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Philosophy Colloquium Series: Ephraim Glick (St. Andrews University)

Date: 3:30pm - 5:00pm PST November 8, 2013 Location: JRHH 132

JRHH 132



Please join us for a talk by Ephraim Glick from St. Andrews University.

“What is a Singular Proposition?”

On one view, for a proposition to be singular is for it to have an object as a constituent. On another view, a singular proposition is one that is ontologically dependent on an object. A variety of other accounts appear in the literature, but rarely accompanied by a careful comparison with rivals or even by an explanation of why the account captures the background ideas that motivate drawing a distinction between singular and general propositions in the first place. Indeed, it is often unclear exactly what the background ideas are which would help us gauge the success of an account of singularity. My project in this paper is to clarify the motivation for the singular / general distinction and advocate a simple analysis of that distinction. The idea will be to give explanatory priority to singular thoughts, rather than explaining singular thoughts as thoughts whose contents are singular propositions. I will argue that there is no promising independent account of what it is for a proposition to be singular. Extant accounts either fail to respect the basic motivations for the notion of singularity, leave the explanation of singularity insufficiently clear, or rely on commitments to the metaphysics of propositions in an undesirable way.

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