This chapter overviews recent work on the semantics and pragmatics of arguments. In natural languages, arguments are conventionally associated with particular grammatical constructions, such as: (1) a. P1, . . . , Pn. Therefore, C; b. Suppose P1, . . . , Pn. Then, C. These constructions involve argument words such as ‘therefore’, ‘thus’, ‘so, ‘hence’ and ‘then’ — entailment words (cf. Brasoveanu (2007)) or, as I will call them, following Beaver 2001, pp. 209, argument connectives — which are used in natural languages to signal the presence of arguments. It is, therefore, natural to study the speech act of giving an argument by looking at semantics and pragmatics of argument connectives.
While ‘most’ and ‘more than half’ are generally assumed to be truth-conditionally equivalent, the former is usually interpreted as conveying greater proportions than the latter. Previous work has attempted to explain this difference in terms of pragmatic strengthening or variation in meanings. In this paper, we propose a novel explanation that keeps the truth-conditions equivalence. We argue that the difference in typical sets between the two expressions emerges as a result of two previously independently motivated mechanisms. First, the two expressions have different sets of pragmatic alternatives. Second, listeners tend to minimize the expected distance between their representation of the world and the speaker’s observation. We support this explanation with a computational model of usage in the Rational Speech Act framework. Moreover, we report the results of a quantifier production experiment. We find that the difference in typical proportions associated with the two expressions can be explained by our account.
multimethod experiments (total N ⫽ 4,065 participants) investigated the nature of perceiving sexual harassment by testing whether perceptions of sexual harassment and its impact are facilitated when harassing behaviors target those who fit with the prototype of women (e.g., those who have feminine features, interests, and characteristics) relative to those who fit less well with this prototype. Studies A1–A5 demonstrate that participants’ mental representation of sexual harassment targets overlapped with the prototypes of women as assessed through participant-generated drawings, face selection tasks, reverse correlation, and self-report measures. In Studies B1–B4, participants were less likely to label incidents as sexual harassment when they targeted nonprototypical women compared with prototypical women. In Studies C1 and C2, participants perceived sexual harassment claims to be less credible and the harassment itself to be less psychologically harmful when the victims were nonprototypical women rather than prototypical women. This research offers theoretical and methodological advances to the study of sexual harassment through social cognition and prototypicality perspectives, and it has implications for harassment reporting and litigation as well as the realization of fundamental civil rights. For materials, data, and preregistrations of all studies, see https://osf.io/xehu9/.
of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus should reconsider their equation of “throwing away the ladder” with the “end of philosophy.” To do this, I will show that an inconsistency arises in Wittgenstein’s view regarding the relationship of philosophy and science since he associates “the correct method of philosophy” with the propositions of science at the end of the aforementioned text. Due to this, I will maintain that it is reasonable to posit that the sharp distinction that Wittgenstein makes between philosophy and science in the Tractatus is merely illusory. An interesting consequence of this is that if this interpretation holds then this provides sufficient grounds to maintain that what some scholars refer to as “the end of philosophy” may actually be the beginning of “Wittgenstein’s naturalism.”
In this paper, I assess recent Stalnakerian views of communication in moral and normative domains. These views model context updates with normative claims. They also aim to explain how people disagree when they follow different norms or values. I present four problems for these Stalnakerian views. I conclude that the problems require a new conception of how common ground relates to illocutionary force and attitude mode, which is still lacking.
Definite linguistic expressions, for example proper names and singular and plural pronouns, are easy to introduce. Indefinite expressions may pave the way, but are not essential. It is also not essential that there be entities to which the successfully introduced definites refer. This is the underlying fact that makes fiction possible, and it gives guidance about fictional names: we have no need in general to suppose that there exist entities to which they refer.
Problems about the existence of converses for non-symmetric relations go back to Russell 1903. These resurfaced in Fine 2000 and were recently rehearsed in MacBride 2014. In this paper, I focus one problem that is described in all three works. I show how object theory (Zalta 1983, 1993; Bueno, Menzel, & Zalta 2014, Menzel & Zalta2014) provides a solution to those problems.
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 actions. The complexity of many parameter combinations has been determined, but previous research left a few combinations as open problems. In this paper, we solve most of the remaining open problems by proving all of them to be fixed-parameter intractable. Only two parameter combinations are still left as open problem for future research.
We claim that the various sharpenings in a supervaluationist analysis are best understood as possible worlds in a Kripke structure. It’s not just that supervaluationism wishes to assert ¬(∀n)(if a man with n hairs on his head is bald then so is a man with n + 1 hairs on his head) while refusing to assert (∃n)(a man with n hairs on his head is bald but is a man with n + 1 hairs on his head is not) and that this refusal can be accomplished by a constructive logic (tho’ it can)—the point is that the obvious Kripke semantics for this endeavour has as its possible worlds precisely the sharpenings that supervaluationism postulates. Indeed the sharpenings do nothing else. The fit is too exact to be coincidence.
This chapter identifies and explains several primary functions of the fictional use of metalinguistic devices and considers some difficult cases. In particular, this chapter argues that when real persons are quoted in a storyworld they are ‘storified’ as near-real fictions. In cases of the misquotation of real persons, near-real fictions and near-real quotations must adequately exploit resemblances between the real and the fictional. This concludes with a discussion of the similarities between fictional and nonfictional uses of metalinguistic acts, and how they bear on our understanding of imagination and make-believe.
It is often presumed by those who use propositions in their theories that propositions are representational; that is, that propositions represent the world as being some way. This paper makes two claims against this presumption. First, it argues that it does not follow from the fact that propositions play the theoretical roles usually attributed to them that they are representational. This conclusion is reached by rebutting three arguments that can be made in support of the claim that propositions are representational. This paper then advances the further claim that propositions are not representational. It considers several ways to overcome the difficulties traditionally associated with this claim, particularly how to account for falsity.
In “Must …stay …strong!” (von Fintel and Gillies in Nat Lang Semant 18:351–383, 2010. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11050-010-9058-2), we set out to slay a dragon, or rather what we called The Mantra: that epistemic must has a modal force weaker than expected from standard modal logic, that it doesn’t entail its prejacent, and that the best explanation for the evidential feel of must is a pragmatic explanation. We argued that all three sub-mantras are wrong and offered an explanation according to which must is strong, entailing, and the felt indirectness is the product of an evidential presupposition carried by epistemic modals. Mantras being what they are, it is no surprise that each of the sub-mantras have been given new defenses. Here we offer them new problems and update our picture, concluding that must is (still) strong.
Philosophers commonly make claims about words or the concepts they are taken to express. Often the focus is on “ordinary” words (or concepts), although philosophers have also been concerned with technical terms. Sometimes engagement with concepts is the purpose of the research, as when a philosopher offers a conceptual analysis. Sometimes it serves as background, with philosophers laying out a concept in order to argue that it should be revised. And sometimes it is more instrumental, with conceptual issues arising while philosophers pursue non-conceptual questions.
Language is a tool of influence. Indeed, the history of political oratory shows that there is no better tool than language for its exertion—it is immensely powerful. Marc Antony’s speech turns Caesar’s funeral crowd into a frenzied mob; Donald Trump tweets and the stock market crashes. But the influence exerted through such speech is rarely innocent. Marc Antony does not induce a frenzy through rational persuasion. Trump does not incite crowds and terrify day-traders by arguing from premises to conclusions. Marc Antony and Trump—like countless others in both public discourse and private conversation—speak manipulatively, and it is exactly because their speech is manipulative that it has the power it does. Manipulative speech has the capacity to subvert our reason, undermine our agency, and work against our interests, and is standardly taken to be a core component of propaganda, which has the potential to do all three of these things on a massive scale.
Desires are contentful mental states. But what determines the content of a desire? Two different classic answers were proposed by Russell and by Wittgenstein, starting in the s. Russell proposed a behaviourist account according to which the content of the desire is fixed by the type of state that puts an end to the relevant kind of behaviour which was triggered by some initial discomfort. The desire’s content consists in its “satisfaction conditions”. Wittgenstein criticized such an account for neglecting the crucial point that the relation between a desire and its content is a conceptual, internal one, not an external contingent one. Desires specify their own contents, their “fulfillment conditions”. Even though there is a lot to say in favour of Wittgenstein’s criticism, this paper argues that Russell pointed at an important aspect of desires which plays a crucial role for accounts of self-knowledge of one’s own desires. It turns out fulfillment conditions and satisfaction conditions are tied together in rational self-knowledge of one’s own desires. In this sense, the views of Russell and Wittgenstein can be combined in a fruitful way.
The relation between language and thought has been central in many disciplines including philosophy, linguistics, psychology, anthropology, to mention just some. For the Ancient Greek thinkers, logos refers to both thought (specifically, ability of humans to think logically) and language, therefore a symmetry is projected in the relation of the two: the ability to think needs language to express thought. Moreover, for thinkers like Aristotle this relation is universal: thoughts do not vary according to language, but language is the universal vehicle for representing thought. For Plato, likewise, as lucidly expressed in Cratylus, objects have their essence (ousia) and the task of name-givers is to discover the essence and name accordingly. The Greek view is descriptive and representational: the thought and the world exist independent of language, and language serves to describe it. Language does not by itself create a reality, although in rhetoric and in sophistry the truth of sentences can be manipulated to exploit gaps in logic that can lead to flawed conclusions.
This paper proposes a new reductive theory of modality called the moodless theory of modality. This theory, and not modal realism, is the closest modal analogue of the tenseless theory of time. So if the tenseless theory is true, and the temporality–modality analogy is good, it is the moodless theory that follows. I also argue that the moodless theory considered on its own is better than modal realism: arguments often thought decisive against modal realism are weak against it.
In a famous passage from the Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein describes a pupil who has been learning to write out various sequences of numbers in response to orders such as “+1” (for the natural numbers) and “+2” (for the series 0, 2, 4, 6, 8…). He has shown himself competent for numbers up to 1000, but when we have him continue the “+2” sequence beyond 1000, he writes the numerals 1004, 1008, 1012. As Wittgenstein describes the case:
According to the resemblance account of ’what it’s like’ and similar constructions, a sentence such as ‘there is something it’s like to have a toothache’ means ‘there is something having a toothache resembles’. This account has proved controversial in the literature; some writers endorse it, many reject it. We show that this conflict is illusory. Drawing on the semantics of intensional transitive verbs, we show that there are two versions of the resemblance account, depending on whether ‘resembles’ is construed notionally or relationally. While well-known criticisms of the resemblance account undermine its relational version, they do not touch its notional version. On the contrary, the notional version is equivalent to various accounts usually interpreted as rivals to resemblance. We end by noting that this resolution of the controversy (a) explains why ‘like’, which is a comparative, appears in a construction that concerns the properties of events, and (b) removes any pressure to suppose that ‘like’ is ambiguous between a comparative and a non-comparative sense.
Conservatism in choice under uncertainty means that a status-quo is abandoned in favor of some alternative only if it is dominated. The standard model of conservative choice introduced by Bewley (2002) introduces multiple decision criteria, and calls the status quo dominated when all criteria agree that the alternative is better than the status quo. We consider the case when multiple criteria are used to evaluate the status quo and the alternative, but cannot be used to rank them. The alternative is chosen only if it is preferable to the status quo even when the first is evaluated according to the worst-case scenario, and the second according to the best-case scenario. The resulting model is one of obvious dominance, or twofold conservatism.
The identity theory of truth was influential in the formative years of
modern analytic philosophy, and has come to prominence again recently. Broadly speaking, it sees itself as a reaction against correspondence
theories of truth, which maintain that truth-bearers are made
true by facts. The identity theory maintains, against this, that
at least some truth-bearers are not made true by, but are
identical with, facts. The theory is normally applied not at
the level of declarative sentences, but to what such sentences
express. It is these items—or, again, some of them—that
are held to be identical with facts.
This is not the five minute argument version for Randall; it’s rather the full half hour version for Alice and Adam. Let’s abbreviate this proposition to ‘SCU’. That was Alice Vidrine’s suggestion. It’s pronounced scum or screw or perhaps skew. SCU crops up naturally in the analysis of NF from a category theoretic perspective. Consider the (conjectural) category of small sets and small maps, where ‘small’ means ‘strongly cantorian’, and a small map is a map whose every fibre is strongly cantorian. For this gadget to be a category we need a composition of small maps to be small and this is equivalent to SCU.
In this paper, I explore a range of existent and possible ameliorative semantic theories of gender terms: invariantism, according to which gender terms are not context-sensitive, contextualism, according to which the meaning of gender terms is established in the context of use, and relativism, according to which the meaning of gender terms is established in the context of assessment. I
In this paper, I present data involving the use of the Romanian slur “țigan”, consideration of which leads to the postulation of a sui-generis, irreducible type of use of slurs (“identificatory”). This type of use is potentially problematic for extant theories of slurs. In addition, together with other well-established uses (derogatory, appropriated etc.), it shows that there is more variation in the use of slurs than previously acknowledged. I explain this variation by construing slurs as polysemous. To implement this idea, I appeal to a rich-lexicon account of polysemy. I show how such a theory can be applied to slurs and discuss several important issues that arise.
Modal formulae express monadic second-order properties on Kripke frames, but in many important cases these have first-order equivalents. Computing such equivalents is important for both logical and computational reasons. On the other hand, canonicity of modal formulae is important, too, because it implies frame-completeness of logics axiomatized with canonical formulae.
We apply and extend the theory and methods of algorithmic correspondence theory for modal logics, developed over the past 20 years, to the language L? of relevance logics with respect to their standard Routley-Meyer relational semantics. We develop the non-deterministic algorithmic procedure PEARL for computing first-order equivalents of formulae of the language L?, in terms of that semantics.
This paper presents a semantic analysis of indirect speech reports. The analysis aims to explain a combination of two phenomena. Firstly, there are true utterances of sentences of the form α said that φ which are used to report an utterance u of a sentence wherein φ’s content is not u’s content. This implies that in uttering a single sentence, one can say several things. Secondly, when the complements of these reports (and indeed, these reports themselves) are placed in conjunctions, the conjunctions are typically infelicitous. I argue that this combination of phenomena can be explained if speech reports report (perhaps contingent) parts of the contents of the sentences reported.
Cognitive Propositions, Truth Functions, and the Tractatus It has been 141 years since, first Frege, but then Russell and Wittgenstein, put the metaphysics and epistemology of propositions at the center of philosophy of language, logic, mathematics, and mind. Whereas Frege gave us the first great system for understanding language and thought, his metaphysics and epistemology of propositions was unrealistically other-worldly. The same was true of the early Russell who, by 1912, had become dissatisfied with his inability to explain the intentionality of the abstract structures he had heretofore called “propositions” – which were at best artificial models of what we really assert, believe, and know. It was then that he was struck with the idea that what unites the elements of assertion, belief, and hypothesis, and gives them representational content are the minds of agents, without which neither truth nor falsity can be understood. Although this led him to the dead end that was his multiple relation theory of judgement, Wittgenstein was more successful in putting a human face on representational thought. The tractarian picture theory of propositions we use sentences to express was grounded in the use of linguistic and other artifacts to represent items in the world as being one way or another. Despite remaining submerged for nearly a century, this seminal idea has now been put in cognitive form and developed by several leading philosophers.
We draw attention to a series of implicit assumptions that have structured the debate about Frege’s Puzzle. Once these assumptions are made explicit, we rely on them to show that if one focuses exclusively on the issues raised by Frege cases, then one obtains a powerful consideration against a fine-grained conception of propositional-attitude content. In light of this consideration, a form of Russellianism about content becomes viable.
I think everyone with a PhD will agree: Oral qualifying exams are weird. Here's my theory about why they're weird and my suggestion for a fix. Let's start with the pragmatics of questions. There are lots of reasons to ask questions! …