PROPOSITIONS AND LINGUISTIC/COGNITIVE ACTION

Richard Gaskin

Title: Reference, Singular Propositions, and Linguistic Idealism

Abstract:

The paper starts by arguing that reference should be regarded as a way of modelling linguistic understanding. The referents of declarative sentences are argued to be Russellian propositions, and the idea of singular such propositions outlined and defended against recent objections. I also look at general aspects of the recommended theoretical approach to reference, comparing it with the neo-Fregean syntactic priority thesis, and showing that it yields a kind of linguistic idealism, according to which the world is actually composed of true and false propositions.

Andrea Iacona

Title: Propositions and Logical Form

Abstract:

This paper investigates the thought that logical form is essentially a property of propositions. First it presents a notion of logical form - the truth conditional notion - according to which logical form is determined by truth conditions. Then it compares three theories of propositions which can substantiate in different ways the understanding of truth conditions that underlies that notion: the naturalized propositions theory advocated by King, the truthmaker theory advocated by Fine, and the action type theory advocated by Soames and Hanks. As will be argued, there is at least one significant respect in which the first and the second theory suit the truth conditional notion better than the third.

Robert Matthews

Title: Propositions, Belief Predication, and Belief

Abstract:

TBA

Friederike Moltmann

Title: Sentences as Predicates of Modal and Attitudinal Objects

Abstract:

In this talk I will outline a novel account of sentence meaning according to which sentences act as predicates of modal or attitudinal objects, entities like claims, judgements, intentions, desires, requessts, permissions, obligations, and needs. I will argue that this view overcomes a range of problems for the standard view of propositions as well as the recent act-based conceptions of Hanks and Soames

Dolf Rami

Title: Demonstratives: Cognitive vs. Literal Content

Abstract:

The first part of my talk is concerned with a specific kind of mental judgements, namely demonstratives or attentive mental judgements. I will argue for the view that these mental acts are parasitic or dependent acts that depend on certain preceding acts of representation, which make use of certain mental representations (conceived of as stores of information) of objects and properties. These mental acts of representation can be simple or complex. In the complex case, we have acts that co-represent a single object or property by means of different mental stores of information. In the second part, I will propose a new semantics of demonstrative expressions. I will distinguish two sorts of Non-Fregean modes of presentation. Internal mental modes of presentation and external inter-subjective modes of presentation. The semantic referent of demonstrative pronouns generically depends on referential intentions, which are parasitic on specific mental acts of representation. However, in the case of communicative uses of demonstrative pronouns external modes of presentation can trump the internal modes and ultimately determine the referents in a purely external way. Furthermore, I will argue that the meaningful use of demonstrative expressions neither individually nor generically depends on demonstrative/attentive mental acts of judgements, but only on specific acts of representation.

Francois Recanati

Title: Force Cancellation

Abstract:

Peter Hanks and Scott Soames both defend pragmatic solutions to the problem of the unity of the proposition. According to them, what ties together Tim and baldness in the singular proposition expressed by 'Tim is bald' is an acto of the speaker (or thinker): the act of predicating baldness of Tim. But Soames construes that act as force neutral and noncommittal while, for Hanks, it is inherently assertive and committal. Hanks answers the Frege-Geach challenge by arguing that, in complex sentences, the force inherent in the content of an embedded sentence is cancelled. As several philosophers noticed, Hanks's proposal faces a dilemma: either force cancellation dissolves the unity of the proposition secured by the cacelled act of assertion (and Hanks's proposal does not work), or Hanks's proposal reduces to Soames's. In this talk, I respond to the objection by offering an analysis of force cancellation which gets rid of the alleged dilemma. The proposal is based on a set of distinctions from speech act theory: between two senses of 'force', two types of act, and two types of context.

Samuel D. Taylor

Title: The Representational Approach to Semantics: From Utterance to Content

Abstract:

In this paper, I begin from the question: what are utterances? I first criticise the view that utterances are token intentional action events in a context, and I develop an alternative:utterances as representational acts of predication. This alternative allows for me to argue for a language of utterance hypothesis (LOUH), which takes utterances and sentences and indistinguishable when defined in terms of syntactic operations over representations. Then, by integrating my account of utterances with the representational action approach to propositions (Hanks, 2015), I argue for a reconceptualisation of what is said as thetype classified and individuated utterance (/sentence) of a speaker, and I introduce what is understood as the type classified and individuated utterance (/sentence) of a hearer. This leads to an account of communicated content – what is communicated – as the overlap between what is said and what is understood. I call this account the representational action approach to semantics and use it to illustrate how a distinction between communicated and semantic content is necessary even though both are unified from the ground up

Julia Zakkou

Title: Motivations for Relativistic Propositions

Abstract:

TBA