Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

The Monist Vol. 89, No. 1, January 2006

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

The Monist Vol. 89, No. 1, January 2006

Article excerpt

Semantic Regularity and the Liar Paradox, NICHOLAS J. J. SMITH

This paper argues that the Liar paradox forces us to abandon the principle of Semantic Regularity, which says that there are perfectly reliable, principled relationships between our behavior, mental states, and physical environment, on the one hand, and what we mean by our utterances, on the other hand. Relinquishing Semantic Regularity opens the way to a solution to the Liar which is one hundred percent classical, and which does not generate a strengthened Liar paradox or revenge problem; it also yields solutions to semantic indeterminacy arguments such as those of Quine, Davidson, Putnam, and Kripkenstein, to the problem of empty names, and to a recalcitrant problem in the literature on vagueness, the problem of false precision.

Tarski, the Liar, and Inconsistent Languages, DOUGLAS PATTERSON

Beginning from an interpretive dispute between Greg Ray and Scott Soames, the author discusses Tarski's views on the semantic paradoxes and the languages Tarski called "semantically closed," most importantly natural or "colloquial" languages. It is argued that Tarski's view is quite different from the views usually attributed to him as well as from those standardly on offer in response to the semantic paradoxes. Rather than maintaining that such languages have a set of all and only true sentences of which certain problematic sentences are not members, Tarski denies that they can coherently be taken to have a set of all and only true sentences at all. The consequences of this for the interpretation of Tarski and for the understanding of the semantic paradoxes are discussed.

Compositional Principles versus Schematic Reasoning, HARTRY FIELD

It is often observed that one of the main purposes of the notion of truth is to allow us to formulate generalizations that would otherwise be inexpressible. Among these are generalizations in metalogic, such as that all instances of the deMorgan laws are true. As is also frequently noted, such generalizations cannot be proved from the Tarski truth schema, viewed as the totality of its instances; we need compositional principles. This paper lays out an alternative conception of the Tarskian truth schema (and related schemas of satisfaction and denotation) as more than the totality of its instances, a conception on which the compositional principles and other metalogical generalizations follow. This somewhat demotes the compositional principle from the central role philosophers often assign to them, and the paper discusses some philosophical consequences of this.

There Are nonCircular Paradoxes (But Yablo's Isn't One Of Them!), ROY COOK

The paper begins with a distinction between two different sorts of referential circularity which are often blurred. First, a sentence might refer directly to itself. Second, a sentence might (for example, via Godelian diagonalization) be equivalent to a second sentence which refers to the first (a similar distinction is developed for predicates, relations, and so forth). Although logically distinct, it is suggested that both phenomena deserve to the label "circular," along with any philosophical objections such a label might carry with it. All semantic paradoxes appearing in the literature thus far are shown to be circular in one or the other of these senses, but the paper concludes with the construction of a new version of Yablo's paradox which (unlike Yablo's original construction) avoids both sorts of circularity altogether.

What Can the Problem of Mixed Inferences Teach Us About Alethic Pluralism? NIKOLAJ JANG PEDERSEN

Alethic pluralism is the view that truth is many rather than one. Christine Tappolet has argued that the validity of certain inferences--mixed inferences--causes trouble for the view. The paper aims to do three things. First, a distinction is drawn between linguistic and metaphysical alethic pluralism. …

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