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Reference and Representation in Thought and Language$
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María de Ponte and Kepa Korta

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198714217

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198714217.001.0001

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The property theory and de se attitudes

The property theory and de se attitudes

(p.195) 12 The property theory and de se attitudes
Reference and Representation in Thought and Language

Wayne A. Davis

Oxford University Press

The property theory of de se belief denies that believing is a propositional attitude, maintaining instead that for Lingens to believe that he himself is lost is for him to self-attribute the property of being lost. For Lingens to believe that Lingens is lost is for him to self-attribute the independent property of being such that Lingens is lost. The chapter argues that this theory postulates differences where we expect uniformity, introduces unnecessary theoretical complexity, is false to a variety of linguistic and phenomenological facts, and fails to explain many psychological and linguistic facts. If “self-attribute a property” means “believing oneself to have the property,” then the theory provides no explanation of de se belief. The author sketches a propositional theory on which the objects of the attitudes are complexes of concepts (thoughts), de se attitudes involving one type of indexical concept.

Keywords:   belief, de se belief, indexicals, property theory, propositional attitudes, self-attribution, self-concepts

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