Referential Opacity and Epistemic Logic

Logica Universalis 5 (2):225-247 (2011)

Referential opacity is the failure of substitutivity of identity (SI, for short) and in Quine’s view of existential generalization (EG, for short) as well. Quine thinks that its “solution” in epistemic and doxastic contexts, which relies on the notion of exportation, leads to undesirable results. But epistemic logicians such as Jaakko Hintikka and Wolfgang Lenzen provide another solution based on a different diagnosis: opacity is not, as in Quine’s view, due to the absence of reference, it is rather due to the plurality of references; therefore, one must stabilize the reference to restore SI and EG. However, Hintikka’s semantics remains classical in its treatment of existence, which makes EG non-applicable to possible objects, while in Lenzen’s system, EG is applicable by means of a particular quantifier. But this requires adding the predicate of existence to account for real objects. In this paper, I will show the advantages and disadvantages of both solutions and will end by providing an alternative approach to the problem of non-existent objects, which stays into the frame of possible worlds semantics, but introduces some more restrictions, eliminates the problematic predicate of existence, and applies a neutral quantifier to possible non-existent objects
Keywords Referential opacity  identification  logic of knowledge and belief  transparency  existence  quantification
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DOI 10.1007/s11787-011-0034-5
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Opacity and the Attitudes.Francois Recanati - 2000 - In A. Orenstein & Petr Kotatko (eds.), Knowledge, Language and Logic: Questions for Quine. Kluwer Academic Print on Demand. pp. 367--406.
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The Logic of Knowing.Roderick M. Chisholm - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (25):773-795.

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