The objects of interest in this paper are the modal and temporal properties of propositions, and the argument of this paper is that reflection on these properties will not lendsupport to the case for
.Let me slow down a bit, and say a few things about propositions. Propositions aretheoretical entities. They are functionally defined. Propositions, as traditionally conceived, playthree theoretical roles. First, propositions are the objects of our intentional attitudes, such asbelief or doubt. When I believe that p I stand in the belief relation to the proposition
.Second, propositions are the semantic values of sentences. According to
, apopular (though not unanimously endorsed) methodological assumption in linguistics, thesemantic value of a sentence is composed of the semantic values of its parts. Some sentencesare composed of smaller sentences. For instance, according to
, a sentenceof the form “x is F and y is G” is composed of the respective semantic values of the sentences“x is F” and “y is G” (and the semantic value of ‘and’, conjunction). Accordingly, the propositionexpressed by a sentence
should be the contribution that
makes to a larger sentence inwhich
Third, propositions are the bearers of alethic, modal, and temporalproperties. Alethic properties include true and false. Modal properties include possible, actual,necessary, etc. Temporal properties include past, present, future, etc. All else being equal, thebest theory of propositions would be one according to which it is plausible that propositions playall three roles.Much of the following discussion depends upon the difference between sentenceoperators and quantifiers. I’ll now dedicate some discussion to this distinction. A proposition,
,is the contribution that a sentence
makes to the semantic value of a larger sentence
’ may also include an expression whose semantic value is a
Though my colleague, Eric Snyder, thinks that the linguistic case for
is also unpersuasive. He [iswriting/has written] separately in defense of that claim. This may be an appropriate time to remark that I have benefitted immensely from conversations with Mr. Snyder on subjects relevant to this paper.
This is not meant to include sentences where the words ‘x’ ‘is’ and ‘F’ appear in that order, but where the sentence‘x is F’ is not plausibly a part of the larger sentence. For instance, the sentence ‘Snow is white’ is not plausibly partof ‘In arctic environments, the color that increases one’s ability to survive while walking in the snow is white.”.