I discuss Aristotle's treatment of essence and definition in Metaphysics VII.4. I argue that it is coherent and perfectly in accord with its broader context. His discussion in VII.4 offers, on the one hand, minimal criteria for what counts as definition and essence for whatever kind of object, but also, on the other hand, stronger criteria for a primary sort of definition and essence—and thereby it serves the interest of book VII in pointing to the explanatory power (...) of the essence of composite substances. (shrink)
Initiatives relying on artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver socially beneficial outcomes—AI for social good (AI4SG)—are on the rise. However, existing attempts to understand and foster AI4SG initiatives have so far been limited by the lack of normative analyses and a shortage of empirical evidence. In this Perspective, we address these limitations by providing a definition of AI4SG and by advocating the use of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a benchmark for tracing the scope and spread of (...) AI4SG. We introduce a database of AI4SG projects gathered using this benchmark, and discuss several key insights, including the extent to which different SDGs are being addressed. This analysis makes possible the identification of pressing problems that, if left unaddressed, risk hampering the effectiveness of AI4SG initiatives. (shrink)
Paul Elbourne defends the Fregean view that definite descriptions ('the table', 'the King of France') refer to individuals, and offers a new and radical account of the semantics of pronouns. He draws on a wide range of work, from Frege, Peano, and Russell to the latest findings in linguistics, philosophy of language, and psycholinguistics.
We argue that definite noun phrases give rise to uniqueness inferences characterized by a pattern we call definiteness projection. Definiteness projection says that the uniqueness inference of a definite projects out unless there is an indefinite antecedent in a position that filters presuppositions. We argue that definiteness projection poses a serious puzzle for e-type theories of (in)definites; on such theories, indefinites should filter existence presuppositions but not uniqueness presuppositions. We argue that definiteness projection also poses challenges for dynamic approaches, which (...) have trouble generating uniqueness inferences and predicting some filtering behavior, though unlike the challenge for e-type theories, these challenges have mostly been noted in the literature, albeit in a piecemeal way. Our central aim, however, is not to argue for or against a particular view, but rather to formulate and motivate a generalization about definiteness which any adequate theory must account for. (shrink)
In some sentences, demonstratives can be substituted with definite descriptions without any change in meaning. In light of this, many have maintained that demonstratives are just a type of definite description. However, several theorists have drawn attention to a range of cases where definite descriptions are acceptable, but their demonstrative counterparts are not. Some have tried to account for this data by appealing to presupposition. I argue that such presuppositional approaches are problematic, and present a pragmatic account of the target (...) contrasts. On this approach, demonstratives take two arguments and generally require that the first, covert argument is non-redundant with respect to the second, overt argument. I derive this condition through an economy principle discussed by Schlenker (2005). (shrink)
Survey of different definitions of lying and deceiving, with an emphasis on the contemporary debate between Thomas Carson, Roy Sorensen, Don Fallis, Jennifer Saul, Paul Faulkner, Jennifer Lackey, David Simpson, Andreas Stokke, Jorg Meibauer, Seana Shiffrin, and James Mahon, among others, over whether lies always aim to deceive. Related questions include whether lies must be assertions, whether lies always breach trust, whether it is possible to lie without using spoken or written language, whether lies must always be false, whether lies (...) that are unsuccessful are still lies, and whether deception must aim at creating false beliefs as opposed to preventing people from acquiring true beliefs. (shrink)
I offer and defend an account of real definitions. I put forward two versions of the account, one formulated in terms of the notion of generalised identity and of a suitable notion of grounding, and the other one formulated in terms of the former notion and of a suitable notion of comparative joint-carvingness. Given a plausible assumption, and turn out to be equivalent. I give a sketch of a unified account of the three notions involved in and from which the (...) assumption can be derived. (shrink)
The definition of art is controversial in contemporary philosophy. Whether art can be defined has also been a matter of controversy. The philosophical usefulness of a definition of art has also been debated. -/- Contemporary definitions can be classified with respect to the dimensions of art they emphasize. One distinctively modern, conventionalist, sort of definition focuses on art’s institutional features, emphasizing the way art changes over time, modern works that appear to break radically with all traditional art, (...) the relational properties of artworks that depend on works’ relations to art history, art genres, etc. – more broadly, on the undeniable heterogeneity of the class of artworks. The more traditional, less conventionalist sort of definition defended in contemporary philosophy makes use of a broader, more traditional concept of aesthetic properties that includes more than art-relational ones, and puts more emphasis on art’s pan-cultural and trans-historical characteristics – in sum, on commonalities across the class of artworks. Hybrid definitions aim to do justice to both the traditional aesthetic dimension as well as to the institutional and art-historical dimensions of art, while privileging neither. (shrink)
The aim of this study is to provide a discussion on the definitions and conceptual dimensions of Responsible Research and Innovation based on findings from the literature. In the study, the outcomes of a literature review of 235 RRI-related articles were presented. The articles were selected from the EBSCO and Google Scholar databases regarding the definitions and dimensions of RRI. The results of the study indicated that while administrative definitions were widely quoted in the reviewed literature, they were not substantially (...) further elaborated. Academic definitions were mostly derived from the institutional definitions; however, more empirical studies should be conducted in order to give a broader empirical basis to the development of the concept. In the current study, four distinct conceptual dimensions of RRI that appeared in the reviewed literature were brought out: inclusion, anticipation, responsiveness and reflexivity. Two emerging conceptual dimensions were also added: sustainability and care. (shrink)
The prototypes of definiteness and indefiniteness in English are the definite article the and the indefinite article a/an, and singular noun phrases (NPs)1 determined by them. That being the case it is not to be predicted that the concepts, whatever their content, will extend satisfactorily to other determiners or NP types. However it has become standard to extend these notions. Of the two categories definites have received rather more attention, and more than one researcher has characterized the category of definite (...) NPs by enumerating NP types. Westerståhl (1985), who is concerned only with determiners in the paper cited, gives a very short list: demonstrative NPs, possessive NPs, and definite descriptions. Prince (1992) lists proper names and personal pronouns, as well as NPs with the, a demonstrative, or a possessive NP as determiner. She notes, in addition, that “certain quantifiers (e.g. all, every) have been argued to be definite” (Prince 1992: 299). This list, with the quantifiers added, agrees with that given by Birner & Ward (1998, 114). Ariel (1988, 1990) adds null anaphoric NPs. (shrink)
Few moral questions have greater bearing on the conduct of our everyday lives than questions about the morality of lying. These questions are also important for ethical theory. An important test of any theory of right and wrong is whether it gives an adequate account of the morality of lying. Conceptual questions about the nature of lying are prior to questions about the moral status of lying. Any theory about the moral status of lying presupposes an account of what lying (...) is. (shrink)
This paper distinguishes between definiteness and determinacy. Definiteness is seen as a morphological category which, in English, marks a uniqueness presupposition, while determinacy consists in denoting an individual. Definite descriptions are argued to be fundamentally predicative, presupposing uniqueness but not existence, and to acquire existential import through general type-shifting operations that apply not only to definites, but also indefinites and possessives. Through these shifts, argumental definite descriptions may become either determinate or indeterminate. The latter option is observed in examples like (...) ‘Anna didn’t give the only invited talk at the conference’, which, on its indeterminate reading, implies that there is nothing in the extension of ‘only invited talk at the conference’. The paper also offers a resolution of the issue of whether possessives are inherently indefinite or definite, suggesting that, like indefinites, they do not mark definiteness lexically, but like definites, they typically yield determinate readings due to a general preference for the shifting operation that produces them. (shrink)
First published in Great Britain in 1948, this book examines the definition of goodness as being distinct from the question of What things are good? Although less immediately and obviously practical, Dr. Ewing argues that the former question is more fundamental since it raises the issue of whether ethics is explicable wholly in terms of something else, for example, human psychology. Ewing states in his preface that the definition of goodness needs to be confirmed before one decides on (...) the place value is to occupy in our conception of reality or on the ultimate characteristics which make one action right and another wrong. This book discusses these issues. (shrink)
In the last thirty years, work in analytic philosophy of art has flourished, and it has given rise to considerably controversy. Stephen Davies describes and analyzes the definition of art as it has been discussed in Anglo-American philosophy during this period and, in the process, introduces his own perspective on ways in which we should reorient our thinking. Davies conceives of the debate as revealing two basic, conflicting approaches--the functional and the procedural--to the questions of whether art can be (...) defined, and if so, how. As the author sees it, the functionalist believes that an object is a work of art only if it performs a particular function (usually, that of providing a rewarding aesthetic experience). By contrast the proceduralist believes that something is an artwork only if it has been created according to certain rules and procedures. Davies attempts to demonstrate the fruitfulness of viewing the debate in terms of this framework, and he develops new arguments against both points of view--although he is more critical of functional than of procedural definitions. Because it has generated so much of the recent literature, Davies starts his analysis with a discussion of Morris Weitz's germinal paper, "The Role of Theory in Aesthetics." He goes on to examine other important works by Arthur Danto, George Dickie, and Ben Tilghman and develops in his critiques original arguments on such matters of the artificiality of artworks and the relevance of artists' intentions. (shrink)
Socrates' greatest philosophical contribution was to have initiated the search for definitions. In Definition in Greek Philosophy his views on definition are examined, together with those of his successors, including Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Galen, the Sceptics and Plotinus. Although definition was a major pre-occupation for many Greek philosophers, it has rarely been treated as a separate topic in its own right in recent years. This volume, which contains fourteen new essays by leading scholars, aims to reawaken (...) interest in a number of central and relatively unexplored issues concerning definition. These issues are briefly set out in the Introduction, which also seeks to point out scholarly and philosophical questions which merit further study. (shrink)
Persuasive definitions – those that convey an attitude in the act of naming – are frequently employed in discourse and are a form of strategic maneuvering. The dynamics of persuasive definition are explored through brief case studies and an extended analysis of the use of the “war” metaphor in responding to terrorism after September 11, 2001. Examining persuasive definitions enables us to notice similarities and differences between strategic maneuvering in dialectical and in rhetorical argument, as well as differences between (...) the role of strategic maneuvering in normatively ideal argument and in actually existing argument. This will avoid the double standard of comparing ideal dialectic with actual rhetoric, or vice versa. The results of the analysis suggest possibilities for a rapprochement between dialectical and rhetorical approaches to argumentation. (shrink)
This paper presents rules of inference for a binary quantifier I for the formalisation of sentences containing definite descriptions within intuitionist positive free logic. I binds one variable and forms a formula from two formulas. Ix[F, G] means ‘The F is G’. The system is shown to have desirable proof-theoretic properties: it is proved that deductions in it can be brought into normal form. The discussion is rounded up by comparisons between the approach to the formalisation of definite descriptions recommended (...) here and the more usual approach that uses a term-forming operator ι, where ιxF means ‘the F’. (shrink)
Definitions vary according to context of use and target audience. They must be made relevant for each context to fulfill their cognitive and linguistic goals. This involves adapting their logical structure, type of content, and form to each context of use. We examine from these perspectives the case of definitions in ontologies.
This paper addresses the actual practice of justifying definitions in mathematics. First, I introduce the main account of this issue, namely Lakatos's proof-generated definitions. Based on a case study of definitions of randomness in ergodic theory, I identify three other common ways of justifying definitions: natural-world justification, condition justification, and redundancy justification. Also, I clarify the interrelationships between the different kinds of justification. Finally, I point out how Lakatos's ideas are limited: they fail to show how various kinds of justification (...) can be found and can be reasonable, and they fail to acknowledge the interplay among the different kinds of justification. (shrink)
In the past century the received view of definition in mathematics has been the stipulative conception, according to which a definition merely stipulates the meaning of a term in other terms which are supposed to be already well known. The stipulative conception has been so absolutely dominant and accepted as unproblematic that the nature of definition has not been much discussed, yet it is inadequate. This paper examines its shortcomings and proposes an alternative, the heuristic conception.
. The term inversion principle goes back to Lorenzen who coined it in the early 1950s. It was later used by Prawitz and others to describe the symmetric relationship between introduction and elimination inferences in natural deduction, sometimes also called harmony. In dealing with the invertibility of rules of an arbitrary atomic production system, Lorenzen’s inversion principle has a much wider range than Prawitz’s adaptation to natural deduction. It is closely related to definitional reflection, which is a principle for reasoning (...) on the basis of rule-based atomic definitions, proposed by Hallnäs and Schroeder-Heister. After presenting definitional reflection and the inversion principle, it is shown that the inversion principle can be formally derived from definitional reflection, when the latter is viewed as a principle to establish admissibility. Furthermore, the relationship between definitional reflection and the inversion principle is investigated on the background of a universalization principle, called the ω- principle, which allows one to pass from the set of all defined substitution instances of a sequent to the sequent itself. (shrink)
Legal definitions will be examined from three perspectives: their pragmatic function, their propositional structure, and their argumentative role. In law, definitions can be used for different pragmatic purposes: they can be uttered to describe a concept, or to establish a new meaning for a term. The propositional content of definitional speech acts can be different. In law, like in ordinary conversation, there might be different types of definition: we can define by providing examples, or showing the fundamental characteristics of (...) the concept defined, or listing the constituent parts of the denotatum. All these definitions play different argumentative roles in legal discourse. At a third level, definitions can be thought of as premises in complex patterns of reasoning (for the subject of reasoning from definition in law, see Aarnio 1977; Moore 1980; Lindahl, 2004). They constitute the fundamental element of argument from classification, namely a pattern of inference in which a new property (or a name) is attributed to an entity on the basis of other properties. (shrink)
First published in Great Britain in 1948, this book examines the definition of goodness as being distinct from the question of _What things are good?_ Although less immediately and obviously practical, Dr. Ewing argues that the former question is more fundamental since it raises the issue of whether ethics is explicable wholly in terms of something else, for example, human psychology. Ewing states in his preface that the definition of goodness needs to be confirmed before one decides on (...) the place value is to occupy in our conception of reality or on the ultimate characteristics which make one action right and another wrong. This book discusses these issues. (shrink)
In this article I consider six definitions of deceiving (that is, other-deceiving, as opposed to self-deceiving) from Lily-Marlene Russow, Sissela Bok, OED/Webster's dictionary, Leonard Linsky, Roderick Chisholm and Thomas Feehan, and Gary Fuller, and reject them all, in favor of a modified version of a rejected definition (Fuller). I also defend this definition from a possible objection from Annette Barnes. According to this new definition, deceiving is necessarily intentional, requires that the deceived person acquires or continues to (...) have a false belief, and must involve the agency of the deceived person; furthermore, the deceiver must know or truly believe that the false belief that the deceived person acquires or continues to have is false. (shrink)
This article first examines a number of different definitions of lying, from Aldert Vrij, Warren Shibles, Sissela Bok, the Oxford English Dictionary, Linda Coleman and Paul Kay, and Joseph Kupfer. It considers objections to all of them, and then defends Kupfer’s definition, as well as a modified version of his definition, as the best of those so far considered. Next, it examines five other definitions of lying, from Harry G. Frankfurt, Roderick M. Chisholm and Thomas D. Feehan, David (...) Simpson, Thomas Carson, and Don Fallis. It finds reason to reject these definitions, in favor of the two definitions of lying previously defended, namely:(i) To lie (to another person) = df. to make a believed-false statement (to another person) with the intention that that statement be believed to be true (by the other person).(ii) To lie (to another person) = df. to make a believed-false statement (to another person), either with the intention that that statement be believed to be true (by the other person), or with the intention that it be believed (by the other person) that that statement is believed to be true (by the person making the statement), or with both intentions. (shrink)
An examination of the post-Darwinian history of biological taxonomy reveals an implicit assumption that the definitions of taxon names consist of lists of organismal traits. That assumption represents a failure to grant the concept of evolution a central role in taxonomy, and it causes conflicts between traditional methods of defining taxon names and evolutionary concepts of taxa. Phylogenetic definitions of taxon names (de Queiroz and Gauthier 1990) grant the concept of common ancestry a central role in the definitions of taxon (...) names and thus constitute an important step in the development of phylogenetic taxonomy. By treating phylogenetic relationships rather than organismal traits as necessary and sufficient properties, phylogenetic definitions remove conflicts between the definitions of taxon names and evolutionary concepts of taxa. The general method of definition represented by phylogenetic definitions of clade names can be applied to the names of other kinds of composite wholes, including populations and biological species. That the names of individuals (composite wholes) can be defined in terms of necessary and sufficient properties provides the foundation for a synthesis of seemingly incompatible positions held by contemporary individualists and essentialists concerning the nature of taxa and the definitions of taxon names. (shrink)
Two definitions of Mach’s principle are proposed. Both are related to gauge theory, are universal in scope and amount to formulations of causality that take into account the relational nature of position, time, and size. One of them leads directly to general relativity and may have relevance to the problem of creating a quantum theory of gravity.
The age-old question “What is truth?” is not an unambiguous one. There are at least two different meanings. In one sense, it is a semantic question about the meaning of the word “truth” and/or a metaphysical question about the nature of the property of truth, that is, how truth can be defined in terms of other notions, if it is definable at all. In another sense, it is an epistemological question about the criterion or test of truth, that is, how (...) we can recognize or accept (empirical) propositions as true. Ayer, in Language, Truth and Logic (LTL) and some other articles, tried to convince us that when we attempt to elucidate a theory of truth, we are only engaging in the epistemological project of finding the criterion of truth. This anti-semantical and anti-metaphysical view is based on Ayer’s (radical) deflationism about truth. In this chapter, I will argue that since Ayer did not accept that the criterion of truth is intimately related to the concept of truth, he can be seen as a deflationist about the nature of truth and as an advocate of a certain (Schlickian) kind of correspondence conception about the criterion of truth. His position would not be tenable if he had maintained what some of his contemporaries accepted, namely that there is a close connection between the two truth-theoretical tasks: the definitional and the criterial one. (shrink)
The paper develops a uniform analysis of the definite article in its various uses and of definite NPs in general. Starting from the observation that singular and plural mass and count definites all refer to single, though possibly complex objects (Ch. 1), it is argued that the logical role of definites is that of individual expressions (terms). To treat definites as quantifiers is logically inadequate, but (referential) quantification involves definite reference to the domain of quantification (Ch. 2). In Ch. 3 (...) a distinction between functional, relational, and sortal concepts is introduced along with a corresponding subcategorization of noun occurrences. This enables a systematic categorization of the uses of definites, the main distinction being that between semantic and pragmatic definites (Ch. 4). Semantic definites represent functional concepts which exist independently of the particular situation referred to, whereas pragmatic definites depend on that situation for unambiguous reference. In sketching a more elaborated theory of anaphors it is finally argued that the definite article always indicates that the noun is to be taken as a functional concept. Definites in general receive functional concept interpretations, but the definite article is unique in its role: all other determiners require a sortal or relational concept interpretation of the noun. (shrink)
This paper discusses some of the ways in which circular definitions and circular explanations entail or fail to entail infinite regresses. And since not all infinite regresses are vicious, a few criteria of viciousness are examined in order to determine when the entailment of a regress refutes a circular definition or a circular explanation.
The purpose of this paper is to inquire into the relationship between persuasive definition and common knowledge (propositions generally accepted and not subject to dispute in a discussion). We interpret the gap between common knowledge and persuasive definition (PD) in terms of potential disagreements: PDs are conceived as implicit arguments to win a potential conflict. Persuasive definitions are analyzed as arguments instantiating two argumentation schemes, argument from classification and argument from values, and presupposing a potential disagreement. The argumentative (...) structure of PDs reveals different levels of disagreement, and different pos-sibilities of resolving the conflict or causing dialogical deadlock. (shrink)
The official definition of ‘pain’ by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) hasn’t seen much revision since its publication in 1979. There have been various criticisms of the definition in the literature from different quarters: that the definition implies a dubious metaphysical dualism, that it requires a strong form of consciousness as well as linguistic abilities, that it excludes many vulnerable groups that are otherwise perfectly capable of experiencing pain, that it has therefore unacceptable (...) practical as well as ethical consequences, that it is unhelpful to the health-care professional as an operational definition, that it is too narrow, and many others. In my view, most of these criticisms depend on misunderstandings or on uncharitable interpretations. My aim is to go over the definition, clarify some potential ambiguities, and argue that these criticisms don’t cut much ice. At the end, I will present a few slightly reworded versions of the definition that I claim are more felicitous and capture the original intended meaning by the members of the taxonomic committee in a much better and transparent way that avoids all the major extant criticisms in the literature. (Written for interdisciplinary audiences.). (shrink)
We provide an application of a sequent calculus framework to the formalization of definite descriptions. It is a continuation of research undertaken in [20, 22]. In the present paper a so-called free description theory is examined in the context of different kinds of free logic, including systems applied in computer science and constructive mathematics for dealing with partial functions. It is shown that the same theory in different logics may be formalised by means of different rules and gives results of (...) varying strength. For all presented calculi a constructive cut elimination is provided. (shrink)
Extensive and diverse conceptual work towards developing a definition of ‘mental disorder’ was motivated by the declassification of homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in 1973. This highly politicised event was understood as a call for psychiatry to provide assurances against further misclassification on the basis of discrimination or socio-political deviance. Today, if a definition of mental disorder fails to exclude homosexuality, then it fails to provide this safeguard against potential abuses and therefore fails to do an (...) important part of the work it was intended to do. We argue that fact-based definitions of mental disorder, relying on scientific theory, fail to offer a robust definition of mental disorder that excludes homosexuality. Definitions of mental disorder based on values do not fare better: these definitions are silent on questions about the diagnostic status of individuals in oppressive societies and over-inclusive of mental or behavioural states that happen to be negatively valued in the individual's social context. We consider the latest definition proposed for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-5 in light of these observations. We argue that definition fails to improve on these earlier deficiencies. Its inclusion in the manual may offer false reassurance against repetition of past misclassifications. We conclude with a provocation that if candidate definitions of mental disorder are unable to exclude homosexuality, it might perhaps be preferable not to attempt a definition at all. (shrink)