Truth, falsity, and unity -- Sentences, lists, and collections -- Declarative and other kinds of sentence -- Declarative sentences and propositions -- Sentences, propositions, and truth-values -- Sentences, propositions, and unity -- Unity and complexity -- Reference and supposition -- Reference and signification -- Linguistic idealism and empirical realism -- Russell on truth, falsity, and unity : 1903 -- Russell on truth, falsity, and unity : 1910-13 -- Russell on truth, falsity, and unity : 1918 -- Sense, reference, and propositions (...) -- Russellian propositions, Fregean thoughts, and facts -- The location of propositions -- Proper names, concept-expressions, and definite descriptions -- Concept-expressions and Carnapian intensions -- Carnapian intensions and understanding -- Carnapian intensions and Russellian propositions -- Russellian propositions and functionality -- A revised semantic map -- Sentences as referring expressions -- False propositions at the level of reference -- The world's own language -- Signification and supposition revisited -- Frege and Russell on unity -- Saturatedness and unsaturatedness -- The copula as secundum adiacens and as tertium adiacens -- Frege and the Copula -- The paradox of the concept horse -- Russell on unity and the paradox -- An unsuccessful attempt to avoid the paradox -- The paradox and the level of language -- Reforming Frege's treatment of concept-expressions -- Concepts and functions -- The reformed Frege : refinements and objections -- Frege, Russell, and the anti-fregean strategy -- The anti-fregean strategy : the case of names -- Disquotation and propositional form -- The context principle -- Prabhakara semantics and the related designation theory -- For that is not a word which is not the name of a thing -- The impartial strategy -- Secundum and tertium adiacens, matter and form -- The hierarchy of levels and the syntactic priority thesis -- Fregean and anti-fregean strategies -- The anti-fregean strategy and relations -- Interlude: The subject--predicate distinction -- The anti-fregean strategy and relations -- The reality of relations -- Polyadicity, monadicity, and identity -- The anti-fregean strategy and Montague grammar -- Fregean and anti-fregean strategies : further comparison -- Ramsey on the subject : predicate distinction -- Dummett's attack on the anti-fregean strategy -- Linguistic idealism revisited -- Alternative hierarchies and the context principle -- The linguistic hierarchy and categorial nonsense -- Logical syntax and the context principle -- Proper names, singular terms, and the identity test -- Proper names, Leibniz's law, and the identity of indiscernibles -- The negation asymmetry test -- Dummett's tests for singular termhood -- Discarding the syntactic priority thesis -- Logical predication, logical form, and Bradley's regress -- Names, verbs, and the replacement test -- Analysis and paradox -- Simple, complex, and logical predicates -- The grammatical copula and the logical copula -- Predication in Frege -- Two exegetical problems in Frege -- Inference and the logical predicate -- Unity and the logical predicate -- Bradley's regress and the tradition -- Russell and the general form of the proposition -- Wittgenstein's criticism of Russell -- Logical form in theTractatus -- Bradley's regress and the unity of the proposition -- The logical copula and theories of meaning -- Reference and the logical copula -- Bradley's regress and the analysis of meaning -- Vicious practical regresses -- Bradley's regress and the solution to the unity problem -- Propositions, sets, sums, and the objects themselves -- Bradley's regress and the infinite -- Vallicella's onto-theology -- A comparison with other innocent regresses -- Truth, falsity, and unity revisited -- Bradley's regress, realism, and states of affairs -- Unity and use -- The unity of sentences and the unity of complex names -- The unity of sentences and the unity of complex names -- Congruence, functionality, and propositional unity -- Davidson on predication -- Epilogue: The limits of language. (shrink)
Richard Gaskin analyses what is distinctive about sentences and the propositions they express--what marks them off from mere aggregates of words and meanings respectively. Since he identifies the world with all the true and false propositions, his account has significant implications for our understanding of the nature of reality.
John McDowell's "minimal empiricism" is one of the most influential and widely discussed doctrines in contemporary philosophy. Richard Gaskin subjects it to careful examination and criticism, arguing that it has unacceptable consequences, and in particular that it mistakenly rules out something we all know to be the case: that infants and non-human animals experience a world. Gaskin traces the errors in McDowell's empiricism to their source, and presents his own, still more minimal, version of empiricism, suggesting that a correct philosophy (...) of language requires us to recognize a sense in which the world we experience speaks its own language. (shrink)
Is there an explanation of why the state of x's bearing the non-symmetric binary relation R to y is different from its differential opposite, the state of y's bearing R to x? One traditional view has it that the explanation is that non-symmetric relations hold of objects in an essentially directional way, ordering the relevant relata. We call this view ‘directionalism’. Kit Fine has suggested that this approach is subject to significant metaphysical difficulties, sufficient to motivate seeking an alternative analysis. (...) He considers two such alternative explanations, which he labels ‘positionalism’ and ‘anti-positionalism’. Of these he endorses the latter. We argue that anti-positionalism fails to provide a coherent explanation of the distinction between differential opposites, and that one should simply hold the minimalist position that there is no explanation for this metaphysical difference. (shrink)
Richard Gaskin offers an original defence of literary humanism, according to which works of imaginative literature have an objective meaning which is fixed at the time of production and not subject to individual readers' responses. He shows that the appreciation of literature is a cognitive activity fully on a par with scientific investigation.
If we make the basic assumption that the components of a proposition have reference on the model of proper name and bearer, we face the problem of distinguishing the proposition from a mere list' of names. We neutralize the problem posed by that assumption of we first of all follow Wiggins and distinguish, in every predicate, a strictly predicative element (the copula), and a strictly non-predicative conceptual component (available to be quantified over). If we further allow the copula itself to (...) conform to the basic assumption, a regress ( Bradley's regress') arises: the referent of the copula will be instantiation, the instantiation of instantiation etc. To avert the regress, Wiggins simply legislates that the basic assumption is to fail for the copula. But we are entitled to regard the regress as constitution not a difficulty, but the solution: the infinitism it imports (capturable in a finitistic theory of meaning) is just what the unity of the proposition "is". (edited). (shrink)
This volume, including sixteen contributions, analyses ancient and medieval theories of intentionality in various contexts: perception, imagination, and intellectual thinking. It sheds new light on classical theories and examines neglected sources, both Greek and Latin.
We analyse Reach's puzzle, according to which it is impossible to be told anyone's name, because the statement conveying it can be understood only by someone who already knows what it says. We argue that the puzzle can be solved by adverting to the systematic nature of mention when it involves the use of standard quotation marks or similar devices. We then discuss mention more generally and outline an account according to which any mentioning expressions that are competent to solve (...) Reach's puzzle – and in particular those consisting of standard quotation marks and their fillings – have a descriptive analysis: we rebut the usual objections to this account, and show how it is superior to some of the alternatives in the literature. We conclude by briefly connecting the foregoing discussions with semantic theory. (shrink)
I argue that fidelity to the context principle requires us to construe reference as a theoretical relation. This point helps us understand the bearing of Putnam's permutation argument on the idea of a systematic theory of meaning. Notwithstanding objections that have been made against Putnam's deployment of that argument, it shows the reference relation to be indeterminate. But since the indeterminacy of reference arises from a metalinguistic perspective, our ability, as object‐language speakers, to talk about the ordinary features of our (...) lives is unaffected. (shrink)
Bruno Snell has made familiar a certain thesis about the Homeric poems, to the effect that these poems depict a primitive form of mindedness. The area of mindedness concerned is agency, and the content of the thesis is that Homeric agents are not agents in the fullest sense: they do not make choices in clear self-awareness of what they are doing; choices are made for them rather than by them; in some cases the instigators of action are gods, in other (...) cases they are forces acting internally on the agent and over which he has no control. Homeric heroes act in the way Descartes thought an animal acts: agitur, non agit. Such agents ‘handeln nicht eigentlich , sondern sie reagieren’. The model of the agent which we nowadays have is roughly of a self which determines, rather than is determined to, action; the self arrives at this determination by considering available reasons for action in the light of its overall purposes, and it moves to action in full self-consciousness of what it is doing, and why. This model of action, Snell claims, is not met in Greek literature before the tragedians. I think anyone ought to concede that there is some difference between the way Homer portrays decision-making and the way it is portrayed in tragedy ; but has Snell located the difference in the right place? I shall argue in this paper that he has not. (shrink)
The doctrine of Middle Knowledge presupposes that conditionals of freedom (statements of the form 'If A were circumstances C, he would perform X') can be true. Such conditions are, where true, not true in virtue of the truth of any categorical proposition. Nor can their truth be modelled in terms of comparative similarity of possible worlds, because the structure of possible worlds is a necessary one, whereas the connection between antecedent and consequent of a conditional of freedom is a contingent (...) one. Lewis and Stalmaker are committed to 'conditional fatalism', the view that things only would go a certain way if they would have to go that way. Although commitment to conditional fatalism does not itself import a commitment to fatalism, it is hard to find a separate motivation for it. (shrink)
This book is an English version of a book published in 1984 in French, the aim of which was to give a reconstruction of Diodorus Cronus's Master Argument, together with a historical analysis of some of the central modal notions on which it draws. In preparing the English text, Vuillemin has made some changes to the logic of his reconstruction of Diodorus's Argument and added an epilogue. The Master Argument consisted of three premises: Every past truth is necessary, The impossible (...) does not follow from the possible, and Something is possible which neither is nor will be true. Diodorus claimed that these premises are inconsistent, and purported to derive the negation of the third premise, which is plausibly to be identified with the principle of plenitude, from the first two premises. (shrink)
It is often held to be definitive of consciousness that there is something it is like to be in a conscious state. A consensus has arisen that ‘is like’ in relevant ‘what it is like’ locutions does not mean ‘resembles’. This paper argues that the consensus is mistaken. It is argued that a recently proposed ‘affective’ analysis of these locutions fails, but that a purported rival of the resemblance analysis, the property account, is in fact compatible with it. Some of (...) the implications of this argument are briefly explored: it is suggested that the meaning of ‘what it’s like’ does not, in itself, have any special bearing on consciousness, and that the implications for the so-called ‘hard problem’ of consciousness are deflationary. (shrink)
The paper contains a general argument for linguistic idealism, which it approaches by way of some considerations relating to the unity of the proposition and Tractarian metaphysics. Language exhibits a function–argument structure, but does it do so because it is reflecting how things are in the world, or does the relation of dependence run in the other direction? The paper argues that the general structure of the world is asymmetrically dependent on a metaphysically prior fact about language, namely that it (...) exhibits subject–predicate structure. (shrink)
Bruno Snell has made familiar a certain thesis about the Homeric poems, to the effect that these poems depict a primitive form of mindedness. The area of mindedness concerned is agency, and the content of the thesis is that Homeric agents are not agents in the fullest sense: they do not make choices in clear self-awareness of what they are doing; choices are made for them rather than by them; in some cases the instigators of action are gods, in other (...) cases they are forces acting internally on the agent and over which he has no control. Homeric heroes act in the way Descartes thought an animal acts: agitur, non agit. Such agents ‘handeln nicht eigentlich, sondern sie reagieren’. The model of the agent which we nowadays have is roughly of a self which determines, rather than is determined to, action; the self arrives at this determination by considering available reasons for action in the light of its overall purposes, and it moves to action in full self-consciousness of what it is doing, and why. This model of action, Snell claims, is not met in Greek literature before the tragedians. I think anyone ought to concede that there is some difference between the way Homer portrays decision-making and the way it is portrayed in tragedy ; but has Snell located the difference in the right place? I shall argue in this paper that he has not. (shrink)
John Wyclif claims that there are relations of essential identity and formal distinctness connecting universals, complexly signifiables, and individuals. In some respects Wyclif's position on complexly signifiables coincides with what I call the advanced res theory, the view that complexly signifiables are really identical with but formally distinct from worldly individuals. But there is no question in Wyclif's treatment of a reduction of complexly signifiables to individuals. I argue that Wyclif populates his most fundamental ontological level with propositionally structured entities (...) both individual and universal, and that this approach is superior to that of its nominalist rivals. But Wyclif shares with other versions of the advanced res theory an implausible theory of identity, and this affects the coherence of the claimed real identity between individuals and complexly signifiables. (shrink)
Between 1903 and 1918 Russell made a number of attempts to understand the unity of the proposition, but his attempts all foundered on his failure clearly to distinguish between different senses in which the relation R might be said to relate a and b in the proposition aRb: he failed to distinguish between the relation as truth-maker and the relation as unifier, and consequently committed himself again and again to the unacceptable consequence that only true propositions are genuinely unified. There (...) is an anticipation of this confusion in the writings of the fourteenth-century philosopher Richard Brinkley. (shrink)
In his paper ‘Some Comments on Fatalism’, The Philosophical Quartery, 46 (1996), pp. 1–11, James Cargile offers an argument against the view that the correct response to fatalism is to restrict the principle of bivalence with respect to statements about future contingencies. His argument fails because it is question‐begging. Further, he fails to give due weight to the reason behind this view, which is the desire to give an adequate account of the past/future asymmetry. He supposes that mere appeal to (...) the direction of causation will suffice to explain this asymmetry, whereas in fact the causal asymmetry is the same as the temporal asymmetry, and so cannot ground it. I finish by drawing a connection between the power asymmetry (our ability to affect the future but not the past) and the memory/intention asymmetry. (shrink)
The paper examines the nature of the unity of the proposition, distinguishing this issue from that of the unity of states of affairs. I argue that Bradley′s regress has an important role to play in constituting a proposition as a unity, and I address some of the problems that this solution might be thought to involve.
In his article ‘Names, Verbs and Quantification’ Nicholas Denyer argues that a previous attempt of mine, on behalf of realism, to play down the ontological importance of the distinction between grammatical names and verbs ignores some striking logical differences between them. I concede the differences Denyer alludes to, but argue that they do not assist the orthodox nominalist, since if anything they point to a position according to which relations, but not monadic properties, are unreal. But this position is, I (...) claim, as implausible as nominalism itself is. (shrink)
Es werden zwei von Wittgenstein entworfene Modelle der Semantik eines Wortes dargelegt und miteinander verglichen: das sog. Muster von ,Gegenstand und Bezeichnung' und das Gebrauchsmodell. Im Gegensatz zu der formalistischen Position wird gezeigt, daß das Modell von ,Gegenstand und Bezeichnung' für die Semantik unentbehrlich ist. Selbst das Gebrauchsmodell, so unumstritten dieses auch sein mag, vermag das Modell von ,Gegenstand und Bezeichunung' nicht abzulösen. Das dargestellte metaphysische Bild wird veranschaulicht, indem einige Bemerkungen Wittgensteins zur Semantik der Empfindungswörter widerlegt werden.