On the traditional Platonist or Fregean picture of cognitive representation, we represent by standing in certain relations to intrinsically representational propositions qua abstract objects. On this picture it is propositions that represent fundamentally and we who represent derivatively.

The Platonist picture has recently come under attack. First, it leaves it completely unexplained how we could come to stand in the relevant relations to propositions qua abstract objects. Second, it leaves unexplained what propositions qua abstract objects are such that they could intrinsically represent. In other words, it can’t solve the problem of the unity of the proposition or the problem of explaining how propositions have truth-conditions (Davidson 2005, Jubien 2001, King 2007, 2009, Soames 2010, 2014, Hanks 2015).

On the critics’ alternative Naturalist picture of cognitive representation it is we who represent fundamentally and propositions that represent derivatively. And we represent by referring to objects and predicating properties of them. (Soames 2010, 2014, Hanks 2015)

      One challenge to the Naturalist picture raised by Robert Stalnaker and others is as follows: if one is worried about explaining how propositions have truth-conditions one should also be worried about explaining how properties have their satisfaction-conditions. However, the Naturalists usually just appeal to unexplained properties. But then why worry about unexplained propositions?

       Some Naturalists respond to this by trying to claim that the notions of proposition and property are not on a par and the second doesn't need an explanation. In this talk I will answer the challenge differently. I acknowledge that we need an explanation of how properties have their satisfaction-conditions. However, I'll claim that the challenge is to be met analogously as in the case of propositions. The same way in which our mental capacity for Representation is prior and explains Propositions and their truth-conditions, the same way our mental capacity for Indicating Properties is prior to Properties and their satisfaction-conditions. I'll also touch upon a host of interesting questions that this order of explanation raises about rule-following, how predicable properties relate to wordly qualities that function as truth-makers, and about the nature of truth.