Why maps are not propositional

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Many philosophers and logicians assume an exhaustive and exclusive dichotomy between "imagistic", iconic, or pictorial representations and "discursive", logical, or propositional ones. Maps seem to fall somewhere in between, with different theorists assimilating them to one or the other side of the divide. Given this assumption, philosophers and logicians interested in defending the logical tractability of maps have typically analyzed them as being predicative, where this is understood as a species of logical, propositional representation. This chapter argues that the best way to interpret the debate about propositionality is as concerning a representational system's operative functional structure. Propositional structure is claimed to exhibit several distinctive properties: it is digital, asymmetrical, general, recursive, and hierarchical. However, there is little positive evidence that cartographic structure exhibits these features in the relevant sense.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationNon-Propositional Intentionality
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)9780198732570
StatePublished - Aug 23 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


  • Icons
  • Images
  • Maps
  • Propositional structure
  • Propositions


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