ISSN 1135-1349

Issue #11. December 1999

SORITES, ISSN 1135-1349

Issue #11. December 1999. Pp. 3-5.

Abstracts of the Papers

Copyright © by SORITES and the authors

Abstracts of the Papers

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.

Quasi-Indexical Attitudes

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.

Benardete's Paradox

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.