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Philosophy of the Americas

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JOHN CORCORAN AND HASSAN MASOUD, Three-logical-theories redux.

  The 1969 paper, “Three logical theories” [1], considers three logical systems all based on the same interpreted language and having the same semantics.

  The first, a logistic system LS, codifies tautologies (logical truths)—using tautological axioms and tautology-preserving rules that are not required to be consequence-preserving.

  The second, a consequence system CS, codifies valid premise-conclusion arguments—using tautological axioms and consequence-preserving rules that are not required to be cogency-preserving [2]. A rule is cogency-preserving if in every application the conclusion is known to follow from its premises if the premises are all known to follow from their premises.

  The third, a deductive system DS, codifies deductions, or cogent argumentations [2]—using cogency-preserving rules. The derivations in a DS represent deduction: the process by which conclusions are deduced from premises, i. e. the way knowl ... (read more)


JOHN CORCORAN, Two-method errors.

  Where there are two or more methods for the same thing, sometimes errors occur if two are mixed. Two-method errors, TMEs, occur in technical contexts but they occur more frequently in non-technical writing. Examples of both are cited.

  We can say “Abe knows whether Ben draws” in two other ways: ‘Abe knows whether or not Ben draws’ or ‘Abe knows whether Ben draws or not’. But a TME occurs in ‘Abe knows whether or not Ben draws or not’.

  We can say “Abe knows how Ben looks” using ‘Abe knows what Ben looks like’. But a TME occurs in ‘Abe knows what Ben looks’ and also in ‘Abe knows how Ben looks like’. Again, we can deny that Abe knows Ben by prefixing ‘It isn’t   that’ or by interpolating ‘doesn’t’. But a TME occurs in trying to deny that Abe knows Ben by using ‘It isn’t that Abe doesn’t know Ben’.

  There are two standard ways of defining truth for first-order languages: using finite sequences or infinite sequences. Quine’s discussion in the 1970 first ... (read more)


The writing describes a new sort of individual, “a delude”. People like Hitler would well fit the description. He was mentally healthy, however overwhelmed by grossly deluded opinions.

Here is the description from the text: 

"Even when a person is born possessing a healthy mental state, the familial and environmental assault during childhood with deluded opinions and behavior can be the basis for an individual to develop into a delude, an individual in a deluded mental state. In this writing, the label fool, or imbecile, is sometimes interchangeable with the underlying primary conditions of the delude. A fool is predisposed to accept deluded opinions as true; however, he or she can have an overall good awareness of social norms and laws that he or she learned to comply with. A fool is not, because of his mental condition alone, a villain. In contrast, the delude typically develops overwhelming extreme views. These views can be held as more important than any social or legal consideration ... (read more)

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Here is a bit of background: I came across Millican's 1994 paper over the weekend while I was independently researching the philosophy of P.F. Strawson online.  (My resources are quite limited, incidentally.)  I only last week learned of Strawson via the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy while I was looking for interpretations of the Liar's Paradox, and I was struck by an apparent similarity between his and my own.  My interest in Strawson was furthered when I came across the first four pages of "On Referring," in which he claims that expressions do not refer, but that people can refer using expressions.  (This is the idea Millican indicates as Strawson's distinction between sentences and statements, where the latter is determined by a sentence's usage.)  This Wittgensteinian notion had occured to me only days earlier, and is what led me to formulate my own arguments about the Liar's Paradox.  In fact, I had written virtually the exact same sentence as Strawson to express t
 he same id ... (read more)
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