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Is There an Absolute Modality? (Antonella Mallozzi)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on March 9th from 4:15-6:15 in room 7395 of the CUNY Graduate Center for a talk by Antonella Mallozzi (Providence College).

Title: Is There an Absolute Modality?

Abstract: Modality seems distinctively pluralistic: there are many kinds of possibility and necessity (logical, physical, metaphysical, normative, etc.), which seem significantly different from one another. However, the various modalities also seem to have much in common–perhaps simply in virtue of being kinds of modality. Should we suppose that there is some fundamental modality, one to which all the other modalities can be somehow reducedModal Monism says yes. Particularly, monists may treat the different modalities as relative to some absolute modality. However, Monism, reductionism, and absolute modality need not be a package. Specifically, the claim that some modality is absolute can be understood in ways which are independent of Monism and reductionism. In this talk, I raise concerns for monistic and reductionist programs in modal metaphysics, while also arguing that the notion of absolute modality is ambiguous. Depending on the framework, it means different things and captures quite different desiderata. After exploring several ways of disambiguating  it, I suggest that while we possess and deploy a concept of absolute modality, that may be empty; or, otherwise put, no modal truth has the property of being “absolute”. I propose a pluralistic picture that still treats the different modalities as relative, while avoiding both absolute modality and reductionism. Importantly, the proposal won’t impact the philosophical significance of metaphysical modality.

 

The Statistical Nature of Causation (David Papineau)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on March 16th from 4:15-6:15 in room 7395 of the CUNY Graduate Center for a talk by David Papineau (CUNY).

Following guidance from CUNY concerning the coronavirus, this event has been cancelled.

Title: The Statistical Nature of Causation

Abstract: For over a hundred years econometricians, epidemiologists, educational sociologists and other non-experimental scientists have used asymmetric correlational patterns to infer directed causal structures. It is odd, to say the least, that no philosophical theories of causation cast any light on why these techniques work. Why do the directed causal structures line up with the asymmetric correlational patterns? Judea Pearl says that the correspondence is a “gift from the gods”. Metaphysics owes us a better answer. I shall attempt to sketch the outline of one.

Deductive Systems with Unified Multiple-Conclusion Rules (Alex Citkin)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on March 2nd from 4:15-6:15 in room 7395 of the CUNY Graduate Center for a talk by Alex Citkin (Metropolitan Telecommunications).

Title: Deductive Systems with Unified Multiple-Conclusion Rules

Abstract: Some people fight for the rights of animals, I am fighting for the rights of rejected propositions. Following the approach suggested by Brentano and accepted and developed by Lukasiewicz, I study the deductive systems that treat asserted and rejected propositions equally, in the same way. By “statement,” we understand the expressions of form +A – “A being asserted”, and -A$ – “A being rejected”, where A is a proposition. Accordingly, by a “unified logic,” we understand a consequence relation between sets of statements and statements. We introduce the unified deductive systems which can be used to define the unified logics. Unified deductive system consists of axioms, anti-axioms, and the multiple conclusion inference rules which premises and conclusions are the statements rather than the propositions. In particular, we study the deductive systems that contain the coherency rule, which means that one cannot assert and reject the same proposition at the same time, and the fullness rule, which means that each proposition is either asserted or rejected. Inclusion of these rules though does not enforce the law of excluded middle, or the law of non-contradiction on the propositional level.

A Truthmaker Semantics for Modal Logics (Dongwoo Kim)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on February 24th from 4:15-6:15 in room 7395 of the CUNY Graduate Center for a talk by Dongwoo Kim (CUNY).

Title: A Truthmaker Semantics for Modal Logics

Abstract: This paper attempts to provide an exact truthmaker semantics for a family of normal modal propositional logic. The new semantics can be regarded as an “exactification” of the Kripke semantics in the sense of Fine (2014). For it offers an account of the accessibility relation on worlds in terms of the banning and allowing relations on states. The main idea is that an exact truthmaker for “Necessarily P” is a state that bans the exact falsifiers of P from obtaining, and an exact truthmaker for “Possibly P” is a state that allows the exact verifiers of P to obtain.

The Power of Naive Truth (Hartry Field)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on February 3rd from 4:15-6:15 in room 7395 of the CUNY Graduate Center for a talk by Hartry Field (NYU).

Title: The Power of Naive Truth

Abstract: While non-classical theories of truth that take truth to be transparent have some obvious advantages over any classical theory that evidently must take it as non-transparent, several authors have recently argued that there’s also a big disadvantage of non-classical theories as compared to their “external” classical counterparts: proof-theoretic strength. Some of them have concluded that this gives a decisive advantage to classical logic theories.  Williamson has argued this too. While conceding the relevance of proof-theoretic strength to the choice of logic, I will argue that there is a natural way to beef up extant internal theories so as to remove their proof-theoretic disadvantage. Given this, the resulting internal theories should seem preferable to their external counterparts.

A Deontic Logic for Two Paradoxes of Deontic Modality (Melissa Fusco, joint work with Arc Kocurek)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on February 10th from 4:15-6:15 in room 7395 of the CUNY Graduate Center for a talk by Melissa Fusco (Columbia).

Title: A Deontic Logic for Two Paradoxes of Deontic Modality

Abstract: In this paper, we take steps towards axiomatizing the two dimensional deontic logic in Fusco (2015), which validates a form of free choice permission (von Wright 1969, Kamp 1973; (1) below) and witnesses the nonentailment known as Ross’s Puzzle (Ross 1941; (2) below).

(1) You may have an apple or a pear ⇒ You may have an apple, and you may have a pear.

(2) You ought to post the letter = ̸⇒ You ought to post the letter or burn it.

Since <>(p or q) = (<>p ∨ <>q) and [ ](p) ⇒ [ ](p ∨ q) are valid in any normal modal logic – including standard deontic logic – the negations of (1)-(2) are entrenched in modal proof systems. To reverse them without explosion will entail excavating the foundations of the propositional tautologies. The resulting system pursues the intuition that classical tautologies involving disjunctions are truths of meaning, rather than propositional necessities. This marks a departure from the commitments the propositional fragment of a modal proof system is standardly taken to embody.

Note: This is joint work with Arc Kocurek (Cornell).

Spring 2020 Schedule

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will be meeting on Mondays from 4:15 to 6:15 in room 7395 of the Graduate Center, CUNY (365 5th Avenue). The provisional schedule is as follows (* indicates a change):

Feb 3. Hartry Field, NYU

Feb 10. Melissa Fusco, Columbia

Feb 17. NO MEETING (GC CLOSED)

Feb 24. Dongwoo Kim, GC (CUNY)

Mar 2. Alex Citkin, Metropolitan Telecommunications

Mar 9. Antonella Mallozzi, Providence College

Mar 16. David Papineau, GC (CUNY)*

Mar 23. Jenn McDonald, GC (CUNY)

Mar 30. Mircea Dimitru, Bucharest*

Apr 6. Eoin Moore, GC (CUNY)

Apr 13. SPRING RECESS (NO MEETING)

Apr 20. Michał Godziszewski, Munich

Apr 27. Michael Glanzberg, Rutgers

May 4. Matteo Zichetti, Bristol

May 11. Lisa Warenski, GC (CUNY)

May 18. PROBABLY NO MEETING