Impossible Worlds focuses on an exciting new theory in philosophy, with applications in metaphysics, logic, and the theory of meaning. Its central topic is: how do we meaningfully talk and reason about situations which, unbeknownst to us, are impossible? This issue emerges as a central problem in contemporary philosophical accounts of meaning, information, knowledge, belief, fiction, conditionality, and counterfactual supposition. The book is written bytwo of the leading philosophers in the area and contains original research of relevance to professional philosophers (...) and logicians working in metaphysics, philosophy of language, formal logic, and adjacentareas. (shrink)
￼Mark Jago presents an original philosophical account of meaningful thought: in particular, how it is meaningful to think about things that are impossible. We think about impossible things all the time. We can think about alchemists trying to turn base metal to gold, and about unfortunate mathematicians trying to square the circle. We may ponder whether God exists; and philosophers frequently debate whether properties, numbers, sets, moral and aesthetic qualities, and qualia exist. In many philosophical or mathematical debates, when one (...) side of the argument gets things wrong, it necessarily gets them wrong. As we consider both sides of one of these philosophical arguments, we will at some point think about something that’s impossible. Yet most philosophical accounts of meaning and content hold that we can’t meaningfully think or reason about the impossible. -/- In The Impossible, Jago argues that we often gain new information, new beliefs, and, sometimes, fresh knowledge through logic, mathematics, and philosophy. That is why logic, mathematics, and philosophy are useful. We therefore require accounts of knowledge and belief, of information and content, and of meaning which allow space for the impossible. Jago’s aim in this book is to provide such accounts. He gives a detailed analysis of the concept of hyperintensionality, whereby logically equivalent contents may be distinct, and develops a theory in terms of possible and impossible worlds. Along the way, he provides a theory of what those worlds are and how they feature in our analysis of normative epistemic concepts: knowledge, belief, information, and content. (shrink)
Negative facts get a bad press. One reason for this is that it is not clear what negative facts are. We provide a theory of negative facts on which they are no stranger than positive atomic facts. We show that none of the usual arguments hold water against this account. Negative facts exist in the usual sense of existence and conform to an acceptable Eleatic principle. Furthermore, there are good reasons to want them around, including their roles in causation, chance-making (...) and truth-making, and in constituting holes and edges. (shrink)
Each truth has a truthmaker: an entity in virtue of whose existence that truth is true. So say truthmaker maximalists. Arguments for maximalism are hard to find, whereas those against are legion. Most accept that maximalism comes at a significant cost, which many judge to be too high. The scales would seem to be balanced against maximalism. Yet, as I show here, maximalism can be derived from an acceptable premise which many will pre-theoretically accept.
We need to understand the impossible. Francesco Berto and Mark Jago start by considering what the concepts of meaning, information, knowledge, belief, fiction, conditionality, and counterfactual supposition have in common. They are all concepts which divide the world up more finely than logic does. Logically equivalent sentences may carry different meanings and information and may differ in how they're believed. Fictions can be inconsistent yet meaningful. We can suppose impossible things without collapsing into total incoherence. Yet for the leading philosophical (...) theories of meaning, these phenomena are an unfathomable mystery. To understand these concepts, we need a metaphysical, logical, and conceptual grasp of situations that could not possibly exist: Impossible Worlds. This book discusses the metaphysics of impossible worlds and applies the concept to a range of central topics and open issues in logic, semantics, and philosophy. It considers problems in the logic of knowledge, the meaning of alternative logics, models of imagination and mental simulation, the theory of information, truth in fiction, the meaning of conditional statements, and reasoning about the impossible. In all these cases, impossible worlds have an essential role to play. (shrink)
Mark Jago presents and defends a novel theory of what truth is, in terms of the metaphysical notion of truthmaking. This is the relation which holds between a truth and some entity in the world, in virtue of which that truth is true. By coming to an understanding of this relation, he argues, we gain better insight into the metaphysics of truth. The first part of the book discusses the property being true, and how we should understand it in terms (...) of truthmaking. The second part focuses on truthmakers, the worldly entities which make various kinds of truths true, and how they do so. Jago argues for a metaphysics of states of affairs, which account for things having properties and standing in relations. The third part analyses the logic and metaphysics of the truthmaking relation itself, and links it to the metaphysical concept of grounding. The final part discusses consequences of the theory for language and logic. Jago shows how the theory delivers a novel and useful theory of propositions, the entities which are true or false, depending on how things are. A notable feature of this approach is that it avoids the Liar paradox and other puzzling paradoxes of truth. (shrink)
Impossible worlds are representations of impossible things and impossible happenings. They earn their keep in a semantic or metaphysical theory if they do the right theoretical work for us. As it happens, a worlds-based account provides the best philosophical story about semantic content, knowledge and belief states, cognitive significance and cognitive information, and informative deductive reasoning. A worlds-based story may also provide the best semantics for counterfactuals. But to function well, all these accounts need use of impossible and as well (...) as possible worlds. So what are impossible worlds? Graham Priest claims that any of the usual stories about possible worlds can be told about impossible worlds, too. But far from it. I'll argue that impossible worlds cannot be genuine worlds, of the kind proposed by Lewis, McDaniel or Yagisawa. Nor can they be ersatz worlds on the model proposed by Melia or Sider. Constructing impossible worlds, it turns out, requires novel metaphysical resources. (shrink)
I develop and defend a truthmaker semantics for the relevant logic R. The approach begins with a simple philosophical idea and develops it in various directions, so as to build a technically adequate relevant semantics. The central philosophical idea is that truths are true in virtue of specific states. Developing the idea formally results in a semantics on which truthmakers are relevant to what they make true. A very natural notion of conditionality is added, giving us relevant implication. I then (...) investigate ways to add conjunction, disjunction, and negation; and I discuss how to justify contraposition and excluded middle within a truthmaker semantics. (shrink)
I know that I could have been where you are right now and that you could have been where I am right now, but that neither of us could have been turnips or natural numbers. This knowledge of metaphysical modality stands in need of explanation. I will offer an account based on our knowledge of the natures, or essencess, of things. I will argue that essences need not be viewed as metaphysically bizarre entities; that we can conceptualise and refer to (...) essences; and that we can gain knowledge of them. We can know about which properties are, and which properties are not, essential to a given entity. This knowledge of essence offers a route to knowledge of the ways those entities must be or could be. (shrink)
What makes up reality, and how? What kinds of entity are fundamental to reality, and how do dependent entities depend on the fundamental ones? How does one entity metaphysically ground another? These questions are central to contemporary metaphysics. The papers in this collection, written by a new generation of metaphysicians, address these and related questions. They investigate the metaphysical concepts of grounding and fundamentality, and the relationship between the fundamental and all the other parts of reality. Together, these papers represent (...) the cutting-edge of a central topic in contemporary metaphysics. (shrink)
I present an internal problem for David Lewis’s genuine modal realism. My aim is to show that his analysis of modality is inconsistent with his metaphysics. I consider several ways of modifying the Lewisian analysis of modality, but argue that none are successful. I argue that the problem also affects theories related to genuine modal realism, including the stage theory of persistence and modal fictionalism.
Jago uses a Fitch-style argument in an attempt to demonstrate that every truth has a truthmaker. But Trueman shows that there is a parallel argument, this time to the conclusion that no truth has a truthmaker. Since we cannot accept both, we must ditch at least one Fitch. But which? Keywords: Truth, truthmaking, truthmaker maximalism, Fitch paradox, Robert Trueman.
Pluralists about coincident entities say that distinct entities may be spatially coincident throughout their entire existence. The most pressing issue they face is the grounding problem. They say that coincident entities may differ in their persistence conditions and in the sortals they fall under. But how can they differ in these ways, given that they share all their microphysical properties? What grounds those differences, if not their microphysical properties? Do those differences depend only on the way we conceptualise those objects? (...) Are they primitive facts about reality? Neither option is pleasant for the pluralist, but what else can she say? To respond to the grounding problem, the pluralist should first tell a story about what material objects are. If that story explains how the modal and sortal properties of objects are grounded, in a way that allows for differences between coincident objects, then she has a response to the problem. That is precisely my aim in this paper. (shrink)
Real-world agents do not know all consequences of what they know. But we are reluctant to say that a rational agent can fail to know some trivial consequence of what she knows. Since every consequence of what she knows can be reached via chains of trivial cot be dismissed easily, as some have attempted to do. Rather, a solution must give adequate weight to the normative requirements on rational agents’ epistemic states, without treating those agents as mathematically ideal reasoners. I’ll (...) argue that agents can fail to know trivial consequences of what they know, but never determinately. Such cases are epistemic oversights on behalf of the agent in question, and the facts about epistemic oversights are always indeterminate facts. As a result, we are never in a position to assert that such-and-such constitutes an epistemic oversight for agent i (for we may rationally assert only determinate truths). I then develop formal epistemic models according to which epistemic accessibility relations are vague. Given these models, we can show that epistemic oversights always concern indeterminate cases of knowledge. (shrink)
Grounding is a powerful metaphysical concept; yet there is widespread scepticism about the intelligibility of the notion. In this paper, I propose an account of an entity’s nature or essence, which I then use to provide grounding conditions for that entity. I claim that an understanding of an entity’s nature, together with an account of how logically complex entities are grounded, provides all we need to understand how that entity is grounded. This approach not only allows us to say what (...) grounds what, it also sheds light on the formal features of the grounding relation. It provides a principled argument for the orthodox view that grounding is irreflexive, asymmetrical, and transitive; but it allows that it may not be well-founded. The resulting approach gives us a powerful framework for understanding nature, grounding, and the relationship between them. (shrink)
For deductive reasoning to be justified, it must be guaranteed to preserve truth from premises to conclusion; and for it to be useful to us, it must be capable of informing us of something. How can we capture this notion of information content, whilst respecting the fact that the content of the premises, if true, already secures the truth of the conclusion? This is the problem I address here. I begin by considering and rejecting several accounts of informational content. I (...) then develop an account on which informational contents are indeterminate in their membership. This allows there to be cases in which it is indeterminate whether a given deduction is informative. Nevertheless, on the picture I present, there are determinate cases of informative (and determinate cases of uninformative) inferences. I argue that the model I offer is the best way for an account of content to respect the meaning of the logical constants and the inference rules associated with them without collapsing into a classical picture of content, unable to account for informative deductive inferences. (shrink)
Amongst those who feel the pull of the truthmaker principle (that truths require for their truth a truthmaker to exist), there is disagreement as to whether it applies to all truths or merely to some distinguished subset. Those in the latter camp, the non-maximalists, argue that there are no ducks in my bath is true not because of something’s existence, but because of the lack of ducks in my bath. Maximalists, by contrast, insist that truths are made true by something’s (...) existence, and so appear to be committed to strange ‘negative’ entities in their ontology. As a consequence, non-maximalists appear to have a more common-sense ontology than maximalists. But things are not so straightforward. I will argue that if maximalism is committed to strange entities then so is non-maximalism; and if non-maximalism can do without strange entities, then so can maximalism. Either way, the non-maximalist has no ontological advantage over the maximalist. (shrink)
Are the sculpture and the mass of gold which permanently makes it up one object or two? In this article, we argue that the monist, who answers ‘one object’, cannot accommodate the asymmetry of material constitution. To say ‘the mass of gold materially constitutes the sculpture, whereas the sculpture does not materially constitute the mass of gold’, the monist must treat ‘materially constitutes’ as an Abelardian predicate, whose denotation is sensitive to the linguistic context in which it appears. We motivate (...) this approach in terms of modal analyses of material constitution, but argue that ultimately it fails. The monist must instead accept a deflationary, symmetrical use of ‘materially constitutes’. We argue that this is a serious cost for her approach. (shrink)
In this paper we present a new metaphysical theory of material objects. On our theory, objects are bundles of property instances, where those properties give the nature or essence of that object. We call the theory essential bundle theory. Property possession is not analysed as bundle-membership, as in traditional bundle theories, since accidental properties are not included in the object’s bundle. We have a different story to tell about accidental property possession. This move reaps many benefits. Essential bundle theory delivers (...) a simple theory of the essential properties of material objects; an explanation of how object coincidence can arise; an actual-world ground for modal differences between coincident objects; a simple story about intrinsic properties; and a plausible account of certain ubiquitous cases of causal overdetermination. (shrink)
Gaining information can be modelled as a narrowing of epistemic space . Intuitively, becoming informed that such-and-such is the case rules out certain scenarios or would-be possibilities. Chalmers’s account of epistemic space treats it as a space of a priori possibility and so has trouble in dealing with the information which we intuitively feel can be gained from logical inference. I propose a more inclusive notion of epistemic space, based on Priest’s notion of open worlds yet which contains only those (...) epistemic scenarios which are not obviously impossible. Whether something is obvious is not always a determinate matter and so the resulting picture is of an epistemic space with fuzzy boundaries. (shrink)
Propositions play a central role in contemporary semantics. On the Russellian account, propositions are structured entities containing particulars, properties and relations. This contrasts sharply with the sets-of-possible-worlds view of propositions. I’ll discuss how to extend the sets-of-worlds view to accommodate fine-grained hyperintensional contents. When this is done in a satisfactory way, I’ll argue, it makes heavy use of entities very much like Russellian tuples. The two notions of proposition become inter-definable and inter-substitutable: they are not genuinely distinct accounts of how (...) propositions represent what they represent. Semantic theorists may move freely between the two conceptions of what propositions are. Nevertheless, the two approaches give different accounts of the metaphysical nature of propositions. I argue that the sets-of-worlds view provides an adequate account of the nature of propositions, whereas the Russellian view cannot. (shrink)
I discuss three ways of responding to the logical omniscience problems faced by traditional ‘possible worlds’ epistemic logics. Two of these responses were put forward by Hintikka and the third by Cresswell; all three have been influential in the literature on epistemic logic. I show that both of Hintikka's responses fail and present some problems for Cresswell’s. Although Cresswell's approach can be amended to avoid certain unpalatable consequences, the resulting formal framework collapses to a sentential model of knowledge, which defenders (...) of the ‘possible worlds’ approach are frequently critical of. (shrink)
In his book Worlds and Individuals, Possible and Otherwise (2010), Takashi Yagisawa presents and argues for a novel and imaginative version of modal realism. It differs both from Lewis’s modal realism (Lewis 1986) and from actualists’ ersatz accounts (Adams 1974; Sider 2002). In this paper, I’ll present two arguments, each of which shows that Yagisawa’s metaphysics is incoherent. The first argument shows that the combination of Yagisawa’s metaphysics with impossibilia leads to triviality: every sentence whatsoever comes out true. This is (...) so even if Yagisawa accepts a paraconsistent notion of logical consequence, on which contradictions do not entail arbitrary conclusions. The second argument is independent of Yagisawa’s acceptance of impossibilia. It shows that Yagisawa’s metaphysics of possible worlds is incoherent. Using ordinary modal reasoning, I derive a contradiction from Yagisawa’s account of possible worlds. (shrink)
Substantial facts are not well-understood entities. Many philosophers object to their existence on this basis. Yet facts, if they can be understood, promise to do a lot of philosophical work: they can be used to construct theories of property possession and truthmaking, for example. Here, I give a formal theory of facts, including negative and logically complex facts. I provide a theory of reduction similar to that of the typed λ -calculus and use it to provide identity conditions for facts. (...) This theory validates truthmaker maximalism : it provides truthmakers for all truths. I then show how the usual truth-in-a-model relation can be replaced by two relations: one between models and facts, saying that a given fact obtains relative to the model, and the other between facts and propositions: the truthmaking relation. (shrink)
You and I can differ in what we say, or believe, even though the things we say, or believe, are logically equivalent. Discussing what is said, or believed, requires notions of content which are finer-grained than sets of (metaphysically or logically) possible worlds. In this paper, I develop the approach to fine-grained content in terms of a space of possible and impossible worlds. I give a method for constructing ersatz worlds based on theory of substantial facts. I show how this (...) theory overcomes an objection to actualist constructions of ersatz worlds and argue that it naturally gives rise to useful notions of fine-grained content. (shrink)
Propositions are often aligned with truth-conditions. The view is mistaken, since propositions discriminate where truth conditions do not. Propositions are hyperintensional: they are sensitive to necessarily equivalent differences. I investigate an alternative view on which propositions are truthmaker conditions, understood as sets of possible truthmakers. This requires making metaphysical sense of merely possible states of affairs. The theory that emerges illuminates the semantic phenomena of samesaying, subject matter, and aboutness.
Bundle theories identify material objects with bundles of properties. On the traditional approach, these are the properties possessed by that material object. That view faces a deep problem: it seems to say that all of an object’s properties are essential to it. Essential bundle theory attempts to overcome this objection, by taking the bundle as a specification of the object’s essential properties only. In this paper, I show that essential bundle theory faces a variant of the objection. To avoid the (...) problem, the theory must accept the contingency of identity. I show how this can be achieved in a coherent and well-motivated way, a way that isn’t available to traditional bundle theories. (shrink)
The logical omniscience problem, whereby standard models of epistemic logic treat an agent as believing all consequences of its beliefs and knowing whatever follows from what else it knows, has received plenty of attention in the literature. But many attempted solutions focus on a fairly narrow specification of the problem: avoiding the closure of belief or knowledge, rather than showing how the proposed logic is of philosophical interest or of use in computer science or artificial intelligence. Sentential epistemic logics, as (...) opposed to traditional possible worlds approaches, do not suffer from the problems of logical omniscience but are often thought to lack interesting epistemic properties. In this paper, I focus on the case of rule-based agents, which play a key role in contemporary AI research but have been neglected in the logical literature. I develop a framework for modelling monotonic, nonmonotonic and introspective rule-based reasoners which have limited cognitive resources and prove that the resulting models have a number of interesting properties. An axiomatization of the resulting logic is given, together with completeness, decidability and complexity results. (shrink)
Real-world agents do not know all consequences of what they know. But we are reluctant to say that a rational agent can fail to know some trivial consequence of what she knows. Since every consequence of what she knows can be reached via chains of trivial cot be dismissed easily, as some have attempted to do. Rather, a solution must give adequate weight to the normative requirements on rational agents’ epistemic states, without treating those agents as mathematically ideal reasoners. I’ll (...) argue that agents can fail to know trivial consequences of what they know, but never determinately. Such cases are epistemic oversights on behalf of the agent in question, and the facts about epistemic oversights are always indeterminate facts. As a result, we are never in a position to assert that such-and-such constitutes an epistemic oversight for agent i. I then develop formal epistemic models according to which epistemic accessibility relations are vague. Given these models, we can show that epistemic oversights always concern indeterminate cases of knowledge. (shrink)
According to truthmaker theory, particular truths are true in virtue of the existence of particular entities. Truthmaker maximalism holds that this is so for all truths. Negative existential and other ‘negative’ truths threaten the position. Despite this, maximalism is an appealing thesis for truthmaker theorists. This motivates interest in parsimonious maximalist theories, which do not posit extra entities for truthmaker duty. Such theories have been offered by David Lewis and Gideon Rosen, Ross Cameron, and Jonathan Schaffer. But these theories cannot (...) be sustained, I’ll argue, and hence maximalism comes with a serious ontological cost. Neither Armstrong’s invocation of totality facts nor the Martin-Kukso line on absences can meet this cost satisfactorily. I’ll claim that negative facts are the best (and perhaps only) way out of the problem for the truthmaker maximalist. (shrink)
Philosophers often talk about the things we say, or believe, or think, or mean. The things are often called ‘propositions’. A proposition is what one believes, or thinks, or means when one believes, thinks, or means something. Talk about propositions is ubiquitous when philosophers turn their gaze to language, meaning and thought. But what are propositions? Is there a single class of things that serve as the objects of belief, the bearers of truth, and the meanings of utterances? How do (...) our utterances express propositions? Under what conditions do two speakers say the same thing, and what (if anything) does this tell us about the nature of propositions? There is no consensus on these questions—or even on whether propositions should be treated as things at all. During the second Propositions and Same-Saying workshop, which took place on July 19–21 2010 at the University of Sydney, philosophers debated these (and related) questions. The workshop covered topics in the philosophy of language, perception, and metaphysics. The present volume contains revised and expanded versions of the papers presented at the workshop. (shrink)
Syntactic logics do not suffer from the problems of logical omniscience but are often thought to lack interesting properties relating to epistemic notions. By focusing on the case of rule-based agents, I develop a framework for modelling resource-bounded agents and show that the resulting models have a number of interesting properties.
Information is often modelled as a set of relevant possibilities, treated as logically possible worlds. However, this has the unintuitive consequence that the logical consequences of an agent's information cannot be informative for that agent. There are many scenarios in which such consequences are clearly informative for the agent in question. Attempts to weaken the logic underlying each possible world are misguided. Instead, I provide a genuinely psychological notion of epistemic possibility and show how it can be captured in a (...) formal model, which I call a fan. I then show how to use fans to build formal models of being informed, as well as knowledge, belief and information update. (shrink)
Agents need to be able to change their beliefs; in particular, they should be able to contract or remove a certain belief in order to restore consistency to their set of beliefs, and revise their beliefs by incorporating a new belief which may be inconsistent with their previous beliefs. An influential theory of belief change proposed by Alchourron, G¨ardenfors and Makinson (AGM)  describes postulates which a rational belief revision and contraction operations should satisfy. The AGM postulates have been perceived (...) as characterising idealised rational reasoners, and the corresponding belief change operations are considered unsuitable for implementable agents due to their high computational cost . The main result of this paper is showing that an efficient (linear time) belief contraction operation nevertheless satisfies all but one of the AGM postulates for contraction. This contraction operation is defined for a realistic rule-based agent which can be seen as a reasoner in a very weak logic; although the agent’s beliefs are deductively closed with respect to this logic, checking consistency and tracing dependencies between beliefs is not computationally expensive. Finally, we give a non-standard definition of belief revision in terms of contraction for our agent. (shrink)
Epistemicism about vagueness is the view that vagueness, or indeterminacy, is an epistemic matter. Truthmaker-gap epistemicism is the view that indeterminate truths are indeterminate because their truth is not grounded by any worldly fact. Both epistemicism in general and truthmaker-gap epistemicism originated in Roy Sorensen's work on vagueness. My aim in this paper is to give a characterization of truthmaker-gap epistemicism and argue that the view is incompatible with higher-order vagueness: vagueness in whether some case of the form ‘it is (...) determinate that A’ or ‘it is indeterminate whether A’ is true. Since it is highly likely that there is higher-order vagueness, truthmaker-gap epistemicism is in an uncomfortable position. (shrink)
Stephen Barker presents a novel approach to solving semantic paradoxes, including the Liar and its variants and Curry’s paradox. His approach is based around the concept of alethic undecidability. His approach, if successful, renders futile all attempts to assign semantic properties to the paradoxical sentences, whilst leaving classical logic fully intact. And, according to Barker, even the T-scheme remains valid, for validity is not undermined by undecidable instances. Barker’s approach is innovative and worthy of further consideration, particularly by those of (...) us who aim to find a solution without logical revisionism. As it stands, however, the approach is unsuccessful, as I shall demonstrate below. (shrink)
Theories of content are at the centre of philosophical semantics. The most successful general theory of content takes contents to be sets of possible worlds. But such contents are very coarse-grained, for they cannot distinguish between logically equivalent contents. They draw intensional but not hyperintensional distinctions. This is often remedied by including impossible as well as possible worlds in the theory of content. Yet it is often claimed that impossible worlds are metaphysically obscure; and it is sometimes claimed that their (...) use results in a trivial theory of content. In this paper, I set out the need for impossible worlds in a theory of content; I briefly sketch a metaphysical account of their nature; I argue that worlds in general must be very fine-grained entities; and, finally, I argue that the resulting conception of impossible worlds is not a trivial one. (shrink)
Fine (2017a) sets out a theory of content based on truthmaker semantics which distinguishes two kinds of consequence between contents. There is entailment, corresponding to the relationship between disjunct and disjunction, and there is containment, corresponding to the relationship between conjunctions and their conjuncts. Fine associates these with two notions of parthood: disjunctive and conjunctive. Conjunctive parthood is a very useful notion, allowing us to analyse partial content and partial truth. In this chapter, I extend the notion of disjunctive parthood (...) in terms of a structural relation of refinement, which stands to disjunctive parthood much as mereological parthood stands to conjunctive parthood. Philosophically, this relation may be modelled on the determinable- determinate relation, or on a fact-to-fact notion of grounding. I discuss its connection to two other Finean notions: vagueness (understood via precisification) and arbitrary objects. I then investigate what a logic of truthmaking with refinement might look like. I argue that (i) parthood naturally gives rise to a relevant conditional; (ii) refinement underlies a relevant notion of disjunction; and so (iii) truthmaker semantics with refinement is a natural home for relevant logic. The resulting formal models draw on Fine’s (1974) semantics for relevant logics. Finally, I use this understanding of relevant semantics to investigate the status of the mingle axiom. (shrink)
John White (2016) defends the UK private school system from the accusation that it allows an unfair form of ‘queue jumping’ in university admissions. He offers two responses to this accusation, one based on considerations of harm, and one based on meritocratic distribution of university places. We will argue that neither response succeeds: the queue-jumping argument remains a powerful case against the private school system in the UK. We begin by briefly outlining the queue-jumping argument (§1), before evaluating White’s no-harm (...) (§2) and meritocracy (§3) arguments. (shrink)
The effective reasoning capability of an agent can be defined as its capability to infer, within a given space and time bound, facts that are logical consequences of its knowledge base. In this paper we show how to determine the effective reasoning capability of an agent with limited memory by encoding the agent as a transition system and automatically verifying whether a state where the agent believes a certain conclusion is reachable from the start state. We present experimental results using (...) the Model Based Planner (MBP) which illustrates how the length of the deduction varies for different memory sizes. (shrink)
Predictive accounts of belief ascription, either following the principle of charity or Dennett's intentional stance, have proved popular recently. However, such accounts require us first to treat agents as perfectly rational agents and then revise this assumption as appropriate. I argue that such downwards revision is no easy task and that several proposed accounts are not satisfactory. I propose a way of characterising agent's belief states which shares Dennett's approach but avoids treating agents as perfectly rational, and develop a formal (...) account in terms of fan models. (shrink)