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Philosophies de la ressemblance

Iconic Propositions

Jesse J. Fitts
p. 99-123


Je défends ici la nécessité, et ébauche une première version, d’une théorie iconique des propositions. Selon celle-ci, les propositions sont comme les objets de représentation, ou similaires à eux. Les propositions, suivant cette approche, sont des propriétés que l’esprit instancie lorsqu’il modélise le monde. Je connecte cette théorie aux récents développements de la littérature académique sur les propositions, ainsi qu’à une branche de recherches en sciences cognitives, qui explique certains types de représentations mentales en termes d’iconicité.

I motivate the need for, and then sketch, an iconic theory of propositions according to which propositions are like or similar to their objects of representation. Propositions on this theory are properties that the mind instantiates when it models the world. I connect the theory to recent developments in the propositions literature as well as to a strain of cognitive science that explains some kinds of mental representation in terms of iconicity.

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1 Introduction
2 From M1 to iconic propositions
2.1 General character of each thesis
2.2 From M1 to iconic propositions
3 Iconic propositions: The theory sketch
3.1 The iconic base
3.2 Recipe template and sketch
4 Conclusion

First lines

1 Introduction

According to Jeffrey King’s and Scott Soames’ recent theories of propositions, mental representation is fundamental and propositional representation is derivative. The traditional view has things the other way around. Call the recent shift the mind-first (M1) movement and the traditional view the proposition-first (P1) movement. According to M1 theories, the existence and nature of propositions somehow depend upon the mental processes that give rise to mental, and thus propositional, representation. In this paper, I accept, for the sake of exploring its consequences, the M1 movement. If this assumption is true, it opens the door to the possibility that the mind represents in different ways, which may give rise to different kinds of propositions.

In particular, I consider the idea in some areas of cognitive science that some mental representation is iconic. Here, I have in mind views according to which the mind represents the world by creating simulations, models, and ma...

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Bibliographical reference

Jesse J. Fitts, « Iconic Propositions »Philosophia Scientiæ, 24-2 | 2020, 99-123.

Electronic reference

Jesse J. Fitts, « Iconic Propositions »Philosophia Scientiæ [Online], 24-2 | 2020, Online since 02 January 2023, connection on 31 October 2020. URL:; DOI:

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About the author

Jesse J. Fitts

University of Nevada Las Vegas (USA)

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