Research Group
in Analytic Philosophy

The proposition that a is an F

Date: 18 February 2015

Time: 15:00

Place: Seminari de Filosofia UB

Abstract

A theory of structured propositions will be incomplete without an account of unity. The problem of the unity of the proposition comes in two variants. There is the mereological (hence metaphysical) question of how multiple disparate entities combine into one whole, which may have features none of its constituent parts have. For instance, if A is an individual and F a property, how do A and F combine into the proposition P that A has property F? P is capable of being true or false; A and F are not. And there is the semantic question of how structured propositions are unified in such a way as to be or have or represent or yield truth-conditions. My talk sketches the historical and conceptual background of the problem of the unity of the proposition, which reaches as far back as Plato's question of how a logos is unified and which in modern times will be known from Frege's theory of saturated versus unsaturated entities and Russell's struggle with relations. I also sketch some contemporary act-based approaches to the unity problem. I finally outline how I prefer to tackle the unity problem. I suggest that the unifier of the atomic proposition that A is an F is the procedure of functional application, in casu in its capacity as the procedure of predication. My background theory is Transparent Intensional Logic, which is a neo-Fregean semantic theory that brings together semantic realism and procedural semantics.