Deflationists about truth embrace the positive thesis that the notion of truth is useful as a logical device, for such purposes as blanket endorsement, and the negative thesis that the notion doesn’t have any legitimate applications beyond its logical uses, so it cannot play a significant theoretical role in scientific inquiry or causal explanation. Focusing on Christopher Hill as exemplary deflationist, the present paper takes issue with the negative thesis, arguing that, without making use of the notion of truth conditions, (...) we have little hope for a scientific understanding of human speech, thought, and action. For the reference relation, the situation is different. Inscrutability arguments give reason to think that a more-than-deflationary theory of reference is unattainable. With respect to reference, deflationism is the only game in town. (shrink)
That reference is inscrutable is demonstrated, it is argued, not only by W. V. Quine's arguments but by Peter Unger's "Problem of the Many." Applied to our own language, this is a paradoxical result, since nothing could be more obvious to speakers of English than that, when they use the word "rabbit," they are talking about rabbits. The solution to this paradox is to take a disquotational view of reference for one's own language, so that "When I use 'rabbit,' I (...) refer to rabbits" is made true by the meaning of the word "refer." The reference relation is extended to other languages by translation. The explanation for this peculiarly egocentric conception of semantics-questions of others' meanings are settled by asking what I mean by words of my language-is to be found in our practice of predicting and explaining other people's behavior by empathetic identification. I understand other people's behavior by asking what I would do in their place. (shrink)
Tarski and Mautner proposed to characterize the "logical" operations on a given domain as those invariant under arbitrary permutations. These operations are the ones that can be obtained as combinations of the operations on the following list: identity; substitution of variables; negation; finite or infinite disjunction; and existential quantification with respect to a finite or infinite block of variables. Inasmuch as every operation on this list is intuitively "logical", this lends support to the Tarski-Mautner proposal.
George Boolos (1984, 1985) has extensively investigated plural quantiﬁ- cation, as found in such locutions as the Geach-Kaplan sentence There are critics who admire only one another, and he found that their logic cannot be adequately formalized within the ﬁrst-order predicate calculus. If we try to formalize the sentence by a paraphrase using individual variables that range over critics, or over sets or collections or fusions of critics, we misrepresent its logical structure. To represent plural quantiﬁcation adequately requires the logical (...) resources of the full second-order predicate calculus. (shrink)
There is no preferred reduction of number theory to set theory. Nonetheless, we confidently accept axioms obtained by substituting formulas from the language of set theory into the induction axiom schema. This is only possible, it is argued, because our acceptance of the induction axioms depends solely on the meanings of aritlunetical and logical terms, which is only possible if our 'intended models' of number theory are standard. Similarly, our acceptance of the second-order natural deduction rules depends solely on the (...) meanings of the logical terms, which implies, it is argued, that our second-order quantifiers have to be standard. (shrink)
If it is certain that performing an observation to determine whether P is true will in no way influence whether P is tme, then the proposition that the observation is performed ought to be probabilistically independent of P. Applying the notion of "observation" liberally, so that a wide variety of actions are treated as observations, this proposed new principle of belief revision yields the result that simple utihty maximization gives the correct solution to the Fisher smoking paradox and the two-box (...) solution to Newcomb's paradox. Contrary intuitions are explained as arising from mistakenly treating subjective probability as a measure of the intensity of conscious assent, whereas it ought to be regarded as measuring dispositions to action. (shrink)