When is circularity in definitions benign?

Philosophical Quarterly 58 (231):214–233 (2007)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

I aim to show how and why some definitions can be benignly circular. According to Lloyd Humberstone, a definition that is analytically circular need not be inferentially circular and so might serve to illuminate the application-conditions for a concept. I begin by tidying up some problems with Humberstone's account. I then show that circular definitions of a kind commonly thought to be benign have inferentially circular truth-conditions and so are malign by Humberstone's test. But his test is too demanding. The inferences we actually use to establish the applicability of, e.g., colour concepts are designed to establish warranted assertability and not truth. Understood thus, dispositional analyses are not inferentially circular.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 77,985

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Meaning and circular definitions.Francesco Orilia - 2000 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 29 (2):155-169.
Circular Justifications.Harold I. Brown - 1994 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:406 - 414.
When does circularity matter?Rosanna Keefe - 2002 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 102 (3):253–270.
Yablo's paradox and referring to infinite objects.O. Bueno & M. Colyvan - 2003 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (3):402 – 412.
Two types of circularity.I. L. Humberstone - 1997 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (2):249-280.

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
131 (#100,897)

6 months
3 (#247,888)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

Philosophical Analysis: The Concept Grounding View.Joachim Horvath - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (3):724-750.
Name-bearing, reference, and circularity.Aidan Gray - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 171 (2):207-231.
Computing Mechanisms Without Proper Functions.Joe Dewhurst - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (3):569-588.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Two types of circularity.I. L. Humberstone - 1997 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (2):249-280.
'P, therefore, P' without Circularity.Roy A. Sorensen - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (5):245-266.
`P, Therefore, P' Without Circularity.Roy A. Sorensen - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (5):245-266.
Two Types of Circularity.I. L. Humberstone - 1997 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (2):249-280.

View all 8 references / Add more references