The paper shows that contextuals, words such as those discussed by Richard Vallée in his paper, “On local bars and imported beer”, include not only adjectives and nouns but also verbs, prepositions and adverbs. It shows, moreover, contextuals form just one subclass of words whose complements are optional, that is, words analogous to polyadic predicates of predicate logic. Just as different words, when their complements are omitted, give rise to reflexive (to wash), reciprocal (to meet) and indefinite (to eat) construals, (...) so contextuals give rise to an indexical construal. The paper sets out how such optional complements, or polyadic predicates, as it were, can be handled completely with the syntax and semantics of English, without recourse to special pragmatic principles, lexical ambiguity or phonetically null elements. Though not discussed here, the approach nonetheless applies, it seems, to other languages, such as Chinese. (shrink)
In “Unarticulated Comparison Classes” 2018 , Richard Vallée adopts John Perry’s (2012 ) reflexive-referential theory of meaning and content as well as his concept of unarticulated constituents (Perry 1986) to deal with certain context-sensitive elements of the truth-conditions of statements containing relative gradable predicates. I am sympathetic both with the general framework and with the assumption that unarticulated constituents are involved in the truth-conditions of bare positives such as “Monica is tall.” I do not share, however, Vallée’s main conclusions on (...) the examples he provides as pre-theoretical evidence. This leads me to disagree with some details of his proposal for the semantics and pragmatics of relative gradable adjectives. (shrink)
A frequent criticism of Richard Vallee’s “pluri-propositionalism” is that it multiplies propositions beyond necessity. I argue that this criticism, recently voiced by Robert Stanton and Arthur Sullivan, is based in misconceptions about propositions are and how they help us classify utterances and the mental states and events that lead to them, relying for the most part on extended discussions of examples.
This brief introduction to a special issue of Disputatio succinctly summarizes John Perry’s pluri-propositionalist reflexive framework and notes some potential applications to varieties of context-sensitivity.
This is a study of an under-developed topic in philosophy of language, namely first-person plural pronouns (‘we’, ‘us’, etc.) Richard Vallée has made very important progress by identifying crucial desiderata and putting forward an ingenious proposal about ‘we’ which addresses them. We contend that, despite this impressive progress, he makes some missteps, both omissions and errors; furthermore, his proposal appears implausible as a personal-level psychological story. We thus sketch an alternative approach to the semantics of the first-person plural indexical which, (...) though it builds on Vallée’s important work, departs substantially from it. (shrink)
Both the semantics of fictional discourse and the semantics of indexicality are canonical topics in the philosophy of language, on which there exists well-known significant literature. However, the same cannot be said for the terrain where they overlap. That is, the distinctive issues raised by fictive uses of indexicals and demonstratives have not been extensively studied per se. The aim of the present essay is to shed some light on this terrain, and to advance our understanding of some of these (...) issues. As it happens, accounting for indexicals in fiction requires the use of innovative new tools. In particular, the standard, familiar taxonomy of types / tokens / utterances is not sufficient to account for the complex cognitive significance and truth-conditions, unique to these kinds of case. For instance: it is widely recognized that, with indexicals generally, semantic properties attach to utterances, not to types or to tokens. But in fiction there are no utterances (in the relevant sense). An innovative notion is required, which I call an “indexed token”. This account of indexicals in fiction, based on the notion of an indexed token, is developed within a Perry (2012)-inspired pluri-propositionalist framework. As such, the present essay constitutes an original application of that framework, extending its already impressive reach. (shrink)
This work explores issues with the eliminativist formulation of ontic structural realism. An ontology that totally eliminates objects is found lacking by arguing, first, that the theoretical frameworks used to support the best arguments against an object-oriented ontology (quantum mechanics, relativity theory, quantum field theory) can be seen in every case as physical models of empty worlds, and therefore do not represent all the information that comes from science, and in particular from fundamental physics, which also includes information about local (...) interactions between objects. Secondly, by giving a critical assessment of the role of symmetries in these fundamental physical theories; and, lastly, by warning about unfounded metaphysical assumptions. An argument is made for a moderate form of structural realism instead, one in which objects play the fundamental role of representing symmetries and bearing their conserved charges, and of participating in the network of interactions observed in the world. (shrink)
What are the minimal conditions for intentionality that a sensory state should satisfy for it to constitute a representational state? That is, what are the limits of intentionality? This is the problem of demarcation. The goal of this paper is to assess a specific demarcation proposal for the minimal conditions of intentionality—the constancy mechanism proposal. Accordingly, it is a minimal condition for the intentionality of a given state that the sensory system should employ a constancy mechanism in the production of (...) this state. First of all, I introduce the problem of demarcation and show its relevance for the debate on the viability of naturalist theories of mental representation. After that, I present the explanatory role requirement for the positing of representational states by intentional explanations of behaviour and show how it constitutes a criterion for the assessment of demarcation proposals for the limits of intentionality. Finally, I assess the constancy mechanism proposal and show that its viability is seriously jeopardised by the minimal distance problem. (shrink)
This work deals with obstacles hindering a metaphysics of laws of nature in terms of dispositions, i.e., of fundamental properties that are causal powers. A recent analysis of the principle of least action has put into question the viability of dispositionalism in the case of classical mechanics, generally seen as the physical theory most easily amenable to a dispositional ontology. Here, a proper consideration of the framework role played by the least action principle within the classical image of the world (...) allows us to build a consistent metaphysics of dispositions as charges of interactions. In doing so we develop a general approach that opens the way towards an ontology of dispositions for fundamental physics also beyond classical mechanics. (shrink)
One common objection to Dretske’s Information Theoretic Account of Knowledge (ITAK) is that it violates closure. I show that it does not, and that extant arguments attempting to establish that it does rely instead on the KK thesis. That thesis does fail for ITAK. I show moreover that an interesting consequence of ITAK obeying the closure principle after all is that on this view if skepticism is false, we can have a great deal of empirical knowledge, but it is in (...) principle impossible to know that skepticism is false. In short, a proper understanding of how ITAK closes off the KK thesis shows that we can 1) take seriously the skeptic, we can 2) respond to her appropriately that we do have knowledge and we can 3) keep closure. (shrink)
If a colleague of mine, whose opinion I respect, disagrees with me about some claim, this might give me pause regarding my position on the matter. The Equal Weight view proposes that in such cases of peer disagreement I ought to give my colleague’s opinion as much weight as my own, and decrease my certainty in the disputed claim. One prominent criticism of the Equal Weight view is that treating higher-order (indirect) evidence in this way invariably swamps first-order (direct) evidence. (...) While the opinions of our peers matter in our deliberations, the Equal Weight view counter-intuitively requires that evidence of mere disagreement is more important than standard kinds of evidence. I offer a proposal for how we should idealize epistemic agents that identifies the variable feature of disagreements that accounts for the shifting significance of direct and indirect evidence in different disagreement contexts. Specifically, by idealizing epistemic agents as deriving functions that characterize the non-subjective relationship between a body of evidence and the reasonableness of believing the various propositions supported by that evidence, we can accommodate the intuition to compromise that motivates the Equal Weight view, without accepting the counter-intuitive results. (shrink)
In this paper, I will discuss accounts to solve the problem of induction by introducing necessary connections. The basic idea is this: if we know that there are necessary connections between properties F and G such that F -ness necessarily brings about G-ness, then we are justified to infer that all, including future or unobserved, F s will be Gs. To solve the problem of induction with ontology has been proposed by David Armstrong and Brian Ellis. In this paper, I (...) will argue that these attempts to solve the problem of induction fail. Necessary connections fail to reliably imply the respective regularities for two main reasons: Firstly, according to an argument originally presented by Helen Beebee, the respective necessary connections might be time-limited, and hence do not warrant inferences about future cases. As I will discuss, arguments against the possibility or explanatory power of time-limited necessary connections fail. Secondly, even time-unlimited necessary connections do not entail strict or non-strict regularities, and nor do they allow inferences about individual cases, which is an important function of inductive reasoning. Moreover, the proposed solution to the problem of induction would only apply to a tiny minority of inductive inferences. I argue that most inductive inferences are not easily reducible to the proposed inference pattern, as the vast majority of everyday inductive inferences do not involve necessary connections between fundamental physical properties or essences. (shrink)
In this article I introduce constitutive norm accounts of assertion, and then give three arguments for giving up on the constitutive norm project. First I begin with an updated version of MacFarlane’s Boogling argument. My second argument is that the ‘overriding response’ that constitutive norm theorists offer to putative counterexamples is unpersuasive and dialectically risky. Third and finally, I suggest that constitutive norm theorists, in appealing to the analogy of games, actually undermine their case that they can make sense of (...) assertions that fail to follow their putative constitutive norm. These considerations, I suggest, together show that the constitutive norm project founders not because any single norm is not descriptively correct of our assertion practices, but rather, because giving a constitutive norm as the definition of assertion alone is insufficient. (shrink)
We will formulate some analogous higher-order versions of Skolem’s paradox and assess the generalizability of two solutions for Skolem’s paradox to these paradoxes: the textbook approach and that of Bays (2000). We argue that the textbook approach to handle Skolem’s paradox cannot be generalized to solve the parallel higher-order paradoxes, unless it is augmented by the claim that there is no unique language within which the practice of mathematics can be formalized. Then, we argue that Bays’ solution to the original (...) Skolem’s paradox, unlike the textbook solution, can be generalized to solve the higher-order paradoxes without any implication about the possibility or order of a language in which mathematical practice is to be formalized. (shrink)
In recent decades, plural logic has established itself as a well-respected member of the extensions of first-order classical logic. In the present paper, I draw attention to the fact that among the examples that are commonly given in order to motivate the need for this new logical system, there are some in which the elements of the plurality in question are internally singularized (e.g. ‘Whitehead and Russell wrote Principia Mathematica’), while in others they are not (e.g. ‘Some philosophers wrote Principia (...) Mathematica’). Then, building on previous work, I point to a subsystem of plural logic in which inferences concerning examples of the first type can be adequately dealt with. I notice that such a subsystem (here called ‘discrete plural logic’) is in reality a mere variant of first-order logic as standardly formulated, and highlight the fact that it is axiomatizable while full plural logic is not. Finally, I urge that greater attention be paid to discrete plural logic and that discrete plurals are not used in order to motivate the introduction of full-fledged plural logic—or, at least, not without remarking that they can also be adequately dealt with in a considerably simpler system. (shrink)
The author reviews and summarizes, in as jargon-free way as he is capable of, the form of anti-platonist anti-nominalism he has previously developed in works since the 1980s, and considers what additions and amendments are called for in the light of such recently much-discussed views on the existence and nature of mathematical objects as those known as hyperintensional metaphysics, natural language ontology, and mathematical structuralism.
We enjoy immediate knowledge of our own limbs and bodies. I argue that this knowledge, which is also called proprioception, is a special form of perception, special in that it is, unlike perception by the external senses, at the same time also a form of genuine self-knowledge. The argument has two parts. Negatively, I argue against the view, held by G. E. M. Anscombe and strengthened by John McDowell, that this knowledge, bodily self-knowledge, is non-perceptual. This involves, inter alia, rescuing (...) from McDowell’s attack the very idea of receptive self-knowledge. On the positive side, I develop, by drawing on the work of Brian O’Shaughnessy, a detailed account of bodily self-knowledge as a special form of perception. This account spells out how this special form of perception is epistemologically mediated by sensations of a special class of primary qualities—vital-dynamic sensations as I call them—in one’s limbs. (shrink)
All through the COVID-19-crisis Conspiracy Theories and False Information spread all around the globe. In this article, we want to suggest that the spreading and retainment of disinformation despite counter-evidence is best to be understood in the context of echo chambers as described by Chris Thi Nguyen. Moreover, we want to argue that people active in those echo chambers are at the same time perpetrators as well as victims of epistemic injustice to different amounts. Although this article cannot cover the (...) phenomenon as a whole, we hope to outline a path for further investigation. (shrink)