fast
 
Reply Tue 17 Nov, 2009 04:24 pm
P1. Some propositions are true.
P2. Some statements are true.
P3. Some sentences are true.

I believe most of us would agree that some propositions are true, and hopefully many of us would agree that some statements are true, but how many among us agree that some sentences are true? My position is that some sentences are true. How about you?
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kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Nov, 2009 04:31 pm
@fast,
fast;104143 wrote:
P1. Some propositions are true.
P2. Some statements are true.
P3. Some sentences are true.

I believe most of us would agree that some propositions are true, and hopefully many of us would agree that some statements are true, but how many among us agree that some sentences are true? My position is that some sentences are true. How about you?


Quine held that sentences were true. But according to some views, the same sentence may express two different propositions, one true, and one false. Then there is P.F. Strawson, who held that sentence express statements. The difference between statements and propositions is obscure (at least to me).
Zetherin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Nov, 2009 04:48 pm
@fast,
I know your threads may be directed exclusively to kennethamy and Emily, who, for the most part, understand the distinctions and formalizations in what you write, but for the rest of us (or just me!):

Can you detail the differences between a "sentence", "statement", and "proposition", please?
0 Replies
 
Emil
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Nov, 2009 05:16 pm
@fast,
fast;104143 wrote:
P1. Some propositions are true.
P2. Some statements are true.
P3. Some sentences are true.

I believe most of us would agree that some propositions are true, and hopefully many of us would agree that some statements are true, but how many among us agree that some sentences are true? My position is that some sentences are true. How about you?


I agree with (1).

What do you mean by "statement"? The same as "proposition"? In that case I agree.

I disagree with (3). But I can see that it has some pragmatic value to say that sentences are also sometimes true and false in addition to propositions. The pragmatic value is that it makes it easier to talk about certain things without having to use complex phrases like "the proposition expressed by (the sentence) is true (or false)".

This is how I see understand that view:[INDENT]A sentence is true iff it expresses exactly one proposition and that proposition is true.
A sentence is false iff it expresses exactly one proposition and that proposition is false.
[/INDENT]Sentences are not the sole bearers of truth/falsity. They get their truth/falsity from propositions.

I deny that sentences are true/false too because of the principle of parsimony.

---------- Post added 11-18-2009 at 12:23 AM ----------

kennethamy;104145 wrote:
Quine held that sentences were true. But according to some views, the same sentence may express two different propositions, one true, and one false. Then there is P.F. Strawson, who held that sentence express statements. The difference between statements and propositions is obscure (at least to me).


Sentences and propositionsAbout "statement"
Some people seem to use "statement" and "proposition" synonymously. I use "statement" synonymously with "sentence" not with "proposition".

---------- Post added 11-18-2009 at 12:27 AM ----------

Zetherin;104147 wrote:
I know your threads may be directed exclusively to kennethamy and Emily, who, for the most part, understand the distinctions and formalizations in what you write, but for the rest of us (or just me!):

Can you detail the differences between a "sentence", "statement", and "proposition", please?


Se my earlier post for "statement".

"Sentence"
A sentence is (Wiki):[INDENT]In linguistics, a sentence is an expression in natural language-a grammatical and lexical unit consisting of one or more words, representing distinct and differentiated concepts, and combined to form a meaningful statement, question, request or command.[1]
[/INDENT]"Proposition"
A proposition is what is expressed by some sentences (descriptive, non-category error involving and possibly other conditions too). A proposition is, given proposition theory, what is true or false. Since it is not sentences that are true or false, it has to be something else: propositions. I usually quote philosophypages.com:
[INDENT]What is conveyed by a declarative sentence used to make a statement or assertion. Each proposition is either true or false, though in a particular instance we may not know which it is. [/INDENT]
0 Replies
 
Emil
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Nov, 2009 11:08 pm
@fast,
I wrote an essay about the ambiguity problem for sentence theories. I plan on writing a series of essays that deal with sentence theories. They seem to not want to go away. Smile (Thanks, fast!)
0 Replies
 
fast
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 07:45 am
@kennethamy,
[QUOTE=kennethamy;104145]Quine held that sentences were true. But according to some views, the same sentence may express two different propositions, one true, and one false. Then there is P.F. Strawson, who held that sentence express statements. The difference between statements and propositions is obscure (at least to me).[/quote]

When the police take both of our statements, and if they are consistent, then the sentences we used to make our respective statements express the very same proposition, so in the end, there are two different sentences, two different statements, and one proposition (the very same proposition) expressed by the different sentences we used to make our own individual statements.

PS: and yes, your statement consisted of one true declarative sentence--and so did mine.

---------- Post added 11-18-2009 at 08:56 AM ----------

Zetherin;104147 wrote:
I know your threads may be directed exclusively to kennethamy and Emily, who, for the most part, understand the distinctions and formalizations in what you write, but for the rest of us (or just me!):

Can you detail the differences between a "sentence", "statement", and "proposition", please?


Two different sentences can express the very same proposition. For example, in some contexts, the sentence, "Sally is fat" expresses the same proposition as, "The blonde girl on the front row is fat."

---------- Post added 11-18-2009 at 09:16 AM ----------

[QUOTE=Emil;104151]I disagree with (3). [/quote]
If the proposition expressed by a declarative sentence is true, then the declarative sentence that expresses the true proposition is true.

[quote]Some people seem to use "statement" and "proposition" synonymously. I use "statement" synonymously with "sentence" not with "proposition".[/QUOTE]You use "statement" synonymously with "sentence"? Did you mean to say that?[/SIZE]

[quote]"Proposition"[/SIZE]
A proposition is what is expressed by some sentences (descriptive, non-category error involving and possibly other conditions too). A proposition is, given proposition theory, what is true or false. Since it is not sentences that are true or false, it has to be something else: propositions. I usually quote philosophypages.com:

What is conveyed by a declarative sentence used to make a statement or assertion. Each proposition is either true or false, though in a particular instance we may not know which it is.
[/quote]

I think clarity needs to be brought to what we mean by "what" in "what is expressed". At any rate, I think "proposition" is ambiguous. It has more than one meaning, and though what meaning we are using may be understood, it may not be unwise to keep it in mind that it doesn't have only one meaning.

The following isn't exact, but it's sufficient to make the distinction (at least for sake of clarity):
Proposition 1) what is expressed by declarative sentences (the narrow sense)
Proposition 2) what is expressed by sentences (the broad sense)

Proposition 1 is clearly the one you're referring to, but that's only because you're interested in cognitively meaning propositions, for only those propositions can be true or false, but there is a broader sense of the word where the sentence, "Where is Sally?" and the sentence "where is the fat girl?" express the same proposition even though what is expressed (though meaningful) isn't cognitively meaningful.
Emil
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 08:51 am
@fast,
[QUOTE=fast;104272]When the police take both of our statements, and if they are consistent, then the sentences we used to make our respective statements express the very same proposition, so in the end, there are two different sentences, two different statements, and one proposition (the very same proposition) expressed by the different sentences we used to make our own individual statements.

PS: and yes, your statement consisted of one true declarative sentence--and so did mine.[/QUOTE]

It does not follow that if both our statements are consistent (whatever that means), then they express the same proposition. It is possible that the same thing is not mentioned in both our statements because they were about different things. It is possible that they express equivalent propositions.

Besides "consistent" is not applicable to "statement" but is to "proposition" (and maybe others too). So unless you mean "proposition" when you write "statement" this is nonsense!

[QUOTE=fast;104272]Two different sentences can express the very same proposition. For example, in some contexts, the sentence, "Sally is fat" expresses the same proposition as, "The blonde girl on the front row is fat."
[/QUOTE]

I'm not too sure about that. Maybe they just express logically equivalent propositions. Maybe they just have the same referent. Meaning is not the same as referent. (Ken can probably expand on this.) See (Wiki, original essay).

[QUOTE=fast;104272]If the proposition expressed by a declarative sentence is true, then the declarative sentence that expresses the true proposition is true.[/QUOTE]

That's the sentences as extended truth bearers theory (
more about this in a forthcoming essay). Note that you need not mention "declarative" in that conditional, "sentence" will do.

[QUOTE=fast;104272]You use "statement" synonymously with "sentence"? Did you mean to say that?[/QUOTE]

Yes. That is, if I use "statement" at all. I almost never use that word since it seems to me that I can do just fine with "sentence" and "proposition".

[QUOTE=fast;104272]I think clarity needs to be brought to what we mean by "what" in "what is expressed". At any rate, I think "proposition" is ambiguous. It has more than one meaning, and though what meaning we are using may be understood, it may not be unwise to keep it in mind that it doesn't have only one meaning.[/QUOTE]

Some work has been done on this. Again I think you should read N. Swartz, R. Bradley, 1979.. How many times must I repeat this reference? Smile

[QUOTE=fast;104272]The following isn't exact, but it's sufficient to make the distinction (at least for sake of clarity):
Proposition 1) what is expressed by declarative sentences (the narrow sense)
Proposition 2) what is expressed by sentences (the broad sense)

Proposition 1 is clearly the one you're referring to, but that's only because you're interested in cognitively meaning propositions, for only those propositions can be true or false, but there is a broader sense of the word where the sentence, "Where is Sally?" and the sentence "where is the fat girl?" express the same proposition even though what is expressed (though meaningful) isn't cognitively meaningful.[/quote]

I never heard of this second sense. Do you have a reference for that?

You wrote:
[INDENT]"cognitively meaning propositions"
[/INDENT]But that is ungrammatical. I take it that you meant to write:
[INDENT]"cognitively meaningful propositions"
[/INDENT]But that is a category error. "Meaningful" is not applicable to propositions.

fast
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 09:12 am
@Emil,
[QUOTE=Emil;104289]It does not follow that if both our statements are consistent (whatever that means), then they express the same proposition. It is possible that the same thing is not mentioned in both our statements because they were about different things. [/QUOTE]You're right. My bad.

[QUOTE]It is possible that they express equivalent propositions.[/QUOTE]
I should have said equivalent statements. Picky, picky.

[QUOTE]Besides "consistent" is not applicable to "statement" but is to "proposition" (and maybe others too). [/QUOTE]Not so. Statements can be consistent with other statements; moreover, they can be consistent yet not equivalent.

[QUOTE]I'm not too sure about that. Maybe they just express logically equivalent propositions. Maybe they just have the same referent. Meaning is not the same as referent. (Ken can probably expand on this.) [/QUOTE]I know that meaning is not the same as referent.

[QUOTE]Yes. That is, if I use "statement" at all. I almost never use that word since it seems to me that I can do just fine with "sentence" and "proposition".[/QUOTE]"Statement" and "sentence" are far from being synonymous.

[quote]Some work has been done on this. Again I think you should read N. Swartz, R. Bradley, 1979.. How many times must I repeat this reference? [/SIZE] [/QUOTE]If a proposition is what is expressed by a sentence, then we know that propositions are not sentences but rather what is expressed by them, but that doesn't tell us what a proposition is.

[QUOTE]I never heard of this second sense. Do you have a reference for that?[/QUOTE]I think Kennethamy may.

[QUOTE]You wrote: "cognitively meaning propositions"

But that is ungrammatical. I take it that you meant to write:

"cognitively meaningful propositions"[/QUOTE]Crap. My bad (again).

[QUOTE]But that is a category error. "Meaningful" is not applicable to propositions.[/QUOTE]What? Of course propositions are meaningful--in more than one sense too!

They are meaningful in that I understand what is being said, and they are cognitively meaningful in that they are either true or false.
0 Replies
 
Emil
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 09:16 am
@fast,
I wrote an essay about truth bearers. You may want to read it.

---------- Post added 11-18-2009 at 04:32 PM ----------

[QUOTE=fast;104296]Not so. Statements can be consistent with other statements; moreover, they can be consistent yet not equivalent.[/QUOTE]

Consistency is a truth-functional concept (likewise with lots of other logical concepts like inconsistency, equivalence, implication, etc.). It is only applicable to entities that are true/false. "true" and "false" are inapplicable to statements. What is a statement anyway? That was never clarified. I rather not use that term at all. If all you mean by "statement" is proposition" then sure consistency is applicable to statements because truth/falsity is.

In my view it is propositions that are consistent with other propositions. I am a supporter of proposition theory of truth bearers.

[QUOTE=fast;104296]I know that meaning is not the same as referent.[/QUOTE]

Good.

[QUOTE=fast;104296]"Statement" and "sentence" are far from being synonymous.[/quote]

Then stop using the word or tell me what it means. It is not helping to use a word that no one seems to know what means! It is completely unnecessary to use that word AFAIK.

[QUOTE=fast;104296]If a proposition is what is expressed by a sentence, then we know that propositions are not sentences but rather what is expressed by them, but that doesn't tell us what a proposition is.[/QUOTE]

It tells me what propositions are and that is what is expressed by some sentences (I would have written "certain" but that had misleading connotations). Why does it not tell you what propositions are? What do you require? A public dissection? It's not possible to do with abstract entities.

[QUOTE=fast;104296]What? Of course propositions are meaningful--in more than one sense too![/QUOTE]

"Meaningful" is not applicable to propositions. It is applicable to sentences among other things. (It is also applicable to morphemes. Sometimes an action is said to be meaningful but this is another meaning of "meaningful" that means something like purposeful.) Some sentences are meaningful (all depending on the definition of "sentence"). Some sentences are cognitively meaningful. "Cognitively meaningful" is inapplicable to propositions.

[QUOTE=fast;104296]They are meaningful in that I understand what is being said, and they are cognitively meaningful in that they are either true or false.[/quote]

But you cannot hear propositions. (Or it is a category error to say that you can hear propositions. I'm unsure.)
Cognitively meaningful does not mean are true/false. Cognitively meaningful means express propositions.
0 Replies
 
fast
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 09:41 am
@fast,
That's a lot of disagreement. I bet Kennethamy may disagree with me somewhat too. I don't think he'd disagree near as much though.

Quote:
Why does it not tell you what propositions are?
It informs me that there's a relationship between the two, but beyond that, it isn't very informative.

Can't hear 'em huh. Hmmm. I gotta think about that one.
Emil
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 09:49 am
@fast,
fast;104310 wrote:
That's a lot of disagreement. I bet Kennethamy may disagree with me somewhat too. I don't think he'd disagree near as much though.

It informs me that there's a relationship between the two, but beyond that, it isn't very informative.

Can't hear 'em huh. Hmmm. I gotta think about that one.


It seems to me that definitions in terms of relations are not problematic. What kind of definition are you looking for? I have no problems using propositions in my reasoning even when the definition is somewhat uninformative. Where is the problem?

I think the disagreement is because you are coming from a somewhat naive view of truth/falsity. That's not a problem. We all have to start there. I may be wrong though. Have you read anything serious on the subject? Quine perhaps? He was/is a sentence theorist.
fast
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 10:04 am
@Emil,
Emil;104312 wrote:
It seems to me that definitions in terms of relations are not problematic. What kind of definition are you looking for? I have no problems using propositions in my reasoning when they the definition is somewhat uninformative. Where is the problem?

I think the disagreement is because you are coming from a somewhat naive view of truth/falsity. That's not a problem. We all have to start there. I may be wrong though. Have you read anything serious on the subject? Quine perhaps? He was/is a sentence theorist.


Telling me that a proposition is what is expressed by a sentence is about as informative as telling me that a baseball is what is hit by a baseball bat. It's something, and something is better than nothing, but it's still inadequate.
Emil
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 10:14 am
@fast,
fast;104317 wrote:
Telling me that a proposition is what is expressed by a sentence is about as informative as telling me that a baseball is what is hit by a baseball bat. It's something, and something is better than nothing, but it's still inadequate.


No other things are expressed by sentences AFAIK. Thus it is adequate for this purpose. Your proposed analogous definition of baseball is not because there are many things that are hit by baseball bats (e.g. people).
fast
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 11:06 am
@Emil,
[QUOTE=Emil;104321]No other things are expressed by sentences AFAIK. Thus it is adequate for this purpose. Your proposed analogous definition of baseball is not because there are many things that are hit by baseball bats (e.g. people).[/quote]
Okay. Let's try it another way.

I'm told that there is something expressed by declarative sentences, so I want an explanation of what it is exactly that is expressed by those sentences. (Message?, communication?, meaning?, something else?).

Telling me that a proposition is what is expressed by a declarative sentence doesn't help if the only explanation for what a proposition is is that it's what is expressed by a declarative sentence.

I'll let you in on a little something else that bothers me. We may talk as if sentences are so talented that they can do the things we say they can, but I bet it's often the case that we're only imbuing things with having the power to do what we really do ourselves.

For example, I would be inclined to think that it's technically not the case that sentences do the things we say they do; instead, we use those things to do what we want to do; hence, we are the one's expressing propositions, and we are using sentences to do just that, so this idea that sentences are the talented one's seems to me what can only be spawned by those that are philosophizing without a license. (aren't we all! Smile)

So, the underlying question is what are we expressing when we use sentences to express propositions? (A Message? An Idea? Our thoughts? The meaning of sentences? What we mean when we say what we do? Something else?). I'm trying to get at the heart of just what "what" is when we say it's what is expressed by a sentence.
Emil
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 11:14 am
@fast,
fast;104334 wrote:
Okay. Let's try it another way.

I'm told that there is something expressed by declarative sentences, so I want an explanation of what it is exactly that is expressed by those sentences. (Message?, communication?, meaning?, something else?).

Telling me that a proposition is what is expressed by a declarative sentence doesn't help if the only explanation for what a proposition is is that it's what is expressed by a declarative sentence.


See (N. Swartz, R. Bradley, 1979) for a discussion of a speculative theory of what propositions are, what they are made of, etc. Are you ever going to look that up? It's a logic textbook with some additional writings on the ontology of propositions and such, that is, exactly what we are discussing. I'm getting annoyed that you have not even replied to this reference yet! It's not like you could have missed it. I have suggested it at least three times already.

fast;104334 wrote:
I'll let you in on a little something else that bothers me. We may talk as if sentences are so talented that they can do the things we say they can, but I bet it's often the case that we're only imbuing things with having the power to do what we really do ourselves.

For example, I would be inclined to think that it's technically not the case that sentences do the things we say they do; instead, we use those things to do what we want to do; hence, we are the one's expressing propositions, and we are using sentences to do just that, so this idea that sentences are the talented one's seems to me what can only be spawned by those that are philosophizing without a license. (aren't we all! Smile)

So, the underlying question is what are we expressing when we use sentences to express propositions? (A Message? An Idea? Our thoughts? The meaning of sentences? What we mean when we say what we do? Something else?). I'm trying to get at the heart of just what "what" is when we say it's what is expressed by a sentence.


I don't think it is a metaphor to say that some sentences express propositions.

A sentence may express one's thoughts but not in the same sense of "express" as before, I think.
fast
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 11:33 am
@Emil,
[QUOTE=Emil;104337]I'm getting annoyed that you have not even replied to this reference yet! It's not like you could have missed it. I have suggested it at least three times already.[/QUOTE]
I don't mean to annoy you. Sincerely. Also, I appreciate the suggestion.
0 Replies
 
Emil
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 01:50 pm
@fast,
Quote:
That's the sentences as extended truth bearers theory (more about this in a forthcoming essay).


This essay is no longer forthcoming. Read it here.
fast
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 02:48 pm
@Emil,
Quote:
A sentence is true [if and only if] it expresses exactly one proposition and that proposition is true.


I found a note she had left for him: "I'm going to the bank. Meet me there. Dress appropriately!" Of course, I have no idea about the context.

As we all know, the term, "bank" is ambiguous and therefore could either mean a hill by a body of water or a financial institution.

Here are two possible propositions:
1. I'm going to the bank [financial institution].
2. I'm going to the bank [by the water].

The person who wrote the note may not have needed to disambiguate the message as the intended receiver would know which she was talking about, but because the note doesn't convey context, I (as a third party reader) do not know which proposition was intended.

That's not to say, however, that the sentence (independent of context) doesn't express two separate propositions, one of which is true and one of which is false. Words mean what they do independent of what we mean when we use them.

I would say that the sentence expresses two different propositions independent of what was intended. I would also say that despite the fact the sentence expresses two different propositions, one of them is still true, so I do not agree with what you said.

---------- Post added 11-18-2009 at 03:49 PM ----------

Damn these fonts.
Emil
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 03:38 pm
@fast,
fast;104360 wrote:


I found a note she had left for him: "I'm going to the bank. Meet me there. Dress appropriately!" Of course, I have no idea about the context.

As we all know, the term, "bank" is ambiguous and therefore could either mean a hill by a body of water or a financial institution.

Here are two possible propositions:
1. I'm going to the bank [financial institution].
2. I'm going to the bank [by the water].

The person who wrote the note may not have needed to disambiguate the message as the intended receiver would know which she was talking about, but because the note doesn't convey context, I (as a third party reader) do not know which proposition was intended.

That's not to say, however, that the sentence (independent of context) doesn't express two separate propositions, one of which is true and one of which is false. Words mean what they do independent of what we mean when we use them.

I would say that the sentence expresses two different propositions independent of what was intended. I would also say that despite the fact the sentence expresses two different propositions, one of them is still true, so I do not agree with what you said.

---------- Post added 11-18-2009 at 03:49 PM ----------

Damn these fonts.


"so I do not agree with what you said." Umm. This follows from what exactly?
fast
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 04:11 pm
@Emil,
[QUOTE=Emil;104373]"so I do not agree with what you said." Umm. This follows from what exactly?
[/quote]

If it's true that a sentence can express a true proposition (which is something I believe is true, sort of), then how would a sentence that expresses more than one proposition change the fact that it's true that a sentence can express a true proposition? That blows me away. You said, "a sentence is true [if and only if] it expresses exactly one proposition and that proposition is true. I don't understand the reasoning behind the "exactly one" condition as you have worded it. An implication of what you said is that a sentence that expresses more than one proposition (hence, not exactly one proposition) is not true because you said, "if and ONLY if", but I don't see why you would think that.

If a sentence expresses two propositions, and if at least one of the propositions are true, then why can't a sentence be true?

Is it because if one of the propositions is false, then the sentence is both true and false and that's a contradiction?
 

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