1. 37769.070766
    Lewis on magnetism: Reply to Janssen-Lauret and Macbride Posted on Friday, 19 Jul 2019 In my 2014 paper "Against Magnetism", I argued that the meta-semantics Lewis defended in "Putnam's Paradox" and pp.45-49 of "New Work" is (a) unattractive, (b) does not fit what Lewis wrote about meta-semantics elsewhere, and (c) was never Lewis's considered view. …
    Found 10 hours, 29 minutes ago on wo's weblog
  2. 72031.070814
    There is long standing agreement both among philosophers and linguists that the term ‘counterfactual conditional’ is misleading if not a misnomer. Speakers of both non-past subjunctive (or ‘would’ ) conditionals and past subjunctive (or ‘would have’ ) conditionals need not convey counterfactuality. The relationship between the conditionals in question and the counterfactuality of their antecedents is thus not one of presupposing. It is one of conversationally implicating. This paper provides a thorough examination of the arguments against the presupposition view as applied to past subjunctive conditionals and finds none of them conclusive. All the relevant linguistic data, it is shown, are compatible with the assumption that past subjunctive conditionals presuppose the falsity of their antecedents. This finding is not only interesting on its own. It is of vital importance both to whether we should consider antecedent counterfactuality to be part of the conventional meaning of the conditionals in question and to whether there is a deep difference between indicative and subjective conditionals.
    Found 20 hours ago on Julia Zakkou's site
  3. 267009.070832
    Children acquire complex concepts like DOG earlier than simple concepts like BROWN, even though our best neuroscientific theories suggest that learning the former is harder than learning the latter and, thus, should take more time (Werning 2010). This is the Complex- First Paradox. We present a novel solution to the Complex-First Paradox. Our solution builds on a generalization of Xu and Tenenbaum’s (2007) Bayesian model of word learning. By focusing on a rational theory of concept learning, we show that it is easier to infer the meaning of complex concepts than that of simple concepts.
    Found 3 days, 2 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  4. 286700.070847
    From the point of view of cognitive development, the present paper by Bart Geurts is highly relevant, welcome and timely. It speaks to a fundamental puzzle in developmental pragmatics that used to be seen as such, then was considered to be resolved by many researchers, but may return nowadays with its full puzzling force.
    Found 3 days, 7 hours ago on Hannes Rakoczy's site
  5. 388013.070862
    Strawson (1963) vs. explication in Carnap (1950): By replacing one definition of a term with a more precise and fruitful explication, you are changing the topic.
    Found 4 days, 11 hours ago on Erich Rast's site
  6. 586655.070875
    In the Preface to his collection of essays, Saving the Differences, Crispin Wright introduces the Wittgensteinian concern with …differences in the role and function of superficially similar language games … which those very similarities encourage us to overlook, thereby constituting a prime cause of philosophical misunderstandings and confusions.
    Found 6 days, 18 hours ago on Dorit Bar-On's site
  7. 628922.070893
    If I were to say, “Agnes does not know that it is raining, but it is,” this seems like a perfectly coherent way of describing Agnes’s epistemic position. If I were to add, “And I don’t know if it is, either,” this seems quite strange. In this chapter, we shall look at some statements that seem, in some sense, contradictory, even though it seems that these statements can express propositions that are contingently true or false. Moore thought it was paradoxical that statements that can express true propositions or contingently false propositions should nevertheless seem absurd like this. If we can account for the absurdity, we shall solve Moore’s Paradox. In this chapter, we shall look at Moore’s proposals and more recent discussions of Moorean absurd thought and speech.
    Found 1 week ago on Clayton Littlejohn's site
  8. 637086.070907
    When the indexical ‘I’ appears inside quotation marks, it refers not to the person now speaking but to the person whose speech is being reported. The apparently ‘monstrous’ behaviour of quotation can be dismissed in direct speech, so long as one maintains that the quoted part is mentioned rather than used. The same cannot be maintained, however, in so-called ‘mixed’ quotation, for which a pure-mention analysis is implausible. In this paper I compare two accounts of the semantics of quotation. While the accounts of Maier & Geurts (2004), Geurts & Maier (this volume), and Bittner (to appear) all anticipate the correct behaviour for indexicals inside quotation, the approach developed by Geurts and Maier makes a further, false generalisation, and is therefore empirically inferior.
    Found 1 week ago on Sam Cumming's site
  9. 637145.070924
    Philosophy is the highest court of the sciences, and philosophy, since Socrates, has pursued analysis. Since then, too, a certain assumption about analysis has functioned as orthodoxy. When we analyse a term, such as knowledge, we break it down into components that are individually necessary, and together sufficient, for the analysandum to apply. In the middle of the 20th century, Friedrich Waismann, a former member of the Vienna Circle, challenged that orthodoxy. The quote below comes in the specific context of how to analyse a “material object statement” in terms of the sense experiences that would either verify or refute it:
    Found 1 week ago on Sam Cumming's site
  10. 820947.07094
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License <www.philosophersimprint.org/019028/> Predicate Containment. For true singular propositions, the predicate’s semantic value contains the subject’s semantic value. I’ll call this standard type of semantics logical extensionalism since it treats the truth (or falsity) of a singular proposition as if it depends on whether the predicate’s extension contains the subject’s semantic value. For ease of expression, I’ll call any variant of logical extensionalism an extensional approach.
    Found 1 week, 2 days ago on PhilPapers
  11. 821033.070957
    I develop a challenge for a widely suggested knowledge-first account of belief that turns, primarily, on unknowable propositions. I consider and reject several responses to my challenge and sketch a new knowledge-first account of belief that avoids it.
    Found 1 week, 2 days ago on PhilPapers
  12. 1282936.07097
    What is going on when one person speaks for others, in their collective name or on their behalf? We see this in a variety of contexts, involving both formal and informal groups. The Trump administration has a press secretary whose responsibilities include making announcements, declarations, and other claims in the name of the administration. Large companies like Amazon have designated company spokespersons, who issue statements on behalf of the company to the press. In many schools, one parent from each class is appointed to raise questions, make proposals, make requests, and so on, on behalf of the larger parent body in meetings with the school management. Even in very informal collectives like a set of stranded travellers whose luggage has been lost, it is common for one person to take up the role of complaining to the airline or demanding compensation for all of them.
    Found 2 weeks ago on PhilPapers
  13. 1284297.070984
    Binding specificity​ is a centrally important concept in molecular biology, yet it has received little philosophical attention. Here I aim to remedy this by analyzing binding specificity as a causal property. I focus on the concept’s role in drug design, where it is highly prized and hence directly studied: From a causal perspective, understanding why binding specificity is a valuable property of drugs contributes to an understanding of causal selection​ーof how and why scientists distinguish between causes, not just causes from non-causes. In particular, the specificity of drugs is precisely what underwrites their value as experimental interventions on biological processes. Acknowledgements This paper was vastly improved thanks to feedback from Lindley Darden, Catherine Kendig, Lauren Ross, Ken Waters, James Woodward, two anonymous referees, and audiences at the 2018 SPSP conference in Ghent and the 2018 PSA in Seattle. This work was completed with the support of the John Templeton Foundation, under the research grant ​From Biological Practice to Scientific Metaphysics​.
    Found 2 weeks ago on PhilSci Archive
  14. 1553281.070999
    « Quantum Sabinacy Sensitivity Conjecture: Proof by the book The Sensitivity Conjecture, which I blogged about here, says that, for every Boolean function f:{0,1}n→{0,1}, the sensitivity of f—that is, the maximum number of input bits such that flipping them can change the value of f—is polynomially related to a bunch of other complexity measures of f, including its block sensitivity, degree as a real polynomial, and classical and quantum query complexities. …
    Found 2 weeks, 3 days ago on Scott Aaronson's blog
  15. 1688797.071013
    I introduce game-theoretic models for threats to the discussion of threats in speech act theory. I first distinguish three categories of verbal threats: conditional threats, categorical threats, and covert threats. I establish that all categories of threats can be characterized in terms of an underlying conditional structure. I argue that the aim – or illocutionary point – of a threat is to change the conditions under which an agent makes decisions in a game. Threats are moves in a game that instantiate a subgame in which the addressee is ‘under threat’.
    Found 2 weeks, 5 days ago on PhilPapers
  16. 2143241.071026
    My target article outlines a pragmatic theory centred on the notion of commitment, which I believe is simpler and more general than what has been on offer so far. First, I argue that commitments are involved in a wider variety of utterances than are covered by alternative accounts, and are also the basis for turn-taking (question–answer, greeting–greeting, and so on). Second, the theory features a new analysis of common ground in terms of commitment sharing, which not only accommodates assertions and presuppositions, but affords a general account of how the common ground is changed by speech acts and the responses they elicit from their addressees. Third, the theory includes and extends the Gricean theory of cooperative communication, which also accounts for the sincerity inferences associated with various speech act types. Last, the theory shows how we can get much of our communicative business done without attributing mental states to each other, thus paving the way for a better understanding of the phylogeny and ontogeny of human communication. These are the main ideas, and I am pleasantly surprised to see that the critical responses to my article are, on the whole, constructive and supportive. At the same time, I find it oddly reassuring that there is a small but vocal minority representing the intentionalist establishment, who find no merit in my theory whatsoever, and are out for the kill. As Nietzsche used to say, what does not kill you makes you stronger.
    Found 3 weeks, 3 days ago on Bart Geurts's site
  17. 2162274.071046
    Creative thought is central to human life. It shapes everyday activities such as putting together an outfit or holding a conversation. It fuels cultural evolution, giving us technology, music, media, and art. It fosters a sense of personal and cultural identity. Yet although it is perhaps our most defining human trait, it is one of the most elusive aspects of human cognition.
    Found 3 weeks, 4 days ago on Liane Gabora's site
  18. 2321399.071086
    Across languages, certain logically natural concepts are not lexicalized, even though they can be expressed by complex expressions. This is for instance the case for the quantifier not all. In this paper, we propose an explanation for this fact based on the following idea: the logical lexicon of languages is partly shaped by a tradeoff between informativity and cost, and the inventory of logical expressions tends to maximize average informativity and minimize average cost. The account we propose is based on a decision-theoretic model of how speakers choose their messages in various situations (a modified version of the Rational Speech Act model).
    Found 3 weeks, 5 days ago on Benjamin Spector's site
  19. 2367381.071113
    Standard semantic theories predict that non-deictic readings for complex demonstratives should be much more widely available than they in fact are. If such readings are the result of a lexical ambiguity, as Kaplan (in: Almog, Perry, Wettstein (eds) Themes from Kaplan, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1977) and others suggest, we should expect them to be available wherever a definite description can be used. The same prediction follows from ‘hidden argument’ theories like the ones described by King (Complex Demonstratives: a Quantificational Account, MIT Press, Cambridge, ) and Elbourne (Situations and Individuals, MIT Press, Cambridge, 2005). Wolter (That’s That; the Semantics and Pragmatics of Demonstrative Noun Phrases. Ph.D. thesis, University of California at Santa Cruz, 2006), however, has shown that complex demonstratives admit non-deictic interpretations only when a precise set of structural constrains are met. In this paper, I argue that Wolter’s results, properly understood, upend the philosophical status quo. They fatally undermine the ambiguity theory and demand a fundamental rethinking of the hidden argument approach.
    Found 3 weeks, 6 days ago on Ethan Nowak's site
  20. 2397232.071128
    It is commonly held that quantification requires a form of ‘individuation’ (see Kratzer, 1995, von Fintel, 2004). This note is concerned with the ontology of the plural individuals denoted by a plural noun like twins. Its main goal is to explain what type of object plural nouns like twins denote and why, and in what sense, this object qualifies as an ‘individual’. We also explain why plural nouns like squares do denote an object that qualifies as an ‘individual’.
    Found 3 weeks, 6 days ago on Alda Mari's site
  21. 2397357.071142
    The publication of the seminal collective work The Generic Book (Carlson and Pelletier ) gave rise to a flourishing research program. A principal contribution of The Generic Book was the establishment of a unified terminology that paved the way for detailed and specific studies, the results of which are intended to be cumulative. Since then, much of the research has focused on syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic issues, and researchers have made important advances within these fields as well as at their interfaces.
    Found 3 weeks, 6 days ago on Alda Mari's site
  22. 2517218.071156
    There is a growing body of evidence that the human brain may be organized according to principles of predictive processing. An important conjecture in neuroscience is that a brain organized in this way can effectively and efficiently approximate Bayesian inferences. Given that many forms of cognition seem to be well characterized as a form of Bayesian inference, this conjecture has great import for cognitive science. It suggests that predictive processing may provide a neurally plausible account of how forms of cognition that are modeled as Bayesian inference may be physically implemented in the brain. Yet, as we show in this paper, the jury is still out on whether or not the conjecture is really true. Specifically, we demonstrate that each key subcomputation invoked in predictive processing potentially hides a computationally intractable problem. We discuss the implications of these sobering results for the predictive processing account and propose a way to move forward.
    Found 4 weeks, 1 day ago on Johan Kwisthout's site
  23. 2545047.07117
    ZFC has sentences that quantify over all sets or all ordinals, without restriction. Some have argued that sentences of this kind lack a determinate meaning. We propose a set theory called TOPS, using Natural Deduction, that avoids this problem by speaking only about particular sets.
    Found 4 weeks, 1 day ago on PhilPapers
  24. 3130407.071211
    A small matter. But an intro logic book needs to have a policy on whether mentioned formulae get enclosed in quotation marks. IFL1 took a sternly conservative line on this, leading to somewhat unsightly rashes of quotation marks. …
    Found 1 month ago on Peter Smith's blog
  25. 3348010.071226
    This paper presents reasons against semantic relativism. Semantic relativism is motivated by intuitions that are presumed to raise problems for traditional or contextualist semantics in contested domains of discourse. Intuition-based arguments are those based on competent speakers’ putative intuitions about seeming faultless disagreement, eavesdropper, and retraction cases. I will organize the discussion in three parts. First, I shall provide a brief introduction to the intuition-based arguments offered in favor of semantic relativism. Second, I shall indicate that there are ways for contextualism to explain the (appearance of) intuitions that support semantic relativism. Third, I shall review some experimental results and independent arguments that put into question the appeal of semantic relativism.
    Found 1 month, 1 week ago on Teresa Marques's site
  26. 3472306.07124
    The received wisdom on ability modals is that they differ from their epistemic and deontic cousins in what inferences they license and better receive a universal or conditional analysis instead of an existential one. The goal of this paper is to sharpen the empirical picture about the semantics of ability modals, and to propose an analysis that explains what makes the can of ability so special but that also preserves the crucial intuition that all uses of can share a common lexical semantics. Of central importance here will be to give a precise articulation of the role of agency in the interpretation of modal expressions. Doing so allows us to not only see why the can of ability, while essentially being an existential modal operator, sometimes resists distribution over disjunction and interacts with its duals in particular and hitherto unnoticed ways, but also has a tendency to license free choice inferences.
    Found 1 month, 1 week ago on Malte Willer's site
  27. 3517131.071257
    The surface grammar of reports such as ‘I have a pain in my leg’ suggests that pains are objects which are spatially located in parts of the body. We show that the parallel construction is not available in Mandarin. Further, four philosophically important grammatical features of such reports cannot be reproduced. This suggests that arguments and puzzles surrounding such reports may be tracking artefacts of English, rather than philosophically significant features of the world.
    Found 1 month, 1 week ago on PhilPapers
  28. 3581816.071288
    In classical deterministic planning, solutions to planning tasks are simply sequences of actions, but that is not sufficient for contingent plans in non-deterministic environments. Contingent plans are often expressed through policies that map states to actions. An alternative is to specify contingent plans as programs, e.g. in the syntax of Propositional Dynamic Logic (PDL). PDL is a logic for reasoning about programs with sequential composition, test and non-deterministic choice. However, as we show in the paper, none of the existing PDL modalities directly captures the notion of a solution to a planning task under non-determinism.
    Found 1 month, 1 week ago on Thomas Bolander's site
  29. 3681441.071318
    In “Value Ascriptions: Rethinking Cognitivism,” Sigrún Svavarsdóttir offers a novel account of the semantic function of evaluative predication, according to which such predicates function as “linguistically encoded classificatory devices.” This short paper raises three questions about Svavarsdóttir’s account: how it relates to familiar sorts of projects in and about semantics, how to understand the nature of “linguistic encoding,” and how to understand the significance of the account’s central use of sets.
    Found 1 month, 1 week ago on Tristram McPherson's site
  30. 3692686.071338
    returned from London… The concept of a test’s power is still being corrupted in the myriad ways discussed in 5.5, 5.6. I’m excerpting all of Tour II of Excursion 5, as I did with Tour I (of Statistical Inference as Severe Testing:How to Get Beyond the Statistics Wars 2018, CUP)*. …
    Found 1 month, 1 week ago on D. G. Mayo's blog