together again) Problems for SofA = Objects of Attitudes Coarse-grainedness of SofA Problems for SofA = Referents of That-Clauses Compositionality

14 Truth-Evaluable? Sentences are true vs. sentence meanings are true What I believe is true vs. my belief is true (You can believe what I believe, but you cant have my belief) John believes something true vs. Johns belief is true.

15 Propositionalism Maintain equivalence Propositions fine-grained, truth-evaluable– more language-like Still mind-independent A new type of going together

16 Mind-Independence a proposition (gedanke) is like a planet which, already before anyone has seen it, has been in interaction with other planets. when one apprehends or thinks a [proposition] one does not create it but only comes to stand in a certain relation… to what already existed beforehand.

17 Ordinary Language Scruples I imagined [F: the proposition] that a purple donkey was nibbling on lettuce. I was surprised [*the proposition/ F: at the proposition] that John never came to the party.


19 Possible Worlds Semantics Possible worlds: Lewis and Stalnaker Possible worlds semantics: Carnap and Montague Analysis of necessity and possibility Meanings as truth-conditions Functions from worlds to truth-values Sets and characteristic functions

20 Problems The deduction problem The aboutness problem Directly referential expressions collapsed into rigid expressions

21 Even less coarse-grained than SofA: all necessities equivalent, all impossibilities equivalent. Going diagonal (or metalinguistic) Still get all provable truths equivalent, for those who accept the axioms.

22 Lewiss Two Gods Consider the case of the two gods. They inhabit a certain possible world, and they know exactly which world it is. Therefore they know every proposition that is true at their world. Insofar as knowledge is a propositional attitude, they are omniscient…

23 Lewiss Two Gods …Still I can imagine them to suffer ignorance: neither one knows which of the two he is. They are not exactly alike. One lives on top of the tallest mountain and throws down manna; the other lives on top of the coldest mountain and throws down thunderbolts. Neither one knows whether he lives on the tallest mountain or the coldest mountain; nor whether he throws manna or thunderbolts.

24 De Se Exceptionalism 1.The manna god knows exactly which world she inhabits. 2.She does not know that *I am the manna god.* 3.Therefore, *I am the manna god* is not solely about which world she inhabits. 4.Therefore, the de se is special and subject to special semantic treatment.


26 Structured Propositions Like SofAs: objects, properties, relations Structural isomorphism w/ sentences New kind of going together Limits: articulated non-constituents John is a tall ballet dancer Limits: unarticulated constituents

27 Benefits Systematicity: if you can think aRb, you can think bRa Reverse compositionality Conflating contexts: watch + PAST vs. watch + PROG + PAST

28 Grainedness SPs strictly more fine grained than SofAs SPs determine sets of possible worlds, not vice versa (composition post-linguistic) No logical omniscience, deduction, aboutness problems Too much grain? A & B vs. B & A Names and natural kind terms, a = b vs. a = a

29 Problems Which set-theoretic objects? (order arbitrariness) Why do some set-theoretic objects have truth- conditions and others (regular ones) not? Is the going together really not set-theoretic? If not, then what is it?

30 Overly Linguistic-y? If propositions have a largely linguistic structure… do they get it from language? If so, are they really mind/ language dependent? If so, did the proposition that dinosaurs exist not exist until we did? And can animals think?



33 Interpreted Logical Forms Linguistic syntax LFs vs. surface structure (not particularly important) Interpreted LFs No new going together

34 Benefits Strictly greater grain the SPs (Hence same or worse grainedness problems, same or better benefits) Names and natural kind terms, a = b vs. a = a Meaningful sentences with empty names? Sensible why they have truth-conditions

35 Problems Compositionality? Speakers of different languages no longer expressing the same proposition, believing the same things Data: I believed that even when I was a monolingual French speaker! Attitudes, propositions dependent on language Pierre and Londres est jolie

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