On Predicating Is it done non-committally?
Two proponents of the Act-Based view on propositions, Hanks and Soames, have taken two different stances on how we should view predication. Soames views it as a non-committal act and Hanks views it as a committal act. Hanks has argued that Soames’s view is incoherent. In this essay, I evaluate Hanks’s argument and see if it is a successful attack on Soames’s theory. We will see that Hanks’s argument are actually two, one which has multiple ways one could understand it, and that the arguments are forceful against Hanks, because of the similarity between his and Soames view. The first of Hanks’s arguments will fail, because it rests on a faulty assumption. The second of his arguments could lead to a dilemma for Hanks if interpreted in a strong way. If interpreted in a weak way, we will see one way in which Hanks could defend himself, but that Soames can do the same. Thus the second argument also fails.