A historical survey and conceptual account of states of affairs
States of affairs are entities like snow's being white. This dissertation encompasses two projects. First, I provide a historical survey of the concept of state of affairs as it has been used in the history of ontology. Second, I provide a novel conceptual account of states of affairs.
In chapter one I survey early theories of states of affairs, which include those of Rudolf Hermann Lotze (1817--1881), Carl Stumpf (1848--1936), Edmund Husserl (1859--1938), Alexius Meinong (1853--1920), Anton Marty (1847--1914), and Adolf Reinach (1883--1917). I conclude that Rudolph Lotze was the first theorist of states of affairs.
In chapter two I examine Ludwig Wittgenstein's (1889--1951) theory. I conclude with Max Black that Wittgenstein did not countenance possible states of affairs.
In chapter three I examine prominent contemporary accounts of states of affairs including those of Roderick Chisholm (1916--1999), John Pollock, Reinhardt Grossman, Alvin Plantinga, Ramon Lemos, and David Armstrong.
In chapter four I consider methodological preliminaries and five desiderata for any successful theory of states of affairs. I consider differences between sentence nominalizations and the possible worlds approach to states of affairs; both considerations lead to the preliminary conclusion that propositions are distinct from states of affairs.
In chapter five I construct propositions out of abstract designators, concepts, and operators (DCO's). Propositions are maximally fine-grained potential objects of belief and are logical forms of DCO's. Propositions are irreducible, ante rem universals.
In chapter six, I produce a new theory of states of affairs. They are maximally fine-grained objects of intentional mental states like entertaining. They are second-order logical forms of DCO's like propositions. I offer identity conditions for propositions and states of affairs and show how they can be isomorphic. This logical isomorphism serves to give truth conditions for propositions. I consider this theory in light of actualism and then apply it to a correspondence theory of truth. I briefly consider tensed propositions and events in light of this sketch of correspondence. I then show that my desiderata have been satisfied. I conclude by providing comparison and contrast between this new theory and its contemporary competitors.