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LINGUISTIX&LOGIK, Tony Marmo's blog
Sunday, 24 July 2005


Free Choice in Romanian

By Donka F. Farkas

This paper explores the determiner corner of the ‘any’ land in Romanian, taking Lee and Horn 1994 and Horn 2000a as tour guides. The immediate interest of the task lies in the fact that the work done in English by the over-employed determiner any is carried out in Romanian by a host of more specialized (and, one fears, lower paid) morphemes, which I review in the rest of this section. My aim is to introduce the details of the Romanian facts onto the scene and to show that an ‘indefinitist’ view that generalizes the scalar approach advocated in Horn’s work is useful in helping us understand the much more crowded Romanian field. The theory of any that serves as my starting point is summarized in Section 2. Section 3 proposes a generalization of the scalar view advocated by Horn in terms of an alternative-based approach in the spirit of Krifka 1995, Giannakidou 2001 and Kratzer and Shimoyama 2002, based on a novel way of defining alternatives. Section 4 looks at the consequences of the proposal, Section 5 considers ways of extending it, and Section 6 is a brief conclusion. The approach suggested here falls under what Horn calls quodlibetic theories. Its claim is that the unifying characteristic of both existentially and universally flavored free choice-like items is that they denote a maximal set of alternatives that verify the expression in which the item occurs. The scalar view is the important special case in which these alternatives form an implicational scale with respect to verifying the relevant expression.

To appear in a Festschrift for Larry Horn edited by Gregory Ward and Betty Birner
Source: Semantics etc.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 13:21 BST

The Many Presuppositions

The label presupposition covers a variety of ideas and the authors may mean different things when they use it.

Pre-requisites One common feature behind the several different meanings of presupposition is the idea that there are conditions. i.e., pre-requisites to be met or satisfied. One school of thought considers that those conditions have to do with truth-values. Another school of thought says that such conditions are those that allow a statement to function properly, i.e., to achieve its goals or serve its purposes.

Truth conditions One intuitive way to characterise the notion of presupposition in an alethic manner is by separating it from the contents of an utterance, i.e., to distinguish the ‘positus’ (what is proposed or put forward for consideration) from what is presupposed by a sentence.
According to a tradition that goes back to Peter of Spain, the existence of the subject (e.f.; Socrates of sentences like (1):
(1) Socrates wrote no book.

is something that is not explicitly stated by the sentence, so it is not part of its contents, but at the same time is one condition for the proposition expressed by (1) to be true. So the existence of Socrates is presupposed by (1).
There are cases that are more complex. Consider the sentences below:
(2) The Pope is a very good Protestant.
(3) The Pope is not a very good Protestant.

Given that (2) is false and (3) is its negation, then (3) should be true. Yet, intuitively the users of any natural language consider both sentences false. Why? One good reason for such intuitions is that both sentences somehow presuppose that the Pope is Protestant, which is false.
There are many thinkable ways to treat the duo proposition and presupposition. One obvious way to do it is by translating a natural language into a conjunct of the type (∃α)(p&q). So, a sentence like:
(4) The man who discovered the Americas was an Iberian.

can be rephrased in this manner:
(4’) There is an x such as x the Americas and X was an Iberian.

Felicity The notion of situational (in-) appropriateness consists of pre-requisites that are called felicity conditions. Felicity conditions determine under what circumstances it is appropriate to ask questions, give commands, etc.
To be continued…

Posted by Tony Marmo at 03:03 BST
Updated: Sunday, 24 July 2005 12:53 BST
Saturday, 23 July 2005


On Strawsonian contexts

By Varol Akman

P.F. Strawson proposed in the early seventies a threefold distinction regarding how context bears on the meaning of ‘what is said’ when a sentence is uttered. The proposal was somewhat tentative and, being aware of this aspect, Strawson himself raised various questions to make it more adequate. In this paper, we review Strawson’s scheme, note his concerns, and add some of our own. We also defend its essence and recommend it as an insightful entry point re the interplay of intended meaning and context.
Being endless, the burden of context is too difficult to bear. It is the sort of burden with which one should learn to live intelligently rather than expect to think away.
Ben-Ami Scharfstein (1989:185)

Keywords: context, disambiguation, illocutionary force, indexical, literary theory, meaning, reference, translation, ‘what is said’
Appeared in Pragmatics & Cognition 13:2 (2005), 363?382.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 14:42 BST
Updated: Saturday, 23 July 2005 14:50 BST
Friday, 22 July 2005


Russell's Theory of Definite Descriptions

By Stephen Schiffer

The theory of definite descriptions Bertrand Russell presented in On Denoting one hundred years ago was instrumental in defining the then newly emerging philosophy of language, but a more remarkable achievement is that this centenarian theory is the currently dominant theory of definite descriptions. But what, exactly, is this theory? The question needs to be asked because the theory Russell presented in 1905 is not acceptable in the form in which he then stated it, and while we have little trouble in deciding whether a theory of definite descriptions is sufficiently like the one Russell formulated to be worth calling Russellian, it happens that what question one thinks a semantic theory of definite descriptions needs to answer will depend on how one thinks certain foundational issues in the theory of meaning need to be resolved.

There is no consensus as to how those issues should be resolved. I elaborate on this a little in section I and in section II propose as a working hypothesis a conception of meaning for which I have argued elsewhere and in terms of whose architecture a Russellian theory of definite descriptions may be formulated. How the theory should be formulated in terms of that architecture is then the topic of section III. Section IV confronts my formulation of the Russellian theory with the apparent problem for it implied by certain referential uses of definite descriptions. There are at the most general level of abstraction two possible Russellian responses to this problem,
and one of them is the standard Russellian response to the referential-use problem. Section V critically discusses that response and argues for its rejection. Section VI critically discusses the other possible Russellian response and argues for its rejection, too. The final section, VII, gives a brief summary and discusses what the correct positive theory of definite descriptions might be, if it is not the Russellian theory.

Forthcoming in special edition of Mind, guest ed. Stephen Neale, celebrating 100th anniversary of On Denoting


Indefinite anaphoric expressions?

By Maria Luiza Cunha Lima & Edson Françozo

Definiteness is a central concern in semantics and philosophy of language since Russell (1905), for whom the difference between definite and indefinite expressions lies in the impossibility of referential use of indefinites. Since Strawson (1959) and Kripke (1977), however, indefinites are held to have referential uses as well. Given that both are now seen as referential, the difference between them became a matter of the given/new informational status of the referring expression in sentences or discourse ? in this connection, indefinite expressions are said to always indicate new referents. Therefore, one could never have indefinite anaphoric expressions. Yet, recent data (Schwartz 1999, Cunha Lima 2004) show that indefinite expressions are quite common in ordinary discourse. In the face of it, one can wonder what the role of indefinites is. We will discuss some proposals, stemming mainly from linguistic semantics, and will make the case for interpreting indefinites as type identifying devices. This, in turn, will point toward to the need of re-assessing the functions of articles in natural language.
(A PDF copy will be available soon)

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST
Updated: Sunday, 14 August 2005 02:43 BST
Monday, 18 July 2005

Topic: Interconnections

The Gamut of Dynamic Logics

By Jan van Eijck & Martin Stokhof

Dynamic logic, broadly conceived, is the logic that analyses change by decomposing actions into their basic building blocks and by describing the results of performing actions in given states of the world. The actions studied by dynamic logic can be of various kinds: actions on the memory state of a computer, actions of a moving robot in a closed world, interactions between cognitive agents performing given communication protocols, actions that change the common ground between speaker and hearer in a conversation, actions that change the contextually available referents in a conversation, and so on.
In each of these application areas, dynamic logics can be used to model the states involved and the transitions that occur between them. Dynamic logic is a tool for both state description and action description. Formulae describe states, while actions or programs express state change. The levels of state descriptions and transition characterisations are connected by suitable operations that allow reasoning about pre- and post-conditions of particular changes.
From a computer science perspective, dynamic logic is a formal tool for reasoning about programs. Dynamic logics provides the means for formalising correctness specifications, for proving that these speci cations are met by a program under consideration, and for reasoning about equivalence of programs. From the perspective of the present paper, this is but one of many application areas. We will also look at dynamic logics for cognitive processing, for communication and information updating, and for various aspects of natural language understanding.

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 23:51 BST
Friday, 8 July 2005

Topic: Interconnections

Definability and Invariance

By Newton C. A. da Costa & Alexandre Augusto Martins Rodrigues

In his thesis Para uma Teoria Geral dos Homomorfismos (1944), the Portuguese mathematician José Sebastião e Silva constructed an abstract or generalized Galois theory, that is intimately linked to F. Klein's Erlangen Program and that foreshadows some notions and results of today's model theory; an analogous theory was independently worked out by M. Krasner in 1938. But Silva's work on the subject is neither wholly clear nor sufficiently rigorous. In this paper we present a rigorous version of the theory, correcting the shortcomings of Silva's exposition and extending some of its main results.

Source: CLE
Of related interest: Remarks on Abstract Galois Theory by Newton C.A. da Costa.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 02:41 BST
Updated: Friday, 8 July 2005 02:48 BST


Posted by Tony Marmo at 02:26 BST


Dialectical Considerations on the Logic of Contradiction: Part I

By John Woods

This is an examination of the dialectical structure of deep disagreements about matters not open to empirical check. A dramatic case in point is the Law of Non-Contradiction (LNC). Dialetheists are notoriously of the view that, in some few cases, LNC has a true negation. The traditional position on LNC is that it is non-negotiable. The standard reason for thinking it non-negotiable is, being a first principle, there is nothing to negotiate. One of my purposes is to show that the first-principle defence of LNC is inadequate. A second purpose is to argue that it flows from this inadequacy that LNC stands or falls on economic considerations, much in the spirit of Quine's pragmatism about logic generally. This is a tactical victory for dialetheists. It gives them room to make the case against LNC on cost-benefit grounds. As things presently stand, no such case can be considered decisive. But, given that costs and benefits shift with changing circumstances, it is possible that a winning case for the dialetheist may present itself in the future. Notwithstanding the rivalry between consistentists and dialetheists, they share a common opponent. This is trivialism, the doctrine that everything whatever is true. It is an ironic alliance, in as much as the dialetheist's case against the consistentist can be adapted to a defence of trivialism. How damaging this turns out to be depends on the adequacy of the reasons for the dialetheist's rejection of trivialism. My further purpose is to show that the damage is slighter than dialetheists commonly believe.

Key Words: antinomy, Aristotle, contradiction, costs and benefits, consistentism, Curry Paradox, detonation, dialetheism, Frege, Law of Non-Contradiction, Liar Paradox, Locke, proof, Russell, near-trivialism, paraconsistency, Philosophy's Most Difficult Problem, set theory, semantics, Solving Paradox, Tarski, truth

Appeared in the Logic Journal of IGPL 2005 13(2):231-260

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST
Updated: Friday, 8 July 2005 02:20 BST


Modality and Paraconsistency

By João Marcos

Paraconsistent logic was born in the vicinity of modal logic. Moreover, as every other non-classical logicians, paraconsistentists have very often flirted with modalities. The first known system of paraconsistent logic was in fact defined as a fragment of S5, in the late 40s. But a fragment of a modal system is not necessarily a modal system. I will show here, indeed, that Jaškowski’s D2 is not a modal logic, in the contemporary usual meaning of the term. By contrast, I will also show, subsequently, that any non-degenerate normal modal system is inherently paraconsistent.

Appeared in
[i.] Marta Bilkova and Libor Behounek (eds), The Logica Yearbook 2004, Filosofia, Prague, 2005, pp.213-222.
[ii.] Marcos (2005), Logics of Formal Inconsistency, Chapter 3.2, pp. 211-219. Unicamp press.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST
Updated: Friday, 8 July 2005 02:21 BST


Logics of essence and accident

By João Marcos

We say that things happen accidentally when they do indeed happen, but only by chance. In the opposite situation, an essential happening is inescapable, its inevitability being the sine qua non for its very occurrence. This paper will investigate modal logics on a language tailored to talk about essential and accidental statements. Completeness of some among the weakest and the strongest such systems is attained. The weak expressibility of the classical propositional language enriched with the non-normal modal operators of essence and accident is highlighted and illustrated, both with respect to the definability of the more usual modal operators as well as with respect to the characterizability of classes of frames. Several interesting problems and directions are left open for exploration.

Keywords: philosophy of modal logic, non-normal modalities, formal metaphysics, essence, accident

Appeared in
[i.] Bulletin of the Section of Logic, 34(1):43-56, 2005
[ii.] Marcos (2005) Logics of Formal Inconsitency, Chapter 3.1: 199-210

Sources: João Marcos' Webpage, Paraconsistency group, Paraconsistent Newsletter.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST
Updated: Friday, 8 July 2005 02:19 BST


A Paraconsistent -preservationist approach to a common confusion concerning predicate-extensions

By Martin W. Allen

The existence of multiple criteria for the introduction of a predicate may lead to confusion when the criteria diverge as to whether or not some object falls under the predicate. It can be dicult to represent the semantics of sentences featuring such a predicate-term, and it is not obvious how a person is supposed to employ such confused terms in the business of language and reasoning. I consider [here] two approaches to the problem: dialethism, which allows both a sentence and its negation to be true at once; and disambiguation, which represents any such confused predicate in terms of other ,distinct predicates. I show the equivalency of plausible formal treatments of these approaches, discuss reasons for this equivalency, and present an alternative approach|a preservationist one, which does not interpret the confused predicates but rather seeks to contain the confusion present. I argue that a meaningful, and useful, concept of inference is available, even where the semantics of certain predicate-terms remain confusing.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST
Updated: Friday, 8 July 2005 02:19 BST
Thursday, 7 July 2005

Now Playing: UPDATED
Update: Today I received Jo?o Marcos' book, Logics of Formal Inconsistency.Thanks Jo?o!!

Paraconsistency For Beginners

Joao Marcos' book has an important section for beginners. From page 16 to page 30, Chapter 1.0 (it would be Chapter 2 or an appendix to Chapter 1, but Jo?o liked the idea of calling it 1.0), there is a very easy exposition of what is Paraconsistent Logic. Section 2 of the same Chapter requires more attention from the reader, but by reading the first Section one is relatively prepared to understand Section 2, which is not very difficult.
So, teachers, here is my recommendation: Joao Marcos? Chapter 1.0 for your undergraduates.

February the 17th 2005

Yesterday, Joao Marcos defended his PhD dissertation, as the Unicamp Portal infoms us. Here is an abstract with a link:

Logics of Formal Inconsistency

By Joao Marcos

According to the classical consistency presupposition, contradictions have an explosive character: Whenever they are present in a theory, anything goes, and no sensible reasoning can thus take place. A logic is paraconsistent if it disallows such presupposition, and allows instead for some inconsistent yet non-trivial theories to make perfect sense. The Logics of Formal Inconsistency, LFIs, form a particularly expressive class of paraconsistent logics in which the metatheoretical notion of consistency can be internalized at the object-language level. As a consequence, the LFIs are able to recapture consistent reasoning by the addition of appropriate consistency assumptions. So, for instance, while classical rules such as disjunctive syllogism (from A and not-A-or-B, infer B) are bound to fail in a paraconsistent logic (because A and not-A could both be true for some A, independently of B), they can be recovered by an LFI if the set of premises is enlarged by the presumption that we are reasoning in a consistent environment (in this case, by the addition of consistent-A as an extra hypothesis of the rule).
The present monograph introduces the LFIs and provides several illustrations of them and of their properties, showing that such logics constitute in fact the majority of interesting paraconsistent systems from the literature. Several ways of performing the recapture of consistent reasoning inside such inconsistent systems are also illustrated. In each case, interpretations in terms of many-valued, possible-translations, or modal semantics are provided, and the problems related to providing algebraic counterparts to such logics are surveyed. A formal abstract approach is proposed to all related definitions and an extended investigation is made into the logical principles and the positive and negative properties of negation.

Keywords: Universal Logic, negation, paraconsistency, possible-translations semantics, modalities, formal philosophy.

PhD Dissertation, Cooperation Agreement between the State University of Campinas and the Technical University of Lisbon

Note: As the members of the Commission have offered Jo?o Marcos many suggestions, it is possible that a new revised text will appear sooner or later, though most of the Chapters have been already published as separate papers in different journals.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST
Updated: Friday, 8 July 2005 02:24 BST
Monday, 4 July 2005

Topic: Interconnections

The Elimination of Self-Reference
(Generalized Yablo-Series and the Theory of Truth)

By Phillippe Schlenker

Although it was traditionally thought that self-reference is a crucial ingredient of semantic paradoxes, Yablo showed that this is not so by displaying an infinite series of non-referential sentences which, taken together, are paradoxical (e.g. Yablo 2004). We generalize Yablo's result along two dimensions.
1. First, we investigate the behavior of Yablo-style series of the form {<s(i), [Qk: k> i] f[(s(k)) k≥i ]>: i≥0}, where for each i s( i) is a term that denotes the sentence [Qk: k> i] f[(s(k)) k≥i] ] (for some generalized quantifier Q and for some (fixed) truth function f). We show that for any n-valued compositional semantics and for any quantifier Q that satisfies certain natural properties, all the sentences in the series must have the same value. We derive a characterization of those values of Q for which the series is paradoxical in a natural trivalent logic.
2. Second, we show that in the Strong Kleene trivalent logic, Yablo's results are a special case of a much more general phenomenon: given certain assumptions, any semantic phenomenon that involves self-reference can be reproduced without self-reference (Cook 2004 proves a special case of this result, which only applies to logical paradoxes).

Specifically, we can associate to each pair <s, F> of a formula F named by a term s in a language L' a series of translations {<s( i), [Qk: k> i] [F] k>: i≥0} (where [F] kis a certain modification of F) in a quantificational language L* in such a way that
(i) none of the translations are self-referential,
(ii) in any fixed point I* of L*, all the translations of a given formula of L have the same value according to I*, and
(iii) there is a correspondence between the fixed points of L' and the fixed points of L* which ensures that the translations really do have the same semantic behavior as the sentences they translate.

We give a characterization of those generalized quantifiers Q which can be used in the translation.
Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 07:15 BST
Updated: Monday, 4 July 2005 07:24 BST
Saturday, 2 July 2005

Topic: Cognition & Epistemology

Reference Determination and Conceptual Change

By Ingo Brigandt

The paper discusses reference determination from the point of view of conceptual change in science. The first part of the discussion uses the homology concept, a natural kind term from biology, as an example. It is argued that the causal theory of reference gives an incomplete account of reference determination even in the case of natural kind terms. Moreover, even if descriptions of the referent are taken into account, this does not yield a satisfactory account of reference in the case of the homology concept. I suggest that in addition to the factors that standard theories of reference invoke the scientific use of concepts and the epistemic interests pursued with concepts are important factors in determining the reference of scientific concepts. In the second part, I argue for a moderate holism about reference determination according to which the set of conditions that determine the reference of a concept is relatively open and different conditions may be reference fixing depending on the context in which this concept is used. It is also suggested that which features are reference determining in a particular case may depend on the philosophical interests that underlie reference ascription and the study of conceptual change.

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 07:20 BST
Tuesday, 28 June 2005


On the Lumping Semantics of Counterfactuals

By Makoto Kanazawa, Stefan Kaufmann and Stanley Peters

Kratzer (1981) discussed a naïve premise semantics of counterfactual conditionals, pointed to an empirical inadequacy of this interpretation, and presented a modification— partition semantics— which Lewis (1981) proved equivalent to Pollock's (1976) version of his ordering semantics. Subsequently, Kratzer (1989) proposed lumping semantics, a different modification of premise semantics, and argued it remedies empirical failings of ordering semantics as well as of naïve premise semantics. We show that lumping semantics yields truth conditions for counterfactuals that are not only different from what she claims they are, but also inferior to those of the earlier versions of premise semantics.

See also the Journal of Semantics 2005 22(2):129-151

Constraining Premise Sets for Counterfactuals

By Angelika Kratzer

This note is a reply to "On the Lumping Semantics of Counterfactuals" by Makoto Kanazawa, Stefan Kaufmann, and Stanley Peters. It argues first that the first triviality result obtained by Kanazawa, Kaufmann, and Peters does not apply to the analysis of counterfactuals in Kratzer (1989). Second, and more importantly, it points out that the results obtained by Kanazawa, Kaufmann, and Peters are obsolete in view of the revised analysis of counterfactuals in Kratzer (1990, 2002).

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST
Updated: Tuesday, 28 June 2005 08:39 BST

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