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Semantic Relationism and the Relationist View of Proposition (Byeong-uk Yi)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on December 10th from 4:15-6:15 in room 6494 of the CUNY Graduate Center for a talk by Byeong-uk Yi (Toronto).

Title: Semantic Relationism and the Relational View of Proposition

Abstract: In Semantic Relationism, Kit Fine proposes semantic relationism, the view that semantic relationship among linguistic expressions is not reducible to their intrinsic semantic features, and combines this view with referentialism, the view that intrinsic semantic features of linguistic expressions are exhausted by their referents.  In this talk, I will point out some difficulties with his account and present a way to overcome them by taking a thorough version of semantic relationism.

Methodology for the Metaphysics of Pregnancy (Suki Finn)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on December 3rd from 4:15-6:15 in room 6494 of the CUNY Graduate Center for a talk by Suki Finn (Southampton).

Title: Methodology for the Metaphysics of Pregnancy

Abstract: One of the central questions in the metaphysics of pregnancy is this: Is the foetus a part of the mother? In this paper I seek not to answer this question, but rather to raise methodological concerns regarding how to approach answering it. Given the parthood relationship in question, should we be looking to mereology? Or given the biological entities in question, should we be looking to the philosophy of science, or even to biology itself? I will outline how these and various other candidate domains of enquiry attempt to answer whether the foetus is a part of the mother, in order to demonstrate the methodological problems that each approach faces. In moving forward, my positive suggestion will be that we embrace a form of pluralism, and from within each domain adopt a method of reflective equilibrium. The aim of this is to ensure that pregnancy be included in the tribunal of experience to which our theories are held up against, such that our theories will accommodate what we say about pregnancy, whilst also ensuring that what we say about pregnancy will be theoretically informed.

Fatalism and the Logic of Unconditionals (Justin Bledin)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on November 26th from 4:15-6:15 in room 6494 of the CUNY Graduate Center for a talk by Justin Bledin (Johns Hopkins).

Title: Fatalism and the Logic of Unconditionals

Abstract: In this talk, I consider a variant of the ancient Idle Argument involving so-called “unconditionals” with interrogative antecedents. This new Idle Argument provides an ideal setting for probing the logic of these close relatives of “if”-conditionals, which has been comparatively underexplored. In the course of refuting the argument, I argue that contrary to received wisdom, many unconditionals do not entail their main clauses, yet modus ponens is still unrestrictedly valid for this class of expressions. I make these lessons precise in a formal system drawing on recent work in inquisitive semantics. My larger aim is to challenge standard truth preservation accounts of logic and deductive argumentation.

A Multimodal Interpretation of Descartes’ Creation Doctrine (Andrew Tedder)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on November 19th from 4:15-6:15 in room 6494 of the CUNY Graduate Center for a talk by Andrew Tedder (UConn).

Title: A Multimodal Interpretation of Descartes’ Creation Doctrine

Abstract: Descartes’ doctrine of the creation of eternal truths seems to claim that there is a class of necessary truths which are, nevertheless, possibly false. In short, these are truths concerning the essences of created things, and so are necessary: yet God, having full voluntary control over the creation of said essences as part of his voluntary control over creation in general, could have failed to create some essences or created them otherwise than he did. This leads to a famous difficulty in interpreting Descartes modal metaphysics. In this talk, I develop an interpretation according to which Descartes countenances two modalities, one constrained by the actual essences God creates (inner modalities), and the other not so constrained (outer modalities). I present some textual evidence to support this reading and develop a model theory capturing the logical behaviour of the modalities.

Openness and Indeterminacy (Amy Seymour)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on November 12th from 4:15-6:15 in room 6494 of the CUNY Graduate Center for a talk by Amy Seymour (Fordham).

Title: Openness and Indeterminacy

AbstractThere are competing accounts of the openness of the future, which are structurally similar to competing analyses of ‘can’ and ‘able to do otherwise’. I argue metaphysical openness regarding the future requires the rejection of the commonly assumed tense logic axiom of Kt, (HF): p → HFp. (That is: If p, then it has always been the case that it will be that p). This account of openness both captures the core intuitions in the open future debates and is isomorphic to the libertarian’s account of the ability to do otherwise. Rejecting this axiom does not require a rejection of bivalence. However, a common assumption is that metaphysical future openness requires at least some kind of ontic vagueness. Otherwise, there would be no way to properly account for claims about what the future might hold. I argue this assumption is false: While indeterminism is a necessary feature of the account, indeterminism does not require indeterminacy.