The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is an open access, dynamic reference work designed to organize professional philosophers so that they can write, edit, and maintain a reference work in philosophy that is responsive to new research. From its inception, the SEP was designed so that each entry is maintained and kept up to date by an expert or group of experts in the field. All entries and substantive updates are refereed by the members of a distinguished Editorial Board before they (...) are made public. (shrink)
This book tackles the issues that arise in connection with intensional logic -- a formal system for representing and explaining the apparent failures of certain important principles of inference such as the substitution of identicals and existential generalization -- and intentional states --mental states such as beliefs, hopes, and desires that are directed towards the world. The theory offers a unified explanation of the various kinds of inferential failures associated with intensional logic but also unifies the study of intensional contexts (...) and intentional states by grounding the explanation of both phenomena in a single theory. When an axiomatized realm of abstract entities is added to the metaphysical structure of the world, we can use them to identify and individuate the contents of directed mental states. The special abstract entities can be viewed as the objectified contents of mental files, and they play a crucial role in the analysis of truth conditions of the sentences involved in inferential failures. (shrink)
In this book, Zalta attempts to lay the axiomatic foundations of metaphysics by developing and applying a (formal) theory of abstract objects. The cornerstones include a principle which presents precise conditions under which there are abstract objects and a principle which says when apparently distinct such objects are in fact identical. The principles are constructed out of a basic set of primitive notions, which are identified at the end of the Introduction, just before the theorizing begins. The main reason for (...) producing a theory which defines a logical space of abstract objects is that it may have a great deal of explanatory power. It is hoped that the data explained by means of the theory will be of interest to pure and applied metaphysicians, logicians and linguists, and pure and applied epistemologists. (shrink)
The simplest quantified modal logic combines classical quantification theory with the propositional modal logic K. The models of simple QML relativize predication to possible worlds and treat the quantifier as ranging over a single fixed domain of objects. But this simple QML has features that are objectionable to actualists. By contrast, Kripke-models, with their varying domains and restricted quantifiers, seem to eliminate these features. But in fact, Kripke-models also have features to which actualists object. Though these philosophers have introduced variations (...) on Kripke-models to eliminate their objectionable features, the most well-known variations all have difficulties of their own. The present authors reexamine simple QML and discover that, in addition to having a possibilist interpretation, it has an actualist interpretation as well. By introducing a new sort of existing abstract entity, the contingently nonconcrete, they show that the seeming drawbacks of the simplest QML are not drawbacks at all. Thus, simple QML is independent of certain metaphysical questions. (shrink)
Some recently-proposed counterexamples to the traditional definition of essential property do not require a separate logic of essence. Instead, the examples can be analysed in terms of the logic and theory of abstract objects. This theory distinguishes between abstract and ordinary objects, and provides a general analysis of the essential properties of both kinds of object. The claim ‘x has F necessarily’ becomes ambiguous in the case of abstract objects, and in the case of ordinary objects there are various ways (...) to make the definition of ‘F is essential to x’ more fine-grained. Consequently, the traditional definition of essential property for abstract objects in terms of modal notions is not correct, and for ordinary objects the relationship between essential properties and modality, once properly understood, addresses the counterexample. (shrink)
In "Actualism or Possibilism?" (Philosophical Studies, 84 (2-3), December 1996), James Tomberlin develops two challenges for actualism. The challenges are to account for the truth of certain sentences without appealing to merely possible objects. After canvassing the main actualist attempts to account for these phenomena, he then criticizes the new conception of actualism that we described in our paper "In Defense of the Simplest Quantified Modal Logic" (Philosophical Perspectives 8: Philosophy of Logic and Language, Atascadero, CA: Ridgeview, 1994). We respond (...) to Tomberlin's criticism by showing that we wouldn't analyze the problematic claim (e.g., "Ponce de Leon searched for the fountain of youth") in the way he suggests. (shrink)
In this paper, we develop an alternative strategy, Platonized Naturalism, for reconciling naturalism and Platonism and to account for our knowledge of mathematical objects and properties. A systematic (Principled) Platonism based on a comprehension principle that asserts the existence of a plenitude of abstract objects is not just consistent with, but required (on transcendental grounds) for naturalism. Such a comprehension principle is synthetic, and it is known a priori. Its synthetic a priori character is grounded in the fact that it (...) is an essential part of the logic in which any scientific theory will be formulated and so underlies (our understanding of) the meaningfulness of any such theory (this is why it is required for naturalism). Moreover, the comprehension principle satisfies naturalist standards of reference, knowledge, and ontological parsimony! As part of our argument, we identify mathematical objects as abstract individuals in the domain governed by the comprehension principle, and we show that our knowledge of mathematical truths is linked to our knowledge of that principle. (shrink)
In this paper, the authors show that there is a reading of St. Anselm's ontological argument in Proslogium II that is logically valid (the premises entail the conclusion). This reading takes Anselm's use of the definite description "that than which nothing greater can be conceived" seriously. Consider a first-order language and logic in which definite descriptions are genuine terms, and in which the quantified sentence "there is an x such that..." does not imply "x exists". Then, using an ordinary logic (...) of descriptions and a connected greater-than relation, God's existence logically follows from the claims: (a) there is a conceivable thing than which nothing greater is conceivable, and (b) if <em>x</em> doesn't exist, something greater than x can be conceived. To deny the conclusion, one must deny one of the premises. However, the argument involves no modal inferences and, interestingly, Descartes' ontological argument can be derived from it. (shrink)
In this paper, we compare two theories, modal Meinongianism and object theory, with respect to several issues that have been discussed recently in the literature. In particular, we raise some objections for MM, undermine some of the objections that its defenders raise for OT, and we point out some virtues of the latter with respect to the former.
The foregoing set of theorems forms an effective foundation for the theory of situations and worlds. All twenty-five theorems seem to be basic, reasonable principles that structure the domains of properties, relations, states of affairs, situations, and worlds in true and philosophically interesting ways. They resolve 15 of the 19 choice points defined in Barwise (1989) (see Notes 22, 27, 31, 32, 35, 36, 39, 43, and 45). Moreover, important axioms and principles stipulated by situation theorists are derived (see Notes (...) 33, 37, and 38). This is convincing evidence that the foregoing constitutes a theory of situations. Note that worlds are just a special kind of situation, and that the basic theorems of world theory, which were derived in previous work, can still be derived in this situation-theoretic setting. So there seems to be no fundamental incompatibility between situations and worlds — they may peacably coexist in the foundations of metaphysics. The theory may therefore reconcile two research programs that appeared to be heading off in different directions. And we must remind the reader that the general metaphysical principles underlying our theory were not designed with the application to situation theory in mind. This suggests that the general theory and the underlying distinction have explanatory power, for they seem to relate and systematize apparently unrelated phenomena. (shrink)
We investigate the form of mathematical structuralism that acknowledges the existence of structures and their distinctive structural elements. This form of structuralism has been subject to criticisms recently, and our view is that the problems raised are resolved by proper, mathematics-free theoretical foundations. Starting with an axiomatic theory of abstract objects, we identify a mathematical structure as an abstract object encoding the truths of a mathematical theory. From such foundations, we derive consequences that address the main questions and issues that (...) have arisen. Namely, elements of different structures are different. A structure and its elements ontologically depend on each other. There are no haecceities and each element of a structure must be discernible within the theory. These consequences are not developed piecemeal but rather follow from our definitions of basic structuralist concepts. (shrink)
The authors investigated the ontological argument computationally. The premises and conclusion of the argument are represented in the syntax understood by the automated reasoning engine PROVER9. Using the logic of definite descriptions, the authors developed a valid representation of the argument that required three non-logical premises. PROVER9, however, discovered a simpler valid argument for God's existence from a single non-logical premise. Reducing the argument to one non-logical premise brings the investigation of the soundness of the argument into better focus. Also, (...) the simpler representation of the argument brings out clearly how the ontological argument constitutes an early example of a ?diagonal argument? and, moreover, one used to establish a positive conclusion rather than a paradox. (shrink)
The author describes an interpreted modal language and produces some clear examples of logical and analytic truths that are not necessary. These examples: (a) are far simpler than the ones cited in the literature, (b) show that a popular conception of logical truth in modal languages is incorrect, and (c) show that there are contingent truths knowable ``a priori'' that do not depend on fixing the reference of a term.
Computational philosophy is the use of mechanized computational techniques to unearth philosophical insights that are either difficult or impossible to find using traditional philosophical methods. Computational metaphysics is computational philosophy with a focus on metaphysics. In this paper, we (a) develop results in modal metaphysics whose discovery was computer assisted, and (b) conclude that these results work not only to the obvious benefit of philosophy but also, less obviously, to the benefit of computer science, since the new computational techniques that (...) led to these results may be more broadly applicable within computer science. The paper includes a description of our background methodology and how it evolved, and a discussion of our new results. (shrink)
In (1991), Meinwald initiated a major change of direction in the study of Plato’s Parmenides and the Third Man Argument. On her conception of the Parmenides , Plato’s language systematically distinguishes two types or kinds of predication, namely, predications of the kind ‘x is F pros ta alla’ and ‘x is F pros heauto’. Intuitively speaking, the former is the common, everyday variety of predication, which holds when x is any object (perceptible object or Form) and F is a property (...) which x exempliﬁes or instantiates in the traditional sense. The latter is a special mode of predication which holds when x is a Form and F is a property which is, in some sense, part of the nature of that Form. Meinwald (1991, p. 75, footnote 18) traces the discovery of this distinction in Plato’s work to Frede (1967), who marks the distinction between pros allo and kath’ hauto predications by placing subscripts on the copula ‘is’. (shrink)
The appeal to possible worlds in the semantics of modal logic and the philosophical defense of possible worlds as an essential element of ontology have led philosophers and logicians to introduce other kinds of `worlds' in order to study various philosophical and logical phenomena. The literature contains discussions of `non-normal worlds', `non-classical worlds', `non-standard worlds', and `impossible worlds'. These atypical worlds have been used in the following ways: (1) to interpret unusual modal logics, (2) to distinguish logically equivalent propositions, (3) (...) to solve the problems associated with propositional attitude contexts, intentional contexts, and counterfactuals with impossible antecedents, and (4) to interpret systems of relevant and paraconsistent logic. However, those who have attempted to develop a genuine metaphysical theory of such atypical worlds tend to move too quickly from philosophical characterizations to formal semantics. (shrink)
A formula is a contingent logical truth when it is true in every model M but, for some model M , false at some world of M . We argue that there are such truths, given the logic of actuality. Our argument turns on defending Tarski’s definition of truth and logical truth, extended so as to apply to modal languages with an actuality operator. We argue that this extension is the philosophically proper account of validity. We counter recent arguments to (...) the contrary presented in Hanson’s ‘Actuality, Necessity, and Logical Truth’ (Philos Stud 130:437–459, 2006 ). (shrink)
In this paper, we investigate (1) what can be salvaged from the original project of "logicism" and (2) what is the best that can be done if we lower our sights a bit. Logicism is the view that "mathematics is reducible to logic alone", and there are a variety of reasons why it was a non-starter. We consider the various ways of weakening this claim so as to produce a "neologicism". Three ways are discussed: (1) expand the conception of logic (...) used in the reduction, (2) allow the addition of analytic-sounding principles to logic so that the reduction is not to "logic alone" but to logic and truths knowable a priori, and (3) revise the conception of "reducible". We show how the current versions of neologicism fit into this classification scheme, and then focus on a kind of neologicism which we take to have the most potential for achieving the epistemological goals of the original logicist project. We argue that that the "weaker" the form of neologicism, the more likely it is to be a new form of logicism, and show how our preferred system, though mathematically weak, is metaphysically and epistemogically strong, and can "reduce" arbitrary mathematical theories to logic and analytic truths, if given a legitimate new sense of "reduction". (shrink)
In this paper, the author derives the Dedekind-Peano axioms for number theory from a consistent and general metaphysical theory of abstract objects. The derivation makes no appeal to primitive mathematical notions, implicit definitions, or a principle of infinity. The theorems proved constitute an important subset of the numbered propositions found in Frege's *Grundgesetze*. The proofs of the theorems reconstruct Frege's derivations, with the exception of the claim that every number has a successor, which is derived from a modal axiom that (...) (philosophical) logicians implicitly accept. In the final section of the paper, there is a brief philosophical discussion of how the present theory relates to the work of other philosophers attempting to reconstruct Frege's conception of numbers and logical objects. (shrink)
of my axiomatic theory of abstract objects.<sup>1</sup> The theory asserts the ex- istence not only of ordinary properties, relations, and propositions, but also of abstract individuals and abstract properties and relations. The.
The authors provide an object-theoretic analysis of two paradoxes in the theory of possible worlds and propositions stemming from Russell and Kaplan. After laying out the paradoxes, the authors provide a brief overview of object theory and point out how syntactic restrictions that prevent object-theoretic versions of the classical paradoxes are justified philosophically. The authors then trace the origins of the Russell paradox to a problematic application of set theory in the definition of worlds. Next the authors show that an (...) object-theoretic analysis of the Kaplan paradox reveals that there is no genuine paradox at all, as the central premise of the paradox is simply a logical falsehood and hence can be rejected on the strongest possible grounds—not only in object theory but for the very framework of propositional modal logic in which Kaplan frames his argument. The authors close by fending off a possible objection that object theory avoids the Russell paradox only by refusing to incorporate set theory and, hence, that the object-theoretic solution is only a consequence of the theory’s weakness. (shrink)
Our computational metaphysics group describes its use of automated reasoning tools to study Leibniz’s theory of concepts. We start with a reconstruction of Leibniz’s theory within the theory of abstract objects (henceforth ‘object theory’). Leibniz’s theory of concepts, under this reconstruction, has a non-modal algebra of concepts, a concept-containment theory of truth, and a modal metaphysics of complete individual concepts. We show how the object-theoretic reconstruction of these components of Leibniz’s theory can be represented for investigation by means of automated (...) theorem provers and finite model builders. The fundamental theorem of Leibniz’s theory is derived using these tools. (shrink)
In this paper, the authors describe their initial investigations in computational metaphysics. Our method is to implement axiomatic metaphysics in an automated reasoning system. In this paper, we describe what we have discovered when the theory of abstract objects is implemented in PROVER9 (a first-order automated reasoning system which is the successor to OTTER). After reviewing the second-order, axiomatic theory of abstract objects, we show (1) how to represent a fragment of that theory in PROVER9's first-order syntax, and (2) how (...) PROVER9 then finds proofs of interesting theorems of metaphysics, such as that every possible world is maximal. We conclude the paper by discussing some issues for further research. (shrink)
Mark Balaguer’s project in this book is extremely ambitious; he sets out to defend both platonism and ﬁctionalism about mathematical entities. Moreover, Balaguer argues that at the end of the day, platonism and ﬁctionalism are on an equal footing. Not content to leave the matter there, however, he advances the anti-metaphysical conclusion that there is no fact of the matter about the existence of mathematical objects.1 Despite the ambitious nature of this project, for the most part Balaguer does not shortchange (...) the reader on rigor; all the main theses advanced are argued for at length and with remarkable clarity and cogency. There are, of course, gaps in the account but these should not be allowed to overshadow the sig-. (shrink)
In the debate about the nature and identity of possible worlds, philosophers have neglected the parallel questions about the nature and identity of moments of time. These are not questions about the structure of time in general, but rather about the internal structure of each individual time. Times and worlds share the following structural similarities: both are maximal with respect to propositions (at every world and time, either p or p is true, for every p); both are consistent; both are (...) closed (every modal consequence of a proposition true at a world is also true at that world, and every tense-theoretic consequence of a proposition true at a time is also true at that time); just as there is a unique actual world, there is a unique present moment; and just as a proposition is necessarily true iff true at all worlds, a proposition is eternally true iff true at all times. In this paper, I show that a simple extension of my theory of worlds yields a theory of times in which the above structural similarities between the two are consequences. (shrink)
In its approach to fiction and fictional discourse, pretense theory focuses on the behaviors that we engage in once we pretend that something is true. These may include pretending to name, pretending to refer, pretending to admire, and various other kinds of make-believe. Ordinary discourse about fictions is analyzed as a kind of institutionalized manner of speaking. Pretense, make-believe, and manners of speaking are all accepted as complex patterns of behavior that prove to be systematic in various ways. In this (...) paper, I attempt to show: (1) that this systematicity is captured in the basic distinctions and representations that are central to the formal theory of abstract objects, and (2) that this formal theory need not be interpreted platonistically, but may instead have an interpretation on which the `objects' of the theory are things that pretense theorists already accept, namely, complex patterns of linguistic behavior. The surprising conclusion, then, is that a certain Wittgensteinian approach to meaning (e.g., the meaning of a term like `Holmes' is constituted by its pattern of use) bears an interesting relationship to a formal metaphysical theory and the semantic analyses of discourse constructed in terms of that theory---the former offers a naturalized interpretation of the latter, yet the latter makes the former more precise. (shrink)
After defining a standard modal language and semantics, we offer some clear examples of logical and analytic truths that are not necessary. These examples: (a) are far simpler than the ones cited in the literature, (b) show that a popular conception of logical truth in modal languages is incorrect, and (c) show that there are contingent truths knowable ``a priori'' that do not depend on fixing the reference of a term.
Current versions of nominalism in the philosophy of mathematics have the benefit of avoiding commitment to the existence of mathematical objects. But this comes with the cost of not taking mathematical theories literally. Jody Azzouni's _Deflating Existential Consequence_ has recently challenged this conclusion by formulating a nominalist view that lacks this cost. In this paper, we argue that, as it stands, Azzouni's proposal does not yet succeed. It faces a dilemma to the effect that either the view is not nominalist (...) or it fails to take mathematics literally. After presenting the dilemma, we suggest a possible solution for the nominalist. (shrink)
The author engages a question raised about theories of nonexistent objects. The question concerns the way names of fictional characters, when analyzed as names which denote nonexistent objects, acquire their denotations. Since nonexistent objects cannot causally interact with existent objects, it is thought that we cannot appeal to a `dubbing' or a `baptism'. The question is, therefore, what is the starting point of the chain? The answer is that storytellings are to be thought of as extended baptisms, and the details (...) of this response receive attention in the paper. Once the storytelling is complete, and the characters have been baptized, a priori metaphysical principles linking the storytelling with the realm of nonexistent objects provide the referential, non-causal connection between the names used in the storytelling and the objects denoted by such names. [This is the original English version of an article that first appeared in German translation, translated into German by Arnold Günther and published in the Zeitschrift für Semiotik 9/1-2 (1987): 85-95. The version that appears here is, for the most part, unaltered.]. (shrink)
In this paper, the author develops a theory of concepts and shows that it captures many of the ideas about concepts that Leibniz expressed in his work. Concepts are first analyzed in terms of a precise background theory of abstract objects, and once concept summation and concept containment are defined, the axioms and theorems of Leibniz's calculus of concepts (in his logical papers) are derived. This analysis of concepts is then seamlessly connected with Leibniz's modal metaphysics of complete individual concepts. (...) The fundamental theorem of Leibniz's modal metaphysics of concepts is proved, namely, whenever an object x has F contingently, then (i) the individual concept of x contains the concept F and (ii) there is a (counterpart) complete individual concept y which doesn't contain the concept F and which `appears' at some other possible world. Finally, the author shows how the concept containment theory of truth can be made precise and made consistent with a modern conception of truth. (shrink)
The views of David Lewis and the Meinongians are both often met with an incredulous stare. This is not by accident. The stunned disbelief that usually accompanies the stare is a natural first reaction to a large ontology. Indeed, Lewis has been explicitly linked with Meinong, a charge that he has taken great pains to deny. However, the issue is not a simple one. "Meinongianism" is a complex set of distinctions and doctrines about existence and predication, in addition to the (...) famously large ontology. While there are clearly non-Meinongian features of Lewis' views, it is our thesis that many of the characteristic elements of Meinongian metaphysics appear in Lewis' theory. Moreover, though Lewis rejects incomplete and inconsistent Meinongian objects, his ontology may exceed that of a Meinongian who doesn't accept his possibilia. Thus, Lewis explains the truth of "there might have been talking donkeys" by appealing to possibilia which are talking donkeys. But the Meinongian need not accept that there exist things which are talking donkeys. Indeed, we show that a Meinongian even need not accept that there are nonexistent things which are talking donkeys! (shrink)
Many philosophers, including direct reference theorists, appeal to naively to 'modes of presentation' in the analysis of belief reports. I show that a variety of such appeals can be analyzed in terms of a precise theory of modes of presentation. The objects that serve as modes are identified intrinsically, in a noncircular way, and it is shown that they can function in the required way. It is a consequence of the intrinsic characterization that some objects are well-suited to serve as (...) modes that present individuals and while others are well-suited to serve as modes that present properties (though such modes do not `determine' the objects they present---there is no necessary connection between a mode m and the individual x or property F that it presents). Moreover, it is also a consequence that the modes for properties and individuals can be organized into complexes that are structurally identical to Russellian propositions having the represented properties and individuals as constituents. Not only is the relationship between modes and Fregean senses and modes of presentation explored in the paper, but also the idea that the theory of modes of presentation developed in the paper can serve as a theory of concepts. (shrink)
Three different notions of concepts are outlined: one derives from Leibniz, while the other two derive from Frege. The Leibnizian notion is the subject of his "calculus of concepts" (which is really an algebra). One notion of concept from Frege is what we would call a "property", so that when Frege says "x falls under the concept F", we would say "x instantiates F" or "x exemplifies F". The other notion of concept from Frege is that of the notion of (...) sense, which played various roles within Frege's theory. This notion of concept can be generalized and, as such, accounts for our intuitive talk of "x's concept of ...", where the ellipsis can be filled in with a name for individual, a property, or a relation, etc. After outlining these three notions, I then discuss how (axiomatic) object theory offers a distinct, precise regimentation of each of the three notions. (shrink)
In this paper, we describe "metaphysical reductions", in which the well-defined terms and predicates of arbitrary mathematical theories are uniquely interpreted within an axiomatic, metaphysical theory of abstract objects. Once certain (constitutive) facts about a mathematical theory T have been added to the metaphysical theory of objects, theorems of the metaphysical theory yield both an analysis of the reference of the terms and predicates of T and an analysis of the truth of the sentences of T. The well-defined terms and (...) predicates of T are analyzed as denoting abstract objects and abstract relations, respectively, in the background metaphysics, and the sentences of T have a reading on which they are true. After the technical details are sketched, the paper concludes with some observations about the approach. One important observation concerns the fact that the proper axioms of the background theory abstract objects can be reformulated in a way that makes them sound more like logical axioms. Some philosophers have argued that we should accept (something like) them as being logical. (shrink)
In this paper, the authors briefly summarize how object theory uses definite descriptions to identify the denotations of the individual terms of theoretical mathematics and then further develop their object-theoretic philosophy of mathematics by showing how it has the resources to address some objections recently raised against the theory. Certain ‘canonical’ descriptions of object theory, which are guaranteed to denote, correctly identify mathematical objects for each mathematical theory T, independently of how well someone understands the descriptive condition. And to have (...) a false belief about some particular mathematical object is not to have a true belief about some different mathematical object. (shrink)
In this paper, the authors discuss Frege's theory of "logical objects" and the recent attempts to rehabilitate it. We show that the 'eta' relation George Boolos deployed on Frege's behalf is similar, if not identical, to the encoding mode of predication that underlies the theory of abstract objects. Whereas Boolos accepted unrestricted Comprehension for Properties and used the 'eta' relation to assert the existence of logical objects under certain highly restricted conditions, the theory of abstract objects uses unrestricted Comprehension for (...) Logical Objects and banishes encoding formulas from Comprehension for Properties. The relative mathematical and philosophical strengths of the two theories are discussed. Along the way, new results in the theory of abstract objects are described, involving: the theory of extensions, the theory of directions and shapes, and the theory of truth values. (shrink)
Though Frege was interested primarily in reducing mathematics to logic, he succeeded in reducing an important part of logic to mathematics by defining relations in terms of functions. By contrast, Whitehead & Russell reduced an important part of mathematics to logic by defining functions in terms of relations (using the definite description operator). We argue that there is a reason to prefer Whitehead & Russell's reduction of functions to relations over Frege's reduction of relations to functions. There is an interesting (...) system having a logic that can be properly characterized in relational but not in functional type theory. This shows that relational type theory is more general than functional type theory. The simplification offered by Church in his functional type theory is an over-simplification: one can't assimilate predication to functional application.<br>. (shrink)
Principia Logico-Metaphysica contains a foundational logical theory for metaphysics, mathematics, and the sciences. It includes a canonical development of Abstract Object Theory [AOT], a metaphysical theory that distinguishes between ordinary and abstract objects. This article reports on recent work in which AOT has been successfully represented and partly automated in the proof assistant system Isabelle/HOL. Initial experiments within this framework reveal a crucial but overlooked fact: a deeply-rooted and known paradox is reintroduced in AOT when the logic of complex terms (...) is simply adjoined to AOT’s specially formulated comprehension principle for relations. This result constitutes a new and important paradox, given how much expressive and analytic power is contributed by having the two kinds of complex terms in the system. Its discovery is the highlight of our joint project and provides strong evidence for a new kind of scientific practice in philosophy, namely, computational metaphysics. Our results were made technically possible by a suitable adaptation of Benzmüller’s metalogical approach to universal reasoning by semantically embedding theories in classical higher-order logic. This approach enables one to reuse state-of-the-art higher-order proof assistants, such as Isabelle/HOL, for mechanizing and experimentally exploring challenging logics and theories such as AOT. Our results also provide a fresh perspective on the question of whether relational type theory or functional type theory better serves as a foundation for logic and metaphysics. (shrink)
The author resolves a conflict between Frege's view that the cognitive significance of coreferential names may be distinct and Kaplan's view that since coreferential names have the same "character", they have the same cognitive significance. A distinction is drawn between an expression's "character" and its "cognitive character". The former yields the denotation of an expression relative to a context (and individual); the latter yields the abstract sense of an expression relative to a context (and individual). Though coreferential names have the (...) same character, they may have distinct cognitive characters. Propositions involving these abstract senses play an important role in explaining de dicto belief contexts. (shrink)
Principia Logico-Metaphysica contains a foundational logical theory for metaphysics, mathematics, and the sciences. It includes a canonical development of Abstract Object Theory [AOT], a metaphysical theory that distinguishes between ordinary and abstract objects.This article reports on recent work in which AOT has been successfully represented and partly automated in the proof assistant system Isabelle/HOL. Initial experiments within this framework reveal a crucial but overlooked fact: a deeply-rooted and known paradox is reintroduced in AOT when the logic of complex terms is (...) simply adjoined to AOT’s specially formulated comprehension principle for relations. This result constitutes a new and important paradox, given how much expressive and analytic power is contributed by having the two kinds of complex terms in the system. Its discovery is the highlight of our joint project and provides strong evidence for a new kind of scientific practice in philosophy, namely, computational metaphysics.Our results were made technically possible by a suitable adaptation of Benzmüller’s metalogical approach to universal reasoning by semantically embedding theories in classical higher-order logic. This approach enables one to reuse state-of-the-art higher-order proof assistants, such as Isabelle/HOL, for mechanizing and experimentally exploring challenging logics and theories such as AOT. Our results also provide a fresh perspective on the question of whether relational type theory or functional type theory better serves as a foundation for logic and metaphysics. (shrink)
Formulations of Anselm’s ontological argument have been the subject of a number of recent studies. We examine these studies in light of Anselm’s text and (a) respond to criticisms that have surfaced in reaction to our earlier representations of the argument, (b) identify and defend a more refined representation of Anselm’s argument on the basis of new research, and (c) compare our representation of the argument, which analyzes that than which none greater can be conceived as a definite description, to (...) a representation that analyzes it as an arbitrary name. (shrink)
The fundamental principle of the theory of possible worlds is that a proposition p is possible if and only if there is a possible world at which p is true. In this paper we present a valid derivation of this principle from a more general theory in which possible worlds are defined rather than taken as primitive. The general theory uses a primitive modality and axiomatizes abstract objects, properties, and propositions. We then show that this general theory has very small (...) models and hence that its ontological commitments—and, therefore, those of the fundamental principle of world theory—are minimal. (shrink)
The modal object calculus is the system of logic which houses the (proper) axiomatic theory of abstract objects. The calculus has some rather interesting features in and of itself, independent of the proper theory. The most sophisticated, type-theoretic incarnation of the calculus can be used to analyze the intensional contexts of natural language and so constitutes an intensional logic. However, the simpler second-order version of the calculus couches a theory of fine-grained properties, relations and propositions and serves as a framework (...) for defining situations, possible worlds, stories, and fictional characters, among other things. In the present paper, we focus on the second-order calculus. The second-order modal object calculus is so-called to distinguish it from the second-order modal predicate calculus. Though the differences are slight, the extra expressive power of the object calculus significantly enhances its ability to resolve logical and philosophical concepts and problems. (shrink)
In this paper, the author replies to a question raised about theories of nonexistent objects. The question concerns the way names of fictional characters, when analyzed as names which denote nonexistent objects, acquire their denotations. Since nonexistent objects cannot causally interact with existent objects, it is thought that we cannot appeal to a‘dubbing’or a‘baptism’. The question is, therefore, what is the starting point of the chain? The answer is that storytellings are to be thought of as extended baptisms, and the (...) details of this response receive attention in the paper. Once the storytelling is complete, and the characters have been baptized, a priori metaphysical principles linking the storytelling with the realm of nonexistent objects provide the referential, non‐causal connection between the names used in the storytelling and the objects denoted by such names. (shrink)
This entry explains Frege's Theorem by using the modern notation of the predicate calculus. Frege's Theorem is that the Dedekind-Peano axioms for number theory are derivable from Hume's Principle, given the axioms and rules of second-order logic. Frege's methodology for defining the natural numbers and for the derivation of the Dedekind-Peano axioms are sketched in some detail.
In this entry, Frege's logic is introduced and described in some detail. It is shown how the Dedekind-Peano axioms for number theory can be derived from a consistent fragment of Frege's logic, with Hume's Principle replacing Basic Law V.
Karen Bennett has recently argued that the views articulated by Linsky and Zalta (Philos Perspect 8:431–458, 1994) and (Philos Stud 84:283–294, 1996) and Plantinga (The nature of necessity, 1974) are not consistent with the thesis of actualism, according to which everything is actual. We present and critique her arguments. We first investigate the conceptual framework she develops to interpret the target theories. As part of this effort, we question her definition of ‘proxy actualism’. We then discuss her main arguments that (...) the theories carry a commitment to actual entities that do not exist. We end by considering and addressing a worry that might have been the driving force behind Bennett’s claim that Linsky and Zalta’s view is not fully actualistic. (shrink)