Proposition query

Tahir Wood twood at UWC.AC.ZA
Mon Jan 26 07:20:02 UTC 2009

Thanks, I'm very interested in this too. I am interested, as it turns
out though, in distinguishing firmly between predication and
proposition. For example, it seems to me that lexical choices are
inherent in predication and not necessarily in the proposition. In fact
in my understanding of the proposition it is not tied to a particular
language at all. To me this is a 'cognitivist' notion of the
proposition, yet it seems to run counter to recent cognitivist
approaches (and many other linguistic approaches) that are suspicious of
'depth' notions of meaning. Maybe I should put this on the Cogling list
and see if it stirs up something.

>>> "Chilton, Paul" <p.chilton at> 01/23/09 6:28 PM >>>
Interesting question.

You might be interested in the neuro-anatomical hypothesis for the
cognitive origin of predicate-argument structure in 

The neural basis of predicate-argument structure. James R. Hurford.
Behavioral and Brain Sciences , Volume 26, Issue 03, June 2003, pp
261-283 ...



-----Original Message-----
From: Critical Discourse/Language/Communication Analysis
[mailto:CRITICS-L at NIC.SURFNET.NL] On Behalf Of Tahir Wood
Sent: 23 January 2009 14:24
Subject: Proposition query

Hi folks

Another query. It concerns the status of the proposition within
linguistic theory. I am aware that the proposition is an indispensable
notion within Teun van Dijk's theoretical work, but I can't recall if
there is a really clear theoretical definition of the proposition to

Kintsch (1998:69), for example, says that "propositions appear to be
semantic processing units of the mind" and that they have only an
indirect relationship to the syntax of sentences, this because natural
language has "many purposes other than the expression of meaning",
whereas propositions are those representations that are "focused on

This is indeed my point of departure but it doesn't exactly take us
far theoretically. I'm working on the theoretical aspect but I don't
want to reinvent the wheel. If anyone can point me to a good
discussion of the proposition that would be useful -- particularly if
can be located easliy on the web! -- I would be most grateful. I
that, given the complexion of this list, the definitions offered would
tend to reflect psychologism rather than logicism (as in Frege,

BTW, as a small advertisement, following my query last year as to the
definition of pragmatics, which pragmatics journals might accept
theoretical discourse articles, etc., I can report that the
article I was working on at the time did in fact get accepted by the
Journal of Pragmatics and it can be viewed on their website in
pre-publication form at



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