Conceptual realism begins with a conceptualist theory of the nexus of predication in our speech and mental acts, a theory that explains the unity of those acts in terms of their referential and predicable aspects. This theory also contains as an integral part an intensional realism based on predicate nominalization and a reflexive abstraction in which the intensional contents of our concepts are “object”-ified, and by which an analysis of predication with intensional verbs can be given. Through a second nominalization (...) of the common names that are part of conceptual realism’s theory of reference (via quantifier phrases), the theory also accounts for both plural reference and predication and mass noun reference and predication. Finally, a separate nexus of predication based on natural kinds and the natural properties and relations nomologically related to those natural kinds, is also an integral part of the framework of conceptual realism. (shrink)
A semantic analysis of mass nouns is given in terms of a logic of classes as many. In previous work it was shown that plural reference and predication for count nouns can be interpreted within this logic of classes as many in terms of the subclasses of the classes that are the extensions of those count nouns. A brief review of that account of plurals is given here and it is then shown how the same kind of interpretation can also (...) be given for mass nouns. (shrink)
Two fundamental categories of any ontology are the category of objects and the category of universals. We discuss the question whether either of these categories can be infinite or not. In the category of objects, the subcategory of physical objects is examined within the context of different cosmological theories regarding the different kinds of fundamental objects in the universe. Abstract objects are discussed in terms of sets and the intensional objects of conceptual realism. The category of universals is discussed in (...) terms of the three major theories of universals: nominalism, realism, and conceptualism. The finitude of mind pertains only to conceptualism. We consider the question of whether or not this finitude precludes impredicative concept formation. An explication of potential infinity, especially as applied to concepts and expressions, is given. We also briefly discuss a logic of plural objects, or groups of single objects (individuals), which is based on Bertrand Russell’s (1903, The principles of mathematics, 2nd edn. (1938). Norton & Co, NY) notion of a class as many. The universal class as many does not exist in this logic if there are two or more single objects; but the issue is undecided if there is just one individual. We note that adding plural objects (groups) to an ontology with a countable infinity of individuals (single objects) does not generate an uncountable infinity of classes as many. (shrink)
Bertrand Russell introduced several novel ideas in his 1903 Principles of Mathematics that he later gave up and never went back to in his subsequent work. Two of these are the related notions of denoting concepts and classes as many. In this paper we reconstruct each of these notions in the framework of conceptual realism and connect them through a logic of names that encompasses both proper and common names, and among the latter, complex as well as simple common names. (...) Names, proper or common, and simple or complex, occur as parts of quantifier phrases, which in conceptual realism stand for referential concepts, i.e., cognitive capacities that inform our speech and mental acts with a referential nature and account for the intentionality, or directedness, of those acts. In Russell’s theory, quantifier phrases express denoting concepts (which do not include proper names). In conceptual realism, names, as well as predicates, can be nominalized and allowed to occur as "singular terms", i.e., as arguments of predicates. Occurring as a singular term, a name denotes, if it denotes at all, a class as many, where, as in Russell’s theory, a class as many of one object is identical with that one object, and a class as many of more than one object is a plurality, i.e., a plural object that we call a group. Also, as in Russell’s theory, there is no empty class as many. When nominalized, proper names function as "singular terms" just the way they do in so-called free logic. Leśniewski’s ontology, which is also called a logic of names can be completely interpreted within this conceptualist framework, and the well-known oddities of Leśniewski’s system are shown not to be odd at all when his system is so interpreted. Finally, we show how the pluralities, or groups, of the logic of classes as many can be used as the semantic basis of plural reference and predication. We explain in this way Russell’s "fundamental doctrine upon which all rests", i.e., "the doctrine that the subject of a proposition may be plural, and that such plural subjects are what is meant by classes [as many] which have more than one term" (Russell 1938, p. 517). (shrink)
The notion of a "class as many" was central to Bertrand Russell''s early form of logicism in his 1903 Principles of Mathematics. There is no empty class in this sense, and the singleton of an urelement (or atom in our reconstruction) is identical with that urelement. Also, classes with more than one member are merely pluralities — or what are sometimes called "plural objects" — and cannot as such be themselves members of classes. Russell did not formally develop this notion (...) of a class but used it only informally. In what follows, we give a formal, logical reconstruction of the logic of classes as many as pluralities (or plural objects) within a fragment of the framework of conceptual realism. We also take groups to be classes as many with two or more members and show how groups provide a semantics for plural quantifier phrases. (shrink)
A brief review of the historicalrelation between logic and ontologyand of the opposition between the viewsof logic as language and logic as calculusis given. We argue that predication is morefundamental than membership and that differenttheories of predication are based on differenttheories of universals, the three most importantbeing nominalism, conceptualism, and realism.These theories can be formulated as formalontologies, each with its own logic, andcompared with one another in terms of theirrespective explanatory powers. After a briefsurvey of such a comparison, we argue (...) that anextended form of conceptual realism provides themost coherent formal ontology and, as such, canbe used to defend the view of logic as language. (shrink)
A first-order formulation of Le?niewski's ontology is formulated and shown to be interpretable within a free first-order logic of identity extended to include nominal quantification over proper and common-name concepts. The latter theory is then shown to be interpretable in monadic second-order predicate logic, which shows that the first-order part of Le?niewski's ontology is decidable.
Russell's "new contradiction" about "the totality of propositions" has been connected with a number of modal paradoxes. M. Oksanen has recently shown how these modal paradoxes are resolved in the set theory NFU. Russell's paradox of the totality of propositions was left unexplained, however. We reconstruct Russell's argument and explain how it is resolved in two intensional logics that are equiconsistent with NFU. We also show how different notions of possible worlds are represented in these intensional logics.
A conceptual theory of the referential and predicable concepts used in basic speech and mental acts is described in which singular and general, complex and simple, and pronominal and nonpronominal, referential concepts are given a uniform account. The theory includes an intensional realism in which the intensional contents of predicable and referential concepts are represented through nominalized forms of the predicate and quantifier phrases that stand for those concepts. A central part of the theory distinguishes between active and deactivated referential (...) concepts, where the latter are represented by nominalized quantifier phrases that occur as parts of complex predicates. Peter Geach's arguments against theories of general reference in Reference and Generality are used as a foil to test the adequacy of the theory. Geach's arguments are shown to either beg the question of general as opposed to singular reference or to be inapplicable because of the distinction between active and deactivated referential concepts. (shrink)
The problematic features of Quine's set theories NF and ML are a result of his replacing the higher-order predicate logic of type theory by a first-order logic of membership, and can be resolved by returning to a second-order logic of predication with nominalized predicates as abstract singular terms. We adopt a modified Fregean position called conceptual realism in which the concepts (unsaturated cognitive structures) that predicates stand for are distinguished from the extensions (or intensions) that their nominalizations denote as singular (...) terms. We argue against Quine's view that predicate quantifiers can be given a referential interpretation only if the entities predicates stand for on such an interpretation are the same as the classes (assuming extensionality) that nominalized predicates denote as singular terms. Quine's alternative of giving predicate quantifiers only a substitutional interpretation is compared with a constructive version of conceptual realism, which with a logic of nominalized predicates is compared with Quine's description of conceptualism as a ramified theory of classes. We argue against Quine's implicit assumption that conceptualism cannot account for impredicative concept-formation and compare holistic conceptual realism with Quine's class Platonism. (shrink)