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Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language$
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Friederike Moltmann

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199608744

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608744.001.0001

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Propositions and Attitudinal Objects

Propositions and Attitudinal Objects

Chapter:
(p.121) 4 Propositions and Attitudinal Objects
Source:
Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language
Author(s):

Friederike Moltmann

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608744.003.0005

Propositions are abstract objects that play a major role in contemporary philosophy of language. There are a range of conceptual problems, though, for propositions that have been pointed out in the literature. The chapter argues that propositions should in general be replaced by “attitudinal objects.” Attitudinal objects are entities like “John’s belief that S” or “John’s claim that S.”Like mental or illocutionary events, they are concrete entities that depend on an agent as well as on a mental event or state. But attitudinal objects need to be distinguished from mental events or states. The distinction should be viewed as part of a more general distinction between what the Polish philosopher Twardowski called “actions” and “products.” Attitudinal objects, unlike propositions, do not play a role in simple attitude reports. They are introduced only on the basis of a nominalizing expression, such as a special quantifier in place of a that-complement. The chapter proposes a neo-Russellian analysis of attitude reports with that-clause complements.

Keywords:   propositions, structured propositions, propositional attitudes, nominalizations, Twardowksi, that-clauses, russell, multigrade predicates, the unity of propositions

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