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Zeynep Soysal
University of Rochester
  1. A metalinguistic and computational approach to the problem of mathematical omniscience.Zeynep Soysal - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 106 (2):455-474.
    In this paper, I defend the metalinguistic solution to the problem of mathematical omniscience for the possible-worlds account of propositions by combining it with a computational model of knowledge and belief. The metalinguistic solution states that the objects of belief and ignorance in mathematics are relations between mathematical sentences and what they express. The most pressing problem for the metalinguistic strategy is that it still ascribes too much mathematical knowledge under the standard possible-worlds model of knowledge and belief on which (...)
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  2. Idle Questions.Jens Kipper, Alexander W. Kocurek & Zeynep Soysal - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
    In light of the problem of logical omniscience, some scholars have argued that belief is question-sensitive: agents don't simply believe propositions but rather believe answers to questions. Hoek (2022) has recently developed a version of this approach on which a belief state is a "web" of questions and answers. Here, we present several challenges to Hoek's question-sensitive account of belief. First, Hoek's account is prone to very similar logical omniscience problems as those he claims to address. Second, the link between (...)
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  3. From metasemantics to analyticity.Zeynep Soysal - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (1):57-76.
    In this paper, I argue from a metasemantic principle to the existence of analytic sentences. According to the metasemantic principle, an external feature is relevant to determining which concept one expresses with an expression only if one is disposed to treat this feature as relevant. This entails that if one isn’t disposed to treat external features as relevant to determining which concept one expresses, and one still expresses a given concept, then something other than external features must determine that one (...)
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  4. Formal analyticity.Zeynep Soysal - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (11):2791-2811.
    In this paper, I introduce and defend a notion of analyticity for formal languages. I first uncover a crucial flaw in Timothy Williamson’s famous argument template against analyticity, when it is applied to sentences of formal mathematical languages. Williamson’s argument targets the popular idea that a necessary condition for analyticity is that whoever understands an analytic sentence assents to it. Williamson argues that for any given candidate analytic sentence, there can be people who understand that sentence and yet who fail (...)
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  5.  31
    The Role of Questions, Circumstances, and Algorithms in Belief.Jens Kipper, Alexander W. Kocurek & Zeynep Soysal - 2022 - In Marco Degano, Tom Roberts, Giorgio Sbardolini & Marieke Schouwstra (eds.), Proceedings of the 23rd Amsterdam Colloquium. pp. 181-187.
    A recent approach to the problem of logical omniscience holds that belief is question-sensitive: what an agent believes depends on what question they try to answer (Pérez Carballo, 2016; Yalcin, 2018; Hoek, 2022). While the question-sensitive approach can avoid some logical omniscience problems, we argue that it suffers from nearby problems. First, these accounts all validate closure principles that are just as implausible as the ones it was designed to avoid. Second, question-sensitivity by itself isn’t suitable for explaining many kinds (...)
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  6. A Kripkean argument for descriptivism.Jens Kipper & Zeynep Soysal - 2021 - Noûs 56 (3):654-669.
    In this paper, we offer a novel defense of descriptivism about reference. Our argument is based on principles about the relevance of speaker intentions to reference that are shared by many opponents of descriptivism, including Saul Kripke. We first show that two such principles that are plausibly endorsed by Kripke and other prominent externalists in fact entail descriptivism. The first principle states that when certain kinds of speaker intentions are present, they suffice to determine and explain reference. According to the (...)
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  7. Why is the universe of sets not a set?Zeynep Soysal - 2017 - Synthese 197 (2):575-597.
    According to the iterative conception of sets, standardly formalized by ZFC, there is no set of all sets. But why is there no set of all sets? A simple-minded, though unpopular, “minimal” explanation for why there is no set of all sets is that the supposition that there is contradicts some axioms of ZFC. In this paper, I first explain the core complaint against the minimal explanation, and then argue against the two main alternative answers to the guiding question. I (...)
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  8.  38
    An Algorithmic Impossible-Worlds Model of Belief and Knowledge.Zeynep Soysal - forthcoming - Review of Symbolic Logic:1-25.
    In this paper, I develop an algorithmic impossible-worlds model of belief and knowledge that provides a middle ground between models that entail that everyone is logically omniscient and those that are compatible with even the most egregious kinds of logical incompetence. In outline, the model entails that an agent believes (knows) φ just in case she can easily (and correctly) compute that φ is true and thus has the capacity to make her actions depend on whether φ. The model thereby (...)
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  9. Truth in Journalism.Zeynep Soysal - 2019 - In James E. Katz & Kate K. Mays (eds.), Journalism and Truth in an Age of Social Media. Oxford University Press. pp. 103–116.
    In order to fulfill their role in society, professional journalists must deliver truths. But truth-telling is not the only requirement of the goal of journalism. What is more, some of the other requirements of journalism can make it difficult for journalists to deliver truths, and may even force them to depart from truth in certain ways. In this paper, I make the requirements of the goal of journalism explicit, and I explain how conflicts between them can arise. I then make (...)
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  10.  61
    Are scrutability conditionals rationally deniable?Jens Kipper & Zeynep Soysal - 2021 - Analysis 81 (3):452-461.
    Chalmers has argued that Bayesianism supports the existence of a priori truths, since it entails that scrutability conditionals are not rationally revisable. However, as we argue, Chalmers's arguments leave open that every proposition is rationally deniable, which would be devastating for large parts of his philosophical program. We suggest that Chalmers should appeal to well-known convergence theorems to argue that ideally rational subjects converge on the truth of scrutability conditionals. However, our discussion reveals that showing that these theorems apply in (...)
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  11.  76
    Descriptivism about the Reference of Set-Theoretic Expressions: Revisiting Putnam’s Model-Theoretic Arguments.Zeynep Soysal - 2020 - The Monist 103 (4):442-454.
    Putnam’s model-theoretic arguments for the indeterminacy of reference have been taken to pose a special problem for mathematical languages. In this paper, I argue that if one accepts that there are theory-external constraints on the reference of at least some expressions of ordinary language, then Putnam’s model-theoretic arguments for mathematical languages don’t go through. In particular, I argue for a kind of descriptivism about mathematical expressions according to which their reference is “anchored” in the reference of expressions of ordinary language. (...)
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  12.  61
    Leibniz’s Formal Theory of Contingency.Jeffrey McDonough & Zeynep Soysal - 2018 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 21 (1):17-43.
    This essay argues that, with his much-maligned “infinite analysis” theory of contingency, Leibniz is onto something deep and important – a tangle of issues that wouldn’t be sorted out properly for centuries to come, and then only by some of the greatest minds of the twentieth century. The first two sections place Leibniz’s theory in its proper historical context and draw a distinction between Leibniz’s logical and meta-logical discoveries. The third section argues that Leibniz’s logical insights initially make his “infinite (...)
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  13.  19
    Leibniz's Formal Theory of Contingency Extended.Zeynep Soysal & McDonough Jeffrey - 2016 - In Ute Beckmann (ed.), "Für unser Glück oder das Glück anderer": Vorträge des X. Internationalen Leibniz-Kongresses. Georg Olms Verlag. pp. 451–466.
    This essay develops our meta-logical interpretation of Leibniz’s formal theory of contingency by taking up two additional issues not fully addressed in our earlier efforts. The first issue concerns the relationship between Leibniz’s formal theory of contingency and his views on species and essentialism. The second issue concerns the relationship between Leibniz’s formal theory of contingency and the modal status of the actual world.
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