Linguistic Proposition

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A Linguistic Proposition is the Sense of a Natural Language Sentence.



  • (Chierchia & McConnell-Ginet, 2000) ⇒ Gennaro Chierchia, and Sally McConnell-Ginet. (2000). “Meaning and Grammar: An Introduction to Semantics, 2nd edition." MIT Press.
    • Frege proposes that sentences (and indeed, expressions of any category) have not only a reference (a standard translation of the German word Bedeutung) but also a sense (Frege's term was Sinn). The reference of an expression is what it stands for on a given occasion of its use. Its sense, Frege says, is the way in which the reference is presented.
    • It is worth reiterating that for Frege senses are not to be thought of as mental or psychological entities. In particular, the sense of a sentence, say, "Pavarotti is Italian," is not what we grasp in hearing it, for the latter, is intrinsically a subjective matter, and varies to a degree from individual to individual. Senses are what enable us to communicate with each other, and as such they must be inter-subjective (or objective). So the notion of a thought for Frege should be construed as something like the information content that we grasp in understanding a sentence. Henceforth we will follow the common practice of using the term proposition for this purpose. A proposition is the sense of a sentence.