It's Not What it Seems. A Semantic Account of 'Seems' and Seemings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


I start out by reviewing the semantics of 'seem'. As 'seem' is a subject-raising verb, 'it seems' can be treated as a sentential operator. I look at the semantic and logical properties of 'it seems'. I argue that 'it seems' is a hyperintensional and contextually flexible operator. The operator distributes over conjunction but not over disjunction, conditionals or semantic entailments. I further argue that 'it seems' does not commute with negation and does not agglomerate with conjunction. I then show that the mental states expressed by perceptual uses of 'seem' have non-conceptual, yet perspectival contents. In the final part of the paper I argue that while the content of the mental states expressed by perceptual uses of 'seem' are non-conceptual, having a mental state of this type requires possessing conceptual abilities corresponding to what the mental state represents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-239
Number of pages30
JournalInquiry (United Kingdom)
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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