Access to the full content is only available to members of institutions that have purchased access. If you belong to such an institution, please log in or find out more about how to order.


Print

De re/de dicto

DOI
10.4324/9780415249126-X009-1
DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-X009-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved November 17, 2019, from https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/thematic/de-re-de-dicto/v-1

Article Summary

De re’ and ‘de dicto’ have been used to label a host of different, albeit interrelated, distinctions. ‘De dicto’ means ‘of, or concerning, a dictum’, that is, something having representative content, such as a sentence, statement or proposition. ‘De re’ means ‘of, or concerning, a thing’. For example, a de dicto belief is a belief that a bearer of representative content is true, while a de re belief is a belief concerning some thing, that it has a particular characteristic.

Consider the following example:

  • John believes his next-door neighbour is a Buddhist.

This statement is ambiguous. Construed de dicto, it is true in the following circumstance. John has never had any contact with his next-door neighbour. Nevertheless, John believes that his next-door neighbour is bound to be a Buddhist. Construed in this de dicto fashion, the statement does not attribute to John a belief that is distinctively about a particular individual. In contrast, construed de re, it does attribute to John a belief that is about a particular individual. For example, construed de re, the statement is true in the following circumstance. John encounters his next-door neighbour, Fred, at a party without realizing that Fred is his next-door neighbour. On the basis of his conversation with Fred, John forms a belief about the individual who is in fact his next-door neighbour to the effect that he is a Buddhist.

Print
Citing this article:
Gallois, Andre. De re/de dicto, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-X009-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis, https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/thematic/de-re-de-dicto/v-1.
Copyright © 1998-2019 Routledge.

Related Searches

Topics

Related Articles