The Nature of a Singular Proposition
I defend a traditional conception of the distinction between descriptive and direct thought about an individual against three recent objections from 1. Stanley and Armstrong, 2. Merricks and 3. Glick. On the traditional conception, a thought is directly about an object when it is about that object in virtue of containing that object as a direct constituent, and it is indirectly about that object when it is about that object in virtue of having a descriptive condition uniquely satisfied by that object as a direct constituent. Stanley and Armstrong argue that this conception is not extensionally adequate. Merricks argues that the traditional conception suffers from the unity of the proposition problem. I show that a proponent of the traditional conception can accept that the notion of aboutness is basic to avoid the problem. Glick argues that the traditional conception is not sufficiently neutral, as it presupposes a substantive view in the metaphysics of propositions: namely, that they are structured entities. I argue that neutrality comes at too high a price, as a neutral conception must take descriptive thought to be more basic than direct thought, which violates standard recursive definitions of truth for quantificational thought.
Date / Time / Place
June 22nd / 10:10 / Aula 0A