Principal Investigator:

Adriana Silva Graça

Funding Institution: FCT
Date: 2005-2008


FCT Project POCI/FIL/56586/2004

The project on Content consists mainly in carrying out philosophical research on some central issues that cut across such disparate areas as the Philosophy of Language, the Philosophy of Mind, the Philosophy of Mathematics and Epistemology. The activity associated with the project can be sorted out into the following two categories: (i) regular activities and (ii) other events.

Philosophical Background The philosophical background of the Project “On Content” may be found in Gottlob Frege and Bertrand Russell logical and philosophical work. Frege was the first to apply the methods of Logic to philosophical research and, more importantly (having this project in mind), the first to distinguish between ‘meaning’ and ‘reference’. Actually, his seminal paper “Uber Sinn und Bedeutung” gave rise to the tradition of distinguishing between Theories of Meaning and Theories of Reference. Bertrand Russell, in turn, in “On Denoting”, presented his theory of Definite Descriptions, which strikingly modelled our way of thinking about philosophical problems in the Philosophy of Language, besides having presented a theory classified by Ramsey as a “paradigm of philosophy”. There is a huge variety of views around the topics they have introduced and most of these philosophical problems are not yet solved. Some of them are to be developed in the present project.

Project Objectives The central aim of the Project on Content is to develop philosophical research in areas traditionally belonging to or revolving around the Philosophy of Language. Some of the central objectives of the project are the following:

  • The assessment of different theories of linguistic meaning.
  • The assessment of different theories of reference.
  • The study of the relation between semantics and pragmatics, particularly identifying those aspects that are relevant to the determination of propositional content (whatever it is).
  • The study of vagueness and indexicality.
  • The study of the content of mathematical propositions as well as the content of ethics and aesthetics ones.
  • The study of the content of a priori and necessary propositions.
  • The study of issues concerning the semantics and the pragmatics of propositional attitudes ascriptions.
  • The study of issues concerning the so called “empty names”.

There is no agreement in the literature about these and other related topics. The aim of this project is to try to outline the central features of a new approach to such topics.

Research Team

Adriana Silva Graça, Aires Almeida, António Lopes, Célia Teixeira, Desidério Murcho, Fernando Janeiro, Fernando Ferreira, João Branquinho, Teresa Marques, Pedro Galvão, Pedro Santos.



Permanent Internal Seminar (2006 - 2007; 2007 - 2008) 1st Lisbon Workshop on Semantics Petrus Hispanus Lectures 2006 ENFA 3 - Third National Meeting - Portuguese Society for Analytic Philosophy