more from Gilbert Harman

Single Idea 3085

[catalogued under 19. Language / D. Propositions / 1. Propositions]

Full Idea

'Bob and John play golf' and 'John and Bob play golf' are equivalent; but if they were to be derived from the same underlying structure, one or the other of Bob and John would have to come first; and either possibility is arbitrary.

Gist of Idea

Sentences are different from propositions, since two sentences can express one proposition


Gilbert Harman (Thought [1973], 6.4)

Book Reference

Harman,Gilbert: 'Thought' [Princeton 1977], p.94

A Reaction

If I watch Bob and John play golf, neither of them 'comes first'. A proposition about them need not involve 'coming first'. Only if you insist on formulating a sentence must you decide on that.