The idea that temporalpropositions are vague predicates is examined with attention to the nature of the objects over which the predicates range. These objects should not, it is argued, be identified once and for all with points or intervals in the real line (or any fixed linear order). Context has an important role to play not only in sidestepping the Sorites paradox (Gaifman 2002) but also in shaping temporal moments/extent (Landman 1991). The Russell-Wiener construction of time (...) from events (Kamp 1979) is related to a notion of context given by a string of observations, the vagueness in which is brought out by grounding the observations in the real line. With this notion of context, the context dependency functions in Gaifman 2002 are adapted to interpret temporalpropositions. (shrink)
Relations computed by ﬁnite-state transducers are applied to interpret temporalpropositions in terms of strings representing ﬁnite contexts or situations. Carnap–Montague intensions mapping indices to extensions are reformulated as relations between strings that can serve as indices and extensions alike. Strings are related according to information content, temporal span and granularity, the bounds on which reﬂect the partiality of natural language statements. That partiality shapes not only strings-as-extensions (indicating what statements are about) but also strings-as-indices (underlying truth (...) conditions). (shrink)
Temporalpropositions are mapped to sets of strings that witness (in a precise sense) the propositions over discrete linear Kripke frames. The strings are collected into regular languages to ensure the decidability of entailments given by inclusions between languages. (Various notions of bounded entailment are shown to be expressible as language inclusions.) The languages unwind computations implicit in the logical (and temporal) connectives via a system of finite-state constraints adapted from finite-state morphology. Applications to Hybrid Logic (...) and non-monotonic inertial reasoning are briefly considered. (shrink)
This paper is in three sections. In the first I describe and illustrate three uses of indices of truth in semantics. The way I illustrate this classification is not completely uncontroversial, but I expect that my intuitions on this matter are generally shared. In the second section I broach a question which is central to the metaphysics of time, namely: how should certain temporal indices of truth - times - be fitted within this classificatory scheme? I sketch three proposals (...) as to how this might be done, and show how they constitute different metaphysical conceptions of the nature of time. Finally, in the third section I turn to a specific problem with the classification of times (as indices of truth) I call 'non-indexical'. Mellor (1981) thinks this problem insoluble, and argues that it shows this classification to be absurd. However, by appealing to the modal analogues of the issues involved, I first show that Mellor's argument is question- begging, and then go on to show how the non-indexical classification of times might undermine the presuppositions on which his argument rests. The paper attempts to contribute to a discussion of the question raised in section II, not to provide a definitive answer to it. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: Part 1 discusses the Stoic notion of propositions (assertibles, axiomata): their definition; their truth-criteria; the relation between sentence and proposition; propositions that perish; propositions that change their truth-value; the temporal dependency of propositions; the temporal dependency of the Stoic notion of truth; pseudo-dates in propositions. Part 2 discusses Stoic modal logic: the Stoic definitions of their modal notions (possibility, impossibility, necessity, non-necessity); the logical relations between the modalities; modalities as properties of (...) class='Hi'>propositions; contingent propositions; the relation between the Stoic modal notions and those of Diodorus Cronus and Philo of Megara; the role of ‘external hindrances’ for the modalities; the temporal dependency of the modalities; propositions that change their modalities; the principle that something possible can follow from something impossible; the interpretations of the Stoic modal system by B. Mates, M. Kneale, M. Frede, J. Vuillemin and M. Mignucci are evaluated. -/- For a much shorter English version of Part 1 of the book see my ‘Stoic Logic’, in K. Algra et al. (eds), The Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy, Cambridge 1999, 92-157. For a shorter, updated, English version of Part 2 of the book see my 'Chrysippus' Modal Logic and its Relation to Philo and Diodorus', in K. Doering / Th. Ebert (eds) Dialektiker und Stoiker (Stuttgart 1993) 63-84. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: A detailed presentation of Stoic logic, part one, including their theories of propositions (or assertibles, Greek: axiomata), demonstratives, temporal truth, simple propositions, non-simple propositions(conjunction, disjunction, conditional), quantified propositions, logical truths, modal logic, and general theory of arguments (including definition, validity, soundness, classification of invalid arguments).
ABSTRACT: An introduction to Stoic logic. Stoic logic can in many respects be regarded as a fore-runner of modern propositional logic. I discuss: 1. the Stoic notion of sayables or meanings (lekta); the Stoic assertibles (axiomata) and their similarities and differences to modern propositions; the time-dependency of their truth; 2.-3. assertibles with demonstratives and quantified assertibles and their truth-conditions; truth-functionality of negations and conjunctions; non-truth-functionality of disjunctions and conditionals; language regimentation and ‘bracketing’ devices; Stoic basic principles of propositional logic; (...) 4. Stoic modal logic; 5. Stoic theory of arguments: two premisses requirement; validity and soundness; 6. Stoic syllogistic or theory of formally valid arguments: a reconstruction of the Stoic deductive system, which consisted of accounts of five types of indemonstrable syllogisms, which function as nullary argumental rules that identify indemonstrables or axioms of the system, and four deductive rules (themata) by which certain complex arguments can be reduced to indemonstrables and thus shown to be formally valid themselves; 7. arguments that were considered as non-syllogistically valid (subsyllogistic and unmethodically concluding arguments). Their validity was explained by recourse to formally valid arguments. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: The modal systems of the Stoic logician Chrysippus and the two Hellenistic logicians Philo and Diodorus Cronus have survived in a fragmentary state in several sources. From these it is clear that Chrysippus was acquainted with Philo’s and Diodorus’ modal notions, and also that he developed his own in contrast of Diodorus’ and in some way incorporated Philo’s. The goal of this paper is to reconstruct the three modal systems, including their modal definitions and modal theorems, and to make (...) clear the exact relations between them; moreover, to elucidate the philosophical reasons that may have led Chrysippus to modify his predessors’ modal concept in the way he did. It becomes apparent that Chrysippus skillfully combined Philo’s and Diodorus’ modal notions, with making only a minimal change to Diodorus’ concept of possibility; and that he thus obtained a modal system of modalities (logical and physical) which fit perfectly fit into Stoic philosophy. (shrink)
This paper presents a formal account of how to determine the discourse relations between propositions introduced in a text, and the relations between the events they describe. The distinct natural interpretations of texts with similar syntax are explained in terms of defeasible rules. These characterise the effects of causal knowledge and knowledge of language use on interpretation. Patterns of defeasible entailment that are supported by the logic in which the theory is expressed are shown to underly temporal interpretation.
Future Logic is an original and wide-ranging treatise of formal logic. It deals with deduction and induction, of categorical and conditional propositions, involving the natural, temporal, extensional, and logical modalities. This is the first work ever to strictly formalize the inductive processes of generalization and particularization, through the novel methods of factorial analysis, factor selection and formula revision. This is the first work ever to develop a formal logic of the natural, temporal and extensional types of conditioning (...) (as distinct from logical conditioning), including their production from modal categorical premises. (shrink)
The essay develops two major arguments. First, if John Buridan's 'first argument' for the reintroduction of natural supposition is only that the "eternal truth" of a scientific proposition is preserved because subject terms in scientific propositions supposit for all the term's past, present, and future significata indifferently; then Albert of Saxony thinks it is simply ineffective. Only the 'second argument', i.e. the argument for the existence of an 'atemporal copula', adequately performs this task; but is rejected by Albert. Second, (...) later fourteenth-century criticisms of Buridan's natural supposition, given in certain Notabilia from the anonymous author in, Paris, BnF, lat. 14.716, ff. 40va-41rb, are nothing but an interpolated hodge-podge of criticisms given earlier in the century against various views of Buridan's by Albert of Saxony. It is this fact that makes Albert the real source of late fourteenth-century criticisms of Buridan's view of natural supposition. (shrink)
Philosophers often talk about the things we say, or believe, or think, or mean. The things are often called ‘propositions’. A proposition is what one believes, or thinks, or means when one believes, thinks, or means something. Talk about propositions is ubiquitous when philosophers turn their gaze to language, meaning and thought. But what are propositions? Is there a single class of things that serve as the objects of belief, the bearers of truth, and the meanings of (...) utterances? How do our utterances express propositions? Under what conditions do two speakers say the same thing, and what (if anything) does this tell us about the nature of propositions? There is no consensus on these questions—or even on whether propositions should be treated as things at all. During the second Propositions and Same-Saying workshop, which took place on July 19–21 2010 at the University of Sydney, philosophers debated these (and related) questions. The workshop covered topics in the philosophy of language, perception, and metaphysics. The present volume contains revised and expanded versions of the papers presented at the workshop. (shrink)
It is argued that propositions cannot be the compositional semantic values of sentences (in context) simply due to issues stemming from the compositional semantics of modal operators (or modal quantifiers). In particular, the fact that the arguments for double indexing generalize to multiple indexing exposes a fundamental tension in the default philosophical conception of semantic theory. This provides further motivation for making a distinction between two sentential semantic contents—what (Dummett 1973) called “ingredient sense” and “assertoric content”.
In Bertrand Russell’s The Principles of Mathematics and related works, the notion of a proposition plays an important role; it is by analyzing propositions, showing what kinds of constituents they have, that Russell arrives at his core logical concepts. At this time, his conception of proposition contains both a conventional and an unconventional part. The former is the view that propositions are the ultimate truth-bearers; the latter is the view that the constituents of propositions are “worldly” entities. (...) In the latter respect, Russellian propositions are akin to states-of-affairs on some robust understanding of these entities. The idea of Russellian propositions is well known, at least in outline. Not so well known is his treatment of truth, which nevertheless grows directly out of this notion of proposition. For the early Russell, the import of truth is primarily metaphysical, rather than semantic; reversing the usual direction of explanation, he holds that truth is explanatory of what is the case rather than vice versa. That is, what properties a thing has and what relations it bears to other things is determined, metaphysically speaking, by there being a suitable array of true and false propositions. In the present paper, this doctrine is examined for its content and motivation. To show that it plays a genuine role in Russell’s early metaphysics and logic, I examine its consequences for (1) the possibility of truth-definitions and (2) the problem of the unity of the proposition. I shall draw a few somewhat tentative conclusions about where Russell stood vis-à-vis his metaphysics of propositions, suggesting a possible source of dissatisfaction that may have played a role in his eventual rejection of his early notion of proposition. (shrink)
Temporal externalism (TE) is the thesis (defended by Jackman (1999)) that the contents of some of an individual’s thoughts and utterances at time t may be determined by linguistic developments subsequent to t. TE has received little discussion so far, Brown 2000 and Stoneham 2002 being exceptions. I defend TE by arguing that it solves several related problems concerning the extension of natural kind terms in scientifically ignorant communities. Gary Ebbs (2000) argues that no theory can reconcile our ordinary, (...) practical judgments of sameness of extension over time with the claim that linguistic usage determines word extensions. I argue that Ebbs shows at most that no theory other than TE can effect this reconciliation. Furthermore, while Ebbs’ argument undermines Jessica Brown’s solutions to two closely related problems about natural kind term extensions (Brown 1998), TE can solve both problems without difficulty. Some criticisms of TE are briefly addressed as well. (shrink)
In response to a recent challenge that the New B-theory of Time argues invalidly from the claim that tensed sentences have tenseless truth conditions to the conclusion that temporal reality is tenseless, I argue that while early B-theorists may have relied on some such inference, New B-theorists do not. Giving tenseless truth conditions for tensed sentences is not intended to prove that temporal reality is tenseless. Rather, it is intended to undermine the A-theorist’s move from claims about the (...) irreducibility of tensed language to the conclusion that temporal reality must be tensed. I then examine how A-theorists have used facts about language in attempting to establish their conclusions about the nature of temporal reality. I take the recent work of William Lane Craig and argue that he implicitly and illicitly moves from facts about temporal language to his conclusion that temporal reality is tensed. (shrink)
Ignoring the temporal dimension, an object such as a railway tunnel or a human body is a three-dimensional whole composed of three-dimensional parts. The four-dimensionalist holds that a physical object exhibiting identity across time—Descartes, for example—is a four-dimensional whole composed of 'briefer' four-dimensional objects, its temporal parts. Peter van Inwagen (1990) has argued that four-dimensionalism cannot be sustained, or at best can be sustained only by a counterpart theorist. We argue that different schemes of individuation of temporal (...) parts are available, which undermines van Inwagen's argument. (shrink)
Concepts of space and time are widely developed in physics. However, there is a considerable lack of biologically plausible theoretical frameworks that can demonstrate how space and time dimensions are implemented in the activity of the most complex life-system – the brain with a mind. Brain activity is organized both temporally and spatially, thus representing space-time in the brain. Critical analysis of recent research on the space-time organization of the brain’s activity pointed to the existence of so-called operational space-time in (...) the brain. This space-time is limited to the execution of brain operations of differing complexity. During each such brain operation a particular short-term spatio-temporal pattern of integrated activity of different brain areas emerges within related operational space-time. At the same time, to have a fully functional human brain one needs to have a subjective mental experience. Current research on the subjective mental experience offers detailed analysis of space-time organization of the mind. According to this research, subjective mental experience (subjective virtual world) has definitive spatial and temporal properties similar to many physical phenomena. Based on systematic review of the propositions and tenets of brain and mind space-time descriptions, our aim in this review essay is to explore the relations between the two. To be precise, we would like to discuss the hypothesis that via the brain operational space-time the mind subjective space-time is connected to otherwise distant physical space-time reality. (shrink)
According to many actualists, propositions, singular propositions in particular, are structurally complex, that is, roughly, (i) they have, in some sense, an internal structure that corresponds rather directly to the syntactic structure of the sentences that express them, and (ii) the metaphysical components, or constituents, of that structure are the semantic values — the meanings — of the corresponding syntactic components of those sentences. Given that reference is "direct", i.e., that the meaning of a name is its denotation, (...) an apparent consequence of this view is that any proposition expressed by a sentence containing a name that denotes a contingent being S is itself contingent — notably, the proposition [S does not exist]. Assuming that an entity must exist to have a property, necessarily, [S does not exist] must exist in order to be true. It seems to follow that, necessarily, [S does not exist] is not true and, hence, that S is not contingent after all. Past approaches to the problem — notably, those of Prior and Adams — lead to highly undesirable consequences for quantified modal logic. In this paper, several solutions to this puzzle are developed that preserve actualism, the structured view of propositions, the direct theory of reference, and the intuition that [S does not exist] is indeed possible without the adverse consequences for QML of previous solutions. (shrink)
I argue that there is an inherent tension in the notion of a proposition that gives us reason to doubt that there can be any single entity that plays all the roles and possesses all the features normally attributed to propositions. The tension is that some of the roles and features of propositions require them to be essentially representational, while others require them to be non-representational. I first present what I call the standard view of propositions: a (...) series of theses outlining the roles they are normally thought to play and the features they are normally thought to possess. I then highlight a number of tensions inherent in the standard view. I illustrate how this very tension creates problems for some realist theories of propositions. I discuss the distinction between the truth of a proposition and its existence, and argue that paying heed to this distinction allows us to identify, and clear up, a particular confusion that leads us to posit propositions in the first place. Finally, I consider where a rejection of propositions leaves us, ontologically and theoretically. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that the temporal connective prima (‘before’) is a comparative adverb. The argument is based on a number of grammatical facts from Italian, showing that there is an asymmetry between prima and dopo (‘after’). On the ground of their divergent behaviour, I suggest that dopo has a different grammatical status from prima. I propose a semantic treatment for prima that is based on an independently motivated analysis of comparatives which can be traced back to Seuren (...) (in: Kiefer and Ruwet (eds.) Generative grammar in Europe, 1973). Dopo is analyzed instead as an atomic two-place predicate which contributes a binary relation over events to the sentence meaning. The different semantic treatments of the two connectives provide an explanation for the grammatical asymmetries considered at the outset; interestingly, they also shed some light on other asymmetries between prima and dopo, which are known to hold for the English temporal connectives before and after as well: these asymmetries are related to the veridicality properties, the distribution of NPIs, and the logical properties of these connectives first described in Anscombe (Philos Rev 73:3–24, 1964). (shrink)
Neo-Russellian theories of structured propositions face challenges to do with both representation and structure which are sometimes called the problem of unity and the Benacerraf problem. In §i, I set out the problems and Jeffrey King's solution, which I take to be the best of its type, as well as an unfortunate consequence for that solution. In §§ii–iii, I diagnose what is going wrong with this line of thought. If I am right, it follows that the Benacerraf problem cannot (...) be used to motivate the view that propositions are irreducible elements of our ontology. (shrink)
The paper argues that cognitive states of biological systems are inherently temporal. Three adequacy conditions for neuronal models of representation are vindicated: the compositionality of meaning, the compositionality of content, and the co-variation with content. Classicist and connectionist approaches are discussed and rejected. Based on recent neurobiological data, oscillatory networks are introduced as a third alternative. A mathematical description in a Hilbert space framework is developed. The states of this structure can be regarded as conceptual representations satisfying the three (...) conditions. (shrink)
In this paper, I discuss two concerns for pluralist truth theories: a concern about a key detail of these theories and a concern about their viability. The detailed-related concern is that pluralists have relied heavily upon the notion of a domain, but it is not transparent what they take domains to be. Since the notion of a domain has been present in philosophy for some time, it is important for many theorists, not only truth pluralists, to be clear on what (...) domains are and what work they can do. -/- The viability-related concern is that it's not clear how a pluralist truth theory could explain the truth-conditions of mixed atomic propositions. To address this concern, truth pluralists should recognize something to which they have not been sufficiently attentive: that some atomic propositions belong to more than one domain. But, recognizing this requires rethinking the relationships between the nature of propositions, their membership in domains, and their truth. I address these issues and propose an understanding of them that is preferable to the best existing account of them, that offered by Michael Lynch. (shrink)
This paper defends a key aspect of the Peircean conception of truth—the idea that truth is in some sense epistemically-constrained. It does so by exploring parallels between Peirce’s epistemology of inquiry and that of Wittgenstein in On Certainty. The central argument defends a Peircean claim about truth by appeal to a view shared by Peirce and Wittgenstein about the structure of reasons. This view relies on the idea that certain claims have a special epistemic status, or function as what are (...) popularly called ‘hinge propositions’. (shrink)
In the paper we build up the ontology of Leśniewski’s type for formalizing synthetic propositions. We claim that for these propositions an unconventional square of opposition holds, where a, i are contrary, a, o (resp. e, i) are contradictory, e, o are subcontrary, a, e (resp. i, o) are said to stand in the subalternation. Further, we construct a non-Archimedean extension of Boolean algebra and show that in this algebra just two squares of opposition are formalized: conventional and (...) the square that we invented. As a result, we can claim that there are only two basic squares of opposition. All basic constructions of the paper (the new square of opposition, the formalization of synthetic propositions within ontology of Leśniewski’s type, the non-Archimedean explanation of square of opposition) are introduced for the first time. (shrink)
Prior propounded a theory that, if correct, explains how it is possible for a statement about propositions to be true even if there are no propositions. The major feature of his theory is his treatment of sentence letters as bindable variables in non-referential positions. His theory, however, does not include a semantical account of the resulting quantification. The paper tries to fill that gap.
I borrow an idea from the fiction of C. S. Lewis that future outcomes may affect the value of past events, defend this idea via the concept of a 'temporal whole' and show its promise as a partial theodicy and its resonance with Christian theism and a robust personalism.
In sections 1 through 5, I develop in detail what I call the standard theory of worlds and propositions, and I discuss a number of purported objections. The theory consists of five theses. The first two theses, presented in section 1, assert that the propositions form a Boolean algebra with respect to implication, and that the algebra is complete, respectively. In section 2, I introduce the notion of logical space: it is a field of sets that represents the (...) propositional structure and whose space consists of all and only the worlds. The next three theses, presented in sections 3, 4, and 5, respectively, guarantee the existence of logical space, and further constrain its structure. The third thesis asserts that the set of propositions true at any world is maximal consistent; the fourth thesis that any two worlds are separated by a proposition; the fifth thesis that only one proposition is false at every world. In sections 6 through 10, I turn to the problem of reduction. In sections 6 and 7, I show how the standard theory can be used to support either a reduction of worlds to propositions or a reduction of propositions to worlds. A number of proposition-based theories are developed in section 6, and compared with Adams's world-story theory. A world-based theory is developed in section?, and Stalnaker's account of the matter is discussed. Before passing judgment on the proposition based and world-based theories, I ask in sections 8 and 9 whether both worlds and propositions might be reduced to something else. In section 8, I consider reductions to linguistic entities; in section 9, reductions to unfounded sets. After rejecting the possibility of eliminating both worlds and propositions, I return in section 10 to the possibility of eliminating one in favor of the other. I conclude, somewhat tentatively, that neither worlds nor propositions should be reduced one to the other, that both worlds and propositions should be taken as basic to our ontology. (shrink)
An Essay in the Metaphysics of Propositions Berit Brogaard. TRANSIENT TRUTHS An Essay in. the Metaphysics ofProposizions BERIT BROGAARD Transient Truths This page intentionally left blank Transient Truths An. Cover.
In this article I investigate several possibilities to define the concept of “temporal non-locality” within the standard framework of quantum theory. In particular, I analyze the notions of “temporally non-local states”, “temporally non-local events” and “temporally non-local observables”. The idea of temporally non-local events is already inherent in the standard formalism of quantum mechanics, and Basil Hiley recently defined an operator in order to measure the degree of such a temporal non-locality. The concept of temporally non-local states enters (...) as soon as “clock-representing states” are introduced in the context of special and general relativity. It is discussed in which way temporally non-local measurements may find an interesting application for experiments which test temporal versions of Bell inequalities. (shrink)
Russeilian or singular propositions are very useful in sernantics to specify "what has been said" by a literal and serious utterance of a sentence containing a proper name, an indexical or a dernonstrative, or for modeling demonstrative thoughts. Based on an example given by S. Guttenplan, I construct a case showing that if our only option for modeling dernonstrative thoughts is a singular proposition à la Russell, we run the risk of admitting infallible empirical (existential) beliefs. I defend the (...) principle of the fallibility of our (first order) representations by appealing to Perry's notionof a relational mode of presentation that allows us to generalize the proposition which is the content of the perceptual belief in cases of hallucination or misidentification, so that there is no "immunity to error through misidentification" in the province of demonstrative thought. (shrink)
Alvin Plantinga gave a reductio of the conjunction of the following three theses: Existentialism (the view that, e.g., the proposition that Socrates exists can't exist unless Socrates does), Serious Actualism (the view that nothing can have a property at a world without existing at that world) and Contingency (the view that some objects, like Socrates, exist only contingently). I sketch a view of truth at a world which enables the Existentialist to resist Plantinga's argument without giving up either Serious Actualism (...) or Contingency. (shrink)
In recent years, many philosophers have supposed that perceptual representations have propositional content. A prominent rationale for this supposition is the assumption that perceptions may justify beliefs, but this rationale can be doubted. This rationale may be doubted on the grounds that there do not seem to be any viable characterizations of the belief-justifying propositional contents of perceptions. An alternative is to model perceptual representations as marks in a perceptual similarity space. A mapping can be defined between points in perceptual (...) similarity space and points in an objective quality space. The correctness of perceptual representation can then be defined as a kind of accuracy of mapping rather than as the truth of a proposition. The phenomenon of seeing-as can be accounted for as a matter of the location of marks in perceptual similarity space relative to other marks in perceptual similarity space. Perceptual representations, on this account, will not justify beliefs, but they may nonetheless guide judgment. (shrink)
Moderate relativism -- The framework -- The distribution of content -- Radical vs. moderate relativism -- Two levels of content -- Branch points for moderate relativism -- The debate over temporalism (1) : do we need temporalpropositions? -- Modal vs. extensional treatments of tense -- What is at stake? -- Modal and temporal innocence -- Temporal operators and temporalpropositions in an extensional framework -- The debate over temporalism (2) : can we believe (...)temporalpropositions? -- An epistemic argument against temporalism -- Rebutting Richard's argument -- Relativistic disagreement -- Relativization and indexicality -- Index, context, and content -- The two-stage picture : Lewis vs. Kaplan and Stalnaker -- Rescuing the two-stage picture -- Content, character, and cognitive significance -- Experience and subjectivity -- Content and mode -- Duality and the fallacy of misplaced information -- The content of perceptual judgements -- Episodic memory -- Immunity to error through misidentification -- Implicit self-reference -- Weak and strong immunity -- Quasi-perception and quasi-memory -- Reflexive states -- Relativization and reflexivity -- The (alleged) reflexivity of de se thoughts -- Reflexivity : internal or external? -- What is wrong with reflexivism -- The first person point of view -- De se thoughts and subjectivity -- Memory and the imagination -- Imagination and the self-- Imagination, empathy, and the quasi-de se -- Egocentricity and beyond -- Unarticulated constituents in the lekton? -- The context-dependence of the lekton : how far can we go? -- Unarticulatedness and the 'concerning' relation -- Three (alleged) arguments for the externality principle -- Invariance -- Self-relative thoughts -- The problem of the essential indexical -- Perry against relativized propositions -- Context-relativity -- Implicit and explicit de se thoughts -- Shiftability -- The generalized reflexive constraint -- Parametric invariance and m-shiftability -- Free shiftability -- The anaphoric mode : a Bühlerian perspective. (shrink)
In nearly forty years’ of work, Simon Blackburn has done more than anyone to expand our imaginations about the aspirations for broadly projectivist/expressivist theorizing in all areas of philosophy. I know that I am far from alone in that his work has often been a source of both inspiration and provocation for my own work. It might be tempting, in a volume of critical essays such as this, to pay tribute to Blackburn’s special talent for destructive polemic, by seeking to (...) take down that by which I’ve been most provoked over the years. But Blackburn’s biting wit has both more wit and more bite than I could hope to emulate. So instead I’ll try to emulate here what I’ve admired the most about Blackburn – the constructive vein of much of his work. (shrink)
'Epistemic' theories of vagueness notoriously claim that (despite the appearances to the contrary) all of our vague terms have sharp boundaries, it's just that we can't know what they are. Epistemic theories are typically criticized for failing to explain (1) the source of the ignorance postulated, and (2) how our terms could come to have such precise boundaries. Both of these objections will, however, be shown to rest on certain 'presentist' assumptions about the relation between use and meaning, and if (...) allows that the meaning constitutive elements of our linguistic practices can extend into the future, the possibility of a new sort of 'normative epistemicism' emerges. (shrink)
In the context of truth-functional propositional many-valued logics, Hájek’s Basic Fuzzy Logic BL  plays a major rôle. The completeness theorem proved in  shows that BL is the logic of all continuous t -norms and their residua. This result, however, does not directly yield any meaningful interpretation of the truth values in BL per se . In an attempt to address this issue, in this paper we introduce a complete temporal semantics for BL. Specifically, we show that BL (...) formulas can be interpreted as modal formulas over a flow of time, where the logic of each instant is Łukasiewicz, with a finite or infinite number of truth values. As a main result, we obtain validity with respect to all flows of times that are non-branching to the future, and completeness with respect to all finite linear flows of time, or to an appropriate single infinite linear flow of time. It may be argued that this reduces the problem of establishing a meaningful interpretation of the truth values in BL logic to the analogous problem for Łukasiewicz logic. (shrink)
Events and situations are represented by strings of temporally ordered observations, on the basis of which the events and situations are recognized. Allen’s basic interval relations are derived from superposing strings that mark interval boundaries, and Kamp’s event structures are constructed as projective limits of strings. Observations are generalized to temporalpropositions, leading to event-types that classify event-instances. Working with sets of strings built from temporalpropositions, we obtain natural notions of bounded entailment from set inclusions. (...) These inclusions are decidable if the sets are accepted by finite automata. (shrink)
We introduce a methodology whereby an arbitrary logic system L can be enriched with temporal features to create a new system T(L). The new system is constructed by combining L with a pure propositional temporal logic T (such as linear temporal logic with Since and Until) in a special way. We refer to this method as adding a temporal dimension to L or just temporalising L. We show that the logic system T(L) preserves several properties of (...) the original temporal logic like soundness, completeness, decidability, conservativeness and separation over linear flows of time. We then focus on the temporalisation of first-order logic, and a comparison is make with other first-order approaches to the handling of time. (shrink)
Finite-state methods are applied to the Russell-Wiener notion of time (based on events) and developed into an account of interval relations and temporalpropositions. Strings are formed and collected in regular languages and regular relations that are argued to embody temporal relations in their various underspecified guises. The regular relations include retractions that reduce computations by projecting strings down to an appropriate level of granularity, and non-deterministic relations defining notions of partiality within and across such levels.
We introduce and study hierarchies of extensions of the propositional modal and temporal languages with pairs of new syntactic devices: point of reference-reference pointer which enable semantic references to be made within a formula. We propose three different but equivalent semantics for the extended languages, discuss and compare their expressiveness. The languages with reference pointers are shown to have great expressive power (especially when their frugal syntax is taken into account), perspicuous semantics, and simple deductive systems. For instance, Kamp's (...) and Stavi's temporal operators, as well as nominals (names, clock variables), are definable in them. Universal validity in these languages is proved undecidable. The basic modal and temporal logics with reference pointers are uniformly axiomatized and a strong completeness theorem is proved for them and extended to some classes of their extensions. (shrink)
We investigate logical consequence in temporal logics in terms of logical consecutions. i.e., inference rules. First, we discuss the question: what does it mean for a logical consecution to be 'correct' in a propositional logic. We consider both valid and admissible consecutions in linear temporal logics and discuss the distinction between these two notions. The linear temporal logic LDTL, consisting of all formulas valid in the frame 〈L, ≤, ≥〉 of all integer numbers, is the prime object (...) of our investigation. We describe consecutions admissible LDTL in a semantic way—via consecutions valid in special temporal Kripke/Hintikka models. Then we state that any temporal inference rule has a reduced normal form which is given in terms of uniform formulas of temporal degree 1. Using these facts and enhanced semantic techniques we construct an algorithm, which recognizes consecutions admissible in LDTL. Also, we note that using the same technique it follows that the linear temporal logic L (N) of all natural numbers is also decidable w.r.t. inference rules. So, we prove that both logics LDTL and L (N) are decidable w.r.t. admissible consecutions. In particular, as a consequence, they both are decidable (Known fact), and the given deciding algorithms are explicit. (shrink)
The paper argues that philosophers commonly misidentify the substitutivity principle involved in Russell’s puzzle about substitutivity in “On Denoting” (the so-called "George IV puzzle"). This matters because when that principle is properly identified the puzzle becomes considerably sharper and more interesting than it is often taken to be. This article describes both the puzzle itself and Russell's solution to it, which involves resources beyond the theory of descriptions. It then explores the epistemological and metaphysical consequences of that solution. One such (...) consequence, it argues, is that Russell must abandon his commitment to propositions. (shrink)
Recent work in philosophy of language has raised significant problems for the traditional theory of propositions, engendering serious skepticism about its general workability. These problems are, I believe, tied to fundamental misconceptions about how the theory should be developed. The goal of this paper is to show how to develop the traditional theory in a way which solves the problems and puts this skepticism to rest. The problems fall into two groups. The first has to do with reductionism, specifically (...) attempts to reduce propositions to extensional entities-either extensional functions or sets. The second group concerns problems of fine grained content-both traditional 'Cicero'/'Tully' puzzles and recent variations on them which confront scientific essentialism. After characterizing the problems, I outline a non-reductionist approach-the algebraic approach-which avoids the problems associated with reductionism. I then go on to show how the theory can incorporate non-Platonic (as well as Platonic) modes of presentation. When these are implemented nondescriptively, they yield the sort of fine-grained distinctions which have been eluding us. The paper closes by applying the theory to a cluster of remaining puzzles, including a pair of new puzzles facing scientific essentialism. (shrink)
There you are at the opera house. The soprano has just hit her high note – a glassshattering high C that fills the hall – and she holds it. She holds it. She holds it. She holds it. She holds it. She holds the note for such a long time that after a while a funny thing happens: you no longer seem only to hear it, the note as it is currently sounding, that glass-shattering high C that is loud and (...) high and pure. In addition, you also seem to hear something more. It is difficult to express precisely what this extra feature is. One is tempted to say, however, that the note now sounds like it has been going on for a very long time. Perhaps it even sounds like a note that has been going on for too long. In any event, what you hear no longer seems to be limited to the pitch, timbre, loudness, and other strictly audible qualities of the note. You seem in addition to experience, even to hear, something about its temporal extent. (shrink)
This is part two of a complete exposition of Logic, in which there is a radically new synthesis of Aristotelian-Scholastic Logic with modern Logic. Part II is the presentation of the theory of propositions. Simple, composite, atomic, compound, modal, and tensed propositions are all examined. Valid consequences and propositional logical identities are rigorously proven. Modal logic is rigorously defined and proven. This is the first work of Logic known to unite Aristotelian logic and modern logic using scholastic logic (...) as the instrument. (shrink)
Draft for Martinich and Hoekstra (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Hobbes. -/- Language was central to Hobbes's understanding of human beings and their mental abilities, and criticism of other philosophers' uses of language became a favorite critical tool for him. This paper connects Hobbes's theories about language to his criticisms of others' language, examining Hobbes's theories of propositions and truth, and how they relate to his claims that various sorts of proposition are absurd. It considers whether Hobbes in fact means (...) anything more by 'absurd' than 'false'. And it pays particular attention to Hobbes's categorization of causes of absurdity and of types of incoherent proposition, arguing that Hobbes's approach is only loosely related to later discussions of category mistakes. (shrink)
This paper develops a novel version of anti-platonism, called semantic fictionalism. The view is a response to the platonist argument that we need to countenance propositions to account for the truth of sentences containing `that'-clause singular terms, e.g., sentences of the form `x believes that p' and `σ means that p'. Briefly, the view is that (a) platonists are right that `that'-clauses purport to refer to propositions, but (b) there are no such things as propositions, and hence, (...) (c) `that'-clause-containing sentences of the above sort are not true-they are useful fictions. Semantic fictionalism is an extension of Hartry Field's mathematical fictionalism, but my defense of the view is not analogous to his. One of the many virtues of my defense is its generality: it explains how we can adopt a fictionalist stance towards all abstract singular terms, e.g., mathematical singular terms and `that'-clauses. (shrink)
Parts I and II of 'Conflicting Appearances, Necessity and the Irreducibility of Propositions about Colours' review the argument from 'conflicting appearances' for the view that nothing has any one colour. I take further a well-known criticism of the argument made by Austin and Burnyeat. In Part III I undertake the task of positive construction, offering a theory of what it is that all things coloured a particular colour have in common. I end, in Part IV, by arguing that the (...) resulting 'colour phenomenalism', rather than physicalism, is required to give a satisfactory account of the necessity of Wittgenstein's 'puzzle propositions' about colour. (shrink)
Abstract Temporal Externalism is the view that future events can contribute to determining the present content of our thoughts and utterances. Two objections to Temporal Externalism are discussed and rejected. The first is that Temporal Externalism has implausible consequences for the epistemology of biology and other taxonomic sciences (Brown, 2000). The second is that it is committed to implausible claims about dispositions.
Originally motivated by a sophism, Pardo's discussion about the unity of mental propositions allows him to elaborate on his ideas about the nature of propositions. His option for a non-composite character of mental propositions is grounded in an original view about syncategorems: propositions have a syncategorematic signification, which allows them to signify aliquid aliqualiter, just by virtue of the mental copula, without the need of any added categorematic element. Pardo's general claim about the simplicity of mental (...)propositions is developed into several specific thesis about mental propositions: a) it is not judgement which gives its unity to mental propositions, but judicative acts always follow some previous apprehensive act that is simple in its own right; b) this simplicity is compatible with a certain kind of complexity, that can be explained in terms of the "causal history" of the acts of knowing; c) traditional conceptions about subject and predicate must be recast, while keeping their usual explicative power concerning logical properties; d) of course, the traditional conception about the copula has been modified, giving rise to a fully innovative conception of the nature of mental propositions. Nevertheless, this innovative conception of mental language seems still infected by certain "common sense" prejudices, which lead Pardo to propose also a provocative conception of vocal language, which I consider unnecessary. (shrink)
Can we find propositions that cannot rationally be denied in any possible world without assuming the existence of that same proposition, and so involving ourselves in a contradiction? In other words, can we find transworld propositions needing no further foundation or justification? Basically, three differing positions can be imagined: firstly, a relativist position, according to which ultimately founded propositions are impossible; secondly, a meta-relativist position, according to which ultimately founded propositions are possible but unnecessary; and thirdly, (...) an absolute position, according to which such propositions are necessary. In this short essay I show that under the premise of modal logic S5 with constant domain there are ultimately founded propositions and that their existence is even necessary, and I will give some reasons for the superiority of S5 over other logics. (shrink)
Dewey and Russell's debate over the status of logic in the twentieth-century is, by now, well-trodden ground for scholarly inquiry. However, Dewey's novel theory of propositions, first articulated in his 1938 Logic: The Theory of Inquiry, has received comparatively less attention than the debate that touched upon it. The paucity of interest among philosophers of language is probably due to a variety of reasons, such as the theory's unorthodox character and, what at least appears to be, its naive simplicity (...) when compared to other more common (syntactic and pragmatic) theories of propositions. In this paper, I would like to examine the three most extensive treatments, one by the late H.S. Thayer, another by Tom Burke, and the most recent exposition by Larry Hickman, with the intention of reviving scholarly interest in Dewey's theory of propositional form. Another objective of the present project is to situate Dewey's theory relative to more contemporary theories and debates about propositional form in the philosophy of language literature. (shrink)
In this paper I examine the analogical argument that the use that is made of propositions in folk psychology in the characterisation of propositional attitudes is no more puzzling than the use that is made of numbers in the physical sciences in the measurement of physical properties. It has been argued that the result of this analogy is that there is no need to postulate the existence of sentences in a language of thought which underpin the propositional characterisation of (...) propositional attitudes in order to provide a naturalistic account of their use. I argue that a closer examination of the analogy implies rather than avoids the existence of structured representations constituting a language of thought, and thus that it should be abandoned by those who wish to avoid the postulation of such internal representations. (shrink)
The paradox of propositiOns, presented in Appenclix B of Russell's The Principies of Mathernatics (1903), is usually taken as Russell's principal motive, at the time, for moving from a simple to a ramified theory of types. I argue that this view is mistaken. A closer study of Russell's correspondence with Frege reveals that Russell carne to adopt a very different resolution of the paradox, calling into question not the simplicity of his early type theory but the simplicity of his (...) early theory of propositions. (shrink)
The concept of a proposition is important in several areas of philosophy and central to the philosophy of language. This collection of readings investigates many different philosophical issues concerning the nature of propositions and the ways they have been regarded through the years. Reflecting both the history of the topic and the range of contemporary views, the book includes articles from Bertrand Russell, Gottlob Frege, the Russell-Frege Correspondence, Alonzo Church, David Kaplan, John Perry, Saul Kripke, Hilary Putnam, Mark Richard, (...) Scott Soames, and Nathan Salmon. (shrink)
Propositions, the abstract, truth-bearing contents of sentences and beliefs, continue to be the focus of healthy debates in philosophy of language and metaphysics. This article is a critical survey of work on propositions since the mid-90s, with an emphasis on newer work from the past decade. Topics to be covered include a substitution puzzle about propositional designators, two recent arguments against propositions, and two new theories about the nature of propositions.
When I say ‘Hesperus is Phosphorus’, I seem to express a proposition. And when I say ‘Joan believes that Hesperus is Phosphorus’, I seem to ascribe to Joan an attitude to the same proposition. But what are propositions? And what is involved in ascribing propositional attitudes?
A singular thought about an object o is one that is directly about o in a characteristic way—grasp of that thought requires having some special epistemic relation to the object o, and the thought is ontologically dependent on o. One account of the nature of singular thought exploits a Russellian Structured Account of Propositions, according to which contents are represented by means of structured n-tuples of objects, properties, and functions. A proposition is singular, according to this framework, if and (...) only if it contains an object as a constituent. One advantage of the framework of Russellian Structured propositions is that it promises to provide a metaphysical basis for the notion of a singular thought about an object, grounding it in terms of constituency. In this paper, we argue that the attempt to ground the peculiar features of singular thoughts in terms of metaphysical constituency fails, and draw some consequences of our discussion for other debates. (shrink)
Accounts of propositions as sets of possible worlds have been criticized for conflating distinct impossible propositions. In response to this problem, some have proposed to introduce impossible worlds to represent distinct impossibilities, endorsing the thesis that impossible worlds must be of the same kind; this has been called the parity thesis. I show that this thesis faces problems, and propose a hybrid account which rejects it: possible worlds are taken as concrete Lewisian worlds, and impossibilities are represented as (...) set-theoretic constructions out of them. This hybrid account (1) distinguishes many intuitively distinct impossible propositions; (2) identifies impossible propositions with extensional constructions; (3) avoids resorting to primitive modality, at least so far as Lewisian modal realism does. (shrink)
The course on nature coincides with the re-working of Merleau-Ponty's breakthrough towards an ontology and therefore plays a primordial role. The appearance of an interrogation of nature is inscribed in the movement of thought that comes after the Phenomenology of Perception. What is at issue is to show that the ontological mode of the perceived object - not the unity of a positive sense but the unity of a style that shows through in filigree in the sensible aspects - has (...) a universal meaning, that the description of the perceived world can give way to a philosophy of perception and therefore to a theory of truth. The analysis of linguistic expression to which the philosophy of perception leads opens out onto a definition of meaning as institution, understood as what inaugurates an open series of expressive appropriations. It is this theory of institution that turns the analysis of the perceived in the direction of a reflection on nature: the perceived is no longer the originary in its difference from the derived but the natural in its difference from the instituted. Nature is the "non-constructed, non-instituted," and thereby, the source of expression: "nature is what has a sense without this sense having been posited by thought." The first part of the course, which consists in a historical overview, must not be considered as a mere introduction. In fact, the problem of nature is brought out into the open by means of the history of Western metaphysics, in which Descartes is the emblematic figure. The problem consists in the duality - at once unsatisfactory and unsurpassable - between two approaches to nature: the one which accentuates its determinability and therefore its transparency to the understanding; the other which emphasizes the irreducible facticity of nature and tends therefore to valorize the view-point of the senses. To conceive nature is to constitute a concept of it that allows us to "take possession" of this duality, that is, to found the duality. The second part of the course attempts to develop this concept of nature by drawing upon the results of contemporary science. Thus a philosophy of nature is sketched that can be summarized in four propositions: 1) the totality is no less real than the parts; 2) there is a reality of the negative and therefore no alternative between being and nothingmess; 3) a natural event is not assigned to a unique spatio-temporal localization; and 4) there is generality only as generativity. (shrink)
believe, or know something to that which they assert believe, or know. A2. The things asserted, believed, and known are bearers of truth and falsity. A3. Propositions -- the things satisfying A1 and A2 -- are expressed by sentences. The..
This is an essay in compositional semantics: the project of understanding how the meanings of sentences depend systematically on the meanings of their parts, and the way those meanings are combined. One way to model this process is to adapt tools from the study of modal or other intensional logics (see eg (Montague, 2002), (Gamut, 1991), (von Fintel and Heim, 2007)), and that’s the method I’ll be pursuing here. My particular task in this essay is to use data about sentences (...) with embedded clauses to provide evidence for theories of what those clauses denote. Call whatever clauses denote, according to a particular theory, that theory’s ‘propositions’; then this essay tries to adduce some evidence about what propositions are like. Here’s the plan: in §1, I’ll discuss a traditional idea—that propositions are sets of possible worlds—and point out some familiar problems with such an approach. In §2, I briefly outline two possible improvements on possible-worlds propositions that solve these familiar problems—circumstantialism and structuralism. The remainder of the paper comprises arguments against structuralism and in favor of (a certain form of) circumstantialism: in §3 I present arguments against structuralism, and in §4, I consider structuralist responses to these arguments, as well as an influential argument against circumstantialism. If these arguments are correct, then some startling conclusions follow—in particular, that the negation of classical logic, whatever its other virtues, cannot provide a correct semantics for negation in natural language. Two key pieces of notational stuff: I use boldface type for quotation (cuts down on quotes everywhere), and double brackets to talk about denotations of linguistic items. So, if we think names denote their bearers, then Mary = Mary. Here we go! 1 1 Problems with the possible-worlds approach.. (shrink)
Philosophers have responded to McTaggart’s famous argument for the unreality of time in a variety of ways. Some of those responses are not easy to evaluate, since they involve, for example, sometimes murky questions concerning whether a certain infinite regress is or is not vicious. In this paper I set out a response that has not, I think, been advanced by any other author, and which, if successful, is absolutely clear-cut. The basic idea is simply that a tensed approach to (...) time can avoid McTaggart’s contradiction, and can also avoid any regress, vicious or otherwise, by specifying the times at which events have different tensed properties in a tenseless fashion — namely, by using dates. This answer to McTaggart’s argument is, however, open to four important objections. The first objection is that my answer to the second part of McTaggart’s argument is incompatible with something that McTaggart takes himself to have proved in the first part of his argument — the claim, namely, that “there can be no change unless some propositions are sometimes true and sometimes false.” The second objection is that the sentences that I claim can be used to specify when an event has a given tensed property do not in fact do so, since they turn out to be purely tenseless sentences. The third objection is that the sentences in question make use of tenseless verbs, and that it is not in fact possible to make sense of such verbs. The fourth and final objection is that it is not really possible to specify, in tenseless terms, when an event has a given tensed property, since dates have to be analyzed using the relation of temporal priority, and that relation, in turn, must be analyzed in terms of the tensed properties of pastness, presentness and futurity, so that the purportedly tenseless specification is implicitly tensed. I argue, however, that none of these four objections can be sustained. (shrink)
In recent years a number of authors sympathetic to Referentialistaccounts of proper names have argued that utterances containingempty names express `gappy,' or incomplete, propositions. In this paper I want to take issue with this suggestion.In particular, I argue versions of this approach developedby David Braun, Nathan Salmon, Ken Taylor, and by Fred Adams,Gary Fuller, and Robert Stecker.
In his "Two Concepts of Possible Worlds" (1986), Peter Van Inwagen explores two kinds of views about the nature of possible worlds: abstractionism and concretism. The latter is the view defended by David Lewis, who claims that possible worlds are concrete spatio-temporal universes, very much like our own, causally and spatio-temporally disconnected from each other. The former is the view of the majority, who claim that possible worlds are some kind of abstract objects – such as propositions, properties, (...) states of affairs or sets of numbers. In this paper, I will develop this view in an "extreme abstractionist" way, appealing to a "modal bundle theory", and I will try to show that it is preferable to the standard abstractionist views. Finally, I will compare this kind of abstractionism to concretism, only to find that the difference between the two is minimal. (shrink)
In ordinary conscious experience, consciousness of time seems to be ubiquitous. For example, we seem to be directly aware of change, movement, and succession across brief temporal intervals. How is this possible? Many different models of temporal consciousness have been proposed. Some philosophers have argued that consciousness is confined to a momentary interval and that we are not in fact directly aware of change. Others have argued that although consciousness itself is momentary, we are nevertheless conscious of change. (...) Still others have argued that consciousness is itself extended in time. In this entry, the motivations and merits of these and other positions will be expounded and assessed. (shrink)
Kaplan (drawing on Montague and Prior, inter alia) made explicit the idea of world and time neutral propositions, which bear truth values only relative to world and time parameters. There was then a debate over the role of time. Temporalists sided with Kaplan in maintaining time neutral propositions with time relative truth values, while eternalists claimed that all propositions specify the needed time information and so bear the same truth value at all times. But there never was (...) much of a parallel debate over the role of worlds. Let contingentism be the view (parallel to temporalism) that sides with Kaplan in maintaining world neutral propositions with world relative truth values, and let necessitarianism be the view (parallel to eternalism) that propositions specify the needed world information and so bear the same truth value at all worlds. This is the story of how the debate between the contingentists and the necessitarians might begin. (shrink)
Nonphilosophers, if they think of philosophy at all, wonder why people work in metaphysics. After all, metaphysics, as Auden once said of poetry, makes nothing happen.1 Yet some very intelligent people are driven to spend their lives exploring metaphysical theses. Part of what motivates metaphysicians is the appeal of grizzly puzzles (like the paradox of the heap or the puzzle of the ship of Theseus). But the main reason to work in metaphysics, for me at least, is to understand the (...) shared world that we all encounter and interact with. And the shared world that we all encounter includes us self-conscious beings and our experience. The world that we inhabit is unavoidably a temporal world: the signing of the Declaration of Independence is later than the Lisbon earthquake; the Cold War is in the past; your death is in the future. There is no getting away from time. (shrink)
We all know what it is like to have these sorts of experiences. Reflection on the qualitative character of such experiences suggests that events occurring now have a characteristic property of nowness, responsible for a certain special “feel,” and that events pass from the future, to the present, and then into the past. The question I want to explore is whether we should take this suggestion to support an antireductionist ontology of time, that is, whether we should take it to (...) support an ontology that includes a primitive, monadic property of nowness responsible for the special feel of events in the present, and a relation of passage that events instantiate in virtue of literally passing from the future, to the present, and then into the past. It will be important in what follows to avoid prejudging whether the world actually does include nowness and passage, so I’ll use the locution “as of” instead of just “of” when I want to signal that descriptions like “experience as of passage” merely describe experiences with a certain qualitative character. It should be obvious that we need to take temporal experience seriously: experiences as of nowness and as of the passage of events are central to our subjective perspective. In some deep but hard to define way, our temporal experience is caught up with our sense of being, i.e., our sense of what we are and how we are. (Heidegger engages this idea in his Being.. (shrink)
Although there is a vast literature on whether propositional attitudes are relations to propositions, a crucial question that ought to lie at the heart of this debate is not often enough seriously addressed. This is the question of the contribution propositions make to the ways in which we benefit from having our propositional-attitude concepts, if those concepts are concepts of relations to propositions. Unless propositions can be shown to confer a benefit that no non-propositions could (...) provide, we should probably doubt whether propositional attitudes really are relations to propositions. I believe that propositional attitudes are relations to propositions and that the role played by them in our conceptual economy cannot be played by things of any other kind, and in this paper I try to say why. This paper, in other words, offers my answer to the question posed by my title. (shrink)
I first distinguish several notions that have traditionally been conflated (or otherwise neglected) in discussions of the metaphysics of time. Thus, for example, I distinguish between the passage of time and temporal becoming. The former is, I maintain, a confused notion that does not represent a feature of the world; whereas a proper understanding of the latter provides the key for a plausible and comprehensive account of the nature of temporal reality. There are two general classes of views (...) of the nature of temporal reality; proponents of particular views in both classes attempt to account for the phenomenon of temporal becoming in terms of qualitative change. I argue that any such account – in terms of change – is irredeemably problematic. And so I propound a different account of temporal becoming, based on the notion that temporal reality is transient, which provides the means to characterize intuitively and vividly the significant effects of time on the metaphysical nature of the world. (shrink)
Insensitive Semantics is mainly a protracted assault on semantic Contextualism, both moderate and radical. Cappelen and Lepore argue that Moderate Contextualism leads inevitably, like marijuana to heroin or masturbation to blindness, to Radical Contextualism and in turn that Radical Contextualism is misguided. Assuming that the only alternative to Contextualism is their Semantic Minimalism, they think they’ve given an indirect argument for it. But they overlook a third view, one that splits the difference between the other two. Like Contextualism it rejects (...) Propositionalism, the conservative dogma that every indexicalfree declarative sentence expresses a proposition. Unlike Contextualism, it does not invoke context to fill semantic gaps and, indeed, denies that filling those gaps is a semantic matter. In rejecting Propositionalism, it is more radical, indeed, more minimalist than Cappelen and Lepore’s brand of Semantic Minimalism. It does not imagine that sentences that intuitively seem not to express propositions at least express “minimal propositions.” Radical Semantic Minimalism, or simply Radicalism, says that the sentences in question are semantically incomplete – their semantic contents are not propositions but merely “propositional radicals.”. (shrink)
Temporal parts are analogous to spatial parts: just as the conference has one spatial part which occupies the seminar room, and another which occupies the lecture hall, it has one temporal part which ‘occupies’ Friday and another which ‘occupies’ Saturday. These temporal parts of the conference have half-hour coffee-breaks as temporal parts of their own; these coffee-breaks are also temporal parts of the whole conference.
This paper focuses on normative questions about intertemporal distribution that might seem parallel to more familiar questions about interpersonal distribution. Temporal neutrality is the claim that the temporal location of benefits and harms within a life should not affect their normative significance and implies that agents should have equal concern for all parts of their lives. I focus on temporal neutrality as a demand of prudence. A traditional rationale for temporal neutrality appeals to the idea of (...) compensation: whereas there is no automatic interpersonal compensation for sacrifice, because benefactor and beneficiary are different people, intrapersonal compensation is automatic, because benefactor and beneficiary are the same person. This is why sacrifice of one's present interests for the sake of one's later greater good is a paradigm of rationality. Despite the hegemony of temporal neutrality, it appears to have some counter-intuitive implications -- it may seem to be undermined by reductionist accounts of personal identity, it may seem to compromise fidelity to one's ideals in cases involving diachronic changes of personal ideals, it may seem committed to problematic assumptions about the symmetry of death and prenatal nonexistence, and it might suggest that our apparent preference for pain being in the past is irrational when the alternative would be a smaller future pain. I consider these objections to temporal neutrality and argue that its normative and metaphysical commitments are surprisingly robust. (shrink)
Jason Stanley has argued recently that Epistemic Contextualism (EC) and Subject-Sensitive Invariantism (SSI) are explanatorily on a par with regard to certain data arising from modal and temporal embeddings of ‘knowledge’-ascriptions. This paper argues against Stanley that EC has a clear advantage over SSI in the discussed field and introduces a new type of linguistic datum strongly suggesting the falsity of SSI.
Some of the most interesting recent work in philosophy of language and metaphysics is focused on questions about propositions, the abstract, truth-bearing contents of sentences and beliefs. The aim of this guide is to give instructors and students a road map for some significant work on propositions since the mid-1990s. This work falls roughly into two areas: challenges to the existence of propositions and theories about the nature and structure of propositions. The former includes both a (...) widely discussed puzzle about propositional designators as well as direct and indirect arguments against the existence of propositions. The latter is dominated by what is currently the central debate about the metaphysics of propositions, i.e. whether they are structured, composite entities or unstructured ontological simples. This issue has eclipsed older debates about whether propositions can be identified with sets of possible worlds or other kinds of sentence intensions. Author Recommends 1. Soames, Scott. 'Direct Reference, Propositional Attitudes, and Semantic Content.' Philosophical Topics 15 (1987): 47–87. Reprinted in Propositions and Attitudes . Eds. N. Salmon and S. Soames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. 197–239. Essential groundwork for more recent work on propositions. Soames gives a careful and exacting presentation of the case against identifying propositions with sets of possible worlds or other truth-supporting circumstances. Also contains a detailed statement of the Russellian conception of propositions on which propositions are ordered sets of objects, properties and relations. 2. King, Jeffrey. 'Designating Propositions.' The Philosophical Review 111 (2002): 341–71. Sometimes substituting a definite description for a corresponding 'that'-clause can lead to bizarre changes in truth-conditions: compare 'Bill fears that Hillary will be president' with 'Bill fears the proposition that Hillary will be president'. This puzzle about propositional designators threatens the relational analysis of propositional attitude reports, the view that 'believes' expresses a relation to the proposition designated by its 'that'-clause, and thereby poses an indirect threat to the existence of propositions. King's solution posits an ambiguity in verbs like 'fear' that embed both 'that'-clauses and definite descriptions. 3. Jubien, Michael. 'Propositions and the Objects of Thought.' Philosophical Studies 104 (2001): 47–62. A direct attack on the existence of propositions. Jubien deploys an analogue of the problem that Paul Benacerraf raised for set-theoretical reductions of numbers against metaphysical reductions of propositions. Just as numbers can be reduced to sets in many different ways, any reduction of propositions brings with it equally good variants, thus making any such reduction arbitrary and unmotivated. The only alternative is to treat propositions as abstract metaphysical primitives. As Jubien argues, however, abstract primitive entities are incapable of doing what propositions must do, i.e. represent objects and states of affairs on their own, without the input of thinking subjects. The upshot is the propositions cannot be reduced and they cannot be primitive, and so they must not exist. 4. Hanks, Peter. 'How Wittgenstein Defeated Russell's Multiple Relation Theory of Judgment.' Synthese 154 (2007): 121–46. Scepticism about propositions has recently led some philosophers, Jubien included, to resuscitate Russell's multiple relation theory of judgment, the idea that judgment is a many-place relation to objects, properties and relations. This paper explains why Russell himself abandoned that theory, and why the theory is still refuted by an objection due to Wittgenstein. 5. Hofweber, Thomas. 'Inexpressible Properties and Propositions.' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics . 2 vols. Ed. D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. 155–206. An indirect attack on the existence of propositions. Hofweber argues that sentences like 'Bill believes something that Hillary asserted' do not commit us to the existence of propositions. His view is that propositional quantification is an instance of what he calls 'internal' or 'inferential role' quantification, a kind of quantification that carries no ontological implications. 6. Schiffer, Stephen. The Things We Mean . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. esp. chs 1–2. Schiffer defends his theory of pleonastic propositions, on which propositions are unstructured, have no parts, and are very finely grained. 7. Bealer, George. 'Propositions.' Mind 107 (1998): 1–32. Bealer defends his algebraic theory of propositions, which, like Schiffer's pleonastic account, treats propositions as unstructured metaphysical simples. 8. King, Jeffrey. The Nature of and Structure of Content . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. The best developed current theory of the structure in structured propositions. King identifies propositions with certain kinds of facts in which objects, properties and relations are bound together by amalgams of syntactic and semantic relations. 9. Hanks, Peter. 'Recent Work on Propositions.' Philosophy Compass 4 (2009): 1–18. A survey of work on propositions since the mid-1990s that complements this teaching and learning guide. Contains responses to Jubien's and Hofweber's arguments against propositions and critical discussions of Schiffer's pleonastic propositions and King's theory of propositional structure. Online Resources 1. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/propositions/ Propositions (Matthew McGrath) 2. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/propositions-structured/ Structured Propositions (Jeffrey King) 3. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/propositions-singular/ Singular Propositions (Greg Fitch) Sample Partial Syllabus The following partial syllabus can be used as a unit on recent work on propositions in graduate level courses in philosophy of language or metaphysics. Week 1: A Substitution Puzzle About Propositional Designators King, Jeffrey. 'Designating Propositions'. Moltmann, Friederike. 'Propositional Attitudes Without Propositions.' Synthese 135 (2003): 77–118. Week 2: The Benacerraf Problem and Propositional Representation Benacerraf, Paul. 'What Numbers Could Not Be.' Philosophical Review 74 (1965): 47–73. Jubien, Michael. 'Propositions and the Objects of Thought.' Week 3: Propositional Quantification Hofweber, Thomas. 'Inexpressible Properties and Propositions'. Hofweber, Thomas. 'A Puzzle about Ontology.' Noûs 39 (2005): 256–83. Week 4: Schiffer on Pleonastic Propositions Schiffer, Stephen. 'Language-Created Language-Independent Entities.' Philosophical Topics 24 (1996): 149–67. Schiffer, Stephen. The Things We Mean , chs 1–2. Week 5: King on Structured Propositions King, Jeffrey. 'Structured Propositions and Complex Predicates.' Noûs , 29 (1995): 516–35. King, Jeffrey. The Nature and Structure of Content , chs 1–3. Focus Questions 1. Why does identifying propositions with sentence intensions, e.g. sets of possible worlds, 'require the attitudes to have a particular sort of closure under logical consequence, which they clearly don't have' (Mark Richard)? 2. How does the difference between (a) and (b) pose a threat to the existence of propositions? (a) Bill fears that Hillary will be president. (b) Bill fears the proposition that Hillary will be president. 3. What is the Benacerraf problem for metaphysical reductions of propositions? 4. Why must a proposition represent 'on its own cuff' (Michael Jubien)? Why is this a problem for the view that propositions are primitive abstract entities? 5. What does it mean to say that propositions are structured ? Give two different accounts of what propositional structure might be. (shrink)
The confusion surrounding Heidegger's account of death in Being and Time has led to severe criticisms, some of which dismiss his analysis as incoherent and obtuse. I argue that Heidegger's critics err by equating Heidegger's concept of death with our ordinary concept. As I show, Heidegger's concept of death is not the same as the ordinary meaning of the term, namely, the event that ends life. But nor does this concept merely denote the finitude of Dasein's possibilities or the groundlessness (...) of existence, as William Blattner and Hubert Dreyfus have suggested. Rather, I argue, the concept of death has to be understood both as temporal finitude and as finitude of possibility. I show how this reading addresses the criticisms directed at Heidegger's death analysis as well as solving textual problems generated by more limited interpretations of the concept. (shrink)
I argue that there is a conflict between two positions defended by David Lewis: counterpart theory, and the identification of propositions with sets of possible worlds. There is no adequate answer to the question whether a world where Humphrey has one winning and one losing counterpart is or is not a member of the set that is the proposition that Humphrey wins. If one says it is, it will follow that it is possible for that proposition to be true (...) without Humphrey winning; if one says that it is not, it will follow that it is possible for Humphrey to win without that proposition being true. (shrink)
This book is a systematic reconstruction of Heidegger's account of time and temporality in Being and Time. The author locates Heidegger in a tradition of 'temporal idealism' with its sources in Plotinus, Leibniz, and Kant. For Heidegger, time can only be explained in terms of 'originary temporality', a concept integral to his ontology. Blattner sets out not only the foundations of Heidegger's ontology, but also his phenomenology of the experience of time. Focusing on a neglected but central aspect of (...) Being and Time, this book will be of considerable interest to all students of Heidegger both inside and outside philosophy. (shrink)
Philosophers have long struggled to understand our perceptual experience of temporal properties such as succession, persistence and change. Indeed, strikingly, a number have felt compelled to deny that we enjoy such experience. Philosophical puzzlement arises as a consequence of assuming that, if one experiences succession or temporal structure at all, then one experiences it at a moment. The two leading types of theory of temporal awareness—specious present theories and memory theories—are best understood as attempts to explain how (...)temporal awareness is possible within the constraints of this principle. I argue that the principle is false. Neither theory of temporal awareness can be made workable unless it is rejected. Our experience of temporal phenomena cannot be understood if we attempt to break experience down into instantaneous slices. In order to understand the perception of temporal properties we must look beyond the instant. (shrink)
Belief in propositions no longer brings about the sorts of looks it did when Quine's affinity for desert landscapes held sway in the Anglo-American philosophical scene. People are doing work in the metaphysics of propositions, trying to figure out what sorts of creatures propositions are. In philosophers like Frege, Russell, and Moore we have strong shoulders upon which to stand. But, there is much more work that needs to be done. I will try to do a bit (...) of that work here. In the paper, I will probe the notion that propositions are structured entities, and that it is useful to think of their structure as resembling the structure of the sentences which express them. First, I will speak briefly to the issue of why one might find it rational to believe that propositions exist. In the second part of the paper, I will argue that we should think of propositions as having structure. In the last section, I will examine the nature of the structure of propositions. I will consider a recent account given by Jeffrey King of the nature of the relation that unifies constituents. I conclude by sketching my own view of the relation that holds between propositional constituents in virtue of which they compose a proposition. 1 I Why Believe in Propositions? Propositions are taken to be abstract entities that are a) the primary bearers of truth and falsity, b) the objects of our propositional attitudes, and c) the referents of "that-. (shrink)
I begin by brieﬂy mentioning two different logical fatalistic argument types: one from temporal necessity, and one from antecedent truth value. It is commonly thought that the latter of these involves a simple modal fallacy and is easily refuted, and that the former poses the real threat to an open future. I question the conventional wisdom regarding these argument types, and present an analysis of temporal necessity that suggests the anti-fatalist might be better off shifting her argumentative strategy. (...) Speciﬁcally, two points of interest emerge from my analysis: ﬁrst, temporal necessity turns out to be an inappropriate and ineffective tool for the fatalist to make use of; and, second, the dismissal of the argument from antecedent truth value turns out to be an over-hasty one. (shrink)
What is a temporal part? Most accounts explain it in terms of timeless parthood: a thing's having a part without temporal qualification. Some find this hard to understand, and thus find the view that persisting things have temporal parts—four-dimensionalism—unintelligible. T. Sider offers to help by defining temporal parthood in terms of a thing's having a part at a time. I argue that no such account can capture the notion of a temporal part that figures in (...) orthodox four-dimensionalism: temporal parts must be timeless parts. This enables us to state four-dimensionalism more clearly. (shrink)
This paper concerns itself with the relation between two important semantic notions: the traditional notion of proposition and a more recent notion of context as an information state. The notion of proposition has traditionally played an important role in the theory of meaning: propositions are entities that have independent truth conditions and act as the meaning of both independent and embedded sentences as well the objects of propositional attitudes such as assertion and belief.
I argue that relations between non-identical times, such as the relations, earlier than, later than, or 10 seconds apart, involve contradiction, and only co-temporal relations are non-contradictory, which would leave presentism the only non-contradictory theory of time. The arguments I present are arguments that I have not seen in the literature.
The most common account of attitude reports is the relational analysis according towhich an attitude verb taking that-clause complements expresses a two-placerelation between agents and propositions and the that-clause acts as an expressionwhose function is to provide the propositional argument. I will argue that a closerexamination of a broader range of linguistic facts raises serious problems for thisanalysis and instead favours a Russellian `multiple relations analysis' (which hasgenerally been discarded because of its apparent obvious linguistic implausibility).The resulting account can (...) be given independent philosophical motivations within anintentionalist view of truth and predication. (shrink)
Everyone working on metaphysical questions about properties or propositions knows the reaction that many non-philosophers, even nonmetaphysicians, have to such questions. Even though they agree that Fido is a dog and thus has the property (or feature or characteristic) of being a dog, it seems weird, suspicious, or confused to them to now ask what that thing, the property of being a dog, is. The same reservations do not carry over to asking what this thing, Fido, is. There is (...) a substantial and legitimate project to find out more about Fido, but is there a similar substantial and legitimate project to find out more about the property of being a dog? Metaphysicians know that there is a straightforward way to motivate such a project, and much of the contemporary debate in the metaphysics of properties is in the ballpark of carrying it out. If we agree that Fido has the property of being a dog, then there is something that is a property and that Fido has. Thus we can ask about what this thing is that he has. How does it relate to Fido? Is it concrete or abstract? Is it fully present in each object that has it? And so on and so forth. Maybe the nonphilosophers are merely not used to asking such questions about unusual entities such as properties, but they are equally legitimate for them as they are for any other thing. However, even metaphysicians sometimes have the nagging feeling that something has gone wrong in the metaphysics of properties, and that a substantial metaphysical investigation into their.. (shrink)
Alberto Casullo ("Necessity, Certainty, and the A Priori", Canadian Journal of Philosophy 18, 1988) argues that arithmetical propositions could be disconfirmed by appeal to an invented scenario, wherein our standard counting procedures indicate that 2 + 2 != 4. Our best response to such a scenario would be, Casullo suggests, to accept the results of the counting procedures, and give up standard arithmetic. While Casullo's scenario avoids arguments against previous "disconfirming" scenarios, it founders on the assumption, common to scenario (...) and response, that arithmetic might be independent of standard counting procedures. Here I show, by attention to tallying as the simplest form of counting, that this assumption is incoherent: given standard counting procedures, then (on pain of irrationality) arithmetical theory follows. (shrink)
In this paper I argue indirectly for Frege's semantics, in particular for his conception of propositions, by reviewing some difficulties faced by one of the main contemporary alternative approaches, i.e., the direct reference theory. While Frege's semantics can yield an explanation of cognitive value and belief-preservation, the alternative approach seems to run into trouble here. I shall also briefly consider the question of whether epistemic issues should be of any concern for semantics, i.e., whether the feature mentioned above should (...) really be regarded as an advantage of Frege's theory. (shrink)