[FOM] Godel numbers, use, and mention

Michael Zeleny zeleny at math.ucla.edu
Sat Jun 7 22:19:33 EDT 2003

On 7 Jun 2003, Richard Heck wrote:

>>> (5) Ralph wants [Ortcutt to eat dirt],
>>> then it is not clear to me whether, if Ortcutt is Smith, it follows,
>>> logically, that Ralph wants Smith to eat dirt. Perhaps not. But there
>>> may be an ambiguity here.

>> As an aside, my understanding of standard theories of propositional attitude
>> reports is that:
>> (5') Ralph wants Smith to eat dirt.
>> does indeed follow from (5) if we are only concerned with the propositional
>> content of the that clause, and ignore the "mode of presentation" of 
>> Ralph/Smith....

> Certainly, there are theories on which that would hold. But I don't know
> if I would want to call them the "standard" theories. I'm not sure there
> is much standard in this vexed area. In any event, it is, or should be,
> obvious that there is a de re (or 'objectual') reading of (5), on which
> substitution will hold. All views (even Frege's own) will allow that.

I am not sure that Frege is a good candidate for extremism in denying the
availability of de re (or 'objectual') readings of oblique contexts. But I
doubt that Jean Buridan, in countenancing only suppositio personalis and
suppositio materialis to the exclusion of suppositio simplex, could make
sense of de re readings of statements concerning round squares and other
chimerae. Arguably, on any view that interprets terms as denoting concepts
in oblique contexts, "nothing can be said truly about that, which does not
exist." (Alonzo Church)

> What is controversial is (i) whether there is also a de dicto (or
> 'notional') reading of (5) and, if so, (ii) how the two are related. 

cordially,                         -- Mikhail Zeleny at math.ucla.edu
7576 Willow Glen Rd, Hollywood, CA 90046 323-876-8234 323-363-1860
All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter.
Try again. Fail again. Fail better.              -- Samuel Beckett

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