Hyperintensionality and De Re Beliefs

  • Paul ÉgréEmail author
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 369)


This paper deals with the phenomenon of hyperintensionality of belief reports in natural language, building on earlier work by J. Gerbrandy on counterpart semantics for first-order epistemic logic, and elaborating on Cresswell and von Stechow’s generalized de re analysis of belief. Counterpart relations are used by Gerbrandy to model the notion of mode of presentation and to account for the context-dependence of de re beliefs. The present work extends Gerbrandy’s semantics to a second-order epistemic logic, in which not only individuals, but also properties and relations have epistemic counterparts. The aim is to give a uniform treatment of cases of hyperintensionality involving expressions of distinct syntactic categories (coreferential proper names, cointensional predicates, logically equivalent sentences), by giving belief sentences a generalized de re logical form.


Hyperintensionality De re beliefs Counterpart semantics Belief reports second-order epistemic logic Logical omniscience 



A preliminary version of this paper originally appeared in the Proceedings of the ESSLLI 2006 Workshop on Logics for Resource-Bounded Agents, T. Agotnes & N. Aleshina eds, under the title “Logical Omniscience and Counterpart Semantics”. The present, more extended version, was originally submitted to Linguistics and Philosophy end of 2006, and got two valuable referees reports asking for revisions, which I kept postponing until today, leaving the paper on the backburner. Despite the years and what I now see as some inherent limitations to the approach presented, several people suggested that it would be useful still to publish this more extended version. I am grateful to F. Lihoreau and M. Rebuschi for giving me this opportunity to do so and to incorporate those revisions, and I thank two anonymous L&P reviewers for their helpful comments. I also thank, for the helpful feedback and comments they gave me then, M. Aloni, J. van Benthem, D. Bonnay, J. Dubucs, B. Geurts, N. Klinedinst, E. Maier, R. Muskens, F. Récanati, P. Schlenker, B. Spector and T. Williamson, as well as audiences at the First PALMYR workshop 2005 held in Amsterdam, at the Journées de Sémantique et de Modélisation held in Bordeaux 2006, and participants at the seminars PhilForm and Propriétés in Paris.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département d’Études CognitivesInstitut Jean-Nicod (CNRS, ENS, EHESS), École Normale SupérieureParisFrance
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyNYUNew YorkUSA

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