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The Impossible: An Essay on Hyperintensionality

Oxford University Press (2014)

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  1. Knowing How Things Might Have Been.Mark Jago - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 8):1-19.
    I know that I could have been where you are right now and that you could have been where I am right now, but that neither of us could have been turnips or natural numbers. This knowledge of metaphysical modality stands in need of explanation. I will offer an account based on our knowledge of the natures, or essencess, of things. I will argue that essences need not be viewed as metaphysically bizarre entities; that we can conceptualise and refer to (...)
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  • Routley Star and Hyperintensionality.Sergei Odintsov & Heinrich Wansing - 2021 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 50 (1):33-56.
    We compare the logic HYPE recently suggested by H. Leitgeb as a basic propositional logic to deal with hyperintensional contexts and Heyting-Ockham logic introduced in the course of studying logical aspects of the well-founded semantics for logic programs with negation. The semantics of Heyting-Ockham logic makes use of the so-called Routley star negation. It is shown how the Routley star negation can be obtained from Dimiter Vakarelov’s theory of negation and that propositional HYPE coincides with the logic characterized by the (...)
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  • Hyperintensional Logics for Everyone.Igor Sedlár - 2019 - Synthese 198 (2):933-956.
    We introduce a general representation of unary hyperintensional modalities and study various hyperintensional modal logics based on the representation. It is shown that the major approaches to hyperintensionality known from the literature, that is state-based, syntactic and structuralist approaches, all correspond to special cases of the general framework. Completeness results pertaining to our hyperintensional modal logics are established.
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  • Counterpossibles for Modal Normativists.Theodore D. Locke - 2019 - Synthese 198 (2):1235-1257.
    Counterpossibles are counterfactuals that involve some metaphysical impossibility. Modal normativism is a non-descriptivist account of metaphysical necessity and possibility according to which modal claims, e.g. ‘necessarily, all bachelors are unmarried’, do not function as descriptive claims about the modal nature of reality but function as normative illustrations of constitutive rules and permissions that govern the use of ordinary non-modal vocabulary, e.g. ‘bachelor’. In this paper, I assume modal normativism and develop a novel account of counterpossibles and claims about metaphysical similarity (...)
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  • Hyperintensional Semantics: A Fregean Approach.Mattias Skipper & Jens Christian Bjerring - 2020 - Synthese 197 (8):3535-3558.
    In this paper, we present a new semantic framework designed to capture a distinctly cognitive or epistemic notion of meaning akin to Fregean senses. Traditional Carnapian intensions are too coarse-grained for this purpose: they fail to draw semantic distinctions between sentences that, from a Fregean perspective, differ in meaning. This has led some philosophers to introduce more fine-grained hyperintensions that allow us to draw semantic distinctions among co-intensional sentences. But the hyperintensional strategy has a flip-side: it risks drawing semantic distinctions (...)
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  • Rethinking Role Realism.Daniela Glavaničová - 2021 - British Journal of Aesthetics 61 (1):59-74.
    Role realism is a promising realist theory of fictional names. Different versions of this theory have been suggested by Gregory Currie, Peter Lamarque, Stein Haugom Olsen, and Nicholas Wolterstorff. The general idea behind the approach is that fictional characters are to be analysed in terms of roles, which in turn can be understood as sets of properties. I will discuss several advantages and disadvantages of this approach. I will then propose a novel hyperintensional version of role realism, according to which (...)
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  • Hyperintensionality.Francesco Berto & Daniel Nolan - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    An overview of hyperintensionality is provided. Hyperintensional languages have expressions with meanings that are more fine-grained than necessary equivalence. That is, the expressions may necessarily co-apply and yet be distinct in meaning. Adequately accounting for theories cast in hyperintensional languages is important in the philosophy of language; the philosophy of mind; metaphysics; and elsewhere. This entry presents a number of areas in which hyperintensionality is important; a range of approaches to theorising about hyperintensional matters; and a range of debates that (...)
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  • Logics of Synonymy.Levin Hornischer - 2020 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 49 (4):767-805.
    We investigate synonymy in the strong sense of content identity. This notion is central in the philosophy of language and in applications of logic. We motivate, uniformly axiomatize, and characterize several “benchmark” notions of synonymy in the messy class of all possible notions of synonymy. This class is divided by two intuitive principles that are governed by a no-go result. We use the notion of a scenario to get a logic of synonymy which is the canonical representative of one division. (...)
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  • Granularity Problems.Jens Christian Bjerring & Wolfgang Schwarz - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (266):22-37.
    Possible-worlds accounts of mental or linguistic content are often criticized for being too coarse-grained. To make room for more fine-grained distinctions among contents, several authors have recently proposed extending the space of possible worlds by "impossible worlds". We argue that this strategy comes with serious costs: we would effectively have to abandon most of the features that make the possible-worlds framework attractive. More generally, we argue that while there are intuitive and theoretical considerations against overly coarse-grained notions of content, the (...)
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  • Williamson on Counterpossibles.Berto Francesco, David Ripley, Graham Priest & Rohan French - 2018 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 47 (4):693-713.
    A counterpossible conditional is a counterfactual with an impossible antecedent. Common sense delivers the view that some such conditionals are true, and some are false. In recent publications, Timothy Williamson has defended the view that all are true. In this paper we defend the common sense view against Williamson’s objections.
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  • Truth in Fiction, Impossible Worlds, and Belief Revision.Francesco Berto & Christopher Badura - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (1):178-193.
    We present a theory of truth in fiction that improves on Lewis's [1978] ‘Analysis 2’ in two ways. First, we expand Lewis's possible worlds apparatus by adding non-normal or impossible worlds. Second, we model truth in fiction as belief revision via ideas from dynamic epistemic logic. We explain the major objections raised against Lewis's original view and show that our theory overcomes them.
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  • On the Essence of Empty Properties.Miloš Kosterec - 2018 - Synthese (1):1-17.
    This paper deals with generalisations of modally based criteria for determining whether a given property is essential to an individual to the case of generic essences. These criteria usually presuppose extensionally individuated properties. The limitations of their generalisations are demonstrated using the case of the necessarily empty individual property and the necessarily empty individual office. I do not present a novel stance on the discussion of individual essences. The novelty of this paper lies in its claim that none of these (...)
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  • Impossibility and Impossible Worlds.Daniel Nolan - 2021 - In Otavio Bueno & Scott Shalkowski (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Modality. New York, USA: Routledge Press. pp. 40-48.
    Possible worlds have found many applications in contemporary philosophy: from theories of possibility and necessity, to accounts of conditionals, to theories of mental and linguistic content, to understanding supervenience relationships, to theories of properties and propositions, among many other applications. Almost as soon as possible worlds started to be used in formal theories in logic, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and elsewhere, theorists started to wonder whether impossible worlds should be postulated as well. In many applications, possible worlds (...)
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  • The Theory of Every Thing: Toward a Symmetry-Based Metaphysics of Matter.David Schroeren - 2020 - Dissertation, Princeton University
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  • Logical Ignorance and Logical Learning.Richard G. Pettigrew - forthcoming - Synthese:1-30.
    According to certain normative theories in epistemology, rationality requires us to be logically omniscient. Yet this prescription clashes with our ordinary judgments of rationality. How should we resolve this tension? In this paper, I focus particularly on the logical omniscience requirement in Bayesian epistemology. Building on a key insight by Ian Hacking (1967), I develop a version of Bayesianism that permits logical ignorance. This includes an account of the synchronic norms that govern a logically ignorant individual at any given time, (...)
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  • Impossible Worlds.Franz Berto & Mark Jago - 2013 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    We need to understand the impossible. Francesco Berto and Mark Jago start by considering what the concepts of meaning, information, knowledge, belief, fiction, conditionality, and counterfactual supposition have in common. They are all concepts which divide the world up more finely than logic does. Logically equivalent sentences may carry different meanings and information and may differ in how they're believed. Fictions can be inconsistent yet meaningful. We can suppose impossible things without collapsing into total incoherence. Yet for the leading philosophical (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Invariance.David Schroeren - manuscript
    Fundamental physics contains an important link between properties of elementary particles and continuous symmetries of particle systems. For example, properties such as mass and spin are said to be 'associated' with specific continuous symmetries. -/- These 'associations' have played a key role in the discovery of various new particle kinds, but more importantly: they are thought to provide a deep insight into the nature of physical reality. The link between properties and symmetries has been said to call for a radical (...)
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  • Reductio Ad Absurdum From a Dialogical Perspective.Catarina Dutilh Novaes - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (10):2605-2628.
    It is well known that reductio ad absurdum arguments raise a number of interesting philosophical questions. What does it mean to assert something with the precise goal of then showing it to be false, i.e. because it leads to absurd conclusions? What kind of absurdity do we obtain? Moreover, in the mathematics education literature number of studies have shown that students find it difficult to truly comprehend the idea of reductio proofs, which indicates the cognitive complexity of these constructions. In (...)
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  • The Fundamental Problem of Logical Omniscience.Peter Hawke, Aybüke Özgün & Francesco Berto - 2020 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 49 (4):727-766.
    We propose a solution to the problem of logical omniscience in what we take to be its fundamental version: as concerning arbitrary agents and the knowledge attitude per se. Our logic of knowledge is a spin-off from a general theory of thick content, whereby the content of a sentence has two components: an intension, taking care of truth conditions; and a topic, taking care of subject matter. We present a list of plausible logical validities and invalidities for the logic of (...)
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  • Fiction.Fred Kroon - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Two-Dimensional Semantics.Laura Schroeter - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Two-dimensional (2D) semantics is a formal framework that is used to characterize the meaning of certain linguistic expressions and the entailment relations among sentences containing them. 2D semantics has also been applied to thought contents. In contrast with standard possible worlds semantics, 2D semantics assigns extensions and truth-values to expressions relative to two possible world parameters, rather than just one. So a 2D semantic framework provides finer-grained semantic values than those available within standard possible world semantics, while using the same (...)
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  • Propositions as Truthmaker Conditions.Mark Jago - 2017 - Argumenta 2 (2):293-308.
    Propositions are often aligned with truth-conditions. The view is mistaken, since propositions discriminate where truth conditions do not. Propositions are hyperintensional: they are sensitive to necessarily equivalent differences. I investigate an alternative view on which propositions are truthmaker conditions, understood as sets of possible truthmakers. This requires making metaphysical sense of merely possible states of affairs. The theory that emerges illuminates the semantic phenomena of samesaying, subject matter, and aboutness.
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  • Supposition and Blindness.Markos Valaris - 2016 - Mind 125 (499):895-901.
    In ‘Reasoning and Regress’ I argued that inferring a conclusion from a set of propositions may simply consist in taking it that the conclusion follows from these propositions—thereby defusing familiar regress arguments. Sinan Dogramaci challenges the generality of this view, on the grounds that sometimes you may draw conclusions from no premisses that you believe. I respond by clarifying a distinction between the premisses of an argument from the reasons your conclusion is based upon. While suppositional reasoning may involve no (...)
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  • Epistemic Logic.Vincent Hendricks - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Epistemic logic is the logic of knowledge and belief. It provides insight into the properties of individual knowers, has provided a means to model complicated scenarios involving groups of knowers and has improved our understanding of the dynamics of inquiry.
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  • Aboutness in Imagination.Franz Berto - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (8):1871-1886.
    I present a formal theory of the logic and aboutness of imagination. Aboutness is understood as the relation between meaningful items and what they concern, as per Yablo and Fine’s works on the notion. Imagination is understood as per Chalmers’ positive conceivability: the intentional state of a subject who conceives that p by imagining a situation—a configuration of objects and properties—verifying p. So far aboutness theory has been developed mainly for linguistic representation, but it is natural to extend it to (...)
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  • Frontiers of Conditional Logic.Yale Weiss - 2019 - Dissertation, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
    Conditional logics were originally developed for the purpose of modeling intuitively correct modes of reasoning involving conditional—especially counterfactual—expressions in natural language. While the debate over the logic of conditionals is as old as propositional logic, it was the development of worlds semantics for modal logic in the past century that catalyzed the rapid maturation of the field. Moreover, like modal logic, conditional logic has subsequently found a wide array of uses, from the traditional (e.g. counterfactuals) to the exotic (e.g. conditional (...)
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  • Impossible Worlds and the Logic of Imagination.Francesco Berto - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (6):1277-1297.
    I want to model a finite, fallible cognitive agent who imagines that p in the sense of mentally representing a scenario—a configuration of objects and properties—correctly described by p. I propose to capture imagination, so understood, via variably strict world quantifiers, in a modal framework including both possible and so-called impossible worlds. The latter secure lack of classical logical closure for the relevant mental states, while the variability of strictness captures how the agent imports information from actuality in the imagined (...)
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  • Impossible Worlds and Partial Belief.Edward Elliott - 2019 - Synthese 196 (8):3433-3458.
    One response to the problem of logical omniscience in standard possible worlds models of belief is to extend the space of worlds so as to include impossible worlds. It is natural to think that essentially the same strategy can be applied to probabilistic models of partial belief, for which parallel problems also arise. In this paper, I note a difficulty with the inclusion of impossible worlds into probabilistic models. Under weak assumptions about the space of worlds, most of the propositions (...)
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  • What Reasoning Might Be.Markos Valaris - 2017 - Synthese 194 (6).
    The philosophical literature on reasoning is dominated by the assumption that reasoning is essentially a matter of following rules. This paper challenges this view, by arguing that it misrepresents the nature of reasoning as a personal level activity. Reasoning must reflect the reasoner’s take on her evidence. The rule-following model seems ill-suited to accommodate this fact. Accordingly, this paper suggests replacing the rule-following model with a different, semantic approach to reasoning.
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  • Conceivability and Possibility: Some Dilemmas for Humeans.Francesco Berto & Tom Schoonen - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2697-2715.
    The Humean view that conceivability entails possibility can be criticized via input from cognitive psychology. A mainstream view here has it that there are two candidate codings for mental representations (one of them being, according to some, reducible to the other): the linguistic and the pictorial, the difference between the two consisting in the degree of arbitrariness of the representation relation. If the conceivability of P at issue for Humeans involves the having of a linguistic mental representation, then it is (...)
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  • Extended Modal Dimensionalism.Martin Vacek - 2017 - Acta Analytica 32 (1):13-28.
    Modal dimensionalism is realism about spaces, times and worlds—metaphysical indices that make objects spatial, temporal and modal, respectively, and that play the role of alethic relativizers, i.e. items to which matters of truth are relativized. This paper examines several arguments against MD and shows that MD offers a feasible way to understand modal discourse.
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  • A Hyperintensional Account of Metaphysical Equivalence.Kristie Miller - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (269):772-793.
    This paper argues for a particular view about in what metaphysical equivalence consists: namely, that any two metaphysical theories are metaphysically equivalent if and only if those theories are strongly hyperintensionally equivalent. It is consistent with this characterisation that said theories are weakly hyperintensionally distinct, thus affording us the resources to model the content of propositional attitudes directed towards metaphysically equivalent theories in such a way that non-ideal agents can bear different propositional attitudes towards metaphysically equivalent theories.
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  • Advanced Modalizing de Dicto and de Re.John Divers & John J. Parry - 2018 - Analysis 78 (3):415-425.
    Lewis’ analysis of modality faces a problem in that it appears to confer unintended truth values to certain modal claims about the pluriverse: e.g. ‘It is possible that there are many worlds’ is false when we expect truth. This is the problem of advanced modalizing. Divers presents a principled solution to this problem by treating modal modifiers as semantically redundant in some such cases. However, this semantic move does not deal adequately with advanced de re modal claims. Here, we motivate (...)
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  • Content, the Possible and the Impossible.Felappi Giulia - 2017 - Analysis 77 (3):648-658.
    What are contents? The answer provided by the possible worlds approach is that contents are sets of possible worlds. This approach incurs serious problems and to solve them Jago suggests, in The Impossible, to get rid of the ‘possible’ bit and allowing some impossible worlds to be part of the game. In this note, I briefly consider the metaphysics behind Jago’s account and then focus on whether Jago is right in thinking that his worlds and his worlds only can do (...)
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  • Reliable Deduction. Munaretti - 2017 - Veritas – Revista de Filosofia da Pucrs 62 (3):725.
    Neste artigo trato da questão sobre o que torna uma dedução confiável. Uma resposta satisfatória a tal questão nos ajudaria a entender como dedução pode expandir ou gerar conhecimento. Eu exploro duas respostas a tal questão. A primeira faz uso da noção de acarretamento lógico-formal, enquanto que a segunda faz uso da noção de acarretamento metafísico. A última é superior à primeira, pois nos permite explicar a confiabilidade de uma classe mais ampla de deduções.
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  • Impossible Worlds.Francesco Berto - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2013).
    It is a venerable slogan due to David Hume, and inherited by the empiricist tradition, that the impossible cannot be believed, or even conceived. In Positivismus und Realismus, Moritz Schlick claimed that, while the merely practically impossible is still conceivable, the logically impossible, such as an explicit inconsistency, is simply unthinkable. -/- An opposite philosophical tradition, however, maintains that inconsistencies and logical impossibilities are thinkable, and sometimes believable, too. In the Science of Logic, Hegel already complained against “one of the (...)
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  • Truths, Facts, and Liars.Peter Marton - 2018 - CEJSH: Central European Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities 25 (2):155-173.
    A Moderate Anti-realist approach to truth and meaning, built around the concept of knowability, will be introduced and argued for in this essay. Our starting point will be the two fundamental anti-realists principles that claim that neither truth nor meaning can outstrip knowability and our focus will be on the challenge of adequately formalizing these principles and incorporating them into a formal theory. Accordingly, the author will introduce a MAR truth operator that is built on a distinction between being true (...)
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  • Speech and Morality. [REVIEW]Neil Sinclair - 2017 - Analysis 77 (3):643-648.
    Nicholas Sturgeon memorably asked: ‘What difference does it make whether moral realism is true?’ His question was prompted by the rise of the metaethical upstart quasi-realism, which urges that an expressivist account of moral discourse is compatible with most, if not all, of its important contours. In his invigorating new book, Cuneo offers a startling new answer to Sturgeon’s question.1 If moral realism were not true, Cuneo argues, we would not be able to speak. But since we evidently can speak, (...)
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  • Review of "Speech and Morality" by T. Cuneo. [REVIEW]Neil Sinclair - 2017 - Analysis 77 (3).