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Semantics

Attitude Problems: An Essay On Linguistic Intensionality by Graeme Forbes

By Graeme Forbes

Ascriptions of psychological states to oneself and others supply upward thrust to many fascinating logical and semantic difficulties. perspective difficulties offers an unique account of psychological country ascriptions which are made utilizing intensional transitive verbs akin to 'want', 'seek', 'imagine', and 'worship'. Forbes deals a idea of ways such verbs paintings that pulls on rules from common language semantics, philosophy of language, and aesthetics.

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Extra info for Attitude Problems: An Essay On Linguistic Intensionality

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Thus (11) a. chases(x)(tom))( jerry) = . b. chases(x)(tom))(spike) = ⊥. chases(x)(tom) is therefore of type ib, and so is suitable as an argu- ment to some(mouse). chases(x)(tom) which is well-typed, since the argument to chases is x, which is of type i, and the argument to some(mouse) is, as we just said, of type ib. (12) may be well-typed, but are we sure it means that Tom chases some mouse? chases(x)(tom) = when that mouse is assigned to x (see (21d) below). chases(x)(tom) as an extensional representation of the property of being chased by Tom (of being an x such that Tom chases x).

The ambiguity in (4) is superficially similar to that in (3) and may be brought out in what seems to be the same way: (6) a. Three gorgons are such that Perseus is in Crete looking for them. b. 6 (6a) is true if Perseus is in Crete, looking for Euryale, Medusa and Stheno. (6b) is true if he is in Crete, searching with the intention of finding three gorgons, without there being any particular three he intends to find. The contrast here was famously captured in Quine’s 5 It is less clear that there is a comparable ambiguity in (2), with its bare plural ‘gorgons’.

Perseus believes the proposition that three gorgons can be found in Crete. The two readings of (3) in (5) articulate an ambiguity for which there are many labels in the literature: de re/de dicto, wide scope/narrow scope, relational/notional, specific/unspecific, to name some. The ambiguity was originally investigated by Quine (1956), who introduced the terminology ‘relational/notional’. According to (5a), there are three gorgons (in the domain of discourse) to whom Perseus is cognitively related in believing that they can be found in Crete (he need not believe they are gorgons).

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