Divided into two parts, the first concentrates on the logical properties of propositions, their relation to facts and sentences, and the parallel objects of commands and questions. The second part examines theories of intentionality and discusses the relationship between different theories of naming and different accounts of belief.
In a pair of very important papers, namely “Space, Time and Individuals” in the Journal of Philosophy for October 1955 and “The Indestructibility and Immutability of Substances” in Philosophical Studies for April 1956, Professor N. L. Wilson began something which badly needed beginning, namely the construction of a logically rigorous “substance-language” in which we talk about enduring and changing individuals as we do in common speech, as opposed to the “space-time” language favoured by very many mathematical logicians, perhaps most notably (...) by Quine. This enterprise of Wilson's is one with which I could hardly sympathize more heartily than I do; and one wishes for this logically rigorous “substance-language” not only when one is reading Quine but also when one is reading many other people. How fantastic it is, for instance, that Kotarbinski1 should call his metaphysics “Reism” when the very last kind of entity it has room for is things —instead of them it just has the world-lines or life-histories of things; “fourdimensional worms”, as Wilson says. Wilson, moreover, has at least one point of superiority to another rebel against space-time talk, P. F. Strawson; namely he does seriously attempt to meet formalism with formalism—to show that logical rigour is not a monopoly of the other side. At another point, however, Strawson seems to me to see further than Wilson; he is aware that substance-talk cannot be carried on without tenses, whereas Wilson tries to do without them. Wilson, in short, has indeed brought us out of Egypt; but as yet has us still wandering about the Sinai Peninsula; the Promised Land is a little further on than he has taken us. (shrink)
WHAT do we mean by saying that a being, God for example, is omniscient? One way of answering this question is to translate ‘God is omniscient’ into some slightly more formalised language than colloquial English, e.g. one with variables of a number of different types, including variables replaceable by statements, and quantifiers binding thes.
The man who is isolated over against God is as such rejected by God. But to be this man can only be the choice of the Godless man himself. The witness of the Community of God to every individual man points in this direction: that this choice of the Godless is null and void, that he belongs to Jesus Christ from eternity and thus is not rejected, but rather chosen by God in Jesus Christ, that the reprobation which he deserves (...) on the basis of his wrong choice is borne and removed by Jesus Christ; that on the basis of the true, the Divine choice he is chosen for eternal life with God. The promise of his election will determine him as a member of the Church to become himself a carrier of its witness to the whole world. And the revelation of his rejection can determine him only to believe in Jesus Christ as Him by whom it is borne and removed. (Fourth of Karl Barth's "main theses" on God's Election of Grace in his Dogmatic II/2). (shrink)
We can best begin from Wilson's "simple little puzzle" about Caesar and Antony: "What would the world be like if Julius Caesar had all the properties of Mark Antony and Mark Antony had all the properties of Julius Caesar?" Wilson's own approach to an answer is indirect--he begins by telling us not what such a world would be like but what it would look like. "Clearly the world would look exactly the same under our supposition." But this assumes that the (...) question "What would such a world look like?" is a proper one; which it surely is not. For his answer to it is meaningless until he specifies to whom this supposed world would look as he says it would. It would look exactly the same to him or to me; but would it have looked the same to Caesar or to Antony? In fact Julius Caesar had the experiences of being called "Julius Caesar," being murdered on the Ides of March, and so on, and these are very different experiences from being called "Mark Antony," dallying on the Nile with Cleopatra, and so on; so I don't see how this alternative course of events could possibly have looked the same to Julius Caesar; or--using a similar line of argument--to Mark Antony. So I cannot agree that, as Wilson goes on to say, "our attempt to describe a distinct possible world has produced just the same old world all over again." I am not, indeed, convinced that even a world which looked to everyone just as the actual one does would necessarily be the same world ; but even putting this doubt aside, since the world mentioned wouldn't look to everyone as the actual world does, it wouldn't be the same even by Wilson's own standards. (shrink)