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LINGUISTIX&LOGIK, Tony Marmo's blog
Wednesday, 20 October 2004


Dialetheism, logical consequence and hierarchy

By Bruno Whittle

Dialetheism is defined by Graham Priest to be the view that there are true contradictions. It is supposed to offer treatments of the semantic paradoxes that avoid the problems faced by more orthodox resolutions. The advantage of these treatments is supposed to be that they avoid the sort of appeal to a hierarchy of languages or concepts that more orthodox resolutions seem invariably to have to make. For since a dialetheist can simply accept as sound the derivations of contradictions involved in the paradoxes, there is no need for him to invoke a hierarchy to block these derivations.

In this article I argue that dialetheists have a problem with the concept of logical consequence. The upshot of this problem is that dialetheists must appeal to a hierarchy of concepts of logical consequence. Since this hierarchy is akin to those invoked by more orthodox resolutions of the semantic paradoxes, its emergence would appear to seriously undermine the dialetheic treatments of these paradoxes. And since these are central to the case for dialetheism, this would represent a significant blow to the position itself.

In ?1 I explain why and how a dialetheist needs to be able to talk about logical consequence. In ?2 I argue that there are in fact severe restrictions upon how exactly a dialetheist can talk about logical consequence. These restrictions stem from a version of Curry's paradox. I then argue in ?3 that a dialetheist must appeal to a hierarchy of concepts of logical consequence, and, further, that each of these concepts is dialetheically unobjectionable. The justification of this latter claim involves proving that the addition of these concepts together with natural rules for them conservatively extends dialetheic logic. This is proved in the appendix.

Read this article

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST
Updated: Wednesday, 20 October 2004 04:23 BST
Tuesday, 19 October 2004


Lockean and Logical Truth Conditions

By James Dreier
Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

The distinction between logical and Lockean truth conditions helps Expressivism to distinguish itself from Subjectivism. Expressivism is the view that moral judgements lack logical truth conditions. Subjectivism says that moral judgements have logical truth conditions involving the speaker's attitudes. Both theories may allow that moral judgements have Lockean truth conditions involving the speaker's attitudes.

See more

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST
Updated: Tuesday, 19 October 2004 05:18 BST
Monday, 18 October 2004


Indicative versus subjunctive in future conditionals

By Adam Morton

There are both Indicative and Subjunctive future-tense conditionals. And moreover sometimes the same words can be used to express both.

Jonathan Bennett (2003), in his wonderfully clear and persuasive book, A Philosophical Guide to Conditionals, continues a debate concerning conditionals about the future. For conditionals about the past there is a clear contrast between so-called indicative and subjunctive conditionals. For most people the contrast is typified by a familiar family of incompatible pairs of sentences such as
If Shakespeare did not write Hamlet someone else did.
If Shakespeare had not written Hamlet someone else would have.

The first of these is assertable, given normal beliefs about the world, and the second is not, so the `did/would have' contrast seems to mark a difference in meaning. I'll call these `Adams pairs', since the first examples were due to Ernest Adams.
I'll assume familiarity with the basic use of Adams pairs to make an indicative/subjunctive distinction. Most people on absorbing the distinction are inclined to classify many future tense conditionals, such as

If Bill won't write the play, someone else will.

with subjunctive `did/would have' past-tense conditionals. Bennett argues against this, urging us to classify `will/will' and `is/will' conditionals with indicative `did/did' ones. Bennett's claim is strong: not only are future tense conditionals usually of the indicative variety, but we cannot use these grammatical forms to express subjunctive conditionals. In this paper I shall contest this latter claim, focusing on paired examples in the familiar family. So the central task is to show that there are Adams pairs set in the future.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 19:24 BST
Updated: Monday, 18 October 2004 19:28 BST


Binding alongside Hamblin alternatives calls for variable-free semantics

Chung-chieh Shan
Source: Semantics Archive

The compositional, bottom-up computation of alternative sets was first introduced by Hamblin (1973) into Montague grammar to treat in-situ wh-questions. In the thirty years since then, alternative sets have found their way into theories of focus (Rooth 1985), indeterminate pronouns (Shimoyama 2001), and free-choice indefinites (Kratzer and Shimoyama 2002). These theories often position alternatives as a scope-taking mechanism that operates separately from Quantifier Raising (May 1977), Quantifying In (Montague 1974), or some other scope-taking mechanism for "genuine" quantifiers like most. On these theories, then, it is not surprising that (say) in-situ who takes scope di erently from most, as is empirically observed.
In particular, if "genuine" scope requires syntactic movement but alternative scope does not, then constraints on movement apply only to the former, and we predict--correctly--that the scope of most is more restricted than the scope of in-situ who.

(1) Who denied that who left?
`Which x and y are such that x denied that y left?'
(2) Who denied that most people left?
*`Which x is such that, for most y, x denied that y left?'

Many theories of quantification, including Quantifier Raising and Quantifying In, make essential use of variables for binding. In the first half of this paper, I show that using variables for binding is incompatible with computing alternatives bottom-up. For example, a theory on which who denotes an alternative set and most books binds a variable cannot account for who read most books. To fix this problem, we can either perform binding without variables (Jacobson 1999, 2000) or compute alternatives non-compositionally. Since Karttunen (1977) has already explored the latter option, I consider the former here: in the second half of this paper, I spell out how to compute alternatives compositionally in a variable-free theory of binding and quantification. Both options fix the problem.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST
Updated: Monday, 18 October 2004 19:09 BST
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

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