Plural predication is a pervasive part of ordinary language. We can say that some people are fifty in number, are surrounding a building, come from many countries, and are classmates. These predicates can be true of some people without being true of any one of them; they are non-distributive predications. However, the apparatus of modern logic does not allow a place for them. Thomas McKay here explores the enrichment of logic with non-distributive plural predication and quantification. His book will be (...) of great interest to philosophers of language, linguists, metaphysicians, and logicians. (shrink)
Anyone who admits the existence of composite objects allows a certain kind of coincidence, coincidence of a thing with its parts. I argue here that a similar sort of coincidence, coincidence of a thing with the stuff that constitutes it, should be equally acceptable. Acknowledgement of this is enough to solve the traditional problem of the coincidence of a statue and the clay or bronze it is made of. In support of this, I offer some principles for the persistence of (...) stuff that are general, not relying on the particular features of a kind of stuff in the way that principles for the persistence for a thing would. This provides a non-arbitrary grounding for stuff that is independent of the conditions on the nature and persistence of things the stuff composes. The principles also provide a general basis for responding to other questions about coincident stuff. (shrink)
This paper critiques the standard presentation of arguments from analogy in logic textbooks and offers an alternative way of understanding them which renders them both more plausible and more easily evaluated for their strength. The typical presentation presents analogies as inductive arguments in which a set of properties, known to be shared by two logical domains, supports an inference about a further property, known to belong to one domain and inferred to belong to the target domain. But framed in these (...) terms, the strength of the argument depends entirely on the relevance of the known shared properties to the inferred shared property, meaning the argument rests on an unstated assumption. Against this view, the author maintains that arguments from analogy are figurative ways of addressing properties of the target logical domain. By comparing or contrasting two logical domains, analogies articulate a general principle which illustrates something difficult to imagine or to describe literally about the target domain. Analogies can be reformulated and evaluated as deductive arguments on this view, with their chief logical import being the inquiry they incite in students as to whether the general principle is true and sufficiently general to apply to the target domain. (shrink)
I want to present some evidence that facts about de re attitudes or causal facts are important in the explanation of actions. In particular, I will argue that an attempt by Ernest Sosa and Mark Pastin  to give a scheme for explaining intentional actions fails. By adding either de re or causal locutions we can devise a more adequate schema for explaining action, but their analysis had been designed to eliminate de re locutions from explanations of intentional action. Showing (...) the failure of their analysis does not, of course, show that de re or causal elements are required in these explanations, since it does not rule out the possibility of alternative explanatory schemes. But the centrality of de re or causal elements is supported by the inadequacy of their attempts to dispense with them. (shrink)
This paper mentions several different sorts of "essentialism," and examines various senses in which quantified modal logic is "committed to" the most troublesome kind of essentialism. It is argued that essentialism is neither provable, Nor entailed by any contingently true non-Modal sentence. But quantified modal logic is committed to the meaningfulness of essentialism. This sort of commitment may be made innocuous by requiring that essentialism simply be made logically false; some of the consequences of taking this line are explored.
In studying logic, one learns how to establish that a conclusion follows from a set of premises. Those arguments that exhibit one of the valid forms of the deductive system under study are valid. There may be questions about what forms are exhibited by various arguments - Is this English conditional really truth-functional? Is this disjunction really inclusive? Are the English predicates used with uniform meaning? - but none of these problems undermine the claim that if an argument exhibits a (...) valid form of a system for deductive logic, then that argument is valid.When we move on to study invalidity, however, we find that the situation is not parallel. Every argument is an instance of some invalid argument forms, and we cannot say that every instance of every invalid form is invalid. (shrink)
(1) Arnie, Bob and Carlos are shipmates.1 This is something true of the three of them together. We cannot say Arnie is a shipmate except perhaps as elliptical for something that connects Arnie to others. (Arnie is a..