What propositional structure could not be
- 114 Downloads
The dominant account of propositions holds that they are structured entities that have, as constituents, the semantic values of the constituents of the sentences that express them. Since such theories hold that propositions are structured, in some sense, like the sentences that express them, they must provide an answer to what I will call Soames’ Question: “What level, or levels, of sentence structure does semantic information incorporate?” (Soames in Philos Mind Action Theory 3:575–596, 1989). As it turns out, answering Soames’ Question is no easy task. I argue in this paper that the two most promising ways of answering it, the Logical Form Account and the LF Account, are both unsatisfactory. This result casts doubt on the very idea that propositions are structured.
KeywordsPropositions Structured propositions Benacerraf problem Logical form LF Jeffrey C. King
A version of this paper was presented at the Buffalo Logic Colloquium, March 2015, and the Unity and Individuation of Structured Propositions Conference: Ninth Barcelona Conference on Issues in the Theory of Reference, June 22-24 2015. I thank audiences at both places for their comments. Special thanks to Paddy Blanchette, David Braun, John Keller, Chris Menzel and two anonymous referees for this journal for helpful feedback.
- Bolzano, B. (1837). The Theory of Science. edition: Jan Berg (1973). (trans: Burnham Terrell). Dordrecht: D. Reidel Publishing Co.Google Scholar
- Chomsky, N. (1995). The minimalist program. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Fox, D. (2002). On logical form. In R. Hendrick (Ed.), Minimalist syntax. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Frege, G. (1918/1956). The thought: A logical inquiry (A. M. & Marcelle Quinton, Trans) Mind 65 (1956) (pp. 289–311). Reprinted in Readings in the Philosophy of Language,by P. Ludlow, Ed. 1997, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Heim, I., Kratzer, A. (1998). Semantics in generative grammar. Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Jeffrey, C., King, S. S., & Speaks, J. (2014). New thinking about propositions. Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar
- Jespersen, B. (2012). Recent work on structured meaning and propositional unity. Philosophy Compass, 2012, 1–11.Google Scholar
- Keller, L. J. Forthcoming. Propositions supernaturalized. In T. Dougherty & J. Walls (Eds.), Two dozen (or so) arguments for God. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- King, J. C. Forthcoming. On propositions and fineness of grain (again!). Synthese.Google Scholar
- King, J. C. (2011). Structured propositions. In Zalta E. N. (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. (Fall 2017 Edition). https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2017/entries/propositions-structured/.
- King, J. C. (Forthcoming). On propositions and fineness of grain (again!). Synthese.Google Scholar
- May, R. (1998). Logical form in linguistics. In MIT encyclopedia of cognitive science. Cambridge: MIT PressGoogle Scholar
- Pickel, B. Forthcoming. Structured propositions in a generative grammar. Mind.Google Scholar
- Pietroski, P. (2015) . Logical form. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.) The stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Spring 2016 ed.).https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2016/entries/logical-form/.
- Resnick, M. (1997). Mathematics as a science of patterns. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
- Russell, B. (1903). Principles of mathematics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Salmon, N. C. (1986). Frege’s puzzle. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Salmon, N. C. (1989). Tense and singular propositions. In J. Almog, J. Perry, & H. Wettstein (Eds.), Themes from Kaplan (pp. 331–392). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Schiffer, S. (2003). The things we mean. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Searle, J. (1992). The rediscovery of the mind. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Shapiro, S. (1997). Philosophy of mathematics: Structure and ontology. Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar
- Soames, S. (1989). Semantics and semantic competence, philosophical perspectives. Philosophy of Mind and Action Theory, 3, 575–596.Google Scholar
- Soames, S. (2010). What is meaning? soochow lectures in philosophy. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Soames, S. (2015). Rethinking language, mind, and meaning: The hempel lectures, Princeton University Press.Google Scholar