Longest article in Wikipedia
*Thanks to Eric Barbour for this titbit.
Philosophy, Medieval Logic and the London Plumbing Crisis
*Thanks to Eric Barbour for this titbit.
Peter van Inwagen is an example of the first kind of Meinongian, but not the second. He argues* (p. 237 ff) that the correct way, and the only way, to understand the use of variables and quantifiers is to show how they can be translated into expressions of ordinary English that we already understand. He gives a few examples to show how it is clear that the formal predicate calculus is simply a regimentation of the ‘all’ and ‘there are’ of ordinary English. He concludes (p.239) “The existental quantifier therefore expresses the sense of ‘there is’ in ordinary English. (As an opponent of any form of Meinongianism, I would say that the existential quantifier is appopriately named – for the reason that, in expressing the sense of ‘there is’ in English, it thereby expresses the sense of ‘exists’ in English).” To the objection (p.242) that this account of the meaning of a sentence containing quantifiers does not tell us the conditions under which it would be true, he neatly replies that “the conditions under which a sentence would be true, are not the first thing about the meaning of a sentence. The first thing about the meaning of a sentence is what the sentence means” – which is just what his account tells us about sentences containing quantifiers, he says.
This has an important consequence for fictional discourse (meaning not the discourse you find in works of fiction, but rather what is spoken or written about works of fiction, such as found in literary criticism). Such discourse can potentially include complex quantification. Inwagen’s example is
(1) There is a fictional character who, for every novel, either appears in that novel or is a model for a character who does.
This involves apparent existential quantification and a complex quantificational structure, as well as the ability to generate all the inferences licensed by quantifier logic. For example, we can deduce
(2) If no character appears in every novel, then some character is modelled on another character.
If the quantification is real, and given Inwagen’s rejection of the second kind of Meinongianism (i.e. the kind that accepts existential quantification but not existential commitment) then we must accept the reality, indeed the real existence, of fictional characters. If the quantification is not real, we must explain (p.244) how to paraphrase the two sentences above, show whether the second sentence follows from the first, and if not, why it does not. In summary:
*The existential quantifier expresses the sense of ‘there is’ and ‘there exists’ in English.
* ‘For some x, x is a fictional character’ is true.
* There are fictional characters, i.e. fictional characters exist.
Thus Inwagen is a Meinongian in the first sense. He affirms the reality of fictional characters in the most direct way, claiming that they exist. But he is not a Meinongian in the second sense. For he upholds the Brentano thesis - ‘For some x, x is a fictional character’ = ‘There are fictional characters’ = ‘Fictional characters exist’.
Van Inwagen recognises he must explain the apparent truth of sentences like ‘Sherlock Holmes does not exist’. I will discuss his explanation tomorrow.
* "Quantification in fictional discourse", in Empty Names, Fiction and the Puzzles of Non-existence, Stanford 2000, pp. 235-247.
(a) Something is eating my cheese, probably a mouse.
the occurrence of the quantifier 'something' is Quinean. Clearly 'something which exists' is intended. By contrast, the occurrence of the same quantifier in
(b) Something is keeping me awake at night, namely the monster I dream about.
is non-Quinean. Monsters don't exist, so nothing which exists is keeping me awake at night. Therefore modifying 'something' with 'which exists' would change the truth conditions of the second sentence, therefore the occurrence of the quantifier is non-Quinean.
This is pretty close to the thesis of Peter Lupu's that I was moaning about earlier. The idea is that we can explain the consistency of the conjunction 'Tom is thinking of a mermaid, but nothing is a mermaid' by interpreting the 'nothing' as a Quinean quantifier. That is, the conjunction really means Tom is thinking of a mermaid, but nothing which exists is a mermaid. However, the 'something' in the claim 'there is something Tom is thinking of' is non-Quinean, since it is false that there is something which exists which Tom is thinking of.
I have given enough objections to this sort of thing for now. Enough to say that it can be true that Tom is thinking of a mermaid even if absolutely nothing whatever is a mermaid, i.e. where non-Quinean quantification for 'absolutely nothing' is intended. I have another fundamental objection to this idea, namely the use that Meinongians put it to.
Even if we buy the distinction between Quinean and non-Quinean quantifiers, a further problem is the way Meinongians persistently make inferences from contexts that involve non-Quinean quantification, to contexts that unambiguously require Quinean quantification. I already gave an example here of a move such as this:
Tom is thinking of something, therefore Tom's thinking is directed towards something.
This is illegitimate because (in my terminology) 'is thinking of' is a logically intransitive verb, whereas 'is directed towards' is logically transitive. In Hofweber-speak, even if the first 'something' is non-Quinean, the second is unambiguously Quinean. Nothing can be 'directed towards' something unless it is something which exists. The Meinongian makes these illegitimate moves all the time. Example: he argues (p. 255, my emphasis) that Quinean quantifiers are restricted to things that exist, and so
since non-Quinean quantifiers don't have such a restriction this shows that the domain of quantification really is what the non-Quinean quantifiers range over. Quinean quantifiers range over a subdomain of this domain, namely over all or some of the things in the domain that exist. Thus the true domain of discourse contains non-existent objects ...Note the verb 'contains'. This verb is unambiguously logically transitive, i.e. 'a contains an F' is always inconsistent with 'nothing is an F'. Thus the quantifier 'an F', as it occurs as the accusative of 'contains', is Quinean. Even if we buy the distinction between Quinean and non-Quinean, the quantifier 'everything' in 'everything that the true domain of discourse contains' is Quinean. Thus everything the Meinongian wants to talk about, he cannot talk about. Therefore he should remain silent. Another example of language on holiday tomorrow.
* "Quantification and non-existent objects", in *Empty Names, Fiction and the Puzzles of Non-existence*, Stanford 2000, pp 249-273.
(*) Tolkien tells us which hobbit carried the ring to Mordor, but nothing (at least, nothing real or existing) is a hobbit,where the bracketed qualification opens the door to something unreal or non-existing being a hobbit. This reminds me of something that Thomas Hofweber says, which I will discuss tomorrow.
Imagination of a mermaid is not consciousness of a mental image or other contentHere is the argument expressed in numbered statements. I have added some additional premisses and logical steps
of consciousness but precisely consciousness of a mermaid. Consciousness of a
mermaid is just as outer-directed and revelatory of a material item as
consciousness of a dolphin. But mermaids do not exist. Therefore, some objects
do not exist.
Jesus Christ was born in Israel 2000 years ago. Jesus lived a traditionalThe story is considered to be more or less factual by most historians, yet some have questioned whether Jesus existed at all. If the semantics of non-fictional names were fundamentally different from the semantics of fictional ones, the ‘Jesus Myth’ problem would have been resolved. We could simply work out from the meaning of the name ‘Jesus’ whether there really was such a person. But we cannot, therefore the semantics of non-fictional names are not fundamentally different from the semantics of fictional ones.
Jewish life until his twenties. Then Jesus began his public teaching and display
of recorded miracles, although he never travelled more than 200 miles from his
birthplace. Over a three year period, Jesus' reputation spread nation
wide. Jesus' most controversial act was that he repeatedly claimed to be
God. Because of this, the religious leaders asked the Roman government to
execute Jesus. Jesus was crucified and died, although (according to many
witnesses) Jesus returned from the dead three days later.
You chose the wrong example. "In the 12th century, Sharaf al-Din al-Tusi foundWilliam points out that the source for this disputed statement - the Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt which at first sight looks as reliable as you could get – had itself used Wikipedia as a source. He goes on to say that “the source is therefore clearly worthless as a citation to support statements made in Wikipedia”. Yes, although I question his ‘clearly’: it may have been obvious in this case, but as more secondary sources use Wikipedia as a primary source, the problem will continue, and will be increasingly difficult to spot.
algebraic and numerical solutions to cubic equations and was the first to
discover the derivative of cubic polynomials." is in the Encyclopedia
of Ancient Egypt at Google Books, and it took me just 0 seconds to found it
out. Please DO NOT DELETE contents because of your POV. Please, use inline
templates instead. Cheers. –pjoef 20:10, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
Central heating through underfloor pipes: The hypocaust heating system used byThe claim is cited, but the cited author Hugh N. Kennedy however writes something rather different:
the Romans continued to be in use around the Mediterranean region during late
Antiquity and by the Umayyad caliphate. By the 12th century, Muslim engineers in
Syria introduced an improved central heating system, where heat travelled
through underfloor pipes from the furnace room, rather than through a hypocaust.
This central heating system was widely used in bath-houses throughout the
medieval Islamic world.
In one respect, however, the early Islamic bath had more in common with theOne of the arbitrators expressed surprise at the request, having been under the mistaken impression that Jagged 85 had been banned. “Who could have known that someone could get away with such behaviour on Wikipedia with only a single 24 hr edit-warring block”, he says. Yet there seems little chance that the committee will do something about the problem. Its terms of reference do not include ‘content dispute’. And there seem as many friends and supporters of the disputed editor as there are people who are concerned about the situation. On Wikipedia, which sources material from the crowd, anyone’s view counts the same as any other. Wikipedia: the encyclopedia that anyone with an agenda can edit.
classical one than with the later Islamic. Late antique and Umayyad bath
builders continued to use the hypocaust, though on a reduced scale, for
heating the hot chamber, whereas later Muslim baths used a simpler
system of underfloor pipes from the furnace room.
|1 Diffugere nives, redeunt iam gramina campis|
Mutat terra vices et decrescentia ripas
|The snows have scattered, and back comes grass to fields|
And leaves to trees.
Earth changes seasons, and declining [between their] banks
|5 Gratia cum Nymphis geminisque sororibus audet|
Ducere nuda choros.
Immortalia ne speres, monet annus et almum
Quae rapit hora diem.
|The Grace with the Nymphs and her twin sisters dares|
To lead, naked, the dance.
Lest you hope for immortal things, the year warns you, and the hour,
That hurries away the kindly day.
|Frigora mitescunt Zephyris, ver proterit aestas|
10 Interitura, simul
Pomifer autumnus fruges effuderit, et mox
Bruma recurrit iners.
|Frosts grow mild in the western winds; Summer tramples Spring,|
Who will herself perish once
Fruitful Autumn has poured out fruit; and soon
Fruitless Winter returns.
|Damna tamen celeres reparant caelestia lunae ;|
Nos ubi decidimus,
15 Quo pater Aeneas, quo dives Tullus et Ancus,
Pulvis et umbra sumus.
|Yet the moons are fast to make good their heavenly losses;|
We, when we have fallen to
Where good Aeneas and wealthy Tullus, and Ancus [have]
Are dust and shadow.
|Quis scit an adiciant hodiernae crastina summae|
Tempora di superi ?
Cuncta manus avidas fugient heredis, amico
20 Quae dederis animo.
|Who knows whether [they] will add to the sum of to-day,to-morrow's|
Time - the gods above?
All will escape the greedy hands of your heir,
Which you gave to your dear soul.
|Cum semel occideris et de te splendida Minos|
Non, Torquate, genus, non te facundia, non te
|But when once you have fallen, and on you Minos|
Has made majestic judgment,
Neither, Torquatus, shall family or eloquence
Or loyalty restore you.
|25 Infernis neque enim tenebris Diana pudicum|
Nec Lethaea valet Theseus abrumpere caro
|For neither from the shadows below does Diana virtuous|
Hippolytus set free;
Nor can Theseus break Lethe's
Chains from [his dear] Pirithous
And so on.
Labels: frege puzzle
In a chronicle of remote date, we might conceivably identify the unknownI'm not sure about the horse part, and I shall argue this is true only for the first occurrence of a proper name or singular term, but this is roughly right. By 'particular judgment' Bosanquet means the judgment opposed to the universal judgment - a general existential judgment 'Some A is B'. In respect of the first occurrence of a name in a fictional narrative, where we have no means of identifying or individuating the character except through the story, he is right. When you first encounter the name - say 'Aeneas groaned', which is the first time we meet him in the Aeneid, the sense of the proposition is no more than "someone called Aeneas groaned".
possessor of some name as figuring in several scences or incidents without being
sure what he, she or it might be; whether man or a woman, or a favourite
horse. In this sense the judgment that deals with a proper name is merely
Labels: relativity of reference
The big question was whether, besides the alephs, there are also other powers of
sets; for two years now I have been in possession of a proof that there are no
others; so that, for example, the arithmetic linear continuum (the totality of
all real numbers) has a determinate aleph as its cardinal number.
The Bacon-Shakespeare question, on the other hand, is for me completely
finished; it cost me a great deal of time and money; to pursue it further I
should have to make much greater sacrifices, travel to England, study the
archives there, etc. With warm greetings to you and your sister [etc.]
Your understanding of Kaplan is excellent. But for him propositions areOn the Russell-Kaplan view (although Russell himself probably never consistently held such a view), the semantics of singular thought is ‘object dependent’. A thought about Mont Blanc actually contains Mont Blanc – with all its snow fields. That seems absurd for a number of reasons. How can a thought contain a physical object? How can a thought even be internally related to an object when the thought remains the same whether or not the object exists? Does the proposition ‘Etna is a volcano’ cease to be meaningful even if Etna is completely destroyed in an eruption? Surely not. Is the proposition ‘Caesar was a man’ meaningful even though Caesar does not exist? Surely it is.
Russellian, not Fregean. If 'Mt Blanc is snow-covered' expresses a Russellian
proposition, then Mt Blanc itself, that massive physical object, together with
its snow fields and subterranean gopher tunnels, etc. etc. is a constituent of
the proposition. But I can't swallow the Russellian view; how could a finite
mind wrap itself around such a monstrous object?
A man is white and a man argues, therefore something that argues is white
Socrates is white and Socrates argues, therefore something that argues is white