Lewis on accommodation and representation de re (Gary Ostertag)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on March 6th from 4:15-6:15 (NY time) in-person at the Graduate Center (Room 9206) for a talk by Gary Ostertag (CUNY/Mount Sinai).

Title: Lewis on accommodation and representation de re

Abstract: Recall Lumpl, the lump of clay out of which the statue Goliath is fashioned. While (1) ‘Lumpl could have survived a squashing’ is true, (2) ‘Goliath could have survived a squashing’ is false, it being after all essential to Goliath, but not to Lumpl, that it be a statue. We have here an example of what David Lewis (1986) called “the inconstancy of representation de re”. For Lewis, the inconstancy does not amount to inconsistency, but rather points to the context-sensitivity of de re modal predication: (1) and (2) make implicit, context-sensitive reference to different counterpart relations. Once we recognize this, Lewisians argue, it becomes clear how our intuitive truth-conditional judgments are fully consistent. As I show, however, the conversational rule that triggers the implicit reference not only fails to license the reference shift, it effectively prohibits it. The upshot is that counterpart theory is deprived of a central motivation.

Spring 2023 Schedule

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will be meeting on Mondays from 4:15 to 6:15 (NY time) unless otherwise indicated. Talks will be in-person only at the CUNY Graduate Center. The provisional schedule is as follows:

Feb 27. Lionel Shapiro (UConn), Room 9205

Mar 6. Gary Ostertag (CUNY/Mount Sinai), Room 9206

Mar 13. Melvin Fitting (CUNY), Room 9205

Mar 20. Shawn Simpson (Pitt), Room 9205

Mar 27. Gregory Taylor (CUNY), Room 9205

Apr 3. Thomas Ferguson (Czech Academy of Sciences), Room 9205

Apr 10. Bradley Armour-Garb (SUNY Albany), Room 9205 Meeting Cancelled

Apr 17. Branden Fitelson (Northeastern), Room 9205

Apr 24. Andrea Iacona (Turin), Room 9205

May 1. Samara Burns (Columbia), Room 9205

May 10. SPECIAL WEDNESDAY SESSION (9:00-4:00). Mark Colyvan (Sydney), Heinrich Wansing (Bochum), and Daniel Skurt (Bochum), Room 9100 (Kelly Skylight Room)

May 15. Maciej Sendłak (Warsaw), Room 9206