Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Mind: Vol. 113, No. 452, October 2004

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Mind: Vol. 113, No. 452, October 2004

Article excerpt

Multigrade Redicates, ALEX OLIVER and TIMOTHY SMILEY

The history of the idea of predicate is the history of its emancipation. The lesson of this paper is that there are two more steps to take. The first is to recognize that predicates need not have a fixed degree, the second that they can combine with plural terms. The authors begin by articulating the notion of a multigrade predicate: one that takes variably many arguments. They counter objections to the very idea posed by Peirce, Dummett's Frege, and Strawson. They show that the arguments of a multigrade predicate must be grouped into places, with perhaps several arguments occupying positions at a place. Variability may relate to places or positions. Russell's multiple judgement predicate turns out to be just one example of a family--"is necessarily true of," "is said of," "is instantiated by," and so on--of predicates with variably many places. Our main concern, however, is lists. Any adequate account of lists must include plural as well as singular terms. On one account, lists are mere strings of separate arguments, which occupy variably many positions within a place of a multigrade predicate. A quite different account takes the list itself to be a compound plural term. The authors compare these rival conceptions, and reach some surprising conclusions. As a coda, they deploy the conceptual apparatus developed in the paper to assess Morton's pioneer system of multigrade logic.

Modal Realism and Metaphysical Nihilism, GOLZALO RODRIGUEZ-PEREYRA

This paper argues that modal realism, the thesis that there exist nonactual possible individuals and worlds, can be made compatible with metaphysical nihilism, the thesis that it is possible that nothing concrete exists. …

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