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LINGUISTIX&LOGIK, Tony Marmo's blog
Friday, 1 June 2007


Properties and Paradox in Graham Priest's

Towards Non-Being


 By Daniel Nolan
Graham Priest's book is a treasure-trove, with many interesting things to discuss, but in these remarks, I want to address two main questions.  The first concerns what properties and relations Priest's non-existent objects should have simpliciter.  The second is the question of whether Priest's framework needs dialetheism - should the framework only be attractive to those who accept true contradictions?  In these remarks I plan to grant, for the sake of discussion at least, that there are non-existent objects.  I take it that the question of whether there really are things that don't exist is one that is to be settled once  we see how well the rival theories do - and so developing a theory of non-existent objects seems to me an important preliminary to the judgement of whether there are, after all, such things.


To appear in a book symposium in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy 

Posted by Tony Marmo at 09:21 BST
Updated: Friday, 1 June 2007 09:46 BST

A Consistent Reading of Sylvan's Box
By Daniel Nolan

This paper argues that Graham Priest's story Sylvan's Box has an attractive, consistent reading. Priest's hope to use that story as an example of a non-trivial essentially inconsistent story is thus threatened. The paper then makes some observations about the role Sylvan's Box might play in a theory of unreliable narrators.
Source: Online Papers in Philosophy 

Posted by Tony Marmo at 09:01 BST
Updated: Friday, 1 June 2007 09:30 BST
Friday, 25 May 2007

Language Acquisition, Concept Acquisition, and Intuitions about Semantic Properties:

Defending the Syntactic Solution to Frege's Puzzle

By Robert D. Rupert

In this paper, I explore the ways in which even the most individualistic of theories of mental content can, and should, accommodate social effects. I focus especially on the way in which inferential relations, including those that are socially taught,influence language-learning and concept acquisition. I argue thatthese factors affect the way subjects conceive of mental and linguistic content. Such effects have a dark side: the social and inferential processes in question give rise to misleading intuitions about content itself. They create the illusion that inferential relations somehow constitute content. This illusion confounds an otherwise attractive solution to what is known as `Frege's puzzle' (Salmon, 1986). I conclude that, once we haveidentified the source of these misleading intuitions, Frege's puzzle appears much less puzzling.

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 17:58 BST
Updated: Friday, 25 May 2007 18:18 BST
Friday, 20 April 2007

Inconsistency Theories:
The Importance of Being Metalinguistic
By Douglas Patterson 
This is a discussion of different ways of working out the idea that the semantic paradoxes show that natural languages are somehow 'inconsistent'. I take the workable form of the idea to be that there are expressions such that a necessary condition of understanding them is that one be inclined to accept inconsistent claims (a conception also suggested by Matti Eklund). I then distinguish 'simple' from 'complex' forms of such views. On a simple theory, such expressions are meaningless, while on a complex theory they are not. I argue that complex theories are incompatible with truth conditional semantics and that simple theories are only coherent when the inconsistent claims are metalingusitic attributions of meaning. I close with a discussion of the version of the simple metalinguistic theory I have defended in 'Understanding the Liar' and other papers.
Source: Online Papers in Philosophy 

Posted by Tony Marmo at 08:41 BST
Updated: Friday, 20 April 2007 08:50 BST

Truth-Definitions and Definitional Truth
By Douglas Patterson 
Putnam, Etchemendy, Heck and others have criticized Tarski’s definitions of truth on the grounds that they turn what ought to be contingent truths about the truth conditions of sentences into logical, mathematical or necessary truths. I argue that this criticism rests on the misguided assumption that substitution in accord with a good definition preserves logical, mathematical or necessary truth. I give a number of examples intended to show that substitution in accord with good definitions need preserve none of these. The paper should be of interest not only to students of Tarski, but to anyone interested in definition and analyticity, and it includes some discussion of the contingent a priori, logicism, the nature of applied mathematics, and early Wittgensteinian doctrines about showing and saying.
Source: Online Papers in Philosophy 

Posted by Tony Marmo at 08:33 BST
Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Topic: Ontology&possible worlds


By Richard Vallée

Negative properties, like not flying, are controversial. I introduce negative properties, and offer semantic arguments against the inclusion of such properties in ontology. I distinguish predicate negation and sentential negation, and examine the syntactic and semantic behaviour of predicate negation. I contend that predicate negation is identical with sentential negation. If it is not, then we lose a lot of intuitive inferences found in natural languages and make no clear metaphysical gain. Other arguments based on Ockham's razor are offered. Finally, I address the problem raised by words like ‘immortal'. These words apparently express negative properties. My views have interesting consequences on the ontological scope of these words.

Key-words: Metaphysics. Properties. Negation. Semantics. Logic.

Published in Manuscrito Volume 27, #2, 2004

Posted by Tony Marmo at 17:12 BST
Updated: Wednesday, 21 March 2007 17:30 BST
Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Topic: Cognition & Epistemology

Innateness and the Situated Mind

By Robert Rupert 

Many advocates of situated approaches to the study of cognition (e.g., Griffiths and Stotz, 2000; Thelen and Smith, 1994) explicitly take exception to cognitive science’s pronounced nativist turn.

Other proponents of situated models seek to mitigate strong nativist claims, by, for example, finding ways to acknowledge innate contributions to cognitive processing while at the same time downplaying those contributions (Wilson, 2004, Chapter 3).

Still others leave implicit their apparent opposition to nativism: they emphasize the environment’s contribution to cognition so strongly as to suggest antinativist views but do not take up the issue explicitly (Clark, 1997; Varela, Thompson, and Rosch, 1991). Thus, situated theorists have reached something approximating an antinativist consensus.

In this chapter, I argue that they should not embrace the antinativist view so readily. To this end, I divide the situated approach into two species, extended and embedded views of cognition, arguing that each version of the situated view admits of a plausible nativist interpretation with respect to at least some important cognitive phenomena.

In contrast, I also argue for the nonnativist interpretation of certain cognitive phenomena; nevertheless, these antinativist recommendations come heavily hedged -- in some cases, at the expense of a robust reading of the situated program or one of its subdivisions.

Forthcoming in P. Robbins and M. Aydede (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Situated Cognition (Cambridge UP)

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 04:34 GMT
Updated: Friday, 9 March 2007 12:58 GMT
Saturday, 23 December 2006

Deskewing the Searlean Picture: New Speech Act Ontology for Linguistics

By Dietmar Zaefferer

The overall aim of this paper is to present a speech act ontology that is motivated by general assumptions about the nature of human language and implicational universals about the grammatical coding of illocutionary force (sentence mood markers). In particular, I want to show five things:

  • First, that the Searlean picture is skewed in that it misrepresents universally attested distinctions, overemphasizes non-universal aspects of human language and misses important generalizations;
  • second, that a linguistically more fruitful picture can be developed on the basis of implicational universals that constrain the range of possible codings of sentence mood and other modalities;
  • third, that this linguistic picture can be grounded on very few elementary and universally valid assumptions about the nature of human language and its functions;
  • fourth, that this grammatically motivated reconstruction helps in analyzing intricate syntactic patterns that interrelate German clause types;
  • and last, that the Searlean picture can be embedded into the linguistic picture in such a way that nothing gets lost in the deschewing process that merits preservation.
  • Keywords: speech act classification, clause types, sentence mood, Searle, ontology
    Source: Semantics Archive


    Posted by Tony Marmo at 23:36 GMT
    Wednesday, 20 December 2006


    On truth-schemes for intensional logics

    By Janusz Czelakowski and Wieslaw Dziobiak

    The paper is concerned with the question of definability of truth-conditions for the connectives of intensional logics. A certain general solution of the problem is proposed for the class of self-extensional logics. The paper develops some ideas initiated by Suszko and Wojcicki in the seventies.

    Source: Reports on Mathematical Logic 41 (2006)


    Posted by Tony Marmo at 20:30 GMT
    Thursday, 23 November 2006


    Scope Dominance with Upward Monotone Quantifiers

    By Alon Altman, Ya'acov Peterzil & Yoad Winter

    We give a complete characterization of the class of upward monotone generalized quantifiers Q1 and Q2 over countable domains that satisfy the scheme Q1xQ2Q2yQ1.
    This generalizes the characterization of such quantifiers over finite domains, according to which the scheme holds iff Q1 is ∃ or Q2 is ∀ (excluding trivial cases). Our result shows that in innite domains, there are more general types of quantifiers that support these entailments.

    Published in Journal of Logic, Language and Information, Volume 14, Number 4, October 2005, pp. 445-455(11)

    Link to the article in the Journal
    Author's Link


    Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:26 GMT
    Updated: Saturday, 25 November 2006 19:51 GMT


    Evidentiality, Modality and Probability

    By Eric McCready & Norry Ogata

    We show in this paper that some expressions indicating source of evidence are part of propositional content and are best analyzed as a special kind of epistemic modal. Our evidence comes from the Japanese evidential system. We consider six evidentials in Japanese, showing that they can be embedded in conditionals and under modals and that their properties with respect to modal subordination are similar to those of ordinary modals. We show that these facts are difficult for existing theories of evidentials, which assign evidentials necessarily widest scope, to explain. We then provide an analysis using a logical system designed to account for evidential reasoning; this logic is the first developed system of probabilistic dynamic predicate logic. This analysis is shown to account for the data we provide that is problematic for other theories.

    Keywords: evidentiality, modality, probability, Japanese, dynamic semantics

    Source: Semantics Archive


    Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
    Updated: Saturday, 25 November 2006 19:48 GMT
    Saturday, 11 November 2006

    Topic: Ontology&possible worlds

    Essence and Modality

    By Edward N. Zalta

    Recently, K. Fine raised counterexamples to the the traditional definition of essential property in terms of modality. On the traditional definition, ‘property F is essential to object x' is defined in terms of the modal claim ‘necessarily, if x exists, then x is F'. The definiens, it is argued, is not a sufficient condition for the definiendum. One counterexample, which assumes modal set theory, is that (a) necessarily, if Socrates exists, then he has the property being a member of {Socrates}, but (b) the property being a member of {Socrates} is not essential to Socrates. Another counterexample (which assumes the existence of an object not identical to Socrates (e.g., the Eiffel Tower). Fine suggests that (a) necessarily, if Socrates exists, then he has the property of being distinct from the Eiffel Tower, but (b) the property being distinct from the Eiffel Tower is not essential to Socrates, since "nothing in Socrates' nature connects him in any special way to the Eiffel Tower".

    In this paper, I analyze the relationship between essence and modality and reconsider the above counterexamples in light of the logic and theory of abstract objects. This axiomatic theory offers a foundational metaphysics and yields a clear analysis of the nature of abstract objects in general and mathematical objects such as {Socrates}. The theory is consistent with our intuitions about what ordinary objects there are, and the underlying logic offers a new understanding of the properties essential to ordinary objects. The analysis of mathematical and other abstract objects offers a more refined view of their essential properties than that offered by modal set theory.

    In the paper,, the claim ‘x has F necessarily' becomes ambiguous in its application to abstract objects. In the case of ordinary objects, the definition of ‘F is essential to x' be reconstructed in several ways. The conclusion is that the traditional definition of essential property for abstract objects in terms of modal notions is not correct, but not because of Fine's first counterexample. Moreover, in the case of ordinary objects, the relationship between essential properties and modality, once properly understood, can handle the second counterexample.

    Published in Mind, Volume 115/Issue 459 (July 2006): 659-693


    Posted by Tony Marmo at 03:01 GMT
    Sunday, 29 October 2006



    By Janusz Ciuciura

    In the late forties, Stanislaw Jaskowski published two papers on the discursive (or discussive) sentential calculus, D2. He provided a definition of it by an interpretation in the language of S5 of Lewis. The known axiomatization of D2 with discursive connectives as primitives was introduced by da Costa, Dubikajtis and Kotas in 1977. It turns out, however, that one of the axioms they used is not a thesis of the real Ja?›kowski's calculus. In fact, they built a new system, D*2 for short, that differs from D2 in many respects. The aim of this paper is to introduce a direct Kripke-type semantics for the system, axiomatize it in a new way and prove soundness and completeness theorems. Additionally, we present labeled tableaux for D*2.

    Keywords: discursive (discussive) logic, D2, paraconsistent logic, labelled tableaux.
    Published in Logic and Logical Philosophy, Volume 14 (2005), 235-252

    Posted by Tony Marmo at 01:47 BST
    Thursday, 26 October 2006

    Topic: Interconnections

    The complexity of theorem-proving procedures

    By Stephen A. Cook

    It is shown that any recognition problem solved by a polynomial time-bounded nondeterministic Turing machine can be "reduced" to the problem of determining whether a given propositional formula is a tautology. Here "reduced" means, roughly speaking, that the first problem can be solved deterministically in polynomial time provided an oracle is available for solving the second. From this notion of reducible, polynomial degrees of difficulty are defined, and it is shown that the problem of determining tautologyhood has the same polynomial degree as the problem of determining whether the first of two given graphs is isomorphic to a subgraph of the second. Other examples are discussed. A method of measuring the complexity of proof procedures for the predicate calculus is introduced and discussed.

    In Proceedings of the 3rd ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing, pages 151--158, 1971
    Author's link (a compressed pdf file of a scanned version)
    Other link


    Posted by Tony Marmo at 18:37 BST
    Friday, 20 October 2006

    Topic: Interconnections

    The Concept of Mathematical Elucidation:
    theory and problems

    By José Seoane

    There is a contrast between concepts which may be treated in accordance with the criteria of mathematical rigor and concepts which are not susceptible of such a treatment. We will call theoretical concepts to the former and pre-theoretical to the latter. In mathematical world, sentences which relate theoretical and pre-theoretical concepts (in a determinated way) are denominated thesis; sentences which relate only theoretical concepts (in a determinated way) are denominated theorems. Elucidatory processes in mathematics have thesis as their principal output. I intend to establish in this paper that the introduction of the concept of mathematical elucidation has an important theoretical value to the effects of studying a certain special type of intended conceptual relation and a certain type of justificatory argumentation for it. The analysis of the contrast between thesis and theorems will allow us to construct a context where the interest for those conceptual relations and their supporting justificatory mechanisms arises naturally. Then, I will attempt to offer some structural features of mathematical elucidation qua conceptual relation and their impact on the strategies of elucidatory justification. This is what I grandiloquently call theory in the heading. I will suggest also a classification of the problems which a theoretical reflexion as the one proposed may contribute to clarify and I will make some brief observations on some paradigmatic examples of each one of the categories of the classification constructed. This work should be considered as a modest definition of a sort of research program.

    Source: CLE e-prints

    Posted by Tony Marmo at 18:27 BST

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