Intensionality from Self-Reference

Abstract

If a semantically open language has no constraints on self-reference, one can prove an absurdity. The argument exploits a self-referential function symbol where the expressed function ends up being intensional in virtue of self-reference. The prohibition on intensional functions thus entails that self-reference cannot be unconstrained, even in a language that is free of semantic terms. However, since intensional functions are already excluded in classical logic, there are no drastic revisionary implications here. Still, the argument reveals a new sort of intensional context, one which does not depend on a propositional attitude verb, a modal operator, an idiom like 'so called', etc. Moreover, since classical logicians do not seem aware of the potential danger with self-reference, a word of warning is in order.

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References found in this work

Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Wiley-Blackwell.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.
Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):278-279.

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Citations of this work

Circularity is Still Scary.Paula Teijeiro - 2012 - Análisis Filosófico 32 (1):31-35.

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