In J Philos Logic 34:155–192, 2005, Leitgeb provides a theory of truth which is based on a theory of semantic dependence. We argue here that the conceptual thrust of this approach provides us with the best way of dealing with semantic paradoxes in a manner that is acceptable to a classical logician. However, in investigating a problem that was raised at the end of J Philos Logic 34:155–192, 2005, we discover that something is missing from Leitgeb’s original definition. Moreover, we (...) show that once the appropriate repairs have been made, the resultant definition is equivalent to a version of the supervaluation definition suggested in J Philos 72:690–716, 1975 and discussed in detail in J Symb Log 51(3):663–681, 1986. The upshot of this is a philosophical justification for the simple supervaluation approach and fresh insight into its workings. (shrink)
Among other good things, supervaluation is supposed to allow vague sentences to go without truth values. But Jerry Fodor and Ernest Lepore have recently argued that it cannot allow this - not if it also respects certain conceptual truths. The main point I wish to make here is that they are mistaken. Supervaluation can leave truth-value gaps while respecting the conceptual truths they have in mind.
In this paper, we define some consequence relations based on supervaluation semantics for partial models, and we investigate their properties. For our main consequence relation, we show that natural versions of the following fail: upwards and downwards Lowenheim-Skolem, axiomatizability, and compactness. We also consider an alternate version for supervaluation semantics, and show both axiomatizability and compactness for the resulting consequence relation.
Michael Kremer defines fixed-point logics of truth based on Saul Kripke’s fixed point semantics for languages expressing their own truth concepts. Kremer axiomatizes the strong Kleene fixed-point logic of truth and the weak Kleene fixed-point logic of truth, but leaves the axiomatizability question open for the supervaluation fixed-point logic of truth and its variants. We show that the principal supervaluation fixed point logic of truth, when thought of as consequence relation, is highly complex: it is not even analytic. (...) We also consider variants, engendered by a stronger notion of ‘fixed point’, and by variant supervaluation schemes. A ‘logic’ is often thought of, not as a consequence relation, but as a set of sentences – the sentences true on each interpretation. We axiomatize the supervaluation fixed-point logics so conceived. (shrink)
http://dx.doi.org/10.5007/1808-1711.2012v16n2p341 Current supervaluation models of opinion, notably van Fraassen’s (1984; 1989; 1990; 1998; 2005; 2006) use of intervals to characterize vague opinion, capture nuances of ordinary reflection which are overlooked by classic measure theoretic models of subjective probability. However, after briefly explaining van Fraassen’s approach, we present two limitations in his current framework which provide clear empirical reasons for seeking a refinement. Any empirically adequate account of our actual judgments must reckon with the fact that these are typically neither (...) uniform through the range of outcomes we take to be serious possibilities nor abrupt at the edges. (shrink)
It is widely assumed that the methods and results of science have no place among the data to which our semantics of vague predicates must answer. This despite the fact that it is well known that such prototypical vague predicates as ‘is bald’ play a central role in scientific research (e.g. the research that established Rogaine as a treatment for baldness). I argue here that the assumption is false and costly: in particular, I argue one cannot accept either supervaluationist semantics, (...) or the criticism of that semantics offered by Fodor and Lepore, without having to abandon accepted, and unexceptionable, scientific methodology. (shrink)
The logic of singular terms that refer to nothing, such as ‘Santa Claus,’ has been studied extensively under the heading of free logic. The present essay examines expressions whose reference is defective in a different way: they signify more than one entity. The bulk of the effort aims to develop an acceptable formal semantics based upon an intuitive idea introduced informally by Hartry Field and discussed by Joseph Camp; the basic strategy is to use supervaluations. This idea, as it stands, (...) encounters difficulties, but with suitable refinements it can be salvaged. Two other options for a formal semantics of multiply signifying terms are also presented, and I discuss the relative merits of the three semantics briefly. Finally, possible modifications to the standard logical regimentation of the notion of existence are considered. (shrink)
The first section (§1) of this essay defends reliance on truth values against those who, on nominalistic grounds, would uniformly substitute a truth predicate. I rehearse some practical, Carnapian advantages of working with truth values in logic. In the second section (§2), after introducing the key idea of auxiliary parameters (§2.1), I look at several cases in which logics involve, as part of their semantics, an extra auxiliary parameter to which truth is relativized, a parameter that caters to special kinds (...) of sentences. In many cases, this facility is said to produce truth values for sentences that on the face of it seem neither true nor false. Often enough, in this situation appeal is made to the method of supervaluations, which operate by “quantifying out” auxiliary parameters, and thereby produce something like a truth value. Logics of this kind exhibit striking differences. I first consider the role that Tarski gives to supervaluation in first order logic (§2.2), and then, after an interlude that asks whether neither-true-nor-false is itself a truth value (§2.3), I consider sentences with non-denoting terms (§2.4), vague sentences (§2.5), ambiguous sentences (§2.6), paradoxical sentences (§2.7), and future-tensed sentences in indeterministic tense logic (§2.8). I conclude my survey with a look at alethic modal logic considered as a cousin (§2.9), and finish with a few sentences of “advice to supervaluationists” (2.10), advice that is largely negative. The case for supervaluations as a road to truth is strong only when the auxiliary parameter that is “quantified out” is in fact irrelevant to the sentences of interest—as in Tarski’s definition of truth for classical logic. In all other cases, the best policy when reporting the results of supervaluation is to use only explicit phrases such as “settled true” or “determinately true,” never dropping the qualification. (shrink)
Supervaluational accounts of vagueness have come under assault from Timothy Williamson for failing to provide either a sufficiently classical logic or a disquotational notion of truth, and from Crispin Wright and others for incorporating a notion of higher-order vagueness, via the determinacy operator, which leads to contradiction when combined with intuitively appealing ‘gap principles’. We argue that these criticisms of supervaluation theory depend on giving supertruth an unnecessarily central role in that theory as the sole notion of truth, rather (...) than as one mode of truth. Allowing for the co-existence of supertruth and local truth, we define a notion of local entailment in supervaluation theory, and show that the resulting logic is fully classical and allows for the truth of the gap principles. Finally, we argue that both supertruth and local truth are disquotational, when disquotational principles are properly understood. (shrink)
My goal is to defend the indeterminist approach to vagueness, according to which a borderline vague utterance is neither true nor false. Indeterminism appears to contradict bivalence and the disquotational schema for truth. I agree that indeterminism compels us to modify each of these principles. Kit Fine has defended indeterminism by claiming that ordinary ambiguous sentences are neither true nor false when one disambiguation is true and the other is false. But even if Fine is right about sentences, his point (...) does not seem to generalize to utterances. What the indeterminist needs -- and what ordinary ambiguity does not provide -- is an ambiguous utterance where what is being said is indeterminate between two different propositions. I will show that such cases exist. These cases imply that the modifications that indeterminism makes to bivalence and the disquotational schema are required independently of indeterminism, in fact independently of vagueness. (shrink)
I consider two possible sources of vagueness. The first is indeterminacy about which intension is expressed by a word. The second is indeterminacy about which referent (extension) is determined by an intension. Focusing on a Fregean account of intensions, I argue that whichever account is right will matter to whether vagueness turns out to be a representational phenomenon (as opposed to being “in the world”). In addition, it will also matter to whether supervaluationism is a viable semantic framework. Based on (...) these considerations, I end by developing an argument against supervaluational semantics that depends, instead, on anti-Fregean (Millian) assumptions. (shrink)
Thomason (1979/2010)’s argument against competence psychologism in semantics envisages a representation of a subject’s competence as follows: he understands his own language in the sense that he can identify the semantic content of each of its sentences, which requires that the relation between expression and content be recursive. Then if the scientist constructs a theory that is meant to represent the body of the subject’s beliefs, construed as assent to the content of the pertinent sentences, and that theory satisfies certain (...) ‘natural assumptions’, then it implies that the subject is inconsistent if the beliefs include arithmetic. I challenge the result by insisting that the motivation for Thomason’s principle (ii), via Moore’s Paradox, leads to a more complex representation, in which stating the facts and expressing one’s beliefs are treated differently. Certain logical connections among expressions of assent, and between expression and statement, are a matter of consequence on pain of pragmatic incoherence, not consequence on pain of classical logical inconsistency. But while this salvages the possibility that a modification of the above sort of representation could be adequate, Thomason’s devastating conclusion returns if the scientist identifies himself as the subject of that representation, even when paying heed to the requirement of pragmatic coherence of the sort highlighted by Moore’s Paradox. (shrink)
Supervaluationism is often described as the most popular semantic treatment of indeterminacy. There’s little consensus, however, about how to fill out the barebones idea to include a characterization of logical consequence. In a recent paper, Achille Varzi writes: it is pretty clear that there is not just one supervaluational semantics out there–there are lots of such semantics; and although it is true that they all exploit the same insight, their relative differences are by no means immaterial . . . a (...) lot depends on how a given supervaluationally machinery is brought into play when it comes to explaining the logic of the language. (Varzi, forthcoming, p.463) The ‘supervaluational machinery’ to be discussed here is the idea of a supervaluational model defined below. Varzi highlights the fact that that all sorts of properties of sequents that are candidates for the name ‘validity’ can be defined using the resources of supervaluational models. (shrink)
Supervaluational treatments of vagueness are currently quite popular among those who regard vagueness as a thoroughly semantic phenomenon. Peter Unger's 'problem of the many' may be regarded as arising from the vagueness of our ordinary physical-object terms, so it is not surprising that supervaluational solutions to Unger's problem have been offered. I argue that supervaluations do not afford an adequate solution to the problem of the many. Moreover, the considerations I raise against the supervaluational solution tell also against the solution (...) to the problem of the many which is suggested by adherents of the epistemic theory of vagueness. (shrink)
The partial structures approach has two major components: a broad notion of structure (partial structure) and a weak notion of truth (quasi-truth). In this paper, we discuss the relationship between this approach and free logic. We also compare the model-theoretic analysis supplied by partial structures with the method of supervaluations, which was initially introduced as a technique to provide a semantic analysis of free logic. We then combine the three formal frameworks (partial structures, free logic and supervaluations), and apply the (...) resulting approach to accommodate semantic paradoxes. (shrink)
For the sentences of languages that contain operators that express the concepts of definiteness and indefiniteness, there is an unavoidable tension between a truth-theoretic semantics that delivers truth conditions for those sentences that capture their propositional contents and any model-theoretic semantics that has a story to tell about how indetifiniteness in a constituent affects the semantic value of sentences which imbed it. But semantic theories of both kinds play essential roles, so the tension needs to be resolved. I argue that (...) it is the truth theory which correctly characterises the notion of truth, per se. When we take into account the considerations required to bring model theory into harmony with truth theory, those considerations undermine the arguments standardly used to motivate supervaluational model theories designed to validate classical logic. But those considerations also show that celebration would be premature for advocates of the most frequently encountered rival approach - many-valued model theory. (shrink)
When applying supervaluations to the analysis of a theory, one may encounter the following problem: in supervaluational semantics, contingent statements often have existential presuppositions, and these presuppositions may either contradict the theory or make the application of supervaluations pointless. The most natural way of handling this problem consists in revising the semantics each time a specific theory is considered, and in making the status of the axioms of the theory technically indistinguishable from that of logical truths. Philosophically, this position has (...) important implications: one must either give up any absolute distinction between logical and non-logical truths or allow for a third class of truths besides analytic and factual ones. (shrink)
The mass/count distinction attracts a lot of attention among cognitive scientists, possibly because it involves in fundamental ways the relation between language (i.e. grammar), thought (i.e. extralinguistic conceptual systems) and reality (i.e. the physical world). In the present paper, I explore the view that the mass/count distinction is a matter of vagueness. While every noun/concept may in a sense be vague, mass nouns/concepts are vague in a way that systematically impairs their use in counting. This idea has never been systematically (...) pursued, to the best of my knowledge. I make it precise relying on supervaluations (more specifically, ‘data semantics’) to model it. I identify a number of universals pertaining to how the mass/count contrast is encoded in the languages of the world, along with some of the major dimensions along which languages may vary on this score. I argue that the vagueness based model developed here provides a useful perspective on both. The outcome (besides shedding light on semantic variation) seems to suggest that vagueness is not just an interface phenomenon that arises in the interaction of Universal Grammar (UG) with the Conceptual/Intentional System (to adopt Chomsky’s terminology), but it is actually part of the architecture of UG. (shrink)
In this paper I criticize a version of supervaluation semantics. This version is called "Region-Valuation" semantics. It's developed by Pablo Cobreros. I argue that all supervaluationists, regionalists in particular, and truth-value gap theorists of vagueness more generally, are commited to the validity of D-intro, the principle that every sentence entails its definitization (the truth of "Paul is tall" guarantees the truth of "Paul is definitely tall"). The principle embroils one in a paradox that's distinct from, but related to, the (...) sorites paradox. I call it the "gap-principles paradox". -/- . (shrink)
Since its first appearance in 1966, the notion of a supervaluation has been regarded by many as a powerful tool for dealing with semantic gaps. Only recently, however, applications to semantic gluts have also been considered. In previous work I proposed a general framework exploiting the intrinsic gap/glut duality. Here I also examine an alternative account where gaps and gluts are treated on a par: although they reflect opposite situations, the semantic upshot is the same in both cases--the value (...) of some expressions is not uniquely defined. Other strategies for generalizing supervaluations are considered and some comparative facts are discussed. (shrink)
I consider two related objections to the claim that the law of excluded middle does not imply bivalence. One objection claims that the truth predicate captured by supervaluation semantics is not properly motivated. The second objection says that even if it is, LEM still implies bivalence. I show that LEM does not imply bivalence in a supervaluational language. I also argue that considering supertruth as truth can be reasonably motivated.
The paper consists of two parts. The first part begins with the problem of whether the original three-valued calculus, invented by J. Łukasiewicz, really conforms to his philosophical and semantic intuitions. I claim that one of the basic semantic assumptions underlying Łukasiewicz's three-valued logic should be that if under any possible circumstances a sentence of the form "X will be the case at time t" is true (resp. false) at time t, then this sentence must be already true (resp. false) (...) at present. However, it is easy to see that this principle is violated in Lukasiewicz's original calculus (as the cases of the law of excluded middle and the law of contradiction show). Nevertheless it is possible to construct (either with the help of the notion of "supervaluation", or purely algebraically) a different three-valued, semi-classical sentential calculus, which would properly incorporate Łukasiewicz's initial intuitions. Algebraically, this calculus has the ordinary Boolean structure, and therefore it retains all classically valid formulas. Yet because possible valuations are no longer represented by ultrafilters, but by filters (not necessarily maximal), the new calculus displays certain non-classical metalogical features (like, for example, nonextensionality and the lack of the metalogical rule enabling one to derive "p is true or q is true" from" 'p ∨ q' is true"). The second part analyses whether the proposed calculus could be useful in formalizing inferences in situations, when for some reason (epistemological or ontological) our knowledge of certain facts is subject to limitation. Special attention should be paid to the possibility of employing this calculus to the case of quantum mechanics. I am going to compare it with standard non-Boolean quantum logic (in the Jauch-Piron approach), and to show that certain shortcomings of the latter can be avoided in the former. For example, I will argue that in order to properly account for quantum features of microphysics, we do not need to drop the law of distributivity. Also the idea of "reading off" the logical structure of propositions from the structure of Hilbert space leads to some conceptual troubles, which I am going to point out. The thesis of the paper is that all we need to speak about quantum reality can be acquired by dropping the principle of bivalence and extensionality, while accepting all classically valid formulas. (shrink)
I provide an intuitive, semantic account of a new logic forcomparisons (CL), in which atomic statements are assigned both aclassical truth-value and a ``how much'''' value or extension in the range [0, 1]. The truth-value of each comparison is determinedby the extensions of its component sentences; the truth-value ofeach atomic depends on whether its extension matches a separatestandard for its predicate; everything else is computed classically. CL is less radical than Casari''s comparative logics, in that it does not allow for (...) the formation of comparative statements out of truth-functional molecules. I argue that CL provides a betteranalysis of comparisons and predicate vagueness than classicallogic, fuzzy logic or supervaluation theory. CL provides a modelfor descriptions of the world in terms of comparisons only. Thesorites paradox can be solved by the elimination of atomic sentences. (shrink)
One of the few points of agreement to be found in mainstream responses to the logical and semantic problems generated by vagueness is the view that if any modification of classical logic and semantics is required at all then it will only be such as to admit underdetermined reference and truth-value gaps. Logics of vagueness including many valued logics, fuzzy logics, and supervaluation logics all provide responses in accord with this view. The thought that an adequate response might require (...) the recognition of cases of overdetermination and truth value gluts has few supporters. This imbalance lacks justification. As it happens, Jaskowski's paraconsistent discussive logic-a logic which admits truth value gluts-can be defended by reflecting on similarities between it and the popular supervaluationist analysis of vagueness already in the philosophical literature. A simple dualisation of supervaluation semantics results in a paraconsistent logic of vagueness based on what has been termed subvaluational semantics. (shrink)
This is a long paper with a long title, but its moral is succinct. There are supposed to be two, closely related, philosophical problems about sentences1 with truth value gaps: If a sentence can't be semantically evaluated, how can it mean anything at all? and How can classical logic be preserved for a language which contains such sentences? We are neutral on whether either of these supposed problems is real. But we claim that, if either is, supervaluation won't solve (...) it. (shrink)
We present a theory VF of partial truth over Peano arithmetic and we prove that VF and ID 1 have the same arithmetical content. The semantics of VF is inspired by van Fraassen's notion of supervaluation.
We consider various concepts associated with the revision theory of truth of Gupta and Belnap. We categorize the notions definable using their theory of circular definitions as those notions universally definable over the next stable set. We give a simplified (in terms of definitional complexity) account of varied revision sequences-as a generalised algorithmic theory of truth. This enables something of a unification with the Kripkean theory of truth using supervaluation schemes.
Ted Sider’s Proportionality of Justice condition requires that any two moral agents instantiating nearly the same moral state be treated in nearly the same way. I provide a countermodel in supervaluation semantics to the proportionality of justice condition. It is possible that moral agents S and S' are in nearly the same moral state, S' is beyond all redemption and S is not. It is consistent with perfect justice then that moral agents that are not beyond redemption go determinately (...) to heaven and moral agents that are beyond all redemption go determinately to hell. I conclude that moral agents that are in nearly the same moral state may be treated in very unequal ways. (shrink)
In this paper it is argued that herzberger's general theory of presupposition may be successfully applied to category mistakes. The study offers an alternative to thomason's supervaluation treatment of sortal presupposition and as an indirect measure of the relative merits of the two-Dimensional theory to supervaluations. Bivalent, Three-Valued matrix, And supervaluation accounts are compared to the two-Dimensional theory according to three criteria: (1) abstraction from linguistic behavior, (2) conformity of technical to preanalytic distinctions, And (3) ability to capture (...) classical logic. A matrix like characterization of thomason's theory is reported. (shrink)
We give a survey on truth theories for applicative theories. It comprises Frege structures, universes for Frege structures, and a theory of supervaluation. We present the proof-theoretic results for these theories and show their syntactical expressive power. In particular, we present as a novelty a syntactical interpretation of ID1 in a applicative truth theory based on supervaluation.
As it is well known, Jan Lukasiewicz invented his three-valued logic as a result of philosophical considerations concerning the problem of determinism and the status of future contingent sentences. In the article I critically analyse the thesis that the sentential calculus introduced by Lukasiewicz himself actually fulfills his philosophical assumptions. I point out that there are some counterintuitive features of Lukasiewicz three-valued logic. Firstly, there is no clear explanation for adopting specific truth-tables for logical connectives, such as conjunction, disjunction and (...) first of all implication. Secondly, it is by no means clear, why certain classical logical principles should be invalid for future contingents. And thirly, I show that within Lukasiewicz logic it is possible to construct a „paradoxical” sentence, namely a conditional which changes in time its logical value from truth to falsity. This fact obviously contradicts Lukasiewicz's philosophical reading of his three truth values, according to which true sentences are already positively determined, false sentences are negatively determined, and possible sentences are neither positively, nor negatively determined. Above-mentioned facts justify in my opinion the thesis that Lukasiewicz's three-valued logic does not satisfy his philosophical intuitions. For this purpose more appropriate seems to be sentential calculus based on the so-called supervaluation. It is three-valued, non-extentional calculus, which nevertheless preserves all tautologies of the classical logic. At the end of the article I consider the possibility of introducing to this calculus modal operators. (shrink)
Este artículo se centra en un argumento presentado por Fara (2010) en contra del supervaluacionismo en el contexto de la vaguedad. Muestro cómo dicho argumento es igualmente aplicable al supervaluacionismo de tiempo ramificado (presentado por primera vez por Thomason 1970), pero no a la semántica 'STRL' de Malpass y Wawer (2012), que está estrechamente relacionada.
Supervaluation is a method which has been invented to deal with the reference failure. In his 1975 paper K. Fine suggested that it might be applied to the analysis of the phenomenon of vagueness as well. The paper tries to assess the pros and cons of the supervaluation theory of vagueness. Supervaluation provides us with the means for analysing vagueness without eliminating it from the language, and allows to solve the main paradox connected with vagueness; i.e. the (...) sorities paradox. The preservation of classical logic was thought to be one of its main virtues. The solution to sorities which supervaluationism proposes is a very counterintuitive one, however. Moreover, it seems that it does not preserve classical logic after all. Besides, the theory of supervaluation is not able to handle the higher-order vagueness. Nevertheless it remains one of most attractive semantic theories of vagueness available. In conection with the objections raised against supervaluationism arises the problem concerning the interpretation of the meaning of the supervaluationism's key notion, namely the notion of supertruth. The paper offers one such interpretation. (shrink)
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