In Mind and World, John McDowell argues against the view that perceptual representation is non-conceptual. The central worry is that this view cannot offer any reasonable account of how perception bears rationally upon belief. I argue that this worry, though sensible, can be met, if we are clear that perceptual representation is, though non-conceptual, still in some sense 'assertoric': Perception, like belief, represents things as being thus and so.
A brief, non-technical introduction to technical and philosophical aspects of Frege's philosophy of arithmetic. The exposition focuses on Frege's Theorem, which states that the axioms of arithmetic are provable, in second-order logic, from a single non-logical axiom, "Hume's Principle", which itself is: The number of Fs is the same as the number of Gs if, and only if, the Fs and Gs are in one-one correspondence.
Hartry Field has suggested that we should adopt at least a methodological deflationism: [W]e should assume full-fledged deflationism as a working hypothesis. That way, if full-fledged deflationism should turn out to be inadequate, we will at least have a clearer sense than we now have of just where it is that inflationist assumptions ... are needed. I argue here that we do not need to be methodological deflationists. More pre-cisely, I argue that we have no need for a disquotational truth-predicate; (...) that the word true, in ordinary language, is not a disquotational truth-predicate; and that it is not at all clear that it is even possible to introduce a disquotational truth-predicate into ordinary language. If so, then we have no clear sense how it is even possible to be a methodological deflationist. My goal here is not to convince a committed deflationist to abandon his or her position. My goal, rather, is to argue, contrary to what many seem to think, that reflection on the apparently trivial character of T-sentences should not incline us to deflationism. (shrink)
Frege, famously, held that there is a close connection between our concept of cardinal number and the notion of one-one correspondence, a connection enshrined in Hume's Principle. Husserl, and later Parsons, objected that there is no such close connection, that our most primitive conception of cardinality arises from our grasp of the practice of counting. Some empirical work on children's development of a concept of number has sometimes been thought to point in the same direction. I argue, however, that Frege (...) was close to right, that our concept of cardinal number is closely connected with a notion like that of one-one correspondence, a more primitive notion we might call just as many. (shrink)
Gottlob Frege's Grundgesetze der Arithmetik, or Basic Laws of Arithmetic, was intended to be his magnum opus, the book in which he would finally establish his logicist philosophy of arithmetic. But because of the disaster of Russell's Paradox, which undermined Frege's proofs, the more mathematical parts of the book have rarely been read. Richard G.
In this exciting new collection, a distinguished international group of philosophers contribute new essays on central issues in philosophy of language and logic, in honor of Michael Dummett, one of the most influential philosophers of the late twentieth century. The essays are focused on areas particularly associated with Professor Dummett. Five are contributions to the philosophy of language, addressing in particular the nature of truth and meaning and the relation between language and thought. Two contributors discuss time, in particular the (...) reality of the past. The last four essays focus on Frege and the philosophy of mathematics. The volume represents some of the best work in contemporary analytical philosophy. (shrink)
In recent work on Frege, one of the most salient issues has been whether he was prepared to make serious use of semantical notions such as reference and truth. I argue here Frege did make very serious use of semantical concepts. I argue, first, that Frege had reason to be interested in the question how the axioms and rules of his formal theory might be justified and, second, that he explicitly commits himself to offering a justification that appeals to the (...) notion of reference. I then discuss the justifications Frege offered, focusing on his discussion of inferences involving free variables, in section 17 of Grundgesetze, and his argument, in sections 29-32, that every well-formed expression of his formal language has a unique reference. (shrink)
The paper formulates and proves a strengthening of ‘Frege’s Theorem’, which states that axioms for second-order arithmetic are derivable in second-order logic from Hume’s Principle, which itself says that the number of Fs is the same as the number ofGs just in case the Fs and Gs are equinumerous. The improvement consists in restricting this claim to finite concepts, so that nothing is claimed about the circumstances under which infinite concepts have the same number. ‘Finite Hume’s Principle’ also suffices for (...) the derivation of axioms for arithmetic and, indeed, is equivalent to a version of them, in the presence of Frege’s definitions of the primitive expressions of the language of arithmetic. The philosophical significance of this result is also discussed. (shrink)
The purpose of this note is to present a strong form of the liar paradox. It is strong because the logical resources needed to generate the paradox are weak, in each of two senses. First, few expressive resources required: conjunction, negation, and identity. In particular, this form of the liar does not need to make any use of the conditional. Second, few inferential resources are required. These are: (i) conjunction introduction; (ii) substitution of identicals; and (iii) the inference: From ¬(p (...) ∧ p), infer ¬ p. It is, interestingly enough, also essential to the argument that the ‘strong’ form of the diagonal lemma be used: the one that delivers a term λ such that we can prove: λ = ¬ T(⌈λ⌉); rather than just a sentence Λ for which we can prove: Λ ≡ ¬T(⌈Λ⌉). The truth-theoretic principles used to generate the paradox are these: ¬(S ∧ T(⌈¬S⌉); and ¬(¬S ∧ ¬T(⌈¬S⌉). These are classically equivalent to the two directions of the T-scheme, but they are intuitively weaker. The lesson I would like to draw is: There can be no consistent solution to the Liar paradox that does not involve abandoning truth-theoretic principles that should be every bit as dear to our hearts as the T-scheme. So we shall have to learn to live with the Liar, one way or another. (shrink)
Some years ago, Machery, Mallon, Nichols, and Stich reported the results of experiments that reveal, they claim, cross-cultural differences in speaker’s ‘intuitions’ about Kripke’s famous Gödel–Schmidt case. Several authors have suggested, however, that the question they asked their subjects is ambiguous between speaker’s reference and semantic reference. Machery and colleagues have since made a number of replies. It is argued here that these are ineffective. The larger lesson, however, concerns the role that first-order philosophy should, and more importantly should not, (...) play in the design of such experiments and in the evaluation of their results. (shrink)
In his paper “Flaws of Formal Relationism”, Mahrad Almotahari argues against the sort of response to Frege's Puzzle I have defended elsewhere, which he dubs ‘Formal Relationism’. Almotahari argues that, because of its specifically formal character, this view is vulnerable to objections that cannot be raised against the otherwise similar Semantic Relationism due to Kit Fine. I argue in response that Formal Relationism has neither of the flaws Almotahari claims to identify.
The 'substitution argument' purports to demonstrate the falsity of Russellian accounts of belief-ascription by observing that, e.g., these two sentences: (LC) Lois believes that Clark can fly. (LS) Lois believes that Superman can fly. could have different truth-values. But what is the basis for that claim? It seems widely to be supposed, especially by Russellians, that it is simply an 'intuition', one that could then be 'explained away'. And this supposition plays an especially important role in Jennifer Saul's defense of (...) Russellianism, based upon the existence of an allegedly similar contrast between these two sentences: (PC) Superman is more popular than Clark. (PS) Superman is more popular than Superman. The latter contrast looks pragmatic. But then, Saul asks, why shouldn't we then say the same about the former? The answer to this question is that the two cases simply are not similar. In the case of (PC) and (PS), we have only the facts that these strike us differently, and that people will sometimes say things like (PC), whereas they will never say things like (PS). By contrast, there is an argument to be given that (LS) can be true even if (LC) is false, and this argument does not appeal to anyone's 'intuitions'. The main goal of the paper is to present such a version of the substitution argument, building upon the treatment of the Fregan argument against Russellian accounts of belief itself in "Solving Frege's Puzzle". A subsidiary goal is to contribute to the growing literature arguing that 'intuitions' simply do not play the sort of role in philosophical inquiry that so-called 'experimental philosophers' have supposed they do. (shrink)
Øystein Linnebo has recently shown that the existence of successors cannot be proven in predicative Frege arithmetic, using Frege’s definitions of arithmetical notions. By contrast, it is shown here that the existence of successor can be proven in ramified predicative Frege arithmetic.
Frege's intention in section 31 of Grundgesetze is to show that every well-formed expression in his formal system denotes. But it has been obscure why he wants to do this and how he intends to do it. It is argued here that, in large part, Frege's purpose is to show that the smooth breathing, from which names of value-ranges are formed, denotes; that his proof that his other primitive expressions denote is sound and anticipates Tarski's theory of truth; and that (...) the proof that the smooth breathing denotes, while flawed, rests upon an idea now familiar from the completeness proof for first-order logic. The main work of the paper consists in defending a new understanding of the semantics Frege offers for the quantifiers: one which is objectual, but which does not make use of the notion of an assignment to a free variable. (shrink)
This paper dates from about 1994: I rediscovered it on my hard drive in the spring of 2002. It represents an early attempt to explore the connections between the Julius Caesar problem and Frege's attitude towards Basic Law V. Most of the issues discussed here are ones treated rather differently in my more recent papers "The Julius Caesar Objection" and "Grundgesetze der Arithmetik I 10". But the treatment here is more accessible, in many ways, providing more context and a better (...) sense of how this issue relates to broader issues in Frege's philosophy. (shrink)
John MacFarlane has made relativism popular again. Focusing just on his original discussion, I argue that the data he uses to motivate the position do not, in fact, motivatie it at all. Many of the points made here have since been made, independently, by Hermann Cappelen and John Hawthorne, in their book Relativism and Monadic Truth.
The main focus of my comments is the role played in Dickie's view by the idea that "the mind has a need to represent things outside itself". But there are also some remarks about her (very interesting) suggestion that descriptive names can sometimes fail to refer to the object that satisfies the associated description.
Written as a comment on Crispin Wright's "Vagueness: A Fifth Column Approach", this paper defends a form of supervaluationism against Wright's criticisms. Along the way, however, it takes up the question what is really wrong with Epistemicism, how the appeal of the Sorities ought properly to be understood, and why Contextualist accounts of vagueness won't do.
A close look at Frege's proof in "Foundations of Arithmetic" that every number has a successor. The examination reveals a surprising gap in the proof, one that Frege would later fill in "Basic Laws of Arithmetic".
Maybe the most important argument in David Chalmers’s monumental book Constructing the World is the one he calls the ‘Frontloading Argument’, which is used in Chapter 4 to argue for the book’s central thesis, A Priori Scrutability. And, at first blush, the Frontloading Argument looks very strong. I argue here, however, that it is incapable of securing the conclusion it is meant to establish.
Why should one think Frege's definition of the ancestral correct? It can be proven to be extensionally correct, but the argument uses arithmetical induction, and that seems to undermine Frege's claim to have justified induction in purely logical terms. I discuss such circularity objections and then offer a new definition of the ancestral intended to be intensionally correct; its extensional correctness then follows without proof. This new definition can be proven equivalent to Frege's without any use of arithmetical induction. This (...) proves, without any use of arithmetical induction, that Frege's definition is extensionally correct and so answers the circularity objections. (shrink)
Discusses Frege's formal definitions and characterizations of infinite and finite sets. Speculates that Frege might have discovered the "oddity" in Dedekind's famous proof that all infinite sets are Dedekind infinite and, in doing so, stumbled across an axiom of countable choice.