Certain passages in Kaplan’s ‘Demonstratives’ are often read as constituting an argument for the conclusion that the presence of a non-vacuous sentential operator associated with a certain parameter of sentential truth in a language requires the assertoric contents-cum-compositional semantic values of sentences in that language to vary in truth value with that parameter. Thus, for example, the non-vacuity of a temporal sentential operator ‘always’ would require some of its operands to have assertoric contents that have different truth values at different (...) times. While making no claims about Kaplan’s intentions, we provide several reconstructions of how such an argument might go, focusing on the case of time and temporal operators as an illustration. What we regard as the most plausible reconstruction of the argument establishes a conclusion similar enough to that attributed to Kaplan. However, the argument overgenerates, leading to absurd consequences. We conclude that assertoric contents cannot be compositional semantic values, and argue that once they are distinguished, the argument fails to establish any substantial conclusions. We also briefly discuss a related argument commonly attributed to Lewis, and a recent variant due to Weber. (shrink)
A new puzzle of modal recombination is presented which relies purely on resources of first-order modal logic. It shows that naive recombinatorial reasoning, which has previously been shown to be inconsistent with various assumptions concerning propositions, sets and classes, leads to inconsistency by itself. The context sensitivity of modal expressions is suggested as the source of the puzzle, and it is argued that it gives us reason to reconsider the assumption that the notion of metaphysical necessity is in good standing.
A formal result is proved which is used in Juhani Yli-Vakkuri’s ‘Epistemicism and Modality’ to argue that certain two-dimensional possible world models are inadequate for a language with operators for ‘necessarily’, ‘actually’, and ‘definitely’.
I consider the first-order modal logic which counts as valid those sentences which are true on every interpretation of the non-logical constants. Based on the assumptions that it is necessary what individuals there are and that it is necessary which propositions are necessary, Timothy Williamson has tentatively suggested an argument for the claim that this logic is determined by a possible world structure consisting of an infinite set of individuals and an infinite set of worlds. He notes that only the (...) cardinalities of these sets matters, and that not all pairs of infinite sets determine the same logic. I use so-called two-cardinal theorems from model theory to investigate the space of logics and consequence relations determined by pairs of infinite sets, and show how to eliminate the assumption that worlds are individuals from Williamson’s argument. (shrink)
According to propositional contingentism, it is contingent what propositions there are. This paper presents two ways of modeling contingency in what propositions there are using two classes of possible worlds models. The two classes of models are shown to be equivalent as models of contingency in what propositions there are, although they differ as to which other aspects of reality they represent. These constructions are based on recent work by Robert Stalnaker; the aim of this paper is to explain, expand, (...) and, in one aspect, correct Stalnaker's discussion. (shrink)
Well-known results due to David Makinson show that there are exactly two Post complete normal modal logics, that in both of them, the modal operator is truth-functional, and that every consistent normal modal logic can be extended to at least one of them. Lloyd Humberstone has recently shown that a natural analog of this result in congruential modal logics fails, by showing that not every congruential modal logic can be extended to one in which the modal operator is truth-functional. As (...) Humberstone notes, the issue of Post completeness in congruential modal logics is not well understood. The present article shows that in contrast to normal modal logics, the extent of the property of Post completeness among congruential modal logics depends on the background set of logics. Some basic results on the corresponding properties of Post completeness are established, in particular that although a congruential modal logic is Post complete among all modal logics if and only if its modality is truth-functional, there are continuum many modal logics Post complete among congruential modal logics. (shrink)
This paper is a study of higher-order contingentism – the view, roughly, that it is contingent what properties and propositions there are. We explore the motivations for this view and various ways in which it might be developed, synthesizing and expanding on work by Kit Fine, Robert Stalnaker, and Timothy Williamson. Special attention is paid to the question of whether the view makes sense by its own lights, or whether articulating the view requires drawing distinctions among possibilities that, according to (...) the view itself, do not exist to be drawn. The paper begins with a non-technical exposition of the main ideas and technical results, which can be read on its own. This exposition is followed by a formal investigation of higher-order contingentism, in which the tools of variable-domain intensional model theory are used to articulate various versions of the view, understood as theories formulated in a higher-order modal language. Our overall assessment is mixed: higher-order contingentism can be fleshed out into an elegant systematic theory, but perhaps only at the cost of abandoning some of its original motivations. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with a propositional modal logic with operators for necessity, actuality and apriority. The logic is characterized by a class of relational structures defined according to ideas of epistemic two-dimensional semantics, and can therefore be seen as formalizing the relations between necessity, actuality and apriority according to epistemic two-dimensional semantics. We can ask whether this logic is correct, in the sense that its theorems are all and only the informally valid formulas. This paper gives outlines of two (...) arguments that jointly show that this is the case. The first is intended to show that the logic is informally sound, in the sense that all of its theorems are informally valid. The second is intended to show that it is informally complete, in the sense that all informal validities are among its theorems. In order to give these arguments, a number of independently interesting results concerning the logic are proven. In particular, the soundness and completeness of two proof systems with respect to the semantics is proven (Theorems 2.11 and 2.15), as well as a normal form theorem (Theorem 3.2), an elimination theorem for the actuality operator (Corollary 3.6), and the decidability of the logic (Corollary 3.7). It turns out that the logic invalidates a plausible principle concerning the interaction of apriority and necessity; consequently, a variant semantics is briefly explored on which this principle is valid. The paper concludes by assessing the implications of these results for epistemic two-dimensional semantics. (shrink)
Epistemic two-dimensional semantics is a theory in the philosophy of language that provides an account of meaning which is sensitive to the distinction between necessity and apriority. While this theory is usually presented in an informal manner, I take some steps in formalizing it in this paper. To do so, I define a semantics for a propositional modal logic with operators for the modalities of necessity, actuality, and apriority that captures the relevant ideas of epistemic two-dimensional semantics. I also describe (...) some properties of the logic that are interesting from a philosophical perspective, and apply it to the so-called nesting problem. (shrink)
Timothy Williamson has argued that in the debate on modal ontology, the familiar distinction between actualism and possibilism should be replaced by a distinction between positions he calls contingentism and necessitism. He has also argued in favor of necessitism, using results on quantified modal logic with plurally interpreted second-order quantifiers showing that necessitists can draw distinctions contingentists cannot draw. Some of these results are similar to well-known results on the relative expressivity of quantified modal logics with so-called inner and outer (...) quantifiers. The present paper deals with these issues in the context of quantified modal logics with generalized quantifiers. Its main aim is to establish two results for such a logic: Firstly, contingentists can draw the distinctions necessitists can draw if and only if the logic with inner quantifiers is at least as expressive as the logic with outer quantifiers, and necessitists can draw the distinctions contingentists can draw if and only if the logic with outer quantifiers is at least as expressive as the logic with inner quantifiers. Secondly, the former two items are the case if and only if all of the generalized quantifiers are first-order definable, and the latter two items are the case if and only if first-order logic with these generalized quantifiers relativizes. (shrink)
I want to look at recent developments of representing AGM-style belief revision in dynamic epistemic logics and the options for doing something similar for ranking theory. Formally, my aim will be modest: I will define a version of basic dynamic doxastic logic using ranking functions as the semantics. I will show why formalizing ranking theory this way is useful for the ranking theorist first by showing how it enables one to compare ranking theory more easily with other approaches to belief (...) revision. I will then use the logic to state an argument for defining ranking functions on larger sets of ordinals than is customary. Secondly, I will argue that the only way to extend the account of belief revision given by ranking theory to higher-order beliefs and revisions is by continuing the approach taken by me and defining ranking theoretical equivalents of dynamic epistemic logics. For proponents of dynamic epistemic logic, such logics will naturally be of interest provided they are convinced of the revision operator defined by ranking theory. (shrink)
Two-dimensional semantics is a theory in the philosophy of language that provides an account of meaning which is sensitive to the distinction between necessity and apriority. Usually, this theory is presented in an informal manner. In this thesis, I take first steps in formalizing it, and use the formalization to present some considerations in favor of two-dimensional semantics. To do so, I define a semantics for a propositional modal logic with operators for the modalities of necessity, actuality, and apriority that (...) captures the relevant ideas of two-dimensional semantics. I use this to show that some criticisms of two-dimensional semantics that claim that the theory is incoherent are not justified. I also axiomatize the logic, and compare it to the most important proposals in the literature that define similar logics. To indicate that two-dimensional semantics is a plausible semantic theory, I give an argument that shows that all theorems of the logic can be philosophically justified independently of two-dimensional semantics. (shrink)