A central job for propositions is to be the objects of the attitudes. Propositions are the things we doubt, believe and suppose. Some philosophers have thought that propositions are sets of possible worlds. But many have become convinced that such an account individuates propositions too coarsely. This raises the question of how finely propositions should be individuated. An account of how finely propositions should be individuated on which they are individuated very finely is sketched. Objections to the effect that the account individuates propositions too finely are raised and responses to the objections are provided. It is also shown that theories that try to individuate propositions less finely have serious problems.
KeywordsPropositions Propositional attitudes Possible worlds Structured propositions
Thanks to Karen Lewis and Kent Bach for helpful comments and suggestions. Thanks also to Ofra Magidor for helpful discussion. A version of this paper was delivered at the Pacific Division Meetings of the American Philosophical Association in San Francisco on March 31, 2010. My thanks to the audience for helpful discussion.
- Cresswell, M. J. (1985). Structured meanings. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
- King, J. C. (1994). Can propositions be naturalistically acceptable?. Midwest Studies in Philosophy, volume XIX, French, Uehling, Wettstein (Eds.), 53–75.Google Scholar
- King, J. C. (2009). Questions of unity. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, CIX(Part 3), 257–277.Google Scholar
- Lewis, D. (1980) Index, context and content. In O. Kanger (Ed.), Philosophy and Grammar. Dordrecht: Reidel. [Reprinted in D. Lewis Papers in Philosophical Logic, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. I use the pagination of the latter here].Google Scholar
- Soames, S. (1987). Direct reference, propositional attitudes, and semantic content. In: S. Soames (Ed.). Oxford University Press, New York. (Reprinted from Propositions and Attitudes, 1988.Google Scholar