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Existence, Verbal Disputes and Equivocation (Alessandro Rossi)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on September 23rd from 4:15-6:15 in room 7314 of the CUNY Graduate Center for a talk by Alessandro Rossi (St Andrews).

Title: Existence, Verbal Disputes and Equivocation

Abstract: Noneism is the theory according to which some things do not exist. Following an established convention, I will call allism the negation of noneism (every thing exists). Lewis [1990] and, more recently, Woodward [2013] argued that the allism/noneism dispute turns on an equivocation about the meaning of ‘exists’ and would thereby be merely verbal. These arguments have been attacked by Priest [2005, 2011, 2013], who took the dispute to be genuine. In this paper, I will present two new arguments for the genuineness of the allism/noneism dispute. The first appeals to a recent version of logical pluralism defended by Kouri Kissel [Forth]: the two parties could be seen as engaging in a metalinguistic negotiation, that is, a normative disagreement about which meaning of ‘exists’ is best suited for a certain domain of discourse. Secondly, Williamson [1987] indicated a proof-theoretic criterion the two sides should meet in order for their dispute to count as genuine: they must share enough rules of inference governing ‘exist’ to characterise it up to logical equivalence. This challenge, I argue, can be met.

 

Anti-Exceptionalism and Explanations in Logic (Ole Hjortland and Ben Martin)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on September 16th from 4:15-6:15 in room 7314 of the CUNY Graduate Center for a talk by Ole Hjortland and Ben Martin (Bergen).

Title: Anti-Exceptionalism and Explanations in Logic

Abstract: According to logical anti-exceptionalism we come to be justified in believing logical theories by similar means to scientific theories. This is often explained by saying that theory choice in logic proceeds via abductive arguments (Priest, Russell, Williamson, Hjortland). Thus, the success of classical and non-classical theories of validity are compared by their ability to explain the relevant data. However, as of yet there is no agreed upon account of which data logical theories must explain, and subsequently how they prove their mettle. In this paper, we provide a non-causal account of logical explanation, and show how it can accommodate important disputes about logic.

 

Temporal ‘de re’ Attitudes (Yael Sharvit)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on September 9th from 4:15-6:15 in room 7314 of the CUNY Graduate Center for a talk by Yael Sharvit (UCLA).

Title: Temporal ‘de re’ Attitudes

Abstract: A sensible approach to the semantics of tense says that present tense and past tense “refer” to the evaluation time and to some pre-evaluation time, respectively. Indeed, this seems to be the case in unembedded sentences (e.g., Mary is thirty-five, Mary was thirty-five). But embedded tenses seem to misbehave: (1) does not express the proposition that two months prior to s* (= the speech time) Joseph was sure about the truth of [Mary is currently thirty-five]; this proposition is expressed by (2). Assuming that tenses are indexical expressions does not automatically solve the problem, since (1) does not express the proposition that two months prior to s* Joseph was sure about the truth of [Mary will be thirty-five at s*] either; that proposition is expressed by (3). (In addition, (2) does not express the proposition that two months prior to s* Joseph was sure about the truth of [Mary will be thirty-five at some s** < s*].) In fact, (1) roughly expresses the proposition that two months prior to s* Joseph was sure about the truth of [Mary is currently thirty-five and will still be thirty-five at s*] (Smith (1978), Enc (1987)). Indeed, unlike (1), (1′) is usually quite odd (presumably because most speakers presuppose that, like them, Joseph can accept that Mary is thirty-five for a period of two – sometimes even twelve – months, but not that she is thirty-five for a period of twenty months). To explain why the embedded past in (2) “refers” to the embedded evaluation time, and why the embedded present in (1)/(1’) “refers” to a time much larger than that, we assume, with Abusch (1997), that these embedded tenses are indexical expressions governed by general constraints on ‘de re’ attitude reports, including – crucially – the Upper Limit Constraint. Expanding on Abusch (1997) and Percus (2013), we derive the Upper Limit Constraint itself from general principles as well.

(1) Two months ago, Joseph was sure that Mary is thirty-five.
(2) Two months ago, Joseph was sure that Mary was thirty-five.
(3) Two months ago, Joseph was sure that Mary would now be thirty-five.
(1′)  Twenty months ago, Joseph was sure that Mary is thirty-five.

 

Fall 2019 Schedule

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will be meeting on Mondays from 4:15 to 6:15 in room 7314 of the Graduate Center, CUNY (365 5th Avenue). The provisional schedule is as follows:

Sep 2. GC CLOSED. NO MEETING

Sep 9. Yael Sharvit, UCLA

Sep 16. Ole Hjortland and Ben Martin, Bergen

Sep 23. Alessandro Rossi, St Andrews

Sept 30. GC CLOSED. NO MEETING

Oct 7. Dongwoo Kim, CUNY

Oct 14. GC CLOSED. NO MEETING

Oct 21. Rohit Parikh, CUNY

Oct 28. Barbara Montero, CUNY

Nov 4. Sergei Artemov, CUNY

Nov 11. Martin Pleitz, Muenster

Nov 18. Matias Bulnes, CUNY

Nov 25. Vincent Peluce, CUNY

Dec 2. Jessica Wilson, Toronto

Dec 9. Mark Colyvan, Sydney

Dec 16. TBA

The Perception of Time in Intuitionistic Arithmetic (Vincent Peluce)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on May 20th from 4:15-6:15 in room 7314 of the CUNY Graduate Center for a talk by Vincent Peluce (CUNY).

Title: The Perception of Time in Intuitionistic Arithmetic

AbstractIn L.E.J. Brouwer’s first act of intuitionism, the subject’s perception of time is put forth as the foundation on which arithmetic will be built. According to Brouwer, proper intuitionistic arithmetic, as with the rest of intuitionistic mathematics, is not tied to any particular formal system. When we try to axiomatically approximate an intuitionistic arithmetical system, we are faced with the problem of incorporating the subject and their perception into the axiom system itself. We discuss some unsatisfactory responses to this problem and then offer a solution.

Composition as Identity: A New Approach (Martina Botti)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on May 13th from 4:15-6:15 in room 7314 of the CUNY Graduate Center for a talk by Martina Botti (Columbia).

Title: Composition as Identity: A New Approach

AbstractI argue that the debate on composition as identity – the thesis that any composite object is identical to its parts – is deadlocked because both the defenders and the detractors of the claim have so far defended and criticized respectively something that is not composition as identity. After having made clear how composition as identity should properly be understood, I will set forth a new strategy to defend it. 

No Metaphysical Disagreement Without Logical Incompatibility (Daniel Durante)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on May 6th from 4:15-6:15 in room 7314 of the CUNY Graduate Center for a talk by Daniel Durante (Natal).

Title: No Metaphysical Disagreement Without Logical Incompatibility

Abstract: The purpose of this talk is to defend the logical incompatibility of the opposing views as a criterion for characterizing disagreements as genuinely metaphysical. That is, I intend to argue that a specific dispute is a metaphysical disagreement only when the conflicting views are governed by different logics. If correct, this criterion would not only help to separate merely verbal from genuine metaphysical debates, but it also would ground an argument against deflationism, guaranteeing the substantiality and relevance of metaphysics. I intend to clarify the criterion, to present its basic foundations and commitments, to give some logical and metaphysical motivations for its adoption and some examples of its application.

A Mechanistic Conception of Metaphysical Grounding (Tommy Kivatinos)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on April 29th from 4:15-6:15 in room 7314 of the CUNY Graduate Center for a talk by Tommy Kivatinos (CUNY).

Title: A Mechanistic Conception of Metaphysical Grounding

Abstract: A dominant theoretical framework in philosophy of science employs the notion of mechanistic dependence to elucidate how higher-level, less fundamental phenomena depend upon and arise out of lower-level, more fundamental phenomena. To elucidate the same thing, literature in metaphysics employs the notion of grounding. As I argue, regardless of whether the notion of mechanistic dependence or the notion of grounding is used to theoretically portray how higher-level phenomena arise out of lower-level phenomena, what is captured by such portrayals is the same. Thus, these notions pick out the same features of the world. With this as my basis, I identify the notion of grounding with the notion of mechanistic dependence, and thus, construct a mechanistic conception of grounding. Since mechanistic dependence is understood in terms of mechanisms, my conception frames grounding in terms of mechanisms. Moreover, the contemporary notion of mechanisms is shaped by how mechanisms are represented via the mechanistic models and mechanistic explanations provided by science. Thus, because my conception grounding identifies grounding with mechanistic dependence and thereby frames grounding in terms of mechanisms, this conception suggests that the notion of grounding is to be tailored to and constrained by the mechanistic models and mechanistic explanations provided by science. This leads the mechanistic conception of grounding to reject a wide variety of conventional claims about grounding, and thus, to offer a treatment of grounding that is highly revisionary. To reinforce the plausibility of the mechanistic conception of grounding, I discuss how grounding and mechanistic dependence are associated with explanation. Whereas mechanistic dependence is associated with mechanistic explanation, grounding is associated with grounding explanation. For each kind of explanation, some higher-level phenomenon P is explained by appeal to some low-level phenomenon that Parises out of. As I argue, these forms of explanation can be plausibly identified. This greatly supports the mechanistic conception of grounding. For if grounding explanations employ the notion of grounding and mechanistic explanations employ the notion of mechanistic explanation, and these forms of explanation can be identified, this suggests that these explanations employ the same notion. And, just as the notions of grounding and mechanistic dependence capture the same connection between higher-level and lower-level phenomena, grounding explanation and mechanistic explanation do so as well. Finally, to argue that the mechanistic conception is to be preferred to standard conceptions, I argue that my conception offers a powerful defense of grounding from recent criticisms.

Structural Counterfactuals and the Importation Problem (Jenn McDonald)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on April 15th from 4:15-6:15 in room 7314 of the CUNY Graduate Center for a talk by Jenn McDonald (CUNY).

Title: Structural Counterfactuals and the Importation Problem

Abstract: Structural causal models lend themselves to an analysis of counterfactuals – a structural semantics of counterfactuals. The basic idea is that a causal model allows for the clear and precise evaluation of any counterfactual encoded by it. Many argue that a structural semantics is superior to a more traditional similarity semantics, in part due to the latter’s independence from any notion of similarity(Galles & Pearl, 1998; Gallow, 2016; Hiddleston, 2005; Hitchcock, 2018; Pearl, 2000; Starr, 2019). I argue, though, that this is too quick. A similarity semantics employs the notion of similarity to answer what Priest (2018) calls the importation problem– the question of what information is to be held fixed in a counterfactual evaluation. I argue that where similarity semantics relies on an unarticulated notion of similarity, a structural semantics relies on an unarticulated notion of aptness. The superiority of structural semantics depends on its ability to deliver on a principled guide to determining which model(s) is apt. In this talk I go some way towards providing this guide.

 

What does it mean that Contradiction is the Norm of Truth? (Elena Ficara)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on April 1st from 4:15-6:15 in room 7314 of the CUNY Graduate Center for a talk by Elena Ficara (Paderborn).

Title: What does it mean that Contradiction is the Norm of Truth?

Abstract: In my talk I argue for the thesis CT: contradiction is the norm of truth, and ask about its relevance for contemporary philosophical logic. I first present three positions in the history of philosophy that have advocated some versions of CT, namely Plato’s idea of the “dialectical gymnastics” in the Parmenides (Plato, Parmenides 136 B-E), Aristotle’s notion of dialectics in the Topics (Aristotle, Topics I, 2-3) and Metaphysics (Aristotle, Met III 1, 995 a 24-29), and Hegel’s contradictio est regula veri (Hegel Werke 2, 533), then derive from them some answers to the questions:

What is meant by “contradiction” in CT?

What is meant by “truth” in CT?

What is meant by “norm” in CT?

I will show that to examine the meaning of CT in historical perspective is useful to understand the seeds of genuine glut theories.