In Defense of Standard Approach to Logico-Semantic Explication of Non-Specific Transparent Interpretation of Propositional Attitude Reports

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This study explores the phenomenon of the so-called “third reading” of propositional attitude reports. This reading, which was originally explored in the dissertation of J. Fodor (1973) and has since become one of the significant problems in the formal semantics of natural languages, differs from the more well-known de re and de dicto readings by being an intermediate case. If the de re interpretation can be referred to as transparent specific, and the de dicto interpretation as opaque non-specific, then the third reading is transparent non-specific. Fodor's standard solution has been the subject of much discussion in the literature and has given rise to a series of widely accepted counterexamples that are thought to demonstrate the limitations of Fodor's solution. At the same time, alternative approaches to the explication of these readings also suffer from formal shortcomings (for example, some of them did not satisfy the requirement of meaning compositionality, which is a basic requirement in formal semantic literature). This study points out that the analysis of all complex cases of the third reading did not fully take into account their syntactic structure. This remained unnoticed due to the ellipsis in many of these cases. It is shown that a restoration of the ellided syntactic structure makes it possible to analyze all hard cases as basic ones using the classical standard analysis proposed by Fodor supplemented by the principles of admissibility of substitution of L-equivalent expressions in intensional contexts (known since G. Frege and R. Carnap). In the final part of the work, it is demonstrated how exactly the main complex cases of the “third reading” are explicated in terms of the standard approach.

About the authors

Petr S. Kusliy

Russian Society for History and Philosophy of Science

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0205-6414

Candidate of Philosophical Sciences, Researcher

Bd. 2, 1/36 Lyalin Lane, 105062, Moscow, Russian Federation


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