Philosophical Studies

, Volume 165, Issue 1, pp 71–93 | Cite as

Propositional unity: what’s the problem, who has it and who solves it?

  • Jeffrey C. King


At least since Russell’s influential discussion in The Principles of Mathematics, many philosophers have held there is a problem that they call the problem of the unity of the proposition. In a recent paper, I argued that there is no single problem that alone deserves the epithet the problem of the unity of the proposition. I there distinguished three problems or questions, each of which had some right to be called a problem regarding the unity of the proposition; and I showed how the account of propositions formulated in my book The Nature and Structure of Content [2007 Oxford University Press] solves each of these problems. In the present paper, I take up two of these problems/questions yet again. For I want to consider other accounts of propositions and compare their solutions to these problems, or lack thereof, to mine. I argue that my account provides the best solutions to the unity problems.


Propositions Semantics Unity of propositions 



Thanks to Ofra Magidor and Wayne Davis for helpful comments. Thanks also to the participants at the NYU workshop in La Pietra, Italy, July 12–15, 2010 for helpful discussion.


  1. Collins, J. (2007). Syntax more or less. Mind, 166, 805–850.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Greenberg, G. (2010). The semantics of pictures. (unpublished).Google Scholar
  3. Heim, I., & Kratzer, A. (1998). Semantics in generative grammar. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers Inc.Google Scholar
  4. King, J. C. (2007). The nature and structure of content. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. King, J. C. (2009) Questions of unity. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Vol. CIX, Part 3. Google Scholar
  6. MacFarlane, J. (2005). Making sense of relative truth. Proceeding of the Arisotelian Society, 105, 321–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Russell, B. (1903). The principles of mathematics. London: George Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  8. Schiffer, S. (2003). The things we mean. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Soames, S. (2010a). What is meaning?. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Soames, S. (2010b). Propositions forthcoming in the Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Language. In D. G. Fara, G. Russell (Eds.).Google Scholar
  11. Stalnaker, R. (1984). Inquiry. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  12. Stalnaker, R. (2007). Responses. Philosophical Studies, 133, 481–491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Stalnaker, R. (2011). On what there isn’t (but might have been) (unpublished).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

Personalised recommendations