To say that this lump of sugar is soluble is to say that it would dissolve, if submerged anywhere, at any time and in any parcel of water. To say that this sleeper knows French, is to say that if, for example, he is ever addressed in French, or shown any French newspaper, he responds pertinently in French, acts appropriately or translates correctly into his own tongue.
Free choice permission, a crucial test case concerning the semantics/ pragmatics boundary, usually receives a pragmatic treatment. But its pragmatic features follow from its semantics. We observe that free choice inferences are defeasible, and defend a semantics of free choice permission as strong permission expressed in terms of a modal conditional in a nonmonotonic logic.
The crucial feature of obligation sentences to which the puzzles point is that such sentences, and evaluative sentences more generally, are defeasible. They may be warranted, given some information, only to be defeated by further information. A theory that recognizes this no longer needs to see conditional obligation as anything more than a simple combination of unary obligation and the conditional.
John McDowell, Richard Rorty, and Robert Brandom invoke Sellars’s arguments against the Myth of the Given as having shown that the Given is nothing more than a myth. But most of Sellars’s arguments attack logical atomism, not the framework of givenness as such. Moreover, they do not succeed. At crucial points the arguments confuse the perspectives of a knower and those attributing knowledge to a knower. Only one argument-the “inconsistent triad” argument-addresses the Myth of the Given as such, and there (...) are several ways of escaping its conclusion. Invocations of Sellars’s refutation of the Myth of the Given are empty. (shrink)
Pragma-dialectics is dynamic, context-sensitive, and multi-agent; it promises theories of fallacy and argumentative structure. But pragma-dialectic theory and practice are not yet fully in harmony. Key definitions of the theory fall short of explicating the analyses that pragma-dialecticians actually do. Many discussions involve more than two participants with different and mutually incompatible standpoints. Success in such a discussion may be more than success against each opponent. Pragma-dialectics does well at analyzing arguments advanced by one party, directed at another party; it (...) does much less well at analyzing arguments directed at several opponents at once or at convincing an audience. I suggest a strategy of construing fallacies as defeasible arguments relying on reasonable default principles but applying them in circumstances in which they are undercut or overridden. (shrink)
Reality and Humean Supervenience confronts the reader with central aspects in the philosophy of David Lewis, whose work in ontology, metaphysics, logic, probability, philosophy of mind, and language articulates a unique and systematic foundation for modern physicalism.
I investigate substitutional interpretations of quantifiers that count existential sentences true just in case they have true instances in a parametric extension of the language. I devise a semantics meeting four criteria: (1) it accounts adequately for natural language quantification; (2) it provides an account of justification in abstract sciences; (3) it constitutes a continuous semantics for natural and formal languages; and (4) it is purely substitutional, containing no appeal to referential interpretations. The prospects for a purely substitutional theory of (...) quantification are thus no worse than for a referential account. (shrink)
This paper presents a nonmonotonic deontic logic based on commonsense entailment. It establishes criteria a successful account of obligation should satisfy, and develops a theory that satisfies them. The theory includes two conditional notions of prima facie obligation. One is constitutive; the other is epistemic, and follows nonmonotonically from the constitutive notion. The paper defines unconditional notions of prima facie obligation in terms of the conditional notions.
Conditionality is a modal feature (in only the trivial sense, in the case of the material conditional). For φ to be conditioned on ψ is for the appearance of φ and ψ to be connected in some way over some region of modal space.
Modern empiricism has been conditioned in large part by two dogmas. One is a belief in some fundamental cleavage between truths which are analytic, or grounded in meanings independently of matters of fact and truths which are synthetic, or grounded in fact. The other dogma is reductionism: the belief that each meaningful statement is equivalent to some logical construct upon terms which refer to immediate experience. Both dogmas, I shall argue, are ill founded. One effect of abandoning them is, as (...) we shall see, a blurring of the supposed boundary between speculative metaphysics and natural science. Another effect is a shift toward pragmatism. (shrink)
In this paper I shall attempt to outline a nominalistic theory of mathematical truth. I call my theory nominalistic because it avoids a real (see ) ontological commitment to abstract entities. Traditionally, nominalists have found it difficult to justify any reference to infinite collections in mathematics. Even those who have tried to do so have typically restricted themselves to predicative and, thus, denumerable realms. I Indeed, many have linked impredicative definitions to platonism; nominalists have tended to agree with Weyl that (...) impredicative analysis is "a house built on sand" in a "logician's paradise."2 As a result, they have either worried about how much of mathematics empirical science requires (e.g., ) or renounced mathematical truth altogether (e.g., , ). My theory, in contrast, seeks a nominalistic interpretation of the entire body of classical mathematics. It tries to secure for the nominalist not merely the natural numbers but the reals, the ordinals, and inaccessible cardinals as well. If I am right, then nominalists can declare, with Goodman and Quine, that "any system that countenances abstract entities we deem unsatisfactory as a final philosophy" (,105), and, at the same time, with Hilbert, that "no one shall drive us out of the paradise which Cantor has created for us" (, 141). I cannot hope to convince you, in this small space, that my goal is fully achievable. Here I shall try to justify a smaller contention: that if we can explain our knowledge of logic (and of language generally), we can also explain our knowledge of mathematics. Given a nominalistic theory of logic, therefore, we can construct a nominalistic theory of mathematical truth. I shall thus argue for an epistemological thesis of logicism: any epistemology that suffices for our knowledge of logic also suffices for mathematics. (shrink)
I extend theories of nonmonotonic reasoning to account for reasons allowing free choice. My approach works with a wide variety of approaches to nonmonotonic reasoning and explains the connection between reasons for kinds of action and reasons for actions or subkinds falling under them. I use an Anderson–Kanger reduction of reason statements, identifying key principles in the logic of reasons.
This paper develops a metaphysically flexible theory of quantification broad enough to incorporate many distinct theories of objects. Quite different, mutually incompatible conceptions of the nature of objects and of reference find representation within it. Some conceptions yield classical first-order logic; some yield weaker logics. Yet others yield notions of validity that are proper extensions of classical logic.
Here is my copy of William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience . This classic book was first published in 1902, and has remained in print ever since. The basic issues James discusses here remain of vital concern to people in psychology and religion today. I encourage you to go to your local bookstore and buy a copy of this interesting book. (It is in the public domain, and quite reasonably..
My aim is to show that supervenience claims follow from instances of a principle I call the principle of defeasibly sufficient reason. This principle construes the completeness of physics quite differently from strong or reductive physicalism and encodes both scientific and common sense patterns of explanation and justification. Rather than thoroughly defending the principle in the short space of this paper, I will sketch how one might defend it and a resulting fainthearted physicalism.
In what follows I have merely tried to state, one by one, some of the most important points in which my philosophical position differs from positions which have been taken up by some other philosophers. It may be that the points which I have had room to mention are not really the most important, and possibly some of them may be points as to which no philosopher has ever really differed from me. But, to the best of my belief, each (...) is a point as to which many have really differed; although (in most cases, at all events) each is also a point as to which many have agreed with me. (shrink)
Empiricists are in general rather suspicious with respect to any kind of abstract entities like properties, classes, relations, numbers, propositions, etc. They usually feel much more in sympathy with nominalists than with realists (in the medieval sense). As far as possible they try to avoid any reference to abstract entities and to restrict themselves to what is sometimes called a nominalistic language, i.e., one not containing such references. However, within certain scientific contexts it seems hardly possible to avoid them. In (...) the case of mathematics some empiricists try to find a way out by treating the whole of mathematics as a mere calculus, a formal system for which no interpretation is given, or can be given. Accordingly, the mathematician is said to speak not about numbers, functions and infinite classes but merely about meaningless symbols and formulas manipulated according to given formal rules. In physics it is more difficult to shun the suspected entities because the language of physics serves for the communication of reports and predictions and hence cannot be taken as a mere calculus. A physicist who is suspicious of abstract entities may perhaps try to declare a certain part of the language of physics as uninterpreted and uninterpretable, that part which refers to real numbers as space-time coordinates or as values of physical magnitudes, to functions, limits, etc. More probably he will just speak about all these things like anybody else but with an uneasy conscience, like a man who in his everyday life does with qualms many things which are not in accord with the high moral principles he professes on Sundays. Recently the problem of abstract entities has arisen again in connection with semantics, the theory of meaning and truth. Some semanticists say that certain expressions designate certain entities, and among these designated entities they include not only concrete material things but also abstract entities e.g., properties as designated by predicates and propositions as designated.... (shrink)
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One of the leading member of logical positivism, he was born in Orianenburg, Germany, in 1905. Between March 17 and 24, 1982, Hempel gave an interview to Richard Nolan; the text of that interview was published for the first time in 1988 in Italian translation (Hempel, 'Autobiografia intellettuale' in Oltre il positivismo logico , Armando : Rome, Italy : 1988). This interview is the main source of the following biographical notes.
Lys. You have seen the exhibition of the man fighting in armour, Nicias and Laches, but we did not tell you at the time the reason why my friend Melesias and I asked you to go with us and see him. I think that we may as well confess what this was, for we certainly ought not to have any reserve with you. The reason was, that we were intending to ask your advice. Some laugh at the very notion of (...) advising others, and when they are asked will not say what they think. They guess at the wishes of the person who asks them, and answer according to his, and not according to their own, opinion. But as we know that you are good judges, and will say exactly what you think, we have taken you into our counsels. The matter about which I am making all this preface is as follows: Melesias and I have two sons; that is his son, and he is named Thucydides, after his grandfather; and this is mine, who is also called after his grandfather, Aristides. Now, we are resolved to take the greatest care of the youths, and not to let them run about as they like, which is too often the way with the young. (shrink)
About the online edition. This was scanned from the 1910 edition and mechanically checked against a commercial copy of the text from CDROM. Differences were corrected against the paper edition. The text itself is thus a highly accurate rendition. The footnotes were entered manually.
Modern Idealism, if it asserts any general conclusion about the universe at all, asserts that it is spiritual. There are two points about this assertion to which I wish to call attention. These points are that, whatever be its exact meaning, it is certainly meant to assert (1) that the universe is very different indeed from what it seems, and (2) that it has quite a large number of properties which it does not seem to have. Chairs and tables and (...) mountains seem to be very different from us; but, when the whole universe is declared to be spiritual, it is certainly meant to assert that they are far more like us than we think. The idealist means to assert that they are in some sense neither lifeless nor unconscious, as they certainly seem to be; and I do not think his language is so grossly deceptive, but that we may assume him to believe that they really are very different indeed from what they seem. And secondly when he declares that they are spiritual, he means to include in that term quite a large number of different properties. When the whole universe is declared to be spiritual, it is meant not only that it is in some sense conscious, but that it has what we recognise in ourselves as the higher forms of consciousness. That it is intelligent; that it is purposeful; that it is not mechanical; all these different things are commonly asserted of it. In general, it may be said, this phrase 'reality is spiritual' excites and expresses the belief that the.. (shrink)