According to the species of neo-logicism advanced by Hale and Wright, mathematical knowledge is essentially logical knowledge. Their view is found to be best understood as a set of related though independent theses: (1) neo-fregeanism-a general conception of the relation between language and reality; (2) the method of abstraction-a particular method for introducing concepts into language; (3) the scope of logic-second-order logic is logic. The criticisms of Boolos, Dummett, Field and Quine (amongst others) of these theses are explicated and assessed. (...) The issues discussed include reductionism, rejectionism, the Julius Caesar problem, the Bad Company objections, and the charge that second-order logic is set theory in disguise. (shrink)
There are three different degrees to which we may allow a systematic theory of the world to embrace the idea of relatedness?supposing realism about non-symmetric relations as a background requirement. (First Degree) There are multiple ways in which a non-symmetric relation may apply to the things it relates?for the binary case, aRb ? bRa. (Second Degree) Every such relation has a distinct converse?for every R such that aRb there is another relation R* such that bR*a. (Third Degree) Each one of (...) them applies in an order to the things it relates?with regard to the state that results from R's applying to a and b, either R applies to a first and b second, or it applies to b first and a second. Whereas the first degree is near-indubitable, embracing the second or third generates unwholesome consequences. The second degree embodies a commitment to the existence of a superfluity of distinct converses and states to which such relations give rise. The third degree embodies commitment to recherché facts of the matter about how the states that arise from the application of one non-symmetric relation compare to any other. It is argued that accounts that purport to offer an analysis of the first degree generate unwelcome second or third degree consequences. This speaks in favour of our adopting an account of the application of relations that's not an analysis at all, an account that takes the first degree as primitive. (shrink)
Is the assumption of a fundamental distinction between particulars and universals another unsupported dogma of metaphysics? F. P. Ramsey famously rejected the particular – universal distinction but neglected to consider the many different conceptions of the distinction that have been advanced. As a contribution to the piecemeal investigation of this issue three interrelated conceptions of the particular – universal distinction are examined: universals, by contrast to particulars, are unigrade; particulars are related to universals by an asymmetric tie of exemplification; universals (...) are incomplete whereas particulars are complete. It is argued that these conceptions are wanting in several respects. Sometimes they fail to mark a significant division amongst entities. Sometimes they make substantial demands upon the shape of reality; once these demands are understood aright it is no longer obvious that the distinction merits our acceptance. The case is made via a discussion of the possibility of multigrade universals. (shrink)
Is the truthmaker principle a development of the correspondence theory of truth? So Armstrong introduced the truthmaker principle to us, but Lewis (2001. Forget about the ‘correspondence theory of truth’. Analysis 61: 275–80.) influentially argued that it is neither a correspondence theory nor a theory of truth. But the truthmaker principle can be correctly understood as a development of the correspondence theory if it’s conceived as incorporating the insight that truth is a relation between truth-bearers and something worldly. And we (...) strengthen rather than weaken the plausibility of the truthmaker principle if we conceive of truth as performing a substantial rather than deflationary role in the truthmaker principle. (shrink)
In this review I take to task the related views of E.J. Lowe, John Heil and Peter Simons according to which relations don't exist because they're dispensable qua truth-makers. I argue that this view is methodologically unstable because we also have reason to believe that relations exist because our best mathematical and scientific theories say so, i.e. quantify over them.
Do non‐symmetric relations apply to the objects they relate in an order? According to the standard view of relations, the difference between aRb and bRa obtaining, where R is non‐symmetric, corresponds to a difference in the order in which the non‐symmetric relation R applies to a and b. Recently Kit Fine has challenged the standard view in his important paper ‘Neutral Relations’ arguing that non‐symmetric relations are neutral, lacking direction or order. In this paper I argue that Fine cannot account (...) for the application of non‐symmetric relations to their relata; so far from being neutral, these relations are inherently directional. (shrink)
This article for the Stanford Encyclopedia for Philosophy provides a state of the art survey and assessment of the contemporary debate about truth-makers, covering both the case for and against truth-makers. It explores 4 interrelated questions about truth-makers, (1) What is it to be a truth-maker? (2) Which range, or ranges, of truths are eligible to be made true (if any are)? (3) What kinds of entities are truth-makers? (4) What is the motivation for adopting a theory of truth-makers? And (...) adds that there's another question to often put aside by metaphysicians but has critical consequences for truth-makers: (5) What are the truth-bearers? (shrink)
A priori reflection, common sense and intuition have proved unreliable sources of information about the world outside of us. So the justification for a theory of the categories must derive from the empirical support of the scientific theories whose descriptions it unifies and clarifies. We don’t have reliable information about the de re modal profiles of external things either because the overwhelming proportion of our knowledge of the external world is theoretical—knowledge by description rather than knowledge by acquaintance. This undermines (...) the traditional idea that to be an object of category C is to be an object with such- and-such characteristic possibilities of combination. But this is no loss because de re modal thought lacks utility for creatures like us. (shrink)
In this paper I provide a state of the art survey and assessment of the contemporary debate about relations. After (1) distinguishing different varieties of relations, symmetric from non-symmetric, internal from external relations etc. and relations from their set-theoretic models or sequences, I proceed (2) to consider Bradley’s regress and whether relations can be eliminated altogether. Next I turn (3) to the question whether relations can be reduced, bringing to bear considerations from the philosophy of physics as well as metaphysics. (...) Finally, (3) I consider in what sense relations have order, and whether to make sense of this we are required to conceive of relations as having direction or argument positions. (shrink)
The eleven new papers in this volume address fundamental and interrelated philosophical issues concerning modality and identity, issues that were pivotal to the development of analytic philosophy in the twentieth century, and remain a key focus of debate in the twenty-first. Identity and Modality brings together leading researchers in metaphysics, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of science, and the philosophy of mathematics.
The early David Lewis was a staunch critic of the Truthmaker Principle. To endorse the principle, he argued, is to accept that states of affairs are truthmakers for contingent predications. But states of affairs violate Hume's prohibition of necessary connections between distinct existences. So Lewis offered to replace the Truthmaker Principle with the weaker principle that ‘truth supervenes upon being’. This chapter argues that even this principle violates Hume's prohibition. Later Lewis came to ‘withdraw’ his doubts about the Truthmaker Principle, (...) invoking counterpart theory to show how it is possible to respect the principle whilst admitting only things that do not violate Hume's prohibition. What this really reveals is that the Truthmaker Principle is no explanatory advance on the supervenience principle. Extending Lewis's use of counterpart theory also allows us to explain away the necessary connections that threatened to undermine his earlier statements of supervenience. (shrink)
This paper provides a new solution to the concept horse paradox. Frege argued no name co-refers with a predicate because no name can be inter-substituted with a predicate. This led Frege to embrace the paradox of the concept horse. But Frege got it wrong because predicates are impurely referring expressions and we shouldn’t expect impurely referring expressions to be intersubstitutable even if they co-refer, because the contexts in which they occur are sensitive to the extra information they carry about their (...) referents. (shrink)
The basic relations and functions that mathematicians use to identify mathematical objects fail to settle whether mathematical objects of one kind are identical to or distinct from objects of an apparently different kind, and what, if any, intrinsic properties mathematical objects possess. According to one influential interpretation of mathematical discourse, this is because the objects under study are themselves incomplete; they are positions or akin to positions in patterns or structures. Two versions of this idea are examined. It is argued (...) that the evidence adduced in favor of the incompleteness of mathematical objects underdetermines whether it is the objects themselves or our knowledge of them that is incomplete. Also, holding that mathematical objects are incomplete conflicts with the practice of mathematics. The objection that structuralism is committed to the identity of indiscernibles is evaluated and it is also argued that the identification of objects with positions is metaphysically suspect. (shrink)
Can Bradley's Regress be solved by positing relational tropes as truth-makers? No, no more than Russell's paradox can be solved by positing Fregean extensions. To call a trope relational is to pack into its essence the relating function it is supposed to perform but without explaining what Bradley's Regress calls into question, viz. the capacity of relations to relate. This problem has been masked from view by the (questionable) assumption that the only genuine ontological problems that can be intelligibly raised (...) are those that can be answered by providing a schedule of truthmakers. (shrink)
Whether a predicate is a referential expression depends upon what reference is conceived to be. Even if it is granted that reference is a relation between words and worldly items, the referents of expressions being the items to which they are so related, this still leaves considerable scope for disagreement about whether predicates refer. One of Frege's great contributions to the philosophy of language was to introduce an especially liberal conception of reference relative to which it is unproblematic to suppose (...) that predicates are referring expressions. According to this liberal conception, each significant expression in a language has its own distinctive semantic role or power, a power to effect the truth-value of the sentences in which it occurs. (shrink)
Ante rem structuralism is the doctnne that mathematics descubes a realm of abstract (structural) universab. According to its proponents, appeal to the exutence of these universab provides a source distinctive insight into the epistemology of mathematics, in particular insight into the so-called 'access problem' of explaining how mathematicians can reliably access truths about an abstract realm to which they cannot travel andfiom which they recave no signab. Stewart Shapiro offers the most developed version of this view to date. Through an (...) examination of Shapiro's proposed structuralist epistemology for mathematics I argue that ante rem structuralism faib to provide the ingredients for a satisfactory resolution of the access problem for infinite structures (whether small or large). (shrink)
In this paper I contribute a further element to the case for admitting non-symmetric relations by dismantling the case against them. Armstrong and Dorr have both argued (1) that asymmetric relations give rise to ‘brute necessities’, whilst Dorr further argues (2) that admitting non-symmetric relations generates spurious possibilities and (3) that exploiting work of Goodman and Hazen, we can do without non-symmetric relations anyway. Against (1) I argue that neither Armstrong nor Dorr succeed in avoiding brute necessities themselves. Against (2) (...) and (3) I argue that admitting non-symmetric relations doesn’t give rise to spurious possibilities and Goodman and Hazen’s work cannot be used to establish that non-symmetric relations are dispensable to science and mathematics. (shrink)
There is no such thing as , conceived as a special discipline with its own distinctive subject matter or peculiar method. But there is an analytic task for philosophy that distinguishes it from other reflective pursuits, a global or synoptic commission: to establish whether the final outputs of other disciplines and common sense can be fused into a single periscopic vision of the Universe. And there is the hard-won insight that thought and language aren't transparent but stand in need of (...) analysis an insight that threatens to be lost once philosophers appeal to intuitions. (shrink)
There cannot be a reductive theory of modality constructed from the concepts of sparse particular and sparse universal. These concepts are suffused with modal notions. I seek to establish this conclusion by tracing out the pattern of modal entanglements in which these concepts are involved. In order to appreciate the structure of these entanglements a distinction must be drawn between the lower-order necessary connections in which particulars and universals apparently figure, and higher-order necesary connections. The former type of connection relates (...) specific entities. By contrast, the latter type of connection is unspecific: it relates entities to some others. I argue that whilst there may be techniques that succeed in providing reductive truth conditions for sentences that say particulars and universals figure in lower-order necessary connections, such techniques cannot succeed in providing reductive truth conditions for sentences that say these entities figure in higher-order necessary connections. I conclude that this situation leaves reductionists with a dilemma. If they wish to affirm that there are particulars and universals then the project of reducing modality by positing these entities must be abandoned. Alternatively, they may continue to deploy their usual reductive techniques but then they must abandon the doctrine that there is more than one fundamental category of entity. (shrink)
There is no single problem of universals but a family of difficulties that treat of a variety of interwoven metaphysical, epistemological, logical and semantic themes. This makes the problem of universals resistant to canonical reduction (to a ‘once-and-for-all’ concern). In particular, the problem of universals cannot be reduced to the problem of supplying truth-makers for sentences that express sameness of type. This is (in part) because the conceptual distinction between numerical and qualitative identity must first be drawn before a sentence (...) is eligible to be supplied with truth-makers. The case is made through a consideration of a recent argument by Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra. (shrink)
According to Armstrong (amongst others) ‘any truth, should depend for its truth for something “outside” it’ where this one-way dependency is explained in terms of the asymmetric relationship that obtains between a truth and its truth-maker. But there’s no need to appeal to truth-makers to make sense of this dependency. The truth of a proposition is essentially determined by the interlocking semantic mechanism of reference and satisfaction which already ensures that the truth-value of a proposition depends on how things stand (...) outside it. By contrast, how things stand outside of a proposition is determined by other worldly mechanisms that have nothing to do with truth. (shrink)
Frege attempted to provide arithmetic with a foundation in logic. But his attempt to do so was confounded by Russell's discovery of paradox at the heart of Frege's system. The papers collected in this special issue contribute to the on-going investigation into the foundations of mathematics and logic. After sketching the historical background, this introduction provides an overview of the papers collected here, tracing some of the themes that connect them.
Is there a particular-universal distinction? Is there a difference of kind between all the particulars on the one hand and all the universals on the other? Can we demonstrate that there is such a difference without assuming what we set out to show? In 1925 Frank Ramsey made a famous attempt to answers these questions. He came to the sceptical conclusion that there was no particularuniversal distinction, the theory of universals being merely “a great muddle”. Following Russell, Ramsey identified three (...) kinds of distinction, psychological, physical and logical, in terms of which the particular-universal distinction might be understood. Ramsey argued that the particular-universal distinction could not be understood in terms of any of these kinds of distinction. Ramsey concluded that the particular-universal distinction, being neither psychological, physical or logical, was no distinction at all. The conclusion that there is no particular-universal distinction cannot be substantiated on the basis of the arguments that Ramsey provides. At least one of these arguments, the argument that the particular-universal distinction cannot be a ‘physical’ distinction, is flawed. (shrink)
According to one creation myth, analytic philosophy emerged in Cambridge when Moore and Russell abandoned idealism in favour of naive realism: every word stood for something; it was only after “the Fall,” Russell's discovery of his theory of descriptions, that they realized some complex phrases (“the present King of France”) didn't stand for anything. It has become a commonplace of recent scholarship to object that even before the Fall, Russell acknowledged that such phrases may fail to denote. But we need (...) to go further: even before the Fall, Russell had taken an altogether more discerning approach to the ontology of logic and relations than is usually recognized. (shrink)
According to philosophical folklore Ramsey maintained three propositions in his famous 1925 paper “Universals”: (i) there is no subject-predicate distinction; (ii) there is no particular-universal distinction; (iii) there is no particular-universal distinction because there is no subject-predicate distinction. The ‘first generation’ of Ramsey commentators dismissed “Universals” because they held that whereas predicates may be negated, names may not and so there is a subject-predicate distinction after all. The ‘second generation’ of commentators dismissed “Universals because they held that the absence of (...) a merely linguistic distinction between subject and predicate does not provide any kind of reason for doubting that a truly ontological (i.e. non-linguistic) distinction obtains between particulars and universals. But both first and second-generation criticisms miss their marks because Ramsey did not maintain the three identified propositions. The failure of commentators to appreciate the point and purpose of the position Ramsey actually advanced in “Universals” results from (a) failing to consider the range of different arguments advanced there, (b) looking at “Universals” in isolation from Ramsey’s other papers and (c) failing to consider Ramsey’s writings in the context of the views that Russell and Wittgenstein held during the early 1920s. Seen from this wider perspective Ramsey arguments in “Universals” take on an altogether different significance. They not only anticipate important contemporary developments⎯the resurgence of Humeanism and the doctrine that the existence of universals can only be established a posteriori⎯but also point beyond them. (shrink)
Neo-Fregeanism contends that knowledge of arithmetic may be acquired by second-order logical reflection upon Hume's principle. Heck argues that Hume's principle doesn't inform ordinary arithmetical reasoning and so knowledge derived from it cannot be genuinely arithmetical. To suppose otherwise, Heck claims, is to fail to comprehend the magnitude of Cantor's conceptual contribution to mathematics. Heck recommends that finite Hume's principle be employed instead to generate arithmetical knowledge. But a better understanding of Cantor's contribution is achieved if it is supposed that (...) Hume's principle really does inform arithmetical practice. More generally, Heck's arguments misconceive the epistemological character of neo-Fregeanism. (shrink)
Is there a particular‐universal distinction? Ramsey famously advocated scepticism about this distinction. In “Some Formal Ontological Relations” E.J. Lowe argues against Ramsey that a particular‐universal distinction can be made out after all if only we allow ourselves the resources to distinguish between the elements of a four‐fold ontology. But in defence of Ramsey I argue that the case remains to be made in favour of either the four‐fold ontology Lowe recommends or the articulation of a particular‐universal distinction within it. I (...) also argue that the case remains to be made against a spatio‐temporal conception of the particular‐universal distinction. (shrink)
In this paper I briefly describe Hochberg's role in helping bringing about the ontological turn through his critique of Quine's ostrich nominalism and his arguments in favour of truth-making. I compare Hochberg and Armstrong's fact-centred metaphysics, where the former was an influence for the latter, before charting some of Hochberg's contributions to the history of philosophy.
G. F. Stout is famous as an early twentieth century proselyte for abstract particulars, or tropes as they are now often called. He advanced his version of trope theory to avoid the excesses of nominalism on the one hand and realism on the other. But his arguments for tropes have been widely misconceived as metaphysical, e.g. by Armstrong. In this paper, I argue that Stout’s fundamental arguments for tropes were ideological and epistemological rather than metaphysical. He moulded his scheme to (...) fit what is actually given to us in perception, arguing that our epistemic practices would break down in an environment where only universals were given to us. (shrink)
The contemporary Humean programme that seeks to combine property realism with the denial of necessary connections between distinct existences is flawed. Objects and properties by their very natures are entangled in such connections. It follows that modal notions cannot be reductively analysed by appeal to the concept property, not even if the reducing theory posits an abundant supply of entities to fall under that concept.
One version of the Julius Caesar problem arises when we demand assurance that expressions drawn from different theories or stretches of discourse refer to different things. The counter‐Caesar problem arises when assurance is demanded that expressions drawn from different theories . refer to the same thing. The Julio César problem generalises from the counter‐Caesar problem. It arises when we seek reassurance that expressions drawn from different languages refer to the same kind of things . If the Julio César problem is (...) not resolved then the Fregean account of numbers as objects is cast into doubt, the notion of number left relative to a language. Wright introduced this problem by asking whether there can be such a thing as ‘International Platonism’. After rejecting Hale's attempt to resolve it I argue that the threat posed by the Julio César problem diminishes – even though it cannot be made to logically disappear – once it is recognised that the radical interpretation of an unfamiliar language is inevitably holistic, the evidence available invariably defeasible and consequently Cartesian certainty about the significance of the utterances of a foreign tongue neither to be sought after nor attained. (shrink)
This paper investigates the meta-ontological problem, what is the Julius Caesar objection? I distinguish epistemic, metaphysical and semantic versions. I argue that neo-Fregean and supervaluationist solutions to the Caesar objection fails because, amongst other flaws, they fail to determine which version of the problem is in play.