Work in Progress

“Extensionality and the Composition of Thoughts” (draft)

In recent years, a consensus has emerged, among philosophers of mind and language, that there is no consistent Fregean theory of propositional attitude ascriptions which dispenses with Frege’s infamous hierarchy of senses. In this paper, I show that this consensus is premature: even the most persuasive arguments for the hierarchy rest on the undefended, and questionable, assumption that any genuinely Fregean theory must be purely extensional. On the alternative theory I propose, both the sense and reference of an expression will remain the same in every linguistic context, but the truth-value of a propositional attitude ascription will nonetheless depend on the customary senses of some of its parts. The result is a consistent, plausibly Fregean, but non-extensional theory of propositional attitude ascriptions.

“Coming to Believe” (draft)

This essay develops and defends a view of belief on which the rationality of a belief is generally to be explained, at least in part, by a past act in which it was formed or confirmed. On the proposed view, the belief that p is a single-track disposition: the disposition to judge that p. This view, it is argued, avoids difficult problems that beset views on which judgments merely cause beliefs, but does so without recourse to the more radical suggestion (due to Matthew Boyle, among other) that believing is an activity rather than a state.