030084 Attitudes towards Objects (Liefke)

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It is often assumed that all mental states (e.g. believing, wishing, fearing) are relations to propositions. These propositions carry information content (e.g. '311 is a prime number') that can be true or false, that can be linguistically expressed by a sentence, and that can be shared between cognitive agents. Much recent work in the philosophy of language and mind has argued against this 'propositional attitude' view. This work has pointed out that the objects of many mental states (e.g. fearing Moriarty, imagining a unicorn, and needing a laptop) intuitively resist a propositional treatment. Thus, I can fear Moriarty without fearing that Moriarty has (or does) P (where P is some property or activity). This seminar gives an introduction to the 'hot' topic of non-propositional attitudes. It identifies the theoretical challenges that are posed by these attitudes and reviews some attempts at solving these challenges. Over the course of the semester, students will learn about propositional and objectual attitudes, intentionality, referential opacity, and the metaphysics of attitudinal objects like beliefs and needs. | | | Selected readings: Forbes, Graeme (2000). Objectual attitudes. Linguistics and Philosophy 23(2): 141-183. Grzankowski, Alex (2013). Non-propositional attitudes. Philosophy Compass 8(12): 1123-1136. Moltmann, Friederike (2003). Propositional attitudes without propositions. Synthese 135: 77-118. Montague, Michelle (2007). Against propositionalism. Noûs 41(3): 503-518. Quine, Willard Van Orman (1956). Quantifiers and propositional attitudes. Journal of Philosophy 53(5): 177-187.