The Case Against Linguistically Enhanced Propositions

Scott Soames

in Beyond Rigidity

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9780195145281
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833702 | DOI:
 The Case Against Linguistically Enhanced Propositions

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This chapter examines and criticizes two leading semantic theories of attitude ascriptions of the form x believes / asserts that S. According to these theories, ascriptions of this sort report that an agent bears the relevant attitude to a linguistically enhanced proposition that contains words or mental representations among its constituents. One of these theories – the theory of interpreted logical forms developed by Richard Larson and Peter Ludlow, is a version of the semantic program of Donald Davidson, while the other – defended by Mark Richard – is a metalinguistic variant of Russellianism. It is argued that both theories, despite their virtues, face intractable problems that, in the end, defeat the idea that attitude ascriptions report relations to partially linguistic objects. In light of this, the best option is to return to the analysis of such ascriptions as reporting relations to ordinary, Russellian propositions.

Keywords: Davidson; Larson; Ludlow; mental representation; propositional attitudes; propositions; Richard; Russellianism

Chapter.  22261 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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