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Title:Models of propositional content
Author(s):Mack, Eric A
Director of Research:Korman, Daniel Z
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Korman, Daniel Z
Doctoral Committee Member(s):McCarthy, Timothy; Lasersohn, Peter; Rabern, Brian
Department / Program:Philosophy
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Possible worlds
Abstract:Propositions, in addition to being the things that sentences express relative to contexts of utterance, can be invoked to play a few theoretical roles: since a sentence seems to be true just in case it expresses a true proposition, propositions could be seen as the primary bearers of truth and falsity; since sentences can be said to be necessarily or possibly true in virtue of expressing necessarily or possibly true propositions, propositions could be seen as being the primary bearers of modal properties; since it is possible to know what someone said, propositions would be the things that we are properly said to know. Propositions are of deep philosophical interest mostly due to the fact that each of these four theoretical roles involves a perennial philosophical subject meaning, truth, modality, and knowledge. There should be no surprise that philosophers are intent on analyzing and understanding propositions. Of course, merely specifying a list of philosophically interesting theoretical roles does not suffice as an analysis. Other than the fact that propositions play these theoretical roles, they seem to be mysterious place-holders. What precisely are the things that can be simultaneously expressed by a sentence, true, necessary, and known? One ambition of a theory of propositional content is to point to a class of entities that can be modeled in a way that satisfies the philosophical demands of each of these roles. To this end, I provide a novel theory of propositional content and show that it yields solutions to problems plaguing its competitors. Based on a generalization of standard intensional models, I develop a formal framework in which propositions are identified with partitions of sets of possible worlds.
Issue Date:2016-07-12
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Eric Mack
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-11-10
Date Deposited:2016-08

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