The Liar paradox arises when we consider a sentence that says of itself that it is not true. If such self-referential sentences exist? and examples like?This sentence is not true? certainly suggest this?, then our logic and standard notion of truth allow to infer a contradiction: The Liar sentence is true and not true. What has gone wrong? Must we revise our notion of truth and our logic? Or can we dispel the common conviction that there are such self-referential sentences? (...) The present study explores the second path.0After comparing the Liar reasoning in formal and informal logic and showing that there are no Gödelian Liar sentences, the study moves on from the semantics of self-reference to the metaphysics of expressions and proposes a novel solution to the Liar paradox: Meaningful expressions are distinct from their syntactic bases and exist only relative to contexts. Detailed semantico-metaphysical arguments show that in this dynamic setting, an object can be referred to only after it has started to exist. Hence the circular reference needed in the Liar paradox cannot occur, after all. As this solution is contextualist, it evades the expressibility problems of other proposals. (shrink)
I will use paradox as a guide to metaphysical grounding, a kind of non-causal explanation that has recently shown itself to play a pivotal role in philosophical inquiry. Specifically, I will analyze the grounding structure of the Predestination paradox, the regresses of Carroll and Bradley, Russell's paradox and the Liar, Yablo's paradox, Zeno's paradoxes, and a novel omega plus one variant of Yablo's paradox, and thus find reason for the following: We should continue to characterize grounding as asymmetrical and irreflexive. (...) We should change our understanding of the transitivity of grounding in a certain sense. We should require foundationality in a new, generalized sense, that has well-foundedness as its limit case. Meta-grounding is important. The polarity of grounding can be crucial. Thus we will learn a lot about structural properties of grounding from considering the various paradoxes. On the way, grounding will also turn out to be relevant to the diagnosis (if not the solution) of paradox. All the paradoxes under consideration will turn out to be breaches of some standard requirement on grounding, which makes uniform solutions of large groups of these paradoxes more desirable. In sum, bringing together paradox and grounding will be shown to be of considerable value to philosophy.1. (shrink)
To criticize Richard Swinburne’s recent argument for the thesis that homosexuality is a disability that should be prevented and cured, I show that it rests on implausible premises about the concepts of love and of disability, and that the endorsement of its conclusion would lead to grave consequences for homosexuals. I conclude that Swinburne in his argument against homosexuality has moved beyond the limits of scientific philosophy, and into the realm of homophobia.
I will show how a metaphysical problem of Arthur Prior’s can be solved by a logical tool he developed himself, but did not put to any foundational use: metric logic. The broader context is given by the key question about the metaphysics of time: Is time tenseless, i.e., is time just a structure of instants; or is time tensed, because some facts are irreducibly tensed? I take sides with Prior and the tensed theory. Like him, I therefore I have to (...) deal with a more specific metaphysical question: How can the instants of tenseless time be reduced to tensed facts? This is the point where, on the technical level, hybrid logic and metric logic come in. For present purposes, both can be seen as species of tense logic; and both are creations of Prior. In his argument for the tensed theory of time, Prior used hybrid tense logic to reduce instants. But, as he himself pointed out, this reduction runs into deep problems, because it immediately generalizes to other categories, for example and most importantly to persons. My main aim is to show that metric logic does not run into similar difficulties: It will help the tensed theory reduce instants, but it leaves persons untouched. I will also give reasons for preferring a metric to a hybrid logic of time that are independent of the metaphysical issue of reduction, but concern temporal reasoning, natural language semantics, and the epistemic side of time-keeping. (shrink)
I propose an account of the metaphysics of the expressions of a mathematical language which brings together the structuralist construal of a mathematical object as a place in a structure, the semantic notion of indexicality and Kit Fine's ontological theory of qua objects. By contrasting this indexical qua objects account with several other accounts of the metaphysics of mathematical expressions, I show that it does justice both to the abstractness that mathematical expressions have because they are mathematical objects and to (...) the element of concreteness that they have because they are also used as signs. In a concluding section, I comment on the pragmatic element that has entered ontology by way of the notion of indexicality and use it to give an answer to a question Stewart Shapiro has recently posed about the status of meta-mathematics in the structuralist philosophy of mathematics. (shrink)
In this paper we discuss Brandom's definition of necessity, which is part of the incompatibility sematnics he develops in his fifth John Locke Lecture. By comparing incompatibility semantics to standard Kripkean possible worlds semantics for modality, we motivate an alternative definition of necessity in Brandom's own terms. Our investigation of this alternative necessity will show that - contra to Brandom's own results - incompatibility semantics does not necessarily lead to the notion of necessity of the modal logic S5.