Is there an explanation of why the state of x's bearing the non-symmetric binary relation R to y is different from its differential opposite, the state of y's bearing R to x? One traditional view has it that the explanation is that non-symmetric relations hold of objects in an essentially directional way, ordering the relevant relata. We call this view ‘directionalism’. Kit Fine has suggested that this approach is subject to significant metaphysical difficulties, sufficient to motivate seeking an alternative analysis. (...) He considers two such alternative explanations, which he labels ‘positionalism’ and ‘anti-positionalism’. Of these he endorses the latter. We argue that anti-positionalism fails to provide a coherent explanation of the distinction between differential opposites, and that one should simply hold the minimalist position that there is no explanation for this metaphysical difference. (shrink)
I argue that fidelity to the context principle requires us to construe reference as a theoretical relation. This point helps us understand the bearing of Putnam's permutation argument on the idea of a systematic theory of meaning. Notwithstanding objections that have been made against Putnam's deployment of that argument, it shows the reference relation to be indeterminate. But since the indeterminacy of reference arises from a metalinguistic perspective, our ability, as object-language speakers, to talk about the ordinary features of our (...) lives is unaffected. (shrink)
Truth, falsity, and unity -- Sentences, lists, and collections -- Declarative and other kinds of sentence -- Declarative sentences and propositions -- Sentences, propositions, and truth-values -- Sentences, propositions, and unity -- Unity and complexity -- Reference and supposition -- Reference and signification -- Linguistic idealism and empirical realism -- Russell on truth, falsity, and unity (I) : 1903 -- Russell on truth, falsity, and unity (II) : 1910-13 -- Russell on truth, falsity, and unity (III) : 1918 -- Sense, (...) reference, and propositions -- Russellian propositions, Fregean thoughts, and facts -- The location of propositions -- Proper names, concept-expressions, and definite descriptions -- Concept-expressions and Carnapian intensions -- Carnapian intensions and understanding -- Carnapian intensions and Russellian propositions -- Russellian propositions and functionality -- A revised semantic map -- Sentences as referring expressions -- False propositions at the level of reference -- The world's own language -- Signification and supposition revisited -- Frege and Russell on unity -- Saturatedness and unsaturatedness -- The copula as secundum adiacens and as tertium adiacens -- Frege and the Copula -- The paradox of the concept horse -- Russell on unity and the paradox -- An unsuccessful attempt to avoid the paradox -- The paradox and the level of language -- Reforming Frege's treatment of concept-expressions -- Concepts and functions -- The reformed Frege : refinements and objections -- Frege, Russell, and the anti-fregean strategy -- The anti-fregean strategy : the case of names -- Disquotation and propositional form -- The context principle -- Prabhakara semantics and the related designation theory -- For that is not a word which is not the name of a thing -- The impartial strategy -- Secundum and tertium adiacens, matter and form -- The hierarchy of levels and the syntactic priority thesis -- Fregean and anti-fregean strategies -- The anti-fregean strategy and relations (I) -- Interlude: The subject--predicate distinction -- The anti-fregean strategy and relations (II) -- The reality of relations -- Polyadicity, monadicity, and identity -- The anti-fregean strategy and Montague grammar -- Fregean and anti-fregean strategies : further comparison -- Ramsey on the subject : predicate distinction -- Dummett's attack on the anti-fregean strategy -- Linguistic idealism revisited -- Alternative hierarchies and the context principle -- The linguistic hierarchy and categorial nonsense -- Logical syntax and the context principle -- Proper names, singular terms, and the identity test -- Proper names, Leibniz's law, and the identity of indiscernibles -- The negation asymmetry test -- Dummett's tests for singular termhood -- Discarding the syntactic priority thesis -- Logical predication, logical form, and Bradley's regress -- Names, verbs, and the replacement test -- Analysis and paradox -- Simple, complex, and logical predicates -- The grammatical copula and the logical copula -- Predication in Frege -- Two exegetical problems in Frege -- Inference and the logical predicate -- Unity and the logical predicate -- Bradley's regress and the tradition -- Russell and the general form of the proposition -- Wittgenstein's criticism of Russell -- Logical form in theTractatus -- Bradley's regress and the unity of the proposition -- The logical copula and theories of meaning -- Reference and the logical copula -- Bradley's regress and the analysis of meaning -- Vicious practical regresses -- Bradley's regress and the solution to the unity problem -- Propositions, sets, sums, and the objects themselves -- Bradley's regress and the infinite -- Vallicella's onto-theology -- A comparison with other innocent regresses -- Truth, falsity, and unity revisited -- Bradley's regress, realism, and states of affairs -- Unity and use -- The unity of sentences and the unity of complex names (I) -- The unity of sentences and the unity of complex names (II) -- Congruence, functionality, and propositional unity -- Davidson on predication -- Epilogue: The limits of language. (shrink)
John McDowell's "minimal empiricism" is one of the most influential and widely discussed doctrines in contemporary philosophy. Richard Gaskin subjects it to careful examination and criticism, arguing that it has unacceptable consequences, and in particular that it mistakenly rules out something we all know to be the case: that infants and non-human animals experience a world. Gaskin traces the errors in McDowell's empiricism to their source, and presents his own, still more minimal, version of empiricism, suggesting that a correct philosophy (...) of language requires us to recognize a sense in which the world we experience speaks its own language. (shrink)
The doctrine of Middle Knowledge presupposes that conditionals of freedom (statements of the form 'If A were circumstances C, he would perform X') can be true. Such conditions are, where true, not true in virtue of the truth of any categorical proposition. Nor can their truth be modelled in terms of comparative similarity of possible worlds, because the structure of possible worlds is a necessary one, whereas the connection between antecedent and consequent of a conditional of freedom is a contingent (...) one. Lewis and Stalmaker are committed to 'conditional fatalism', the view that things only would go a certain way if they would have to go that way. Although commitment to conditional fatalism does not itself import a commitment to fatalism, it is hard to find a separate motivation for it. (shrink)
In his article ‘Names, Verbs and Quantification’ Nicholas Denyer argues that a previous attempt of mine, on behalf of realism, to play down the ontological importance of the distinction between grammatical names and verbs ignores some striking logical differences between them. I concede the differences Denyer alludes to, but argue that they do not assist the orthodox nominalist, since if anything they point to a position according to which relations, but not monadic properties, are unreal. But this position is, I (...) claim, as implausible as nominalism itself is. (shrink)
Between 1903 and 1918 Russell made a number of attempts to understand the unity of the proposition, but his attempts all foundered on his failure clearly to distinguish between different senses in which the relation R might be said to relate a and b in the proposition aRb: he failed to distinguish between the relation as truth-maker and the relation as unifier, and consequently committed himself again and again to the unacceptable consequence that only true propositions are genuinely unified. There (...) is an anticipation of this confusion in the writings of the fourteenth-century philosopher Richard Brinkley. (shrink)
Es werden zwei von Wittgenstein entworfene Modelle der Semantik eines Wortes dargelegt und miteinander verglichen: das sog. Muster von ,Gegenstand und Bezeichnung' und das Gebrauchsmodell. Im Gegensatz zu der formalistischen Position wird gezeigt, daß das Modell von ,Gegenstand und Bezeichnung' für die Semantik unentbehrlich ist. Selbst das Gebrauchsmodell, so unumstritten dieses auch sein mag, vermag das Modell von ,Gegenstand und Bezeichunung' nicht abzulösen. Das dargestellte metaphysische Bild wird veranschaulicht, indem einige Bemerkungen Wittgensteins zur Semantik der Empfindungswörter widerlegt werden.