Volume 98, Issue 4, October 2021
Recanati on 'That'-clauses
The received view concerning belief ascriptions of the form ‘A believes that S’ says (A) that ‘believe’ denotes a relation holding between agents and truth-bearing entities (propositions), and (B) that ‘that’-clauses are referential expressions denoting propositions. In “‘That’-Clauses as Existential Quantifiers,” Recanati expresses his dissatisfaction with the received view. According to Recanati, (B) threatens semantic innocence. Therefore, following Panaccio, Recanati proposes to treat ‘that’-clauses of the form ‘that S’ as restricted existential quantifiers of the form ‘For some p such that p is true iff S.’ In this article, I will argue that together with Kripke’s disquotational principle connecting sincere assertion and belief this analysis leads to unacceptable consequences. Since, as we shall see, the solution cannot be to reject Kripke’s disquotational principle, it will follow that the Recanati-Panaccio analysis cannot be correct. Concluding, I will show that the argument against the Recanati-Panaccio analysis of ‘that’-clauses also provides a more general way of testing semantic analyses and that, unlike the Recanati-Panaccio analysis, the received view passes this test.