This paper outlines an account of conditionals, the evidential account, which rests on the idea that a conditional is true just in case its antecedent supports its consequent. As we will show, the evidential account exhibits some distinctive logical features that deserve careful consideration. On the one hand, it departs from the material reading of ‘if then’ exactly in the way we would like it to depart from that reading. On the other, it significantly differs from the non-material accounts which (...) hinge on the Ramsey Test, advocated by Adams, Stalnaker, Lewis, and others. (shrink)
Logical form has always been a prime concern for philosophers belonging to the analytic tradition. For at least one century, the study of logical form has been widely adopted as a method of investigation, relying on its capacity to reveal the structure of thoughts or the constitution of facts. This book focuses on the very idea of logical form, which is directly relevant to any principled reflection on that method. Its central thesis is that there is no such thing as (...) a correct answer to the question of what is logical form: two significantly different notions of logical form are needed to fulfil two major theoretical roles that pertain respectively to logic and to semantics. This thesis has a negative and a positive side. The negative side is that a deeply rooted presumption about logical form turns out to be overly optimistic: there is no unique notion of logical form that can play both roles. The positive side is that the distinction between two notions of logical form, once properly spelled out, sheds light on some fundamental issues concerning the relation between logic and language. (shrink)
This paper develops a probabilistic analysis of conditionals which hinges on a quantitative measure of evidential support. In order to spell out the interpreta- tion of ‘if’ suggested, we will compare it with two more familiar interpretations, the suppositional interpretation and the strict interpretation, within a formal framework which rests on fairly uncontroversial assumptions. As it will emerge, each of the three interpretations considered exhibits specific logical features that deserve separate consideration.
This paper addresses the question whether future contingents are knowable, that is, whether one can know that things will go a certain way even though it is possible that things will not go that way. First I will consider a long-established view that implies a negative answer, and draw attention to some endemic problems that affect its credibility. Then I will sketch an alternative line of thought that prompts a positive answer: future contingents are knowable, although our epistemic access of (...) them is limited in some important respects. (shrink)
This paper claims that there is no such thing as the correct answer to the question of what is logical form: two significantly different notions of logical form are needed to fulfil two major theoretical roles that pertain respectively to logic and semantics. The first part of the paper outlines the thesis that a unique notion of logical form fulfils both roles, and argues that the alleged best candidate for making it true is unsuited for one of the two roles. (...) The second part spells out a considerably different notion which is free from that problem, although it does not fit the other role. As it will be suggested, each of the two notions suits at most one role, so the uniqueness thesis is ungrounded. (shrink)
.This paper discusses Aristotle’s thesis and Boethius’ thesis, the most distinctive theorems of connexive logic. Its aim is to show that, although there is something plausible in Aristotle’s thesis and Boethius’ thesis, the intuitions that may be invoked to motivate them are consistent with any account of indicative conditionals that validates a suitably restricted version of them. In particular, these intuitions are consistent with the view that indicative conditionals are adequately formalized as strict conditionals.
This paper investigates the logic of Ockhamism, a view according to which future contingents are either true or false. Several attempts have been made to give rigorous shape to this view by defining a suitable formal semantics, but arguably none of them is fully satisfactory. The paper draws attention to some problems that beset such attempts, and suggests that these problems are different symptoms of the same initial confusion, in that they stem from the unjustified assumption that the actual course (...) of events must be represented in the semantics as a distinguished history, the Thin Red Line. (shrink)
Among the various motivations that may lead to the idea that truth is relative in some non-conventional sense, one is that the idea helps explain how there can be ‘‘ faultless disagreements’’, that is, situations in which a person A judges that p, a person B judges that not-p, but neither A nor B is at fault. The line of argument goes as follows. It seems that there are faultless disagreements. For example, A and B may disagree on culinary matters (...) without either A or B being at fault. But standard semantics has no room for such a case, so there is something wrong with standard semantics. The best way to amend it is to add a new parameter that is relevant to the truth or falsity of what A and B judge, presumably, something related to personal taste. The aim of the paper is to show that this line of argument is flawed. It is true that standard semantics has no room for faultless disagreements. But there is nothing wrong with this, for it should not be assumed that such disagreements exist. (shrink)
Over the past few years, the tree model of time has been widely employed to deal with issues concerning the semantics of tensed discourse. The thought that has motivated its adoption is that the most plausible way to make sense of indeterminism is to conceive of future possibilities as branches that depart from a common trunk, constituted by the past and the present. However, the thought still needs to be further articulated and defended, and several important questions remain open, such (...) as the question of how actuality can be understood and formally represented in a branching framework. The present volume is intended to be a 360 degree reflection on the tree model. The contributions is gathers concern the model and its alternatives, both from a semantic and from a metaphysical point of view. . (shrink)
This paper deals with the question of what it is for a quantifier expression to be vague. First it draws a distinction between two senses in which quantifier expressions may be said to be vague, and provides an account of the distinction which rests on independently grounded assumptions. Then it suggests that, if some further assumptions are granted, the difference between the two senses considered can be represented at the formal level. Finally, it outlines some implications of the account provided (...) which bear on three debated issues concerning quantification. (shrink)
A fairly simple theory of the semantics of tense is obtained by combining three claims: (i) for any time t, a present-tense sentence `p' is either true or false at t; (ii) for any time t0 earlier than t, the future-tense sentence `It will be the case that p at t' is true at t0 if `p' is true at t, false otherwise; (iii) for any time t0 later than t, the past-tense sentence `It was the case that p at (...) t' is true at t0 if `p' is true at t, false otherwise. This theory, which has been called the theory of timeless truth, is often dismissed on the basis of its alleged incapacity to comply with indeterminism. Here, instead, it will be suggested that there is no reason to be dismissive. Section 1 provides some elucidations about the theory. Sections 2 and 3 explain how a foregone objection to it can be resisted. Sections 4 and 5 show that there is a plausible sense in which (i)-(iii) are compatible with indeterminism. Sections 6 and 7 dispel some misunderstandings that may lead to think that indeterminism is not vindicated in some important sense other than that outlined. (shrink)
Many arguments are affected by context sensitivity, because they include sentences that have different truth conditions in different contexts. Therefore, it is natural to think that a general criterion for evaluating arguments must take context sensitivity into account. One way to give substance to that thought is provided by the definition of validity offered by David Kaplan within his theory of indexicals. However, the route indicated by Kaplan is hindered by a problem whose importance is often underestimated. This paper explores (...) a different route, and outlines a definition of validity that does not run into that problem. Its moral is that Kaplan's definition is not the only plausible definition. This is not to say that the definition outlined is the only plausible definition or that it is correct in some absolute sense. There might be equally important problems with it that the paper does not take into account. But until such problems are found and brought up, the departure from Kaplan's route remains a viable option. (shrink)
In the intriguing article The puzzle of the changing past, Barlassina and Del Prete argue that, if one grants a platitude about truth and accepts a simple story that they tell, one is forced to conclude that the past has changed. I will suggest that there is a coherent way to resist that conclusion. The platitude about truth is in fact a platitude, but the story is not exactly as they tell it.
This paper deals with the logical form of quantified sentences. Its purpose is to elucidate one plausible sense in which quantified sentences can adequately be represented in the language of first-order logic. Section 1 introduces some basic notions drawn from general quantification theory. Section 2 outlines a crucial assumption, namely, that logical form is a matter of truth-conditions. Section 3 shows how the truth-conditions of quantified sentences can be represented in the language of first-order logic consistently with some established undefinability (...) results. Section 4 sketches an account of vague quantifier expressions along the lines suggested. Finally, section 5 addresses the vexed issue of logicality. (shrink)
A widely accepted claim about counterfactuals is that they differ from strict conditionals, that is, there is no adequate representation of them as sentences of the form . To justify this claim, Stalnaker and Lewis have argued that some fallacious inferences would turn out valid if counterfactuals were so represented. However, their argument has a flaw, as it rests on a questionable assumption about the relation between surface grammar and logical form. Without that assumption, no consequence of the (...) alleged kind is obtained, hence the claim may be rejected. (shrink)
In a paper called 'Definiteness and Knowability', Tim Williamson addresses the question whether one must accept that vagueness is an epistemic phenomenon if one adopts classical logic and a disquotational principle for truth. Some have suggested that one must not, hence that classical logic and the disquotational principle may be preserved without endorsing epistemicism. Williamson’s paper, however, finds ‘no plausible way of substantiating that possibility’. Its moral is that ‘either classical logic fails, or the disquotational principle does, or vagueness is (...) an epistemic phenomenon’. The moral of this paper, on the contrary, is that there is a plausible way of substantiating that possibility. The option it contemplates looks like a view that Williamson dismisses at the beginning of his paper, and that others regard as unworthy of serious consideration. (shrink)
This paper outlines a truth-conditional view of logical form, that is, a view according to which logical form is essentially a matter of truth-conditions. The main motivation for the view is a fact that seems crucial to logic. As _§_1 suggests, fundamental logical relations such as entailment or contradiction can formally be explained only if truth-conditions are formally represented.§2 spells out the view. _§_3 dwells on its anity with a conception of logical form that has been defended in the past. (...) _§§_4-6 draw attention to its impact on three major issues that concern, respectively, the extension of the domain of formal explanation, the semantics of tensed discourse, and the analysis of quantication. (shrink)
Once upon a time, some thought that indicative conditionals could be effectively analyzed as material conditionals. Later on, an alternative theoretical construct has prevailed and received wide acceptance, namely, the conditional probability of the consequent given the antecedent. Partly following critical remarks recently ap- peared in the literature, we suggest that evidential support—rather than conditional probability alone—is key to understand indicative conditionals. There have been motivated concerns that a theory of evidential conditionals (unlike their more tra- ditional counterparts) cannot generate (...) a sufficiently interesting logical system. Here, we will describe results dispelling these worries. Happily, and perhaps surprisingly, appropriate technical variations of Ernst Adams’s classical approach allow for the construction of a logic of evidential conditionals with distinctive fea- tures, which is also well-behaved and reasonably strong. (shrink)
Lovers typically entertain two sorts of thoughts about their beloveds. On the one hand, they think that some qualities of their beloveds provide reasons for loving them. Romeo would say that he loves Juliet in virtue of the way she is. On the other hand, they regard their beloveds as irreplaceable. Romeo would never be willing to exchange Juliet with another maiden. Yet it may be asked how these two sorts of thoughts can coherently coexist. If some qualities of Juliet (...) justify Romeo’s love for her, shouldn’t another maiden with the same qualities be equally lovable for him? This paper draws some distinctions that we take to be crucial to the understanding of reasons for love. Its aim is to show that, even though the claim that beloveds as irreplaceable is plausible to some extent, there is at least one interesting sense in which lovers are replaceable. (shrink)
This paper deals with the problem of future contingents, and focuses on two classical logical principles, excluded middle and bivalence. One may think that different attitudes are to be adopted towards these two principles in order to solve the problem. According to what seems to be a widely held hypothesis, excluded middle must be accepted while bivalence must be rejected. The paper goes against that line of thought. In the first place, it shows how the rejection of bivalence leads to (...) implausible consequences if excluded middle is accepted. In the second place, it addresses the question of why one should reject bivalence, and finds no satisfactory answer. /// Este artículo trata el problema de los futuros contingentes, y se enfoca en dos principios lógicos clásicos: el tercero excluido y la bivalencia. Se podría pensar que una solución del problema requiere actitudes diferentes hacia estos dos principios. Según una hipótesis que parece ampliamente compartida, el tercero excluido debe ser aceptado, mientras que la bivalencia debe ser rechazada. Este artículo argumenta en contra de esta línea de pensamiento. En primer lugar, se aborda cómo el rechazo de la bivalencia lleva a consecuencias poco plausibles si el tercero excluido es aceptado. En segundo lugar, se enfrenta la cuestión de por qué se debería rechazar la bivalencia, sin encontrar una respuesta satisfactoria. (shrink)
This paper articulates in formal terms a crucial distinction concerning future contingents, the distinction between what is true about the future and what is reasonable to believe about the future. Its key idea is that the branching structures that have been used so far to model truth can be employed to define an epistemic property, credibility, which we take to be closely related to knowledge and assertibility, and which is ultimately reducible to probability. As a result, two kinds of claims (...) about future contingents—one concerning truth, the other concerning credibility—can be smoothly handled within a single semantic framework. (shrink)
This paper defends the thesis that counterfactuals are strict conditionals. Its purpose is to show that there is a coherent view according to which counterfactuals are strict conditionals whose antecedent is stated elliptically. Section 1 introduces the view. Section 2 outlines a response to the main argument against the thesis that counterfactuals are strict conditionals. Section 3 compares the view with a proposal due to Aqvist, which may be regarded as its direct predecessor. Sections 4 and 5 explain how the (...) view di ers from the theories of counterfactuals advocated by Stalnaker and Lewis, and from some contextualist strict conditional accounts of counterfactuals that have emerged recently. Finally, section 6 addresses the thorny issue of disjunctive antecedents. (shrink)
This paper outlines a formal account of tensed sentences that is consistent with Ockhamism, a view according to which future contingents are either true or false. The account outlined substantively differs from the attempts that have been made so far to provide a formal apparatus for such a view in terms of some expressly modified version of branching time semantics. The system on which it is based is the simplest quantified modal logic.
This paper outlines an account of concessive conditionals that rests on two main ideas. One is that the logical form of a sentence as used in a given context is determined by the content expressed by the sentence in that context. The other is that a coherent distinction can be drawn between a reading of ‘if’ according to which a conditional is true when its consequent holds on the supposition that its antecedent holds, and a stronger reading according to which (...) a conditional is true when its antecedent supports its consequent. As we will suggest, the logical form of concessive conditionals can be elucidated by relying on this distinction. (shrink)
In some recent works, Crupi and Iacona have outlined an analysis of ‘if’ based on Chrysippus’ idea that a conditional holds whenever the negation of its consequent is incompatible with its antecedent. This paper presents a sound and complete system of conditional logic that accommodates their analysis. The soundness and completeness proofs that will be provided rely on a general method elaborated by Raidl, which applies to a wide range of systems of conditional logic.
This paper claims that there is a plausible sense in which validity is a matter of truth preservation relative to interpretations of the sentences that occur in an argument, although it is not the sense one might have in mind. §1 outlines three independent problems: the first is the paradox of the sorites, the second concerns the fallacy of equivocation, and the third arises in connection with the standard treatment of indexicals. §2 elucidates the claim about validity, while §§3-5 show (...) how the three problems outlined can be handled in accordance with it. §6 explains how the claim squares with the traditional idea that validity is related to formality, and in particular with a broadly accepted definition based on that idea, the model-theoretic definition of logical consequence. Unlike other works on the subject, this paper does not focus on necessity. It is not its intention to provide a characterization of necessity that conforms to some ideal of rigour or to some pre-theoretical understanding of validity. What follows can be taken as conditional on the assumption that such a characterization can be provided. (shrink)
One of the most common strategies in philosophical dispute is that of accusing the opponent of begging the question, that is, of assuming or presupposing what is to be proved. Thus, it happens quite often that the credibility of a philosophical argument is infected by the suspicion of begging the question. In many cases it is an open question whether the suspicion is grounded, and the answer lurks somewhere in the dark of what the proponent of the argument does not (...) say. This is why it may take years, or even centuries, before the begging of the question is brought to light. But few philosophers would deny that once it is established that a certain argument begs the question, that argument has to be rejected without hesitation: question-begging arguments are bad arguments, hence one should not appeal to them. Logicians traditionally classify begging the question as a fallacy, that is, as a bad reasoning that seems good at first sight. The fallacy is known under the name of petitio principii. This paper originated in our dissatisfaction with definitions of petitio principii found here and there in logic textbooks. Although it is uncontroversial that there is something wrong with begging the question, it is not clear from those definitions what is wrong. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to show that in order to make sense of the ascription of truth and falsity to the things we say it is essential to acknowledge a divergence between two basic intuitions. According to one of them it is plausible to talk of what is said as what the speaker has in mind. According to the other it is plausible to talk of what is said as the bearer of truth or falsity. The paper presents (...) three cases in which these two intuitions seem not to coincide, and shows how this lack of coincidence can be accounted for in terms of underspecification. (shrink)
So far, T×W frames have been employed to provide a semantics for a language of tense logic that includes a modal operator that expresses historical necessity. The operator is defined in terms of quantification over possible courses of events that satisfy a certain constraint, namely, that of being alike up to a given point. However, a modal operator can as well be defined without placing that constraint. This paper outlines a T×W logic where an operator of the latter kind is (...) used to express the epistemic property of definiteness. Section 1 provides the theoretical background. Sections 2 and 3 set out the semantics. Sections 4 and 5 show, drawing on established results, that there is a sound and complete axiomatization of the logic outlined. (shrink)
Despite the wide acceptance of standard modal logic, there has always been a temptation to think that ordinary modal discourse may be correctly analyzed and adequately represented in terms of predicates rather than in terms of operators. The aim of the formal model outlined in this paper is to capture what I take to be the only plausible sense in which ‘possible’ and ‘necessary’ can be treated as predicates. The model is built by enriching the language of standard modal logic (...) with a quantificational apparatus that is “substitutional” rather than “objectual”, and by obtaining from the language so enriched another language in which constants for such predicates apply to singular terms that stand for propositions. (shrink)
This textbook is a logic manual which includes an elementary course and an advanced course. It covers more than most introductory logic textbooks, while maintaining a comfortable pace that students can follow. The technical exposition is clear, precise and follows a paced increase in complexity, allowing the reader to get comfortable with previous definitions and procedures before facing more difficult material. The book also presents an interesting overall balance between formal and philosophical discussion, making it suitable for both philosophy and (...) more formal/science oriented students. This textbook is of great use to undergraduate philosophy students, graduate philosophy students, logic teachers, undergraduates and graduates in mathematics, computer science or related fields in which logic is required. (shrink)
This paper makes a point about the interpretation of the simplest quantified modal logic, that is, quantified modal logic with a single domain. It is commonly assumed that the domain in question is to be understood as the set of all possibile objects. The point of the paper is that this assumption is misguided.
The paper deals with the question of what it is for a sentence to express a proposition. In the first part of the paper I argue that a certain notion of proposition widely adopted in contemporary philosophy is more theoretically loaded than is commonly assumed. The fact is that some properties are typically assigned to propositions, but no support for the claim that there are things with those properties can be found in the “evidence” from ordinary language. My point is (...) that if we assume about propositions only what is really intuitive, a certain kind of account of the expressing relation turns out to be precluded. As the classical picture of the expressing relation seems to presuppose that kind of account, this leads to think that there is something wrong with the classical picture of the expressing relation. In the second part of the paper I outline what I take to be a plausible but relatively modest account of the expressing relation. Some of the implications of the account outlined may appear undesirable. But I believe that the uneasiness depends on deep‐rooted philosophical prejudices rather than on a solid intuitive basis. In the last section I deal with some objections that may be raised against the claims defended in the paper. (shrink)