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LINGUISTIX&LOGIK, Tony Marmo's blog
Sunday, 9 January 2005

Now Playing: REPOSTED

Negative Inversion

By Daniel Buring

In this paper I set out to explore the conditions under which preposed phrases trigger inversion. Pushing the hypothesis that all and only those phrases that can license NPIs trigger inversion, I was then forced to come up with a story for all those cases in which an otherwise attestedly negative element seemed to fail to trigger inversion. This strategy revealed a number of straightforward ambiguities that distinguished seemingly minimal pairs such as the with no clothes and not even ten years ago cases.
Extending this line of analysis to the case of less than and its kin (at most, not more than. . . ) lead to the discovery of two distinct semantic construals of these quantifiers, modifying and cumulative v. scope taking and distributive. The analysis I provided for these cases maintains the initial hypothesis that all negative phrases obligatorily trigger inversion, and that, conversely, the non-inverted cases are not DE. An account was given for the subtly, yet clear meaning-differences, the lack of DE, and the difference in prosodic patterning. Finally, the impossibility of no-quantifiers in plain topicalization was traced back to a more general restriction on the relative scope of these and the event quantifier.

Source: Semantics Archive

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Sunday, 9 January 2005 12:41 GMT
Saturday, 8 January 2005

Now Playing: REPOSTED

A Positive Formalization
for the Notion of Pragmatic Truth

By Tarcisio Pequeno, Arthur Buchsbaum & Marcelino Pequeno

A logic aimed to formalize the concept of pragmatic truth is presented. We start by examining a previous attempt of formalization by da Costa and collaborators, reported in Mikenberg, da Costa, and Chuaqui (1986), da Costa, Chuaqui, and Bueno (1996) and da Costa, Bueno and French(1998). However, their formalization works as mere possibility in face of what is known, or assumed. It is pointed out here that not being in conflict with the assumed knowledge is not enough to regard a proposition as a truth of any sort, providing just a necessary condition.
A typical picture of the way a scientific theory evolves exhibit alternative hypothesis competing for expanding the theory. In our view, a pragmatic knowledge, at this stage of development of the theory, is one that can be taken as true under all those competing hypothesis. The logic presented here formalizes this process of theory evolution in order to properly express the notion of pragmatic truth as we understand it.

View as html
Try pdf

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Saturday, 8 January 2005 13:12 GMT
Friday, 7 January 2005

Now Playing: REPOSTED

Decidability of Quantified Propositional Intuitionistic Logic and S4 on Trees of Height and Arity [le] [omega]

By Richard Zach

Quantified propositional intuitionistic logic is obtained from propositional intuitionistic logic by adding quantifiers [forall] p,[exist] p, where the propositional variables range over upward-closed subsets of the set of worlds in a Kripke structure. If the permitted accessibility relations are arbitrary partial orders, the resulting logic is known to be recursively isomorphic to full second-order logic (Kremer, 1997). It is shown that if the Kripke structures are restricted to trees of at height and width at most [omega] , the resulting logics are decidable. This provides a partial answer to a question by Kremer. The result also transfers to modal S4 and some G?del-Dummett logics with quantifiers over propositions.

Source: Journal of Philosophical Logic

link 1
link 2

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Thursday, 6 January 2005 18:51 GMT
Thursday, 6 January 2005

Now Playing: REPOSTED

Yablo's paradox rides again: a reply to Ketland

By Otavio Bueno & Mark Colyvan

Yablo ' s paradox is generated by the following (infinite) list of sentences (called Yablo's list):
(S1) For all k> 1, Sk is not true.
(S2) For all k> 2, Sk is not true.
(S3) For all k> 3, Sk is not true.
(Sn) For all k>n, Sk is not true.

A little reflection reveals that this list is paradoxical. The source and nature of the paradox has been the focus of a fascinating debate. The crucial issue, of course, is whether Yablo's paradox involves circularity. Stephen Yablo (1993), Roy Sorensen (1998), and Bueno and Colyvan (2003b) have argued that the Yablo list generates a liar-like paradox without circularity. In the other camp are Graham Priest (1997) and JC Beall (2001), who argue that the paradox involves a fixed-point construction and therefore is circular. In Bueno and Colyvan (2003a), we respond by showing that there is a way of deriving a contradiction from the Yablo list without invoking any fixed-point construction and so, it would seem, the paradox does not essentially involve circularity.
In a recent paper, Jeffrey Ketland (2004) argues that our response is incorrect, and claims that the derivation presented in our paper is invalid.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Thursday, 6 January 2005 18:42 GMT
Tuesday, 4 January 2005

Topic: Syn-Sem Interface


I am happy that someone is working with the extended Larsonian Shell hypothesis that I proposed in my MA thesis. Of course, Butler has probably not read or heard about my thesis, for it is not written in English, but I like to know that somehow he uses it anyway!


By Jonny Butler

I argue that phases should be defined as domains of quantificational closure. I propose that a phase consists of a core predicative category (V, T), topped by l-syntactic little heads (v, t) that introduce situation variables; this whole structure then topped off by a CP level which closes off the variables introduced by the little heads. This derives a theory of temporal construal akin to that of Stowell (1996). The system is extended to cover aspectual notions like perfect/progressive, where evidence from their interaction with modality suggests that perfect and progressive aspect should be considered to head their own phases.

Source: lingBuzz/000065

Posted by Tony Marmo at 19:31 GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 4 January 2005 19:34 GMT
Monday, 3 January 2005

Now Playing: REPOSTED

Information Dependency in Quantificational Subordination

By Linton Wang, Eric McCready, and Nicholas Asher

The purpose of this paper is to
(a) show that the received view of the problem of quantificational subordination (QS) is incorrect, and that, consequently, existing solutions do not succeed in explaining the facts, and
(b) provide a new account of QS.

On the received view of QS within dynamic semantic frameworks, determiners treated as universal quantifiers (henceforth universal determiners) such as all, every, and each behave as barriers to inter-sentential anaphora yet allow anaphoric accessibility in a number of situations. We argue that universal determiners are not intrinsic anaphora barriers and that anaphoric accessibility under them is enabled factors including lexicon information and discourse effects of universal determiners. In support of this viewpoint, we first provide a data survey on the phenomena of QS and its interactions with plurals, rhetorical relations, and adverbial quantification. The results of the survey show that judgments of (naive) native English speakers on the QS examples are quite different from what is claimed in the literature. We argue that the various solutions in the literature, which in general accept that universal determiners are intrinsic anaphora barriers, fail to account for the facts from the survey data. We then describe the approach we adopt, which denies that universal determiners are anaphora barriers and reconstructs their semantics so that information in their scope can be released for anaphora. The constraints on QS noted in the literature we model in Segmented Discourse Representation Theory (SDRT) as conditions on the discourse relations which can hold between subordinated constituents. We show that this approach accounts for the QS data.

Keywords: Anaphora, Dynamic Semantics, Pronouns, Quantificational Subordination, Rhetorical Relations, SDRT, Telescoping, Universal Determiners

To obtain more information

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Monday, 3 January 2005 13:52 GMT
Sunday, 2 January 2005

Now Playing: REPOSTED

Investigations in grounded semantics for multi-agent systems specification via deontic logic

By Alessio Lomuscio and Marek Sergot

We investigate an extension of the formalism of interpreted systems by Halpern and colleagues to model correct behaviour of agents. The semantical model allows for the representation and reasoning about states of correct and incorrect functioning behaviour of the agents, and of the system as a whole. We axiomatise this semantic class by mapping it into a suitable class of Kripke models. The resulting logic, KD45ni-j, is a stronger version of KD, the system often referred to as Standard Deontic Logic. We discuss these issues and present further directions of work related to epistemic Logic.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Sunday, 2 January 2005 12:08 GMT
Saturday, 1 January 2005


Logics for Dialogue

By Alain Lecomte

This paper is essentially a survey of some logical approaches to dialogue. We start with Dialogical Logic, which was initiated by Lorenzen and has mainly been explored as a new foundation for logics. It continues with Hintikka's Game Theoretical Semantics, which has been more developed in contact with Natural Language. For instance, we show how to deal with generalized quantifiers by using games, after ideas taken from Ahti Pietarinen. The two perspectives, if different in their objectives, could be mixed for applicative purposes like the treatment of argumentative dialogues: this requires that they be recast in a neutral form, which consists in Dialogue Games in Extensive form. Nevertheless, to stay at one level of elementary language games is not sufficient: in every day life, games are combined. At this point, it seems that the Game-Theoretic interpretation of Linear Logic provides us with the appropriate tool for combining elementary games of various kinds.

See it

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Saturday, 1 January 2005 09:58 GMT
Friday, 31 December 2004

Now Playing: REPOSTED
Topic: Interconnections

CHOMSKY, Noam Avram (1928- )

By Zolt?n Gendler Szab?

Noam Chomsky was born to Dr. William (Zev) Chomsky and Elsie Simonofsky in Philadelphia on December 7, 1928. His father emigrated to the United States from Russia. William was an eminent scholar, author of the study Hebrew, the Eternal Language (1957), as well as numerous other works on the history and teaching of Hebrew. Noam entered the University of Pennsylvania in 1945. There he came in contact with Zelig Harris, a prominent linguist and the founder of the first linguistics department in the United States (at the University of Pennsylvania). In 1947 Chomsky decided to major in linguistics, and in 1949 he began his graduate studies in that field. His BA honor's thesis Morphophonemics of Modern Hebrew (1949, revised as an MA thesis in 1951) contains several ideas that foreshadow Chomsky's later work in generative grammar. In 1949 he married the linguist Carol Schatz. During the years 1951 to 1955 Chomsky was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard University Society of Fellows, where he completed his PhD dissertation entitled Transformational Analysis (1955; published as part of The Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory in 1975).

Forthcoming in the Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers, 1860-1960 ed., Ernest LePore, Thoemmes Press, 2004.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Friday, 31 December 2004 00:16 GMT
Thursday, 30 December 2004


On certain Arguments to Bring Scientists to Court

A Short Note

Freedom of Religion versus freedom of Science has again become a hot issue. I have seen in the web-site of the Earth Science Associates that a certain man and a certain organisation have filed a suit against a number of individual scientists and academic institutions. I shall not quote the names of either party here, although the reader can access the web-site mentioned above and see them. The Plaintiffs demand trial by jury for a number of the issues pled, arguing that the Defendants have violated their civil rights, i.e., have infringed the First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

As I do not know what really happened, I cannot comment on the case. But the web-site mentioned above contains a text with some of the main intellectual arguments of the Plaintiffs against the Defendants. I would like to consider two of such arguments from a more general point of view, not attached to the specific legal case. The two excerpts are from this link.

First, let me quote the part of their arguments that seems valid as an intellectual position:

Over the past several decades, the vast majority of both the academic and governmental science community has come to regard the "big bang" theory of the universe's creation as irrefutable fact. The scientific community has been extremely effective in disseminating this particular theory throughout the world. Until recently, this dissemination has occurred with virtually no dissent. Without such dissent, the major medias of the United States have reported this theory as scientific truth, influencing not only the taxpaying public, but also legislators in Congress who use this information as the basis for funding an increasing number of astrophysical projects. The federal and state governments have invested mammoth sums of money in such programs in the hope that the mysteries of the "big bang" theory will ultimately be revealed.

Now let me quote the part that for me sounds nonsensical:
Recently a small, but growing number of scientists, have advanced theories and offered evidence suggesting that the universe was indeed created in conformity with the literal text of the Bible. This "creationist" theory postulates that science and the Bible are not in conflict, and that indeed science supports the theory of a Biblical creation by God. These creationist theories have met with considerable skepticism, derision and open scorn by the mainstream scientific community. Many in this community see the creationist theory as not merely a philosophical threat to the "big bang" theory, but also a scientific threat, which if successfully validated would undermine the evolutionary science foundation, which has been considered the starting point for all astro-physical and cosmologist studies. Decades of "established" evolutionary theory would be subject to scientific refutation, potentially creating a scientific reawakening among the public and media. Consequently, there has been a concerted effort by academic and governmental theorists and researchers, as well as certain government officials, to suppress the creationist idea.

The first argument points to a real issue, specially in regard with the manner mass media tend to present scientific theories as absolute truths and unproblematic solutions. Perhaps, the big-bang theory is not better than any model of Universe that presupposed the existence of a giant turtle carrying our world on its backs, except for the crucial fact that the big-bang has been based on objective evidence and more complex theoretical reasoning. But the point is how the Plaintiffs establish a cause and consequence relation between the two arguments. They fail to do so on intellectual grounds.

Assume that a scientific theory T has problems p(1)...p(n). It does not follow from p(1)...p(n) that the best substitute for T is a religious taught. The fact that T has p(1)...p(n) problems only means that T has a number of problems to be considered. A solution to any of such problems must come from a precise formulation of the alternatives to T and not from the choice of the references.

Furthermore, for anthropological reasons, a holly book and its teachings cannot be reduced to a set of mere competitive scientific theories. Firstly because religious teachings and scientific hypotheses are not comparable things. Secondly and most importantly, religious teachings are and must be sacrosanct for the society wherein they are embraced, while scientific theories are not and cannot be. A scientific theory like the big-bang does not challenge any Religion and is not intended to do it. In the same manner, a sacred book like the Genesis does not offer an explanation to the formation of the Universe, nor is it intended to do so. It is not a book about Biology or Cosmology, as the Exodus is not a History book.

The general purposes of any holly writing are spiritual and ethical. The story of how Moses liberated the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt matters because of its meaning and not because it actually happened. Its message is clearly against slavery and unlimited power. In the same manner, the Genesis is about the spiritual questions that have been part of men's lives since ever. The story the expulsion of Adam and Eve, for instance, contains a very deep reflexion about human existence: man kind cannot live a paradisiacal existence, like the irrational animals, because humans know the difference between good and evil. None of these stories and their teachings can be compared or confronted with current scientific theories.

This is not a question of believers against atheist. An atheist can perfectly understand what a holly book says, whilst a believer may misunderstand it completely. In the case of those believers that want to reduce their sacred writings into scientific manuals, it can be said that they may have an abundance of faith, but, from my humble point of view, they seem to lack understanding in crucial aspects.

In any case, although the intellectual debate may be interesting, I would suggest that scientists tried to discuss their different points of view with humanity, dignity and mutual respect and comprehension among themselves and preferably out of Courts. And, perhaps, for the benefit of general audiences and the freedom of thought, it would be interesting if some independent organisation built an internet archive with papers by authors from several denominations (not only Christians), who want to propose their own creationist theories in accordance with their construal of their respective holly books.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 02:17 GMT
Updated: Thursday, 30 December 2004 02:32 GMT
Monday, 27 December 2004


On the Logical Unsolvability of the Gettier Problem

By Luciano Floridi

The tripartite account of propositional, fallibilist knowledge that p as justified true belief can become adequate only if it can solve the Gettier Problem. However, the latter can be solved only if the problem of a successful coordination of the resources (at least truth and justification) necessary and sufficient to deliver propositional, fallibilist knowledge that p can be solved. In this paper, the coordination problem is proved to be insolvable by showing that it is equivalent to the coordinated attack problem, which is demonstrably insolvable in epistemic logic. It follows that the tripartite account is not merely inadequate as it stands, as proved by Gettier-type counterexamples, but demonstrably irreparable in principle, so that efforts to improve it can never succeed.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Monday, 27 December 2004 01:22 GMT
Friday, 24 December 2004


Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Tuesday, 21 December 2004


Roles and Deontic Logic

By F. Cuppens

The objective of this paper is to propose a new semantics for a class of normative positions that applies deontic operators to descriptions of possible act-positions. This semantics is based on the concept of role which represents a behavior an agent is authorized to play. Within this new semantics, we investigate several deontic problems such as the treatment of Chisholm's Paradox, moral dilemmas and defeasible deontic reasoning.

Get it

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 21 December 2004 08:59 GMT
Monday, 20 December 2004


Semantics of Complex Sentences in Japanese

By Hiroshi Nakagawa and Shin-ichiro Nishizawa

The important part of semantics of complex sentence is captured as relations among semantic roles in subordinate and main clause respectively. However if there can be relations between every pair of semantic roles, the amount of computation to identify the relations that hold in the given sentence is extremely large. In this paper, for semantics of Japanese complex sentence, we introduce new pragmatic roles called observer and motivated respectively to bridge semantic roles of subordinate and those of main clauses. By these new roles constraints on the relations among semantic/pragmatic roles are known to be almost local within subordinate or main clause. In other words, as for the semantics of the whole complex sentence, the only role we should deal with is a motivated.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Monday, 20 December 2004 11:09 GMT
Saturday, 18 December 2004


The Quantificational/Referential Distinction and Negative Polarity

By Daniel Rothschild

There is an interesting class of expressions, including ever, any, and at all, called negative polarity items. They can only be used in certain linguistic contexts. We speak of such contexts as "licensing" the use of these terms. Some standard accounts of which contexts license negative polarity items (henceforth, NPIs) are inadequate. Here I will briefly discuss the problem with these accounts and propose new licensing conditions. Typically NPI's are thought to be licensed only in downward-entailing contexts (DE). I argue that they are rather only licensed in non-upwardentailing contexts. Then I give a semantic characterization of these contexts (non-UE contexts) in terms of domain-sensitivity. This proposal, I take to be roughly in line with some other proposals in the literature [Chierchia, forthcoming].
It turns out that the success of this account, or any account like it, requires examination of various questions about the semantics of noun-phrases. Definite descriptions, particularly, seem to provide a counterexample to my proposal for NPI-licensing. In order to handle this I examine a class of non-Russellian semantics for definite descriptions.
I then argue that NPI's indicate a fundamental semantic distinction between different forms of noun phrases. This distinction is meant to capture the intuitive distinction between quantificational and referential nounphrases. However, which noun phrases count as which is quite surprising.

See also

Posted by Tony Marmo at 09:42 GMT

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