Epistemic Modality and Hyperintensionality in Mathematics

Dissertation, University of St Andrews (2017)


This book concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The book demonstrates how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the epistemic status of large cardinal axioms, undecidable propositions, and abstraction principles in the philosophy of mathematics; to the modal profile of rational intuition; and to the types of intention, when the latter is interpreted as a modal mental state. Chapter \textbf{2} argues for a novel type of expressivism based on the duality between the categories of coalgebras and algebras, and argues that the duality permits of the reconciliation between modal cognitivism and modal expressivism. I also develop a novel topic-sensitive truthmaker semantics for dynamic epistemic logic, and develop a novel dynamic epistemic two-dimensional hyperintensional semantics. Chapter \textbf{3} provides an abstraction principle for epistemic intensions. Chapter \textbf{4} advances a topic-sensitive two-dimensional truthmaker semantics, and provides three novel interpretations of the framework along with the epistemic and metasemantic. Chapter \textbf{5} applies the fixed points of the modal $\mu$-calculus in order to account for the iteration of epistemic states, by contrast to availing of modal axiom 4 (i.e. the KK principle). Chapter \textbf{6} advances a solution to the Julius Caesar problem based on Fine's `criterial' identity conditions which incorporate conditions on essentiality and grounding. Chapter \textbf{7} provides a ground-theoretic regimentation of the proposals in the metaphysics of consciousness and examines its bearing on the two-dimensional conceivability argument against physicalism. The topic-sensitive epistemic two-dimensional truthmaker semantics developed in chapter \textbf{4} is availed of in order for epistemic states to be a guide to metaphysical states in the hyperintensional setting. Chapters \textbf{8-12} provide cases demonstrating how the two-dimensional intensions of epistemic two-dimensional semantics solve the access problem in the epistemology of mathematics. Chapter \textbf{8} examines the modal commitments of abstractionism, in particular necessitism, and epistemic modality and the epistemology of abstraction. Chapter \textbf{9} examines the modal profile of $\Omega$-logic in set theory. Chapter \textbf{10} examines the interaction between topic-sensitive epistemic two-dimensional truthmaker semantics, the axioms of epistemic set theory, large cardinal axioms, the Epistemic Church-Turing Thesis, the modal axioms governing the modal profile of $\Omega$-logic, Orey sentences such as the Generalized Continuum Hypothesis, and absolute decidability. Chapter \textbf{11} avails of modal coalgebraic automata to interpret the defining properties of indefinite extensibility, and avails of epistemic two-dimensional semantics in order to account for the interaction of the interpretational and objective modalities thereof. Chapter \textbf{12} provides a modal logic for rational intuition and provides a hyperintensional semantics. Chapter \textbf{13} examines modal responses to the alethic paradoxes. Chapter \textbf{14} examines, finally, the modal semantics for the different types of intention and the relation of the latter to evidential decision theory. The multi-hyperintensional, topic-sensitive epistemic two-dimensional truthmaker semantics developed in chapters \textbf{2} and \textbf{4} is applied in chapters \textbf{7}, \textbf{8}, \textbf{10}, \textbf{11}, \textbf{12}, and \textbf{14}.

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References found in this work

The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Wiley-Blackwell.
Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

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