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Non-Propositional Intentionality$
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Alex Grzankowski and Michelle Montague

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198732570

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198732570.001.0001

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Content and Theme in Attitude Ascriptions

Content and Theme in Attitude Ascriptions

(p.114) 5 Content and Theme in Attitude Ascriptions
Non-Propositional Intentionality

Graeme Forbes

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses a less-commonly discussed substitution failure in attitude ascriptions: a “that”-clause and its corresponding proposition description cannot in general be interchanged in the scope of psych-verbs, despite the standard view that the two forms refer to the same proposition. For example, “Holmes suspects that Moriarty has returned” and “Holmes suspects the proposition that Moriarty has returned” mean something quite different. The chapter accounts for these data in the framework of neo-Davidsonian semantics, arguing that substitution does not simply change the syntactic category of the attitude verb from clausal to transitive or vice versa, but also triggers the side-effect of changing thematic relations: when the transitive verb is used, it is the theme of the attitude-state or event that is identified, but when the clausal verb is used, it is the content of the state that is identified.

Keywords:   Intensional transitive verbs, “that”-clause, attitude ascriptions, Davidsonian semantics, event semantics, substitution

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