Presupposition, vagueness, and oddness can lead to some sentences failing to have a clear truth value. The homogeneity property of plural predication with definite descriptions may also create truth-valuegaps: The books are written in Dutch is true if all relevant books are in Dutch, false if none of them are, and neither true nor false if, say, half of the books are written in Dutch. We study the projection property of homogeneity by deploying methods of general interest (...) to identify truth-valuegaps. Method A consists in collecting both truth judgments and, independently, falsity judgments. The second method, employed in experiment series B and C, is based on one-shot ternary judgments: completely true vs. completely false vs. neither. After a calibration of these methods, we use them to demonstrate that homogeneity projects out of negation, the scope of universal sentences and the scope of non-monotonic quantifiers such as exactly two, to some extent. We assess our results in light of different theoretical approaches to homogeneity—approaches based on presuppositions, scalar implicatures, and something like supervaluations, respectively. We identify free parameters in these theories and assess various variants of them based on our results. Our experimental paradigms may be of broader significance insofar as they can be applied to other phenomena which result in the failure of a sentence to have a definite truth value. (shrink)
In his article 'Rejection' (1996), Timothy Smiley had shown how a logical system allowing rules of rejection could provide a categorical axiomatization of the classical propositional calculus. This paper shows how rules of rejection, when placed in a multiple conclusion setting, can also provide categorical axiomatizations of a range of non-classical calculi which permit truth-valuegaps, among them the calculus in Smiley's own 'Sense without denotation' (1960).
The fact that a group of axioms use the word 'true' does not guarantee that that group of axioms yields a theory of truth. For Davidson the derivability of certain biconditionals from the axioms is what guarantees this. We argue that the test does not work. In particular, we argue that if the object language has truth-valuegaps, the result of applying Davidson''s definition of a theory of truth is that no correct theory of truth for the language (...) is possible. (shrink)
An account of the logic of bivalent languages with truth-valuegaps is given. This account is keyed to the use of tables introduced by S. C. Kleene. The account has two guiding ideas. First, that the bivalence property insures that the language satisfies classical logic. Second, that the general concepts of a valid sentence and an inconsistent sentence are, respectively, as sentences which are not false in any model and sentences which are not true in any model. What (...) recommends this approach is (1) its relative simplicity, and (2) the fact that it leaves the fundamental features of classical logic intact. (shrink)
Kuhn's alleged taxonomic interpretation of incommensurability is grounded on an ill defined notion of untranslatability and is hence radically incomplete. To supplement it, I reconstruct Kuhn's taxonomic interpretation on the basis of a logical-semantic theory of taxonomy, a semantic theory of truth-value, and a truth-value conditional theory of cross-language communication. According to the reconstruction, two scientific languages are incommensurable when core sentences of one language, which have truth values when considered within its own context, lack truth values when (...) considered within the context of the other due to the unmatchable taxonomic structures underlying them. So constructed, Kuhn's mature interpretation of incommensurability does not depend upon the notion of truth-preserving translatability, but rather depends on the notion of truth-value-status-preserving cross-language communication. The reconstruction makes Kuhn's notion of incommensurability a well grounded, tenable and integrated notion. (shrink)
Among other good things, supervaluation is supposed to allow vague sentences to go without truth values. But Jerry Fodor and Ernest Lepore have recently argued that it cannot allow this - not if it also respects certain conceptual truths. The main point I wish to make here is that they are mistaken. Supervaluation can leave truth-valuegaps while respecting the conceptual truths they have in mind.
According to the accepted translation-failure interpretation, the problem of incommensurability involves the nature of the meaning-referential relation between scientific languages. The incommensurability thesis is that some competing scientific languages are mutually untranslatable due to the radical variance of meaning or/and reference of the terms they employ. I argue that this interpretation faces many difficulties and cannot give us a tenable, coherent, and integrated notion of incommensurability. It has to be rejected. ;On the basis of two case studies, I find that (...) the confrontations between many classical incommensurable languages are not confrontations between two untranslatable languages with different distribution of truth values, but rather the confrontations between incompatible fundamental presuppositions at the ontological level. We can always identify a truth-value gap between two incommensurable languages. Such a truth-value gap indicates a communication breakdown between the two language communities on the one hand, and is caused by the incompatible fundamental presuppositions underlying them on the other. ;I thereby identify the truth-value functional relationship between sentences, instead of the meaning-referential relationship between terms, as the dominant semantic relation between two incommensurable languages. According to my presuppositional interpretation of incommensurability, the real secret of incommensurability lies in the ontological setup of two competing presuppositional languages. When two presuppositional languages with incompatible factual commitments encounter with each other, the confrontation leads to a truth-value gap, and consequently a communication breakdown between them. Formally put, two scientific languages are incommensurable when core sentences of one language, which have truth values when considered within its own context, lack truth values when considered within the context of the other due to an ontological gap between them. ;The presuppositional interpretation makes many significant contributions to the discussion of the issue of incommensurability and the related metaphysical and epistemological issues: It confirms the existence of the phenomenon of incommensurability and makes it metaphysically and epistemologically significant. It establishes the tenability and integrity of the notion of incommensurability. It avoids many alleged unattractive epistemological and metaphysical consequences of the translation-failure interpretation. (shrink)
Central to any form of Deflationism concerning truth (hereafter ‘DT’) is the claim that truth has no substantial theoretical role to play. For this reason, DT faces the following immediate challenge: if truth can play no substantial theoretical role then how can we model various prevalent kinds of indeterminacy—such as the indeterminacy exhibited by vague predicates, future contingents, liar sentences, truth-teller sentences, incomplete stipulations, cases of presupposition failure, and such-like? It is too hasty to assume that these phenomena are all (...) to be modelled via some epistemic conception of indeterminacy whereby indeterminacy is just some special species of ignorance which arises because of our limited powers of discrimination. Some non-epistemic model is called for—at least for certain species of indeterminacy. On what is perhaps the most enduring and popular non-epistemic model, indeterminacy gives rise to truth-valuegaps. But is DT compatible with the possibility of truth-valuegaps? Compatibilism says Yes; Incompatibilism says No. The broad goal of this paper is to defend a form of Incompatibilism. If DT is to make sense of various kinds of indeterminacy then truth-valuegaps cannot be invoked to do so. The particular goals of this paper are: (i) To set forth a new form of Compatibilism which can address an argument against truth-valuegaps given by Williamson (1994, pp. 187-192). (ii) To offer a new argument against truth-valuegaps using principles entailed by DT, thereby undermining Compatibilism. (shrink)
This thesis is concerned with the challenge truth-valuegaps pose to the principle of bivalence. The central question addressed is: are truth-valuegaps counterexamples to bivalence and is the supposition of counterexamples coherent? My aim is to examine putative cases of truth-valuegaps against an argument by Timothy Williamson, which shows that the supposition of counterexamples to bivalence is contradictory. The upshot of his argument is that either problematic utterances say nothing, or they cannot (...) be neither true nor false. I start by identifying truth-bearers: an utterance, for instance, is a truth-bearer if it says that something is the case. Truth-bearers are evaluable items, with truth- and falsity-conditions statable in corresponding instances of schemas for truth and falsehood. A genuine case of a truth-value gap should be an utterance that is neither true nor false but says something to be the case. But it is inconsistent to accept the schemas for truth and falsehood and the existence of genuine cases of truth-valuegaps. Secondly, I expound Williamson’s argument, which explores this inconsistency, and I identify two kinds of strategy to disarm his argument: those that preserve the schemas for truth and falsehood, and those that do not. Neither strategy is found to be persuasive. Thirdly, I argue that cases of reference failure causing truth-valuegaps illustrate the upshot of Williamson’s argument. Fourthly, I examine Scott Soames’s account of liar sentences as counterexamples to bivalence. Soames adopts a strategy of the first kind to avoid contradictions. I argue that his solution allows some contradictions to be true, and that he fails to show that liar sentences are truth-bearers. Finally, I examine Charles Travis’s case for isostheneia: an equal balancing of reasons to evaluate a statement as true or as false, in which case a statement is neither. Travis avoids contradictions by adopting a strategy of the second kind. I argue that the schemas for truth and falsehood are immune to Travis’s objections, and that isostheneia fails to identify evaluable items. The cases examined confirm that utterances that are neither true nor false say nothing. My claim is thus that truth-valuegaps are not counterexamples to bivalence. (shrink)
Kuhn's alleged taxonomic interpretation of incommensurability is grounded on an ill defined notion of untranslatability and is hence radically incomplete. To supplement it, I reconstruct Kuhn's taxonomic interpretation on the basis of a logical-semantic theory of taxonomy, a semantic theory of truth-value, and a truth-value conditional theory of cross-language communication. According to the reconstruction, two scientific languages are incommensurable when core sentences of one language, which have truth values when considered within its own context, lack truth values when (...) considered within the context of the other due to the unmatchable taxonomic structures underlying them. So constructed, Kuhn's mature interpretation of incommensurability does not depend upon the notion of truth-preserving translatability, but rather depends on the notion of truth-value-status-preserving cross-language communication. The reconstruction makes Kuhn's notion of incommensurability a well grounded, tenable and integrated notion.Author Keywords: Incommensurability; Thomas Kuhn; Taxonomic structures; Lexicons; Truth-value; Untranslatability; Cross-language communication. (shrink)
Truth-valuegaps have received little attention from a foundational perspective, a fact which has rightfully opened up gap theories to charges of vacuousness. This paper develops an account of the foundations of gap-like behavior which has some hope of avoiding such charges. I begin by reviewing and sharpening a powerful argument of Dummett’s to constrain the options that gap theorists have to make sense of their views. I then show that within these strictures, we can give an account (...) of gaps by drawing on elements of a broadly Stalnakerian framework for assertion and using gaps to track an amalgamation of assertoric effects. The discussion reveals that we may need special resources in our theories of assertion to posit gaps, that gaps may be unusable in characterizing the structure of mental states, and that gaps may have heterogeneous linguistic sources that result in equally heterogeneous projective and inferential behavior. (shrink)
The question is asked whether one can consistently both be a minimalist about truth, and hold that some meaningful assertoric sentences fail to be either true or false. It is shown that one can, but the issues are delicate, and the price is high: one must either refrain from saying that the sentences lack truth values, or else one must invoke a novel non-contraposing three-valued conditional. Finally it is shown that this does not help in reconciling minimalism with emotivism, where (...) this latter is understood as involving the view that ethical sentences are neither true nor false. (shrink)
In Category Mistakes, Ofra Magidor provides two arguments against the view that category mistakes express propositions that are not truth-evaluable at some world. I argue that her first, Williamsonian argument against this view begs the question, and that her second argument rests on a misleading conception of how semantic defect results in infelicity judgments. I conclude by conceding that she is still correct to stress that the view she opposes face noteworthy foundational and empirical challenges.
∗Thanks to J. C. Beall, Alex Byrne, Jason Decker, Tyler Doggett, Paul Elbourne, Adam Elga, Warren Goldfarb, Delia Graﬀ, Richard Heck, Charles Parsons, Mark Richard, Susanna Siegel, Jason Stanley, Judith Thomson, Carol Voeller, Brian Weatherson, Ralph Wedgwood, Steve Yablo, Cheryl Zoll, and an anonymous referee for valuable comments and discussions. Versions of this material were presented in my seminar at MIT in the Fall of 2000, and at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Parts of this paper also derive from (...) my comments on a paper of Scott Soames at the ‘Liars and Heaps’ conference at the University of Connecticut in the Fall of 2002. I am grateful for the help of these audiences, and especially to Prof. Soames. (shrink)
It is argued that if there are truth-valuegaps then the disquotational theory of truth is false. Secondly, it is argued that the same conclusion can be reached even without the assumption that there are truth-valuegaps.
The paper asks: are all tautologies true in a language with truth-valuegaps? It answers that they are not. No tautology is false, of course, but not all are true. It also contends that not all contradictions are false in a language with truth-valuegaps, though none are true.
The paper offers a critical examination of a prominent, “quasi-deflationist” argument advanced in the contemporary debate on the semantic paradoxes against non-naive and non-transparent theories of truth. The argument claims that truth unrestrictedly fulfils certain expressive functions, and that its so doing requires the unrestricted validity of naivety and transparency principles. The paper criticises the quasi-deflationist argument by considering some kinds of cases in which transparency and naivety arguably fail. In some such cases truth still fulfils the relevant expressive functions (...) without being transparent or naive; in some other such cases, truth does not fulfil the relevant expressive functions and other conceptual resources must be called upon. Thus, in different ways, all such cases belie the quasi-deflationist argument’s insistence that naivety and transparency should be unrestrictedly valid for truth unrestrictedly to fulfil the relevant expressive functions. There might however be other reasons for solving the semantic paradoxes by revising classical logic, and the paper in effect closes by offering versions of the liar paradox that rely on compelling but opacity-friendly truth-theoretic principles. (shrink)
Since the famous debate between Russell (Mind 14: 479–493, 1905, Mind 66: 385–389, 1957) and Strawson (Mind 59: 320–344, 1950; Introduction to logical theory, 1952; Theoria, 30: 96–118, 1964) linguistic intuitions about truth values have been considered notoriously unreliable as a guide to the semantics of definite descriptions. As a result, most existing semantic analyses of definites leave a large number of intuitions unexplained. In this paper, I explore the nature of the relationship between truth value intuitions and non-referring definites. (...) Inspired by comments in Strawson (Introduction to logical theory, 1964), I argue that given certain systematic considerations, one can provide a structured explanation of conflicting intuitions. I show that the intuitions of falsity, which proponents of a Russellian analysis often appeal to, result from evaluating sentences in relation to specific questions in context. This is shown by developing a method for predicting when sentences containing non-referring definites elicit intuitions of falsity. My proposed analysis draws importantly on Roberts (in: Yoon & Kathol (eds.) OSU working papers in Linguistics: vol. 49: Papers in Semantics 1998; in: Horn & Ward (eds.) Handbook of pragmatics, 2004) and recent research in the semantics and pragmatics of focus. (shrink)
We develop a bottom-up approach to truth-value semantics for classical logic of partial terms based on equality and apply it to prove the conservativity of the addition of partial description and selection functions, independently of any strictness assumption.
摘要：通常所接受对库恩有关不可通约性的分类学解释的理解建立在不可译性概念之上，因而是相当不完善的。为了弥补此不足，本文在分类之逻辑语义理论 (a logical-semantic theory of taxonomy)、真值语义理论 (a semantic theory of truth-value)，以及跨语言交流的真值条件理论 (a truth-value conditional theory of cross-language communication) 之基础上，对库恩有关不可通约性的分类学解释进行了重建。根据这种重建，如果两个科学语言具有不相匹配的分类结构，则当一科学语言的核心语句在其所属语境中具有真值、而在另一科学语言之语境中考虑缺乏真值时，这两 种科学语言乃不可通约。通过这种重建，库恩对于不可通约性的成熟解释并非基于保真 (truth-preserving) 可译性或不可译性的概念，而是基于保留真值状态 (truth-value-preserving) 的跨语言交流概念之上。这种重建使得库恩有关不可通约性的解释更具坚实的理论基础、也在概念上更加完整。.
This paper is a reply to Michael Lynch's "Truth, Value and Epistemic Expressivism" in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research for 2009. It argues that Lynch's argument against expressivism fails because of an ambiguity in the employed notion of an 'epistemically disengaged standpoint'.
There are least two different things we might mean when we say that truth is a value: that it is a norm of belief, and that it is an end of inquiry. This paper considers to what extent we might be irrealist about the former claim -- that truth is a norm of belief.
To what extent is possession of truth considered a good thing in the Republic? Certain passages of the dialogue appear to regard truth as a universal good, but others are more circumspect about its value, recommending that truth be withheld on occasion and falsehood disseminated. I seek to resolve this tension by distinguishing two kinds of truths, which I label 'philosophical' and 'non-philosophical'. Philosophical truths, I argue, are considered unqualifiedly good to possess, whereas non-philosophical truths are regarded as worth possessing (...) only to the extent that possession conduces to good behaviour in those who possess them. In the non-philosophical arena it is an open question, to be determined on a case-by-case basis, whether falsehood is more efficacious in furthering this practical aim than truth. (shrink)
The paper aims at a perspicuous representation of Isaac Levi's pragmatist epistemology, spanning from the 1967 classic "Gambling with Truth" to his 2004 book on "Mild Contraction". Based on a formal framework for Levi's notion of inquiry, I analyse his decision-theoretic approach with truth and information as basic cognitive values, and with Shackle measures as emerging structures. Both cognitive values figure prominently in Levi's model of inductive belief expansion, but only the value of information is employed in his model of (...) belief contraction. I argue that the former model is more successful than the latter. (shrink)
I argue for two theses about semantically anomalous utterances (more commonly called "category mistakes") like "sequestered slaps reel evergreen rights". First, semantic anomaly generates a unique form of semantically enforced quantifier domain restriction. Second, the best explanation for why anomaly interacts with quantifiers in this way is that anomalous utterances are truth-valueless. After arguing for these points, I trace out two consequences these theses have in semantics and logic. First, I argue they motivate a trivalent semantics on which truth-valueless material (...) has an unsual positive role to play in the compositional semantics of truth-evaluable utterances. Second, I argue that the interaction of anomaly with quantifiers generates a unique form of classical inference failure, and also provides special motivations for reconceptualizing our logical consequence relations. (shrink)
Frege held that the result of applying a predicate to names lacks reference if any of the names lack reference. We defend the principle against a number of plausible objections. We put forth an account of consequence for a first-order language with identity in which the principle holds.
Philosophers disagree about whether vagueness requires us to admit truth-valuegaps, about whether there is a gap between the objects of which a given vague predicate is true and those of which it is false on an appropriately constructed sorites series for the predicate—a series involving small increments of change in a relevant respect between adjacent elements, but a large increment of change in that respect between the endpoints. There appears, however, to be widespread agreement that there is (...) some sense in which vague predicates are gappy which may be expressed neutrally by saying that on any appropriately constructed sorites series for a given vague predicate there will be a gap between the objects of which the predicate is deﬁnitely true and those of which it is deﬁnitely false. Taking as primitive the operator ‘it is deﬁnitely the case that’, abbreviated as ‘D’, we may stipulate that a predicate F is deﬁnitely true (or deﬁnitely false) of an object just in case ‘DF (a)’, where a is a name for the object, is true (or false) simpliciter.1 This yields the following conditional formulation of a ‘gap principle’: (DΦ(x) ∧ D¬Φ(y)) → ¬R(x, y). Here ‘Φ’ is to be replaced with a vague predicate, while ‘R’ is to stand for a sorites relation for that predicate: a relation that can be used to construct a sorites series for the predicate—such as the relation of being just one millimetre shorter than for the predicate ‘is tall’. Disagreements about the sense in which it is correct to say that vague predicates are gappy can then be recast as disagreements about how to understand the deﬁnitely operator. One might give it, for example, a pragmatic construal such as ‘it would not be misleading to assert that’; or an epistemic construal such as ‘it is known that’ or ‘it is knowable that’; or a semantic construal such as ‘it is true that’. (shrink)
Mights plug gaps. If p lacks a truth-value, then ‘It might be that p’ should also lack truth-value. Yet epistemic hedges often turn an unassertible statement into an assertible one. The phenomenon is illustrated in detail for two kinds of statements that are frequently alleged to be counterexamples to the principle of bivalence: future contingents and statements that apply predicates to borderline cases. The paper concludes by exploring the prospects for generalizing this gap-plugging strategy.
It is shown how frege's problematic connection between truth-Value and "bedeutung" (of a sentence) becomes more plausible when set against the background of german language and philosophy, Especially by comparing frege's position with the value-Theoretical school of neo-Kantianism (w windelband).
The rift between science and religion needs to be assessed not merely on pragmatic grounds, on the basis of the effect of scientific versus religious beliefs on people's behavior, as John Caiazza's essay does, but also and above all in regard to the cogency of the respective beliefs in reference to what we can reasonably assume is the true face of reality. About such truth value, the conflict is not irremediable; there are elements of belief regarding the nature of reality (...) that are strikingly similar regardless of whether one arrived at them on the basis of faith in revealed knowledge or on the basis of knowledge acquired by reasoning from or in reference to experience. Two such items are selected here by way of example: belief that in certain states of mind and consciousness individuals can experience union with something larger or deeper than themselves, and belief that the universe we inhabit is the result of an original creative act. (shrink)
Can mystics intuit something of what modern physicists calculate? And if so, how? The question of the relation between the classical mysticisms and modern science is approached in Part I in terms of the multiple forms and definitions of 'truth value'. Intuition/epiphany, pragmatism, coherence, and correspondence are considered as forms of truth that have also been proposed for unitive mystical experience. Since 'correspondence' or 'representation' has been the definition at the core of modern science, it in particular is approached by (...) combining Lakoff and Johnson on the roots of all abstract knowledge in physical metaphor and Gibson on the ecological array of perception as the template from which such metaphors must be drawn. A series of similarities between the maximally inclusive metaphors underlying unitive mystical experience and cosmological physics, as abstracted from an ecological array already resonant with multiple levels of physical reality, suggests a basis for the correspondence between these otherwise distinct cognitive domains. Part II extends this approach to widely posited cross cultural values of spiritual or mystical realization, in terms of gratitude, compassion, faith, and inner freedom. When fully embodied as forms of personal conduct, these are also ultimately derivable from the openness and flow patternings of the ecological array itself. The possibility that the more abstract spiritual values of the major world mysticisms exemplify not only revelatory and pragmatic forms of truth, but are also broadly correspondent with both the principles of immediate concrete perception and modern physics, may eventually allow a contemporary re- formulation of the microcosm-macrocosm unities basic to traditional cultures. (shrink)
Antirealism about the past is apparently in conflict with our acceptance of a set of systematic linkages between the truth-values of differently tensed sentences made at different times. Arguments based on acceptance of these so-called truth-value links seem to show that fully accounting for our use of the past and future tenses will involve use of a notion of truth which is not epistemically constrained and is thus antirealistically unacceptable. I elaborate these difficulties through an examination of work by (...) Dummett and Wright. I agree with Wright's rejection of Dummett's proposal but go on to argue that Wright's account fares no better. Building on what I take to be the failure of Wright's account, I offer a solution for the antirealist which diagnoses the problem as stemming from an equivocation in the meanings assigned to the tensed truth predicates. I close by raising a different problem for antirealist accounts of the past, one which is, however, related to more general difficulties for antirealist theories of meaning. (shrink)
The purpose of the paper is to refute the fregean assumption that declarative sentences refer to truth-Values. A consequence of the assumption is that the truth-Value of a declarative sentence containing another as part remains unchanged when the part is replaced by another sentence having the same truth-Value, Provided that the part as part has only customary reference and expresses a complete thought. The refutation proceeds by demonstrating this consequence to be false.
After summarizing approaches taken previously to the problem of the determination of truth-Value of statements constituting literary works (ryle, Russell, Quine, Strawson, Davidson, Et. Al.) the author argues for a treatment of the problem based upon the linguistic status of such statements as translocutions and their relation to the context in which they occur.