Chapter published in:Essays on Linguistic Realism
Edited by Christina Behme and Martin Neef
[Studies in Language Companion Series 196] 2018
► pp. 235–254
Cognitive propositions in realist linguistics
The paper presents a cognitive conception of propositions as semantic contents of (some) declarative sentences. The conception expands solution spaces for previously intractable empirical problems in natural-language semantics and pragmatics, while also explaining how an agent who is unable to cognize propositions can know or believe them, and how sophisticated agents acquire the concept and believe things about them by monitoring their own cognitions. Finally, an account is given of what it is for a sentence to mean that p in a language that doesn’t require having thoughts about p or L. Nevertheless, semantics isn’t psychology; agents with different psychologies can speak semantically identical languages, while those with the same purely internal states (embedded in similar immediate environments) can speak different languages. Cognitive semantics can be realist and naturalistic without being a branch of psychology.
Keywords: semantics, hyperintensional, representational content, cognitive content, recognition of recurrence
Published online: 26 July 2018