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LINGUISTIX&LOGIK, Tony Marmo's blog
Friday, 19 August 2005

For an interesting discussion on a particular kind of modal logic, see:

A note on Kit Fine's Rigidity Axiom

Posted by Tony Marmo at 07:27 BST
Thursday, 18 August 2005

Topic: Polemics

The Excluded Middle:
Semantic Minimalism without Minimal Propositions

PPR commentary on Cappelen and Lepore, Insensitive Semantics

By Kent Bach

Insensitive Semantics is mainly a protracted assault on semantic Contextualism, both moderate and radical. Cappelen and Lepore argue that Moderate Contextualism leads inevitably to Radical Contextualism and in turn that Radical Contextualism is misguided. Assuming that the only alternative to Contextualism is their Semantic Minimalism, they think they’ve given an indirect argument for it. But they overlook a third view, one that splits the difference between the other two. Like Contextualism it rejects Propositionalism, the conservative dogma that every indexical-free declarative sentence expresses a proposition. Unlike Contextualism, it does not invoke context to fill semantic gaps and, indeed, denies that filling those gaps is a semantic matter. In rejecting Propositionalism, it is more radical, indeed, more minimalist than Cappelen and Lepore’s brand of Semantic Minimalism. It does not imagine that sentences that intuitively seem not to express propositions at least express “minimal propositions.” Radical Semantic Minimalism, or simply Radicalism, says that the sentences in question are semantically incomplete – their semantic contents are not propositions but merely “propositional radicals.”

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 16:48 BST
Updated: Thursday, 18 August 2005 16:51 BST
Monday, 15 August 2005

Topic: Interconnections

Typical Ambiguity: Trying to Have Your Cake and Eat it too.

By Solomon Feferman

Ambiguity is a property of syntactic expressions which is ubiquitous in all informal languages–natural, scientific and mathematical; the efficient use of language depends to an exceptional extent on this feature. Disambiguation is the process of separating out the possible meanings of ambiguous expressions. Ambiguity is typical if the process of disambiguation can be carried out in some systematic way. Russell made use of typical ambiguity in the theory of types in order to combine the assurance of its (apparent) consistency (“having the cake”) with the freedom of the informal untyped theory of classes and relations (“eating it too”). The paper begins with a brief tour of Russell’s uses of typical ambiguity, including his treatment of the statement Cls 2 Cls. This is generalized to a treatment in simple type theory of statements of the form A 2 B where A and B are class expressions for which A is prima facie of the same or higher type than B. In order to treat mathematically more interesting statements of self membership we then formulate a version of typical ambiguity for such statements in an extension of Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory. Specific attention is given to how the“naive” theory of categories can thereby be accounted for.

Appeared in the book One Hundred Years of Russell's Paradox (G. Link, ed.), Walter de Gruyter, Berlin (2004) 135-151

Posted by Tony Marmo at 07:01 BST
Updated: Monday, 15 August 2005 07:04 BST
Sunday, 14 August 2005

I have placed this paper online in a very raw version, because I really want any help anyone wants to offer me. Thanks.

Opacity and Paradoxes

The Paraconsistent Semantics of Natural Languages

By Tony Marmo

(Draft Version 06-alpha.2. Please, comments, suggestions and corrections are welcome)

The purpose of this work is to revisit opaque contexts from the perspective of natural languages. Opacity has been understood firstly as failure of the application of Leibniz’ substitution of identicals principle and later as accessibility relations holding between possible worlds. However, opacity in the semantics of natural languages ought to be simply characterised truth-functionally, in which case it results from devices that both avoid paradoxical interpretation of sentences and circumvent the principle of Pseudo-Scotus. Accordingly, what is herein proposed is a solution based on a kind of Paraconsistent Semantics for natural languages.

Keywords: Propositional Attitudes, Semantics, Philosophy of Language, Linguistics, Logic, Accessibility Relations, Belief Reports, Consistency, Human Languages Semantics, Intensional Liar, Leibniz’ Law, Moore’s Paradox, Opacity, Paraconsistency.
Update (Of related Interest): [1]; [2]

Source: LingBuzz, Semantics Archive, Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 02:41 BST
Friday, 12 August 2005


Respective Answers to Coordinated Questions

By Jean Mark Gawron & Andrew Kehler

Munn’s examples are instances of respective readings and not functional readings. Our analysis captures these readings, as well as those for a range of other filler-gap constructions, since RESP operators routinely intervene between constituent-based dependencies in the syntax and predicate-argument relations in the semantics. As a result we are able to account for cases that share essential characteristics with Munn’s examples but which are not candidates for a functional analysis. These same examples conspire to demonstrate that the identity constraint on ATB extraction cannot be maintained.

Source: Semantics Archive

Posted by Tony Marmo at 05:41 BST
Updated: Friday, 12 August 2005 05:43 BST
Thursday, 11 August 2005


Modalità e Multimodalità in English

Walter Carnielli and Claudio Pizzi are planning to re-write, i.e., to make a translation and an expanded adaptation of their book Modality and Multi-modality (original title Modalità e Multimodalità) into English. The new edition will probably be published next year.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 18:45 BST
Updated: Thursday, 11 August 2005 18:47 BST
Tuesday, 9 August 2005


Les Axiomes de Tarski

Jean-Yves Béziau

A la fin des années 1920, Tarski développe une théorie connue aujourd’hui sous le nom de théorie de l’opérateur des conséquence: il présente des axiomes pour un opérateur Cn qui à chaque ensemble d’objets X associe un autre ensemble d’objets Cn(X) de même nature, appelés conséquences de X. Il s’agit d’une théorie très abstraite puisque la nature des objets sur lesquels porte cet opérateur n’est pas spécifiée outre mesure.

Cette théorie en beaucoup de sens est extraordinaire et il semblerait que malgré le récent regain d’intérêt à son régard, sa valeur, sa signification et sa portée n’ont pas encore été pleinement comprises. En particulier on n’a pas encore réalisé combien cette théorie était en avance sur son temps, comment elle marque un tournant dans l’histoire de la logique moderne, en libérant la logique du carcan formaliste et en la projetant dans la sphère de la plus haute abstraction.

Le but de cet article n’est pas de présenter et de discuter de façon systématique l’origine et le développement de la théorie de l’opérateur de conséquence— il faudrait pour cela un volume suffisamment épais pour servir de banc— mais de discuter seulement d’un de ses aspects: ses axiomes. Dans d’autres articles nous avons déjà discuté ou nous discuterons d’autres aspects de cette théorie. Le présent article n’est donc qu’un parmi d’autres dont la somme pourrait finir par constituer le dit banc.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 16:57 BST
Updated: Tuesday, 9 August 2005 17:08 BST
Monday, 8 August 2005



Many-Valued and Kripke Semantics

By Jean-Yves Beziau

Today many people identify Kripke semantics with modal logic. Typically a book called “modal logic” nowadays is a book about Kripke semantics (cf. e.g. the recent book by [Blackburn et al (2001)]). But modal logic can be developed using other kinds of semantics and Kripke semantics can be used to deal with many different logics and it is totally absurd to call all of these logics “modal logics”. Kripke semantics are also often called “possible worlds semantics”, however this is quite misleading because the crucial feature of these semantics is not the concept of possible world but the relation of accessibility. Possible worlds can easily be eliminated from the definition of Kripke semantics and then the accessibility relation is defined directly between the bivaluations. For this reason it seems better to use the terminology “relational semantics”. Of course, if we want, we can call these bivaluations "possible worlds", this metaphor can be useful, but then why using this metaphor only in the case of relational semantics? In fact in the Tractatus Wittgenstein used the expression “truth-possibilities” for the classical bivaluations. Other concepts of the semantics of classical zero-order logic were expressed by him using a modal terminology: he said that a formula is necessary if it holds for all truth possibilities, impossible if it holds for none, and possible if it holds for some. But Wittgenstein was against the introduction of modal concepts inside the language as modal operators.
Many-valued and Kripke semantics may be philosophically controversial, anyway they are very useful and powerful technical tools which can be fruitfully used to give a mathematical account of basic philosophical notions, such as modalities. It seems to me that instead of focusing on the one hand on some little philosophical problems and on the other hand on some developments limited to one technique, one should promote a better interaction between philosophy and logic developing a wide range of techniques, as for example the combination of Kripke semantics (extended as to include Jaskowski semantics) and Many-Valued semantics (extended as to include non truth-functional many-valued semantics). My aim in this paper is to give a hint of how these techniques can be developed by presenting various examples.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST
Updated: Monday, 8 August 2005 05:32 BST
Saturday, 6 August 2005


Conditional truth and future reference

By Stefan Kaufmann

This paper proposes a compositional model-theoretic account of the way the interpretation of indicative conditionals is determined and constrained by the temporal and modal expressions in their constituents. The main claim is that the tenses in both the antecedent and the consequent of an indicative conditional are interpreted in the same way as in isolation. This is controversial for the antecedents of predictive conditionals like ‘ If he arrives tomorrow, she will leave ’, whose Present tense is often claimed to differ semantically from that in their stand-alone counterparts, such as ‘He arrives tomorrow ’. Under the unified analysis developed in this paper, the differences observed in pairs like these are explained by interactions between the temporal and modal dimensions of interpretation. This perspective also sheds new light on the relationship between ‘non-predictive’ and ‘epistemic’ readings of indicative conditionals.

Appeared in the Journal of Semantics, August 2005

Posted by Tony Marmo at 17:25 BST


Intention-based Semantics

By Emma Borg

If we want to develop an intention-based semantics for natural language, it seems that we should follow the weaker, A-style approach (here attributed to Grice) rather than assign any more substantive role to speaker intentions. Yet, if this is the case, a question might now emerge concerning the relation of IBS to other varieties of semantic theory. Specifically, it is no longer clear to what degree IBS constitutes a genuine alternative to the approach of formal semantics (e.g. a truth-conditional approach, such as that instigated by Davidson). According to formal semantic theories the route to semantic content follows an exclusively syntactic path. That is to say, all propositional or truth-conditional semantic content can be traced back to the syntactic level and it is delivered by formal operations over the syntactic representations of sentences. Just as with an A-style IBS approach, the formal theorist will maintain that (formally described) sentences, rather than utterances, are the primary bearers of semantic content.

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 16:46 BST
Updated: Saturday, 6 August 2005 16:49 BST
Friday, 5 August 2005


From Semantic Restrictions to Reciprocal Meanings

By Yoad Winter & Sivan Sabato

This paper proposes a new approach to the interpretation of reciprocal expressions using the Strongest Meaning Hypothesis of Dalrymple et al (1998). We propose a system in which reciprocal meanings are derived directly from semantic restrictions using the SMH, and characterize this derivation process. We present methods to construct a linguistic test for the availability of a reciprocal meaning, or otherwise to prove that a specific meaning is not available for reciprocals. These methods are then used to analyze two controversial reciprocal meanings.

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 15:28 BST
Thursday, 4 August 2005


A Metasemantic Account of Vagueness

By Agustin Rayo

I argue for an account of vagueness according to which the root of vagueness lies not in the type of semantic-value that is best associated with an expression, but in the type of linguistic practice that renders the expression meaningful. I suggest, in particular, that conventions about how to use sentences involving attributions of vague predicates to borderline cases prevail to a lesser degree than conventions about how to use sentences involving attributions of vague predicates to clear cases.

Source: PhOnline

See also.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 16:59 BST
Wednesday, 3 August 2005


An Inconsistency in Direct Reference Theory

By George Bealer

My goal [here] is to expose a series of internal difficulties in direct reference theory, ultimately revealing an inconsistency which concerns neither meaning nor the propositional attitudes but rather our standard logic of identity itself. I will not focus on specific formulations, such as those put forward at one time or another by David Kaplan, John Perry, Jon Barwise, Nathan Salmon, Scott Soames, Mark Richard, Mark Crimmins, and many others. By the end it should nonetheless be evident that direct reference theory’s basic tenets make this inconsistency inevitable.

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 03:44 BST
Tuesday, 2 August 2005

Topic: Cognition & Epistemology

Machine Learning and the Cognitive Basis of Natural Language

By Shalom Lappin

Machine learning and statistical methods have yielded impressive results in a wide variety of natural language processing tasks. These advances have generally been regarded as engineering achievements. In fact it is possible to argue that the success of machine learning methods is significant for our understanding of the cognitive basis of language acquisition and processing. Recent work in unsupervised grammar induction is particularly relevant to this issue. It suggests that knowledge of language can be achieved through general learning procedures, and that a richly articulated language faculty is not required to explain its acquisition.

Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 17:20 BST
Monday, 1 August 2005


Uncertainty and the suppression of inferences

By Guy Politzer

The explanation of the suppression of Modus Ponens inferences within the framework of linguistic pragmatics and of plausible reasoning (i.e., deduction from uncertain premises) is defended.

First, this approach is expounded, and then it is shown that the results of the first experiment of Byrne, Espino and Santamaría (1999) support the uncertainty explanation but fail to support their counterexample explanation.

Second, two experiments are presented. In the first one, aimed to refute one objection regarding the conclusions observed, the additional conditional premise (if N, C) was replaced with a statement of uncertainty (it is not certain that N); the answers produced by the participants remained qualitatively and quantitatively similar in both conditions. In the second experiment, a fine-grained analysis of the responses and justifications to an evaluation task was performed. The results of both experiments strongly supported the uncertainty explanation.

Source: Jean Nicod, Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 19:37 BST
Updated: Monday, 1 August 2005 19:38 BST

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