A New Logic of Technical Malfunction

Studia Logica 101 (3):547-581 (2013)
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Abstract

Aim of the paper is to present a new logic of technical malfunction. The need for this logic is motivated by a simple-sounding philosophical question: Is a malfunctioning corkscrew, which fails to uncork bottles, nonetheless a corkscrew? Or in general terms, is a malfunctioning F, which fails to do what Fs do, nonetheless an F? We argue that ‘malfunctioning’ denotes the modifier Malfunctioning rather than a property, and that the answer depends on whether Malfunctioning is subsective or privative. If subsective, a malfunctioning F is an F; if privative, a malfunctioning F is not an F. An intensional logic is required to raise and answer the question, because modifiers operate directly on properties and not on sets or individuals. This new logic provides the formal tools to reason about technical malfunction by means of a logical analysis of the sentence “a is a malfunctioning F”

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References found in this work

Semantics in generative grammar.Irene Heim & Angelika Kratzer - 1998 - Malden, MA: Blackwell. Edited by Angelika Kratzer.
Essence and modality.Kit Fine - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8 (Logic and Language):1-16.
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Sameness and Substance Renewed.David Wiggins - 2001 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by David Wiggins.

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