This paper describes two quotation strategies employed by speakers of Nanti, one involving grammaticalized quotatives and another involving complement-taking verbs of saying, and examines the consequences of the pragmatic differences between these strategies for two key questions in the study of evidentiality: first, the importance of degree of grammaticalization in delimiting ‘evidentials’; and second, the importance of the analytical distinction between epistemic modal and ‘source of information’ evidential meanings. Nanti use of the two quotation strategies is specifically analyzed (...) in the context of self-quotation practices in order to isolate specific aspects of their pragmatics. This analysis shows that the lexical quotative strategy expresses that the quoted party is not only the source of the content of the utterance, but is also an ‘illocutionary source’, who is committed to the interactional force of the utterance, while the grammaticalized quotative strategy does not indicate such a commitment. The functional difference between lexical and grammatical quotative strategies in Nanti is compared with differences between lexical and grammaticalized quotative and reportive strategies found in other languages, and the Nanti results are found to be consistent with cross-linguistic tendencies towards functional differentiation of lexical quotative and reportives, on the one hand, and their grammaticalized counterparts, on the other. These facts, it is argued, motivate a distinction on functional grounds between grammaticalized reportives and quotatives and their lexical counterparts, supporting the use of grammaticalization as a criterion for distinguishing evidentials proper from evidential strategies. The commitment-augmenting function of the lexical quotative construction in Nanti self-quotation is then examined in light of the commitment-diminishing function commonly attributed to quotatives and reportives. It is argued that both types of commitment-modulating effects emerge as implicatures from the basic information and illocutionary source semantics of Nanti lexical quotatives, and from pragmatic reasoning based on whether the quoted party is first person or third person. The fact that both commitment-modulating functions of Nanti lexical quotatives are derived from semantics of lexical quotatives elements is argued to show that the distinction between information source and epistemic modal meanings, often taken to be a pivotal notional distinction in defining evidentiality as a grammatical category, is also essential to the proper analysis of the pragmatics of evidential strategies in discourse. (shrink)
Stefano Predelli comes to the defense of the traditional "formal" approach to natural-language semantics, arguing that it has been misrepresented not only by its critics, but also by its foremost defenders. In Contexts he offers a fundamental reappraisal, with particular attention to the treatment of indexicality and other forms of contextual dependence which have been the focus of much recent controversy. In the process, he presents original approaches to a number of important semantic issues, including the relationship between validity (...) and indexicality, the limits of token-reflexive systems, the significance of contextualist arguments, and the interpretation of attitude reports. Contexts will make invigorating reading for all philosophers of language and many linguists. (shrink)
Stefano Predelli explores the relationships between semantic notions of meaning and truth. He develops a 'Theory of Bias' in order to approach notorious semantic problems, offers a solution to Quine's 'Giorgione' puzzle and a new version of the demonstrative theory quotation, and defends a bare-boned approach to demonstratives and demonstrations.
Stefano Predelli defends a semantics of proper names which has simplicity and common sense in its favour: proper names are non-indexical devices of rigid and direct reference. He grounds this view in accounts of the shape and form of names, and of their introduction within language use, and he responds to widespread misconceptions and objections.
Paraconsistent Weak Kleene logic is the 3-valued logic with two designated values defined through the weak Kleene tables. This paper is a first attempt to investigate PWK within the perspective and methods of abstract algebraic logic. We give a Hilbert-style system for PWK and prove a normal form theorem. We examine some algebraic structures for PWK, called involutive bisemilattices, showing that they are distributive as bisemilattices and that they form a variety, \, generated by the 3-element algebra WK; we also (...) prove that every involutive bisemilattice is representable as the Płonka sum over a direct system of Boolean algebras. We then study PWK from the viewpoint of AAL. We show that \ is not the equivalent algebraic semantics of any algebraisable logic and that PWK is neither protoalgebraic nor selfextensional, not assertional, but it is truth-equational. We fully characterise the deductive filters of PWK on members of \ and the reduced matrix models of PWK. Finally, we investigate PWK with the methods of second-order AAL—we describe the class \ of PWK-algebras, algebra reducts of basic full generalised matrix models of PWK, showing that they coincide with the quasivariety generated by WK—which differs from \—and explicitly providing a quasiequational basis for it. (shrink)
Kant's Notion of "Transcendental Truth". [English] The aim of this work is to elucidate the notion of “transcendental truth” and to show its role in the Kantian system. I will argue that this notion is in line with the traditional definition of truth, i.e., that it consists in the correspondence between knowledge and object. I will also argue that criteria of transcendental truth are provided by transcendental logic, and that it is this notion of truth what makes it possible to (...) establish the truth of a priori knowledge and delimitate the field of empirical truth. [Español] El objetivo de este trabajo es dilucidar la noción de “verdad trascendental” y mostrar su lugar en el sistema kantiano. Se defenderá que la verdad trascendental consiste, en línea con la definición tradicional de verdad, en un sentido de correspondencia entre conocimiento y objeto, que la lógica trascendental establece criterios de verdad trascendental, y que es esta noción de verdad la que permite establecer la verdad del conocimiento a priori y delimitar el territorio de la verdad empírica. (shrink)
This essay aims at neutralizing the contextualist challenge against traditional semantics. According to contextualism, utterances of non-elliptical, non-ambiguous, and non-indexical sentences may be associated with contrasting truth-conditions. In this essay, I grant the contextualist analysis of the sentences in question, and the contextualist assessment of the truth-conditions for the corresponding utterances. I then argue that the resulting situation is by no means incompatible with the traditional approach to semantics, and that the evidence put forth by the contextualists may easily be (...) taken into account by the customary treatment of natural languages. (shrink)
We establish a duality between the category of involutive bisemilattices and the category of semilattice inverse systems of Stone spaces, using Stone duality from one side and the representation of involutive bisemilattices as Płonka sum of Boolean algebras, from the other. Furthermore, we show that the dual space of an involutive bisemilattice can be viewed as a GR space with involution, a generalization of the spaces introduced by Gierz and Romanowska equipped with an involution as additional operation.
The main aim of this paper is that of providing a unified analysis for some interesting uses of quotation marks, including so-called scare quotes. The phenomena exemplified by the cases I discuss have remained relatively unexplored, notwithstanding a growing interest in the behavior of quotation marks. They are, however, of no lesser interest than other, more widely studied effectsachieved with the help of quotationmarks. In particular, as I argue in whatfollows, scare quotes and other similar instances bear interesting relations with (...) someimportant themes in the study of natural languages, such as questions regarding alleged devicesof conventional implicature, cases of so-called metalinguistic negation, and, moregenerally, problems pertaining to the distinction between semantic and pragmatic fieldsof inquiry.In Section 1, I begin with a description of some examples involvingthe uses of quotation marks I intend to discuss, and I hint at some desiderata fortheir analysis. In Section 2, I temporarily abandon quotation marks, and, inspired by therecent work of Stephen Neale and Kent Bach on alleged devices of conventional implicature,I present what I call the theory of message and attachment. In Sections 3 and 4,I return to my initial examples, I employ the theory of message and attachment in theiranalysis, and I discuss certain features regarding the behavior of negation in some related cases. (shrink)
In current philosophical discussions on evidence in the medical sciences, epidemiology has been used to exemplify a specific version of evidential pluralism. According to this view, known as the Russo–Williamson Thesis, evidence of both difference-making and mechanisms is produced to make causal claims in the health sciences. In this paper, I present an analysis of data and evidence in epidemiological practice, with a special focus on research on the exposome, and I cast doubt on the extent to which evidential pluralism (...) holds in this case. I start by focusing on the claim that molecular data allows for the production of mechanistic evidence. On the basis of a close look at the ways in which molecular data is used in exposome research, I caution against interpretations in terms of mechanistic evidence. Secondly, I expand my critical remarks on the thesis by addressing the conditions under which data is categorised as evidence in exposome research. I argue that these show that the classification of a dataset as a type of evidence is dependent on the ways in which the data is used. This is in contrast with the approach of evidential pluralism, where evidence is classified in different types on the basis of its intrinsic properties. Finally, I come back to what I consider the core of the thesis and suggest that the epidemiological research analysed in the paper indicates different interpretations of evidential pluralism and its applicability in the health sciences. (shrink)
This paper investigates the effects of Buddhist ethics on consumers’ materialism, that is, the propensity to attach a fundamental role to possessions. The literature shows that religion and religiosity influence various attitudes and behaviors of consumers, including their ethical beliefs and ethical decisions. However, most studies focus on general religiosity rather than on the specific doctrinal ethical tenets of religions. The current research focuses on Buddhism and argues that it can tame materialism directly, similar to other religions, and through the (...) specific Buddhist ethical doctrines of the Four Immeasurables: compassion, loving kindness, empathetic joy, and equanimity. The empirical results show the following: (1) Buddhism reduces materialism directly and through some of the Four Immeasurables, and (2) despite the doctrine of non-existence of the self, positive emotions toward the self are still present, and the self absorbs the effects of Buddhist ethics on materialism. The latter finding suggests a “resistance of the self” that is coherent with the idea of a consumer who leverages the self to go beyond it. (shrink)
ABSTRACTIn this paper, I will establish a conversation between Rorty and the recent proposal of post-critical pedagogy. The assumption is that through this dialogue some tenets of the latter could find a Rortyan redescription that avoids the risk of ‘metaphysical’ formulations, whereas Rorty’s ideas can increase in their relevance with respect to education thanks to the post-critical perspective. In particular, the conversation will develop by focusing on the shared attitude towards the critical-negative attitude of poststructuralist thought, the significance of the (...) subject-matter in education and an interpretation of pedagogical hermeneutics through the lens of the Rortyan idea of edification. In the conclusion, by distinguishing two views of hope – an eventist and a transitionalist – it is argued that it is precisely in this theme, which seems to be a privileged meeting ground for Rorty and post-critical pedagogy, that there may lie a major fault line. (shrink)
I present a novel explanation of the apparent truth of certain remarks about fiction, such as an utterance of ''Salieri commissioned the Requiem'' during a discussion of the movie Amadeus. I criticize the traditional view, which alleges that the uttered sentence abbreviates the longer sentence ''it is true in the movie Amadeus that Salieri commissioned the Requiem''. I propose a solution which appeals to some independently motivated results concerning the contexts relevant for the semantic evaluation of indexical expressions.
This paper argues in favor of a treatment of discourse about fiction in terms of operators on character, that is, Kaplanesque ‘monsters’. The first three sections criticize the traditional analysis of ‘according to the fiction’ as an intensional operator, and the approach to fictional discourse grounded on the notion of contextual shifts. The final sections explain how an analysis in terms of monsters yields the correct readings for a variety of examples involving modal and temporal indexicals.
Recently, it has been argued that the use of Big Data transforms the sciences, making data-driven research possible and studying causality redundant. In this paper, I focus on the claim on causal knowledge by examining the Big Data project EXPOsOMICS, whose research is funded by the European Commission and considered capable of improving our understanding of the relation between exposure and disease. While EXPOsOMICS may seem the perfect exemplification of the data-driven view, I show how causal knowledge is necessary for (...) the project, both as a source for handling complexity and as an output for meeting the project’s goals. Consequently, I argue that data-driven claims about causality are fundamentally flawed and causal knowledge should be considered a necessary aspect of Big Data science. In addition, I present the consequences of this result on other data-driven claims, concerning the role of theoretical considerations. I argue that the importance of causal knowledge and other kinds of theoretical engagement in EXPOsOMICS undermine theory-free accounts and suggest alternative ways of framing science based on Big Data. (shrink)
This essay proposes a systematic semantic account of Davidson’s demonstrative theory of pure quotation (Davidson Theory and decision, 11: 27–40, 1979) within a classic Kaplan-style framework for indexical languages (Kaplan 1977). I argue that Davidson’s informal hints must be developed in terms of the idea of ‘character-external’ aspects of meaning, that is, in terms of truth-conditionally idle restrictions on the class of contexts in which quotation marks may appropriately be used. When thus developed, Davidson’s theory may correctly take into account (...) the intuitively special status of disquotational sentences, such as “Boston’ refers to Boston’, and “‘Boston” refers to ‘Boston”, and is thus immune from the important objections recently raised in Cappelen and Lepore 2007. (shrink)
How is scientific data used to represent phenomena and as evidence for claims about phenomena? In this paper, I propose that a specific type of claims – evidential claims – is involved in data practices to define and restrict the representational and evidential content of a dataset. I present an account of data practices in the epidemiology of the exposome based on the notion of evidential claims, which helps unpack the approaches, assumptions and warrants that connect different stages of research. (...) I identify three different strategies to generate different types of evidential claims in this case. The macro strategy, which individuates the dataset that serves as the initial evidential space for research. The micro strategy, which is used to generate evidential claims about the microscopic and individual component of target phenomena. The association strategy, that uses evidence from the other strategies to identify a dataset as representation of the different levels and relations of exposure and disease. Differentiating between these strategies sheds light on the multi-faceted landscape of biomedical research on environment and health; and the roles of data and evidence in the process of inquiry. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend a view of names from fiction compatible with the Millian theory of proper names. Unlike other attempts at providing a Millian analysis of names from fiction, my approach gives semantic recognition to our pre‐theoretic intuitions without postulating metaphysically dubious entities. The intuitively correct treatment of typical examples, including true negative existential statements, is obtained by appealing only to independently motivated results in the semantics for natural languages.
This essay proposes a novel semantic account of demonstratives, aimed at clarifying the sense in which demonstratives are semantically dependent on demonstrations. Its first two sections summarize the main views currently on the market. Section 3 argues that they are all vitiated by the same shortcomings, and yield incorrect results of ‘truth in virtue of character’ and entailment. Section 4 proposes a different account of the relationships between demonstratives and demonstrations, grounded on the idea of truth-conditionally irrelevant aspects of the (...) meaning of certain expressions. The resulting view of demonstratives is consonant with the so-called ‘bare boned’ account of their truth-conditional role, but is also in the position to recognize that the dependence of a demonstrative on a demonstration is, in some sense of the term, meaning-governed. The final section of this essay discusses the distinction between ‘vacuous’ and ‘incomplete’ uses of demonstratives, and cases involving multiple occurrences of these expressions. (shrink)
The paper studies the containment companion of a logic \. This consists of the consequence relation \ which satisfies all the inferences of \, where the variables of the conclusion are contained into those of the set of premises, in case this is not inconsistent. In accordance with the work started in , we show that a different generalization of the Płonka sum construction, adapted from algebras to logical matrices, allows to provide a matrix-based semantics for containment logics. In particular, (...) we provide an appropriate completeness theorem for a wide family of containment logics, and we show how to produce a complete Hilbert style axiomatization. (shrink)
Taking inspiration from Searle’s ‘The Logic of Fictional Discourse’, this essay presents an argument against different versions of the so-called ‘speech act theory of fiction’. In particular, it argues that a Uniformity Argument may be constructed, which is additional to the Determination Argument commonly attributed to Searle, and which does not rely on his presumably controversial Determination Principle. This Uniformity Argument is equally powerful against the ‘Dedicated Speech Act’ theories that Searle originally targeted, and the more recent, Grice-inspired versions of (...) speech-act approaches to fictional discourse. (shrink)
This essay argues that relativist semantics provide fruitful frameworks for the study of the relationships between meaning and truth-conditions, and consequently for the analysis of the logical properties of expressions. After a discussion of the role of intensionality and indexicality within classic double-indexed semantics, I explain that the non-relativistic identification of the parameters needed for the definition of truth and for the interpretation of indexicals is grounded on considerations that are irrelevant for the assessment of the relationships between meaning and (...) truth. (shrink)
Humans are always interested in distinguishing natural and artificial entities although there is no sharp demarcation between the two categories. Surprisingly, things do not improve when the second type of entities is restricted to the arguably more constrained realm of physical technical artifacts. This paper helps to clarify the relationship between natural entities and technical artifacts by developing a conceptual landscape within which to analyze these notions. The framework is developed by studying three definitions of technical artifact which arise from (...) different perspectives. All these perspectives share two intuitions: that technical artifacts are physical objects that exist by human intervention; and that technical artifacts are entities to be contrasted to natural entities. Yet the perspectives are different in the way they spell out these intuitions: the relevant human intervention may range from intentional selection to intentional production; and the contrast between technical artifacts and natural entities may be introduced by a constitution relation or by defining properties that set technical artifacts apart. The three perspectives are compared and their similarities and dissimilarities are explored with the help of ontological analysis. (shrink)
Płonka sums consist of an algebraic construction similar, in some sense, to direct limits, which allows to represent classes of algebras defined by means of regular identities. Recently, Płonka sums have been connected to logic, as they provide algebraic semantics to logics obtained by imposing a syntactic filter to given logics. In this paper, I present a very general topological duality for classes of algebras admitting a Płonka sum representation in terms of dualisable algebras.
What is it like to be a human being in a simulated world? Will experiencing worlds that are not “actual” change our way of structuring thought? Can virtual worlds open up new possibilities for philosophizing? -/- Virtual Worlds as Philosophical Tools tries to answer those questions from a perspective that is informed and inspired by the philosophy of technology, media theory and the design of digital games. Despite being presented here in a form that is almost exclusively textual, its contents (...) encapsulate the interdisciplinary work of a digital humanist and, as such, are characterized by a degree of practical involvement in the creation and repurposing of digital technology and digitally mediated contents. More specifically, this book emerges from the engagement “in design and development processes that give rise to richer, multidirectional models, genres, iterations of scholarly communication and practice” ( Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0). (shrink)
This essay proposes a semantic analysis of biscuit-conditionals, such as Austin's classic example "there are biscuits in the cupboard if you want some". The analysis is grounded on the ideas of contextual restrictions, and of non-character encoded aspects of meaning, and provides a rigorous framework for the widespread intuitions that the if-clause in a biscuit-conditional is truth-conditionally idle, but it 'qualifies' the speech-act in question. In the concluding section of this essay, the analysis is also applied to the importantly similar (...) phenomenon of speech-act adverbs. (shrink)
This essay is devoted to an analysis of the semantic significance of a fashionable view of proper names, the Predicate Theory of names, typically developed in the direction of the Metalinguistic Theory of names. According to MT, ‘syntactic evidence supports the conclusion that a name such as ‘Kennedy’ is analyzable in terms of the predicate ‘individual named ‘Kennedy’’. This analysis is in turn alleged to support a descriptivist treatment of proper names in designative position, presumably in contrast with theories of (...) names as ‘directly referring rigid designators’. The main aim of this essay is that of questioning the significance of PT and MT as theories of designation: even granting for the argument’s sake that names are analyzable as predicates, their designative occurrences may be interpreted in consonance with the dictates of Direct Reference—indeed, in consonance with the radically anti-descriptivist version of Direct Reference I call Millianism. (shrink)