Date of Award

May 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Michael N Liston

Committee Members

Joshua T Spencer, Peter D Van Elswyk


brute, explanation, naturalism, proposition, semantic, soames


Scott Soames is a naturalist propositional realist. Propositional realism requires a commitment to propositions, propositional access, and semantic properties (namely, representationality and truth conditionality). Soames' task, as a naturalist propositional realist, is to give appropriate explanations of the entities in question in terms of a naturalist base ontology. In contrast, brutalism (of any sort) holds that some facts are brute or unexplainable in terms of some base ontology. I argue that at least one semantic fact in particular—that propositional representationality bears the property I call Tight Connection—remains unexplained even given Soames' efforts. I argue that there is no route available for Soames to explain the fact that propositional representationality bears Tight Connection in terms of his own base ontology. Therefore, I argue that we should endorse the view that at least one fact about semantic properties (namely, that propositional representationality bears Tight Connection) is a brute one.

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