Communication: A Philosophical Study of Language

By Karl Britton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
THE THEORY OF CONTINGENT PROPOSITIONS

(PART I)
1. I want to distinguish a group of sentences that are of particular importance to all people who are in the full possession of their five senses and their memories and powers of speech1:
(i) Physical Property Sentences
1.1 The moon will be full to-night.
1.2 This radiator is very hot.
1.3 His blood-pressure is very high.
1.4 The ship was travelling NNW at 20 knots.
I want first to distinguish them from other sentences that equally treat of physical objects, but which ascribe to them properties that are not physical:
2.1 The moon is looking lovely.
2.2 This radiator is a nuisance.
2.3 His blood-pressure is quite baffling.
2.4 The ship looks grim and mysterious.

I shall call this group (2) Emotional Property Sentences.

A most striking difference between them is that the vast majority of people who understood these sentences would, after making certain observations, agree as to whether

____________________
1
By sentences here and throughout the chapter, I mean what the Grammar Books mean by 'a sentence in the Indicative Mood'. Not all such sentences really mean propositions.

-41-

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