Resolution of Frege's Puzzle by denying that synonym substitution in logical truths preserves sentence sense and explaining how logical form has semantic import. Intensional context substitutions needn't preserve truth, because intercepting doesn't preserve sentence meaning. Intercepting is nonuniformly substituting a pivotal term in syntactically secured truth. Logical sentences (GG: Greeks are Greeks; gg: Greece is Greece) and their synonym interceptions (GH: Greeks are Hellenes; gh: Greece is Hellas) share factual content (extrasentential reality asserted). Semantic (cognitive) content is (identifiable with) factual (...) content in synthetic predications, but not logical sentences and interceptions. Putnam's Postulate (Logical form has semantic import) entails interception nonsynonymy. Syntax and vocabulary explain only the factual content of synthetic predications; extrasentential reality explains their truth. Construction of logical factual content explains logical necessity. Terms retain objectual reference, but logical syntax preempts their function (and thereby function of extrasentential reality) in explaining truth. Grasping the facts GG/gg assert entails understanding this. Understanding what GH states requires some recognition that GH must be true just because GmH ("Greeks" means Hellenes), and GmH ("Greeks" means what "Hellenes" means) state an empirical fact. GH (but not GG) is standardly used to express that fact. Church's <span class='Hi'>Test</span> exposes puzzles. QMi sentences ("Ex" means Ex), and QTi sentences (p≡it is true p≡"p" is true) are metalogical necessities, true by syntax. Intercepting QMi creates empirical QM contingencies ("Ex" means Ey). Synonymy turns semantic contingencies (GmH/GmH) into metalogical (GmG/GmG) and lexical (GH) necessities. That transformation is syntactic, via the syntactic duality of definite descriptions. GmH is a contingent copredication, and a lexically necessary referential identity with rigidly codesignating indexicals. Metalogical sentences may be about expressional matter or what it expresses (meaning, proposition). GG (Griechen sind Griechen) has GG's semantic content, but the referent expression switches. Metalogical syntax secures truth by self-referential quotational indexing. Metalogically, referents are identified with intrasentential replica. Extrasentential identifications are metalogically irrelevant. (shrink)
This paper advances a detailed exploration of the complex relationships among terms, concepts, and synonymy in the UMLS Metathesaurus, and proposes the study and understanding of the Metathesaurus from a model-theoretic perspective. Initial sections provide the background and motivation for such an approach, and a careful informal treatment of these notions is offered as a context and basis for the formal analysis. What emerges from this is a set of puzzles and confusions in the Metathesaurus and its literature pertaining (...) to synonymy and its relation to terms and concepts. A model theory for a segment of the Metathesaurus is then constructed, and its adequacy relative to the informal treatment is demonstrated. Finally, it is shown how this approach clarifies and addresses the puzzles educed from the informal discussion, and how the model-theoretic perspective may be employed to evaluate some fundamental criticisms of the Metathesaurus. (shrink)
W. V. O. Quine's well-known attack upon the analytic-synthetic distinction is held to affect only one of the two species of analytic statements he distinguishes. In particular it is not directed at and does not affect the so-called logical truths. In this paper the scope of Quine's attack is extended so as to embrace the logical truths as well. It is shown that the unclarifiability of the notion of 'synonymy' deprives us not only of "analytic statements that are obtainable (...) from logical truths by the replacement of synonyms with synonyms" but of "logical truths" themselves. (shrink)
On what seems to be the best interpretation, what Quine calls 'the problem of synonymy' in Two Dogmas is the problem of approximating the extension of our pretheoretic concept of synonymy by clear and respectable means. Quine thereby identified a problem which he himself did not think had any solution, and so far he has not been proven wrong. Some difficulties for providing a solution are discussed in this paper.
The very idea of informative analysis gives rise to a well-known paradox. Yet a parallel puzzle, herein called the paradox of synonymy, arises for statements which do not express analyses. The paradox of synonymy has a straightforward metalinguistic solution: certain words are referring to themselves. Likewise, the paradox of analysis can be solved by recognizing that certain expressions in an analysis statement are referring to their own semantic structures.
(in Chomsky and His Critics, edited [heroically] by Louise Antony and Norbert Hornstein, Blackwell 2003) You may need to “Rotate View, Clockwise” to get the .pdf file to appear properly. This paper was written in 1998, and so may be past its use-by date. Updated versions of various bits of the paper appear elsewhere; see note 1. More Truth in Advertising: I’m not criticizing Chomsky; though I am being critical, and Chomsky does figure prominently. The idea, as the subtitle suggests, (...) is that there are analytic truths–even if the notion of synonymy is suspect. The trick involves (can you guess?) combining, in the right way, a neo-Davidsonian event semantics with a Minimalist syntax. Blatant Advertising: get hold of the entire book if only for Chomsky’s replies; for anyone interested Chomsky’s conception of meaning (and his semantic internalism), see especially his replies to Egan, Rey, Ludlow, Horwich, and Pietroski. (shrink)
The main purpose of this paper is to propose and defend anew definition of synonymy. Roughly (and slightly misleadingly), theidea is that two expressions are synonymous iff intersubstitutions insentences preserve the degree of doxastic revisability. In Section 1 Iargue that Quine''s attacks on analyticity leave room for such adefinition. The definition is presented in Section 2, and Section 3elaborates on the concept of revisability. The definition is defendedin Sections 4 and 5. It is, inter alia, shown that the definition (...) hasdesired formal properties. In Sections 6 and 7 I briefly comment on,first, the relation of the definition to Quine''s later ideas about (stimulus)synonymy, and, second, its relation to a general, interlinguistic, conceptof meaning. (shrink)
In this paper I provide some formal schemas for the analysis of vague predicates in terms of a set of semantic relations other than classical synonymy, including weak synonymy (as between "large" and "huge"), antonymy (as between "large" and "small"), relativity (as between "large" and "large for a dog"), and a kind of supervenience (as between "large" and "wide" or "long"). All of these relations are representable in the simple comparative logic CL, in accordance with the basic formula: (...) the more something is F, the more (or less) it is G. I use Carnapian meaning postulates to define these relations as constraints on interpretations of the formal language of CL. (shrink)
A textual and philosophical study of the claim that according to ockham there is no synonymy or equivocation in mental language. It is argued that ockham is committed to both claims, Either explicitly or in virtue of other features of his doctrine. Nevertheless, Both claims lead to difficulties for ockham's theory.
In "The Epistemology of Geometry" Glymour proposed a necessary structural condition for the synonymy of two space-time theories. David Zaret has recently challenged this proposal, by arguing that Newtonian gravitational theory with a flat, non-dynamic connection (FNGT) is intuitively synonymous with versions of the theory using a curved dynamical connection (CNGT), even though these two theories fail to satisfy Glymour's proposed necessary condition for synonymy. Zaret allowed that if FNGT and CNGT were not equally well (bootstrap) tested by (...) the relevant phenomena, the two theories would in fact not be synonymous. He argued, however, that when electrodynamic phenomena are considered, the two theories are equally well tested. We show that it is not FNGT and CNGT which are equally well tested when the electrodynamic phenomena are considered, but only suitable extensions of FNGT and CNGT. Thus, there is good reason to consider FNGT and CNGT to be non-synonymous. We further show that the two extensions of FNGT and CNGT which are equally well tested when electrodynamic phenomena are considered (and which could be considered intuitively synonymous) not only satisfy Glymour's original proposed necessary condition for the synonymy of space-time theories, they satisfy a plausible stronger condition as well. (shrink)
In this note two notions of meaning are considered and accordingly two versions of synonymy are defined, weaker and stronger ones. A new semantic device is introduced: a matrix is said to be pragmatic iff its algebra is in fact an algebra of meanings in the stronger sense. The new semantics is proved to be universal enough (Theorem 1), and it turns out to be in some sense a generalization of Wójcicki's referential semantics (Theorem 3).
Two declarative sentences are synonymous if, and only if, the statements they can be used to make are. given certain assumptions about the truth or falsity of other statements, confirmed or disconfirmed to the same degree by the same evidence. This criterion of synonymy is Quinean in that it treats confirmation holistically. But unlike Quine's criterion of synonymy, it conforms to and explains our intuitions of sentence synonymy.
This book explores how some word meanings are paradigmatically related to each other, for example, as opposites or synonyms, and how they relate to the mental organization of our vocabularies. Traditional approaches claim that such relationships are part of our lexical knowledge (our "dictionary" of mentally stored words) but Lynne Murphy argues that lexical relationships actually constitute our "metalinguistic" knowledge. The book draws on a century of previous research, including word association experiments, child language, and the use of synonyms and (...) antonyms in text. (shrink)
Quine claims that holism (i.e., the Quine-Duhem thesis) prevents us from defining synonymy and analyticity (section 2). In Word and Object, he dismisses a notion of synonymy which works well even if holism is true. The notion goes back to a proposal from Grice and Strawson and runs thus: R and S are synonymous iff for all sentences T we have that the logical conjunction of R and T is stimulus-synonymous to that of S and T. Whereas Grice (...) and Strawson did not attempt to defend this definition, I try to show that it indeed gives us a satisfactory account of synonymy. Contrary to Quine, the notion is tighter than stimulus-synonymy – particularly when applied to sentences with less than critical semantic mass (section 3). Now according to Quine, analyticity could be defined in terms of synonymy, if synonymy were to make sense: A sentence is analytic iff synonymous to self-conditionals. This leads us to the following notion of analyticity: S is analytic iff, for all sentences T, the logical conjunction of S and T is stimulus-synonymous to T; an analytic sentence does not change the semantic mass of any theory to which it may be conjoined (section 4). This notion is tighter than Quine's stimulus-analyticity; unlike stimulus-analyticity, it does not apply to those sentences from the very center of our theories which can be assented to come what may, even though they are not synthetic in the intuitive sense (section 5). Conclusion: We can have well-defined notions of synonymy and analyticity even if we embrace Quine's holism, naturalism, behaviorism, and radical translation. Quine's meaning skepticism is to be repudiated on Quinean grounds. (shrink)
Analyticity is a bogus explanatory concept, and is so even granting genuine synonomy. Definitions can't explain the truth of a statement, let alone its necessity and/or our a priori knowledge of it. The illusion of an explanation is revealed by exposing diverse confusions: e.g., between nominal, conceptual and real definitions, and correspondingly between notational, conceptual, and objectual readings of alleged analytic truths, and between speaking a language and operating a calculus. The putative explananda of analyticity are (alleged) truths about essential (...) properties. Real definitions (a la Socrates) are the (alleged) explananda, not the explanans of analyticity. Their truth can be explained neither by conceptual definitions (a la Kant), nor by nominal definitions (a la Frege). The Quinean assault on synonomy is unsuccessful and in any case misplaced, because analyticity turns on the explanatory import of synonomy, not its existence. Synonym substitution in a logical truth cannot yield a necessary truth for it doesn't preserve logical form. Self-identity statements (for properties and/or individuals) differ in logical form from alter-identity statements. (shrink)
William of Ockham's semantic theory was founded on the idea that thought takes place in a language not unlike the languages in which spoken and written communication occur. This mental language was held to have a number of features in common with everyday languages. For example, mental language has simple terms, not unlike words, out of which complex expressions can be constructed. As with words, each of these terms has some meaning, or signification; in fact Ockham held that the signification (...) of everyday words derives precisely from the signification of mental terms. Furthermore, the meaning of a mental expression depends directly on the meaning of its constituent terms, as is the case with expressions in more familiar languages. (shrink)
If logical truth is necessitated by sheer syntax, mathematics is categorially unlike logic even if all mathematics derives from definitions and logical principles. This contrast gets obscured by the plausibility of the Synonym Substitution Principle implicit in conceptions of analyticity: synonym substitution cannot alter sentence sense. The Principle obviously fails with intercepting: nonuniform term substitution in logical sentences. 'Televisions are televisions' and 'TVs are televisions' neither sound alike nor are used interchangeably. Interception synonymy gets assumed because logical sentences and (...) their synomic interceptions have identical factual content, which seems to exhaust semantic content. However, intercepting alters syntax by eliminating term recurrence, the sole strictly syntactic means of ensuring necessary term coextension, and thereby syntactically securing necessary truth. Interceptional necessity is lexical, a notational artifact. The denial of interception nonsynonymy and the disregard of term recurrence in logic link with many misconceptions about propositions, logical form, conventions, and metalanguages. Mathematics is distinct from logic: its truth is not syntactic; it is transmitted by synonym substitution; term recurrence has no essential role. The '=' of mathematics is an objectual relation between numbers; the '=' of logic marks a syntactic relation of coreferring terms. (shrink)
In this paper it is shown how a formal theory of interpretation in Montague’s style can be reconciled with a view on meaning as a social construct. We sketch a formal theory in which agents can have their own theory of interpretation and in which groups can have common theories of interpretation. Frege solved the problem how different persons can have access to the same proposition by placing the proposition in a Platonic realm, independent from all language users but accessible (...) to all of them. Here we explore the alternative of letting meaning be socially constructed. The meaning of a sentence is accessible to each member of a linguistic community because the way the sentence is to be interpreted is common knowledge among the members of that community. Misunderstandings can arise when the semantic knowledge of two or more individuals is not completely in sync. (shrink)
This paper introduces the notion of syntactic feature to provide a unified treatment of earlier model theoretic proofs of both the compactness and interpolation theorems for a variety of two valued logics including sentential logic, first order logic, and a family of modal sentential logic includingM,B,S 4 andS 5. The compactness papers focused on providing a proof of the consequence formulation which exhibited the appropriate finite subset. A unified presentation of these proofs is given by isolating their essential feature and (...) presenting it as an abstract principle about syntactic features. The interpolation papers focused on exhibiting the interpolant. A unified presentation of these proofs is given by isolating their essential feature and presenting it as a second abstract principle about syntactic features. This second principle reduces the problem of exhibiting the interpolant to that of establishing the existence of a family of syntactic features satisfying certain conditions. The existence of such features is established for a variety of logics (including those mentioned above) by purely combinatorial arguments. (shrink)