SORITES ISSN 1135-1349

Issue #03. November 1995. Pp. 4-6

Abstracts of the Papers

Copyright © by SORITES and the authors

Abstracts of the Papers

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

Enrique Alonso

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 in a significative 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 [1979] -- in relation to Gödel incompleteness theorems as a test for our points of view.

Humor and Harm

Laurence Goldstein

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 Béziau

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

Pierluigi Miraglia

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.