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Article

Propositional Complexity and the Frege-Geach Point

Synthese. 2019.

It is almost universally accepted that the Frege-Geach Point is necessary for explaining the inferential relations and compositional structure of truth-functionally complex propositions. I argue that this claim rests on a disputable view of propositional structure, which models truth-functionally complex propositions on atomic propositions. I propose an alternative view of propositional structure, based on a certain notion of simulation, which accounts for the relevant phenomena without accepting the Frege-Geach Point. The main contention is that truth-functionally complex propositions do not include as their parts truth-evaluable propositions, but their simulations, which are neither forceful nor truth-evaluable. The view makes room for the idea that there is no such thing as the forceless expression of propositional contents and is attractive because it provides the resources for avoiding a fundamental problem generated by the Frege-Geach Point concerning the relation between forceless and forceful expressions of propositional contents. I further argue that the acceptance of the Frege-Geach Point mars Peter Hanks’ and François Recanati’s recent attempts to resist the widespread idea that assertoric force is extrinsic to the expression of propositional contents. Rejecting this idea, I maintain, requires a deeper break with the tradition than Hanks and Recanati have allowed for.