1. 46307.33126
    You're a fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Of course you are! How could you not be? (Okay, if you don't know what I'm talking about, check it out here.) And if you're a fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender, you love Uncle Iroh. …
    Found 12 hours, 51 minutes ago on The Splintered Mind
  2. 319297.331327
    The mass-count distinction is a morpho-syntactic distinction among nouns in English and many other languages. Tree, chair, person, group, and portion are count nouns; water, furniture, population, and rice are mass nouns. The morpho-syntactic is generally taken to have semantic content or reflect a semantic mass-count distinction. Thus, count permit numerals like one and first, mass nouns don’t, and mass NPs permit predicates like is one of.., but mass NPs don’t. Thus, at the center of the semantic mass-count distinction is, in some way or another, a notion of unity or being a single entity, the basis of countability. There is little unanimity, however, of how that notion is to be understood and thus what the semantic mass-count distinction consists in. In this paper, I will give a very general outline of existing approaches to the mass-count distinction and focus on particular challenges they face. It will suggest a way of meeting those challenges in terms of a situation-based account of the mass-count distinction, without, though, giving an account of unity itself.
    Found 3 days, 16 hours ago on Friederike Moltmann's site
  3. 471503.33135
    In this paper, we investigate the semantics and logic of choice-driven counterfactuals, that is, of counterfactuals whose evaluation relies on auxiliary premises about how agents are expected to act, i.e., about their default choice behavior. To do this, we merge one of the most prominent logics of agency in the philosophical literature, namely stit logic (Belnap et al. 2001; Horty 2001), with the well-known logic of counterfactuals due to Stalnaker (1968) and Lewis (1973). A key component of our semantics for counterfactuals is to distinguish between deviant and non-deviant actions at a moment, where an action available to an agent at a moment is deviant when its performance does not agree with the agent’s default choice behavior at that moment. After developing and axiomatizing a stit logic with action types, instants, and deviant actions, we study the philosophical implications and logical properties of two candidate semantics for choice-driven counterfactuals, one called rewind models inspired by Lewis (Nous 13(4), 455–476 1979) and the other called independence models motivated by well-known counterexamples to Lewis’s proposal Slote (Philos. Rev. 87(1), 3–27 1978). In the last part of the paper we consider how to evaluate choice-driven counterfactuals at moments arrived at by some agents performing a deviant action.
    Found 5 days, 10 hours ago on Eric Pacuit's site
  4. 515337.331366
    It is widely agreed that conditionals of the form ‘if p, q’ come with one of two types of marking: they are either subjunctive or indicative. What does this difference tell us about the conditionals’ semantics (broadly construed)? Many agree with the following negative answer: the difference between subjunctive and indicative conditionals matches neither the distinction between counterfactual and noncounterfactual conditionals nor the distinction between nonfactual and factual conditionals. Both subjunctive and indicative conditionals can suggest that the antecedent is false; they can leave it open what the truth value of the antecedent is; and they can suggest that the antecedent is true. Typically, subjunctive conditionals do suggest something about their antecedent — they typically convey counterfactuality —, while, typically, indicative conditionals leave the truth value of the antecedent open, but since there are exceptions to this rule neither a conditional’s subjunctive marking nor its indicative marking indefeasibly conveys anything about the antecedent’s truth value. In other words, neither kind of marking entails, or semantically presupposes, or conventionally implicates anything about the antecedent’s truth value. But what then does the difference between subjunctive and indicative conditionals tell us about the conditionals’ semantics?
    Found 5 days, 23 hours ago on Julia Zakkou's site
  5. 515408.331381
    Some expressions, such as ‘generous’ and ‘stingy’, are used to not only describe the world around us. They are used to also evaluate the things they are applied to. In this paper, I suggest a novel account of how this evaluation is conveyed: the conventional triggering view. It partly agrees and partly disagrees both with the standard semantic view and its popular pragmatic contender. Like the former and unlike the latter, it has it that the evaluation is conveyed due to the conventional meaning of the sentences in question. Unlike the former and much like the latter, it suggests that the evaluation is a secondary rather than a primary content.
    Found 5 days, 23 hours ago on Julia Zakkou's site
  6. 534535.331395
    The contemporary view of the relationship between conscious and unconscious intentionality consists in two claims: (i) unconscious propositional attitudes represent the world the same way conscious ones do, and (ii) both sets of attitudes represent by having determinate propositional content. Crane (2017) has challenged both claims, proposing instead that unconscious propositional attitudes differ from conscious ones in being less determinate in nature. This paper aims to evaluate Crane’s proposal. In particular, I make explicit and critique certain assumptions Crane makes in support of his asymmetry, and argue for a conditional claim: if Crane is right that unconscious intentional states are (relatively) indeterminate, this suggests that conscious intentional states are indeterminate in a similar fashion as well.
    Found 6 days, 4 hours ago on Raamy Majeed's site
  7. 559685.331409
    The following bare-bones story introduces the idea of a cumulative hierarchy of pure sets: ‘Sets are arranged in stages. Every set is found at some stage. At any stage S: for any sets found before S, we find a set whose members are exactly those sets.We find nothing else at S’. Surprisingly, this story already guarantees that the sets are arranged in well-ordered levels, and suffices for quasi-categoricity. I show this by presenting Level Theory, a simplification of set theories due to Scott, Montague, Derrick, and Potter.
    Found 6 days, 11 hours ago on Peter Smith's site
  8. 612360.331423
    Mackay on counterfactual epistemic scenarios Posted on Tuesday, 23 Nov 2021. An interesting new paper by David Mackay, Mackay (2022), raises a challenge to popular ideas about the semantics of modals. …
    Found 1 week ago on wo's weblog
  9. 904217.331437
    The debate over the relation between grammatically relevant (specifically, what we term event referential) and idiosyncratic aspects of verb meaning has produced a considerable literature. Some authors, such as Levin and Rappaport Hovav, have appealed to figurative uses of verbs as a source of data when the analysis of their literal uses has been controversial, a move that has sometimes been criticized. However, the question of whether figurative uses of verbs preserve the event referential properties of their literal counterparts and are therefore a valid source of data has not, to our knowledge, been systematically explored. We offer two detailed cross-linguistic case studies of Spanish and English verbs to provide an argument that figurative verb uses indeed are a reliable source of evidence for identifying event referential components of meaning: In each case study we find clear evidence for the preservation of these components across uses, indicating that these aspects of meaning both constrain and facilitate figurative uses of verbs.
    Found 1 week, 3 days ago on Louise McNally's site
  10. 975962.331454
    Recent literature on Spinoza has emphasized his commitment to universal intelligibility, understood as the claim that there are no brute facts. We draw attention to an important but overlooked element of Spinoza’s commitment to intelligibility, and thereby question its most prominent interpretation, on which this commitment results in the priority of conceptual relations. We argue that such readings are both incomplete in their account of Spinozistic intelligibility and mistaken in their identification of the most fundamental relation. We argue that Spinoza is one of the first moderns to address the problem of conditions of intelligibility, and show that, in his metaphysics, expressive relations are best understood as relations of dependence for intelligibility: what a thing ‘expresses’ is its condition of intelligibility, that which determines how, through what concepts, it can be conceived.
    Found 1 week, 4 days ago on Karolina Hübner's site
  11. 1041758.331468
    Many philosophers believe in things, propositions, which are the things that we believe, assert etc., and which are the contents of sentences. The act-type theory of propositions is an attempt to say what propositions are, to explain how we stand in relations to them, and to explain why they are true or false. The core idea of the act-type theory is that propositions are types of acts of predication. The theory is developed in various ways to offer explanations of the important properties of propositions. I present the core idea of the theory, and some developments of it. I discuss the relationship between the theory and the content–force distinction. I also present an important type of objection that has been raised to the explanations offered by the act-type theory.
    Found 1 week, 5 days ago on PhilPapers
  12. 1155903.331483
    Kennedy & Levin (2008) argue that the aspectual properties of so-called degree achievement (DA) verbs (e.g. darken) can largely be predicted from the scale structure of the adjectives to which they are derivationally related (e.g. dark). Specifically, when the adjective is evaluated on a scale that is upper closed and the standard for the adjective to truthfully apply is the upper endpoint on that scale (i.e., when the adjective is absolute; see e.g. Kennedy & McNally 2005), the corresponding DA can be either telic or atelic. In contrast, when the adjective’s scale is open and the standard is context-dependent (i.e., when the adjective is relative), the corresponding DA is atelic. In this paper, I defend, following Kearns (2007), the position that telic interpretations of DAs are not directly a function of the standards for the adjectives from which the verbs are derived. Rather, the telic interpretation simply depends on it being possible to characterize the amount of change undergone in terms of the part structure of the event described, without reference to a specific comparison class. This conclusion will emerge from reflection on how the notions of relative and absolute standards can be recast in terms of similarity- vs. rule-based classification (as proposed in McNally 2011), extended from the adjectival to the verbal domain.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on Louise McNally's site
  13. 1156017.331499
    Semantic analyses of gradability and measurement grounded in measurement theory have been very successful, but they are highly abstract. Solt (2016) suggests ways to connect such analyses to facts about the mental representation of quantity and measure. The goal of this paper is similar in mission, with the novelty of drawing on polysemy data involving English -th nouns related to adjectives expressing measurable dimensions (breadth, depth, height, length, width, warmth), as well as weight, related to the verb weigh, which has similar relevant properties.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on Louise McNally's site
  14. 1185434.331516
    Many projects in contemporary philosophy facts plays an indispensable role in the activity of is treacherously easy for graduate students to be lured into devoting their careers to them, so advice is proffered on how to avoid this trap.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on Liam Kofi Bright's site
  15. 1185514.33153
    Prior!s puzzle is a puzzle about the substitution of certain putatively synonymous or coreferential expressions in sentences. Prior!s puzzle is important, because a satisfactory solution to it should constitute a crucial part of an adequate semantic theory for both proposition-embedding expressions and attitudinal verbs. I argue that two recent solutions to this puzzle are unsatisfactory. They either focus on the meaning of attitudinal verbs or content nouns. I propose a solution relying on a recent analysis of that-clauses in linguistics. Our solution is superior, as it not only avoids the problems faced by previous solutions, but it also brings developments in linguistics in line to solve an old puzzle in philosophy.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on PhilPapers
  16. 1185517.331543
    I provide a case-by-case definition of essential truths based on the notions of metaphysical necessity and ontological dependence. Relying on suggestions in the literature, I adopt a definition of the latter notion in terms of the notion of ground. The resulting account is adequate in the sense that it is not subject to Kit Fine’s famous counterexamples to the purely modal account of essence. In addition, it provides us with a novel conception of truths pertaining to the essence of objects, which might help to dispel doubts on the legitimacy of the notion of essence itself.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on PhilPapers
  17. 1185533.331557
    Recent work in experimental semantics has found that some remember -reports fail to give rise to theoretically predicted factivity-inferences (see e.g. White and Rawlins; de Marneffe, Simons, & Tonhauser). Our paper accounts for one domain of such failures, viz. factivity variation in experiential remember -reports. The latter are reports like John remembers a woman dancing that require the agent’s personal experience of a past event or scene. We argue that, in experiential memory reports, the factivity inference (if any) is not triggered by the verb remember or its complement, but by the veridicality of the underlying experience: if the experience is veridical (as is often the case in perception), the factivity inference arises. If the experience is counterfactual (as is the case in hallucination and dreaming), the inference does not arise. We give a compositional semantics for experiential remember -reports that captures this dependence.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on Markus Werning's site
  18. 1380126.331572
    There is an emerging view according to which countability is not an integral part of the lexical meaning of singular count nouns, but is ‘added on’ or ‘made available’, whether syntactically, semantically or both. This view has been pursued by Borer and Rothstein among others in order to deal with classifier languages such as Chinese as well as challenges to standard views of the mass-count distinction such as object mass nouns such as furniture. I will discuss a range of data, partly from German, that such a grammar-based view of countability receives support when applied to verbs with respect to the event argument position. Verbs themselves fail to specify events as countable in English and related languages; instead countability is made available only by the use of the event classifier time or else particular lexical items, such as frequency expressions, German beides ‘both’, or the nominalizing light noun -thing. The paper will not adopt or elaborate a particular version of the grammar-based view of countability, but rather critically discuss existing versions and present two semantic options of elaborating the view.
    Found 2 weeks, 1 day ago on Friederike Moltmann's site
  19. 1465131.331586
    Dynamic Belief Update (DBU) is a model checking problem in Dynamic Epistemic Logic (DEL) concerning the effect of applying a number of epistemic actions on an initial epistemic model. It can also be considered as a plan verification problem in epistemic planning. The problem is known to be PSPACE-hard. To better understand the source of complexity of the problem, previous research has investigated the complexity of 128 parameterized versions of the problem with parameters such as number of agents and size of epistemic actions. The complexity of many parameter combinations has been determined, but previous research left 14 parameter combinations open. In this paper, we solve all of these open problems. Most of the parameter combinations turns out to be fixed-parameter intractable, except 2 that are fixed-parameter tractable.
    Found 2 weeks, 2 days ago on Thomas Bolander's site
  20. 1547137.3316
    We introduce and analyze a new axiomatic theory CD of truth. The primitive truth predicate can be applied to sentences containing the truth predicate. The theory is thoroughly classical in the sense that CD is not only formulated in classical logic, but that the axiomatized notion of truth itself is classical: The truth predicate commutes with all quantifiers and connectives, and thus the theory proves that there are no truth value gaps or gluts. To avoid inconsistency, the instances of the T-schema are restricted to determinate sentences. Determinateness is introduced as a further primitive predicate and axiomatized. The semantics and proof theory of CD are analyzed.
    Found 2 weeks, 3 days ago on Volker Halbach's site
  21. 1679913.331614
    Båve has argued that act-type theories of propositions entail unwanted ambiguity of sentences such as ‘Donald loves Joan’. King has argued that act-type theories of propositions entail an unwanted abundance of propositions. I reply that a version of the act-type theory can avoid these objections. The key idea is that grammar constrains the acts that can be performed by the utterance of a sentence. I present enough of the details of this version of the act-type theory to show how it can be used to respond to Båve’s and King’s objections. I conclude that this is a promising way to develop the act-type theory of propositions.
    Found 2 weeks, 5 days ago on PhilPapers
  22. 1764554.331631
    Sam Berstler defends a general moral advantage for misleading over lying by arguing that liars, but not misleaders, act unfairly towards the other members of their linguistic community. This article spells out three difficulties for Berstler’s account. Firstly, though Berstler aims to avoid an error theory, it is dubitable that her account fits with intuitions on the matter. Secondly, there are some lies that do not exhibit the unfairness Berstler identifies. And, thirdly, fairness is not the only morally relevant difference between lying and misleading.
    Found 2 weeks, 6 days ago on PhilPapers
  23. 1764607.331644
    In the first controlled, non-self-report studies to show an influence of university-level ethical instruction on everyday behavior, Schwitzgebel et al. (2020) and Jalil et al. ( ) found that students purchase less meat after exposure to material on the ethics of eating meat. We sought to extend and conceptually replicate this research. Seven hundred thirty students in three large philosophy classes read James Rachels’ (2004) “Basic Argument for Vegetarianism”, followed by 50-min small-group discussions. Half also viewed a vegetarianism advocacy video containing factory farm footage. A few days after instruction, 54% of students agreed that “eating the meat of factory farmed animals is unethical”, compared to 37% before instruction, with no difference between the film and non-film conditions. Also, 39% of students anonymously pledged to avoid eating factory farmed meat for 24 h, again with no statistically detectable difference between conditions. Finally, we obtained 2828 campus food purchase receipts for 113 of the enrolled students who used their Student ID cards for purchases on campus, which we compared with 5033 purchases from a group of 226 students who did not receive the instruction. Meat purchases remained constant in the comparison group and declined among the students exposed to the material, falling from 30% to 23% of purchases overall and from 51% to 42% of purchases of $4.99 or more, with the effect possibly larger in the film condition.
    Found 2 weeks, 6 days ago on Eric Schwitzgebel's site
  24. 1777041.331658
    Plural definite descriptions across many languages display two well-known properties. First, they can give rise to so-called non-maximal readings, in the sense that they ‘allow for exceptions’ (Mary read the books on the reading list, in some contexts, can be judged true even if Mary didn’t read all the books on the reading list). Second, while they tend to have a quasi-universal quantificational force in affirmative sentences (‘quasi-universal’ rather than simply ‘universal’ due to the possibility of exceptions we have just mentioned), they tend to be interpreted existentially in the scope of negation (a property often referred to as homogeneity, cf. Löbner in Linguist Philos 23:213– 308, 2000). Building on previous works (in particular Krifka in Proceedings of SALT VI, Cornell University, pp 136–153, 1996 and Malamud in Semant Pragmat, 5:1–28, ), we offer a theory in which sentences containing plural definite expressions trigger a family of possible interpretations, and where general principles of language use account for their interpretation in various contexts and syntactic environments.
    Found 2 weeks, 6 days ago on Benjamin Spector's site
  25. 1814465.331672
    It has been widely argued that words are analogous to species such that words, like species, are natural kinds. In this paper, I consider the metaphysics of word-kinds. After arguing against an essentialist approach, I argue that word-kinds are homeostatic property clusters, in line with the dominant approach to other biological and psychological kinds.
    Found 3 weeks ago on J. T. M. Miller's site
  26. 1854048.331685
    Many views of utterance comprehension agree that understanding an utterance involves knowing, believing, perceiving, or, anyhow, mentally representing the utterance to mean such-and-such. They include cognitivist as well as many perceptualist views; I give them the generic label ‘representationalist’. Representationalist views have been criticized for placing an undue metasemantic demand on utterance comprehension, viz. that speakers be able to represent meaning as meaning. Critics have adverted to young speakers, say about the age of three, who do comprehend many utterances but may be rather limited in their abilities to think about meaning as such, to cast doubt on this demand. This paper motivates representationalism, examines what the balance of developmental evidence and arguments shows, and identifies options for a representationalist response. Though there is some evidence that three-year-olds have limited abilities to think about meaning as such, they may yet turn out to have a concept of meaning, or at least some proto-semantic concept. Moreover, even if they lack any such concept, there is, I propose, a way of developing representationalism, drawing inspiration from Davidson’s paratactic view of indirect speech reports, on which meaning can be non-conceptually represented. Independently of developmental considerations, this paratactic-style proposal is of interest to friends of a perceptualist view of comprehension.
    Found 3 weeks ago on PhilPapers
  27. 1854172.331699
    The main goal of this paper is to work out Quine’s account of explication. Quine does not provide a general account, but considers a paradigmatic example which does not fit other examples he claims to be explications. Besides working out Quine’s account of explication and explaining this tension, I show how it connects to other notions such as paraphrase and ontological commitment. Furthermore, I relate Quinean explication to Carnap’s conception and argue that Quinean explication is much narrower because its main purpose is to be a criterion of theory choice.
    Found 3 weeks ago on PhilPapers
  28. 2136845.331712
    I is good ha o ook p philosoph , I sa . Am I asser ing some fac o be he case; or e pressing, non-asser oricall , m a al of he fac ha o ook p philosoph ? Acco n s of he la er kind ha e seemed a rac i e o man philosophers, in e hics and else here. Sen en ial opera ors s ch as I is r e ha ... , I is kno n ha ... and I is probable ha ... ha e been claimed o req ire analogo s rea men .
    Found 3 weeks, 3 days ago on Huw Price's site
  29. 2477028.331726
    Barristers in England are obliged to follow the ‘cab rank rule’, according to which they must take any case offered to them, as long as they have time in their schedule and can agree on fees. This rule is designed to ensure that unpopular people and causes can get legal representation. In philosophy, by contrast, we know we need no structural rule to ensure that seemingly hopeless causes receive representation from the brightest minds. And so we find Timothy Williamson, who famously defended epistemicism about vagueness over a quarter century ago, turning in his new book to another unpopular cause, the view that the meaning of ‘if’ is given by the material conditional.
    Found 4 weeks ago on Daniel Rothschild's site
  30. 2781549.331739
    ‘Natural deduction’ designates a type of logical system described initially in Gentzen (1934) and Jaśkowski (1934). It also designates the type of reasoning that these logical systems embody. A fundamental part of natural deduction, and what (according to most writers on the topic) sets it apart from other proof methods, is the notion of a “subproof”. Although formalisms differ, an underlying idea is that one is able to “make an assumption A and see that it leads to conclusion X”, and then conclude that if the A were true, then so would X be. (There are also various other types of subproof that we discuss.)
    Found 1 month ago on Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy