Propositional Attitudes

  • Rainer Bäuerle
  • M. J. Cresswell
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 167)


The phrase “propositional attitude” was used by Russell to cover such “mental” things as beliefs, hopes, wishes, fears and the like. One can even use the phrase more widely to refer to indirect discourse in generaL The grammatical mark of an expression for a propositional attitude in English is that it can take a that-complement. Russell’s example was (1) Othello believes that Desdemona loves Cassio and the problem is the individuation of the object of Othello’s belief. To believe is to believe something, but since Desdemona does not love Cassio. there is no such thing as “Desdemona#x2019;s loving Cassio” to be the object of Othello#x2019;s belief. It seems plausible, however, to analyse the meaning of (1) by requiring it to be true if and only if Othello stands in whatever relation is the meaning of #x2019;believe#x2019; to the entity which is the meaning of (2) Desdemona loves Cassio and that this be an entity which still exists, even though Desdemona does not in fact love Cassio.


Actual World Propositional Attitude Impossible World Structure Meaning Illocutionary Force 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barwise, J. and Perry, J.: 1983, Situations and Attitudes, Cambridge Mass. MIT Press.Google Scholar
  2. Belnap, N. D.: 1977a, ‘How a computer should think’, Contemporary Aspects of Philosophy, in G. Ryle (ed.), Oxford, Oriel Press, pp. 30–56.Google Scholar
  3. Belnap, N. D.: 1977b, ‘A useful four-valued logic’, Modern Uses of Multiple-Valued Logic, (in J. M. Dunn and G. Epstein (eds.), Dordrecht, D. Reidel, pp. 8–37.Google Scholar
  4. Bigelow, J. c.: 1978, ‘Believing in semantics’, Linguistics and Philosophy 2, 101–144.Google Scholar
  5. Burge, T.: 1978, ‘Belief and synonymy’, The Journal of Philosophy 75, 119–138.Google Scholar
  6. Carnap, R.: 1947, Meaning and Necessity, Chicago, University of Chicago Press (2nd edition with appendices, 1956).Google Scholar
  7. Casteñeda, H.-N.: 1974, ‘Thinking and the structure of the world’, Philosophia 4,3–40.Google Scholar
  8. Church, A.: 1950, ‘On Carnap’s analysis of statements of assertion and belief’, Analysis 10, 97–99.Google Scholar
  9. Cresswell, M. J.: 1975, ‘Hyperintensional logic’, Studia Logica 34, pp. 25–38.Google Scholar
  10. Cresswpll, M. J.: 1980, ‘Quotational theories of propositional attitudes’, Journal of Philosophical Logic 9, pp. 17–40. Reprinted as chapter 6 of Semantical Essays: Possible Worlds and their Rivals, Dordrecht, Kluwer 1988, pp. 78-103.Google Scholar
  11. Cresswell, M. J.: 1982, The autonomy of semantics. Processes, Beliefs, and Questions in S. Peters and E. Saarinen (eds.), Dordrecht, D. Reidel, pp. 69–86.Google Scholar
  12. Cresswell, M. J.: 1985, Structured Meanings: The Semantics of Propositional Attitudes, Cambridge Mass., MIT Press.Google Scholar
  13. Cresswell, M. J. and A. von Stechow: 1982, ‘De re belief generalized’, Linguistics and Philosophy 5, pp. 503–535.Google Scholar
  14. Davidson, D.: 1969, ‘On saying that’, Words and Objections in D. Davidson and K. J. J. Hintikka (eds.), Dordrecht, D. Reidel, pp. 158–174.Google Scholar
  15. Fodor, J. A. 1975: The Language of Thought. New York, Crowell.Google Scholar
  16. Fodor, J. A.: 1978, ‘Propositional attitudes’, The Monist 61, pp. 501–523.Google Scholar
  17. van Fraassen, B. C.: 1979, ‘Propositional attitudes in weak pragmatics’, Studia Logica 38, pp. 365–374.Google Scholar
  18. Godei, K.: 1931, ‘Über formal unentscheidbare Satze der Principia Mathematica und verwandter Systeme 1’, Monatshefte für Mathematik und Physik 38, 173–198. (Translated by B. Meltzer with an introduction by R. B. Braithwaite, Edinburgh, Oliver and Boyd).Google Scholar
  19. Hintikka, K. J. J.: 1962, Knowledge and Belief, Ithaca, Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Hintikka, K. J. J.: 1970, ‘Knowledge, belief and logical consequence’. Ajatus, Vol 32. pp. 32–47 (reprinted in Hintikka [1975, pp. 179-191].)Google Scholar
  21. Hintikka, K. J. L 1975. The Intentions of Intentionality and Other New Models for Modalities, Dordrecht, D. ReideLGoogle Scholar
  22. Hintikka, K. J. J.: 1973, Logic. Language Games and Information, Oxford, Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Hintikka, K. J. L 1975, ‘Impossible possible worlds vindicated’. Journal of Philosophical Logic 4, 475–484.Google Scholar
  24. Kaplan, D.: 1969, Quantifying in Words and Objections (ed. D. Davidson and K. J. J. Hintikka) D. Reidel Dordrecht, pp. 206–42.Google Scholar
  25. Kaplan, D.: 1979. On the logic of demonstratives. The Journal of Philosophical Logic 8, 81–98.Google Scholar
  26. Katz, J. J. 1972, Semantic Theory. New York. Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  27. Klein, E. H.: 1978. On sentences which report beliefs, desires and other mental attitudes. Ph.D. Thesis. University of Cambridge.Google Scholar
  28. Kripke, S. A.: 1972. ‘Naming and necessity’, Semantics of Natural Language. in D. Davidson and G. H. Harman (eds.), Dordrecht, D. Reidel. pp. 253–355.Google Scholar
  29. Lewis, C. L: 1918. A Survey of Symbolic Logic. Berkeley, University of California Press.Google Scholar
  30. Lewis, D. K.: 1970. ‘General semantics’. Synthese 22 (1970) pp. 18–67. (Reprinted in Semantics of Natural Language. (ed. D. Davidson and G. H. Harman). Dordrechl. D. Reidel. pp. 169-218, and in Partee [1976] pp. 1-50)Google Scholar
  31. Lewis, D. K.: 1979. ‘Attitudes de dicto and de se’. Philosophical Review 8,513–43.Google Scholar
  32. Mates, B.: 1950. ‘Synonymity’, University of California Publications in Philosophy Vol 25. pp. 201–226 (reprinted in Semantics and the Philosophy of Language. ed. L. Linsky. University of Illinois Press 1952, pp. 111-136).Google Scholar
  33. Montague, R. M.: 1963. Syntactical treatments of modality. Acta Philosophic-Fenllica, Modal and Many-valued Logics pp. 153–166 (Reprinted in Montague (1974) pp. 286-3(2).Google Scholar
  34. Montague, R. M.: 1974. Formal Philosophy. in R. H. Thomason (ed.). New Haven. Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Moore, R. C. and G. G. Hendrix: 1982, ‘Computational models of beliefs and the semantics of belief sentences’. in Peters, P. S. and E. Soarinen (eds.). Processes Beliefs, and Questions. Dordrecht. Reidel, pp. 107–27.Google Scholar
  36. Parsons, T.: 1974. A Prolegomenon to Melinongian semantics. Journal of Philosophy 71, 561–80.Google Scholar
  37. Partee, B. H.: 1973. ‘The semantics of belief sentences’. Approaches to,Natural Language (ed. K. J. J. Hintikka, J, M. E. Moravcsik and P. Suppes) Dordrecht. Reidel. pp. 309–.136.Google Scholar
  38. Partee, B. H,: 1979. ‘Semantics: Mathematics or Psychology?’. Semantics from Different Points of View (ed. R. Bäuerle. U, Egli, A. von Stechow) Berlin. Springer. pp. 1–14.Google Scholar
  39. Putnam, H.: 1975. ‘The meaning of “meaning”’ Language, Mind and Knowlledge (ed. K. Gunderson) Minnesota Studies in thc Philosophy of Science. Vol 7. University of Minnesota Press. Minneapolis. 1975. reprinted in Mind, Language and Reality Philosophical Papers Vol 2. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. pp. 215 271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Quine, W. V. O.: 1953. ‘Reference and modality’. From a Logical Point of View. Cambridge Mass,. Harvard University Press (second edition 1961). pp. 139–159.Google Scholar
  41. Quine, W. V. O.: 1956. ‘Quantifiers and propositional attitudes’. The Journal of Philosophy 53, 177–187.Google Scholar
  42. Quine, W. V. O.: 1960, Word and Object. Cambridge Mass., MIT Press, 1960.Google Scholar
  43. Rantala, V.: 1975, ‘Urn models: A new kind of non-standard model for first-order logic’, Journal of Philosophical Logic, 4, 455–474.Google Scholar
  44. Reeves, A. L.: 1973, ‘In defence ofa simple solution’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 51, 17–38.Google Scholar
  45. Rescher, N.: 1975, A Theory of Possibility, Oxford Blackwell.Google Scholar
  46. Russell, B. A. W.: 1912, The Problems of Philosophy, London, Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Russell, B. A. W.: 1921, The Analysis of Mind, London, George Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  48. Russell, B. A. W., 1940, An Enquiry into Meaning and Truth, London, George Allen and Unwin, 1940.Google Scholar
  49. Smullyan, A. F.: 1948, ‘Modality and description’, The Journal of Symbolic Logic 13, 31–37.Google Scholar
  50. Stalnaker, R. c.: 1976, ‘Propositions’, Issues in the Philosophy of Language, in A. F. Mackay and D. Merill (eds.), New Haven, Yale University Press, pp. 79–91.Google Scholar
  51. Stalnaker, R. C.: 1978, ‘Assertion’, Syntac and Semantics Vol 9, in P. Cole (ed.), New York, Academic Press, pp. 315–332.Google Scholar
  52. Stalnaker, R.: 1985, Inquiry, Cambridge Mass., Bradford Books, MIT Press.Google Scholar
  53. Tarski, A.: 1935, ‘Der Wahrheitsbegriff in den formalisierten Sprachen’, Studia Philosophica 1,261–405. Translated in Logic, Semantics and Metamathematics, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1956, pp. 151-278).Google Scholar
  54. Thomason, R. H.: 1977, ‘Indirect discourse is not quotational’, The Monist 60, 340–354.Google Scholar
  55. Thomason, R. H.: 1980a, ‘A model theory for propositional attitudes’, Linguistics and Philosophy 4, 47–70.Google Scholar
  56. Thomason, R. H.: 1980b, ‘A note on syntactical treatments of modality’, Synthese 44, 391–395.Google Scholar
  57. Whitehead, A. N. and B. A. W. Russell: 1910, Principia Mathematica, Cambridge, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 3 Vols, 1st edition 1910-1913, second edition 1923-1927.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rainer Bäuerle
  • M. J. Cresswell

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations