Gillian Russell has recently proposed counterexamples to such elementary argument forms as Conjunction Introduction and Identity. These purported counterexamples involve expressions that are sensitive to linguistic context—for example, a sentence which is true when it appears alone but false when embedded in a larger sentence. If they are genuine counterexamples, it looks as though logical nihilism—the view that there are no valid argument forms—might be true. In this paper, I argue that the purported counterexamples are not genuine, on the grounds (...) that they equivocate. Having defused the threat of logical nihilism, I argue that the kind of linguistic context sensitivity at work in Russell’s purported counterexamples, if taken seriously, far from leading to logical nihilism, reveals new, previously undreamt-of valid forms. By way of proof of concept I present a simple logic, Solo-Only Propositional Logic, designed to capture some of them. Along the way, some interesting subtleties about the fallacy of equivocation are revealed. (shrink)
There is a line of thought, neglected in recent philosophy, according to which a priori knowable truths such as those of logic and mathematics have their special epistemic status in virtue of a certain tight connection between their meaning and their truth. Historical associations notwithstanding, this view does not mandate any kind of problematic deflationism about meaning, modality or essence. On the contrary, we should be upfront about it being a highly debatable metaphysical idea, while nonetheless insisting that it be (...) given due consideration. From this standpoint, I suggest that the Finean distinction between essence and modality allows us to refine the view. While liberal about meaning, modality and essence, the view is not without bite: it is reasonable to suppose that it is able to ward off philosophical confusions stemming from the undue assimilation of a priori to empirical knowledge. (shrink)
Developing a suggestion of Wittgenstein, I provide an account of truth tables as formulas of a formal language. I define the syntax and semantics of TPL (the language of Tabular Propositional Logic), and develop its proof theory. Single formulas of TPL, and finite groups of formulas with the same top row and TF matrix (depiction of possible valuations), are able to serve as their own proofs with respect to metalogical properties of interest. The situation is different, however, for groups of (...) formulas whose top rows differ. For them I provide (i) a tree-style system of ‘row tree proofs’, which is shown to be sound and complete, and (ii) an alternative, re-writing strategy. (shrink)
According to a standard story, part of what we have in mind when we say that an argument is valid is that it is necessarily truth preserving: if the premises are true, the conclusion must also be true. But—the story continues—that’s not enough, since ‘Roses are red, therefore roses are coloured’ for example, while it may be necessarily truth-preserving, is not so in virtue of form. Thus we arrive at a standard contemporary characterisation of validity: an argument is valid when (...) it is NTP in virtue of form. Here I argue that we can and should drop the N; the resulting account is simpler, less problematic, and performs just as well with examples. (shrink)
The notion of rigidity looms large in philosophy of language, but is beset by difficulties. This paper proposes a simple theory of rigidity, according to which an expression has a world-relative semantic property rigidly when it has that property at, or with respect to, all worlds. Just as names, and certain descriptions like The square root of 4, rigidly designate their referents, so too are necessary truths rigidly true, and so too does cat rigidly have only animals in its extension. (...) After spelling out the theory, I argue that it enables us to avoid the headaches that attend the misbegotten desire to have a simple rigid/non-rigid distinction that applies to expressions, giving us a simple solution to the problem of generalizing the notion of rigidity beyond singular terms. (shrink)
This article proposes a way of blocking the zombie argument against materialism. The central idea—which can be motivated in various ways, but which I will motivate by drawing on recent work by Wolfgang Schwarz—is that sentences reporting conscious experience are modally inert, roughly in the sense that adding them to a description of a metaphysically possible scenario always results in a description of a metaphysically possible scenario. This is notable in that it leads to a way of blocking the zombie (...) argument, which is perfectly compatible with modal rationalism and with the view that conceivability entails possibility. (shrink)
Work on the nature and scope of formal logic has focused unduly on the distinction between logical and extra-logical vocabulary; which argument forms a logical theory countenances depends not only on its stock of logical terms, but also on its range of grammatical categories and modes of composition. Furthermore, there is a sense in which logical terms are unnecessary. Alexandra Zinke has recently pointed out that propositional logic can be done without logical terms. By defining a logical-term-free language with the (...) full expressive power of first-order logic with identity, I show that this is true of logic more generally. Furthermore, having, in a logical theory, non-trivial valid forms that do not involve logical terms is not merely a technical possibility. As the case of adverbs shows, issues about the range of argument forms logic should countenance can quite naturally arise in such a way that they do not turn on whether we countenance certain terms as logical. (shrink)
This paper is about two controversial inference-patterns involving counterfactual or subjunctive conditionals. Given a plausible assumption about the truth-conditions of counterfactuals, it is shown that one can't go wrong in applying hypothetical syllogism (i.e., transitivity) so long as the set of worlds relevant for the conclusion is a subset of the sets of worlds relevant for the premises. It is also shown that one can't go wrong in applying antecedent strengthening so long as the set of worlds relevant for the (...) conclusion is a subset of that for the premise. These results are then adapted to Lewis's theory of counterfactuals. (shrink)
The object of this paper is to sketch an approach to propositions, meaning and names. The key ingredients are a Twin-Earth-inspired distinction between internal and external meaning, and a middle-Wittgenstein-inspired conception of internal meaning as role in language system. I show how the approach offers a promising solution to the problem of the meaning of proper names. This is a plea for a neglected way of thinking about these topics.
In an influential passage of Naming and Necessity Kripke argues, with the help of a fictional dialogue, that de re metaphysical modal distinctions have intuitive content. In this note I clarify the workings of the argument, and what it does and does not support. I conclude that Kripke’s argument does not, despite possible appearances, support the view that metaphysical modal distinctions are made in common sense discourse. The argument does however support the view that if metaphysical modal distinctions make sense (...) at the level of statements or states of affairs, then they also make sense de re. (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.
'It is widely agreed that contraposition, strengthening the antecedent and hypothetical syllogism fail for subjunctive conditionals', write Brogaard and Salerno in (2008: Counterfactuals and context, Analysis 68.1, 39–46). In that article they argue that the putative counterexamples to these principles are actually no threat, on the grounds that they involve a certain kind of illicit contextual shift. -/- Here I argue that this particular kind of contextual shift, if it is properly so called, is not generally illicit, and that therefore (...) the counterexamples shouldn't be blocked with the kind of blanket restriction Brogaard and Salerno advocate. The idea that the reasoning patterns in question can be vindicated given restrictions still seems promising; the purpose of this note is to show that the simple restriction proposed by Brogaard and Salerno isn't the right way of going. (shrink)
I present two counterexamples to the recently back-in-favour truth-tracking account of knowledge: one involving a true belief resting on a counterfactually robust delusion, one involving a true belief acquired alongside a bunch of false beliefs. These counterexamples carry over to a recent modification of the theory due to Briggs and Nolan (2012), and seem invulnerable to a recent defence of the theory against known counterexamples, by Adams and Clarke (2005).
This paper is about the meaning and function of identity statements involving proper names. There are two prominent views on this topic, according to which identity statements ascribe a relation: the object-view, on which identity statements ascribe a relation borne by all objects to themselves, and the name-view, on which an identity statement 'a is b' says that the names 'a' and 'b' codesignate. The object- and name-views may seem to exhaust the field. I make a case for treating identity (...) statements as sui generis instead of attempting to explain them by means of the idea that they ascribe a relation. My contention is that once we do this, no analysis is required. -/- I do not wish to insist that we stop saying that identity statements ascribe a relation. The point is that there is a fundamental disanalogy between identity statements and other two-termed statements which we overlook to our peril. This will be seen to parallel the more recognized disanalogy between existence statements and other one-termed statements. One way of registering the fundamental disanalogy is to say that identity statements are not relational, but this is not essential. Following my negative arguments in section 2, I employ some simple diagrammatical models in section 3 to exhibit the fundamental disanalogy. In a final section I respond to some possible objections which may be raised against this kind of approach. (shrink)
Here I present a new objection to the material or "hook" analysis of indicative conditionals - the thesis that an indicative conditional 'If A then C' has the truth-conditions of the so-called material conditional - based on Liar-like reasoning. This objection seems invulnerable to any Grice-Lewis-Jackson-inspired pragmatic rejoinder.
In a recent paper, Breckenridge and Magidor argue for an interesting and counterintuitive account of instantial reasoning. According to this account, in arguments such as one beginning with 'There is some x such that x is mortal. Let O be such an x. ...', the 'O' refers to a particular object, although we cannot know which. I give and defend a simple counterexample involving the notion of an unreferred-to object.
This paper is a conceptual study in the philosophy of logic. The question considered is 'How may formulae of the propositional calculus be brought into a representational relation to the world?'. Four approaches are distinguished: (1) the denotational approach, (2) the abbreviational approach, (3) the truth-conditional approach, and (4) the modelling approach. (2) and (3) are very familiar, so I do not discuss them. (1), which is now largely obsolete, led to some interesting twists and turns in early analytic philosophy (...) which will come as news to many contemporary readers, so I discuss it in some detail. The modelling approach is, to the best of my knowledge, newly introduced here. I am not presenting it as a rival to the other approaches, but as a philosophically interesting possibility. (shrink)
There is an important and fairly straightforward link between necessity and apriority which can shed light on our knowledge of the former, but initially plausible attempts to spell out what it is fall victim to counterexamples. Casullo discusses one such proposal, argues—following Anderson :1–20, )—that it fails, and suggests an alternative. In this paper, I argue that Casullo’s alternative also fails, before making a suggestion for which I can find no counterexamples and which, notably, handles some recent examples due to (...) Kipper and Strohminger and Yli-Vakkuri. (shrink)
Carnap’s result about classical proof-theories not ruling out non-normal valuations of propositional logic formulae has seen renewed philosophical interest in recent years. In this note I contribute some considerations which may be helpful in its philosophical assessment. I suggest a vantage point from which to see the way in which classical proof-theories do, at least to a considerable extent, encode the meanings of the connectives (not by determining a range of admissible valuations, but in their own way), and I demonstrate (...) a kind of converse to Carnap’s result. (shrink)
Here I defend two counterexamples to Nozick’s truth-tracking theory of knowledge from an attack on them by Adams and Clarke. With respect to the first counterexample, Adams and Clarke make the error of judging that my belief counts as knowledge. More demonstrably, with respect to the second counterexample they make the error of thinking that, on Nozick’s method-relativized theory, the method M in question in any given case must be generally reliable.
Thomas Hofweber's well-known ontological project crucially involves inferring negative existential statements from statements of non-reference, i.e. statements that say that some term or terms do not refer. Here, after explaining the context of this move, I aim to show that it is fallacious, and that this vitiates Hofweber's ontological project.
TristanHaze claims we have made two mistakes in replying to his two attempted counter-examples to Tracking Theories of Knowledge. Here we respond to his two recent claims that we have made mistakes in our reply. We deny both of his claims.
In a recent paper, TristanHaze offers two examples that, he claims, are counterexamples to Nozick's Theory of Knowledge. Haze claims his examples work against Nozick's theory understood as relativized to belief forming methods M. We believe that they fail to be counterexamples to Nozick's theory. Since he aims the examples at tracking theories generally, we will also explain why they are not counterexamples to Dretske's Conclusive Reasons Theory of Knowledge.
ABSTRACT Drawing inspiration from Fred Dretske, L. S. Carrier, John A. Barker, and Robert Nozick, we develop a tracking analysis of knowing according to which a true belief constitutes knowledge if and only if it is based on reasons that are sensitive to the fact that makes it true, that is, reasons that wouldn’t obtain if the belief weren’t true. We show that our sensitivity analysis handles numerous Gettier-type cases and lottery problems, blocks pathways leading to skepticism, and validates the (...) epistemic closure thesis that correct inferences from known premises yield knowledge of the conclusions. We discuss the plausible views of Ted Warfield and Branden Fitelson regarding cases of knowledge acquired via inference from false premises, and we show how our sensitivity analysis can account for such cases. We present arguments designed to discredit putative counterexamples to sensitivity analyses recently proffered by TristanHaze, John Williams and Neil Sinhababu, which involve true statements made by untrustworthy informants and strange clocks that sometimes display the correct time while running backwards. Finally, we show that in virtue of employing the paradox-free subjunctive conditionals codified by Relevance Logic theorists instead of the paradox-laden subjunctive conditionals codified by Robert Stalnaker and David Lewis. (shrink)
In this wide-ranging study, Levine explores both sides of the mind-body dilemma, presenting the first book-length treatment of his highly influential ideas on the How does one explain the physical nature of an experience? This puzzle, the "explanatory gap" between mind and body, is the focus of this work by an influential scholar in the field.
Hazing is a widespread moral phenomenon that has attracted little theoretical discussion. Here are my purposes are two fold: First, I provide a characterization of hazing that captures the features relevant to analyzing and evaluating hazing from a moral point of view. Hazing is harmful or humiliating transaction between members of a coveted group and an individual seeking membership in said group where the transaction bears no intrinsic relationship to the group’s mission. Second, I provide an analysis of the moral (...) wrongs of hazing that is broadly Kantian in spirit. The wrongfulness of hazing cannot be captured in terms of familiar categories of wrongdoing wherein individuals are treated as mere means (e.g., deception or coercion). However, hazing has no place in Kant’s Kingdom of Ends, for as a form of social interaction, it exploits and endorses an inequality between the hazer and the hazed that is antithetical to the equality of rational worth characteristic of social interaction in the Kingdom of Ends. In addition, hazing amounts to an invitation for a person to trade their humanity or self-respect in exchange for full inclusion in a group or organization. Issuing such an invitation, I claim, violates a Kantian duty to treat others’ humanity as an end in itself, violating a duty not to “give scandal” by tempting others to act in ways they will later have grounds to rationally regret. -/- . (shrink)
Hazing behaviors as a part of group initiations have been theorized to contribute to a sense of group solidarity, to ensure loyalty and commitment of group members, to teach group-relevant skills and attitudes to group members, and to reinforce the social hierarchy within groups. In a survey of members of an international college fraternity, researchers propose and test a four-dimensional model of hazing motivation. Using exploratory factor analysis, the proposed four-factor model explains 74 percent of the overall variance and confirmatory (...) factor analysis demonstrated acceptable model fit. Correlation and regression analysis suggested that social dominance- motivated hazing is strongly associated with hazing tolerance, moral disengagement, and a variety of measures related to organizational commitment and attachment. (shrink)
Significant disagreement remains in ethics about the duties we have towards wild animals. This paper aims to mediate those disagreements by exploring how they are supported by, or diverge from, the common-sense ethical principles of non-maleficence, beneficence, autonomy and justice popular in medical ethics. We argue that these principles do not clearly justify traditional conservation or a ‘hands-off ’ approach to wild-animal welfare; instead, they support natural negative duties to reduce the harms that we cause as well as natural positive (...) duties to promote the welfare of wild animals. (shrink)
"This book originates from a conference ... which took place at the Danish National Research Foundation's Center for Subjectivity Research, University of Copenhagen, on December 4-5, 2008... The articles collected ... are not proceedings but a selection of re-written texts from the conference including additional texts by authors invited to contribute to the book"--Page V.
The Vienna Circle was a group of scientifically-minded philosophers, many physicists by training, who in the 1920s and 30s developed the cluster of philosophical doctrines known as Logical Positivism. Among the Circle’s most distinguished members were Rudolf Carnap and Herbert Feigl, each of whom emigrated to America during the Nazi era. It is said that Feigl, the author of an important 1958 monograph defending a materialist approach to the mind-body problem, once gave a visiting lecture on the problem of consciousness (...) at UCLA, where Carnap was teaching. Feigl argued that although there were good reasons for believing that the mind is fundamentally physical, the physical explanation of the ‘qualia’ of sensory experience – the ineffable sensory qualities involved in, say, smelling coffee – was still a mystery to science. Now the story becomes apocryphal. Carnap is supposed to have interrupted, ‘But Feigl, there is something missing from your lecture. Science is beginning to explain qualia in terms of the alpha factor!’. We can imagine Feigl somewhat alarmed by this interjection from the great Carnap: ‘But Carnap, please tell me: what is the alpha factor?’. ‘Well, Feigl’ Carnap replied ‘if you tell me what qualia are, I’ll tell you what the alpha factor is’. (shrink)
What is a thing? What is an object? Tristan Garcia decisively overturns 100 years of Heideggerian orthodoxy about the supposedly derivative nature of objects to put forward a new theory of ontology that gives us deep insights into the world and our place in it."e.
The question of man -- Time and the will -- Receptivity and spatiality -- Distance and concealment -- Art and difference -- The 'speaking' of language -- Human nature and sensus communis -- Inspiration and genius -- Thought and expression -- A history of truth and truthfulness -- Being and the hidden God.
Political philosophy was once dominated by discussion of the virtues of character and their importance to the good life and the good society. Contemporary political philosophers, however, following the towering influence of John Rawls, have primarily focused on a single virtue of institutions: justice, while largely avoiding controversial claims about the good life. As a result, political philosophy lacks a unified account of the virtues of institutions and the virtues of character. More importantly, we lack an understanding of the connection (...) between the just society and the good life. This book begins to mend this broken seam, which, on reflection, lies at the heart of our deepest political problems. The book’s central argument is that the virtues of character require institutions, while good institutions enable persons to live together virtuously. Political institutions are a necessary precondition for the moral agency exhibited by the virtues. But good institutions enable virtue to grow, while helping to constrain the excesses of vice. On this view, justice emerges primarily as a virtue of character, not institutions. The just person balances conformity to existing institutional norms with practically wise reforms. Ultimately, this book concludes that the just society and the good life are linked through the common good of virtuous activity within the shared institutions of a political community. (shrink)
Tristan J. Rogers ABSTRACT: What might a Stoic approach to politics look like? David Goodhart aptly describes the political divide pervading Western societies in terms of the ‘somewheres,’ who are communitarian, rooted in particular places, and resistant to social and political change, versus the ‘anywheres,’ who are cosmopolitan, mobile, and enthusiastic embracers of change. Stoicism ….