rss_2.0Disputatio FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Disputatio 's Cover Defence of Discrete Plural Logic (or How to Avoid Logical Overmedication When Dealing with Internally Singularized Pluralities)<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In recent decades, plural logic has established itself as a well-respected member of the extensions of first-order classical logic. In the present paper, I draw attention to the fact that among the examples that are commonly given in order to motivate the need for this new logical system, there are some in which the elements of the plurality in question are internally singularized (e.g. ‘Whitehead and Russell wrote <italic>Principia Mathematica</italic>’), while in others they are not (e.g. ‘Some philosophers wrote <italic>Principia Mathematica</italic>’). Then, building on previous work, I point to a subsystem of plural logic in which inferences concerning examples of the first type can be adequately dealt with. I notice that such a subsystem (here called ‘discrete plural logic’) is in reality a mere variant of first-order logic as standardly formulated, and highlight the fact that it is axiomatizable while full plural logic is not. Finally, I urge that greater attention be paid to discrete plural logic and that discrete plurals are not used in order to motivate the introduction of full-fledged plural logic—or, at least, not without remarking that they can also be adequately dealt with in a considerably simpler system.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-08-29T00:00:00.000+00:00Higher-Order Skolem’s Paradoxes and the Practice of Mathematics: a Note<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>We will formulate some analogous higher-order versions of Skolem’s paradox and assess the generalizability of two solutions for Skolem’s paradox to these paradoxes: the textbook approach and that of Bays (2000). We argue that the textbook approach to handle Skolem’s paradox cannot be generalized to solve the parallel higher-order paradoxes, unless it is augmented by the claim that there is no unique language within which the practice of mathematics can be formalized. Then, we argue that Bays’ solution to the original Skolem’s paradox, unlike the textbook solution, can be generalized to solve the higher-order paradoxes without any implication about the possibility or order of a language in which mathematical practice is to be formalized.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-08-29T00:00:00.000+00:00Necessarily the Old Riddle Necessary Connections and the Problem of Induction<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In this paper, I will discuss accounts to solve the problem of induction by introducing necessary connections. The basic idea is this: if we know that there are necessary connections between properties <italic>F</italic> and <italic>G</italic> such that <italic>F</italic> -ness necessarily brings about <italic>G</italic>-ness, then we are justified to infer that all, including future or unobserved, <italic>F</italic> s will be <italic>G</italic>s. To solve the problem of induction with ontology has been proposed by David Armstrong and Brian Ellis. In this paper, I will argue that these attempts to solve the problem of induction fail. Necessary connections fail to reliably imply the respective regularities for two main reasons: Firstly, according to an argument originally presented by Helen Beebee, the respective necessary connections might be time-limited, and hence do not warrant inferences about future cases. As I will discuss, arguments against the possibility or explanatory power of time-limited necessary connections fail. Secondly, even time-unlimited necessary connections do not entail strict or non-strict regularities, and nor do they allow inferences about individual cases, which is an important function of inductive reasoning. Moreover, the proposed solution to the problem of induction would only apply to a tiny minority of inductive inferences. I argue that most inductive inferences are not easily reducible to the proposed inference pattern, as the vast majority of everyday inductive inferences do not involve necessary connections between fundamental physical properties or essences.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-08-29T00:00:00.000+00:00Three Arguments against Constitutive Norm Accounts of Assertion<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In this article I introduce constitutive norm accounts of assertion, and then give three arguments for giving up on the constitutive norm project. First I begin with an updated version of MacFarlane’s Boogling argument. My second argument is that the ‘overriding response’ that constitutive norm theorists offer to putative counterexamples is unpersuasive and dialectically risky. Third and finally, I suggest that constitutive norm theorists, in appealing to the analogy of games, actually undermine their case that they can make sense of assertions that fail to follow their putative constitutive norm. These considerations, I suggest, together show that the constitutive norm project founders not because any single norm is not descriptively correct of our assertion practices, but rather, because giving a constitutive norm as the definition of assertion alone is insufficient.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-08-29T00:00:00.000+00:00Degrees of Freedom: Is Good Philosophy Bad Science?<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The lecture starts by considering analytic philosophy as a tradition, and its global spread over recent years, of which <italic>Disputatio</italic>’s success is itself evidence. The costs and benefits of the role of English as the international language of analytic philosophy are briefly assessed. The spread of analytic philosophy is welcomed as the best hope for <italic>scientific</italic> philosophy, in a sense of ‘science’ on which mathematics, history, and philosophy can all count as sciences, though not as natural sciences. Arguably, experimental philosophy provides no plausible alternative methodology for philosophy, only a way of psychologizing it. However, it serves a useful purpose by highlighting the inadequacy of current methods for detecting errors in judgments on possible cases, which may result from reliance on possibly universal but imperfectly reliable cognitive heuristics. The problem is exacerbated by analytic philosophers’ tendency to regard increased flexibility in a theoretical framework as progress, where natural scientists would treat it as methodologically vicious profligacy with degrees of freedom. The result is a familiar type of bad science, <italic>overfitting</italic> theory to uncritically accepted data. The recent ‘hyperintensional revolution’ may be an example of such overfitting, it is suggested. The lecture ends with a call for a more miserly attitude to degrees of freedom.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-11-23T00:00:00.000+00:00Editorial: ’s 25 Anniversary Causation Is Not Prior to Event Causation<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>My aim in this paper is to argue against the claim that agent causation is more fundamental than event causation. To accomplish this aim, I shall first briefly discuss the motivation behind agent causation. Second, I shall highlight the differences between agent causation and event causation. Third, I shall begin briefly with the weaker claim held by Timothy O’Connor and Randolph Clarke that there is no good reason to believe that event causation is more fundamental than agent causation. Fourth, I shall discuss the stronger claim held by E. J. Lowe that agent causation is more fundamental than event causation, and raise objections against the various arguments Lowe advances for the stronger claim. To the extent that my objections against Lowe’s stronger claim succeed, they raise questions for O’Connor’s and Clarke’s weaker claim.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-11-23T00:00:00.000+00:00The Aim of Inquiry<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>I defend the thesis that the constitutive aim of inquiring into some question, <italic>Q</italic>, is improving one’s epistemic standing with respect to <italic>Q</italic>. Call this the <italic>epistemic-improvement view</italic>. I consider and ultimately reject two alternative accounts of the constitutive aim of inquiry—namely, the thesis that inquiry aims at knowledge and the thesis that inquiry aims at (justified) belief—and I use my criticisms as a foil for clarifying and motivating the epistemic-improvement view. I also consider and reject a pair of normative theses about when inquiry goes awry or is inappropriate. The first is the normative thesis defended by Dennis Whitcomb who claims that inquiry goes awry if it culminates in a belief that falls short of knowledge and that one should not inquire into <italic>Q</italic> if one already knows the answer to <italic>Q</italic>. The second is the normative thesis defended by Jane Friedman who claims that one should not inquire into <italic>Q</italic> if one already believes some complete answer to <italic>Q</italic>.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-11-23T00:00:00.000+00:00Metaphysical Nature of Social Groups<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In this paper, we consider the relative significance of concrete and abstract features for the identity and persistence of a group. The theoretical background for our analysis is the position according to which groups are realizations of structures. Our main argument is that the relative significance of the abstract features (structural organization of the group) with respect to the significance of concrete features (the group’s members) can vary across different types of groups. The argumentation will be backed by introducing the examples in which we show that this difference in significance can affect the identity and persistence of the group.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-11-23T00:00:00.000+00:00The Early Modern Origins of Pragmatism<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>This paper considers the alleged pragmatism of Berkeley’s philosophy using the two Sellarsian categories of ‘manifest’ and ‘scientific’ images of the world and human beings. The ‘manifest’ image is regarded as a refinement of the ordinary way of conceiving things, and the scientific image is seen as a theoretical picture of the world provided by science. The paper argues that the so-called Berkeleian pragmatism was an effect of Berkeley’s work towards a synthesis of ‘manifest’ and ‘scientific’ images through the creation of one unified synoptic vision of the world and was a part of a new conceptual framework within which these two images could be combined.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-03-13T00:00:00.000+00:00Two Informational Theories of Memory: a case from Memory-Conjunction Errors<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>The causal and simulation theories are often presented as very distinct views about declarative memory, their major difference lying on the causal condition. The causal theory states that remembering involves an accurate representation causally connected to an earlier experience (the causal condition). In the simulation theory, remembering involves an accurate representation generated by a reliable memory process (no causal condition). I investigate how to construe detailed versions of these theories that correctly classify memory errors (DRM, “lost in the mall”, and memory-conjunction errors) as misremembering or confabulation. Neither causalists nor simulationists have paid attention to memory-conjunction errors, which is unfortunate because both theories have problems with these cases. The source of the difficulty is the background assumption that an act of remembering has one (and only one) target. I fix these theories for those cases. The resulting versions are closely related when implemented using tools of information theory, differing only on how memory transmits information about the past. The implementation provides us with insights about the distinction between confabulatory and non-confabulatory memory, where memory-conjunction errors have a privileged position.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-03-13T00:00:00.000+00:00Blame and Fault: Toward a New Conative Theory of Blame<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>This paper outlines a new conative theory of blame. I argue that the best-known conative approaches to blame (Scanlon 1998, 2008, Sher 2006a) misrepresent the cognitive and dispositional components of blame. Section 1 argues, against Scanlon and Sher, that blaming involves the judgment that an act or state is the <italic>fault of</italic> the blamed. I also propose an alternative dispositional condition on which blaming only occurs if it matters to the blamer whether the blamed gets the punishment that she deserves. In Section 2, I discuss objections to judgment-based accounts of blame (that they cannot tell the difference between blaming and judging to be blameworthy, that they cannot explain why blame is often accompanied by emotion, and that they cannot make sense of irrational blame), and I argue that my proposal can handle all of them.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-03-13T00:00:00.000+00:00Minding Strangers’ Business<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>When should we interfere in the course of a stranger’s life? While philosophers have discussed at length extreme cases of assisting poor people in famine stricken countries, much less attention has been given to casual, everyday episodes. If I overhear two people discussing a place they are about to visit, and know that it is closed for renovation, should I interfere and tell them so? If I stand next to a customer who has not been given enough change in the supermarket, should I point that out or mind my own business? Using the Kantian notions of love and respect, I answer such questions. I claim that Kant’s terminology is ill-suited for instructing us how to deal with others with whom we are personally involved, but is important for our encounters with strangers. I suggest that we take seriously Kant’s claim that we are “united in one dwelling place”. When around others, keep an open eye to the possibility that they might need help. If there is good reason to suppose that you may help, knock on their door. Let them decide whether they want to open it. They are totally entitled to decline the offer, but should keep in mind that it was given as part of the joint venture of living together with others. The interference should therefore not be regarded as an infringement of privacy.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-03-13T00:00:00.000+00:00The Proportionality Argument and the Problem of Widespread Causal Overdetermination<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>The consensus is that repeatable artworks cannot be identified with particular material individuals. A perennial temptation is to identify them with types, broadly construed. Such identification, however, faces the so-called “Creation Problem.” This problem stems from the fact that, on the one hand, it seems reasonable to accept the claims that (1) repeatable artworks are types, (2) types cannot be created, and (3) repeatable artworks are created, but, on the other hand, these claims are mutually inconsistent. A possible solution to the Creation Problem is to argue that claim (2) can be rejected because (a) the only motivation for it is that a type, being abstract, cannot stand in causal relations, but (b) this motivation is ungrounded, since types can, in fact, stand in such relations. Clearly, in order for this solution to be successful, it is necessary to substantiate the possibility of types to be causally efficacious. In this essay, I examine an attempt to do this with the help of Yablo’s principle of proportionality, which has been undertaken by Walters (2013) and, more recently, Juvshik (2018). Although the argument they advance may seem to provide strong support for the causal efficacy of types, I think it actually fails to do this. To explain why this is so, I first show that this argument commits us to the existence of widespread causal overdetermination involving types and then argue that this commitment is both epistemically and ontologically problematic.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-03-13T00:00:00.000+00:00Replies<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>In this paper I provide five separate responses, one for each of the contributed papers, in order to clarify some crucial aspects of the view defended in my book.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-01-29T00:00:00.000+00:00Logic in Natural Language: Commitments and Constraints<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>In his new book, <italic>Logical Form</italic>, Andrea Iacona distinguishes between two different roles that have been ascribed to the notion of logical form: the logical role and the semantic role. These two roles entail a bifurcation of the notion of logical form. Both notions of logical form, according to Iacona, are descriptive, having to do with different features of natural language sentences. I agree that the notion of logical form bifurcates, but not that the logical role is merely descriptive. In this paper, I focus on formalization, a process by which logical form, on its logical role, is attributed to natural language sentences. According to some, formalization is a form of explication, and it involves normative, pragmatic, as well as creative aspects. I present a view by which formalization involves explicit commitments on behalf of a reasoner or an interpreter, which serve the normative grounds for the evaluation of a given text. In previous work, I proposed the framework of <italic>semantic constraints</italic> for the explication of logical consequence. Here, I extend the framework to include <italic>formalization constraints</italic>. The various constraints then serve the role of commitments. I discuss specific issues raised by Iacona concerning univocality, co-reference and equivocation, and I show how our views on these matters diverge as a result of our different starting assumptions.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-01-29T00:00:00.000+00:00Anaphoric Dependence and Logical Form<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>In the core chapters 4–6, Iacona (2018) argues against the “Uniqueness Thesis” (UT), stating that “there is a unique notion of logical form that fulfils both the logical role and the semantic role” (39), where the former “concerns the formal explanation of logical properties and logical relations, such as validity or contradiction” (37), and the latter “concerns the formulation of a compositional theory of meaning” (<italic>ibid</italic>.). He argues for this on the basis of relations of coreference among referential expressions, names and indexicals. From what I take to be a fundamental agreement on most relevant issues, here I will nonetheless press him to clarify the notions of intrinsicness and the logical and semantic role of logical form on which he relies.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-01-29T00:00:00.000+00:00Logical Form through Abstraction<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>In a recent book, <italic>Logical Form: between Logic and Natural Language</italic>, Andrea Iacona argues that semantic form and logical form are distinct. The semantic form of a sentence is something that (together with the meanings of its parts) determines what it means; the logical from of a sentence is something that (all by itself) determines whether it is a logical truth. Semantic form does not depend on context but logical form does: for example, whether ‘This is this’ is a logical truth depends on whether the two occurrences of ‘this’ are used to demonstrate the same individual. I respond by claiming that logical form is indifferent to reference and is sensitive only to obligatory co-reference. When the speaker intends both occurrences of ‘this’ to be interpreted the same way the logical from of ‘This is this’ is a=a, while in a context where the speaker has no such intention it is a=b. This proposal allows a much more conservative revision of the traditional picture than the one suggested by Iacona. Instead of identifying the logical form of a natural language sentence by seeking a formalization in an artificial language, we obtain it through abstraction from its syntactic analysis: replacing the non-logical expressions by schematic letters, making sure that we use identical ones if and only if the speaker intended co-reference.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-01-29T00:00:00.000+00:00Varieties of Logical Form<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>The paper reviews some conceptions of logical form in the light of Andrea Iacona’s book <italic>Logical Form</italic>. I distinguish the following: logical form as schematization of natural language, provided by, for example, Aristotle’s syllogistic; the relevance to logical form of formal languages like those used by Frege and Russell to express and prove mathematical theorems; Russell’s mid-period conception of logical form as the structural cement binding propositions; the conceptions of logical form discussed by Iacona; and logical form regarded as an empirical hypothesis about the psychology of language processing, as in the Discourse Representation Theory tradition. Whereas neither schematization, nor the use of special languages for mathematics, raise general methodological or empirical difficulties, other conceptions of logical form raise at least apparent problems.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-01-29T00:00:00.000+00:00Logical Form, Truth Conditions, and Adequate Formalization<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>I discuss Andrea Iacona’s idea that logical form mirrors truth conditions, and that logical form, and thus truth conditions, are in turn represented by means of adequate formalization. I criticize this idea, noting that the notion of adequate formalization is highly indefinite, while the pre-theoretic idea of logical form is often much more definite. I also criticize Iacona’s claim that certain distinct sentences, with the same truth conditions and differing only by co-referential names, must be formalized by the same formula (in the same context). I criticize this claim, noting that it imposes implausible demands on adequate formalization. Finally, I offer some brief remarks on the connection between Iacona’s ideas and the distinction between logical and non-logical constants.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-01-29T00:00:00.000+00:00en-us-1