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Philosophy of Language

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What you can think about comes from what you have observed.
You think about angels. What are angels?

An angel can be that sweet person, something that makes you happy, etc. It's an adjective. 

If you think of something which you think doesn't exist in the physical world or have not yet observed, the fact that you can think about it, shows that it is a assembly of selected parts of what has already been observed and exists.
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Some words in my paper:

T(hj|ei)--fuzzy truth function of a predicate hj.

T(hj)--logical probability or  average thue-value of a predicate hj.

Popper defined Testing severity and Verisimilitude (1963/2005, 526, 534). Since Logical Probability and Statistical Probability are not well distinguished by him, his definitions are not satisfactory. The author suggests defining log [1/T(hj)] as testing severity, and T(hj|ei)/T(hj) as verisimilitude. In terms of Likelihood method, P(ei| hi is true)/P(ei) =T(hj|ei)/T(hj) is also called standard likelihood. So, we may say Semantic information = log (Standard likelihood) = log (Verisimilitude)=Testing severity - Relative deviation
 If negative verisimilitude for lies or wrong predictions is expected, one may also define verisimilitude by log [T(hj|ei)/T(hj)]. 

The figure 8 in the paper shows how positive and negative degrees of believe affect thruthlikeness. 

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I describe a novel textual structure which gave rise to the so-called analytic/continental divide, and which describes the origin and nature of divides in general.
The source of the analytic-continental divide is organizational and not conceptual, the divide arising as a consequence of the structure of the University "text". This structure I refer to as the "integral text". It is a tangible, self-referring structure through which the University stores knowledge and retains influence. (Those who wish to grasp the main conjecture quickly can move straight to the description of the integral text, about half-way through this essay.)

I develop the model of the integral text to describe both the structure through which an interpretive community fixes knowledge within its institutional repository and the way in which this structure restricts and promotes communication and academic influence.The integral text is not itself a body of knowledge, but a single, indivisible structur ... (read more)
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It seems to me that this work is very much unavailable to students and professionals. Have not found it online in any form, save for a few hardcover editions for more than $500. Crazy.
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I have a following trouble.

If I want to defining some word, and I want that my definition will be correct in the meaning of Semantical Conception of Truth or Classical, I have to know something about object, attribute or relation that I want to define. In other words: If I wand define "wisdom" I have to know what the wisdom is. If I don't know what the wisdom is, my definition will be arbitrary and could be incorrect (not in logical meaning but in ontological meaning), it would be fake definition.

The question is: How would I know about the subject, object, relation, attribute to give its proper definition ?
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Such person would consider the meaning of all words to be vague(including the meaning of the word "vague") and think that actually we do not know what we are talking about(including this sentence itself) even though we feel that we know very well about what we are talking about. Therefore all of our knowledge presented in the form of language is nonsense(including this sentence itself).

For example:
A: Truth is any statement that corresponds to the reality.
B: What does "correspond" mean? What does "reality" mean? What does "statement" mean?
A: "Correspond" means XXX, "reality" means XXX, and "statement" means XXX.
B: Then what does XXX mean?
A: ...
(And B would even question the meaning of his own sentences.)

It seems to me that such absolute-skepticism is invincivle. Any argument against it would be considered nonsense according to this theory. We might well ask, in what situation can the meaning of a word be "clear"? Philosophy is not as exact and accurate as math (perhaps math is ... (read more)
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Tarski’s convention T: condition beta. South American Journal of Logic. 1, 3–32.

John Corcoran and Leonardo Weber


HISTORICAL NOTE: This paper is the culmination of a years-long joint effort by the two authors. A preliminary report appeared in 2013: Corcoran-Weber, Bulletin of Symbolic Logic, 19 (2013) 510–11. Their co-operative work was conducted by email dialogue in which each author’s work was developed and corrected by the other. Each section went through several iterations. The final version was the result of dozens of reciprocal exchanges; it is impossible to allocate credit. Each author learned from and taught the other. During this time they consulted several other scholars including the Tarski experts David Hitchcock, James Smith, and Albert Visser.

The senior author expresses his deep gratitude to the junior author. Moreover the senior author acknowledges publicly what he has already said privately, viz. that without the junior author’s help and mastery of ... (read more)

Hi Jack,

Nice paper!. However, if I may, I wasn't convinced by your response to objection five. The objection, I take it, is that the intuitions you are marshaling about incoherence derive from a non-moral standpoint, that is, they are intuitions that arise when one is doing metaethics and not when one is actually moralizing.  And it seems undeniable that Moore paradoxical sentences are straightforwardly bizarre when uttered by persons in the context of actual moralizing (just imagine actually having the relevant conversation). At the outset of your paper, you correctly note that expressivism is a theory about actual moralizing, so it seems like this is one objection to which you should be very sensitive.  You respond:

This is not really a rejection of C3, but a rejection of C1, since it admits that it is not always the case that affective or conative attitudes are expressed by moral assertions. If non-cognitive mental states are only sometimes expressed by moral assertions, then the clai ... (read more)

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Methodologically speaking, I wonder why Matilal and S's article has not been enough for  further studies of this sort to be the rule on Mind (and other philosophical journals). Does this failure depend on their style? (Or should we just start working as a task-force and submit many articles of this kind?)

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Can there be linguistics without ontology?

The context principle and some Indian controversies over Meaning is a milestone in Indian studies, and in the history of their interaction with mainstream (i.e. Western) philosophy. Since it was published in 1988 on Mind (one of the top-5 journals in Philosophy, inaccessible for most authors), virtually everyone (in Indian philosophy) has read it.

Have you also re-read it?

I re-read it after some years this Summer and I have to admit that it was again a surprise. The article starts with a discussion of the Context principle in Frege and Quine (does the principle mean that words HAVE no meaning outside a sentence, or that their meaning can only be UNDERSTOOD within a sentence?). In this connection, Matilal and Sen discuss a strong and a weak interpretation of the Context principle (according to whether it should answer the first or the second question). They end up saying that the strong interpretation clashes with Frege's later work (see belo ... (read more)

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Currently developing my work at Comparing the work of Wittgenstein and St Augustine on language one is aware of 

a startling dichotomy, are these two theses mutually exclusive? On the one hand we have the Augustinian theory, put simply, that language enables 

the individual to articulate ever deeper layers of his soul. On the other hand we have Wittgenstein, put simply again, language and its continued 

development IS the soul. Language gives the child (and the adult for that matter) the power to articulate, and through articulation to control, his 

feelings and by extension his environment. He can distance himself from his self, gain perspectives which are truly awesome in their power. 
Clearly such differing theses have profound consequences in many areas of study, not least that of religion.
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I am a graduate student at the University of Ghana, West Africa. I am currently undertaking a study on Causative constructions in Ewe, a Kwa language from the Niger-Congo family and using Cognitive Linguistics as a theoretical framework. I find it very difficult to establish a link between the theory and the work. Can I have advice how I can use the theory to analyze causative constructions in the language and achieve my research objectives?
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Excellent paper first and foremost Mr. MacLeod! As I was reading your thoughts on plurality and the nature of the individual conscious, it made me think of the ideal of Solipsism. For those who don't know, Solipsism is defined as: The view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist. Would you say that your case for a plurality of consciousness "immediately present." defeats the ideal of a Solipsistic Philosophy? 
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I wonder if anyone knows of useful recent discussions of Tyler Burge on Frege's hierarchy of senses (in 'Frege and the Hierarchy')? And I would be interested in anyone's comments on the extended Postscript to the reprint of the paper in Burge's 'Truth, Structure, and Method', or especially interested in hearing of anyone's thoughts on the section in the Postscript that discusses his 'Principle for Canonical Names of Senses'. Does anyone think the discussion demode?
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Redundancy theory of truth has been regarded one (may the most) powerful objection to Realism, new truth theorist, articulating rather different notion of truth claim that the semantic thesis of Realism must be rejected - and hence the whole project of realism - i think there is something wrong with - for example - Gary Kemps article and reasoning for redundancy theory of truth.
there could two problems be differed
1) the redundancy argument for redundancy of SEMANTIC content of truth;
2) the redundancy argument for redundancy of ASSERTION that notion;
arguments - as far as i have seen - are related to the second but not the first ( see for example Ramsey truism and Strawson's "Truth" and Gary Kemp's article "Meaning and truth conditions").
 that seems to be about the redundancy argument for ASSERTION of truth predicate, but the reasoning does not entail that "truth" does not have any genuine semantic content. i think the very problem could be found in Tarski's "Sem ... (read more)

Hi all, 
In the PI Wittgenstein remarks that "The common behaviour of mankind is the system of reference by means of which we interpret an unknown language". My question is, what exactly does W. means by 'the common behaviour of mankind'? I guess it has to do with the human "form of life", but again, if so, what does W. mean by this? 

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I couldn't find Tim's email so am instead posting here a link to my critical discussion of his paper (which may also be of interest to other readers):
Moral Judgments, 2Dism, and Attitudinal Commitments.


What DSM seems to show is that sensation is non epistemic and that perception is a cognitive process. The sensory as non-epistemic, merely bare,
non-conscious occurrences, represent nothing until some perceiving, useful
or mistaken, has gone on.

This is awesome. Tractatus power!
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I fairly recently read a paper, which I now can't find, which complained that much of the discussion relating to content, given in that-clauses, missed the point that these were clauses (perhaps essentially incomplete). I think I recall Stephen Schiffer on something like that, but I'm not sure. Does anyone know this, or some connected relevant handling of clauses?

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