There is a certain popular argument, deriving from Ruth Barcan and Saul Kripke, from the conjunction of the Principle of the Indiscernibility of Identicals (PInI, for short) and the Principle of the Necessity of Self-Identity to the Thesis of the Necessity of Identity. My purpose is to show that this argument does not work, not at least in the form it is often presented. I also give a correct formulation of the argument and point out that PInI is not even (...) needed in the argument for the necessity of identity. (shrink)
I argue that Fregeanism with respect to proper names—the view that modes of presentation are relevant to the contents of proper names—is able to account for the thesis that there are necessarily true a posteriori identity propositions such as the one expressed in “Hesperus is identical with Phosphorus”, whereas the Direct Reference Theory—according to which the semantic function of certain expressions, e.g., proper names, is only to pick out an object —is able to deal with only their necessary truth. Thus, (...) at least in so far as necessarily true a posteriori identity propositions are concerned, Fregeanism should be preferred to the Direct Reference Theory. (shrink)
Leibniz, it seems, wishes to reduce statements involving relations or extrinsic denominations to ones solely in terms of individual accidents or, respectively, intrinsic denominations. His reasons for this appear to be that relations are merely mental things (since they cannot be individual accidents) and that extrinsic denominations do not represent substances as they are on their own. Three interpretations of Leibniz''s reductionism may be distinguished: First, he allowed only monadic predicates in reducing statements (hard reductionism); second, he allowed also `implicitly (...) relational predicates'' such as `loves somebody'' (soft reductionism); third, he allowed also `explicitly relational predicates'' such as `loves Helen'' (nonreductionism). Hard reductionism is problematic with respect to Leibniz''s doctrines of universal expression and incompossibility (among other things). Nonreductionism, in turn, faces insurmountable problems with Leibniz''s doctrine of self-sufficiency and internal identification of substances, as well as with that of individual accidents. The remaining option, soft reductionism, standing between the other two interpretations, arguably avoids at least some of their problems. (shrink)
According Leibniz's thesis of universal expression, each substance expresses the whole world, i.e. all other substances, or, as Leibniz frequently states, from any given complete individual notion (which includes, in internal terms, everything truly attributable to a substance) one can "deduce" or "infer" all truths about the whole world. On the other hand, in Leibniz's view each (created) substance is internally individuated, self-sufficient and independent of other (created) substances. What may be called Leibniz's expression problem is, how to reconcile these (...) views with each other, that is, how a substance that expresses the whole world, even in the sense that the whole world can be "inferred" from its complete individual notion, can be self-sufficient and internally individuated. The purpose of this paper is to give an exact account of this tricky problem of universal expression, an account that retains substances' self-sufficiency under the constraint that all truths about the whole world are to be obtained from complete individual notions. It will also be shown how the explication of universal expression to be given accounts for Leibniz's thesis of universal change, i.e. the view that any change in any substance is reflected as a real, internal change in each and every other substance. (shrink)
I question the received view that Frege advocates the description theory of proper names. First, I argue that the textual evidence for this view from Frege’s writings is not conclusive. Secondly, I propose that the Fregean Sinne (of proper names) may be understood nondescriptionally in terms of symbolhood. Finally, I suggest that in the notorious passages where Frege is apparently supporting the description theory he is just indicating the potential problems with communication with proper names.
Is God a timeless God? One standard argument against the supposition that He is is that it appears to be incompatible with God’s posited omniscience. If God is timeless, He cannot know truths involving temporal indexicals, such as the one I express right now by ”I am sitting now”. In this article, I discuss this argument and consider some replies to it. I focus on the denial of the view according to which knowledge expressed with temporally indexical true statements is (...) relevantly different from knowledge expressed with corresponding statements without indexicals. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to explain and discuss Leibniz’s main objections to the Molinist-Suárezian voluntarist (libertarian) conception of freedom, i.e., the conception involving the supposition of “freedom of indifference” of the will to make contrary choices in exactly the same circumstances. Leibniz’s main objections to the voluntarist conception are the following: (i) it violates the Principle of Sufficient Reason; (ii) it is based on a mistaken picture of the nature of the will.
ABSTRACT The purpose of this paper is to bring out, by means of a simple thought experiment involving demonstratives, a discrepancy between what is expressed and what is believed, and to consider some consequences of this - most notably, whether we might hold, for example, that the ancients never believed that Hesperus is not Phosphorus. RESUMO O objetivo deste artigo é apresentar, por meio de um experimento mental simples envolvendo demonstrativos, uma discrepância entre o que é expresso e o que (...) se acredita, e considerar algumas consequências disso - principalmente se podemos sustentar, por exemplo, que os antigos nunca acreditaram que Hesperus não é Phosphorus. (shrink)
It is shown that typical arguments from intensionality against the Principle of Indiscernibility of Identicals (InI) misconstrue this principle, confusing it with the Principle of Substitution (PS). It has been proposed that Leibniz, in his statements like, "If A is the same as B, then A can be substituted for B, salva veritate, in any proposition", is not applying InI to objects nor PS to signs, but is talking about substitution of concepts in propositions, or applying InI to concepts. It (...) is shown in the paper that since Leibniz holds that there are exceptions to the principle thus stated, either the proposal in question is misguided, or else Leibniz is mistaken in thinking that there are such exceptions. (shrink)
I put forward a version of the Cartesian Argument from Doubt for mind–body dualism. My version utilizes de re statements, which means that it is not vulnerable to the usual charge of intensional fallacy. The key de re statement is, ‘Body is such that its existence is entailed by Mind’s believing that Body does not exist’, which is false, whereas the respective ‘Mind is such that its existence is entailed by Mind’s believing that Body does not exist’ is true.
It is sometimes argued that Leibniz’s metaphysical commitments lead to Spinozist Necessitarianism, i.e., the view, in Spinoza’s words, that “Things could not have been produced by God in any way or in any order other than that in which they have been produced”. Leibniz comments on this passage as follows: “This proposition may be true or false, depending on how it is explained”. I suggest in this paper that what Leibniz means by this comment can be fleshed out by making (...) a distinction between what could have been actual and what is possible. I also address some potential objections to this distinction and attempt to elaborate it by means of comparing Leibniz’s and Alvin Plantinga’s approaches to modality. (shrink)
This chapter begins with a discussion of Kant's theory of judgment-forms. It argues that it is not true in Kant's logic that assertoric or apodeictic judgments imply problematic ones, in the manner in which necessity and truth imply possibility in even the weakest systems of modern modal logic. The chapter then discusses theories of judgment-form after Kant, the theory of quantification, Frege's Begriffsschrift, C. I. Lewis and the beginnings of modern modal logic, the proof-theoretic approach to modal logic, possible world (...) semantics, correspondence theory, and modality and quantification. (shrink)
There is a certain argument against the principle of the indiscernibility of identicals, or the thesis that whatever is true of a thing is true of anything identical with that thing. In this argument, PInI is used together with the self-evident principle of the necessity of self-identity to reach the conclusion, which is held to be paradoxical and, thus, fatal to PInI. My purpose is to show that the argument in question does not have this consequence. Further, I argue that (...) PInI is a universally valid principle which can be used to prove the necessity of identity. (shrink)
It is shown that the coherence of de re belief ascriptions is doubtful in view of certain plausible principles. Subsequently, it is argued, the standard argument against substitutivity in de dicto ascriptions loses some of its power. Also, some possible reactions to these results are considered.
Michael Dummett has advanced, very influentially, the view that Frege means truth conditions by his notion of thought (Gedanke). My aim in this paper is to argue that Dummett and others are mistaken in this claim. First, Frege's aversion of the correspondence theory of truth does not square well with Dummett's claim. Secondly, and more importantly, Grundgesetze I, §32, is the only place where Frege even appears to be talking about truth conditions in connection with his notion of thought -- (...) and even there, I shall show, he does not really identify thoughts with truth conditions, but states only the triviality that a statement such as, say, 'Leibniz is a philosopher' expresses the thought that Leibniz is a philosopher. (shrink)
It is argued that from a genuine Leibnizian point of view the well-known thought experiment, call it BTE, involving a possible world with only two exactly similar objects, cannot be used to refute Leibniz's Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles (LIdI). If the claim that there are two objects in BTE is based on primitive thisnesses, the Leibnizian objection is that there are no such things; and even if there were, then, quite generally, something true of one object – that (...) it has its primitive thisness – would not be true of the other. Secondly, if the duality claim is based on a primitive, irreducible relation of distinctness, the Leibnizian objection is that there are no irreducible relations. Finally, if it is said that the (putatively) two objects in BTE cannot be separately individuated, then BTE is not a counter-example to LIdI, because if there is no individuation, there are no individuals either, while LIdI presupposes that there are individuals. (shrink)
According to the New Theory of Reference, proper names (and indexicals) and natural kind terms are semantically similar to each other but crucially different from definite descriptions and “ordinary” predicates, respectively. New Theorists say that a name, unlike a definite description, is a directly referential nondescriptional rigid designator, which refers “without a mediation of the content” and is not functional (i.e. lacks a Carnapian intension). Natural kind terms, such as ‘horse’ and ‘water’, are held to have similar distinctions, in contrast (...) to other predicates. However, the New Theory contains some problems related to reference, descriptionality, content and meaning. In view of these problems, it will be argued that the distinctive shared feature of proper names and natural kind terms, while technically corresponding to nonfunctionality, is to be explicated in terms of independence of possible worlds, rather than in terms of reference and content: natural kind terms are world-independent predicates, making “worldless” predications. Just as, say, ‘Elvis’ names Elvis even with respect to “Elvisless” worlds, or, rather, names Elvis independently of worlds, natural kind terms are in an important sense “worldless” as well: to talk about Elvis is to talk about him irrespective of moments of time and possible worlds, and is to talk about a human, also irrespective of moments and worlds, while it is not to talk about, say, a drug-addict irrespective of moments, nor about a singer irrespective of worlds. There is no genuinely timeless and worldless predication of the sort “Elvis is (was) bald”, but there is, it seems, such a predication “Elvis is (was) human”. This notion of independence of times and worlds is detached from those of descriptionality and content mediation. (shrink)
I have three main objectives in this essay. First, in chapter 2, I shall put forward and justify what I call worldlessness, by which I mean the following: All truths (as well as falsehoods) are wholly independent of any circumstances, not only time and place but also possible worlds. It follows from this view that whatever is actually true must be taken as true with respect to every possible world, which means that all truths are (in a sense) necessary. However, (...) the account I shall propound is different from what is known in the trade as necessitarianism, i.e. the view that there is only one possible world, viz. the actual one, for the doctrine of the worldlessness of truth values, despite its commitment to the necessity of truths and falsehoods, is quite compatible with the idea of there being other possible worlds. Another important issue in chapter 2, explored in particular in section 2.12, is the claim that there is no real change in the world. Secondly, in chapter 3 I consider the eminent traditional argument for determinism, deriving from Aristotle, namely, logical determinism, i.e. determinism justified by an appeal to the logical principle of bivalence (that all proper statements, including those concerning the future, are either true or false). In this connection I try to show that, (i), the formulation of the conclusion of this argument as "Whatever will happen will happen of necessity" is implausible, at least from the modern point of view, (ii), the formulation as "Whatever will happen will happen inevitably" is more to the point, and (iii), on the basis of the worldless and timeless aspect advocated in chapter 2, this latter formulation is quite harmless, essentially amounting to the trivial statement, "Whatever will happen will happen". Thirdly, in chapter 4 I study theological determinism, or determinism that arises from God's supposed providential control over everything that happens. In this connection, I shall survey some historical accounts of the relation between human free will and determinism (not only theological but also causal determinism); the philosophers the views of whom I shall attend to include Chrysippus, St. Augustine, Boethius and Aquinas. I shall in particular consider G.W. Leibniz' theodicean aspirations, viz. his solution to the problem of evil and, especially, his compatibilist attempts to reconcile human free will with the strictly deterministic flow of actual events. I think it is important to try to explicate Leibniz' ingenious account of these matters, since it seems that it has not been fully appreciated in the literature, not even by contemporary Leibniz scholars (such as B. Mates, R.C. Sleigh, C. Wilson, R.M. Adams and D. Rutherford). In providing the Leibnizian compatibilist solution of the problem of determinism and freedom in chapter 4, I shall utilize the approach of chapter 2. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is (i) to defend Frege's view that the referents of predicates are certain kinds of functions, or "concepts", i.e. incomplete entities, and not their extensions (i.e. sets of objects described by those predicates); and (ii) to justify, by a natural augmentation of Frege's semantic theory with modal ingredients, Frege's position that the sameness between concepts, or property-sharing, turns only on the sameness of extensions. Several problems with the doctrine that a predicate's extension is its referent (...) are presented, including the regress argument and an argument from the modern philosophy of language related to natural kind terms. In this connection, it is also pointed out that all referential expressions are in a sense rigid. (shrink)
According to the standard view, alethic (or modal) statements are intensional in that the Principle of Substitution (PS) fails for them -- e.g. substituting 'nine' in "Necessarily, nine is composite" with the co-referring 'the number of planets' turns this statement from true to false. It is argued in the paper that we could avoid ascribing intensionality to alethic statements altogether by separating between singular and functional uses of definite descriptions: on the singular use the description given above amounts to 'the (...) actual number of planets', which is salva veritate substitutable to 'nine' in all alethic statements; on the functional use, in turn, that description is really a function from possible worlds to numbers, and thus the Principle of Substitution is not violated in this case either, since such a function cannot be held to be co-referential with 'nine'. (shrink)
It is commonly held, plausibly, that many true beliefs are true only contingently, that is, are actually true (or true with respect to the actual world) but would be false were the world in some relevant ways otherwise (i.e. are false with respect to some other possible worlds). However, a radically different approach, according to which no belief is contingently true, is entirely defensible. The key point in this alternative approach is that each belief concerns the world in which the (...) believer is (or would be) situated, which makes it the case that, say, the actual belief that Kofi Annan is not bald is different from the belief, in any other world, that Kofi Annan is not bald. This difference is further backed up by considerations related to disagreement between believers, and to knowledge. The most important objection to this alternative approach is that it cannot be right since it makes all true beliefs necessarily true. It will be shown, as a reply to this objection, that under this alternative approach it can still be said truly, for instance, that Annan is not bald but could have been so. (shrink)
I show how a de se belief ascription such as "Privatus believes that he himself is rich" may be dealt with by means of a scope distinction over and above that one separating de dicto and de re ascriptions. The idea is, roughly, that 'Privatus...himself' forms in this statement a unity, a single "spread" sign that is at the same time in a de re and de dicto position. If so, H-N. Castañeda's contention that the "quasi-indicator" 'he himself' ('she herself', (...) 'it itself') belongs to a "unique, irreducible logical category" of singular terms is, at best, misleading. Further, my account is superior to the well-known theories of R. Chisholm and D. Lewis, according to which de se ascriptions state that the believer "directly attributes properties to himself or herself". 1. Introduction 2. Chisholm and Lewis on de se belief ascriptions 3. Fregean and Sellarsian theories of belief ascriptions 4. Geach on the reflexive pronoun 5. Admiring and self-admiring 6. A solution to the problem de se belief ascriptions 7. Belief de se 8. Conclusion. (shrink)
A certain argument has been given in the literature to the effect that generalism (the view that all facts about all possible worlds can (in principle) be given in general terms, that is, without resorting to nonqualitative thisnesses) excludes transworld identitism (the view that there are numerical identities through possible worlds). It follows from this argument, among other things, that transworld identitism entails Scotistic haecceitism (acceptance of nonqualitative thisnesses), and that generalists subscribing to de reism (the view that there are (...) true modal statements de re) are committed to counterpartism (the view that sameness through worlds is not numerical identity). The purpose of this paper is to resist the argument in question by constructing generalist transworld identitism, that is, by providing an account involving identities through possible worlds, without resorting to nonqualitative thisnesses. (shrink)
The paper discusses Leibniz's theory of denominations, expression, and individual notions, the central claim being that the key to many of Leibniz's fundamental theses is to consider his argument, starting from his predicate-in-subject account of truth (that in a true statement the notion of the predicate is contained in that of the subject), against purely extrinsic denominations: this argument shows why there is an internal foundation for all denominations, why everything in the world is interconnected, why each substance expresses all (...) the others, and why every change in the world is reflected as a real, internal change in every substance. (shrink)