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Singular existentials and three different kinds of negation (Dolf Rami)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on December 13th from 4:15-6:15 (NY time) via Zoom for a talk by Dolf Rami (Bochum).

Title: Singular existentials and three different kinds of negation

Abstract: In this paper, I will argue for a new semantic analysis of (i) singular existential and (ii) atomic sentences to be able to cover three possible types of negation of them. Firstly, I will show that all three negations of sentences of kind (i) are equivalent if we make use of referring or non-referring names, while on the other hand the three negations of sentences of kind (ii) have several non-equivalent readings if non- referring names are used. Secondly, I will review the partial solutions to our problem given by Russell, Quine and Sainsbury and show in how far they fail. Thirdly, I will propose an alternative solution based on a semantics outlined in Rami (2020). Finally, I will show that we must distinguish two types of negation and that a unification in both directions fails.

Every Logic has its Proper Semantics (Diderik Batens)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on December 6th from 4:15-6:15 (NY time) via Zoom for a talk by Diderik Batens (Ghent).

Title: Every Logic has its Proper Semantics

Abstract: Many logics are sound and complete with respect to a multiplicity of semantic systems. These assign different sets of models to the logic. It will be shown that a series of problems result if all these semantic systems are on a par. I shall present a method to define a unique ‘proper’ semantics for the members of a huge class of logics, containing all usual deductive logics, and argue (i) that the proper semantics is defined in terms of syntactic criteria and so depends fully on the logic, (ii) that there are philosophical arguments to consider a logic’s proper semantics as natural, for example it correctly describes the ‘situations’ that are possible according to the logic. This solves the problems mentioned previously. Implications for the discussion on inferentialism are obvious. For some logics, the proper semantics coincides with the Henkin semantics. For other logics L, the proper semantics counts more models than the Henkin semantics: moreover, not all Henkin models are maximally L-non-trivial. A small change to the Henkin method has the effect that, for every logic L, the Henkin semantics coincides with the proper semantics.

Dualism About Generality (Martin Pleitz)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on November 29th from 4:15-6:15 (NY time) via Zoom for a talk by Martin Pleitz (Münster).

Title: Dualism about Generality

Abstract: In my talk I will motivate, outline, and apply a variant of first order predicate logic that can distinguish between two kinds of generality, which I call objectual generality and conceptual generality. To see the difference, compare the two general statements ‘Every human is a featherless biped’ and ‘Every human is a rational animal’. On a charitable understanding, the first sentence is about all humans past and present, as a subcollection of all particular objects currently accessible to us, while the second sentence is not about any particular object at all, but about the interaction of the concepts of being human and being a rational animal. Historically, the quantified sentences of predicate logic have been understood in either of the two ways. Frege understood them as expressing conceptual generalities; hence it was natural for him to call his predicate logic a “Concept Script”. Today, they are usually understood as objectual generalities, manifest both in the idea that a quantified sentence is like a conjunction (or disjunction) of its instances and in the current model theoretic orientation in semantics. But as we can find ourselves in a situation where we want to talk about both kinds of generality (and their interaction), it is worthwhile to develop the resources to express them within a single system. I will outline such a system that results from adding a second pair of quantifiers to regular first order predicate logic, and sketch applications to the notion of analyticity, natural kind predicates, and the ontological argument.

Similarity through indistinguishability: the geodesic reasoning on Kripke models (Konstantinos Georgatos)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on November 22nd from 4:15-6:15 (NY time) via Zoom for a talk by Konstantinos Georgatos (John Jay).

Title: Similarity through indistinguishability: the geodesic reasoning on Kripke models

Abstract: Several logical operators, such as conditionals, revision, and merge, are often understood through the selection of most similar worlds. In applications, similarity is expressed with distance and “most similar” translates to “closest” using a distance metric. We shall argue that similarity may arise through an indistinguishability relation between possible worlds and employ the geodesic distance of such a model to measure closeness. This understanding allows us to define a variety of operators that correspond to merging and revising. I will present a few systems and representation results and will show that revision, merging, and conditioning are interdefinable thus, in effect, satisfying the Ramsey test.