The Nature and Structure of Content

Research output: Book/ReportBook

237 Scopus citations


Belief in propositions has had a long and distinguished history in analytic philosophy. Three of the founding fathers of analytic philosophy, Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, and G. E. Moore, believed in propositions. Many philosophers since then have shared this belief; and the belief is widely, though certainly not universally, accepted among philosophers today. Among contemporary philosophers who believe in propositions, many, and perhaps even most, take them to be structured entities with individuals, properties, and relations as constituents. For example, the proposition that 'Glenn loves Tracy' has Glenn, the loving relation, and Tracy as constituents. What is it, then, that binds these constituents together and imposes structure on them? And if the proposition that 'Glenn loves Tracy' is distinct from the proposition that 'Tracy loves Glenn' yet both have the same constituents, what is it about the way these constituents are structured or bound together that makes them two different propositions? This book formulates an account of the metaphysical nature of propositions, and provides fresh answers to the above questions. In addition to explaining what it is that binds together the constituents of structured propositions and imposes structure on them, the book deals with some of the standard objections to accounts of propositions: it shows that there is no mystery about what propositions are; that given certain minimal assumptions, it follows that they exist; and that on this approach, we can see how and why propositions manage to have truth conditions and represent the world as being a certain way. The book also contains a detailed account of the nature of tense and modality, and provides a solution to the paradox of analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages240
ISBN (Electronic)9780191710377
ISBN (Print)0199226067, 9780199226061
StatePublished - Apr 26 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


  • Analytical philosophy
  • Bertrand Russell
  • Constituents
  • G. E. Moore
  • Gottlob Frege
  • Metaphysics
  • Modality
  • Propositions
  • Tense


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