A number of philosophers have recently become receptive to the idea that, in addition to scientific or causal explanation, there may be a distinctive kind of metaphysical explanation, in which explanans and explanandum are connected, not through some sort of causal mechanism, but through some constitutive form of determination. I myself have long been sympathetic to this idea of constitutive determination or ‘ontological ground’; and it is the aim of the present paper to help put the idea on a firmer (...) footing - to explain how it is to be understood, how it relates to other ideas, and how it might be of use in philosophy. (shrink)
It is my aim in this paper to show that the contemporary assimilation of essence to modality is fundamentally misguided and that, as a consequence, the corresponding conception of metaphysics should be given up. It is not my view that the modal account fails to capture anything which might reasonably be called a concept of essence. My point, rather, is that the notion of essence which is of central importance to the metaphysics of identity is not to be understood in (...) modal terms or even to be regarded as extensionally equivalent to a modal notion. The one notion is, if I am right, a highly refined version of the other; it is like a sieve which performs a similar function but with a much finer mesh. (shrink)
This paper distinguishes two kinds of realist issue -- the issue of whether the propositions of a given domain are factual and the issue of whether they are fundamental. It criticizes previous accounts of what these issues come to and suggests that they are to be understood in terms of a basic metaphysical concept of reality. This leaves open the question of how such issues are to be resolved; and it is argued that this may be done through consideration of (...) what grounds the facts of a given domain, when fundamentality is in question, and what grounds our engagement with the putative facts, when factuality is in question. (shrink)
This paper deals with the truth-Conditions and the logic for vague languages. The use of supervaluations and of classical logic is defended; and other approaches are criticized. The truth-Conditions are extended to a language that contains a definitely-Operator and that is subject to higher order vagueness.
Introducing a new and ambitious position in the field, Kit Fine’s _Semantic Relationism_ is a major contribution to the philosophy of language. Written by one of today’s most respected philosophers Argues for a fundamentally new approach to the study of representation in language and thought Proposes that there may be representational relationships between expressions or elements of thought that are not grounded in the intrinsic representational features of the expressions or elements themselves Forms part of the prestigious new _Blackwell/Brown Lectures (...) in Philosophy_ series, based on an ongoing series of lectures by today’s leading philosophers. (shrink)
I develop a basic theory of content within the framework of truthmaker semantics and, in the second part, consider some of the applications to subject matter, common content, logical subtraction and ground.
This book is collection of the the author’s previously published papers on the philosophy of modality and tense and it also includes three unpublished papers. The author provides an exposition and defence of certain positions for which he is well-known: the intelligibility of modality de re; the primitiveness of the modal; and the primacy of the actual over the possible. He also argues for some less familiar positions: the existence of distinctive forms of natural and normative necessity, not reducible to (...) any form of metaphysical necessity; the need to make a distinction between the worldly and unworldly, analogous to the distinction between the tensed and the tenseless; and the viability of a nonstandard form of realism about tense, which recognizes the tensed character of reality without conceding there is any privileged standpoint from which it is to be viewed. (shrink)
This chapter explains the basic framework of truthmaker or 'exact' semantics, an approach to semantics that has recently received a growing amount of interest, and discusses a number of different applications within philosophy and linguistics. The idea of truthmaking is the idea of something on the side of the world ‐ a fact, perhaps, or a state of affairs ‐ verifying, or making true, something on the side of language or thought ‐ a statement, perhaps, or a proposition. The chapter (...) focuses on the ultimate truthmakers, on what in the world ultimately makes something true, and the question of how the truthmakers make the statements of our language true is of no great concern. It also focuses on the immediate truthmakers, and the question of how they make the statements of the language true will be of greatest concern. (shrink)
There is a common form of problem, to be found in many areas of philosophy, concerning the relationship between our perspective on reality and reality itself. We make statements (or form judgements) about how things are from a given standpoint or perspective. We make the statement ‘it is raining’ from the standpoint of the present time, for example, or the statement‘it is here’ from the standpoint of where we are, or the statement ‘I am glad’ from the standpoint of a (...) subject. In each of these cases, the statement has a certain ‘aspect’ or perspectival character in virtue of which its truth is capable of varying from one standpoint to another. Thus the statement ‘it is raining’ is tensed, the statement ‘it is here’ is ‘spatiocentric’ and the statement ‘I am glad’ is first-personal. The problem we then face is to determine whether this aspect is a feature of the reality which is described or merely a feature of the statement by which it is described. Is reality itself somehow tensed or spatiocentric or firstpersonal or is it merely that we describe a tenseless or spatially uncentered or impersonal reality from a tensed or spatiocentric or first-personal point of view? (shrink)
I propose a new semantics for intuitionistic logic, which is a cross between the construction-oriented semantics of Brouwer-Heyting-Kolmogorov and the condition-oriented semantics of Kripke. The new semantics shows how there might be a common semantical underpinning for intuitionistic and classical logic and how intuitionistic logic might thereby be tied to a realist conception of the relationship between language and the world.
There is a well-known argument from Leibniz's Law for the view that coincident material things may be distinct. For given that they differ in their properties, then how can they be the same? However, many philosophers have suggested that this apparent difference in properties is the product of a linguistic illusion; there is just one thing out there, but different sorts or guises under which it may be described. I attempt to show that this ‘opacity’ defence has intolerable consequences for (...) the functioning of our language and that the original argument should therefore be allowed to stand. (shrink)
It is argued that there are three main forms of necessity --the metaphysical, the natural and the normative--and that none of them is reducible to the others or to any other form of necessity. In arguing for a distinctive form of natural necessity, it is necessary to refute a version of the doctrine of scientific essentialism; and in arguing for a distinctive form of normative necessity, it is necessary to refute certain traditional and contemporary versions of ethical naturalism.
I discuss Yablo’s approach to truthmaker semantics and compare it with my own, with special focus on the idea of a proposition being true of or being restricted to some subject-matter, the idea of propositional containment, and the development of an ‘incremental’ semantics for the conditional. I conclude with some remarks on the relationship between truth-maker approach and the standard possible worlds approach to semantics.
Kit Fine develops a Fregean theory of abstraction, and suggests that it may yield a new philosophical foundation for mathematics, one that can account for both our reference to various mathematical objects and our knowledge of various mathematical truths. The Limits ofion breaks new ground both technically and philosophically.
Contents: Preface VII; Introduction 1; 1. The General Framework 5; 2. Some Standard Systems 61; 3. Systems in General 147; 4. Non-Standard Systems 177; Bibliography 210; General Index 215; Index of Symbols 219-220.
How can a statue and a piece of alloy be coincident at any time at which they exist and yet differ in their modal properties? I argue that this question demands an answer and that the only plausible answer is one that posits a difference in the form of the two objects.
There is a standard view of relations, held by philosophers and logicians alike, according to which we may meaningfully talk of a relation holding of several objects in a given order. Thus it is supposed that we may meaningfully—indeed, correctly—talk of the relation loves holding of Anthony and Cleopatra or of the relation between holding of New York, Washington, and Boston. But innocuous as this view might appear to be, it cannot be accepted as applying to all relations whatever. For (...) there is an important class of metaphysical and linguistic contexts which call for an alternative conception of relation, one for which the order of the relata plays no role and in which the application of the relation to its relata is achieved by other means. (shrink)
In this paper I shall present some of the results I have obtained on modal theories which contain quantifiers for propositions. The paper is in two parts: in the first part I consider theories whose non-quantificational part is S5; in the second part I consider theories whose non-quantificational part is weaker than or not contained in S5. Unless otherwise stated, each theory has the same language L. This consists of a countable set V of propositional variables pl, pa, ... , (...) the operators v (or), ~ (not) and □ (necessarily), the universal quantifier (p), p a propositional variable, and brackets ( and ). The formulas of L are then defined in the usual way. (shrink)
There are four broad grounds upon which the intelligibility of quantification over absolutely everything has been questioned—one based upon the existence of semantic indeterminacy, another on the relativity of ontology to a conceptual scheme, a third upon the necessity of sortal restriction, and the last upon the possibility of indefinite extendibility. The argument from semantic indeterminacy derives from general philosophical considerations concerning our understanding of language. For the Skolem–Lowenheim Theorem appears to show that an understanding of quanti- fication over absolutely (...) everything (assuming a suitably infinite domain) is semantically indistinguishable from the understanding of quantification over something less than absolutely everything; the same first-order sentences are true and even the same first-order conditions will be satisfied by objects from the narrower domain. From this it is then argued that the two kinds of understanding are indistinguishable tout court and that nothing could count as having the one kind of understanding as opposed to the other. (shrink)
This paper is an attempt to apply the truthmaker approach, recently developed by a number of authors, to the problem of providing an adequate formulation of the is–ought gap. I begin by setting up the problem and criticizing some other accounts of how the problem should be stated; I then introduce the basic apparatus of truth-making and show how it may be extended to include both descriptive and normative truth-makers; I next consider how the gap principle should be formulated, attempting (...) to deal as systematically as possible with the ‘harmless’ counter-examples; I also consider the relationship between the gap principle and various other doctrines concerning the separation between the normative and descriptive realms; and I conclude this part of the paper with some general remarks in favor of adopting the truth-maker approach over some of the alternative approaches. The paper concludes with a formal appendix, which gives precise expression to some of claims made in the previous informal part of the paper. (shrink)
This paper provides a possible worlds semantics for the system of the author's previous paper 'The Logic of Essence '. The basic idea behind the semantics is that a statement should be taken to be true in virtue of the nature of certain objects just in case it is true in any possible world compatible with the nature of those objects. It is shown that a slight variant of the original system is sound and complete under the proposed semantics.
An exact truthmaker for A is a state which, as well as guaranteeing A’s truth, is wholly relevant to it. States with parts irrelevant to whether A is true do not count as exact truthmakers for A. Giving semantics in this way produces a very unusual consequence relation, on which conjunctions do not entail their conjuncts. This feature makes the resulting logic highly unusual. In this paper, we set out formal semantics for exact truthmaking and characterise the resulting notion of (...) entailment, showing that it is compact and decidable. We then investigate the effect of various restrictions on the semantics. We also formulate a sequent-style proof system for exact entailment and give soundness and completeness results. (shrink)
Locke’s thesis states that no two things of the same sort can be in the same place at the same time. The thesis has recently received extensive discussion, with some philosophers attempting to find arguments in its favour and others attempting to provide counter-examples. However, neither the arguments nor the counter-examples have been especially convincing; and it is my aim, in this short note, to present what I believe is a more convincing counter-example to the thesis.