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Profile: Nicholas J.J. Smith (University of Sydney)
  1.  37
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2008). Vagueness and Degrees of Truth. Oxford University Press.
    'an excellent book: clearly written and packed full of interesting ideas and arguments.' -- J.R.G. Williams, Mind -/- 'Both a sharply written introduction to the philosophical logic of vagueness and a persuasive defence of Smith's favoured theory.' -- David Ripley, Analysis -/- 'one of the most important contributions on vagueness in the last ten years, and for years to come ... profound and original ... succeeds in promoting a new and inspiring conception of vagueness.' -- Paul Egre, Australasian Journal of (...)
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  2. Nicholas J. J. Smith (2011). Inconsistency in the A-Theory. Philosophical Studies 156 (2):231 - 247.
    This paper presents a new argument against A-theories of time. A-theorists hold that there is an objective now (present moment) and an objective flow of time, the latter constituted by the movement of the objective now through time. A-theorists therefore want to draw different pictures of reality—showing the objective now in different positions—depending upon the time at which the picture is drawn. In this paper it is argued that the times at which the different pictures are drawn may be taken (...)
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  3. Nicholas J. J. Smith (1997). Bananas Enough for Time Travel? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (3):363-389.
    This paper argues that the most famous objection to backward time travel can carry no weight. In its classic form, the objection is that backward time travel entails the occurrence of impossible things, such as auto-infanticide—and hence is itself impossible. David Lewis has rebutted the classic version of the objection: auto-infanticide is prevented by coincidences, such as time travellers slipping on banana peels as they attempt to murder their younger selves. I focus on Paul Horwich‘s more recent version of the (...)
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  4. Nicholas J. J. Smith (2005). A Plea for Things That Are Not Quite All There: Or, Is There a Problem About Vague Composition and Vague Existence? Journal of Philosophy 102 (8):381-421.
    Orthodoxy has it that mereological composition can never be a vague matter, for if it were, then existence would sometimes be a vague matter too, and that's impossible. I accept that vague composition implies vague existence, but deny that either is impossible. In this paper I develop degree-theoretic versions of quantified modal logic and of mereology, and combine them in a framework that allows us to make clear sense of vague composition and vague existence, and the relationships between them.
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  5. Nicholas J. J. Smith & Gideon Rosen (2004). Worldly Indeterminacy: A Rough Guide. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (1):185 – 198.
    This paper defends the idea that there might be vagueness or indeterminacy in the world itself--as opposed to merely in our representations of the world--against the charges of incoherence and unintelligibility. First we consider the idea that the world might contain vague properties and relations ; we show that this idea is already implied by certain well-understood views concerning the semantics of vague predicates (most notably the fuzzy view). Next we consider the idea that the world might contain vague objects (...)
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  6.  7
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2014). Is Evaluative Compositionality a Requirement of Rationality? Mind 123 (490):457-502.
    This paper presents a new solution to the problems for orthodox decision theory posed by the Pasadena game and its relatives. I argue that a key question raised by consideration of these gambles is whether evaluative compositionality (as I term it) is a requirement of rationality: is the value that an ideally rational agent places on a gamble determined by the values that she places on its possible outcomes, together with their mode of composition into the gamble (i.e. the probabilities (...)
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  7.  57
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2012). Many-Valued Logics. In Gillian Russell & Delia Graff Fara (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Language. Routledge 636--51.
    A many-valued (aka multiple- or multi-valued) semantics, in the strict sense, is one which employs more than two truth values; in the loose sense it is one which countenances more than two truth statuses. So if, for example, we say that there are only two truth values—True and False—but allow that as well as possessing the value True and possessing the value False, propositions may also have a third truth status—possessing neither truth value—then we have a many-valued semantics in the (...)
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  8.  68
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2005). Vagueness as Closeness. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (2):157 – 183.
    This paper presents and defends a definition of vagueness, compares it favourably with alternative definitions, and draws out some consequences of accepting this definition for the project of offering a substantive theory of vagueness. The definition is roughly this: a predicate 'F' is vague just in case for any objects a and b, if a and b are very close in respects relevant to the possession of F, then 'Fa' and 'Fb' are very close in respect of truth. The definition (...)
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  9.  20
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2015). Undead Argument: The Truth-Functionality Objection to Fuzzy Theories of Vagueness. Synthese:1-27.
    From Fine and Kamp in the 70’s—through Osherson and Smith in the 80’s, Williamson, Kamp and Partee in the 90’s and Keefe in the 00’s—up to Sauerland in the present decade, the objection continues to be run that fuzzy logic based theories of vagueness are incompatible with ordinary usage of compound propositions in the presence of borderline cases. These arguments against fuzzy theories have been rebutted several times but evidently not put to rest. I attempt to do so in this (...)
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  10.  6
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2016). Infinite Decisions and Rationally Negligible Probabilities. Mind:1-14.
    I have argued for a picture of decision theory centred on the principle of Rationally Negligible Probabilities. Isaacs argues against this picture on the grounds that it has an untenable implication. I first examine whether my view really has this implication; this involves a discussion of the legitimacy or otherwise of infinite decisions. I then examine whether the implication is really undesirable and conclude that it is not.
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  11. Nicholas J. J. Smith (2009). Degree of Belief is Expected Truth Value. In Sebastiano Moruzzi & Richard Dietz (eds.), Cuts and Clouds. Vaguenesss, its Nature and its Logic. Oxford University Press 491--506.
    A number of authors have noted that vagueness engenders degrees of belief, but that these degrees of belief do not behave like subjective probabilities. So should we countenance two different kinds of degree of belief: the kind arising from vagueness, and the familiar kind arising from uncertainty, which obey the laws of probability? I argue that we cannot coherently countenance two different kinds of degree of belief. Instead, I present a framework in which there is a single notion of degree (...)
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  12.  92
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2009). Frege's Judgement Stroke and the Conception of Logic as the Study of Inference Not Consequence. Philosophy Compass 4 (4):639-665.
    One of the most striking differences between Frege's Begriffsschrift (logical system) and standard contemporary systems of logic is the inclusion in the former of the judgement stroke: a symbol which marks those propositions which are being asserted , that is, which are being used to express judgements . There has been considerable controversy regarding both the exact purpose of the judgement stroke, and whether a system of logic should include such a symbol. This paper explains the intended role of the (...)
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  13.  57
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2004). Vagueness and Blurry Sets. Journal of Philosophical Logic 33 (2):165-235.
    This paper presents a new theory of vagueness, which is designed to retain the virtues of the fuzzy theory, while avoiding the problem of higher-order vagueness. The theory presented here accommodates the idea that for any statement S₁ to the effect that 'Bob is bald' is x true, for x in [0, 1], there should be a further statement S₂ which tells us how true S₁ is, and so on - that is, it accommodates higher-order vagueness without resorting to the (...)
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  14. Nicholas J. J. Smith (2000). The Principle of Uniform Solution (of the Paradoxes of Self-Reference). Mind 109 (433):117-122.
    Graham Priest (1994) has argued that the following paradoxes all have the same structure: Russell’s Paradox, Burali-Forti’s Paradox, Mirimanoff’s Paradox, König’s Paradox, Berry’s Paradox, Richard’s Paradox, the Liar and Liar Chain Paradoxes, the Knower and Knower Chain Paradoxes, and the Heterological Paradox. Their common structure is given by Russell’s Schema: there is a property φ and function δ such that..
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  15.  30
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2014). Vagueness, Uncertainty and Degrees of Belief: Two Kinds of Indeterminacy—One Kind of Credence. Erkenntnis 79 (5):1027-44.
    If we think, as Ramsey did, that a degree of belief that P is a stronger or weaker tendency to act as if P, then it is clear that not only uncertainty, but also vagueness, gives rise to degrees of belief. If I like hot coffee and do not know whether the coffee is hot or cold, I will have some tendency to reach for a cup; if I like hot coffee and know that the coffee is borderline hot, I (...)
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  16. Ken Perszyk & Nicholas J. J. Smith, The Paradoxes of Time Travel.
    Humans have long been fascinated by the idea of visiting the past and of seeing what the future will bring. Time travel has been one of the most popular themes of science fiction. Most people have seen the TV series ‘Dr Who’ or ‘Quantum Leap’ or ‘Star Trek’. You’ve probably seen one of the ‘Back to the Future’ or ‘Terminator’ movies, or ‘Twelve Monkeys’. Time travel narratives provide fascinating plots, which exercise our imaginations in ever so many ways. But is (...)
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  17. Nicholas J. J. Smith (2013). Vagueness and Degrees of Truth. Oxford University Press Uk.
    Nicholas J. J. Smith argues that an adequate account of vagueness must involve degrees of truth. The basic idea of degrees of truth is that while some sentences are true and some are false, others possess intermediate truth values: they are truer than the false sentences, but not as true as the true ones. This idea is immediately appealing in the context of vagueness--yet it has fallen on hard times in the philosophical literature, with existing degree-theoretic treatments of vagueness facing (...)
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  18.  19
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2015). Why Time Travellers (Still) Cannot Change the Past. Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 71 (4):677-94.
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  19.  18
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (forthcoming). Consonance and Dissonance in Solutions to the Sorites. In Otavio Bueno & Ali Abasnezhad (eds.), On the Sorites Paradox. Springer
    A requirement on any theory of vagueness is that it solve the sorites paradox. It is generally agreed that there are two aspects to such a solution: one task is to locate the error in the sorites argument; the second task is to explain why the sorites reasoning is a paradox rather than a simple mistake. I argue for a further constraint on approaches to the second task: they should conform to the standard modus operandi in formal semantics, in which (...)
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  20. Nicholas J. J. Smith (2005). Why Would Time Travelers Try to Kill Their Younger Selves? The Monist 88 (3):388-395.
    In this note I raise a new problem for backwards time travel, and make some first suggestions as to how it might be solved. I call it the motivation problem. It is not a logical or a metaphysical problem, but a psychological one. It does not impact upon the possibility, or even the likelihood, of backwards time travel. Yet it is deeply puzzling, and we will have no idea what time travel would actually be like until we explore it. Thus, (...)
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  21.  5
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2015). Truthier Than Thou: Truth, Supertruth and Probability of Truth. Noûs 50 (3):n/a-n/a.
    Different formal tools are useful for different purposes. For example, when it comes to modelling degrees of belief, probability theory is a better tool than classical logic; when it comes to modelling the truth of mathematical claims, classical logic is a better tool than probability theory. In this paper I focus on a widely used formal tool and argue that it does not provide a good model of a phenomenon of which many think it does provide a good model: I (...)
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  22.  3
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (forthcoming). Infinite Decisions and Rationally Negligible Probabilities. Mind:fzv209.
    I have argued for a picture of decision theory centred on the principle of Rationally Negligible Probabilities. Isaacs argues against this picture on the grounds that it has an untenable implication. I first examine whether my view really has this implication; this involves a discussion of the legitimacy or otherwise of infinite decisions. I then examine whether the implication is really undesirable and conclude that it is not.
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  23.  20
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2015). Truthier Than Thou: Truth, Supertruth and Probability of Truth. Noûs 49 (3).
    Different formal tools are useful for different purposes. For example, when it comes to modelling degrees of belief, probability theory is a better tool than classical logic; when it comes to modelling the truth of mathematical claims, classical logic is a better tool than probability theory. In this paper I focus on a widely used formal tool and argue that it does not provide a good model of a phenomenon of which many think it does provide a good model: I (...)
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  24.  75
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2008). Why Sense Cannot Be Made of Vague Identity. Noûs 42 (1):1–16.
    In this paper I present a new argument against vague identity — one that is more fundamental than existing arguments — and I also try to explain why we find the idea of vague identity puzzling, in a way that will dispel the puzzlement. In brief, my argument is this: to make clear sense of something, one must at least model it set-theoretically; but due to the special place of identity in set-theoretic models, any vague relation that one does model (...)
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  25.  19
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2014). One Bald Man… Two Bald Men… Three Bald Men: Aahh Aahh Aahh Aahh Aaaahhhh! In Ken Akiba & Ali Abasnezhad (eds.), Vague Objects and Vague Identity: New Essays on Ontic Vagueness. Springer 197--216.
    In the context of classical (crisp, precise) sets, there is a familiar connection between the notions of counting, ordering and cardinality. When it comes to vague collections, the connection has not been kept in central focus: there have been numerous proposals regarding the cardinality of vague collections, but these proposals have tended to be discussed in isolation from issues of counting and ordering. My main concern in this paper is to draw focus back onto the connection between these notions. I (...)
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  26.  21
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2012). Logic: The Laws of Truth. Princeton University Press.
    Logic is essential to correct reasoning and also has important theoretical applications in philosophy, computer science, linguistics, and mathematics. This book provides an exceptionally clear introduction to classical logic, with a unique approach that emphasizes both the hows and whys of logic. Here Nicholas Smith thoroughly covers the formal tools and techniques of logic while also imparting a deeper understanding of their underlying rationales and broader philosophical significance. In addition, this is the only introduction to logic available today that presents (...)
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  27.  5
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2015). Why Time Travellers Cannot Change the Past. Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 71 (4):677-694.
    Resumo Em um artigo anterior, o autor deste texto, defendeu a impossibilidade de os viajantes do tempo poderem alterar o passado. Por conseguinte, ou os supostos modelos de mudança do passado estavam feridos de contradição, ou então diziam respeito à prevenção do passado e não à sua mudança. Goddu respondeu a esta argumentação, sustentando que o seu modelo de hipertempo asseverava a possibilidade real de viajantes do tempo alterarem o passado. O autor começará este artigo por apresentar as condições necessárias (...)
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  28.  21
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2004). Travels in Four Dimensions: The Enigmas of Space and Time by Robin Le Poidevin. [REVIEW] Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (3):527-30.
    Book Information Travels in Four Dimensions: The Enigmas of Space and Time. Travels in Four Dimensions: The Enigmas of Space and Time Robin Le Poidevin , Oxford : Clarendon Press , 2003 , xvii + 275 , £14.99 ( cloth ); £8.99 ( paper ) By Robin Le Poidevin. Clarendon Press. Oxford. Pp. xvii + 275. £14.99 (cloth:); £8.99 (paper:).
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  29.  81
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2012). Measuring and Modelling Truth. American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (4):345-356.
    Philosophers, linguists and others interested in problems concerning natural language frequently employ tools from logic and model theory. The question arises as to the proper interpretation of the formal methods employed—of the relationship between, on the one hand, the formal languages and their set-theoretic models and, on the other hand, the objects of ultimate interest: natural language and the meanings and truth conditions of its constituent words, phrases and sentences. Two familiar answers to this question are descriptivism and instrumentalism. More (...)
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  30.  88
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2011). Fuzzy Logic and Higher-Order Vagueness. In Petr Cintula, Christian G. Fermüller, Lluis Godo & Petr Hájek (eds.), Understanding Vagueness: Logical, Philosophical and Linguistic Perspectives. College Publications 1--19.
    The major reason given in the philosophical literature for dissatisfaction with theories of vagueness based on fuzzy logic is that such theories give rise to a problem of higherorder vagueness or artificial precision. In this paper I first outline the problem and survey suggested solutions: fuzzy epistemicism; measuring truth on an ordinal scale; logic as modelling; fuzzy metalanguages; blurry sets; and fuzzy plurivaluationism. I then argue that in order to decide upon a solution, we need to understand the true nature (...)
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  31.  9
    Nicholas J. J. Smith, Doubts About `Uncertainty Without All the Doubt'. Mind and Language Symposium.
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  32.  54
    Keith Campbell & Nicholas J. J. Smith, Epiphenomenalism. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Epiphenomenalism is a theory concerning the relation between the mental and physical realms, regarded as radically different in nature. The theory holds that only physical states have causal power, and that mental states are completely dependent on them. The mental realm, for epiphenomenalists, is nothing more than a series of conscious states which signify the occurrence of states of the nervous system, but which play no causal role. For example, my feeling sleepy does not cause my yawning — rather, both (...)
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  33.  50
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2003). Vagueness by Numbers? No Worries. Mind 112 (446):283-290.
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  34.  26
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2000). Frege's Judgement Stroke. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 78 (2):153 – 175.
  35.  33
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2010). Truth as One and Many by Michael Lynch. [REVIEW] Analysis 70 (1):191-193.
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  36.  25
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2006). Semantic Regularity and the Liar Paradox. The Monist 89 (1):178 - 202.
    My task here is the first one. I do present a consistent formal system and claim that it provides a perfect model of natural languages such as English, but this system involves no surprises. It is none other than the standard framework of classical logic and model theory. The real weight of the argument lies in the claim that the classical framework—without alteration or addition—contains the resources to model what happens when we say in English ‘This sentence is not true’.
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  37.  4
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2010). Vagueness, Logic and Ontology by Dominic Hyde. [REVIEW] Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 16 (4):531-532.
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  38.  4
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2011). Comments on 'Inconstancy and Inconsistency’ by David Ripley. In Petr Cintula, Christian G. Fermüller, Lluis Godo & Petr Hájek (eds.), Understanding Vagueness: Logical, Philosophical and Linguistic Perspectives. College Publications 59-62.
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  39.  6
    Nicholas J. J. Smith (2007). Frege Explained: From Arithmetic to Analytic Philosophy by Joan Weiner. [REVIEW] Philosophical Books 48 (1):78-79.
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  40. Nicholas J. J. Smith (2000). C^C-Valued Logic and Semantic Closure (Abstract). Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 6:254-5.
     
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  41. Nicholas J. J. Smith (2011). Comments on 'A Conversation About Fuzzy Logic and Vagueness' by Christian G. Fermüller and Petr Hájek. In Petr Cintula, Christian G. Fermüller, Lluis Godo & Petr Hájek (eds.), Understanding Vagueness: Logical, Philosophical and Linguistic Perspectives. College Publications 417-21.
     
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  42. Nicholas J. J. Smith (2015). Fuzzy Logics in Theories of Vagueness. In Petr Cintula, Christian Fermüller & Carles Noguera (eds.), Handbook of Mathematical Fuzzy Logic - Volume 3. College Publications
  43.  7
    Nicholas J. J. Smith & John Cusbert (2012). Logic: The Drill.
    Contains exercises and solutions to accompany Logic: The Laws of Truth by Nicholas J. J. Smith (Princeton University Press, 2012).
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  44. Nicholas J. J. Smith (2003). Not Quite All There: Fuzzy Mereology and Fuzzy Existence (Abstract). Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 9:264.
     
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  45. Nicholas J. J. Smith (2011). Reply to Francesco Paoli’s Comments on 'Fuzzy Logic and Higher-Order Vagueness'. In Petr Cintula, Christian G. Fermüller, Lluis Godo & Petr Hájek (eds.), Understanding Vagueness: Logical, Philosophical and Linguistic Perspectives. College Publications 37-40.
     
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  46. Nicholas J. J. Smith (2011). Reply to Libor Běhounek’s Comments on 'Fuzzy Logic and Higher-Order Vagueness'. In Petr Cintula, Christian G. Fermüller, Lluis Godo & Petr Hájek (eds.), Understanding Vagueness: Logical, Philosophical and Linguistic Perspectives. College Publications 29-32.
     
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  47. Nicholas J. J. Smith (1998). The Problems of Backward Time Travel. Endeavour 22 (4):156--8.
     
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  48. Nicholas J. J. Smith (2013). Time Travel. In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
     
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