We are happy to announce another talk by Ede Zimmermann  (GU) next thursday at the Semantics Colloquium. Please find an abstract below.

Since this talk will be held online, please note that you need to register beforehand. To do so, please send an email to koepping@em.uni-frankfurt.de before May 14. You will receive a reply with the access data (to zoom) and a handout on thursday at 4pm (= immediately before the colloquium starts).

Title: Propositionalisms
Date: May 14th
Time: 4pm – 6pm

Roughly, propositionalism is the thesis that informational content is always truth conditional (Grzankowski 2013). In particular, the objects of psychological attitudes need to be propositions – in some sense, which includes propositional concepts (cf. Blumberg 2018) as well as perspectival content (Lewis 1979). Thus propsitionalists seek to reduce attitudes towards “intentional“ objects in terms of propositional attitudes: someone who is looking for a unicorn strives for it to be the case that he or she finds a unicorn (Quine 1956); someone who fears Superman is afraid that Superman might do something to him or her (but see Forbes 2000); someone who likes chocolate likes it when he or she consumes chocolate (but see M. Montague 2007); etc.

In linguistic semantics, propositionalism comes in various guises, usually relating to intensionality. In its most straightforward form (aka sententialism; Larson 2002), propositionalism treats all intensional constructions as clausal embeddings. Less ambitious varieties claim that intensionality can always be paraphrased in terms of propositional embedding, possibly in some more refined language (cf. R. Montague 1969). In this talk I will define and compare different forms of propositionalism and discuss various strategies of defending or rejecting them, thereby focussing on two particular aspects: the very notion of a proposition and the risk of trivializing propositionalism by type-shifting (Kaplan 1975).

References: on handout