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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Grice on Moore’s Paradox

Speranza

This is a contribution to a symposium on Annalisa Coliva's book _The Varieties of Self-Knowledge_. I present her notion of a "commitment" and how it is used in her treatment of Moore paradoxical assertions and thoughts (e.g., "I believe that it is raining, but it is not;" "It is raining but I do not believe that it is"). The final section notes the points of convergence between her constitutivism about self-knowledge of commitments, and the constitutivism from my book _Self-Reflection for the Opaque Mind_.

Quantificational Disimplicature

Speranza

I argue that absolutism, the view that absolutely unrestricted quantification is possible, is to blame for both the paradoxes that arise in naive set theory and variants of these paradoxes that arise in plural logic and in semantics. The solution is restrictivism, the view that absolutely unrestricted quantification is not possible.
It is generally thought that absolutism is true and that restrictivism is not only false, but inexpressible. As a result, the paradoxes are blamed, not on illicit quantification, but on the logical conception of set which motivates naive set theory. The accepted solution is to replace this with the iterative conception of set.
I show that this picture is doubly mistaken. After a close examination of the paradoxes in chapters 2--3, I argue in chapters 4 and 5 that it is possible to rescue naive set theory by restricting quantification over sets and that the resulting restrictivist set theory is expressible. In chapters 6 and 7, I argue that it is the iterative conception of set and the thesis of absolutism that should be rejected.

Griceian Uniformity Motivated

Speranza

Can rational communication proceed when interlocutors are uncertain which contents utterances contribute to discourse? An influential negative answer to this question is embodied in the Stalnakerian principle of uniformity, which requires speakers to produce only utterances that express the same content in every possibility treated as live for the purposes of the conversation. The principle of uniformity enjoys considerable intuitive plausibility and, moreover, seems to follow from platitudes about assertion; nevertheless, it has recently proven controversial. In what follows, I defend the principle by developing two arguments for it based on premises reflecting the central aims and assumptions of possibility-carving frameworks for modeling inquiry—that is, frameworks which describe the evolution of individuals’ attitudinal states in terms of set-theoretic operations defined over a domain of objects representing possibilities.

Demonstrative Implicatures

Speranza

Intentionalism about demonstratives is the view that the referent of a demonstrative is determined solely by the speaker's intentions. Intentionalists can disagree about the nature of these intentions, but are united in rejecting the relevance of other factors, such as the speaker's gestures, her gaze, and any facts about the addressee or the audience. In this paper, I formulate a particular version of this view, and I defend it against six objections, old and new.

Grice on Implicatural Preservation

Speranza

Richard Bradley offers a quick and convincing argument that no Boolean semantic theory for conditionals can validate a very natural principle concerning the relationship between cre- dences and conditionals. We argue that Bradley’s principle, Preservation, is, in fact, invalid; its appeal arises from the validity of a nearby, but distinct, principle, which we call Local Preservation, and which Boolean semantic theories can non-trivially validate.

Karttunen’s Pronlem and Grice’s Solution

Speranza

There is a difference between the conditions in which one can felicitously assert a ‘must’-claim versus those in which one can use the corresponding non-modal claim. But it is difficult to pin down just what this difference amounts to. And it is even harder to account for this difference, since assertions of 'Must ϕ' and assertions of ϕ alone seem to have the same basic goal: namely, coming to agreement that [[ϕ]] is true. In this paper I take on this puzzle, known as Karttunen’s Problem. I begin by arguing that a ‘must’-claim is felicitous only if there is a shared argument for its prejacent. I then argue that this generalization, which I call Support, can explain the more familiar generalization that ‘must’-claims are felicitous only if the speaker’s evidence for them is in some sense indirect. Finally, I sketch a pragmatic derivation of Suppor

Grice’s Day

Speranza


Two recent and influential papers, van Rooij 2007 and Lassiter 2012, propose solutions to the proviso problem that make central use of related notions of independence—qualitative in the first case, probabilistic in the second. We argue here that, if these solutions are to work, they must incorporate an implicit assumption about presupposition accommodation, namely that accommodation does not interfere with existing qualitative or probabilistic independencies. We show, however, that this assumption is implausible, as updating beliefs with conditional information does not in general preserve independencies. We conclude that the approach taken by van Rooij and Lassiter does not succeed in resolving the proviso problem.

Three-Dimensional Pragmatics

Speranza

Two-dimensional semantic theories distinguish between two different aspects, or ‘dimensions’, of the meaning of linguistic expressions. Many other theories identify the meaning of an expression with a dependency of its extension on the state of the world. (The extension of a sentence is its truth-value, and the extension of a sub-sentential expression … Continue reading Semantics, Two-Dimensional →

Anaphoric Disimplicature

Speranza

Anaphoric deflationism is a prosententialist account of the use of “true.” Prosentences are, for sentences, the equivalent of what pronouns are for nouns: as pronouns refer to previously introduced nouns, so prosentences like “that’s true” inherit their content from previously introduced sentences. This kind of deflationism concerning the use of “true” (especially in Brandom’s version) is an explanation in terms of anaphora; the prosentence depends anaphorically on the sentence providing its content. A relevant implication of this theory is that “true” is not understood as a predicate and that truth is not a property. Primitivism, defended by Frege, Moore, and Davidson, is associated with two ideas: (1) that truth is a primitive and central trait of our conceptual system and (2) that truth, as such, cannot be defined. This second claim can be called “negative primitivism,” and it especially points out the facts about the “indefinability” of truth generally advocated by primitivists. In what follows, a connection is established between the deflationist’s rejection of the predicate and of the property and facts (and primitivist ideas) about the indefinability of truth. This connection establishes a common framework to lend further explanatory power to both options. According to the resulting view, this indefinability can explain the appeal and soundness of a deflationist dismissal of predicates and properties dealing with truth.

Grice on helpfulness and cooperation

Speranza

We introduce a number of logics to reason about collective propositional attitudes that are defined by means of the majority rule. It is well known that majoritarian aggregation is subject to irrationality, as the results in social choice theory and judgment aggregation show. The proposed logics for modelling collective attitudes are based on a substructural propositional logic that allows for circumventing inconsistent outcomes. Individual and collective propositional attitudes, such as beliefs, desires, obligations, are then modelled by means of minimal modalities to ensure a number of basic principles. In this way, a viable consistent modelling of collective attitudes is obtained.

Grice on Mars

Speranza

Terence Horgan and Mark Timmons have written a number of articles where they use their Moral Twin Earth thought experiment to attack the new moral realism. The new moral realism is based on advances made in the philosophy of language that allows us to introduce synthetic definitions of moral terms. The Moral Twin Earth thought experiment relies in crucial ways on the use of intuitions. Specifically, it relies on the intuitions that were Earthers and Twin Earthers to meet, they would be able to have genuine moral disagreements. Horgan and Timmons rely on that intuition when they argue that the meaning of the relevant terms on Earth and Twin Earth must be the same. I will argue that we can accept that Earthers and Twin Earthers can have genuine moral disagreement while at the same time claim that the terms they use have different referents and so different semantic meaning. That is, having genuine disagreements does not require that the semantic meaning or the reference of the terms used in the debate being the same.

Mathematical Implicatures

Speranza

This essay uses a mental files theory of singular thought—a theory saying that singular thought about and reference to a particular object requires possession of a mental store of information taken to be about that object—to explain how we could have such thoughts about abstract mathematical objects. After showing why we should want an explanation of this I argue that none of three main contemporary mental files theories of singular thought—acquaintance theory, semantic instrumentalism, and semantic cognitivism—can give it. I argue for two claims intended to advance our understanding of singular thought about mathematical abstracta. First, that the conditions for possession of a file for an abstract mathematical object are the same as the conditions for possessing a file for an object perceived in the past—namely, that the agent retains information about the object. Thus insofar as we are able to have memory-based files for objects perceived in the past, we ought to be able to have files for abstract mathematical objects too. Second, at least one recently articulated condition on a file’s being a device for singular thought—that it be capable of surviving a certain kind of change in the information it contains—can be satisfied by files for abstract mathematical objects.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Grice on thisness

Speranza

Thisness Presentism outlines and defends a novel version of presentism, the view that only present entities exist and what is present really changes. Presentism is a view of time that captures a real and objective difference between what is past, present, and future, and which offers a model of reality that is dynamic and mutable, rather than static and immutable. The book advances a new defence of presentism by developing a novel ontology of thisness, combining insights about the nature of essence, the metaphysics of propositions, and the relationship between true propositions and the elements of reality that make them true, alongside insights about time itself. It shows how, by accepting an ontology of thisness, presentists can respond to a number of pressing challenges to presentism, including claims that presentism cannot account for true propositions about the past, and that it is inconsistent with the reality of temporal passage and the openness of the future. This is one of the only book-length defences of presentism. It will be of interest to students and scholars working on the debate about presentism in the philosophy of time, as well as those interested in the metaphysics of propositions and truth-making, more generally

Grice on “or” and “if”

Speranza

Disjunctive antecedent conditionals (DACs)—conditionals of the form if A or B, C—sometimes seem to entail both of their simplifications (if A, C; if B, C) and sometimes seem not to. I argue that this behavior reveals a genuine am- biguity in DACs. Along the way, I discuss a new observation about the role of focal stress in distinguishing the two interpretations of DACs. I propose a new theory, according to which the surface form of a DAC underdetermines its logical form: on one possible logical form, if A or B, C does entail both of its simplifications, while on the other, it does not.

Grice on internal realism

Speranza

As is well known, Putnam changed his philosophical position on a number of occasions throughout his career. In this paper, I reconsider the position of internal realism which Putnam defended from the mid-1970’s until around 1990. The paper opens with a discussion of the position that Putnam called “metaphysical realism”, since his internal realism emerged out of a critique of that position. The paper then briefly presents the internal realist view as one which involves an epistemic conception of truth, as well as an anti-realist metaphysical outlook on which objects depend on conceptual scheme. The paper then provides a survey of the key objections to internal realism which emerged in the ensuing debate with defenders of realism. The paper concludes with a brief consideration of the relevance of Putnam’s later adoption of a direct realist theory of perception with respect to the issue of realism.

The Fake Grice

Speranza

Since 2016, there has been an explosion of academic work and journalism that fixes its subject matter using the terms ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’. In this paper, I argue that this terminology is not up to scratch, and that academics and journalists ought to completely stop using the terms ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’. I set out three arguments for abandonment. First, that ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’ do not have stable public meanings, entailing that they are either nonsense, context-sensitive, or contested. Secondly, that these terms are unnecessary, because we already have a rich vocabulary for thinking about epistemic dysfunction. Thirdly, I observe that ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’ have propagandistic uses, meaning that using them legitimates anti-democratic propaganda, and runs the risk of smuggling bad ideology into conversations.


Grice on the alethic

Speranza

Anaphoric deflationism is a prosententialist account of the use of “true.” Prosentences are, for sentences, the equivalent of what pronouns are for nouns: as pronouns refer to previously introduced nouns, so prosentences like “that’s true” inherit their content from previously introduced sentences. This kind of deflationism concerning the use of “true” (especially in Brandom’s version) is an explanation in terms of anaphora; the prosentence depends anaphorically on the sentence providing its content. A relevant implication of this theory is that “true” is not understood as a predicate and that truth is not a property. Primitivism, defended by Frege, Moore, and Davidson, is associated with two ideas: (1) that truth is a primitive and central trait of our conceptual system and (2) that truth, as such, cannot be defined. This second claim can be called “negative primitivism,” and it especially points out the facts about the “indefinability” of truth generally advocated by primitivists. In what follows, a connection is established between the deflationist’s rejection of the predicate and of the property and facts (and primitivist ideas) about the indefinability of truth. This connection establishes a common framework to lend further explanatory power to both options. According to the resulting view, this indefinability can explain the appeal and soundness of a deflationist dismissal of predicates and properties dealing with truth.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The role of the philosophy of language in Grice's latitudinal and longitudinal unities of philosophy

Grice on Philosophy as, "like virtue," "entire"

Grice and Philosophy

How Grice Treated Non-Philosophers!

A checklist of philosophers citing Grice (and what Grice would say about the citations)

A checklist of Oxonian philosophers citing Grice (and Grice _knowing_ this)

A checklist of Grice's tuttees at St. John's

Grice on his tutor Hardie

Grice's Undergraduate Days

Grice's Philosophical Studies as a Lit. Hum. Student at Oxford

H. P. Grice, M. A. (Lit. Hum., Oxon.)

Grice's Influences

How Grice Preferred to Spell "Otto Jespersen"

Kantotle: Grice's Favourite Philosopher

Grice's Various Theories of Conversational Implicature: Grice 1961, Grice 1965, Grice 1967 -- and beyond -- why philosophers mainly stick with the William James 'humorous' version!

A subject index to Grice's publications and unpublications

A name index to Grice's publications and unpublications

An index to Grice's publications and unpublications

Grice on pirotology

Grice's Idea of Conversational Implicature

Grice: From Harborne to Oxford, via Clifton

Herbert Paul Grice and the Harborne School of Ordinary Language Philosophy: the other Herbert Grice

Grice The Cricketer

How to Un-Grice Your Griceianisms

Grice: In the tradition of Kantotle

Grice: Professional philosopher and amateur cricketer

Grice's third book, "Aspects of reason" -- The John Locke Lectures -- Oxford: Clarendon

Grice's second book: The conception of value -- edited by J. Baker

Grice's first book: WoW! Studies in the Way of Words

Grice on actions and events, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly

Grice on Aristotle on izzing and hazzing, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly

Grice, "Vacuous Names," Festschrift for W. V. O. Quine

Grice, "Intention and uncertainty," The British Academy

Grice and Strawson, "In defence of a dogma," Philosophical Review

Grice, "The causal theory of perception," The Aristotelian Society

Grice, "Meaning," Philosophical Review

Grice: Publications and Unpublications

Grice: A catalogue raisonné of his publications and unpublications

A catalogue raisonné of Grice's illustrative conversational exchanges

A catalogue raisonné of Grice's conversational illustrations

Grice on 'conversation' as the unit for philosophical analysis

Grice and his "followers"

The Griceian Style

How to Disimitate Grice in Five Easy Lessons

Grice's Griceian Sense of Humour -- Disimplicated

Griceian heresies

Grice and the under-dogma

Grice as a philosopher's philosopher

Grice and the Grices

Grice and the Aristotelian Society

Grice and the British Academy

Grice as Fellow at Merton, Oxford

Grice at "The House," Oxford -- Keyword: Corpus

Pre-St. John's Grice

Grice as Fellow of St. John's, Oxford

Grice at St. John's, Oxford

Grice, "Oxford made me"

Grice at Berkeley

Grice's "At-Homes" and the Development of the Berkeley Club of Analytical Philosophy

Why Grice Never Liked Witters, Really

Techno-cryptics: reading Grice reading Peirce

Grice on "mean" and "imply"

Grice on the rational basis for conversational implicature

Grice on implicature and disimplicature

J. L. Speranza, "Griceianism and its enemies"

J. L. Speranza -- "Grice and his friends"

J. L. Speranza, "H. P. Grice and H. L. A. Hart"

J. L. Speranza, "Grice in the morning"

J. L. Speranza, "H. P. Grice and the Saturday Mornings"

J. L. Speranza, "H. P. Grice and R. M. Hare"

J. L. Speranza, "H. P. Grice and P. F. Strawson"

J. L. Speranza, "H. P. Grice and P. H. Nowell-Smith"

J. L. Speranza, "H. P. Grice and J. L. Austin"

J. L. Speranza, "H. P. Grice and J. O. Urmson"

J. L. Speranza, "H. P. Grice and G. J. Warnock"

J. L. Speranza, "H. P. Grice and J. F. Thomson"

J. L. Speranza, "H. P. Grice and D. F. Pears"

Grice and Strawson --

Why Grice Favoured the "Griceian" Spelling

What Grice Would Say About Post-Griceians

What Grice Would Say About Neo-Griceians

Grice and Grice