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LINGUISTIX&LOGIK, Tony Marmo's blog
Monday, 20 March 2006

Topic: Interconnections

The Truth According to James

By Andre Fuhrmann

In this paper I shall be mainly concerned with James’s thesis that pragmatist truth is absolute. James tried to safeguard this aspect of pragmatist truth by means of a particular version of the convergence thesis. But before turning to this aspect of his theory, I shall begin by briefly reviewing James’s view of how the three theses are to be integrated into a pragmatist theory of truth. I shall then discuss in some detail James’s theory of absolute truth as it emerges in a discussion of a supposed problem case for any evidence-constraint theory of truth such as James’s. This is the case of past events that have left no evidential traces. James’s theory of absolute truth, so I shall argue, is a close cousin to Crispin Wright’s theory of superassertibility.

Appeared in Pragmatism Today, ed. A. Fuhrmann and E. Olsson

Posted by Tony Marmo at 20:25 GMT
Friday, 10 March 2006


Davidson's Criticism of the Proximal Theory of Meaning

By Dirk Greimann

According to the proximal theory of meaning, which is to be found in Quine’s early writings, meaning is determined completely by the correla-tion of sentences with sensory stimulations. Davidson tried to show that this theory is untenable because it leads to a radical form of skepticism. The present paper aims to show, first, that Davidson’s criticism is not sound, and, second, that nonetheless the proximal theory is untenable because it has a very similar and equally unacceptable consequence: it implies that the truth-value of ordinary sentences like ‘Snow is white’ is completely determined by the properties of the speaker, not by the properties of the objects to which these sentences refer.

Appeared in Principia - An International Journal Of Epistemology, volume 9, n. 1-2, p. 73-86, 2005.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 16:25 GMT
Monday, 6 March 2006


Universal versus Existential Quantifiers

The Russian vsjakij

By Georgy Bronnikov

The quantifier vsjakij has drawn considerable attention from semanticists in the Russian tradition. This article proposes an analysis based on the morphological structure of the word, using Carlson’s (1977) theory of kind reference. The result is an account that allows us to give a unified treatment to generic [sic] and existential uses of vsjakij, which, to my knowledge, has never been done before. There remain a number of problematic cases; those are noted and, where possible, analyzed as well. If the proposed account is correct, vsjakij turns out to be a near-exception to a well-known universal stating that no language has determiners specialized for kind reference (see, for example, Gerstner-Link and Krifka 1995, p. 967, Dayal 2004, p. 394).

Source: Semantics Archive

Posted by Tony Marmo at 14:24 GMT
Updated: Monday, 6 March 2006 14:28 GMT
Saturday, 25 February 2006


What is a Field

PROPAEDEUTICS was a section inaugurated on the 13th of November of 2005 and is devoted to the introduction of basic formal concepts in the relevant fields of this blog.
The first entry was about what the term field means in mathematical language. The entry was updated today.

Soon there will be a post about the notion of Boolean Algebra.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Saturday, 25 February 2006 13:41 GMT
Wednesday, 22 February 2006


Degrees of Truth, Degrees of Falsity

By Toby Ord

In this paper I recall the reasons in favour of extending the classical conception of truth to include degrees of truth as well as truth value gaps and gluts, then provide a sketch of a new system of logic that provides all of these simultaneously. Despite its power, the resulting system is quite simple, combining degrees of truth and degrees of falsity to provide a very flexible and elegant conception of truth value.

A paper recommended by Greg Restall.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 13:27 GMT
Monday, 20 February 2006



The community of Logicians and Philosophers and Linguists will remember Strawson for many years. A man makes himself eternal when his works pervade History.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 22:08 GMT
Thursday, 16 February 2006



One of the curious properties of the Modal Semantics of Human Languages is that they do have a T principle and a Necessitation rule, and even Aristotle’s law, but lack banalisation or collapse.
The T principle may be stated as follows:
T A⊃ A

In Logic the Necessitation Rule requires that if A is a thesis of a certain modal system S, then A is also a thesis of the S. In the study of Natural Languages one may, for instance, think of a variation of Necessitation by simply saying that if a string or sentence that expresses a proposition is a sentence of a language, then the sentence that expresses that the same proposition is necessary must also be a sentence of the same language. But that would be a very basic and elementary principle of natural language.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 16:45 GMT
Wednesday, 8 February 2006



A very small Tribute to the Greatest Phonetician of the World, who just left us. We shall hereafter and for ever be his disciples.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 05:18 GMT
Monday, 6 February 2006


Some properties of counterfactuals

This note is intended to cover questions some readers have about the posts here and some of my comments on works on counterfactual conditionals.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 08:36 GMT
Updated: Monday, 6 February 2006 08:38 GMT
Wednesday, 25 January 2006

Topic: Interconnections

On Linking Dispositions with Conditionals

By Ryan Wasserman and David Manley

We introduce a dilemma that faces any analysis of dispositional ascriptions in terms of subjunctive conditionals. However carefully the relevant conditionals are formulated, the analysis will founder either on the problem of accidental closeness or on the problem of Achilles’ heels. The dilemma arises even for sophisticated versions of the conditional analysis that are designed to avoid the familiar problems of finks and masks. We conclude by evaluating the prospects for an analysis and offering a proposal of our own.

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Saturday, 21 January 2006


New Old Animals from South America

Several species of birds, reptiles and mammals, which were recently discovered, widen the diversity of the pre-historic South American fauna. About 30 new fossil species of South American animals were presented at the Second Latin-American Congress on Vertebrate Paleontology (Rio de Janeiro 2005), such as the 230 million year old and 1.8 meter tall Staurikosaurus pricei, or the first Brazilian Pyrotheria, with a trunk longer than that of an elephant, although smaller in size. Fapesp mag tell us more.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 22:22 GMT
Updated: Saturday, 21 January 2006 22:25 GMT
Wednesday, 18 January 2006

Topic: Counterfactuals

The Content of Counterfactuals and their Role in Explanation

( Or The Benefit of Hindsight)

By Dorothy Edgington

What are counterfactuals for? The question is pressing. Why do we evaluate counterfactuals the way we do? What would go wrong for us if we chose to evaluate them in some other way, e.g. according to the "standard picture"? The question deserves more attention than it has had in the vast literature on counterfactuals. I don't pretend to an exhaustive answer, but highlight some important aspects of their use.

We use counterfactuals in empirical inferences to conclusions about what is actually the case. We need to try to get them right, in order to avoid, as much as possible, arriving at wrong conclusions about what is the case.

We have seen a way in which our counterfactual judgements explain and justify our other beliefs. Of course they play other roles. As is implicit in several of my earlier examples, they also explain and justify our reactions of being glad or sorry, relieved or regretful, that such-and-such has happened.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 04:04 GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 18 January 2006 04:16 GMT
Saturday, 14 January 2006

Topic: Counterfactuals

‘Could have done otherwise’, action sentences and anaphora

By Helen Stewart

What does it mean to say of a certain agent, S, that he or she could have done otherwise? Clearly, it means nothing at all, unless the anaphoric devices within the sentence have been anchored to definite antecedents. In this paper, I shall argue that there may be more ways of effecting this anchoring than is commonly supposed, and hence more questions potentially available to be asked by means of the formulation ‘Could S have done otherwise?’ than is generally assumed to be the case in most of the relevant literature.

Forthcoming in Analysis, July 2006

Posted by Tony Marmo at 05:17 GMT
Updated: Saturday, 14 January 2006 05:18 GMT
Wednesday, 11 January 2006

Topic: Counterfactuals

Chances, Counterfactuals and Similarity

By Robert Williams

John Hawthorne in a recent paper takes issue with Lewisian accounts of counterfactuals, when relevant laws of nature are chancy. I respond to his arguments on behalf of the Lewisian, and conclude that while some can be rebutted, the case against the original Lewisian account is strong. I develop a revised neo-Lewisian account of what makes for closeness of worlds in the context of chancy laws of nature. I argue that my revised version avoids Hawthorne's challenges. I argue that this is closer to the spirit of Lewis' first (non-chancy) proposal than is Lewis' own suggested modification.

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Firstly reposted on March the 11th, 2005

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006 04:28 GMT

Topic: Counterfactuals


By Douglas Kutach

A prominent strategy for evaluating whether a counterfactual's truth is to seek out the most similar worlds where the antecedent is true, with similarity given by some theory. I discuss a few new counterexamples to Lewis' theory of overall similarity that are more compelling than other counterexamples because they indicate that a system like Lewis' cannot be fixed. The problem with the similarity approach is that it too narrowly limits the ways we can interpret counterfactual conditionals.

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Reposted firstly on March the 11th, 2005

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006 04:35 GMT

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