Peter Hanks defends a new theory about the nature of propositional content. According to this theory, the basic bearers of representational properties are particular mental or spoken actions. Propositions are types of these actions, which we use to classify and individuate our attitudes and
speech acts. Hanks abandons several key features of the traditional Fregean conception of propositional content, including the idea that propositions are the primary bearers of truth-conditions, the distinction between content and force, and the concept of entertainment. The main difficulty for this
traditional conception is the problem of the unity of the proposition, the problem of explaining how propositions have truth conditions and other representational properties. The new theory developed here, in its place, explains the unity of propositions and provides new solutions to a long list of
puzzles and problems in philosophy of language.
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Three Pictures of Content
The Problem of the Unity of the Proposition
Predication and Unity
Cancellation and the ContentForce Distinction
Proper Names and Types of Reference Acts
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act of asking act of predication acts of reference anti-predicative argument assertoric asserts that Clinton attitude reports Biden cancellation context Carré classify clauses Clinton is eloquent competent speakers concept content–force distinction Cornwell Dara swims direction of fit disjunction eloquence of Clinton embedded empty names entertainment entities example explain fact Free Logic Frege Fregean picture ideal conditions judgments and assertions Kripke’s locutionary act neutral Obama asserts object Paderewski perform a token Perry Perry’s Philby politician predicates the property problem property of eloquence property of swimming proposition that Clinton propositional attitude propositional content reference act role Russell Russell’s satisfaction conditions second-level property semantic competence semantic content semantic reference type sense sentence Soames someone sort speech acts sub-types super-type Suppose Obama target target-shifting things thought tions token acts true iff true or false truth conditions truth-evaluable type of act type of action type of reference utterance Zeus