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Ori Simchen
University of British Columbia
  1.  68
    Realism and Instrumentalism in Philosophical Explanation.Ori Simchen - 2019 - Metaphysics 2 (1):1-15.
    There is a salient contrast in how theoretical representations are regarded. Some are regarded as revealing the nature of what they represent, as in familiar cases of theoretical identification in physical chemistry where water is represented as hydrogen hydroxide and gold is represented as the element with atomic number 79. Other theoretical representations are regarded as serving other explanatory aims without being taken individually to reveal the nature of what they represent, as in the representation of gold as a standard (...)
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  2.  60
    Semantics, Metasemantics, Aboutness.Ori Simchen - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
    Metasemantics is the metaphysics of semantic endowment: it asks how expressions become endowed with their semantic significance. Assuming that semantics is of the usual truth-conditional sort, metasemantics asks after the determinants of expressions’ distinctive contributions to truth-conditions. There are two widely divergent general approaches to the metasemantic project. Some theories – “productivist” ones such as causal theories or intention-based theories – emphasize conditions of production or employment of the items semantically endowed. Other metasemantic theories – “interpretationist” ones – emphasize conditions (...)
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  3.  59
    Modeling Truth for Semantics.Ori Simchen - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    The Tarskian notion of truth-in-a-model is the paradigm formal capture of our pre-theoretical notion of truth for semantic purposes. But what exactly makes Tarski’s construction so well suited for semantics is seldom discussed. In my Semantics, Metasemantics, Aboutness (OUP 2017) I articulate a certain requirement on the successful formal modeling of truth for semantics – “locality-per-reference” – against a background discussion of metasemantics and its relation to truth-conditional semantics. It is a requirement on any formal capture of sentential truth vis-à-vis (...)
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  4.  93
    The Hierarchy of Fregean Senses.Ori Simchen - 2018 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (4):255-261.
    The question whether Frege’s theory of indirect reference enforces an infinite hierarchy of senses has been hotly debated in the secondary literature. Perhaps the most influential treatment of the issue is that of Burge (1979), who offers an argument for the hierarchy from rather minimal Fregean assumptions. I argue that this argument, endorsed by many, does not itself enforce an infinite hierarchy of senses. I conclude that whether or not the theory of indirect reference can avail itself of only finitely (...)
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  5.  70
    Instrumentalism About Structured Propositions.Ori Simchen - forthcoming - In Chris Tillman (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Propositions. Routledge.
    Theories deploy various theoretical representations of their explananda and one question we can ask about those representations is whether to regard them under a realist attitude, i.e. as revealing the nature of what they represent, or whether to regard them under an instrumentalist attitude instead, i.e. as serving particular explanatory ends without the further revelatory aspect. I consider structured propositions as theoretical representations within a particular explanatory setting -- the metaphysics of what is said -- and argue that a realist (...)
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  6. Metasemantics and Singular Reference.Ori Simchen - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2):175-195.
    I consider two competing approaches to metasemantics: productivism, whereby endowment with semantic significance emerges directly from conditions surrounding the production or employment of the items semantically endowed; and interpretationism, whereby endowment with semantic significance emerges directly from conditions surrounding the interpretive consumption of such items. Focusing on the version of interpretationism developed by Lewis and his followers, I present a novel argument to the conclusion that such an approach cannot secure determinacy for singular reference. I then draw a larger moral (...)
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  7.  91
    Necessary Intentionality: A Study in the Metaphysics of Aboutness.Ori Simchen - 2012 - Oxford University Press.
    This book argues that words and thoughts are typically about whatever they are about necessarily rather than contingently. The argument proceeds by articulating a requisite modal background and then bringing this background to bear on cognitive matters, notably the intentionality of cognitive episodes and states. The modal picture that emerges from the first two chapters is a strongly particularist one whereby possibilities reduce to possibilities for particular things (or pluralities thereof) where the latter are determined by the natures of the (...)
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  8. 'Law'.Jules L. Coleman & Ori Simchen - 2003 - Legal Theory 9 (1):1-41.
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  9. The Barcan Formula in Metaphysics.Ori Simchen - 2013 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 28 (3):375-392.
    The Barcan formula (BF) is commonly paraphrased as the schematic conditional that if it is possible that there be a phi then something or other is possibly a phi. It is validated by the most straightforward systems of quantified modal logic. It is also widely considered to pose a threat to the commonsensical metaphysical view that there are no non-actual (or ‘merely possible’) things. I show how BF can be cleared of such a charge by construing it as a bridge (...)
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  10.  56
    Metasemantics and Legal Interpretation.Ori Simchen - 2015 - In George Pavlakos & Veronica Rodriguez-Blanco (eds.), Reasons and Intentions in Law and Practical Agency. Cambridge University Press. pp. 72-92.
    There is a familiar disagreement between Justice Antonin Scalia of the US Supreme Court and Ronald Dworkin over whether the Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution could be plausibly interpreted so as to prohibit capital punishment. The dispute reflects a deep divergence in approach to statutory interpretation. I explore this divergence by paying particularly close attention to its metasemantic background. I then argue that the metasemantic orientation clearly vindicates the Dworkinian side.
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  11. Comment on David Enoch's Luck Between Morality, Law, and Justice.Ori Simchen - 2008 - Theoretical Inquiries in Law 9 (1):8-11.
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  12. On The Impossibility of Nonactual Epistemic Possibilities.Ori Simchen - 2004 - Journal of Philosophy 101 (10):527 - 554.
    A problem inherited from Kripke is the reconciliation of commitments to various necessities with conflicting intuitions of contingency, intuitions that things "might have turned out otherwise." Kripke's reconciliation strategy is to say that while it is necessary that X is Y, and so impossible for X not to be Y, it is nevertheless epistemically possible for X not to be Y. But what are nonactual epistemic possibilities? Several answers are considered and it is concluded that scenarios adduced to explain away (...)
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  13.  84
    Token-Reflexivity.Ori Simchen - 2013 - Journal of Philosophy 110 (4):173-193.
    Token-reflexivity is commonly understood as reference of a token to a token of which it is a part, proper or not. It may be compared with its familiar formal kin – Gödelian reflexivity. In this paper the possibility of the latter type of construction in a formal setting provides a stark point of contrast with token-reflexivity understood as token self-reference, a purported species of natural phenomena, with the token-reflexives themselves understood as the bearers of self-reference. I argue that there is (...)
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  14. Metasemantics and Objectivity.Ori Simchen - 2007 - In Enrique Villanueva (ed.), Law: Metaphysics, Meaning, and Objectivity, Social, Political, and Legal Philosophy, Volume 2.
    It is shown that the most plausible metasemantics for a typical common noun provides materials for a transcendental argument for objectivity: the very possibility that a typical common noun should have its significance requires that there be an objective measure of similarity among instances of the relevant kind.
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  15.  42
    Rules and Mention.Ori Simchen - 2001 - Philosophical Quarterly 51 (205):455-473.
    Lewis Carroll’s well-known parable ”What the Tortoise Said to Achilles” gives rise to a recalcitrant and general form of normative skepticism. I argue that the skeptical position inspired by the story is indeed a distinct form of skepticism, engendered by refusal to recognize that any rule reflected upon may possibly retaining its action-guiding force. I show that the skeptic’s attitude builds upon the familiar fact that our reflection upon sources of psychological influence on us may loosen their grip by affording (...)
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  16.  66
    Meaningfulness and Contingent Analyticity.Ori Simchen - 2003 - Noûs 37 (2):278–302.
    That expressions should have their contents can seem paradigmatically contingent. But it can also seem a priori that expressions in one's own language should have their contents to the extent that instances of disquotation, such as "Socrates" refers to Socrates' and "cat" refers to cats', are trivially true. I attempt to reconcile these conflicting intuitions about meaningfulness by examining semantic and metasemantic details of linguistic reflexivity. I argue that instances of disquotation are contingent analytic in Kaplan's sense, and bring this (...)
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  17.  81
    Actualist Essentialism and General Possibilities.Ori Simchen - 2006 - Journal of Philosophy 103 (1):5-26.
    Particular possibilities -- such as that this particular chair occupy the only vacant corner of my office -- are commonly supposed to depend on what actual things there are and what they are like, whereas general possibilities -- such as that some chair or other occupy some vacant corner or other of some office or other -- are commonly supposed not to be so dependent. I articulate a different conception whereby general possibilities are no less determined by what actual things (...)
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  18.  53
    Quotational Mixing of Use and Mention.Ori Simchen - 1999 - Philosophical Quarterly 49 (196):325-336.
    Quotation is employed in mentioning linguistic items with varying degrees of specificity depending upon context, occasionally in the service of multiple purposes. It is also often employed in cases where the mentioned items are simultaneously being used in their ordinary roles. I argue that against appearances to the contrary, the recently proposed formal disambiguation approach to quotation fails to account for this quotational mixing of use and mention. I further argue that, given the ubiquity of the mixing in question, the (...)
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  19. Polyadic Quantification Via Denoting Concepts.Ori Simchen - 2010 - Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 51 (3):373-381.
    The question of the origin of polyadic expressivity is explored and the results are brought to bear on Bertrand Russell's 1903 theory of denoting concepts, which is the main object of criticism in his 1905 "On Denoting". It is shown that, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, the background ontology of the earlier theory of denoting enables the full-blown expressive power of first-order polyadic quantification theory without any syntactic accommodation of scopal differences among denoting phrases such as 'all φ', 'every φ', (...)
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  20.  42
    Necessity in Reference.Ori Simchen - 2012 - In William P. Kabasenche Michael O.’Rourke & Matthew H. Slater (eds.), Reference and Referring. MIT Press.
    I take up a question raised by David Kaplan at the very end of his 1990 paper "Words": Is it possible for a name that in fact names a given individual to have named a different individual? I argue for a negative answer to Kaplan's question via the essentialist claims that, first, it is of the nature of a referring token of a name to be produced by a particular referential intention, and, second, that it is of the nature of (...)
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  21.  28
    Philosophy of Language: Key Thinkers by Barry Lee (Ed.). [REVIEW]Ori Simchen - 2012 - Notre Dame Philosophical Review.
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  22. Uses of Mention.Ori Simchen - 1999 - Dissertation, Harvard University
    The distinction between the use of a linguistic item and its mention is widely recognized as one of the basic tenets of contemporary philosophy of language. A common misconception of what is entailed by this distinction is that when an expression is being mentioned it is thereby not being used in its ordinary use. In this work I explore the workings of this false assumption and argue against it by rehabilitating linguistic reflexivity as an everyday mode of expression. By showing (...)
     
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