Act-Based Conceptions of Propositional Content: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives (Hardback)
  • Act-Based Conceptions of Propositional Content: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives (Hardback)
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Act-Based Conceptions of Propositional Content: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives (Hardback)

(editor), (editor)
£53.00
Hardback 408 Pages / Published: 31/08/2017
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The notion of a propositional content plays a central role in contemporary philosophy of language. Propositional content makes up both the meaning of sentences and the content of propositional attitudes such as belief. One particular view about propositional content has been dominant in analytic philosophy, namely the Fregean conception of propositions as abstract mind-independent objects that come with truth conditions. But propositions in this sense raise a range of issues, which have become a center of debate in current philosophy of language. In particular, how should propositions as abstract objects be understood and how can they represent things and be true or false? A number of philosophers in contemporary analytic philosophy as well as in early analytic philosophy and phenomenology have approached the notion of a propositional content in a different way, not by starting out with an abstract truth berarer, but by focusing on cognitive acts of agents, such as acts of judging. It is in terms of such acts that the notion of a propositional content, on their view, should be understood. The act-based perspective historically goes back to the work of Central European philosophers, in particular that of Husserl, Twardowski, Meinong, and Reinach. However, their work has been unduly neglected and is in fact largely inaccessible to contemporary analytic philosophers. The volume presents a central selection of work of these philosophers that bear on an act-based conception of philosophical content, some of which in new translations (one paper by Reinach), some of which published in English for the very first time (two papers by Twardowski). In addition, the volume presents new work by leading contemporary philosophers of language pursuing or discussing an act-based conception of propositional content. Moreover, the book contains a crosslinguistic study of nominalizations for actions and products, a distinction that plays a central role in the philosophy of language of Twardowski.

Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN: 9780199373574
Number of pages: 408
Weight: 675 g
Dimensions: 242 x 165 x 31 mm


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This important collection gives Anglophone contemporary philosophers of mind and language access for the first time to historical and current writing defending the view that the notion of an act, rather than a propositional content, is fundamental in explaining propositional attitudes and their linguistic expression. Collectively the essays provide a substantial philosophical and linguistic challenge to unexamined doctrines that we have inherited. The volume deserves and will repay detailed attention. * Chris Peacocke, Columbia University and the Institute of Philosophy, London University *

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