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LINGUISTIX&LOGIK, Tony Marmo's blog
Thursday, 3 March 2005

Topic: Interconnections

A Nominalist's Dilemma

By Otavio Bueno & Edward N. Zalta

Current versions of nominalism in the philosophy of mathematics have the benefit of avoiding commitment to the existence of mathematical objects. But this comes with a cost: to avoid commitment to mathematical entities, nominalists cannot take mathematical theories literally, and so, they seem unable to accommodate mathematical practice. In a recent work, Jody Azzouni (2004) has challenged this conclusion, by formulating a nominalist view that doesn't have this cost. In this paper, we argue that, as it stands, Azzouni's proposal doesn't yet succeed. It faces a dilemma to the effect that either the view isn't nominalist or it fails to take mathematics literally. So, in the end, it still doesn't do justice to mathematical practice. After presenting the dilemma, we suggest a solution for Azzouni's version of nominalism.

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy
To appear in Philosophia Mathematica

Posted by Tony Marmo at 16:31 GMT
Updated: Thursday, 3 March 2005 16:41 GMT


Modulated Logics and Uncertain Reasoning

By Walter Carnielli & Maria Claudia C. Gracio

This paper studies a family of monotonic extensions of first-order logic which we call modulated logics, constructed by extending classical logic through generalized quantifiers called modulated quantifiers. We give an uniform treatment of modulated logics, obtaining some general results in model theory. Besides carefully reviewing the Logic of Ultrafilters and the Logic of Most, two new monotonic logical systems are introduced here: the Logic of Many and the Logic of Ubiquity, which formalize inductive assertions of the kind many and almost everywhere through new modulated quantifiers and, respectively. Although the notion of most can be captured by means of a modulated quantifier semantically interpreted by cardinal measure on sets of evidences, it is proven that this system, although sound, cannot be complete if checked against the intended model. This justifies the interest on a purely qualitative approach to this kind of quantification, what is guaranteed by interpreting the modulated quantifiers, respectively, as families of upper closed sets and pseudo-topologies. Modulated logics can be used to provide alternative foundations for fuzzy concepts and fuzzy reasoning, for reasoning on social choice theory, and for gaining a new regard on certain problems in philosophy of science.

Source: CLE

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Thursday, 3 March 2005 08:01 GMT
Tuesday, 1 March 2005



By Richard G. Heck Jr.

Hartry Field has suggested that we should adopt at least a methodological deflationism:
We should assume full-fledged deflationism as a working hypothesis. That way, if full-fledged deflationism should turn out to be inadequate, we will at least have a clearer sense than we now have of just where it is that inflationist assumptions ... are needed.

I argue here that we do not need to be methodological deflationists. More precisely, I argue

[1] that we have no need for a disquotational truth-predicate;
[2] that the word true, in ordinary language, is not a disquotational truth-predicate;
[3] and that it is not at all clear that it is even possible to introduce a disquotational truth-predicate into ordinary language.

If so, then we have no clear sense how it is even possible to be a methodological deflationist. My goal here is not to convince a committed deflationist to abandon his or her position. My goal, rather, is to argue, contrary to what many seem to think, that reflection on the apparently trivial character of T-sentences should not incline us to deflationism.

To apper in Synthese, Volume 142, Number 3

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 1 March 2005 06:12 GMT
Monday, 28 February 2005


Unbound Anaphoric Pronouns: E-Type, Dynamic, and Structured Propositions Approaches

By Friederike Moltmann

In this paper, we have seen some fundamental problems with the E-type account as well as the dynamic semantic account. Whereas the crucial advantages of the E-types account were the preservation of the traditional notion of proposition with its truth conditions being independent of those of the previous discourse context, the advantages of the dynamic semantic account included the variable-like treatment of unbound anaphora, The present account incorporates both of those aspects:
[1] by using structured propositions which are meanings associated with individual sentence (though possibly with truth conditions that need to be supplemented by a background) and

[2] by using parametric objects thus giving justice to the variable-like status of unbound anaphora.

It accounts for the antecedent-relatedness and discourse-drivenness of unbound anaphora, the Regress Problem, the Same-Value Condition, and the problem of determiner choice, in essential the way the dynamic account does. The account moreover, did give some importance to the notion of context change, but in the sense that backgrounds of static means are determined by background contexts that themselves may change within the utterance of a sentence. The crucial empirical advantages of the present account over the dynamic account are that it gives a more immediate or better account of deviations from antecedent conditions and that it provides a solution to Barker's problem.

Source: Semantics Archive
To appear in Synthese

Posted by Tony Marmo at 07:36 GMT
Updated: Monday, 28 February 2005 07:38 GMT
Saturday, 26 February 2005


Resolving Contradictions : A Plausible Semantics for Inconsistent Systems

By Eliezer L. Lozinskii

The purpose of a Knowledge System S is to represent the world W faithfully. If S turns out to be inconsistent containing contradictory data, its present state can be viewed as a result of information pollution with some wrong data. However, we may reasonably assume that most of the system content still reflects the world truthfully, and therefore it would be a great loss to allow a small contradiction to depreciate or even destroy a large amount of correct knowledge. So, despite the pollution, S must contain a meaningful subset, and so it is reasonable to assume (as adopted by many researchers) that the semantics of a logic system is determined by that of its maximally consistent subsets, mc-subsets. The information contained in S allows deriving certain conclusions regarding the truth of a formula F in W. In this sense we say that S contains a certain amount of semantic information, and provides an evidence of F. A close relationship is revealed between the evidence, the quantity of semantic information of the system, and the set of models of its mc-subsets. Based on these notions, we introduce thesemantics of weighted mc-subsets as a way of reasoning in inconsistent systems. To show that this semantics indeed enables reconciling contradictions and deriving plausible beliefs about any statement including ambiguous ones, it is successfully applied to a series of justifying examples, such as chain proofs, rules with exceptions, and paradoxes. (Go on)

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Saturday, 26 February 2005 13:39 GMT
Sunday, 20 February 2005

Topic: Temporal Logic

Combining Temporal Logic Systems

By Marcelo Finger & Dov Gabbay

This paper investigates modular combinations of temporal logic systems. Four combination methods are described and studied with respect to the transfer of logical properties from the component one-dimensional temporal logics to the resulting combined two-dimensional temporal logic. Three basic logical properties are analyzed, namely soundness, completeness, and decidability. Each combination method comprises three submethods that combine the languages, the inference systems, and the semantics of two one-dimensional temporal logic systems, generating families of two-dimensional temporal languages with varying expressivity and varying degrees of transfer of logical properties. The temporalization method and the independent combination method are shown to transfer all three basic logical properties. The method of full join of logic systems generates a considerably more expressive language but fails to transfer completeness and decidability in several cases. So a weaker method of restricted join is proposed and shown to transfer all three basic logical properties.

Source: Notre Dame J. Formal Logic ?37 (1996), no. 2, 204-232
Open Access

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Sunday, 20 February 2005 17:06 GMT
Saturday, 19 February 2005

Topic: Cognition & Epistemology

Indexicality and A Prioricity

By James Pryor

I consider beliefs that are claimed to be a priori in virtue of (i) their indexical character--beliefs like "I am here now", or in virtue of (ii) their self-verifying character--beliefs like "I exist" and "I am now thinking about myself." I argue that none of these beliefs really are a priori.

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Saturday, 19 February 2005 06:48 GMT
Friday, 18 February 2005



By James Higginbotham

This article is a synopsis or digest of my thoughts over a number of years, which for whatever reason took some time to reach even the shape that they are in now. I repeat some arguments, going back to class presentations at MIT in 1990, that accomplishments are syntactically represented by ordered pairs of positions for event, and that the "accomplishment" interpretation of a predicate may stem from the complex thematic structure <E,E'> of a Preposition, a syntactic adjunct, rather than from the head. The structures <E,E'> are telic pairs; and I hold that the formation of telic pairs is a compositional, rather than a lexical, process. This thesis is applied to a number of constructions, yielding, if I am right, the basis for family of distinctions between English- (or Chinese-) type languages, on the one hand, and Romance (or Korean or Japanese) on the other. The conceptions in this first part of what follows are then applied to the location and locatum V of Ken Hale and Jay Keyser. I suggest an alternative derivation of these V, at least in English, and while acknowledging the cogency of the comments of Paul Kiparsky I defend a version of their syntactic theory against his objections. In particular, I argue that certain semantic properties of the location and locatum V are not a matter of primitive stipulation, in the lexicon or elsewhere, but rather follow from the nature of the construction, together with a certain notion of normativity, explained below. The chief novelty, however, in what follows is a systematic response to standard arguments against lexical decomposition, arguments that must be answered if contemporary morphosyntax corresponds in any but an impressionistic way to what might be called morphosemantics. My defense turns upon demoting the notion of causation; that is, upon seeing it as a consequence, rather than the driving force, behind accomplishment predicates.

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Friday, 18 February 2005 05:52 GMT
Monday, 14 February 2005


A Formal Treatment of the Pragmatics of Questions and Attitudes

By Maria Aloni

This article discusses pragmatic aspects of our interpretation of intensional constructions like questions and propositional attitude reports. In the first part, it argues that our evaluation of these constructions may vary relative to the identification methods operative in the context of use. This insight is then given a precise formalization in a possible world semantics. In the second part, an account of actual evaluations of questions and attitudes is proposed in the framework of bi-directional optimality theory. Pragmatic meaning selections are explained as the result of specific rankings of potentially conflicting generation and interpretation constraints.

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 02:25 GMT



By Ora Matushansky & Benjamin Spector

We examine the distribution and interpretation of post-copular noun phrases in French when they appear with and without an indefinite article (Marie est (une) physicienne). We propose that the alternation is due to the fact that the indefinite article marks saturation of an NP-internal argument slot, and show that because of this, post-copular indefinite NPs are usually but not always existentially quantified, while bare NPs are predicative. This theory leads to new perspectives both on cross-linguistic marking of post-copular NPs and on the treatment of the indefinite article.

Source: Semantics Archive

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 8 February 2005 23:18 GMT
Monday, 7 February 2005


Attitude Reports, Events, and Partial Models

By Friederike Moltmann

Clausal complements of different kinds of attitude verbs such as believe, doubt, be surprised, wonder, say, and whisper behave differently semantically in a number of respects. For example, they differ in the inference patterns they display. This paper develops a semantic account of clausal complements using partial logic, which accounts for such semantic differences on the basis of a uniform meaning of clauses. It focuses on explaining the heterogeneous inference patterns associated with different kinds of attitude verbs, but it contributes also to explaining differences among clausal complements of attitude verbs regarding the possibility of de re reference, anaphora support, presupposition satisfaction, and the distribution of subjunctive in certain languages. Moreover, it gives a new account of factivity.

The point of departure of this paper is the general observation that the failure of inferences from attitude reports is relative in that it depends both on the general type of attitude and on the particular instance of the attitude described. Thus, from John is surprised that P and Q one cannot infer John is surprised that P and John is surprised that Q, though this is possible with believe. Conversely, one can infer from John believes that P and John believes that Q, to John believes that P and Q, but only as long as the same belief state of John is involved.

In order to capture this dependency of inferences from attitude reports on a particular mental state or act, I propose an account on which clausal complements of attitude verbs (as well as independent sentences) characterize the intentional state or act described by the attitude verb in question, rather than referring to independent propositions. The semantic account of attitude reports of this paper can hence be called an 'event-based account' of clauses.

Source: Semantics Archive

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Monday, 7 February 2005 00:46 GMT
Thursday, 3 February 2005

Now Playing: UPDATED

Meaning as an Inferential Role

By Jaroslav Peregrin

Contemporary theories of meaning can be divided, with a certain amount of oversimplification, into those which see the meaning of an expression as principally a matter of what the expression denotes or stands for, and those which see it as a matter of how the expression is used. A prominent place among the latter ones is assumed by those which identify the semantically relevant aspect of the usage of an expression with an inferential pattern governing it. According to these theories, the meaning of an expression is principally its inferential role.

See also:

[1]. Brandom, Hegel and Inferentialism

By Tom Rockmore

In the course of developing a semantics with epistemological intent, Brandom claims that his inferentialism is Hegelian. This paper argues that, even on a charitable reading, Brandom is an anti-Hegelian.

Keywords: Hegel, Brandom, Rorty, Inferentialism, Semantics
Source: International Journal of Philosophical Studies, Volume 10, Number 4 / November 01, 2002

Go to page (for subscribers)

[2]. Brandom on the Normativity of Meaning

By Shapiro L.

Brandom's "inferentialism" - his theory that an expression's or state's contentfulness consists in its use or occurrence being governed by inferential norms - proves dubiously compatible with his own deflationary approach to underwriting the objectivity of intentional content (an approach that is one of the theory's essential presuppositions). This is because a deflationist argument, adapted from the case of truth to that of correct inference , undermines the key criterion of adequacy Brandom employs in motivating inferentialism. Once that constraint is abandoned, furthermore, Brandom is left vulnerable to the charge thathis inferential norms are unavailable toplay the meaning-constituting role he claims for them. Yet Brandom's account of meaning tacitly intertwines inferentialism with a separate explanatory project, one that in explaining the pragmatic significance of meaning-attributions does yield a convincing construal of the claim that the concept of meaning is a normative one.

Source: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 1 January 2004, vol. 68, no. 1, pp. 141-160(20)

Go to page (for subscribers)

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Thursday, 3 February 2005 16:50 GMT
Monday, 24 January 2005

Topic: Syn-Sem Interface

Fragments and ellipsis

By Jason Merchant

Fragmentary utterances such as `short' answers and subsentential XPs without linguistic antecedents are proposed to have fully sentential syntactic structures, subject to ellipsis. Ellipsis in these cases is preceded by A'-movement of the fragment to a clause peripheral position; the combination of movement and ellipsis accounts for a wide range of connectivity and anti-connectivity effects in these structures. Fragment answers furthermore shed light on the nature of islands, and contrast with sluicing in triggering island effects; this is shown to follow from an articulated syntax and the PF theory of islands. Fragments without linguistic antecedents are argued to be compatible with an ellipsis analysis, and do not support direct interpretation approaches to these phenomena.

Note: To appear in Linguistics and Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 15:10 GMT
Saturday, 15 January 2005

I ask the Paraconsistent Logicians that happened upon this blog to comment on the paper below with special attention, and write their thoughts.

On Partial and Paraconsistent Logics

By Reinhard Muskens

In this paper we consider the theory of predicate logics in which the principle of Bivalence or the principle of Non-Contradiction or both fail. Such logics are partial or paraconsistent or both. We consider sequent calculi for these logics and prove Model Existence. For L4, the most general logic under consideration, we also prove a version of the Craig-Lyndon Interpolation Theorem. The paper shows that many techniques used for classical predicate logic generalise to partial and paraconsistent logics once the right set-up is chosen. Our logic L4 has a semantics that also underlies Belnap's and is related to the logic of bilattices. L4 is in focus most of the time, but it is also shown how results obtained for L4 can be transferred to several variants.

Source: Semantics Archive
See it

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Saturday, 15 January 2005 15:33 GMT
Wednesday, 12 January 2005

Now Playing: REPOSTED
Topic: Cognition & Epistemology

A Puzzle Concerning Time Perception

By Robin Le Poidevin

According to a plausible and influential account of perceptual knowledge, the truth-makers of beliefs that constitute perceptual knowledge must feature in the causal explanation of how we acquire those beliefs. However, this account runs into difficulties when it tries to accommodate time perception --specifically perception of order and duration -since the features we are apparently tracking in such perception are (it is argued) not causal. The central aim of the paper is to solve this epistemological puzzle. Two strategies are examined. The first strategy locates the causal truth-makers within the psychological mechanism underlying time perception, thus treating facts about time order and duration as mind-dependent. This strategy, however, is problematic. The second strategy modifies the causal account of perceptual knowledge to include a non-causal component in the explanation of belief-acquisition, namely chronometric explanation. Applying this much more satisfactory approach to perceptual knowledge of time, we can preserve the mind-independence of order and duration, but not that of time's flow.

For subscribers

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 12 January 2005 03:32 GMT

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