By Simone Weil
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Additional resources for Formative Writings, 1929-1941
Quantifying into sentence-place is not quantifying over propositions. It will be seen that though Prior rejects the Quinian orthodoxy as a whole, he accepts a part of it. Quine holds that whenever we quantify, we quantify into referential position and hence quantify over objects (or what we are committed to taking as such). Prior rejects the premiss, but accepts that the conclusion follows from it. 72 into singular-term-position, he would agree, we are committed to the view that any specifying expression, any definite singular term, which might replace the bound variable, stands for or designates an object.
These further steps, though perhaps permissible, can only be an embarrassment for those who prefer to think of propositions as purely abstract entities. I have spoken, so far, of successful direct reference. But not all attempted direct reference is successful or wholly successful. My purpose (in this paper) is to enquire what happens when a speaker thinks he is in a position to make a direct reference to a particular individual, and uses a term with that intention, but one or more of a variety of things goes wrong.
Have we not similarly recognized 'If William performs an action of the hopping-kind, then Tom performs an action of the hopping-kind' as a possible periphrasis for 'If William hops, then Tom hops', and associated a double quantification over actions and action-kinds with the former as well as a quantification into action-predicate-place with the latter? So may we not recognize quantification over propositions in our language without prejudice to the recognition of Prior's kind of quantification as also in the language?
Formative Writings, 1929-1941 by Simone Weil