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LINGUISTIX&LOGIK, Tony Marmo's blog
Monday, 20 September 2004

The debate goes on: how many truth-values are necessary in Logic?

Truth, Falsity and Borderline Cases

by Miroslava Andjelkovi & Timothy Williamson

According to the principle of bivalence, truth and falsity are jointly exhaustive and mutually exclusive options for a statement. It is either true or false, and not both, even in a borderline case.
That highly controversial claim is central to the epistemic theory of vagueness, which holds that borderline cases are distinguished by a special kind of obstacle to knowing the truth -value of the statement. But this paper is not a defence of the epistemic theory. If bivalence holds, it presumably does so as a consequence of what truth and falsity separately are.
One may therefore expect bivalence to be derivable from a combination of some principles characterizing truth and other principles characterizing falsity. Indeed, such derivations are easily found. Their form will of course depend on the initial characterizations of truth and falsity, and not all such characterizations will permit bivalence to be derived. In this paper we focus on the relation between its derivability and some principles about truth and falsity . We will use borderline cases for vague expressions as primary examples of an urgent challenge to bivalence.


For the debate of the issue, see Pelletier and Stainton?s paper On `The Denial of Bivalence is Absurd'.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 07:39 BST


Indefinites and the Operators they Depend on:
From Japanese to Salish

by Angelika Kratzer
Source: The Semantics Archive

Irene Heim (1982) and Hans Kamp (1981) took up Partee's challenge and proposed theories that simultaneously accounted for the quantificational and discourse reference properties of indefinites. They argued that the quantificational behavior of indefinites was an illusion. It derived from overt or non-overt operators present in semantic representations, or alternatively, from the mechanics of the semantic interpretation procedure itself. According to Heim and Kamp, indefinites introduced mere variables with conditions attached to them into semantic representations. Much of the discussion that followed centered around the question whether indefinites did or did not have quantificational force. The dynamic theories of Groenendijk and Stokhof (1990) and Dekker (1993) maintained that they did, but argued for an unorthodox way of extending their binding domain.
Stephen Berman (1987) observed that within a situation semantics, a standard quantificational theory of indefinites did not conflict with their discourse reference properties, since donkey pronouns could now again be analyzed as disguised definite descriptions, as Robin Cooper (1979) had originally proposed. This idea was further developed in Heim's (1990) paper on E-type pronouns and donkey anaphora. At that point, it looked like a standard quantificational analysis of indefinites was right after all.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:11 BST
Updated: Monday, 20 September 2004 07:23 BST
Sunday, 19 September 2004


An abstract dynamic semantics for C

Michael Norrish

This report is a presentation of a formal semantics for the C programming language.
The semantics has been defined operationally in a structured semantics style and covers the bulk of the core of the language.
The semantics has been developed in a theorem prover (HOL), where some expected consequences of the language definition have been proved.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 07:25 BST
Updated: Sunday, 19 September 2004 07:34 BST
Saturday, 18 September 2004


On `The Denial of Bivalence is Absurd'

By Francis Jeffry Pelletier & Robert J. Stainton

Timothy Williamson, in various places, has put forward an argument that is supposed to show that denying bivalence is absurd. This paper is an examination of the logical force of this argument, which is found wanting.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 04:00 BST
Updated: Saturday, 18 September 2004 04:02 BST
Friday, 17 September 2004


Friends and colleagues:
Plurality, coordination, and the structure of DP

by Caroline Heycock & Roberto Zamparelli
Source: Semantics Archive

Starting from an analysis for the diverging crosslinguistic grammaticality of DP-internal
conjunctions such as this [man and woman] are in love, the article develops a theory of
the syntax/semantics interface within the DP and a novel proposal for the interpretation of
conjunction. The main claims are that plural/mass denotations are built in stages within
the DP, by the combined effect of number features and semantic operators associated with
functional heads; that languages differ as to whether the denotation of nouns is ltered for
singular or plural number, and that the word and crosslinguistically denotes SET PRODUCT,
an operation which, in different contexts, can mimic the behavior of intersection and union.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 01:38 BST
Updated: Friday, 17 September 2004 01:45 BST
Thursday, 16 September 2004


Ambiguity and Anaphora with Plurals in Discourse

Nicholas Asher & Linton Wang

We provide examples of plurals related to ambiguity and anaphora that pose problems
or are counterexamples for current approaches to plurals. We then propose a dynamic
semantics based on an extension of dynamic predicate logic (DPL+) to handle these
examples. On our theory, different readings of sentences or discourses containing plurals
don't arise from a postulated ambiguity of plural terms or predicates applying to
plural DPs, but follow rather from different types of dynamic transitions that manipulate
inputs and outputs from formulas or discourse constituents. Many aspects of
meaning can affect the type dynamic transitions: the lexical semantics of predicates to
the left and right of a transition, and number features of DPs and discourse constraints
like parallelism.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 01:01 BST
Updated: Thursday, 16 September 2004 05:26 BST
Wednesday, 15 September 2004


Two Japanese Adverbials and Expressive Content

by Eric McCready
Source: Semantics Archive

This paper considers the semantics and pragmatics of two Japanese adverbial expressions, yoku and yokumo, instances of which are shown in (1) and (2).

The purpose of the present paper is to describe the meaning, distribution, and felicity conditions of these adverbials, and to provide a formal account of them within a version of dynamic semantics.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 01:01 BST
Updated: Wednesday, 15 September 2004 00:17 BST

Topic: Cognition & Epistemology

Existence, Quantification and Time

By Bryan Frances

My view is a novel kind of presentism generated from a new way of looking at quantification and relations, a presentism that promises to combine the best features of rival theories while avoiding their faults.
My objective here is to set out the view in such a way that its status as a new and coherent theory is established.

In the first three sections I will attempt to describe the basics of the theory and defend it from two initial objections:
that it's incoherent, and that when understood in such a way
that it is coherent then it's just eternalism in disguise.
Sections 4 and 5 defend the theory from objections having to do with truthmaking and singular propositions.
Its defense as a view superior to others is provided briefly in ?6.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 01:01 BST
Updated: Wednesday, 15 September 2004 04:02 BST
Tuesday, 14 September 2004


On The Proper Treatment of Semantic Systematicity

By Robert F. Hadley

The past decade has witnessed the emergence of a novel stance on semantic representation, and its relationship to context sensitivity.
Connectionist-minded philosophers, including Clark and van Gelder, have espoused the merits of viewing hidden-layer, context-sensitive representations as possessing semantic content, where this content is partially revealed via the representations 'position in vector space. In recent work, Bod ?n and Niklasson have incorporated a variant of this view of semantics within their conception of semantic systematicity.
Moreover, Bod ?n and Niklasson contend that they have produced experimental results which not only satisfy a kind of context-based, semantic systematicity, but which, to the degree that reality permits, effectively deals with challenges posed by Fodor and Pylyshyn (1988), and Hadley (1994a). The latter challenge involved well-defined criteria for strong semantic systematicity. This paper examines the relevant claims and experiments of Bod ?n and Niklasson. It is argued that their case fatally involves two fallacies of equivocation; one concerning `semantic content 'and the other concerning `novel test sentences '. In addition, it is argued that their ultimate construal of context sensitive semantics contains serious confusions. These confusions are also found in certain publications dealing with ?latent semantic analysis ". Thus, criticisms presented here have relevance beyond the work of Bod ?n and Niklasson.

connectionism, latent semantic analysis, semantic content, strong, systematicity


Posted by Tony Marmo at 15:11 BST
Updated: Tuesday, 14 September 2004 15:17 BST


Outline of a Theory of Strongly Semantic Information

By Luciano Floridi

This paper outlines a quantitative theory of strongly semantic information (TSSI) based on truth-values rather than probability distributions. The main hypothesis supported in the paper is that the classic quantitative theory of weakly semantic information (TWSI), based on probability distributions, assumes that truth-values supervene on factual semantic information, yet this principle is too weak and generates a well-known semantic paradox, whereas TSSI, according to which factual semantic information encapsulates truth, can avoid the paradox and is more in line with the standard conception of what generally counts as semantic information. After a brief introduction, section two outlines the semantic paradox implied by TWSI, analysing it in terms of an initial conflict between two requisites of a quantitative theory of semantic information. In section three, three criteria of semantic information equivalence are used to provide a taxonomy of quantitative approaches to semantic information and introduce TSSI. In section four, some further desiderata that should be fulfilled by a quantitative TSSI are explained. From section five to section seven, TSSI is developed on the basis of a calculus of truth-values and semantic discrepancy with respect to a given situation. In section eight, it is shown how TSSI succeeds in solving the paradox. Section nine summarises the main results of the paper and indicates some future developments.

Bar-Hillel, Carnap, decision theory, Dretske, error analysis, Grice, information theory, semantic inaccuracy, semantic information, semantic paradox, semantic vacuity, situation logic


Posted by Tony Marmo at 01:01 BST
Updated: Tuesday, 14 September 2004 14:51 BST
Sunday, 12 September 2004


Underdetermination and Meaning Indeterminacy:

What is the Difference?

by Ian McDiarmid

Source: PhilSci Archive

The first part of this paper discusses Quine's views on underdetermination of theory by evidence, and the indeterminacy of translation, or meaning, in relation to certain physical theories. The underdetermination thesis says different theories can be supported by the same evidence, and the indeterminacy thesis says the same component of a theory that is underdetermined by evidence is also meaning indeterminate. A few examples of underdetermination and meaning indeterminacy are given in the text. In the second part of the paper, Quine's scientific realism is discussed briefly, along with some of the difficulties encountered when considering the `truth' of different empirically equivalent theories. It is concluded that the difference between underdetermination and indeterminacy, while significant, is not as great as Quine claims. It just means that after we have chosen a framework theory, from a number of empirically equivalent ones, we still have further choices along two different dimensions.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 01:01 BST
Updated: Tuesday, 14 September 2004 15:14 BST
Saturday, 11 September 2004


Semantics for more plausible
deontic logics

By Sven Ove Hansson

In order to avoid the paradoxes of standard deontic logic, we have to give up the semantic construction that identifies obligatory status with presence in all elements of a subset of the set of possible worlds. It is proposed that deontic logic should instead be based on a preference relation, according to the principle that whatever is better than something permitted is itself permitted. Close connections hold between the logical properties of a preference relation and those of the deontic logics that are derived from it in this way. The paradoxes of SDL can be avoided with this construction, but it is still an open question what type of preference relation is best suited to be used as a basis for deontic logic.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 20:28 BST


An Intensional Schr?dinger Logic

By Newton C. A. da Costa and D?cio Krause
Source: Notre Dame J. Formal Logic 38 (1997), no. 2, 179-194

We investigate the higher-order modal logic SwI, which is a variant of the system Sw presented in our previous work. A semantics for that system, founded on the theory of quasi sets, is outlined. We show how such a semantics, motivated by the very intuitive base of Schr?dinger logics, provides an alternative way to formalize some intensional concepts and features which have been used in recent discussions on the logical foundations of quantum mechanics; for example, that some terms like 'electron' have no precise reference and that 'identical' particles cannot be named unambiguously. In the last section, we sketch a classical semantics for quasi set theory.


General Logic
See also on Kai von Fintel's blog:
Klement on Logical Grammar in Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 01:01 BST
Updated: Saturday, 11 September 2004 20:12 BST
Friday, 10 September 2004


Semantic Properties of Split Topicalization in German

By Kimiko Nakanishi

Source: Semantics Archive

This paper examines semantic properties of measure phrases (MPs), in particular, MPs adjacent to their host NP (non-split MPs) and MPs split from their host NP in Split Topicalization (split MPs). I show that both non-split and split MPs are subject to semantic restrictions on the nominal domain, while only split MPs are subject to restrictions on the verbal domain. I argue that this is because non-split MPs measure in the nominal domain (the amount of individuals in the extension of the nominal predicate), while split MPs measure in the verbal domain (the amount of events in the extension of the verbal predicate). The present analysis reveals that there is an algebraic parallelism between the nominal and verbal domains. Furthermore, this analysis can be extended to various cross-linguistic constructions.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 17:18 BST
Updated: Friday, 10 September 2004 17:22 BST

The Semantics and Pragmatics of the Russian Factual Imperfective

by Atle Gr?n
Source: Semantics Archive


Posted by Tony Marmo at 17:08 BST
Updated: Friday, 10 September 2004 17:19 BST

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