, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 747-768

Ascriptions of propositional attitudes. An analysis in terms of intentional objects

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Abstract

Having briefly sketched the aims of our paper, namely, to logically analyse the ascription of propositional attitudes 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).