My question may seem strange and nonsensical for some, therefore I will try to explain myself to the best of my ability. So to make it clearer what I mean with my question. I will start by quoting the very beginning of Propositions from SEP (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy):

The term ‘proposition’ has a broad use in contemporary philosophy. It is used to refer to some or all of the following: the primary bearers of truth-value, the objects of belief and other “propositional attitudes” (i.e., what is believed, doubted, etc.1), the referents of that-clauses, and the meanings of sentences.

I am mainly concerned with: the primary bearers of truth-value. So that is how I will define what I mean with propositions. Therefore, semantic answers like the following, or something similar:

A proposition is not a proposition until it has been proposed.

is not the answer I am looking for because that would not answer my question. For example, you can think that something is a proposition, but in fact is not a proposition. Namely, the proposition fails to be truth-apt. Because, it does not meet my definition: the primary bearers of truth-value. We are now getting closer to the essence of my question. I think claims about the ontological is either true or false, so whenever we have a concept of something it is either a proposition or it is not a proposition. The question is; if we do not have a concept about x, would it still be a proposition? Because even if we do not have a concept of x - the ontological fact of said unknown x is still either existent or nonexistent.

  • Re: if we do not have a concept about x, would it still be a proposition? would what still be a proposition? The question you are asking sounds like it hinges on a difference in most views between statements and propositions... – virmaior Sep 28 '14 at 12:24
  • The proposition of x. Assume that x for simplicity is the concept of God, and assume in turn that humans did not "invent" or think about this concept. Would it still be a proposition? The nonexistent concept is still truth-apt, but unknown. What it would express if thought about is ontological in nature, and that ontological fact would still be either true or false even if the concept did not exist in the mind of humans. Or am I wrong? – Grodan Sep 28 '14 at 14:37
  • I'm not sure about the case for false propositions, but on most understandings, all true propositions are true regardless of whether there are statements made. But whether every proposition exists is a more complicated question that I'm not enough of a metaphysician to answer. – virmaior Sep 28 '14 at 14:50
  • Is there someone who knows whether there is some metaphysical theory that deals with this? That is, that every true proposition exists without there are statements made? – Grodan Sep 28 '14 at 16:36

Propositions are still propositions before their referents are conceived of.

Major results in mathematics prove things about sets of all propositions of a given type, whatever their referents. (This is pretty much the whole of Category Theory after a certain point.) Clearly we haven't gotten around to proposing all of those propositions or imagining all such structures. So pretty much everyone admits that propositions are not limited to things that refer only to what humans have conceived of, or will conceive of, or even can conceive of.

Is that what you are asking?

  • Yes, this is very close to what I was thinking (I think). Do you know any good literature about this for further reading? – Grodan Sep 28 '14 at 15:26
  • The best known proof about all propositions is Goedel's. Although few people can bear the tedium of the actual proof, (In my personal pantheon, Goedel and Yoneda are the Gods of Patience. 8-) ) the motivations behind it are covered well in Douglas Hofstadter's "Godel, Escher, Bach". But none of that is really about propositional logic. Maybe some kind of intro to Quine, or something? – user9166 Oct 29 '14 at 20:38

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