Anyone who is accustomed to the view that contradictions cannot be true, and cannot be accepted, and who reads texts in the Buddhists traditions will be struck by the fact that they frequently contain contradictions. Just consider, for example.
Consider this situation: Here are two envelopes. You have one of them. Each envelope contains some quantity of money, which can be of any positive real magnitude. One contains twice the amount of money that the other contains, but you do not know which one. You can keep the money in your envelope, whose numerical value you do not know at this stage, or you can exchange envelopes and have the money in the other. You wish to maximise your money. (...) What should you do?1 Here are three forms of reasoning about this situation, which we shall call.. (shrink)
A motivation behind one kind of logical pluralism is the thought that there are different kinds of objects, and that reasoning about situations involving these different kinds requires different kinds of logics. Given this picture, a natural question arises: what kind of logical apparatus is appropriate for situations which concern more than one kind of objects, such as may arise, for example, when considering the interactions between the different kinds? The paper articulates an answer to this question, deploying the methodology (...) of Chunk and Permeate, developed in a different context by Brown and Priest (J Philos Log 33:379–388, 2004). (shrink)
One of the most dominant approaches to semantics for relevant (and many paraconsistent) logics is the Routley–Meyer semantics involving a ternary relation on points. To some (many?), this ternary relation has seemed like a technical trick devoid of an intuitively appealing philosophical story that connects it up with conditionality in general. In this paper, we respond to this worry by providing three different philosophical accounts of the ternary relation that correspond to three conceptions of conditionality. We close by briefly discussing (...) a general conception of conditionality that may unify the three given conceptions. (shrink)
In ?Definability and the Structure of Logical Paradoxes? (Australasian Journal of Philosophy, this issue) Haixia Zhong takes issue with an account of the paradoxes of self-reference to be found in Beyond the Limits of Thought [Priest 1995. The point of this note is to explain why the critique does not succeed. The criterion for distinguishing between the set-theoretic and the semantic paradoxes offered does not get the division right; the semantic paradoxes are not given a uniform solution; no reason is (...) provided as to why the naïve denotation relation is ?indefinite? (other than that its definiteness leads to contradiction); and the account of the denotation relation given clearly misses the mark, even by consistent standards. (shrink)
The doctrine of the two truths - a conventional truth and an ultimate truth - is central to Buddhist metaphysics and epistemology. The two truths (or two realities), the distinction between them, and the relation between them is understood variously in different Buddhist schools; it is of special importance to the Madhyamaka school. One theory is articulated with particular force by Nagarjuna (2nd ct CE) who famously claims that the two truths are identical to one another and yet distinct. One (...) of the most influential interpretations of Nagarjuna's difficult doctrine derives from the commentary of Candrakirti (6th ct CE). In view of its special soteriological role, much attention has been devoted to explaining the nature of the ultimate truth; less, however, has been paid to understanding the nature of conventional truth, which is often described as "deceptive," "illusion," or "truth for fools." But because of the close relation between the two truths in Madhyamaka, conventional truth also demands analysis. Moonshadows, the product of years of collaboration by ten cowherds engaged in Philosophy and Buddhist Studies, provides this analysis. The book asks, "what is true about conventional truth?" and "what are the implications of an understanding of conventional truth for our lives?" Moonshadows begins with a philosophical exploration of classical Indian and Tibetan texts articulating Candrakati's view, and uses this textual exploration as a basis for a more systematic philosophical consideration of the issues raised by his account. (shrink)
Validity : what follows from what? -- Truth functions,or not -- Names and quantifiers : is nothing something? -- Descriptions and existence : did the greeks worship Zeus? -- Self-reference : what is this chapter about? -- Necessity and possibility : what will be must be? -- Conditionals: what's in an if? -- The future and the past : is time real?? -- Identity and change : is anything ever the same? -- Vaguenes : how do you stop sliding down (...) a slippery slope? -- Probability : the strange case of the missing reference class? -- Inverse probability : you can't be indifferent about it! -- Decision theory : great expectations? -- A little history and some further reading? (shrink)
One of Da Costa's motives when he constructed the paraconsistent logic Cw was to dualise the negation of intuitionistic logic. In this paper I explore a different way of going about this task. A logic is defined by taking the Kripke semantics for intuitionistic logic, and dualising the truth conditions for negation. Various properties of the logic are established, including its relation to CWo Tableau and natural deduction systems for the logic are produced, as are appropriate algebraic structures. The paper (...) then investigates dualising the intuitionistic conditional in the same way. This establishes various connections between the logic, and a logic called in the literature 'Brouwerian logic' or 'closed-set logic'. (shrink)
A dialetheia is a sentence, A, such that both it and its negation, ¬A, are true (we shall talk of sentences throughout this entry; but one could run the definition in terms of propositions, statements, or whatever one takes as her favourite truth-bearer: this would make little difference in the context). Assuming the fairly uncontroversial view that falsity just is the truth of negation, it can equally be claimed that a dialetheia is a sentence which is both true and false.
Jaina philosophy provides a very distinctive account of logic, based on the theory of ?sevenfold predication?. This paper provides a modern formalisation of the logic, using the techniques of many-valued and modal logic. The formalisation is applied, in turn, to some of the more problematic aspects of Jaina philosophy, especially its relativism.
A dialetheia is a sentence, A, such that both it and its negation, A, are true (we shall talk of sentences throughout this entry; but one could run the definition in terms of propositions, statements, or whatever one takes as her favourite truth bearer: this would make little difference in the context). Assuming the fairly uncontroversial view that falsity just is the truth of negation, it can equally be claimed that a dialetheia is a sentence which is both true and (...) false. (shrink)
The paper discusses where philosophy is going at the moment. Various current trends are singled out for comment. It then moves to the question of where it ought to be going. After a brief discussion of what this question means, it concludes that no guidance can be given except that each philosopher should pursue what they think to be important.
Dialetheism is the view that some contradictions are true. This is a view which runs against orthodoxy in logic and metaphysics since Aristotle, and has implications for many of the core notions of philosophy. Doubt Truth to Be a Liar explores these implications for truth, rationality, negation, and the nature of logic, and develops further the defense of dialetheism first mounted in Priest's In Contradiction, a second edition of which is also available.
In Contradiction advocates and defends the view that there are true contradictions (dialetheism), a view that flies in the face of orthodoxy in Western philosophy since Aristotle. The book has been at the center of the controversies surrounding dialetheism ever since its first publication in 1987. This second edition of the book substantially expands upon the original in various ways, and also contains the author's reflections on developments over the last two decades. Further aspects of dialetheism are discussed in the (...) companion volume, Doubt Truth to be a Liar, also published by Oxford University Press in 2006. (shrink)
The argument from fine tuning is supposed to establish the existence of God from the fact that the evolution of carbon-based life requires the laws of physics and the boundary conditions of the universe to be more or less as they are. We demonstrate that this argument fails. In particular, we focus on problems associated with the role probabilities play in the argument. We show that, even granting the fine tuning of the universe, it does not follow that the universe (...) is improbable, thus no explanation of the fine tuning, theistic or otherwise, is required. (shrink)
Graham Priest presents a ground-breaking account of the semantics of intentional language--verbs such as "believes," "fears," "seeks," or "imagines." Towards Non-Being proceeds in terms of objects that may be either existent or non-existent, at worlds that may be either possible or impossible. The book will be of central interest to anyone who is concerned with intentionality in the philosophy of mind or philosophy of language, the metaphysics of existence and identity, the philosophy of fiction, the philosophy of mathematics, or cognitive (...) representation in AI. (shrink)
In this paper we introduce a paraconsistent reasoning strategy, Chunk and Permeate. In this, information is broken up into chunks, and a limited amount of information is allowed to flow between chunks. We start by giving an abstract characterisation of the strategy. It is then applied to model the reasoning employed in the original infinitesimal calculus. The paper next establishes some results concerning the legitimacy of reasoning of this kind – specifically concerning the preservation of the consistency of each chunk (...) – and concludes with some other possible applications and technical questions. (shrink)
David Lewis's untimely death on 14 October 2001 deprived the philosophical community of one of the outstanding philosophers of the 20th century. As many obituaries remarked, Lewis has an undeniable place in the history of analytical philosophy. His work defines much of the current agenda in metaphysics, philosophical logic, and the philosophy of mind and language. This volume, an expanded edition of a special issue of the Australasian Journal of Philosophy, covers many of the topics for which Lewis was well (...) known, including possible worlds, counterpart theory, vagueness, knowledge, probability, essence, fiction, laws, conditionals, desire and belief, and truth. Many of the papers are by very established philosophers; others are by younger scholars including many he taught. The volume also includes Lewis's Jack Smart Lecture at the Australian National University, "How Many Lives has Schrodinger's Cat?," published here for the first time. Lewisian Themes will be an invaluable resource for anyone studying Lewis's work and a major contribution to the many topics that he mastered. (shrink)
The 'best-system' analysis of lawhood [Lewis 1994] faces the 'zero-fit problem': that many systems of laws say that the chance of history going actually as it goes--the degree to which the theory 'fits' the actual course of history--is zero. Neither an appeal to infinitesimal probabilities nor a patch using standard measure theory avoids the difficulty. But there is a way to avoid it: replace the notion of 'fit' with the notion of a world being typical with respect to a theory.
David Lewis [1988; 1996] canvases an anti-Humean thesis about mental states: that the rational agent desires something to the extent that he or she believes it to be good. Lewis offers and refutes a decision-theoretic formulation of it, the 'Desire-as-Belief Thesis'. Other authors have since added further negative results in the spirit of Lewis's. We explore ways of being anti-Humean that evade all these negative results. We begin by providing background on evidential decision theory and on Lewis's negative results. We (...) then introduce what we call the indexicality loophole: if the goodness of a proposition is indexical, partly a function of an agent's mental state, then the negative results have no purchase. Thus we propose a variant of Desire-as-Belief that exploits this loophole. We argue that a number of meta-ethical positions are committed to just such indexicality. Indeed, we show that with one central sort of evaluative belief--the belief that an option is right--the indexicality loophole can be exploited in various interesting ways. Moreover, on some accounts, 'good' is indexical in the same way. Thus, it seems that the anti-Humean can dodge the negative results. (shrink)
Kant argued that we have no knowledge of things in themselves, no knowledge of the intrinsic properties of things, a thesis that is not idealism but epistemic humility. David Lewis agrees (in 'Ramseyan Humility'), but for Ramseyan reasons rather than Kantian. I compare the doctrines of Ramseyan and Kantian humility, and argue that Lewis's contextualist strategy for rescuing knowledge from the sceptic (proposed elsewhere) should also rescue knowledge of things in themselves. The rescue would not be complete: for knowledge of (...) things in themselves would remain elusive. (shrink)
In 'How Many Lives Has Schrödinger's Cat?' David Lewis argues that the Everettian no-collapse interpretation of quantum mechanics is in a tangle when it comes to probabilities. This paper aims to show that the difficulties that Lewis raises are insubstantial. The Everettian metaphysics contains a coherent account of probability. Indeed it accounts for probability rather better than orthodox metaphysics does.
David Lewis's account of intentionality is a version of what he calls 'global descriptivism'. The rough idea is that the correct interpretation of one's total theory is the one (among the admissible interpretations) that come closest to making it true. I give an exposition of this account, as I understand it, and try to bring out some of its consequences. I argue that there is a tension between Lewis's global descriptivism and his rejection of a linguistic account of the intentionality (...) of thought. I distinguish some different senses in which Lewis's theory might permit, or be committed to, a kind of holism about intentional content, and I consider the sense in which Lewis's account might be said to be an internalist account, and the motivation for this kind of internalism. (shrink)
Relations of transworld similarity play an essential role in Lewis's system. Analysis reveals that they involve the possibility of detailed transworld belief. Such belief is problematic within Lewis's framework. He has an answer to the problems raised, but it relies on a dubious distinction between natural and mere properties. Replacing that distinction with a respectable one undermines an essential part of his case against one of his chief opponents, the linguistic ersatzist.
The Law of Non-Contradiction - that no contradiction can be true - has been a seemingly unassailable dogma since the work of Aristotle, in Book G of the Metaphysics. It is an assumption challenged from a variety of angles in this collection of original papers. Twenty-three of the world's leading experts investigate the 'law', considering arguments for and against it and discussing methodological issues that arise whenever we question the legitimacy of logical principles. The result is a balanced inquiry into (...) a venerable principle of logic, one that raises questions at the very centre of logic itself. The aim of this volume is to present a comprehensive debate about the Law of Non-Contradiction, from discussions as to how the law is to be understood, to reasons for accepting or re-thinking the law, and to issues that raise challenges to the law, such as the Liar Paradox, and a 'dialetheic' resolution of that paradox. The editors contribute an introduction which surveys the issues and serves to frame the debate, and a useful bibliography offering a guide to further reading. This volume will be of interest to anyone working on philosophical logic, and to anyone who has ever wondered about the status of logical laws and about how one might proceed to mount arguments for or against them. (shrink)
Intentional verbs create three different problems: problems of non-existence, of indeterminacy, and of failure of substitutivity. Meinongians tackle the first problem by recognizing non-existent objects; so too did many medieval logicians. Meinongians and the medievals approach the problem of indeterminacy differently, the former diagnosing an ellipsis for a propositional complement, the latter applying their theory directly to non-propositional complements. The evidence seems to favour the Meinongian approach. Faced with the third problem, Ockham argued bluntly for substitutivity when the intentional complement (...) is non-propositional; Buridan developed a novel way of resisting substitutivity. Ockham's approach is closer to the Meinongian analysis of these cases; Buridan's seems to raise difficulties for a referential semantics. The comparision between the Meinongian and medieval approaches helps to bring out merits and potential pitfalls of each. (shrink)
: Nagarjuna seems willing to embrace contradictions while at the same time making use of classic reductio arguments. He asserts that he rejects all philosophical views including his own-that he asserts nothing-and appears to mean it. It is argued here that he, like many philosophers in the West and, indeed, like many of his Buddhist colleagues, discovers and explores true contradictions arising at the limits of thought. For those who share a dialetheist's comfort with the possibility of true contradictions commanding (...) rational assent, for Nagarjuna to endorse such contradictions would not undermine but instead confirm the impression that he is indeed a highly rational thinker. It is argued that the contradictions he discovers are structurally analogous to many discovered by Western philosophers and mathematicians. (shrink)
This paper articulates Sylvan's theory of mathematical objects as non-existent, by improving (arguably) his treatment of the Characterisation Postulate. It then defends the theory against a number of natural objections, including one according to which the account is just platonism in disguise.
The paper discusses the similarity between geometry, arithmetic, and logic, specifically with respect to the question of whether applied theories of each may be revised. It argues that they can - even when the revised logic is a paraconsistent one, or the revised arithmetic is an inconsistent one. Indeed, in the case of logic, it argues that logic is not only revisable, but, during its history, it has been revised. The paper also discusses Quine's well known argument against the possibility (...) of logical deviancy. (shrink)
This second and extended edition of Priest's classic includes new chapters on Heidegger and Nagarjuna, as well as reflections on reactions to the first edition. Praise for previous edition: "a splendid tour de force, one which should be read by every philosopher..."--Philosophical Quarterly "[H]ighly entertaining and provocative...an engaging and instructive tour through some of the most perplexing features of our own conceptual finitude..."--TLS.
The Hooded Man Paradox of Eubulides concerns the apparent failure of the substitutivity of identicals in epistemic (and other intentional) contexts. This paper formulates a number of different versions of the paradox and shows how these may be solved using semantics for quantified epistemic logic. In particular, two semantics are given which invalidate substitution, even when rigid designators are involved.
This paper sketches an analysis of the development of 20th-century philosophy. Starting with the foundational work of Frege and Husserl, the paper traces two parallel strands of philosophy developing from their work. It diagnoses three phases of development: the optimistic phase, the pessimistic phase, and finally the phase of fragmentation. The paper ends with some speculations as to where philosophy will go this century.
This paper is about the ?Imaginary Logic? developed by the Russian logician Nicholas Vasil'év between about 1910 and 1913, a logic that is often claimed to be a forerunner of different sorts of modern nonclassical logics. The paper describes the content of that logic (not by trying to interpret it in modern logic, as some commentators have done, but by describing it in its own terms). It then looks at the philosophical underpinnings of the logic. Finally, in the light of (...) the preceding, it discusses Vasil?év's place in the history of logic. (shrink)
The paper establishes the general structure of the inconsistent models of arithmetic of . It is shown that such models are constituted by a sequence of nuclei. The nuclei fall into three segments: the first contains improper nuclei; the second contains proper nuclei with linear chromosomes; the third contains proper nuclei with cyclical chromosomes. The nuclei have periods which are inherited up the ordering. It is also shown that the improper nuclei can have the order type of any ordinal, of (...) the rationals, or of any other order type that can be embedded in the rationals in a certain way. (shrink)
Logic is often perceived as having little to do with the rest of philosophy, and even less to do with real life. In this lively and accessible introduction, Graham Priest shows how wrong this conception is. He explores the philosophical roots of the subject, explaining how modern formal logic deals with issues ranging from the existence of God and the reality of time to paradoxes of probability and decision theory. Along the way, the basics of formal logic are explained in (...) simple, non-technical terms, showing that logic is a powerful and exciting part of modern philosophy. (shrink)
I argue that there is nothing about truth as such that prevents contradictions from being true. I argue this by considering the main standard accounts of truth, and showing that they are quite compatible with the existence of true contradictions. Indeed, in many cases, they are actually friendly to the idea.
Backwards induction is an intriguing form of argument. It is used in a number of different contexts. One of these is the surprise exam paradox. Another is game theory. But its use is problematic, at least sometimes. The purpose of this paper is to determine what, exactly, backwards induction is, and hence to evaluate it. Let us start by rehearsing informally some of its problematic applications.
Of the various accounts of negation that have been offered by logicians in the history of Western logic, that of negation as cancellation is a very distinctive one, quite different from the explosive accounts of modern "classical" and intuitionist logics, and from the accounts offered in standard relevant and paraconsistent logics. Despite its ancient origin, however, a precise understanding of the notion is still wanting. The first half of this paper offers one. Both conceptually and historically, the account of negation (...) as cancellation is intimately connected with connexivist principles such as ¬( ¬). Despite this, standard connexivist logics incorporate quite different accounts of negation. The second half of the paper shows how the cancellation account of negation of the first part gives rise to a semantics for a simple connexivist logic. (shrink)
It is known that a semantically closed theory with description may well be trivial if the principles concerning denotation and descriptions are formulated in certain ways, even if the underlying logic is paraconsistent. This paper establishes the non-triviality of a semantically closed theory with a natural, but non-extensional, description operator.
The paper concerns interpretations of the paraconsistent logic LP which model theories properly containing all the sentences of first order arithmetic. The paper demonstrates the existence of such models and provides a complete taxonomy of the finite ones.
The paper is a discussion of a result of Hilbert and Bernays in their Grundlagen der Mathematik. Their interpretation of the result is similar to the standard intepretation of Tarskis Theorem. This and other interpretations are discussed and shown to be inadequate. Instead, it is argued, the result refutes certain versions of Meinongianism. In addition, it poses new problems for classical logic that are solved by dialetheism.