A Case for Property-Type Semantics

  • Kristina LiefkeEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11541)


In linguistic semantics, propositionalism is the view that all intensional constructions (esp. attitude reports) can be interpreted as relations to truth-evaluable propositional contents. Propositionalism has been adopted for its uniformity and ontological parsimony, and for its ability to capture natural language reasoning. These merits notwithstanding, propositionalism has been challenged by the observation that some intensional constructions (incl. objectual and de se-attitude reports, ‘know how’-sentences, and de dicto-readings of depiction reports) resist a propositionalist analysis. This paper reconciles the merits of propositionalism with its empirical challenges. To this aim, it replaces propositions by properties as uniform objects of the attitudes. This replacement is motivated by the observation that all non-propositional attitudinal objects can be coded as properties through established type-shifts. It is supported by the ability of the resulting semantics to distinguish truth-evaluable from non-truth-evaluable attitude complements, to capture cross-attitudinal co-predication, and to explain differences w.r.t. the acceptability of different kinds of co-predication. At the same time, it gives a sense of what a propositionalist semantics – if successful – might look like and which requirements it must meet.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for LinguisticsGoethe University FrankfurtFrankfurtGermany

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