Philosophical Studies

, Volume 161, Issue 3, pp 403–420 | Cite as

Soames’s argument 1 against strong two-dimensionalism

  • Robert Michels


This paper criticizes Soames’s main argument against a variant of two-dimensionalism that he calls strong two-dimensionalism. The idea of Soames’s argument is to show that the strong two-dimensionalist’s semantics for belief ascriptions delivers wrong semantic verdicts about certain complex modal sentences that contain both such ascriptions and claims about the truth of the ascribed beliefs. A closer look at the formal semantics underlying strong two-dimensionalism reveals that there are two feasible ways of specifying the truth conditions for claims of the latter sort. Only one of the two yields the problematic semantic verdicts, so strong two-dimensionalists can avoid Soames’s argument by settling for the other way.


Belief ascriptions Propositional attitude ascriptions Soames Two-dimensionalism Two-dimensional semantics 



Versions of this paper have been presented at a research colloquium at the University of Konstanz, at GAP.7 in Bremen, at the reading group of the Emmy Noether-Research Group Understanding and the A Priori in Cologne and at the Meaning, Modality and Apriority symposium in Cologne. Thanks to all who provided feedback on these occasions. I am especially grateful to an anonymous reviewer, Brendan Balcerak Jackson, Fabrice Correia, Natalja Deng, Maryia Ramanava, Wolfgang Schwarz, Scott Soames, Wolfgang Spohn, and most of all Peter Fritz for valuable suggestions, comments and discussions. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007–2013 under grant agreement no. FP7-238128.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département de philosophieeidos, Université de GenèveGenève 4Switzerland

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