Tänk dig att du kommit som Robinson Crusoe till en nästan öde ö, dvs till en ö du trodde var öde till dess att du träffade Fredag. Fredag förefaller tala ett språk, men det är helt olikt varje språk du hittills stött på. Du bestämmer dig efter ett tag för att försöka lära dig det. Det förefaller gå bra. Av allt att döma får du god kontakt med Fredag. Ni delar med er av mat till varandra. Ni lyckas uppfatta en (...) del av varandras åtbörder: pekgester, uttryck för uppskattning, en anmodan att komma eller gå, och annat. På grundval av detta lyckas du, eller åtminstone förefaller det så, inleda ett samarbete med Fredag ifråga om att skaffa fram mat. Fredag börjar till och med hjälpa dig att bygga en inhägnad för några höns ni fångat. Under tiden detta pågår börjar du försöka använda en del ord eller andra uttryck du hört Fredag yttra. Du har t.ex. hört honom ibland yttra "ptocha" när ni pekat ut hönsfåglar för varandra, och försöker göra detsamma själv. Några gånger ler han uppmuntrande men andra gånger brummar han misstroget och gör en huvudrörelse som du börjat uppfatta som nekande. Du förstår först inte varför. Senare märker du att en fågel du pekat ut när Fredag gjort den nekande rörelsen plötsligt fäller ut vingarna och flyger ut ur inhägnaden. Samma sak händer igen. Och efter ett tag börjar du märka små skillnader i färg, ifråga om näbbens storlek och klornas längd, så att du själv kan skilja mellan fåglar som flyger iväg och fåglar som inte gör det. Du drar slutsatsen att "ptocha" står för den art av hönsliknande fåglar som har flygförmåga. Den här processen fortsätter. Du identifierar verb och adjektiv, pronomen, prepositioner och räkneord, liksom logiska partiklar som (Fredags motsvarigheter till) "och", "eller", "inte", "om..., så...". Du kan sätta ihop hela meningar som Fredag själv inte yttrat, men som består av delar som han yttrat.. (shrink)
I sin uppsats "Satsens subjekt och textens"2 ger Staffan Hellberg en översikt över vad han kallat empatimarkörer (alternativt ‘perspektivmarkörer’, sid 2) i berättande prosa. Grundidén, så som jag förstått den, är att en empatimarkör visar på en viss typ av förändring av berättarperspektivet. Hellberg skriver: Det är vanligt, för att inte säga normalt, i modern berättarteknik, att händelseförloppet upplevs genom en deltagande persons sinnen eller på annat sätt behandlas ur dennes synvinkel.3 Utgångspunkten är att en berättelse återges på ett för (...) berättelsen normalt sätt. Vissa berättelser är t.ex. i jag-form, medan andra återges på ett mer neutralt sätt, med en framställning i tredje person av berättelsens gestalter. Emellanåt bryts denna normala framställning genom att en situation återges, helt eller delvis, ur en deltagares perspektiv, t.ex. så som sedd av denna deltagare, eller så som tolkad av denne deltagare. Det som Hellberg eftersträvat är en översikt över de språkliga element som markerar en sådan tillfällig förskjutning av berättarperspektivet. För egen del vill jag använda termen perspektivförskjutning för de fenomen jag kommer att behandla nedan. Hellbergs översikt är i mycket hög grad baserad på intuitioner om förekomster av markörer för perspektivförskjutning, och bygger på en litteraturvetenskaplig tradition där intuitioner om perspektiv och perspektivförskjutning av olika slag behandlats under åtskilliga decennier. Detta förhållande erbjuder både svårigheter och utmaningar för en som står utanför denna tradition. Hellberg försöker inte formulera några allmänna kriterier för att vara en empatimarkör, varför det ankommer på läsarens egen intuitiva uppfattning av exemplen att förstå vad som exemplifieras. För den som är skolad i den tradition Hellberg bygger på kanske detta inte erbjuder några svårigheter alls, eller endast ringa svårigheter, men för mig, som är skolad i analytisk filosofi, och som visserligen läst en del romaner men aldrig studerat skönlitteratur teoretiskt, är svårigheterna emellanåt betydande. Utmaningen består å andra sidan just i att försöka formulera en allmän idé om perspektivförskjutning, så att vi också kan erhålla ett kriterium för att vara en språklig markör av sådana förskjutningar.. (shrink)
For Frege’s general views about truth the standard reference is the first couple of pages of ‘The Thought’. Less attention has been paid to a short passage in ‘On Sense and Reference’ – in, fact, only one paragraph long – where Frege argues indirectly for the view that the relation between the thought and the True is an instance of the relation between sense and reference. He argues for this by discrediting the alternative view that it is an instance of (...) the relation between “subject and predicate”. Here is the paragraph: One might be tempted to regard the relation of the thought to the True not as that of sense to reference, but rather as that of subject to predicate. One can, indeed, say: ‘The thought, that 5 is a prime number, is true’. But closer examination shows that nothing more has been said than in the simple sentence ‘5 is a prime number’. The truth claim arises in each case from the form of the declarative sentence, and when the latter lacks its usual force, e.g. in the mouth of an actor upon stage, even the sentence ‘The thought that 5 is a prime number is true’ contains only a thought, and indeed the same thought as the simple ‘5 is a prime number’. It follows that the relation of the thought to the True may not be compared with that of subject and predicate. Subject and predicate (understood in the logical sense) are indeed elements of thoughts; they stand on the same level for knowledge. By combining subject and predicate, one reaches only a thought, never passes from sense to reference, never from thought to its truth value. One moves at the same level but never advances from one level to the next. A truth value cannot be part of a thought, any more than, say, the Sun can, for it is not a sense but an object. (Frege 1892, pp 34-35). Two subordinate, but still major, positive ideas are expressed in this passage. (shrink)
By means of ‘means that’ and propositional quantification, we can define a truth predicate. This also allows the construction of liar sentences, either by self-reference or by means of quantification. In order to avoid inconsistency, restrictions on expressive power must be imposed, and the question is how far such restrictions will limit our ability to say of what is intuitively described as ‘‘meaningful’’ that it is precisely meaningful.
När är det befogat att tillskriva mening (betydelse) till beteenden? I början av 2001 presenterade en av Stockholms gratistidningar en artikel om det så kallade kroppsspråket. Rubriken var "Kroppen ljuger inte". Ämnet för artikeln var egentligen den evidens som en persons gester och kroppshållning ger om hennes sinnestillstånd eller personlighet ("självsäker", "stressad", "osäker", "nervös", "ljuger", "arg", "manipulativ", "spänd" eller "misstänksam"). Enligt artikeln är dessa gester och kroppshållningar inte avsedda att ge andra information om ens inre tillstånd. De är alltså inte (...) kommunikativa. Likafullt ger de sådan information, ibland kanske mot personens egen önskan. Trots det beskrivs de som semantiskt meningsfulla: "Varje min och rörelse kan tolkas symboliskt". (shrink)
I denna artikel skall jag mycket kortfattat och översiktligt presentera ett antal olika uppfattningar, inom samtida analytisk filosofi, om språklig mening. Jag ska försöka framhäva de mest grundläggande idéerna och de viktigaste skillnaderna i synsätt. Framställningen är organiserad kring en rad fundamentala distinktioner och meningsmotsättningar. Utrymmet tillåter inte någon mer detaljerad framställning av enskilda teorier.
Some theories of linguistic meaning, such as those of Paul Grice and David Lewis, make appeal to higher order thoughts: thoughts about thoughts. Because of this, such theories run the risk of being empirically refuted by the existence of speakers who lack, completely or to a high degree, the capacity of thinking about thoughts. Research on autism during the past 15 years provides strong evidence for the existence of such speakers. Some persons with autism have linguistic abilities that qualify (...) them as speakers, but manifest a severely impaired capacity to understand what it is to have beliefs. (shrink)
According to the knowledge account of assertion, an assertion that p is correct just in case the speaker knows that p. This is so because of a norm that governs assertion and uniquely characterizes it. Recent opposition to the knowledge account accepts that assertion is governed by a norm, but proposes alternatives to the knowledge norm. In this paper I focus on some difficulties for normative accounts of assertion.
In his paper ‘Why assertion may yet be social’ (Pegan 2009), Philip Pegan directs two main criticisms against my earlier paper ‘Is assertion social?’ (Pagin 2004). I argued that what I called “social theories”, are inadequate, and I suggested a method for generating counterexamples to them: types of utterance which are not assertions by intuitive standards, but which are assertion by the standards of those theories. Pegan’s first criticism is that I haven’t given an acceptable characterization of the class of (...) social theories. His second criticism is that I have overlooked some alternatives, and that there are social theories that are not affected by my argument. In section 1 I discuss the first, and in section 2 the second. (shrink)
Compositionality is the property that the meaning of any complex expression is determined by the meanings of its parts and the way they are put together. The language can be natural or formal, but it has to be interpreted. That is, meanings, or more generally, semantic values of some sort, must be assigned to linguistic expressions, and compositionality concerns the distribution of these values. Even though similar ideas were expressed both in antiquity and in the middle ages (e.g. by Abelard (...) and Buridan), Gottlob Frege is generally taken to be the first person to state explicitly the modern notion of compositionality and to claim that it is an essential feature of human language. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with the resources available for insensitive invariantism in epistemology to handle the intuitions that have been appealed to, both for contextualism and for subject-sensitive invariantism. It is argued that proposals by Tim Williamson and Jessica Brown are not adequate, and that subject-sensitive inductive fails to account for some crucial intuitions. It is then argued that the chauvinistic nature of the psychology of insensitive invariantism provides adequate resources for such an account. A subject is chauvinistic simply by (...) taking his own beliefs to be true, and by judging attributions accordingly. This is first illustrated with meaning attributions in the theory of interpretation, and then applied to knowledge attributions. (shrink)
In the recent debate on the semantic/pragmatic divide, Herman Cappelen and Ernie Lepore (2005) on the one hand, and Fran¸ cois Recanati (2004) on the other, occupy almost diametrically opposed positions as regards the role of semantics for communication, while largely agreeing on important features of pragmatics. According to Cappelen and Lepore (CL), semantic context sensitivity of natural language sentences is restricted to what is determined by a particular minimal set of canonically context sensitive expressions. If you try to go (...) beyond that set, as has often been done in recent semantic theories, to reach a position of moderate contextualism, your reasons will force you to the much more extreme position of radical contextualism. That is CL’s instability thesis. They argue for it by means of a number of examples intended to illustrate how you are off on a slippery slope if you admit any context sensitivity beyond the basic one. If radical contextualism is true, systematic semantics is not possible, since, according to CL, there cannot be any systematic theory of speech act content. The one exception is that whatever is said by the utterance of a sentence, its minimally context dependent content is part of it. (shrink)
Ordinary intuitions that vague predicates are tolerant, or cannot have sharp boundaries, can be formalized in first-order logic in at least two non-equivalent ways, a stronger and a weaker. The stronger turns out to be false in domains that have a significant central gap for the predicate in question, i.e. where a sufficiently large middle segment of the ordering relation (such as taller for ‘tall’) is uninstantiated. The weaker principle is true in such domains, but does not in those domains (...) induce the sorites conclusion. (shrink)
An account of assertoric force is a theory that says what it consists in for an utterance to have assertoric force, i.e. to be an assertion. This is not exactly the same as being a theory which says under what conditions an utterance is an assertion, for there are different kinds of conditions, and only some of these matter to what we should call an “account”. Let’s distinguish between surface properties and deep properties of utterances. I count observational properties as (...) surface properties, and that includes e.g. prosodic properties such as stress and pitch. I also count as surface properties surface grammatical properties: word segmentation, word order, and surface morphology such as inflection markers. Among the “deep” properties are the mental state of the speaker, and contextual features like what norms or conventions are in force, and what the conversational setting is. We can use this distinction to classify theories about assertion. Let’s call a theory “superficial” if it just lists surface properties. Such a theory is correct if all and.. (shrink)
In 1956 J. L. Austin presented his famous distinction between performative and constative.1 Roughly, whereas in a constative utterance you report an already obtaining state of affairs—you say something—in a performative utterance you create something new: you do something.2 Paradigm examples of performatives were utterances by means of which actions such as baptizing, congratulating and greeting are performed.
The term ‘meaning holism’ (together with variants like ‘semantic holism’ and ‘linguistic holism’) has been used for a number of more or less closely interrelated ideas. According to one common view, meaning holism (MH) is the thesis that what a linguistic expression means depends on its relations to many or all other expressions within the same totality. Sometimes these relations are called ‘conceptual’ or ‘inferential’. A related idea is that what an expression means depends, mutually, on the meaning of the (...) other expressions in the totality, or alternatively on some semantic property of this totality itself. The totality in question may be the language to which the expressions belong, or a theory formulation in that language. In this sense MH is contrasted e.g. with so-called atomistic theories, according to which each simple expression can have a meaning independently of all other expressions, or molecular theories according to which there are meaning dependencies but restricted to smaller parts and often unidirectional. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with one rather specific question: Is indeterminacy of translation a consequence of the publicness of meaning? As I understand professor Quine, he thinks that the answer to this question is yes.1 I shall provide some support for this interpretation. Personally, I believe that the answer is no, but I shall not try to establish that answer. I don’t know how to do that, or even if it is possible to do it.
As the expression itself indicates, ‘point of view’ is in the first place applied to spatial locations for visual observation. I can see a certain group of objects from different positions, or points of view. When seen from certain points, a particular object in the group is hidden behind others, from other points it isn’t. It is still the same group of objects, so in one sense I see the same thing. In another sense, I don’t see the same thing, (...) for I see different parts, sides or aspects of that same group of objects. My visual impression is different as well, unless perfect symmetry of the group makes the difference in perspective phenomenologically unnoticeable. (shrink)
In this paper I shall be concerned with the relation between a particular account of linguistic meaning and the property of compositionality in natural language.1 The account, proposed by Donald Davidson, is that based on considerations about radical interpretation. I shall argue that there is a fundamental conflict between, on the one hand, the view that the meaning of expressions of natural languages is determined purely according to canons of radical interpretation, and, on the other hand, the view that natural (...) languages exhibit compositional structure. I shall also argue that if there is such a conflict, this speaks against the proposed account. (shrink)
How should we explain that we can understand new sentences? New sentences are sentences we encounter for the first time, sentences we haven’t used or heard before, and which we in particular haven’t assigned a meaning by fiat. To explain how we can understand new sentences has usually been regarded as an important and non-trivial task. Moreover, it has often been thought that in order to do that, at least in a great majority of new encounters, we need to appeal (...) to the principle of compositionality. The principle of compositionality, in a standard formulation, says. (shrink)
Suppose you are stranded on an island and you want to get over to the nearby mainland. Your only option is to swim. But is the other shore close enough? If you embark and it isn’t, you drown. So you prefer to know before taking off. Happily, you are well equipped. You have not only a yardstick, but also a theodolite for measuring angles, and a good knowledge of trigonometry. You then determine the distance to the other shore by means (...) of triangulation. You fix two points, A and B, on your own shore, and identify a third point, C, in sight on the opposite shore. You then measure the distance between A and B with your yardstick, and the two angles ABC and CAB with your theodolite. With this information you can calculate the distances AC and BC to the other shore. (shrink)
In Michael Dummett’s manifestability challenge to truth conditional semantics, it is argued that the meaning of sentence cannot be its truth conditions, for then a speaker’s knowledge of the meaning would not in all cases be manifestable. In those cases, the speaker would not know how to ﬁnd out whether the truth conditions are satisﬁed or not. By contrast, knowledge of what counts as a proof of a sentence would pass the manifestability test, since a speaker is supposed always to (...) be capable of deciding whether or not a given object is a proof of a given sentence. There is a problem for the positive part, however, for there is no guarantee that a compositional proof-theoretic semantics in all cases provides knowledge suﬃcient for recognizing any proof of a provable sentence for which the meaning is given. In those cases, the speaker need not know how to ﬁnd out whether a given object is a proof of the sentence. Hence, if knowledge of meaning is required to be manifestable, there is no guarantee in general is compositionally speciﬁable. (shrink)
Ordinary intuitions that vague predicates are tolerant, or cannot have sharp boundaries, can be formalized in first-order logic in at least two non-equivalent ways, a stronger and a weaker. The stronger turns out to be false in domains that have a significant central gap for the predicate in question, i.e. where a sufficiently large middle segment of the ordering relation (such as taller for ‘tall’) is uninstantiated. The weaker principle is true in such domains, but does not in those domains (...) induce the sorites conclusion. This fact can be used for interpreting ordinary uses of vague expressions by means of a new kind of contextual quantifier domain restriction. A central segment is cut from the domain, if consistent with speaker intentions. As long as this is possible, tolerance, bivalence and consistency can all be retained. This paper focuses on the basic semantic properties in a modeltheoretic setting. The natural language application is sketched and the nature of the approach briefly discussed. (shrink)
In his recent paper ‘Analyticity: An Unfinished Business in Possible-World Semantics’ (Rabinowicz 2006), Wlodek Rabinowicz takes on the task of providing a satisfactory definition of analyticity in the framework of possible-worlds semantics. As usual, what Wlodek proposes is technically well-motivated and very elegant. Moreover, his proposal does deliver an interesting analytic/synthetic distinction when applied to sentences with natural kind terms. However, the longer we thought and talked about it, the more questions we had, questions of both philosophical and technical nature. (...) Hence the idea of this little paper – for how better to honor a philosopher than by trying very hard to criticize him? After quickly running over some background in possible worlds semantics and setting out Wlodek's proposal against that background, we shall bring up and discuss our questions in sections 3 – 5. In the final section, we shall also make a stab at a different solution to the problem, making use of our own earlier idea of relational modality. (shrink)
A celebrated argument for the claim that natural languages are compositional is the learnability argument. Briefly: for it to be possible to learn an entire natural language, which has infinitely many sentences, the language must have a compositional semantics. This argument has two main problems: One of them concerns the difference between compositionality and computability: if the argument is good at all, it only shows that the language must have a computable semantics, which allows speakers to compute the meanings of (...) new sentences. But a semantics may be computable without being compositional (and vice versa). Why would we want the semantics to be compositional over and above being computable? The learnability argument doesn’t tell us. (shrink)
Naive speakers find some logical contradictions acceptable, specifically borderline contradictions involving vague predicates such as Joe is and isn’t tall. In a recent paper, Cobreros et al. (J Philos Logic, 2012) suggest a pragmatic account of the acceptability of borderline contradictions. We show, however, that the pragmatic account predicts the wrong truth conditions for some examples with disjunction. As a remedy, we propose a semantic analysis instead. The analysis is close to a variant of fuzzy logic, but conjunction and disjunction (...) are interpreted as intensional operators. (shrink)
This paper concerns the phenomenon of pragmatic enrichment, and has a proposal for predicting the occurrence of such enrichments. The idea is that an enrichment of an expressed content c occurs as a means of strengthening the coherence between c and a salient given content c’ of the context, whether c’ is given in discourse, as sentence parts, or through perception. After enrichment, a stronger coherence relation is instantiated than before enrichment. An idea of a strength scale of types of (...) coherence relations is proposed and applied. (shrink)
In earlier work (Glüer, K. and P. Pagin. 2006. Proper names and relational modality. Linguistics & Philosophy 29: 507–35; Glüer, K. and P. Pagin. 2008. Relational modality. Journal of Logic, Language and Information 17: 307–22), we developed a semantics for (metaphysical) modal operators that accommodates Kripkean intuitions about proper names in modal contexts even if names are not rigid designators. Graeme Forbes (2011. The problem of factives for sense theories. Analysis 71: 654–62.) criticizes our proposal. He argues that our semantics (...) predicts readings for certain natural language sentences which these simply do not have. These sentences contain mixed contexts involving factive attitude verbs. We argue that the readings our semantics predicts do indeed exist, even if it might take a little work to bring them out. Moreover, denying their existence would have some rather unattractive consequences. (shrink)
Natural kind terms have exercised philosophical fancy ever since Kripke, in Naming and Necessity, claimed them to be rigid designators. He there drew attention to the peculiar, name-like behavior of a family of prima facie loosely related general terms of ordinary English: terms such as ‘water’, ‘tiger’, ‘heat’, and ‘red’. Just as for ordinary proper names, Kripke argued that such terms cannot be synonymous with any of the definite descriptions ordinary speakers associate with them. Rather, the name-like behavior of these (...) so-called natural kind terms is to be explained, just as in in the case of proper names, by the doctrine of rigid designation. And as a consequence of thus extending the notion of rigid designation to general terms, he famously endorsed the claim that so-called ‘theoretical identifications’, i.e. statements like (1) Water is H2O, are necessary, if true. (shrink)
In this paper the informativeness account of assertion (Pagin in Assertion. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2011) is extended to account for inference. I characterize the conclusion of an inference as asserted conditionally on the assertion of the premises. This gives a notion of conditional assertion (distinct from the standard notion related to the affirmation of conditionals). Validity and logical validity of an inference is characterized in terms of the application of method that preserves informativeness, and contrasted with consequence and logical (...) consequence, that is defined in terms of truth preservation. The proposed account is compared with that of Prawitz (Logica yearbook 2008, pp. 175-192. College Publications, London, 2009). (shrink)
Is observational indiscriminability non-transitive? This was once an accepted truth, and it was used by philosophers like Armstrong and Dummett to argue against the existence of appearances (sense data, sensory items). It was objected, however, early on by Jackson and Pinkerton, and more recently by vagueness contextualists like Raffman and Fara, that the case for non-transitivity is flawed. The reason is the context dependence of appearance. I argue here that if we take context dependence properly into account, we still have (...) (a modified version of) non-transitivity, and that therefore we still face the problem of appearances. (shrink)
This is the second part of a two-part article on compositionality, i.e. the principle that the meaning of a complex expression is determined by the meanings of its parts and the way they are put together. In the first, Pagin and Westerståhl (2010), we provide a general historical background, a formal framework, definitions, and a survey of variants of compositionality. It will be referred to as Part I. Here we discuss arguments for and against the claim that natural languages have (...) a compositional semantics. We also discuss some problem cases, including belief reports, quotation, idioms, and ambiguity. (shrink)
This is the first part of a two-part article on semantic compositionality, that is, the principle that the meaning of a complex expression is determined by the meanings of its parts and the way they are put together. Here we provide a brief historical background, a formal framework for syntax and semantics, precise definitions, and a survey of variants of compositionality. Stronger and weaker forms are distinguished, as well as generalized forms that cover extra-linguistic context dependence as well as linguistic (...) context dependence. In the second article, we survey arguments for and arguments against the claim that natural languages are compositional, and consider some problem cases. It will be referred to as Part II. (shrink)
Starting from the familiar observation that no straightforward treatment of pure quotation can be compositional in the standard (homomorphism) sense, we introduce general compositionality, which can be described as compositionality that takes linguistic context into account. A formal notion of linguistic context type is developed, allowing the context type of a complex expression to be distinct from those of its constituents. We formulate natural conditions under which an ordinary meaning assignment can be non-trivially extended to one that is sensitive to (...) context types and satisfies general compositionality. As our main example we work out a Fregean treatment of pure quotation, but we also indicate that the method applies to other kinds of context, e.g. intensional contexts. (shrink)
The principle of semantic compositionality, as Jerry Fodor and Ernie Lepore have emphasized, imposes constraints on theories of meaning that it is hard to meet with psychological or epistemic accounts. Here, I argue that this general tendency is exemplified in Michael Dummett's account of meaning. On that account, the so-called manifestability requirement has the effect that the speaker who understands a sentence s must be able to tell whether or not s satisfies central semantic conditions. This requirement is not met (...) by truth-conditional accounts of meaning. On Dummett's view, it is met by a proof conditional account: understanding amounts to knowledge of what counts as a proof of a sentence. A speaker is supposed always to be capable of deciding whether or not a given object is a proof of a given sentence she understands. This requirement comes into conflict with compositionality. If meaning is compositionally determined, then all you need for understanding a sentence is what you get from combining your understanding of the parts according to the mode of composition. But that knowledge is not always sufficient for recognizing any proof at all of a given sentence. Dummett's proof-theoretic argument to the contrary is mistaken. (shrink)
Saul Kripke’s thesis that ordinary proper names are rigid designators is supported by widely shared intuitions about the occurrence of names in ordinary modal contexts. By those intuitions names are scopeless with respect to the modal expressions. That is, sentences in a pair like (a) Aristotle might have been fond of dogs (b) Concerning Aristotle, it is true that he might have been fond of dogs will have the same truth value. The same does not in general hold for definite (...) descriptions. If we, like Kripke, account for this difference by means of the intensions of names and descriptions, we have to conclude that names do not in general have the same intension as any normal, identifying description. However, the difference in scope behavior between names and description can be accounted for alternatively by appeal to the semantics of the modal expressions. On the account we suggest, dubbed ‘relational modality’, simple singular terms, like proper names, contribute to modal contexts simply by their actual world reference, not by their (standard) intension. The relational modality account turns out to be fully equivalent with the rigidity account when it comes to truth of modal and non-modal sentences (with respect to the actual world), and hence supports the same basic intuitions. Given an alternative definition of consequence for relational modality, and a restriction to models with reflexive accessibility relations and non-empty world-bound domains, relational modality also turns out to be model theoretically equivalent with rigidity semantics with respect to logical consequence. Here we introduce the semantics, give the truth definition for relational modality models, and prove the equivalence results. (shrink)
An assertion is a speech act in which something is claimed to hold, e.g. that there are inﬁnitely many prime numbers, or, with respect to some time t, that there is a traﬃc congestion on Brooklyn Bridge at t, or, of some person x with respect to some time t, that x has a tooth ache at t. The concept of assertion has often occupied a central place in the philosophy of language, since it is often thought that making assertions (...) is the use of language most crucial to linguistic meaning, and since assertions are the natural expressions of cognitive attitudes, and hence of importance for theories of knowledge and belief. (shrink)
The ﬁrst case is usually referred to as omissive and the second as commissive. What is traditionally perceived as paradoxical is that although such statements may well be true, asserting them is clearly absurd. An account of Moore’s Paradox is an explanation of the absurdity. In the last twenty years, there has also been a focus on the incoherence of judging or believing such propositions.
It is often assumed that there is a close connection between Quine's criticism of the analytic/synthetic distinction, in 'Two dogmas of empiricism' and onwards, and his thesis of the indeterminacy of translation, in Word and Object and onwards. Often, the claim that the distinction is unsound (in some way or other) is taken to follow from the indeterminacy thesis, and sometimes the indeterminacy thesis is supported by such a claim. However, a careful scrutiny of the indeterminacy thesis as stated by (...) Quine, and the varieties of the analytic/synthetic distinction, reveals that the two claims are mutually independent. Neither does the claim that the distinction is unsound follow from the indeterminacy thesis, nor that thesis from unsoundness claim, under any of the common interpretations of the analytic/synthetic distinction. (shrink)
Saul Kripke’s thesis that ordinary proper names are rigid designators is supported by widely shared intuitions about the occurrence of names in ordinary modal contexts. By those intuitions names are scopeless with respect to the modal expressions. That is, sentences in a pair like Aristotle might have been fond of dogsConcerning Aristotle, it is true that he might have been fond of dogs will have the same truth value. The same does not in general hold for definite descriptions. If we, (...) like Kripke, account for this difference by means of the intensions of names and descriptions, we have to conclude that names do not in general have the same intension as any normal, identifying description. However, the difference in scope behavior between names and description can be accounted for alternatively by appeal to the semantics of the modal expressions. On the account we suggest, dubbed ‘relational modality’, simple singular terms, like proper names, contribute to modal contexts simply by their actual world reference, not by their (standard) intension. The relational modality account turns out to be fully equivalent with the rigidity account when it comes to truth of modal and non-modal sentences (with respect to the actual world), and hence supports the same basic intuitions. Given an alternative definition of consequence for relational modality, and a restriction to models with reflexive accessibility relations and non-empty world-bound domains, relational modality also turns out to be model theoretically equivalent with rigidity semantics with respect to logical consequence. Here we introduce the semantics, give the truth definition for relational modality models, and prove the equivalence results. (shrink)
Suppose we have an idea of what counts as communication, more precisely as a communicative event. Then we have the further task of dividing communicative events into successful and unsuccessful. Part of this task is to find a basis for this evaluation, i.e. appropriate properties of speaker and hearer. It is argued that success should be evaluated in terms of a relation between thought contents of speaker and hearer. This view is labelled ‘classical’, since it is justifiably attributable to both (...) Locke and Frege (section 2). Most of the paper is devoted to discussing competing contemporary views, such as behaviorist/pragmatist views (section 4), requirements of knowledge (section 5), of reliability (section 6) and that success should be defined in terms of public language semantics rather than in terms of thought content (section 7). (shrink)
Saul Kripke’s thesis that ordinary proper names are rigid designators is supported by widely shared intuitions about the occurrence of names in ordinary modal contexts. By those intuitions names are scopeless with respect to the modal expressions. That is, sentences in a pair like (a) Aristotle might have been fond of dogs, (b) Concerning Aristotle, it is true that he might have been fond of dogs will have the same truth value. The same does not in general hold for definite (...) descriptions. If one, like Kripke, accounts for this difference by means of the intensions of the names and the descriptions, the conclusion is that names do not in general have the same intension as any normal, identifying description. However, this difference can be accounted for alternatively by appeal to the semantics of the modal expressions. On the account we suggest, dubbed ‘relational modality’, simple singular terms, like proper names, contribute to modal contexts simply by their actual world reference, not by their descriptive content. That account turns out to be fully equivalent with the rigidity account when it comes to truth of modal and non-modal sentence (with respect to the actual world), and hence supports the same basic intuitions. Here we present the relational modality account and compare it with others, in particular Kripke’s own. (shrink)