Predication and the Frege–Geach problem
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Several philosophers have recently appealed to predication in developing their theories of cognitive representation and propositions. One central point of difference between them is whether they take predication to be forceful or neutral and whether they take the most basic cognitive representational act to be judging or entertaining. Both views are supported by powerful reasons and both face problems. Many think that predication must be forceful if it is to explain representation. However, the standard ways of of implementing the idea give rise to the Frege–Geach problem. Others think that predication must be neutral, if we’re to avoid the Frege–Geach problem. However, it looks like nothing neutral can explain representation. My aim in this paper is to present a third view, one which respects the powerful reasons while avoiding the problems. On this view predication is forceful and can thus explain representation, but the idea is implemented in a novel way, avoiding the Frege–Geach problem. The key is to make sense of the notion of grasping a proposition as an objectual act, where the object is a proposition.
KeywordsPredication Propositions Representation Frege–Geach Soames Hanks
I want to thank Stephen Barker, Ray Buchanan, Jonathan Cohen, Daniel Cohnitz, Alex Davies, Chris Hom, Manuel Garcia-Carpintero, Kathrin Glüer-Pagin, Geoff Georgi, Alex Grzankowski, Peter Hanks, Bjørn Jespersen, Jaan Kangilaski, Lorraine Keller, Jinho Kang, Jeff King, Uriah Kriegel, Max Kölbel, Riin Kõiv, Taavi Laanpere, Indrek Lõbus, Marc Moffett, Jeremy Schwartz, Gary Ostertag, Peter Pagin, Bryan Pickel, Francois Recanati, Peter Ridley, Michael Schmitz, Mark Schroeder, Scott Soames, Uku Tooming, and audiences at the Society for Analytic Philosophy in Tartu, the 9th Barcelona Workshop on Issues in the Theory of Reference at LOGOS, Institut Jean Nicod, King’s College London, and the Force, Content, and the Unity of Proposition workshop at University of Vienna/WU Vienna for helpful comments and/or discussion.
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