1. 30166.871134
    Superficially, dreidel appears to be a simple game of luck, and a badly designed game at that. It lacks balance, clarity, and (apparently) meaningful strategic choice. From this perspective, its prominence in the modern Hannukah tradition is puzzling. …
    Found 8 hours, 22 minutes ago on The Splintered Mind
  2. 74751.871213
    Aside from its sheer intractability, the problem of vagueness has a historical dimension that lends it extra bite. The modern development of logic was primarily concerned to codify the canons of reasoning employed in mathematical proofs. A striking feature of the mathematical realm is that it’s one which is sharp: there’s no such thing as a number which is borderline odd, and the languages of pure mathematics don’t contain vague expressions of other categories; for example, none of Hilbert’s problems use ‘many’ in their formulation. So when we turn to the description of the empirical realm, we cannot avoid the question whether the apparent lack of sharpness requires that accommodations in logic be made. Epistemicism is the view that no accommodations need to be made, since the empirical realm is no less sharp than the mathematical (Sorensen 1988, 2001; Williamson 1994). In particular, if F is a predicate whose application is typically persistent across small changes in some quantity but not persistent across some large ones, then if some such large change is decomposed into a series of small changes, there will be a particular small change which unseats the predicate. On this view, the term ‘vague’ simply marks the epistemic inaccessibility of which small change does the damage.
    Found 20 hours, 45 minutes ago on Graeme Forbes's site
  3. 74772.871257
    The problem of referential opacity is manifested primarily by the failure of a certain inference rule of classical logic to produce intuitively acceptable results when applied to ascriptions of mental states. The rule is known variously as Leibniz’s Law, or as the Substitutivity of Identicals, or, in some logical systems, as Identity Elimination. However, the term ‘referential opacity’ for the phenomenon in question is somewhat tendentious, since it embodies a debatable diagnosis of the problem. We shall often use the more neutral ‘substitution failure’ instead (‘apparent substitution failure’ would be even more neutral). And we reserve “Leibniz’s Law” for a principle about objects and properties, which says (1) Ifx and y are the same object, then x and y have the same properties.
    Found 20 hours, 46 minutes ago on Graeme Forbes's site
  4. 77561.874554
    How one builds, checks, validates and interprets a model depends on its ‘purpose’. This is true even if the same model is used for different purposes, which means that a model built for one purpose but now used for another may need to be re-checked, re-validated and maybe even rebuilt in a different way. Here we review some of the different purposes for building a simulation model of complex social phenomena, focussing on five in particular: theoretical exposition, prediction, explanation, description and illustration. The chapter looks at some of the implications in terms of the ways in which the intended purpose might fail. In particular, it looks at the ways that a confusion of modelling purposes can fatally weaken modelling projects, whilst giving a false sense of their quality. This analysis motivates some of the ways in which these ‘dangers’ might be avoided or mitigated.
    Found 21 hours, 32 minutes ago on Bruce Edmonds's site
  5. 200169.874632
    Iterated reflection principles have been employed extensively to unfold epistemic commitments that are incurred by accepting a mathematical theory. Recently this has been applied to theories of truth. The idea is to start with a collection of Tarski-biconditionals and arrive by finitely iterated reflection at strong compositional truth theories. In the context of classical logic it is incoherent to adopt an initial truth theory in which A and ‘A is true’ are inter-derivable. In this article we show how in the context of a weaker logic, which we call Basic De Morgan Logic, we can coherently start with such a fully disquotational truth theory and arrive at a strong compositional truth theory by applying a natural uniform reflection principle a finite number of times.
    Found 2 days, 7 hours ago on PhilPapers
  6. 245495.874652
    An interesting new paper by Zylstra attempts to cast doubt on the project of analyzing essence in terms of necessity plus something else. As Fine famously pointed out, it is plausible that the set {Soctrates} essentially contains Socrates but that Socrates does not essentially belong to {Socrates}. …
    Found 2 days, 20 hours ago on Tristan Haze's blog
  7. 254692.874668
    In certain crystals you can knock an electron out of its favorite place and leave a hole: a place with a missing electron. Sometimes these holes can move around like particles. And naturally these holes attract electrons, since they are places an electron would want to be. …
    Found 2 days, 22 hours ago on Azimuth
  8. 257852.874682
    Kratzer’s semantics for the deontic modals ought, must, etc., is criticized and improvements are suggested. Specifically, a solution is offered for the strong/weak, must/ought contrast, based on connecting must to right and ought to good as their respective ordering norms. A formal treatment of the semantics of must is proposed. For the semantics of ought it is argued that good enough should replace best in the formula giving truth conditions. A semantics for supposed to slightly different from that for ought is proposed that connects interestingly with the “normative judgement internalism” problem. An extended analysis of the workings of the ordering source in Kratzer semantics reveals several problems and related possible solutions. And finally, it is argued that ‘We must do the right things” and “We ought to pursue good things” are provably necessary in Kratzer semantics, which is, I think, a welcome result, although, since formal, does not tell what are the right and good things.
    Found 2 days, 23 hours ago on PhilPapers
  9. 366328.874697
    Call a semantics for a given language externalist just in case it assigns to any expression of the language in question an “entity in the world” as its semantic value (perhaps relative to a context or other parameters). Thus for example, the (extensional) semantics in the now standard semantics textbook Heim, Kratzer [1998] is externalist since it takes names to be type e and one place predicates to be type <e,t>. This means that the semantics assigns individuals to names and sets of individuals to one place predicates. So externalist semantic theories posit a semantic relation (perhaps relative to a context or other parameters) between expressions of the language and entities in the world. Such relations have gone by many names: ‘___having ___ as its semantic value (relative to context c)’; ‘__refers to __ (relative to c)’; ‘||__|| = __’; etc. I think it is safe to say that much recent semantic theorizing is externalist in this sense.
    Found 4 days, 5 hours ago on Jeffrey King's site
  10. 366350.874711
    Consider the class of contextually sensitive expressions whose context independent meanings do not by themselves suffice to secure semantic values for those expressions in contexts. Demonstratives and deictically used pronouns are the most obvious examples of such expressions. But arguably gradable adjectives, modals, possessives, tense, quantifiers, expressions that take implicit arguments (‘ready’) and ‘only’ are examples as well.
    Found 4 days, 5 hours ago on Jeffrey King's site
  11. 366362.874726
    I am a structured content guy. I became convinced of the superiority of the structured approach to content in the late 1980s and there is a sense in which I haven’t looked back much. Instead, I have devoted my time to trying to figure out exactly how to understand what structured content is. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, it was common for structured proposition theorists to represent structured propositions as n-tuples. For example, in Soames [1987] we find the following: The proposition expressed by an atomic formula éPt1 , . . . ,tnù relative to a context C and assignment f is <<o1 , . . . ,on >,P*>, where P* is the property expressed by P, and oi is the content of t i relative to C and f.
    Found 4 days, 5 hours ago on Jeffrey King's site
  12. 423825.87474
    Philosophers spend a lot of time attempting to give analyses of philosophically interesting notions. Analyses have been proposed for knowledge, moral rightness, species- hood, object- hood, persistence, change, reference, and much more. It is therefore surprising that there isn’t more consensus among philosophers regarding what they are attempting to do in providing purported analyses. Philosophers don’t agree about the things that are being analyzed, nor what it is to analyze something. In what follows, we’ll see a sampling of views on what philosophical analysis is. The present work isn’t meant to be exhaustive and there is much work that will not be discussed. However, it does purport to illustrate the main lines of thinking about analysis in recent philosophy. The present work also makes no attempt to discuss the views about analysis of historical figures like Gottlob Frege, G. E. Moore, and Bertrand Russell. There is a rich literature on this topic and interested readers should consult it. Here, we focus on more contemporary views.
    Found 4 days, 21 hours ago on Jeffrey King's site
  13. 423924.874759
    What I plan to do in the present paper is, first, sketch the theory of propositions I defended in a recent book I coauthored with Scott Soames and Jeff Speaks. Second, I want to respond to a criticism of that view raised by Peter Hanks [2015]. Finally, I want to discuss some changes in my view since the publication of King, Soames, Speaks [2014]. Before all that, let me begin by motivating my view of propositions and describing how I came to hold it.
    Found 4 days, 21 hours ago on Jeffrey King's site
  14. 423974.874774
    In preparing to give a theory of what meanings are, David Lewis [1970] famously wrote: ‘In order to say what a meaning is, we must first ask what a meaning does, and then find something that does that.’ Loosely following the spirit of Lewis’ remark, before talking about what propositions are—before talking about the metaphysics of propositions—it would serve us well to talk about what advocates of propositions think they do. We begin, then, with a discussion of the roles propositions are alleged to play in philosophy.
    Found 4 days, 21 hours ago on Jeffrey King's site
  15. 423993.874805
    Those who believe in propositions take them to play a number of roles in philosophy of language and related areas. Propositions are thought to be the information contents of natural language sentences. Thus, sentences of different languages that have the same information content, such as ‘Snow is white.’ and ‘Schnee ist weiss’, are thought to express the same proposition. The proposition expressed by a sentence is thought to be (at least one of the things) asserted by a serious utterance of the sentence. When one understands a sentence, one grasps the proposition it expresses. The proposition expressed by a sentence is its meaning: it is what a compositional semantics assigns to the sentence. Further, propositions are primary bearers of truth-values. A true sentence is one that expresses a proposition that is true; a true belief in one whose propositional content is true. Propositions are also thought to be the bearers of modal attributes: they are possible, necessary and impossible. They are also the things we doubt, believe, assume and hope. Indeed, believing, doubting and so on are often called propositional attitudes in virtue of the fact that many take them to be mental states the objects of which are propositions. Further, propositions are thought to be designated by that clauses such as ‘that snow is white’. Hence a sentence like ‘It is true that snow is white’ is thought to predicate truth of the proposition that snow is white; a sentence like ‘Rebecca believes that snow is white’ is thought to assert that Rebecca stands in the relation of belief to the proposition that snow is white; and a sentence like ‘It is possible that snow is white’ is thought to predicate the attribute of being possible of the proposition that snow is white.
    Found 4 days, 21 hours ago on Jeffrey King's site
  16. 442127.87483
    This paper semantically analyzes “free perception” sequences in pictorial narratives such as comics, where one panel shows a character looking, and the next panel shows what they see. Pictorial contents are assumed to be viewpoint-centered propositions. A framework for the representation of pictorial narratives is used where indexing and embedding of certain panels is characterized by hidden operators. The resulting enriched pictorial narratives are interpreted in a dynamic framework. A possible worlds construction using action alternatives captures the epistemic effect of perceptual actions. Free perception sequences are implicitly anaphoric, as analyzed using cross-panel indexing. It is argued that some cases of free perception are truly intensional, and must involve embedding in the framework that is employed. Examples are drawn from comics and film.
    Found 5 days, 2 hours ago on Dorit Abusch's site
  17. 611544.874845
    What is meant by ‘One True Logic’ is sometimes not made entirely clear — what is a logic and what is it for one of them to be true? Since the study of logic involves giving a theory of logical consequence for formal languages, the view must be that there is one true theory of logical consequence. In order for such a logic to be true, it must be capable of correct representation. What do logics represent? It is clear from the various uses of applied logic, they can represent many different sorts of phenomena. But for the purposes of traditional pure logic, though, theories of consequence are frequently taken to represent natural language inference.
    Found 1 week ago on Aaron J Cotnoir's site
  18. 721053.874859
    Starting from a generalization of the standard axioms for a monoid we present a step-wise development of various, mutually equivalent foundational axiom systems for category theory. Our axiom sets have been formalized in the Isabelle/HOL interactive proof assistant, and this formalization utilizes a semantically correct embedding of free logic in classical higher-order logic. The modeling and formal analysis of our axiom sets has been significantly supported by series of experiments with automated reasoning tools integrated with Isabelle/HOL. We also address the relation of our axiom systems to alternative proposals from the literature, including an axiom set proposed by Freyd and Scedrov for which we reveal a technical issue (when encoded in free logic): either all operations, e.g. morphism composition, are total or their axiom system is inconsistent. The repair for this problem is quite straightforward, however.
    Found 1 week, 1 day ago on PhilPapers
  19. 769948.874877
    Last time, I argued that there are substantive open questions about whether the theoretical constructs of formal linguistics play any role in the psychological processes underlying language use. Let’s now address those questions.When people talk about “the psychological reality of syntax”, there are (at least) two importantly different types of psychological state that they might have in mind. …
    Found 1 week, 1 day ago on The Brains Blog
  20. 945071.874913
    This paper presents an alternative to standard dynamic semantics. It uses the strong Kleene connectives to give a unified account of e-type anaphora and presupposition projection. The system is more conservative and simple than standard dynamic treatments of these two phenomena, and, I argue, has empirical advantages in its treatment of disjunction and negation.
    Found 1 week, 3 days ago on Daniel Rothschild's site
  21. 966623.87493
    There are, broadly speaking, three competing frameworks for answering the foundational questions of linguistic theory—cognitivism (e.g., Chomsky 1995, 2000), platonism (e.g., Katz 1981, 2000), and nominalism (e.g., Devitt 2006, 2008).Platonism is the view that the subject matter of linguistics is an uncountable set of abstracta—entities that are located outside of spacetime and enter into no causal interactions. …
    Found 1 week, 4 days ago on The Brains Blog
  22. 1022277.874947
    Proponents of excluded middle, ⎡S or ~S⎤, typically assume that rules governing vague predicates like ‘young’ and ‘red’ are totally defined, and so determine for each object that they are true, or false, of it. Since these rules arise from ordinary uses of the predicates, this assumption raises the question of how such uses could result in distinctions, imperceptible to speakers and undiscoverable by anyone, between e.g., the last second of one’s youth and the first second at which one’s youth is merely a memory. The difficulty answering this question has led some hold that vague predicates are only partially defined, being true or false of some things and undefined for others. When P is undefined for o, neither the claim that P is true of o, nor the claim it isn’t, is sanctioned. We accept that P is (isn’t) true of o just in case we accept that o is (isn’t) P and that the claim that o is P is (isn’t) true. In such cases, these claims, and the sentences expressing them, are ungrounded; they can’t be known, and even knowledge of all linguistic and nonlinguistic facts wouldn’t justify accepting them.
    Found 1 week, 4 days ago on Scott Soames's site
  23. 1078333.874961
    Individuals play a prominent role in many metaphysical theories. According to an individualistic metaphysics, reality is determined (at least in part) by the pattern of properties and relations that hold between individuals. A number of philosophers have recently brought to attention alternative views in which individuals do not play such a prominent role; in this paper we will investigate one of these alternatives. The possible motivations for such views are various. Some are very general: worlds that are qualitatively alike — worlds that differ only concerning which individuals play which qualitative roles — are observationally equivalent. At least one line of thought driving the search for individual free metaphysics is so that we can eliminate observationally equivalent worlds.
    Found 1 week, 5 days ago on Andrew Bacon's site
  24. 1124896.874975
    Communication involves a great deal of uncertainty. Prima facie, it is therefore surprising that biological communication systems—from cellular to human—exhibit a high degree of ambiguity and often leave its resolution to contextual cues. This puzzle deepens once we consider that contextual information may diverge between individuals. In the following we lay out a model of ambiguous communication in iterated interactions between subjectively rational agents lacking a common contextual prior. We argue ambiguity’s justification to lie in endowing interlocutors with means to flexibly adapt language use to each other and the context of their interaction to serve their communicative preferences. Linguistic alignment is shown to play an important role in this process; it foments convergence of contextual expectations and thereby leads to agreeing use and interpretation of ambiguous messages. We conclude that ambiguity is ecologically rational when (i) interlocutors’ (beliefs about) contextual expectations are generally in line or (ii) they interact multiple times in an informative context, enabling for the alignment of their expectations. In light of these results meaning multiplicity can be understood as an opportunistic outcome enabled and shaped by linguistic adaptation and contextual information.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on PhilPapers
  25. 1181749.874991
    The Tarskian notion of truth-in-a-model is the paradigm formal capture of our pre-theoretical notion of truth for semantic purposes. But what exactly makes Tarski’s construction so well suited for semantics is seldom discussed. In Simchen (2017a) I articulate a certain requirement on the successful formal modeling of truth for semantics – “locality-per-reference” – against a background discussion of metasemantics and its relation to truth-conditional semantics. It is a requirement on any formal capture of sentential truth vis-a-vis the interpretation of singular terms and it is clearly met by the Tarskian notion. In this paper another such requirement is explored – “locality-per-application” – which is a requirement on a formal capture of sentential truth vis-a-vis the interpretation of predicates. This second requirement is also clearly met by the Tarskian notion. The two requirements taken together offer a fuller answer than has been hitherto available to the question of what makes Tarski’s notion of truth-in-a-model especially well suited for semantics.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on Ori Simchen's site
  26. 1181762.875004
    There is a salient contrast in how theoretical representations are regarded. Some are regarded as revealing the nature of what they represent, as in familiar cases of theoretical identification in physical chemistry where water is represented as hydrogen hydroxide and gold is represented as the element with atomic number 79. Other theoretical representations are regarded as serving particular explanatory aims without further presumption to reveal the nature of what is represented, as in the representation of gold as the skin of Ra in Egyptology or the representation of the meaning of an English sentence as a function from possible worlds to truth values in truth-conditional semantics. Call the first attitude realist and the second attitude instrumentalist. Metaphysical explanation purports to reveal the nature of whatever falls within its purview, so it would appear that a realist attitude towards its representations is a natural default. I offer reasons for skepticism about such default realism that emerge from attending to several case studies of metaphysical explanation – numbers, de re modality, cognitive attitudes – and identifying a common etiological thread that runs through them.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on Ori Simchen's site
  27. 1197153.875018
    Via John S Quarterman on Flickr Many jurisdictions in Europe have laws that criminalise hate speech and there is no shortage of campaigners requesting such prohibitions. The debate is particularly acute on college campuses, where the protection of minority students from such hate speech is increasingly being viewed as central to the university’s mission to provide a ‘safe space’ for education. …
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on John Danaher's blog
  28. 1297627.875033
    The additive presupposition of particles like too/even is uncontested, but usually stipulated. This paper proposes to derive it based on two properties. (i) too/even is cross-linguistically focus-sensitive, and (ii) in many languages, too/even builds negative polarity items and free-choice items as well, often in concert with other particles. (i) is the source of its existential presupposition, and (ii) offers clues regarding how additivity comes about. (i)-(ii) together demand a sparse semantics for too/even, one that can work with different kinds of alternatives (focus, subdomain, scalar) and invoke suitably different further operators.
    Found 2 weeks, 1 day ago on Anna Szabolcsi's site
  29. 1671337.875064
    There have been several recent attempts to model ordinary intuitions about actual causation by combining a counterfactual definition of the causal relation with an abnormality-based account of causal judgments. In these models, the underlying psychological theory is that people automatically focus on abnormal events when judging the actual causes of an effect. This approach has enabled authors such as Halpern and Hitchcock (Br J Philos Sci axt050, 2014) to capture an impressive array of ordinary causal intuitions. However, in this paper I demonstrate how these abnormality-based accounts still systematically fail to predict ordinary causal judgments in specific types of scenarios: those in which the effect is normal. I will argue that the reason for this is that the underlying psychological theory is wrong: the idea that intuitive actual causes are abnormal events is only partially correct. To model ordinary judgments more realistically, researchers working in this area must adopt a more plausible underlying psychological theory: the correspondence hypothesis about judgments of actual causation. One of the consequences of this correspondence hypothesis is that normal effects are judged to have normal causes.
    Found 2 weeks, 5 days ago on PhilPapers
  30. 1958562.875095
    When we construct a model of something, we must distinguish those features of the model which represent features of that which we model, from those features which are intrinsic to the model and play no representational role. The latter are artifacts of the model. For example, if we use string to make a model of a polygon, the shape of the model represents a feature of the polygon, and the size of the model may or may not represent a feature of the polygon, but the thickness and three-dimensionality of the string is certainly an artifact of the model.
    Found 3 weeks, 1 day ago on Ori Simchen's site