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LINGUISTIX&LOGIK, Tony Marmo's blog
Sunday, 17 October 2004


Indexicals, Fictions, and Ficta

by Eros Corazza and Mark Whitsey

We defend the view that an indexical uttered by an actor works on the model of deferred reference. If it defers to a character which does not exist, it is an empty term, just as `Hamlet' and `Ophelia' are. The utterance in which it appears does not express a proposition and thus lacks a truth value. We advocate an ontologically parsimonious, anti-realist, position. We show how the notion of truth in our use and understanding of indexicals (and fictional names) as they appear within a fiction is not a central issue. We claim that our use and understanding of indexicals (and names) rests on the fact that their cognitive contribution is not exhausted by their semantic contribution.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST
Updated: Sunday, 17 October 2004 04:46 BST
Friday, 15 October 2004


Double Negatives, Negative Concord and Metalinguistic Negation

By Luis Alonso-Ovalle and Elena Guerzoni

Two properties of the so-called (after Laka 1990) n-words (Italian nessuno, niente... and Spanish nadie, nada...) do not find a unified account in any of the existing analyses of Negative Concord (NC):
(i) their uses in the special context of denials and
(ii) their incompatibility with factive environments.

We suggest that the unifying property of these two apparently unrelated phenomena is the common sensitivity of these two environments (denials and factives) to non-truthconditional aspects of meaning. Therefor we take these properties to reveal that the meaning of n-words involves a nontruthconditional component. Specifically, we explore the hypothesis that n-words are existential quantifiers at the truth-conditional level but that they contribute negative existentials at the level of their conventional implicatures. This hypothesis explains the special uses of n-words in denials and their incompatibility with factive environments. The fact that they are restricted to the scope of negation (or more precisely averidical expressions (Giannakidou's 1997,2000)) in non-sentence-initial position follows as a consequence of the relation between their implicature and their semantic contribution to the truth conditions of the sentences they appear in. Under certain common additional stipulations, this view can be extended to preverbal occurrences as well.

Get it

Posted by Tony Marmo at 13:30 BST


On Tough Movement

By Milan Rezac

The problematique of Tough Movement (Kate[i] is easy to please e[i]) is addressed as four problems:
(i) What gives rise to the one-to-one correlation between a non-expletive subject and a clausal complement with a gap;
(ii) How does the subject link to the gap;
(iii) How does the gap enter into the A'-system in its clause and why does it show anomalous properties;
(iv) What determines the distribution of Tough Movement.

(i) and (ii) are shown to follow from the syntax and interpretation of non-thematic positions. Much of (iii) suggests that the gap does not move but enters pure A'-Agree with the C of its clause, combining the virtue of earlier A' and pro approaches. (iv) is addressed more vaguely in terms of the latter hypothesis and the need of pure A'-Agree to be externally identified.

Source: Ling Buzz/000045


Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST



Please, if anyone has a website with online copies of all works by Newton da Costa and Graham Priest, let me know.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST
Updated: Friday, 15 October 2004 03:39 BST
Thursday, 14 October 2004


Ellipsis and the Structure of Discourse

By Daniel Hardt & Maribel Romero

It is generally assumed that ellipsis requires parallelism between the clause containing the ellipsis and some antecedent clause. We argue that the parallelism requirement generated by ellipsis must be applied in accordance with discourse structure: a matching antecedent clause must be found that locally c-commands the clause containing the ellipsis in the discourse tree. We show that this claim makes several correct predictions concerning the interpretation of ellipsis, both in terms of the selection of the antecedent (in sluicing and verb phrase ellipsis), and in terms of the possible readings assuming a particular antecedent (in the 'many-clause' puzzle and in antecedent-contained deletion).


[1], [2], [3].

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST
Updated: Thursday, 14 October 2004 01:44 BST
Tuesday, 12 October 2004


Aspect and Scope in Future Conditionals

By Bridget Copley
DRAFT (3/10/2004)

This paper argues that though will and be going to both involve a future modal, their meanings differ aspectually. Be going to includes a progressive-like aspectual operator that takes scope over the future modal. Will, on the other hand, is ambiguous between a reading that is the future modal alone, and a reading that has a generic-like aspectual operator over the modal. The evidence for these logical forms consists primarily of modal effects caused by aspectual operation on the temporal argument of the future modal's accessibility relation. Similar evidence motivates a proposal that future modals in conditionals can have scope either over or under the antecedent of the conditional. These findings argue against analyses that treat futures as a kind of tense, and suggest possible directions for theories of aspect, modals, and conditionals.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST
Monday, 11 October 2004


Coherentism and Justified Inconsistent Beliefs: A Solution

By Jonathan Kvanvig

Problems for coherentism come in two forms. The fundamental issue that coherentists have not been very successful in addressing is the problem of saying precisely what coherence involves. BonJour's account in The Structure of Empirical Knowledge is among the most detailed available, but he admits that it "is a long way from being as definitive as desirable." More recently, he has been more skeptical about the accomplishments on this score to date, writing that "the precise nature of coherence remains an unsolved problem." Recently, some hope has emerged that progress can be made on this issue, but the more pressing problem for coherentism comes in the form of objections to the view that are independent of any particular construal of the coherence relation itself. These problems are more pressing, since if these objections are correct, coherentists need not waste their time explicating the nature of coherence-the view would be false independently of these details. Among these objections are the claims that coherentism cannot account for the essential role of experience in justification (commonly termed the isolation objection), that coherentism cannot correctly explain what it is to base one's beliefs properly, and that coherentism cannot explain properly the relationship between justification and truth. My view of the matter is that none of these objections decisively undermine coherentism, but there is a one version of the problem of the relationship between justification and truth that is, to my mind, the most pressing difficulty coherentism faces. It is the problem of justified inconsistent beliefs. In a nutshell, there are cases in which our beliefs appear to be both fully rational and hence justified, and yet the contents of the beliefs are inconsistent, often knowingly inconsistent. This fact contradicts the seemingly obvious idea that a minimal requirement for coherence is logical consistency.

I will first explain the problem of justified inconsistent beliefs for coherentism, and then show how to avoid it. To anticipate my argument, the key is to note that there are distinct types of justification. There is the ordinary intuitive notion on which justification is roughly synonymous with reasonable or rational belief. Coherentists, however, are interested in the type of justification that is part of a proper account of knowledge, the kind of justification which is such that if it is ungettiered and conjoined to true belief, yields knowledge. In slogan form, I will summarize this idea as by saying that the kind of justification in question for coherentists is the kind that puts one in a position to know. I will call such justification "epistemic justification", and when I intend to talk about the more ordinary, commonplace justification that need not put one in a position to know, I will use the term `justification' without the qualifier. I will argue, in my preferred terminology, that epistemic justification cannot be identified with justification. The key to solving the problem of justified inconsistent beliefs, then, is to allow that they are possible on the ordinary intuitive notion of justification but not on the kind of justification that puts one in a position to know. The trick is to substantiate these claims and not rely simply on the claim that such a distinction can be drawn. I will do so with little more in the way of assumptions than a relatively well-understood form of internalism, something coherentists (and others) are committed to, anyway.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST
Updated: Monday, 11 October 2004 10:28 BST
Sunday, 10 October 2004


Total Adjectives vs. Partial Adjectives: Scale Structure and Higher-Order Modifiers

Carmen Rotstein & Yoad Winter

This paper studies a distinction that was proposed in previous works between total and partial adjectives. In pairs of adjectives such as safe -dangerous ,clean -dirty and healthy -sick , the first ( "total ") adjective describes lack of danger, dirt, malady, etc., while the second ( "partial ") adjective describes the existence of such properties. It is shown that the semantics of adjective phrases with modifiers such as almost ,slightly , and completely is sensitive to whether the adjective is total or partial. The interpretation of such modified constructions is accounted for using a novel scale structure for total and partial adjectives. It is proposed that the standard value of a total adjective is always fixed as the lower bound of the corresponding partial adjective. By contrast, the standard value of partial adjectives can take any point on the partial scale. The effects of this theoretical distinction on the behavior of modified constructions are studied in detail, and their ramifications for the semantic theory of adjectives are discussed. Some other phenomena are surveyed that show evidence for total and partial adjectival constructions with various comparatives and exceptive phrases.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST
Friday, 8 October 2004

Topic: Ontology&possible worlds

Classes, Worlds and Hypergunk

by Daniel Nolan
Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Many people have wanted to construe possible worlds as set-theoretic objects of one sort or another. A common feature of many of these theories is that they imply that no world contains more than a set of possible objects nor more than a set of properties possessed by those objects. A.P. Hazen has defended this consequence as being positively desirable, relying on a principle about what sorts of cases we should be able to have "genuine modal intuitions" about, and an argument that any such case can be represented set-theoretically. This paper produces a specification of a certain sort of unlimited divisibility which meets Hazen's strictures about what we may expect to have represented by a possible world, is independently plausible as a metaphysical possibility, and, if accepted as a genuine metaphysical possibility, demonstrates that many theories of possible worlds as set-theoretic objects are inadequate.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 16:51 BST
Thursday, 7 October 2004

Topic: Cognition & Epistemology

Skepticism and the value of knowledge

by Patrick Hawley

Knowledge is no more valuable than lasting true belief. This surprising claim helps defuse skepticism about knowledge.

The main claim of this essay is that knowledge is no more valuable than lasting true belief. This claim is surprising. Doesn't knowledge have a unique and special value? If the main claim is correct and if, as it seems, knowledge is not lasting true belief, then knowledge does not have a unique value: in whatever way knowledge is valuable, lasting true belief is just as valuable.

After clarifying and defending the main claim, I will draw three conclusions. First, the main claim does not show that knowledge is worthless, nor undermine our knowledge gathering practices. Second, skepticism about knowledge is defused. Even if one cannot have knowledge, one can have something just as valuable. Third, any attempt to analyze the concept of knowledge faces a severe constraint.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST
Updated: Thursday, 7 October 2004 09:53 BST
Wednesday, 6 October 2004


Two-Dimensional Semantics - the Basics

By Christian Nimtz
Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

`Two-dimensional semantics' denotes a family of semantic theories rooted in intensional semantics, held together by shared general ideas, yet divided by deep divergences in semantic aims and philosophical aspiration. 2d-theorists agree that our sentences' truth-values vary with what the facts are, as well as with what the sentences mean. To model this twofold dependence of truth on fact and meaning, 2d-semantics assign our expressions intensions of more than one kind. The resulting formal framework, common to all 2d-sematics, distinguishes one dimension of actual worlds and primary intensions from a second dimension of counterfactual worlds and secondary intensions. (Hence two-dimensionalism.) These formal similarities often obscure the deep conceptual rifts between different interpretations of the 2dframework. Kaplan interprets it to capture context-dependence, Stalnaker understands it to model meta-semantic facts, and Chalmers construes it to display the epistemic roots of meaning.

Short Version

Long Version

Posted by Tony Marmo at 07:54 BST
Updated: Wednesday, 6 October 2004 07:58 BST
Tuesday, 5 October 2004

Topic: Ontology&possible worlds

Modal Realism and Metaphysical Nihilism

Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra

In this paper I argue that Modal Realism, the thesis that there exist non-actual possible individuals and worlds, can be made compatible with Metaphysical Nihilism, the thesis that it is possible that nothing concrete exists. Modal Realism as developed by Lewis rules out the possibility of a world where nothing concrete exists and so conflicts with Metaphysical Nihilism. In the paper I argue that Modal Realism can be modified so as to be compatible with Metaphysical Nihilism. Such a modification makes Modal Realism neither incur further theoretical costs nor lose its theoretical benefits. Thus such a modification constitutes an improvement of Modal Realism.


[See other works by Roriguez-Pereyra]

Posted by Tony Marmo at 01:01 BST
Updated: Tuesday, 5 October 2004 09:30 BST

Topic: Ontology&possible worlds

Individuating Worlds in Extreme Modal

Dean Rickles

According to Lewis' brand of extreme modal realism [genuine realism], possible worlds are fusions of worldmates, and worldmates are those individuals that are spatiotemporally related. One cause of concern for Lewis is the explication of spatiotemporal relatedness, for there are clearly many types of spatiotemporal relations. In this paper I spell out this problem in some detail and attempt to go some way towards a resolution that favours Lewis' account.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 01:01 BST
Updated: Monday, 4 October 2004 09:44 BST
Sunday, 3 October 2004


Reactive Kripke Semantics and Arc Accessibility

Dov Gabbay
Source: CLE (CombLog'04)

Ordinary Kripke models are not reactive. When we evaluate (test/measure) a formula A at a model m, the model does not react, respond or change while we evaluate. The model is static and unchanged. This paper studies Kripke models which react to the evaluation process and change themselves during the process.
This is reminiscent of game theoretic semantics where the two sides react to each other. However, reactive Kripke models do not go as far as that. The only additional device we add to Kripke semantics to make it reactive is to allow the accessibility relation to access itself. Thus the accessibility relation R of a reactive Kripke model contains not only pairs (a, b) belongs to Rof possible worlds (b is accessible to a, i.e. there is an accessibility arc from a to b) but also pairs of the form (t, (a, b)) belongs to R, the arc (a, b) is accessible to t.This new kind of Kripke semantics allows us to characterise more axiomatic modal logics (with one modality) by a class of reactive frames. There are logics which cannot be characterised by ordinary frames but which can be characterised by reactive frames. We use such models to fibre logics which disagree on their common language.

Get it

Posted by Tony Marmo at 06:01 BST
Saturday, 2 October 2004

Topic: Cognition & Epistemology

Prediction Versus Accommodation and the Risk of Overfitting

Christopher Hitchcock and Elliott Sober

When a scientist uses an observation to formulate a theory, it is no surprise that the resulting theory accurately captures that observation. However, when the theory makes a novel prediction-when it predicts an observation that was not used in its formulation-this seems to provide more substantial confirmation of the theory. This paper presents a new approach to the vexed problem of understanding the epistemic difference between prediction and accommodation . In fact, there are several problems that need to be disentangled; in all of them, the key is the concept of overfitting . We float the hypothesis that accommodation is a defective methodology only when the methods used to accommodate the data fail to guard against the risk of overfitting. We connect our analysis with the proposals that other philosophers have made. We also discuss its bearing on the conflict between instrumentalism and scientific realism.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 11:12 BST

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