If a semantically open language has no constraints on self-reference, one can prove an absurdity. The argument exploits a self-referential function symbol where the expressed function ends up being intensional in virtue of self-reference. The prohibition on intensional functions thus entails that self-reference cannot be unconstrained, even in a language that is free of semantic terms. However, since intensional functions are already excluded in classical logic, there are no drastic revisionary implications here. Still, the argument reveals a new sort of (...) intensional context, one which does not depend on a propositional attitude verb, a modal operator, an idiom like 'so called', etc. Moreover, since classical logicians do not seem aware of the potential danger with self-reference, a word of warning is in order. (shrink)
Specificational sentences show Connectivity Effects (Akmajian 1970, Higgins 1979, Halvorsen 1978, Jacobson 1994, among others). For example, an NP like no man embedded in a relative clause in general cannot bind a pronoun outside the relative clause, as illustrated in (3a); but in specificational copular sentences this binding is possible, as in (3b). This effect is called Variable Binding Connectivity. Similarly, the NP a unicorn cannot be interpreted de dicto with respect to the embedded verb look for in (4a); but (...) a de dicto reading is possible in the specificational sentence (4b) (Opacity Connectivity). Connectivity will be used in this paper as a diagnosis for specificational sentences. (shrink)
A common framing has it that any adequate treatment of quotation has to abandon one of the following three principles: (i) The quoted expression is a syntactic constituent of the quote phrase; (ii) If two expressions are derived by applying the same syntactic rule to a sequence of synonymous expressions, then they are synonymous; (iii) The language contains synonymous but distinct expressions. In the following, a formal syntax and semantics will be provided for a quotational language which adheres to all (...) three principles. The point here is not merely to provide a “possibility proof”, but to reveal the hard constraints on the theory of quotation, and to highlight certain assumptions at the syntax/semantics/post-semantics interfaces. (shrink)
In this paper I present an empirical solution to the puzzle of Macbeth's dagger. The puzzle of Macbeth's dagger is the question of whether, in having his fatal vision of a dagger, Macbeth sees a dagger. I answer this question by addressing a more general one: the question of whether perceptual verbs are intensional transitive verbs (ITVs). I present seven experiments, each of which tests a collection of perceptual verbs for one of the three features characteristic of ITVs. One of (...) these features is Nonexistence: the failure of sentences involving transitive verbs to entail the existence of their direct objects. The experiments reveal that with respect to all three of these features, "see" behaves much more like a paradigmatically extensional verb than an intensional one. But surprisingly, unlike "see", "perceive" behaves much more like a paradigmatically intensional verb. This shows that the category of perceptual verbs is not uniform with respect to the features of intensionality; while Macbeth does not see a dagger, he may still perceive one. (shrink)
An overview of hyperintensionality is provided. Hyperintensional languages have expressions with meanings that are more fine-grained than necessary equivalence. That is, the expressions may necessarily co-apply and yet be distinct in meaning. Adequately accounting for theories cast in hyperintensional languages is important in the philosophy of language; the philosophy of mind; metaphysics; and elsewhere. This entry presents a number of areas in which hyperintensionality is important; a range of approaches to theorising about hyperintensional matters; and a range of debates that (...) attention to hyperintensional constructions has generated. (shrink)
The many-property problem has traditionally been taken to show that the adverbial theory of perception is untenable. This paper first shows that several widely accepted views concerning the nature of perception---including both representational and non-representational views---likewise face the many-property problem. It then presents a solution to the many-property problem for these views, but goes on to show how this solution can be adapted to provide a novel, fully compositional solution to the many-property problem for adverbialism. Thus, with respect to the (...) many-property problem, adverbialism and several widely accepted views in the philosophy of perception are on a par, and the problem is solved. (shrink)
Sentences about logic are often used to show that certain embedding expressions are hyperintensional. Yet it is not clear how to regiment “logic talk” in the object language so that it can be compositionally embedded under such expressions. In this paper, I develop a formal system called hyperlogic that is designed to do just that. I provide a hyperintensional semantics for hyperlogic that doesn’t appeal to logically impossible worlds, as traditionally understood, but instead uses a shiftable parameter that determines the (...) interpretation of the logical connectives. I argue this semantics compares favorably to the more common impossible worlds semantics, which faces difficulties interpreting propositionally quantified logic talk. (shrink)
The principle of compositionality requires that the meaning of a complex expression remains the same after substitution of synonymous expressions. Alleged counterexamples to compositionality seem to force a theoretical choice: either apparent synonyms are not synonyms or synonyms do not syntactically occur where they appear to occur. Some theorists have instead looked to Frege’s doctrine of “reference shift” according to which the meaning of an expression is sensitive to its linguistic context. This doctrine is alleged to retain the relevant claims (...) about synonymy and substitution while respecting the compositionality principle. Thus, Salmon (Philos Rev 115(4):415, 2006) and Glanzberg and King (Philosophers’ Imprint 20(2):1–29, 2020) offer occurrence-based accounts of variable binding, and Pagin and Westerståhl (Linguist Philos 33(5):381–415, 2010c) argue that an occurrence-based semantics delivers a compositional account of quotation. Our thesis is this: the occurrence-based strategies resolve the apparent failures of substitutivity in the same general way as the standard expression-based semantics do. So it is a myth that a Frege-inspired occurrence-based semantics affords a genuine alternative strategy. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Quine insisted that the satisfaction of an open modalised formula by an object depends on how that object is described. Kripke's ‘objectual’ interpretation of quantified modal logic, whereby variables are rigid, is commonly thought to avoid these Quinean worries. Yet there remain residual Quinean worries for epistemic modality. Theorists have recently been toying with assignment-shifting treatments of epistemic contexts. On such views an epistemic operator ends up binding all the variables in its scope. One might worry that this yields (...) the undesirable result that any attempt to ‘quantify in’ to an epistemic environment is blocked. If quantifying into the relevant constructions is vacuous, then such views would seem hopelessly misguided and empirically inadequate. But a famous alternative to Kripke's semantics, namely Lewis' counterpart semantics, also faces this worry since it also treats the boxes and diamonds as assignment-shifting devices. As I'll demonstrate, the mere fact that a variable is bound is no obstacle to binding it. This provides a helpful lesson for those modelling de re epistemic contexts with assignment sensitivity, and perhaps leads the way toward the proper treatment of binding in both metaphysical and epistemic contexts: Kripke for metaphysical modality, Lewis for epistemic modality. (shrink)
I present a possible worlds semantics for a hyperintensional belief revision operator, which reduces the logical idealization of cognitive agents affecting similar operators in doxastic and epistemic logics, as well as in standard AGM belief revision theory. (Revised) belief states are not closed under classical logical consequence; revising by inconsistent information does not perforce lead to trivialization; and revision can be subject to ‘framing effects’: logically or necessarily equivalent contents can lead to different revisions. Such results are obtained without resorting (...) to non-classical logics, or to non-normal or impossible worlds semantics. The framework combines, instead, a standard semantics for propositional S5 with a simple mereology of contents. (shrink)
Section 31 of Quine's Word and Object contains an eyebrow-raising argument, purporting to show that if an agent, Tom, believes one truth and one falsity and has some basic logical acumen, and if belief contexts are always transparent, then Tom believes everything. Over the decades this argument has been debated inconclusively. In this paper I clarify the situation and show that the trouble stems from bad presentation on Quine’s part.
There is a certain argument against the principle of the indiscernibility of identicals, or the thesis that whatever is true of a thing is true of anything identical with that thing. In this argument, PInI is used together with the self-evident principle of the necessity of self-identity to reach the conclusion, which is held to be paradoxical and, thus, fatal to PInI. My purpose is to show that the argument in question does not have this consequence. Further, I argue that (...) PInI is a universally valid principle which can be used to prove the necessity of identity. (shrink)
Certain passages in Kaplan’s ‘Demonstratives’ are often taken to show that non-vacuous sentential operators associated with a certain parameter of sentential truth require a corresponding relativism concerning assertoric contents: namely, their truth values also must vary with that parameter. Thus, for example, the non-vacuity of a temporal sentential operator ‘always’ would require some of its operands to have contents that have different truth values at different times. While making no claims about Kaplan’s intentions, we provide several reconstructions of how such (...) an argument might go, focusing on the case of time and temporal operators as an illustration. What we regard as the most plausible reconstruction of the argument establishes a conclusion similar enough to that attributed to Kaplan. However, the argument overgenerates, leading to absurd consequences. We conclude that we must distinguish assertoric contents from compositional semantic values, and argue that once they are distinguished, the argument fails to establish any substantial conclusions. We also briefly discuss a related argument commonly attributed to Lewis, and a recent variant due to Weber. (shrink)
I put forward a version of the Cartesian Argument from Doubt for mind–body dualism. My version utilizes de re statements, which means that it is not vulnerable to the usual charge of intensional fallacy. The key de re statement is, ‘Body is such that its existence is entailed by Mind’s believing that Body does not exist’, which is false, whereas the respective ‘Mind is such that its existence is entailed by Mind’s believing that Body does not exist’ is true.
There is a certain popular argument, deriving from Ruth Barcan and Saul Kripke, from the conjunction of the Principle of the Indiscernibility of Identicals (PInI, for short) and the Principle of the Necessity of Self-Identity to the Thesis of the Necessity of Identity. My purpose is to show that this argument does not work, not at least in the form it is often presented. I also give a correct formulation of the argument and point out that PInI is not even (...) needed in the argument for the necessity of identity. (shrink)
The view that propositional knowledge is knowledge of facts is prima facie rather appealing, especially for realistically minded philosophers, but it is difficult to square with the referential opacity of knowledge attributions of the form ‘S knows that p’. For how could Lois Lane know that Superman can fly and ignore that Clark Kent can fly if knowledge is a two-place relation between an agent and a fact and the fact that Superman can fly just is the fact that Clark (...) Kent can fly? Giorgio Volpe reviews some attempts to tackle the problem and then proposes a new solution which exploits the contrastivist claim that knowledge is a three-place relation between an agent, a fact and a contrast. (shrink)
This dissertation lays the foundation for a new theory of non-relational intentionality. The thesis is divided into an introduction and three main chapters, each of which serves as an essential part of an overarching argument. The argument yields, as its conclusion, a new account of how language and thought can exhibit intentionality intrinsically, so that representation can occur in the absence of some thing that is represented. The overarching argument has two components: first, that intentionality can be profi tably studied (...) through examination of the semantics of intensional transitive verbs (ITVs), and second, that providing intensional transitive verbs with a nonrelational semantics will serve to provide us with (at least the beginnings of) a non-relational theory of intentionality. This approach is a generalization of Anscombe's views on perception. Anscombe held that perceptual verbs such as "see" and "perceive" were ITVs, and that understanding the semantics of their object positions could help us to solve the problems of hallucination and illusion, and provide a theory of perception more generally. I propose to apply this strategy to intentional states and the puzzles of intentionality more generally, and so Anscombe's influence will be felt all through the dissertation. -/- In the first chapter, titled "Semantic Verbs are Intensional Transitives", I argue that semantic verbs such as "refers to", "applies to", and "is true of" have all of the features of intensional transitive verbs, and discuss the consequences of this claim for semantic theory and the philosophy of language. One theoretically enriching consequence of this view is that it allows us to perspicuously express, and partially reconcile two opposing views on the nature and subject-matter of semantics: the Chomskian view, on which semantics is an internalistic enterprise concerning speakers' psychologies, and the Lewisian view, on which semantics is a fully externalistic enterprise issuing in theorems about how the world must look for our natural language sentences to be true. Intensional Transitive Verbs have two readings: a de dicto reading and a de re reading; the de dicto reading of ITVs is plausibly a nonrelational reading, and the intensional features peculiar to this reading make it suitable for expressing a Chomskian, internalist semantic program. On the other hand, the de re reading is fully relational, and make it suitable for expressing the kinds of word-world relations essential to the Lewisian conception of semantics. And since the de dicto and de re readings are plausibly related as two distinct scopal readings of the very same semantic postulates, we can see these two conceptions of semantics as related by two scopal readings of the very same semantic postulates. -/- In chapter two, titled "Hallucination and the New Problem of Empty Names", I argue that the problem of hallucination and the problem of empty names are, at bottom, the same problem. I argue for this by reconstructing the problem of empty names in way that is novel, but implicit in much of the discussion on empty names. I then show how, once recast in this light, the two problems are structurally identical down to an extremely fine level of granularity, and also substantially overlap in terms of their content. If the problems are identical in the way I propose, then we should expect that their spaces of solutions are also identical, and there is signi cant support for this conclusion. However, there are some proposed solutions to the problem of hallucination that have been overlooked as potential solutions to the problem of empty names, and this realization opens new non-relational approaches to the problem of empty names, and to the nature of meaning more generally. -/- In chapter three, titled "Intensionality is Additional Phrasal Unity", I argue for a novel approach to the semantics of intensional contexts. At the heart of my proposal is the Quinean view that intensional contexts should, from the perspective of the semantics, be treated as units, with the material in them contributing to the formation of a single predicate. However, this proposal is subject to a number of objections, including the criticism that taken at face value, this would render intensional contexts, which seem to be fully productive, non-compositional. I begin by discussing the concept of the unity of the phrase, and pointing to various ways that phrases can gain additional unity. I then proposes that the intensionality of intensional transitive verbs is best construed as a form of semantic incorporation; ITVs, on their intensional readings, meet all of the criteria for qualifying as incorporating the nominals in their object positions. I then give a semantics for ITVs that builds on existing views of the semantics of incorporation structures, and gesture at how this can be extended to intensional clausal verbs, including the so-called propositional attitude verbs. (shrink)
It is widely thought that grounding is a hyperintensional phenomenon. Unfortunately, the term ‘hyperintensionality’ has been doing double-duty, picking out two distinct phenomena. This paper clears up this conceptual confusion. We call the two resulting notions hyperintensionalityGRND and hyperintensionalityTRAD. While it is clear that grounding is hyperintensionalGRND, the interesting question is whether it is hyperintensionalTRAD. We argue that given well-accepted constraints on the logical form of grounding, to wit, that grounding is irreflexive and asymmetric, grounding is hyperintensionalTRAD only if one (...) endorses a sentential operator view of grounding. We argue that proponents of the sentential operator view will need to distinguish two importantly different kinds of hyperintensionalityTRAD—weak and strong—and we offer them a way to do so. (shrink)
The quotational theory of free indirect discourse postulates that pronouns and tenses are systematically unquoted. But where does this unquotation come from? Based on cases of apparent unquotation in direct discourse constructions (including data from Kwaza speakers, Catalan signers, and Dutch children), I suggest a general pragmatic answer: unquotation is essentially a way to resolve a conflict that arises between two opposing constraints. On the one hand, the reporter wants to use indexicals that refer directly to the most salient speech (...) act participants and their surroundings (Attraction). On the other hand, the semantics of direct discourse (formalized here in terms of event modification) entails the reproduction of referring expressions from the original utterance being reported (Verbatim). Unquotation (formalized here also in terms of event modification), allows the reporter to avoid potential conflicts between these constraints. Unquotation in free indirect discourse then comes out as a special case, where the salient source of attraction is the story protagonist and her actions, rather than the reporting narrator and his here and now. (shrink)
Cumming (2008) argues that his Masked Ball problem undermines Millianism, and that we must instead treat names as variables. However, although the Masked Ball does pose a problem for the Millian given a standard view about the meaning of `believes', that view faces difficulties for independent reasons. I develop a novel ``neo Kaplanian'' attitude semantics to address this problem, and go on to show that with this alternative semantics in hand, the Millian is quite capable of accounting for the Masked (...) Ball. (shrink)
Tarski characterized logical notions as invariant under permutations of the domain. The outcome, according to Tarski, is that our logic, which is commonly said to be a logic of extension rather than intension, is not even a logic of extension—it is a logic of cardinality. In this paper, I make this idea precise. We look at a scale inspired by Ruth Barcan Marcus of various levels of meaning: extensions, intensions and hyperintensions. On this scale, the lower the level of meaning, (...) the more coarse-grained and less “intensional” it is. I propose to extend this scale to accommodate a level of meaning appropriate for logic. Thus, below the level of extension, we will have a more coarse-grained level of form. I employ a semantic conception of form, adopted from Sher, where forms are features of things “in the world”. Each expression in the language embodies a form, and by the definition we give, forms will be invariant under permutations and thus Tarskian logical notions. I then define the logical terms of a language as those terms whose extension can be determined by their form. Logicality will be shown to be a lower level analogue of rigidity. Using Barcan Marcus’s principles of explicit and implicit extensionality, we are able to characterize purely logical languages as “sub-extensional”, namely, as concerned only with form, and we thus obtain a wider perspective on both logicality and extensionality. (shrink)
On one influential view, metaphysical fundamentality can be understood in terms of joint‐carving. Ted Sider has recently argued that (i) some first order quantifier is joint‐carving, and (ii) modal notions are not joint‐carving. After vindicating the theoretical indispensability of quantification against recent criticism, I will defend a logical result due to Arnold Koslow which implies that (i) and (ii) are incompatible. I will therefore consider an alternative understanding of Sider's metaphysics to the effect that (i) some first order quantifier is (...) joint‐carving, and (iii) intensional notions are not joint‐carving. Another result due to Koslow entails that (i) and (iii) are also incompatible. I will argue that this second result is inconclusive. Nevertheless, (iii) is incompatible with another tenet of Sider's metaphysics, namely that (iv) ‘being joint‐carving’ is itself joint‐carving. In order to resolve the inconsistency, I will tentatively argue that condition (iv) should be renounced. (shrink)
The question whether natural language permits quantification over intentional objects as the ‘nonexistent’ objects of thought is the topic of a major philosophical controversy, as is the status of intentional objects as such. This paper will argue that natural language does reflect a particular notion of intentional object and in particular that certain types of natural language constructions (generally disregarded in the philosophical literature) cannot be analysed without positing intentional objects. At the same time, those intentional objects do not come (...) for free; rather they are strictly dependent on intentional acts that generally need to have a presence, in one way or another, in the semantic structure of the sentence. (shrink)
A problem is raised for the introduction rules proposed in Benjamin Schnieder’s ‘A logic for “because”’, arising in connection with (a) inferences that the rules should not, but do, validate and (b) inferences that the rules should, but do not, validate.
This paper argues that the obvious validity of certain inferences involving indirect speech reports as premises and truth or falsity ascriptions as conclusions is incompatible with Davidson's so-called "paratactic" analysis of the logical form of indirect discourse. Besides disqualifying that analysis, this problem is also claimed to indicate that the analysis is doubly in tension with Davidson's metasemantic views. Specifically, it can be reconciled neither with one of Davidson's key assumptions regarding the adequacy of the kind of semantic theory he (...) recommends nor with one of his key assumptions regarding the inadequacy of a kind of semantic theory he rejects. (shrink)
Scott Soames has recently argued that traditional accounts of propositions as n-tuples or sets of objects and properties or functions from worlds to extensions cannot adequately explain how these abstract entities come to represent the world. Soames’ new cognitive theory solves this problem by taking propositions to be derived from agents representing the world to be a certain way. Agents represent the world to be a certain way, for example, when they engage in the cognitive act of predicating, or cognizing, (...) an act that takes place during cognitive events, such as perceiving, believing, judging and asserting. On the cognitive theory, propositions just are act types involving the act of predicating and certain other mental operations. This theory, Soames argues, solves not only the problem of how propositions come to represent but also a number of other difficulties for traditional theories, including the problem of de se propositions and the problems of accounting for how agents are capable of grasping propositions and how they come to stand in the relation of expression to sentences. I argue here that Soames’ particular version of the cognitive theory makes two problematic assumptions about cognitive operations and the contents of proper names. I then briefly examine what can count as evidence for the nature of the constituents of the cognitive operation types that produce propositions and argue that the common nature of cognitive operations and what they operate on ought to be determined empirically in cross-disciplinary work. I conclude by offering a semantics for cognitive act types that accommodates one type of empirical evidence. (shrink)
Intensional contexts are typically characterised by an apparent failure of either (A) the principle of the inter-substitution of co-referring terms salva veritate, or (B) existential generalisation. The difficulties which are seen to occur do so in contexts involving either modality or the propositional attitudes. In this paper attempts are made to determine whether or not Scheffler’s inscriptional analysis can provide a viable means of accounting for the problems which are thought to occur in intensional contexts. Somewhat unexpectedly, little effort has (...) been made in the past to address this issue. In this paper it is shown that Scheffler’s theory may be employed to account for the difficulties mentioned above, though further work needs to be done to show precisely how his analysis may be adapted so as to handle modal statements. Popular objections to Scheffler’s inscriptionalism are also addressed, particularly in the light of his theory being used to account for the problems of intensionality. It is found that, with certain qualifications, the aforesaid objections do not show Scheffler’s theory to be an unviable means of accounting for the intensionality problems. (shrink)
Transient Truths: An Essay in the Metaphysics of Propositions provides the first book-length exposition and defense of semantic temporalism, the view that propositions are contents or semantic values that can change their truth-values across time.
ABSTRACT. Thought experiments about de se attitudes and Jackson’s original Knowledge Argument are compared with each other and discussed from the perspective of a computational theory of mind. It is argued that internal knowledge, i.e. knowledge formed on the basis of signals that encode aspects of their own processing rather than being intentionally directed towards external objects, suffices for explaining the seminal puzzles without resorting to acquaintance or phenomenal character as primitive notions. Since computationalism is ontologically neutral, the account also (...) explains why neither Lewis’s two gods nor Mary’s surprise in the Knowledge Argument violate physicalism. (shrink)
The paper focuses on two apparent paradoxes arising from our use of intensional verbs: first, their object can be something which does not exist, i.e. something which is nothing; second, the fact that entailment from a qualified to a non-qualified object is not guaranteed. In this paper, I suggest that the problems share a solution, insofar as they arise in connection with intensional verbs that ascribe mental states. The solution turns on (I) a properly intensional or nonrelational notion of representation (...) and (II) a notion of “putting a representation on display”. (shrink)
Sometimes two expressions in a discourse can be about the same thing in a way that makes that very fact evident to the participants. Consider, for example, 'he' and 'John' in 'John went to the store and he bought some milk'. Let us call this 'de jure' coreference. Other times, coreference is 'de facto' as with 'Mark Twain' and 'Samuel Clemens' in a sincere use of 'Mark Twain is not Samuel Clemens'. Here, agents can understand the speech without knowing that (...) the names refer to the same person. After surveying many available linguistic and pragmatic tools (intentions to corefer, presuppositions, meanings, indexing, discourse referents, binding etc.) I conclude that we must posit a new semantic primitive to account for de jure coreference. (shrink)
We identify a class of paradoxes that is neither set-theoretical nor semantical, but that seems to depend on intensionality. In particular, these paradoxes arise out of plausible properties of propositional attitudes and their objects. We try to explain why logicians have neglected these paradoxes, and to show that, like the Russell Paradox and the direct discourse Liar Paradox, these intensional paradoxes are recalcitrant and challenge logical analysis. Indeed, when we take these paradoxes seriously, we may need to rethink the commonly (...) accepted methods for dealing with the logical paradoxes. (shrink)
Section 1 discerns ambiguity in the word “truth”, observing that the term is used most naturally in reference to truth-bearers rather than truth-makers. Focusing on truths-as-truth-bearers, then, it would appear that alethic realism conflicts with metaphysical realism as naturalistically construed. Section 2 discerns ambiguity in the purporting of truth (as in assertion), conjecturing that all expressions, not just those found in traditionally recognized opaque contexts, can be read intensionally (as well, perhaps, as extensionally). For instance, we would not generally want (...) to say that “The Matterhorn is 4,500 m high” expresses the same truth as “The Matterhorn is 14763.7795276 feet high” (or that it is true in the same range of utterance contexts), even though the two are extensionally equivalent. The reason is that they express different intensions. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to assess the general viability of Donald Davidson's paratactic theory of indirect discourse, as well as the specific plausibility of a reincarnated form of the Davidsonian paratactic theory, Gary Kemp's propositional paratactic theory. To this end I will provide an introduction to the Davidsonian paratactic theory and the theory's putative strengths, thereafter noting that an argument from ambiguity seems to effectively undermine Davidson's proposal. Subsequently, I will argue that Kemp's modification of Davidson's theory – (...) that is, Kemp's attempt to respond to the ambiguity objection – adequately handles the classic argument from ambiguity but fails in the face of a new problem of ambiguity that I will introduce. Finally, I will argue that there are more devastating and basic problems for the paratactic theory generally, and that even if Kemp's modifications had succeeded, they would not have given adequate plausibility to the paratactic proposal. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to shed some light on the familiar puzzle of free indirect discourse (FID). FID shares some properties with standard indirect discourse and with direct discourse, but there is currently no known theory that can accommodate such a hybrid. Based on the observation that FID has ‘de se’ pronouns, I argue that it is a kind of an attitude report.
Extensionalism, as I understand it here, is the view that physical reality consists exclusively of extensional entities. On this view, intensional entitities must either be eliminated in favor of an ontology of extensional entities, or be reduced to such an ontology, or otherwise be admitted as non-physical. In this paper I argue that extensionalism is a misguided philosophical doctrine. First, I argue that intensional phenomena are not confined to the realm of language and thought. Rather, the ontology of such phenomena (...) is intimately entwined with the ontology of properties. After providing some evidence to the popularity of extensionalism in contemporary analytic philosophy, I investigate the motivating reasons behind it. Considering several explanations, I argue that the main motivating reason is rooted in the identification of matter with extension, an identification which is one of the hallmarks of the mechanistic conception of nature inherited from the founding fathers of our modern scientific outlook. I then argue that such a conception is not only at odds with a robust ontology of properties but is also at odds with our best contemporary physics. Rather than vindicating extensionalism contemporary science undermines the position, and the lesson to be drawn from this surprising fact is that extensionalism needs no longer be espoused as a regulative ideal of naturalistic philosophy. I conclude by showing that the ontological approach to intensional phenomena advocated throughout the paper also gains support from an examination of the historical context within which ‘intension’ was first introduced as a semantic notion. (shrink)
For years philosophers argued for the existence of distinct yet materially coincident things by appealing to modal and temporal properties. For instance, the statue was made on Monday and could not survive being flattened; the lump of clay was made months before and can survive flattening. Such arguments have been thoroughly examined. Kit Fine has proposed a new set of arguments using the same template. I offer a critical evaluation of what I take to be his central lines of reasoning.
This article examines one highly localized set of developments to the Buddhist doctrine of word meaning that was made by twelfth and thirteenth century Tibetan Buddhist epistemologists primarily schooled at gSaṅ phu Monastery in central Tibet. I will show how these thinkers developed the notion of a concept (don spyi) in order to explain how it is that words are capable of applying to real objects, and how concepts can be used to capture elements of word meaning extending beyond reference (...) to real objects. (shrink)
Un paralogisme semble commis dans la démonstration par Aristote du principe psychologique de non-contradiction : à partir d’un principe performatif d’assertion (dire quelque chose, c’est le croire), une approche moderne nous incline à prétendre qu’Aristote présuppose une transparence référentielle des contextes opaques de croyance afin de corréler les versions psychologique et logique. Nous tenterons de restituer la preuve du principe (I). Au moyen de la formalisation moderne, nous appliquerons cette explication à quelques paradoxes (II). Nous en conclurons la nature de (...) la non-contradiction (III), avant de proposer une "dissolution" syntaxique du problème d'opacité des contextes d'attitudes propositionnelles. Cette dissolution exprimera un certain scepticisme face aux approches formelles de l'intentionnalité. (shrink)
One is often told that sentences expressing or reporting mental states endowed with intentionality—the feature of being “directed upon” an object that some mental states possess—contain contexts that both prevent those sentences to be existentially generalized and are filled by referentially opaque occurrences of singular terms. Failure of existential generalization and referential opacity have been traditionally said to be the basic characterizations of intentionality from a linguistic point of view. I will call those contexts directional contexts. In what follows, I (...) will argue that this traditional conception is incorrect. First, the above characterizations do not provide both necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for directional contexts. Appearances notwithstanding, these characterizations are not the adequate linguistic counterparts of two elements folk-psychologically featuring intentionality, namely existence-independence and the possible apparent aspectual character of the intentional object, the target of a mental state endowed with intentionality. Indeed, they do not retain the prima facie ontological commitment to intentional objects the above elements contain. I will replace failure of existential generalization and referential opacity with other linguistic factors, namely success of mere existentially unloaded particular quantification and pseudo-opacity. I will contend that they provide both necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for directional contexts, and claim that these factors are the adequate counterparts of the above folk-psychological elements, precisely because they retain the prima facie ontological commitment to intentionalia those elements possess. (shrink)
The purpose of the present paper is to challenge some received assumptions about the logical analysis of modal English, and to show that these assumptions are crucial to certain debates in current philosophy of language. Specifically, I will argue that the standard analysis in terms of quantified modal logic mistakenly fudges important grammatical distinctions, and that the validity of Kripke's modal argument against description theories of proper names crucially depends on ensuing equivocations.
Among the entities that can be mentally or linguistically represented are mental and linguistic representations themselves. That is, we can think and talk about speech and thought. This phenomenon is known as metarepresentation. An example is "Authors believe that people read books." -/- In this book François Recanati discusses the structure of metarepresentation from a variety of perspectives. According to him, metarepresentations have a dual structure: their content includes the content of the object-representation (people reading books) as well as the (...) "meta" part (the authors' belief). Rejecting the view that the object representation is mentioned rather than used, Recanati claims that since metarepresentations carry the content of the object representation, they must be about whatever the object representation is about. Metarepresentations are fundamentally transparent because they work by simulating the representation they are about. -/- Topics covered in this wide-ranging work include the analysis of belief reports and talk about fiction, world shifting, opacity and substitutivity, quotation, the relation between direct and indirect discourse, context shifting, semantic pretense, and deference in language and thought. (shrink)
It is commonly held, plausibly, that many true beliefs are true only contingently, that is, are actually true (or true with respect to the actual world) but would be false were the world in some relevant ways otherwise (i.e. are false with respect to some other possible worlds). However, a radically different approach, according to which no belief is contingently true, is entirely defensible. The key point in this alternative approach is that each belief concerns the world in which the (...) believer is (or would be) situated, which makes it the case that, say, the actual belief that Kofi Annan is not bald is different from the belief, in any other world, that Kofi Annan is not bald. This difference is further backed up by considerations related to disagreement between believers, and to knowledge. The most important objection to this alternative approach is that it cannot be right since it makes all true beliefs necessarily true. It will be shown, as a reply to this objection, that under this alternative approach it can still be said truly, for instance, that Annan is not bald but could have been so. (shrink)