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LINGUISTIX&LOGIK, Tony Marmo's blog
Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Topic: HUMAN SEMANTICS

Context, Content and Relativism


By Michael Glanzberg

Here is a simple and inviting picture: the semantic values of sentences, relative to contexts,are sets of possible worlds. These are the truth conditions of assertions of those sentences in contexts. They are thus the contents of assertions, or the objects of attitudes we might take towards such contents.
There have been many questions raised about the simple picture. I propose to ignore these questions to focus on whether the semantic values of sentences hould be sets of something more than possible worlds.
My main concern here shall be with the philosophy of language side of this debate. I shall argue that in fact, thinking about the way language works does not give us any argument for relativism. I shall also suggest, in the end, that the argument which leads to this kind of rampant relativism hinges on a particularly stringent view about the way context fixes contextual parameters. I shall suggest this stringent view is not well-justified, and that language shows us many contextual effects which do not conform to it. This will not constitute a knock-down argument against relativism, but I do hope to show that sober reflection on language offers relativism no support.

Source: Semantics Archive 


Posted by Tony Marmo at 16:18 BST
Updated: Wednesday, 6 June 2007 16:33 BST
Monday, 4 June 2007

Topic: GENERAL LOGIC
A propositional logic for Tarski's consequence operator

By Hércules de Araújo Feitosa, Mauri Cunha do Nascimento & Maria Claudia Cabrini Grácio

This paper presents the TK-algebras associated to Tarski's consequence operator and introduces the TK Logic. So it shows the adequacy (soundness and completeness) of TK Logic relative to the algebraic model given by TK-algebras.

Source: CLE e-prints Vol. 7(1), 2007

Posted by Tony Marmo at 15:19 BST
Updated: Monday, 4 June 2007 15:37 BST
Friday, 1 June 2007

Topic: PARACONSISTENCY

Sylvan's Box: A Short Story and Ten Morals

By Graham Priest

The paper contains a short story which is inconsistent, essentially so, but perfectly intelligible. The existence of such a story is used to establish various views about truth in fiction and impossible worlds.

Source: Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic Volume 38, Number 4 (1997), 573-582.
 Check peer's review here

Posted by Tony Marmo at 18:45 BST
Updated: Friday, 1 June 2007 18:58 BST

Topic: PARACONSISTENCY

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

Topic: PARACONSISTENCY
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

Topic: PARACONSISTENCY
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

Topic: GENERAL LOGIC
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

WHAT IS WRONG WITH NEGATIVE PROPERTIES

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

    Topic: GENERAL LOGIC

    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

    Topic: GENERAL LOGIC

    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

    Topic: HUMAN SEMANTICS

    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

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