Collected Abstracts of papers published in SORITES
Natural Kinds and Projectible Predicates
The focus of this article is on the pragmatic presuppositions involved in the use of general terms in inductive practices. The main thesis is that the problem of characterizing the assumptions underlying the projection of predicates in inductive practices and the ones underlying the classification of crtain general terms as «natural kind terms» coincide to a good extent. The reason for this, it is argued, is that both classifications, «projectibility» and «natural kind term», are attempts to answer to the same semantico-epistemological phenomenon, viz. underdertermination. It is proposed a «deflationary» (i.e. non-essentialist) reading of the so-called «theory of direct reference» as to enable an evaluation of its contribution to epistemological problems associated with this kind of phenomena, as well as it is argued that a purely de facto account of projectibility (i.e. entrenchment) is not viable. The resulting hypothesis is that the conception of «natural kind terms» is only interesting insofar as they are seen as a kind of projectible general terms and thus as parts of classifications used in natural science, more generally, in inductive practices, and that this is a perspective that makes undue metaphysical readings avoidable.
The «Right» Approach
While discussions about improving society are commonly conducted in terms of human rights, there are serious drawbacks to this approach. People may differ as to the relative importance or the very existence of specific rights, and there are no generally accepted methods for the rational resolution of such disagreements.
These difficulties can be avoided if proposed social changes are discussed with respect to a generally accepted end, rather than with respect to a set of rights. And agreement on such an end already exists, inasmuch as most advocates of social improvements want to see social arrangements changed in such a way that everyone will be able to lead a satisfying existence.
Ronald A. Cordero
Meaning Realism and the Rejection of Analyticity
There is a widespread view in philosophy of language and in philosophy of mind according to which the «quinean» rejection of analyticity can be made compatible with some sort of realism about meaning. Against such compatibilist claim, Paul Boghossian (1993) has recently held the thesis that one cannot coherently reject the analytical/synthetical distinction maintaining at the same time a meaning realism. His arguments are very pervasive, but they can be replied. The main objective of this paper is to show that in fact it is possible to reject analyticity being at the same time a meaning realist, even a meaning realist of a non-holist kind. The prevailing view is basically right. Moreover, it is possible to go on maintaining the compatibilist claim in its most radical form. In short, even if we adopt a non-holist meaning realism, we must reject analyticity because language is always conceptually motivated and engaged with reality. There is no linguistic arbitrariness. That forces us to go far from classical conceptions of meaning and to have a much more pluralistic one. With respect to it, for instance, to say that some statements are true once their meanings are fixed would not entail that they are true by virtue of meanings. The problem to get such a conception of meaning remains open. However, the reasons against analyticity do not force us to any irreductible meaning holism.
Epistemic Values in Science
The paper is a critical examination of some aspects of Laudan's views in his book
Science and Values
. Not only do the aims of science change; there are axiological disputes in science as well. Scientific disagreements are not solely theoretical or methodological. Progress in science consists not only in developing new theories more suitable for implementing certain epistemic values than earlier ones but also in reaching a deeper understanding of those values. The paper considers whether there are principles to guide axiological choices in science, whether the task of assessing the legitimacy of goals makes any sense. Larry Laudan's criteria to settle questions concerning the aims of science are critically canvassed. According to Laudan, axiological choices are on the same footing as the theoretical and methodological ones: all of them may be objectively grounded. The generality of the principles and their naturalistic flavour are the most remarkable merits of Laudan's account but the results are rather meagre. His principle of coherence may be, in the end, a mere
justification of changes in axiological direction carried out by the scientific community. The rejection of a demonstrable utopian goal, granting naturalistic assumptions, is completely sound but it has a very limited scope. The paper suggests that science could not
much about goals. From the rejection of semantic utopianism we can draw a need for a previous clarification rather than sustantive criticisms and, finally, Laudan's charge of epistemic utopianism is very controversial.
When Is If?
This papers deals with examples offered by Adams, Austin and others which seem to show that `if' does not conform to all of the laws of the conditional. These a reconciled by treating them as conjunctions with embedded modalities.
M. G. Yoes
Truth, Knowledge and Reality
The main argument of this article is that the concept of truth is as much internally linked to the concept of knowledge as to the concept of reality. As a consequence it is affirmed that all attempts to explain its structure which are either exclusively biased in an epistemic point of view (that is, which connect only truth and knowledge) or in a purely realist metaphysics (which only connect truth and reality) are bound to fail. Instead this article proposes the adoption of a pragmatic standpoint which would permit to reconstruct the fallibilistic role displayed by the concept of truth in the epistemic practices of belief-revision, which must in turn be reconstructed precisely taking in account the connection of truth and reality. In that way both intuitions as to the concept of truth, the epistemic and the realist one, can be reconciled. Moreover this strategy provides as such, if correct, a strong argument in favor of an essential function of the concept of truth against contemporary deflationist tendencies.
Three Prospects for Theodicy. Some Anti-Leibnizian Approaches
by Enrique Romerales
In focusing on the problem of evil from the viewpoint of theodicy, I argue that
new conceptual regions are to be explored in order to get out of the permanent
impasse. These possibilities respectively are: to reject the tenet that this
world, if created by God, must be the best possible world; either to reject the
tenet that human beings have had no previous existences to their present ones;
or finally to reject causal determinism in the framework of the creation of the
world and accept the idea that God proceeds with a margin of randomness in a
non-deterministic universe. Since these three tenets are all embedded in the
philosophical tradition, and explicitly in Leibniz's Theodicy (most remarkably
the first one), my prospects are in this sense anti-leibnizian.
A Methodology for the Representation of Legal Knowledge: Formal Ontology Applied to Law
by Daniela Tiscornia
For the development of applications, artificial intelligence requires the
identification of models of human cognitive mechanisms and of the process of
knowledge acquisition: formal ontology, too, which constitutes one of the most
recent approaches to modelling knowledge, is in reality a revisitation of
linguistic and philosophical theories. In the field of legal applications, the
theory of law and dogmatics are a rich reservoir of ideas which offer solutions
and suggestions exportable to other sectors: one need only consider the
application of deontic logic to the generation of databases. From computational
models, on the other hand, it is possible to extract interesting feedback for
In this article, we shall describe the principles on which formal ontology
is based, comparing its characteristics with those of legal domain and
referring, as exemplification, to some models offered by legal theory which
could lay the bases for a legal formal ontology.
Denied Conditionals Are Not Negated Conditionals
by Joseph S. Fulda
This note addresses the problems that arise from denying conditionals in
classical logic and concludes that such problems result from using propositional
logic where predicate logic with quantification over cases is indicated.
Indexicals and Descriptions
by Fernando Garcia-Murga
Reference is a common feature to indexicals, definite descriptions and, at least
some uses of indefinite descriptions. A referential expression triggers a search
for a referent, which ranges over the linguistic context, physical environment
or encyclopedic knowledge. I argue for a unified theory of reference within
which indexicals and definite descriptions refer to salient objects while
indefinite descriptions refer to non salient objects. The descriptive content
attached to each expression provides information making it possible for the
addressee to find an object the speaker has referred to. Ostension and other non
linguistic knowledge helps the addressee's search. Salience, rather than mutual
knowledge or givenness, is the crucial aspect the speaker considers when he
performs a referential act. Unlike indefinite descriptions, indexicals and
definite descriptions presuppose the referent's existence. However, current
theories of presupposition-projection maintain inheritance mechanisms which are
shown to be inadequate from our present approach.
by Jorge J. E. Gracia
What does make texts the same? Three types of sameness are distinguished:
achronic, synchronic and diachronic. The latter two involve time and so are more
restrictive; thus I concentrate on achronic sameness. After examining various
possible views I reach the conclusion that there are three conditions which,
taken together, constitute the necessary and sufficient conditions of the
achronic sameness of texts and hence explain their identity: sameness of
meaning, of syntactical arrangement and of type-sign composition. We can thus
understand how different copies of a book are the same text, for they have the
same meaning and they are composed of the same type signs arranged in the same
way. Thus, in spite of the many differences that characterize them, they are
still to be regarded as copies of the same text.
Critical Notice of Raul Orayen's
Logica, significado y ontologia
by Lorenzo Peña
Orayen proposes some kind of intensional approach in philosophy of logic, with
meanings playing a central role in implementing the notion of logical truth.
Orayen regards Quine as his main interlocutor. The major topic gone into through
the book is logical form, validity and logical truth. As an outgrowth, Quine's
operationalist view of language receives an extensive coverage and discussion.
The investigation into the notion of logical truth and validity leads to a
critical assessment of the relevantist challenge to the classical conception.
This critical notice casts doubt on Orayen's defence of analyticity as a
requirement for logical truth.
Reasoning with Imperatives Using Classical Logic
Joseph S. Fulda
Traditionally, imperatives have been handled with deontic logics, not the
logic of propositions which bear truth values. Yet, an imperative is issued by
the speaker to cause (stay) actions which change the state of affairs, which
is, in turn, described by propositions that bear truth values. Thus,
ultimately, imperatives affect truth values. In this paper, we put forward an
idea that allows us to reason with imperatives using classical logic by
constructing a one-to-one correspondence between imperatives and a particular
class of declaratives.
A Naive Variety of Logical Consequence
The semantic analysis of logical consequence must obey a set of requisites
which nowadays have acquired a dogmatic status. This situation prevents the
development of other varieties of this fundamental relation. In this issue we
try to define what we call a naive variety of logical consequence. The main
feature of this relation is the way it depends on formulas in premises and
conclusion: every sentence must contribute to the acceptability of an argument
way. This circumstance can be of some interest
for research programs demanding a logical apparatus sensitive to application
context. We think of the logic LP developed by G. Priest -- Priest  --
in relation to Gödel incompleteness theorems as a test for our points of
Humor and Harm
For familiar reasons, stereotyping is believed to be irresponsible and
offensive. Yet the use of stereotypes in humor is widespread. Particularly
offensive are thought to be sexual and racial stereotypes, yet it is just these
that figure particularly prominently in jokes. In certain circumstances it is
unquestionably wrong to make jokes that employ such stereotypes. Some writers
have made the much stronger claim that in all circumstances it is wrong to find
such jokes funny; in other words that people who laugh at such jokes betray
sexist/racist attitudes. This conclusion seems false. There is, as I shall
argue, a thin dividing line between being properly sensitive to the rights and
feelings of women and of racial groups different from our own, and being
excessively sensitive to oversensitivity. Oversensitivity is, in this context,
a kind of intolerance, and there is no reason why we should pander to that. One
can be opposed to the unchecked dissemination of certain kinds of racist or
sexist humor without oneself being a racist or sexist for finding such humor
funny. The use of various stereotypes in humor serves the linguistic purpose
of facilitating brevity and punch, the cultural purpose of preserving, in a
sanitized form traditional rivalries and antipathies, and the psychological
purpose of discharging fears. Blanket moral condemnation is inappropriate,
though there will, of course, be circumstances under which the promulgation of
certain types of humor, or even its enjoyment, ought to be condemned.
What is Semantics? A Brief Note on a Huge Question
Newton C. A. da Costa, Otávio Bueno & Jean-Yves
After mentioning the cogent connection between pure semantics and the
particular set theoretical framework in which it is formulated, some issues
regarding the conceptual status of semantics itself, as well as its
relationship to logic, are concisely raised.
A Note on Truth, Deflationism and Irrealism
The paper deals with a problem about irrealist doctrines of content, according
to which there are no real properties answering to content-attributing
expressions. The central claim of the paper is that the distinction between
factual and non-factual discourse (key to irrealism) is independent from
particular conceptions of truth, and is thus compatible with a deflationary
conception. This claim is sustained by an examination of what I take to be
significant aspects of the deflationary conception. I argue therefore directly
against Paul Boghossian's paper «The Status of Content», which attempted to show that irrealism about content is inconsistent.
A Classicist's Note on Two-, Three-, and Four-Valued Logic
Joseph S. Fulda
The classical logician's principal dictum, «A proposition is either
true or false, not neither, and not both,» still leaves considerable room
for multi-valued logic.
One for Leibniz
For Leibniz, it was a requirement upon the `fundamentally real' to have a
`principle of unity'. What does this mean?
One general point is that Substance cannot be understood as pure
extension. But there is a particular point about cohesion: a real thing had
to have some means by which its parts were stuck together. But Leibniz'
insistence on `unity' is also an insistence on indivisibility. Under this
head there is first the point that there appears to be a contradiction
between extension and being incapable of being cut in two. Second, Leibniz
uses the notion of `indivisibility' to mark the following distinction among
things made up of parts: (a) those which cannot be split without being
destroyed; and (b) the rest (which are mere `aggregates'). To be
`indivisible' is to be of the first type. Leibniz' insistence that the truly
real must be `indivisible' is then his insistence that the truly real, if it
is made up of parts, must be a thing with `integrity', i.e. not an aggregate.
What does Leibniz think of as the connection between what is truly real
and the possession of `integrity'? He took from Scholasticism the doctrine
that action is necessarily attributed to a substance having `integrity',
contructing what was in effect a theory of action with two parts: (a) only
self-subsistent substances can act; and (b) an action is an origination of
change. Leibniz thus insists that self-subsistent substances must be
indivisible, in the sense that they cannot be mere aggregates. Aggregates
cannot act, and self-subsistence in effect is the capacity for action. This
is the most fundamental reason Leibniz had for insisting that the truly real
must have a `principle of unity'.
It is misleading to speak of Leibniz reintroducing the Scholastic
form-and-matter conception of substance for the following reasons:
(a) the Scholastic `form' precisely lacked a `principle of action'; and
(b) during the period when it is suggested that Leibniz' conception was
essentially Scholastic he was defending the view that what his `form'
informed was not matter at all but what he called a `metaphysical point'.
Logic and Necessary Being
Yuval Steinitz has argued that, since it is logically possible that there are
logically necessary beings, it follows that there is at least one logically
necessary being. Steinitz switches the Leibnitzean ontological argument's
concern from perfect beings to logically necessary beings. My paper has two
primary aims. First, I argue that Steinitz's quick treatment is insufficient
to establish the validity of his argument. Secondly, I argue that the correct
approach to logical necessity must account for those possible situations in
which the meanings of some of the terms in our language might have been
different; on such an approach, the premise of Steinitz's argument is false.
My remarks here are intended to add to the prima facie plausibility of Hume's
claim that logic has no existential implications.
Aristotelian and Modern Logic
Is modern logic an improvement on Aristotelian logic or is there some other
relationship between the two? In which sense is modern logic more advanced
than Aristotelian logic? Is logic a cummulative developing discipline or is
the progress in the course of the history of logic somehow different from the
cumulatively developing processes? Are these logics based on different --
mutually untranslatable -- paradigms? The paper analyzes these questions in
connection with some more general problems of the philosophy of science.
On Behalf of the Fool: Moore and Our Knowledge of the Existence of Material Objects
Edward N. Martin
In this paper I argue that G.E. Moore's naturalism (combined with his
sense-data theory) falls prey to the charge, leveled recently by Plantinga,
that Moore doesn't know whether his belief-forming mechanisms are functioning
properly when he says he knows a pencil (or his hand) exists. Help from
Alston may be sought in response to criticisms, but these are not sufficient
to vindicate Moore's form of naturalism.
Technological Escalation and the Exploration Model of Natural Science by Nicholas Rescher
(1) Our cognitive competence is well accounted for by our evolutionary niche in the world's scheme of things. (2) The development of inquiry in natural science is best understood on analogy with exploration -- to be sure, not in the geographical mode
but rather exploration
in nature's parametric space of such physical quantities as temperature, pressure, and field strength. (3) The technology-mediated exploration at issue here involves an interaction between us humans and nature that becomes increasingly difficult (and expensive) as we move ever farther away from the home base of the accustomed environment of our evolutionary heritage. The course of scientific progress accordingly involves a
-- an ascent to successively higher levels of technological sophistication that is unavoidably required for the production of the requisite observational data.
Deontics between Semantics and Ontology by by Carlos Alarcón Cabrera
As an adjective, the term «Deontic» is traditionally used in the sense of «directive», «normative», «prescriptive», «concerning ought». As a noun, «Deontics» is later introduced by Amedeo G. Conte, referring to the analysis of the theoretical and philosophical foundations of Deontic Logic. Within the wide field of Contian Deontics, I am dealing here with five questions: a) the distinction between «categorical constitutivity» and «hypothetical constitutivity»; b) the typology of the concept of validity; c) the problem of the pragmatic ambivalence of deontic utterances; d) the conception of repeal as an act of rejection; e) the reinterpretation of the «Is-ought question».
Counterfactuals Revisited by Joseph S. Fulda
This paper presents an ontologically leaner, mathematically cleaner, and logically keener explication of counterfactuals and possible worlds than the standard Lewis-Stalnaker account.
«Doing Without Concepts: An Interpretation of C. I. Lewis' Action-Oriented Foundationalism»
by Robert S. Stufflebeam (Issue 6, August 1996, pp. 4-20)
C. I. Lewis' action-oriented notion of cognition is consistent with a minimally representational picture of mind. I aim to show why. Toward this end, I explore some of the tensions between Lewis' theory of knowledge and his theory of mind. At face value, the former renders the latter implausible. Among other problems, no agent could act if she were required to entertain the myriad beliefs that Lewis claims figures in the guidance of action. But rather than abandon Lewis' story, I attempt to rehabilitate it. Rehabilitation is possible, I argue, because (i) Lewis isn't claiming that his epistemology describes
justificatory practices, but rather what an agent
do; (ii) the social character of concepts [and meaning] considerably reduces the need for appealing to
concepts when explaining why an agent does what she does; and (iii) among his paradigm cases of cognitive behavior are paradigm cases of nonreflective action. Here's the rub: not only do such actions account for most of our behavior [as Lewis himself notes], nonreflective actions, though cognitive, don't require conceptualization.
«Quantum Objects are Vague Objects »
by Steven French & Décio Krause (Issue 6, August 1996, pp. 21-33)
Is there vagueness in the world? This is the central question that we are concerned with. Focusing on identity statements around which much of the recent debate has centred, we argue that `vague identity' arises in quantum mechanics in one of two ways. First, quantum particles may be described as individuals, with `entangled' states understood in terms of non-supervenient relations. In this case, the vagueness is ontic but exists at the level of these relations which act as a kind of `veil'. Secondly, the particles can be regarded as non-individuals, where this is understood as a lack of self-identity and given formal expression in terms of quasi-set theory. Here we have ontic vagueness at perhaps the most basic metaphysical level. Our conclusion is that there is genuine vagueness `in the world' but how it is understood depends on the metaphysical package adopted.
«The validity of indexical arguments»
by S.H. Elkatip
The paper is concerned with the validity of the first version of indexical arguments as put forth in «`He': A Study in the Logic of Self-Consciousness» in 1966 and is in defence of the view that logical structure of statements containing personal pronouns alone does not account for personal identity. Castañeda's 1966 analysis does not establish that the S-use characterises some usages of the personal pronoun better than the F-use or the E-use. While the major problem with F-use, which involves de re belief, is its conflict with the doctrine of propositions as transmitted from Frege, Castañeda's rejection of body or E-use is based on common sense. But, the argument against E-use has no persuasive force against physicalism. It is, also, absurd to maintain that persons could speak an actual language or produce actual sentences the logic of which Castañeda claims to study objectively without bodies.
«Van Inwagen and Gunk: A Response to Sider»
by Kelly J. Salsbery
In a recent article, Theodore Sider raises an interesting objection to some of the ontological views of Peter van Inwagen. In van Inwagen's view, all material things are either mereological atoms or living things composed of such mereological atoms. Sider claims that it is possible for there to be worlds at which matter consists of atomless gunk. He argues that the possible existence of atomless gunk undermines van Inwagen's claims (along with any sort of atomism). I argue that the possible existence of atomless gunk does not undermine van Inwagen's position, and that Sider's claims concerning gunk are unwarranted.
«Graham Priest's «Dialetheism» -- Is It Althogether True?»
by Lorenzo Peña
Graham Priest's book In Contradiction is a bold defense of the existence of true contradictions. Although Priest's case is impressive, and many of his arguments are correct, his approach is not the only one allowing for true contradictions. As against Priest's, there is at least one contradictorialist approach which establishes a link between true contradictions and degrees of truth. All in all, such an alternative is more conservative, closer to mainstream analytical philosophy. The two approaches differ as regards the floodgate problem. Priest espouses a confinement policy banning contradictions except in a few special domains, particularly those of pure semantics and set-theory (and perhaps arithmetics), whereas the alternative approach admits two negations -- natural or weak negation and strong negation, the latter being classical; accordingly, the alternative approach prohibits any contradiction involving strong negation, thus providing a syntactic test of what contradictions have to be rejected.
The question discussed is whether Quine abolishes the analytic synthetic distinction or changes its nature. It is argued that either the point is trivial and the former is not established or the latter holds: Quine challenges the teaching that analytical statements are exchanged intersubjectively whereas some synthetic statements are private.
Truth in Pure Semantics: A Reply to Putnam
Luis Fernández Moreno
In his book Representation and Reality Hilary Putnam raises a number of objections against the semantical conception of truth. According to Putnam two particularly undesirable consequences of the semantical conception of truth are that the equivalences of the form (T) are logically necessary and that the truth of a sentence does not depend on its meaning. In this paper I examine these two objections of Putnam with respect to Carnap's formulation of the semantical conception of truth.
Argumentation, Values, and Ethics
Moral concepts are argumentative values with claims to universal acceptance. they exprees beliefs that are formed in dialogical exchange. The paper defines conditions of acceptability of this kind of beliefs and its limitations.
Framework of an Intersubjetivist Theory of Meaning
Here a critical revision is carried out of the intersubjectivist theory of meaning embodied in the Formal (Universal) Pragmatics developed within the framework of the Theory of Communicative Action (J. Habermas). According to very recent «internal» criticisms, only a version of H. Putnam's theory of direct reference can avoid the kind of meaning holism and linguistic relativism which assails Habermas' foundation of shared meaning on the intersubjective validity of a rule. A more detailed analysis of Putnam's views, as well as of the referred criticisms, shows that they in fact represent an unorthodox reading trying to conciliate Putnam's first functionalist theory with his second pragmatical Internal Realism. Finally it is concluded that only a quasi-Kantian view on the formal-pragmatical presuppositions underlying epistemic language use seems to offer an answer to the core de iure question: what makes it possible to justify validity for already constitued meanings in epistemic contexts.
Intention and Foresight in the British Law of Murder
Establishing the mens rea for murder is often a difficult task, which has been made more
difficult in British Law by confusions regarding the nature of intention and foresight. While is
is correct to claim that foresight is not the same as intention, it is incorrect to maintain that
intention is a necessary constituent of the mental element in murder. In response to these
confusions, the paper argues for the reinstatement of felony murder or, in lieu of this, for the
adoption of ordinary language in the law of murder.
Factual Phenomenalism: A Supervenience Theory
Broadly speaking, phenomenalism is the position that physical facts depend upon sensory
facts. Many have thought it to imply that physical statements are translatable into sensory
statements. Not surprisingly, the impossibility of such translations led many to abandon
phenomenalism in favor of materialism. But this was rash, for if phenomenalism is
reformulated as the claim that physical facts supervene upon sensory facts, then translatability
is no longer required. Given materialism's failure to account for subjective experience, there
has been a revival of property dualism. But property dualism implies indirect realism with its
threat of scepticism. Given difficulties with materialism and dualism, philosophers should
Seeing Aspects, Seeing Value
This paper is a defense of moral realism. It claims that Hume's projectivism and abuse of
resultance has led us to gross distortions of non-cognitivist ethics. The analogy of moral
properties with secondary properties is noted, before offering a stronger theory of moral
realism. This theory recognises moral properties as constituting part of the manifest image, in
a way that is satisfactory both ontologically (about what kind of entities moral properties are)
and epistemologically (about the grounds to prove their presence.) This involves a rejection of
austere, scientific reductionism. This model of moral realism relies on an analogy of moral
properties as aspects. Aspect-seeing and moral value perception are argued to be linked, in a
discussion of Wittgenstein's account of noticing aspects. Aspect blindness can best explain
moral blindness, and bring out the connection with human possession and use of concepts.
Moral value perception is a case of coming to see things in a certain light; as seeing human
behaviour as HUMAN behaviour. Finally, I go on to argue that seeing is not just a matter
of light waves of a certain frequency hitting our retina from an object that we passively see,
but is a complex phenomena that can accommodate moral vision.
Frankfurt, Failure, and Finding Fault
V. Alan White
Harry Frankfurt's famous examples of overdetermined moral agents who are nevertheless
responsible for their actions and omissions have long been hailed as proofs that the ability
and/or opportunity to do otherwise (Principle of Alternative Possibilities -- PAP) is not a
necessary condition for moral responsibility. In this paper I use recent clarifications of some
of these examples by Frankfurt himself to show that their force relies in part on tacit ceteris
paribus assumptions concealing a reliance on PAP that concerns matters of fairness in
assessing moral responsibility.
Partially Resolving the Tension between Omniscience and Free Will: A
Joseph S. Fulda
Moral theology is given force by punishment and reward, which is, in turn, comprehensible
only in the presence of free will. Yet free will has been bedevilled with philosophical
difficulties, not least among them the tension between omniscience and autonomy. The paper,
building on a theory of temptation and sin published in Mind, gives a partial resolution to that
tension using a mathematical argument.
John C. Eccles, How the Self Controls Its Brain. Berlin/New York: Springer, 1994.
In his latest book Eccles claims that his dualism is an empirical theory of the mind, and that
he has confirmed it. So this book is an inexorable challenge that materialist have to answer.
(p. X) In commenting on this challenge I will not dispute any of Eccles's neurophysiological
descriptions of the brain, which make up the larger part of the book, nor will I contest the
thesis that the brain at its micro level works quantum mechanically. I will argue that even if
all this is true, a non-dualistic interpretation of the facts rests on the better arguments.
A logical analysis of singular terms
We analyse the behaviour of definite descriptions and proper names terms in mathematical logic. We show that in formal arithmetic, wether some axioms are fixed or not, proper names cannot be considered rigid designators and have the same behaviour as definite descriptions. In set theory, sometimes two names for the same object are introduced. It seems that this can be explained by the notion of meaning. The meaning of such proper names can be considered as fuzzy sets of equivalent co-designative definite descriptions and their references as sets of all equivalent co-designative definite descriptions.
Broadening and Deepening Yoes: The Theory of Conditional Elements
Joseph S. Fulda
We put forth a theory of conditional elements which can be used to dismiss apparent challenges to the truth-functionality of the conditional without apparent circularity. In the process, we refine the ideas of Yoes, published in an earlier paper in this journal, broadening and deepening them.
Critical Comments on Laudan's Theory of Scientific Aims
Laudan's proposed constraints on cognitive aims are criticized. It is argued that: (i) Laudan does not distinguish impossible goals from impossible but approachable goals; and owing to that imprecision Laudan recommends conservatism and mediocrity. (ii) Impossible but approachable goals can be rational objectives, if we understand means/ends rationality as the attitude of someone who tries to reach the warranted optimum means to the attainment of or approximation to his desired aims. (iii) Ideals cannot be dispensed with, because in advance there is no satisfactory way of specifying how close to the ideal, or how far from it, is good enough. (iv) Laudan's recommendation is too restrictive and counter-intuitive because it characterizes idealist conduct (such as that of saints, heroes, and martyrs) as irrational. (v) A life's struggle for a utopian and a very valuable aim can cause lasting emotions of self-respect or self-esteem -- at least for certain temperaments, and in some social settings -- and those emotions are necessary for a good life; therefore, the search for impossible but approachable valuable goals, and their accompanying positive emotions, may be a rational goal. (vi) Laudan's banning of `semantically utopian' and `epistemically utopian' aims is also too restrictive, because we often pursue an end that is obscure for the conscious mind; in such cases, we still try to approach the obscure aim, by the via negativa, that is, by eliminating what it is not. (vii) Laudan needs to invoke some `pre-philosophical' cognitive canons of scientific success, and those `pre-philosophical' canons cannot be justified empirically as valuable without invoking some intuitions about genuine examples of successful science -- even though Laudan has told us that his meta-methodology does not require intuitions. (viii) Furthermore Laudan does not justify his priorization of his pragmatic canons of scientific success; Laudan's priorization has a dogmatic character.
Complementary Properties and Persisting Objects:
Ontological Constraints on the Semantics of Sentences of the Type `O is φ at t'
Even the most Parmenidean-minded of people recognize that quotidian objects somehow undergo change. This claim, nonetheless, is as clearly intuitive as it is apparently incompatible with one of our most widely believed logical principles, namely, Leibniz's Law. This paper focuses briefly on the metaphysical issue underlying this alleged incompatibility in order to provide elements for exploring its semantical counterpart: the analysis of the logical form of sentences attributing complementary temporal properties to current objects. Four analyses are presented, and the ability of each to account for the linguistic data is explained. The semantical issue is preceded by some introductory remarks on the role of temporal references in the evaluation of declarative sentences.
The Causal Attainment Theory of Temporal Passage
Brooke Alan Trisel
In recent years, efforts in the philosophy of time have focused on resolving the antinomy between the «becoming» and «becomingless» views. Although these views have frequently been thought of as being polarized, they both spatialize time. One reason that time has been spatialized is because the spatially-related meanings of `near' and `distant' have been substituted for the temporally-related meanings. Accordingly, an attempt is made to elucidate the meanings of these words through a phenomenological and linguistic analysis. It is postulated that the temporally-related locutions `near' and `distant' reflect the degree to which the necessary conditions for an event have been met. This postulate, which is the foundation of the proposed theory, appears to account for the impression that events «approach» the present without leading to the types of difficulties which have encumbered the becoming and becomingless views.
Hereafter, in a Later World than This?
Peter J. King
When making use of possible-worlds talk, even those who consider it to be no more than a heuristic device must be careful to treat possible worlds as if they were real; not to do so is to risk making use, not of possible worlds at all, but of some other, vague, and potentially misleading notion. I argue that transworld temporality is one danger area of this kind, and try to bring this out by examining John Bigelow's use of possible worlds to defend the reality of time against McTaggartian arguments. I conclude that Bigelow's defence fails because of his appeal to temporal relations between possible worlds.
Reference Change of Natural Kind Terms
by Luis Fernández Moreno
Kuhn's thesis of referential incommensurability rests on the thesis of reference change according to which theory change involves reference change. One of Kuhn's disagreements with Putnam's reference theory and in general with the causal theory of reference concerns the question of whether the reference of natural kind terms may change. On examining this disagreement it will be paid attention to the factors which might involve changes of reference and to the doctrines which may lend support to the thesis of reference change. It will be argued that, though the reference of natural kind terms is open to change, the proponents of the thesis of reference change have not conclusively established their thesis.
Was Frege wrong when identifying reference with truth-value?
by Jean-Yves Béziau
We discuss Sengupta's argumentation according to which Frege was wrong identifying reference with truth-value.
After stating various possible interpretations of Frege's principle of substitution, we show that there is no coherent interpretation under which Sengupta's argumentation is valid.
Finally we try to show how Frege's distinction can work in the context of modern mathematics and how modern logic grasps it.
by Tomis Kapitan
Indexical reference reflects indexical consciousness, consciousness from a particular spatio-temporal perspective. In using terms like this, that, I, you, beyond, not only do we designate items falling within our experience but also record our conscious orientation to them, and since such orientation embodies a unique perspective, then indexical modes of presentation are essentially subjective. If this is so, then how do we explain the fact that we communicate quite well with indexicals? Moreover, how can we accurately attribute indexical reference to others? While we never exactly duplicate the contents of another's indexical consciousness in our own, we can simulate them in our own thinking by pinpointing the speaker's perspective and referents from our own vantage point and imputing generic indexical modes. We represent our attributions through quasi-indicators, the abstract singular terms used to depict another's contents. Consequently, we must be capable of quasi-indexical consciousness which, in turn, is the foundation of all communication. Its structure is the topic of this paper.
Amounts of Vagueness, Degrees of Truth
by Enrique Romerales
Many theorists think nowadays that vagueness is a widespread phenomenon that affects and infects almost all terms and concepts of our thought and language, and for some philosophers degree of truth theories are the best way to cope with vagueness and sorites susceptible concepts. In this paper I argue that many of the allegedly vague concepts (colour terms, «heap», «town» etc.) are not vague in the last analysis the philosopher or scientist could offer if compelled to, and that much of the vagueness of the properly vague ones (viz. «young», «thin», «far») comes from its contextual dependence alone. I also argue that degree of truth approaches -- particularly the infinitist ones -- and fuzzy logics do not solve practically any of the puzzles brought about by vagueness and sorites arguments, and conversely they have many additional problems of their own. Concerning recalcitrant cases of vagueness, I would tentatively commend the epistemic theory of vagueness, from an inference to the best explanation (or to the least bad, to speak more properly).
Are There Mental Entities? Some lessons from Hans Reichenbach
by Jeanne Peijnenburg
The meaning of mental terms and the status of mental entities are core issues in contemporary philosophy of mind. It is argued that the old Reichenbachian distinction between abstracta and illata might shed new light on these issues. First, it suggests that beliefs, desires and other pro-attitudes that make up the higher mental life are not all equally substantial or real. Second, it conceives the elements of the lower mental life (sensations, impressions) as entities that are inferred from concrete, observable events. As a consequence, it might teach us two lessons: first, to see reliefs in the higher mental map, and second, to acknowledge that qualia are probabilistically inferred rather than directly experienced.
by Michael B. Burke
Graham Priest has focused attention on an intriguing but neglected paradox posed by José Benardete in 1964. Benardete viewed the paradox as a threat to the intelligibility of the spatial and temporal continua and offered several different versions of it. Priest has selected one of those versions and formalized it. Although Priest has succeeded nicely in sharpening the paradox, the version he chose to formalize has distracting and potentially problematic features that are absent from some of Benardete's other versions. I offer a formalization of a simpler version of the paradox, the one that presents most plainly Benardete's challenge to the spatial continuum. Proposed resolutions of Benardete's paradox should address this version of the paradox as well as the one formalized by Priest.