Presentation on theme: "W&O: §§ 36-39 Pete Mandik Chairman, Department of Philosophy Coordinator, Cognitive Science Laboratory William Paterson University, New Jersey USA."— Presentation transcript:
W&O: §§ Pete Mandik Chairman, Department of Philosophy Coordinator, Cognitive Science Laboratory William Paterson University, New Jersey USA
2 Regimentation of names and times I went to a movie. I’m going to eat pizza. Fido had fleas. Mary and Fido are very close. Mary is going to get fleas. How can regimentation handle the above kinds of statements?
3 Regimentation of times Ordinary language encodes times with tenses: I ran, I am running, I will run There is a way of using the present tense to speak of eternal truths: 2 is larger than 3
4 Regimentation of times Regimentation adopts this use of the present tense to speak of all times: it treats the present tense as timeless and dispenses with all other tenses. “This artifice frees us to omit temporal information or, when we please, handle it like spatial information. ‘I will not do it again’ becomes ‘I do not do it after now’, where ‘do’ is taken tenselessly and the future force of ‘will’ is translated into a phrase ‘after now’, comparable to ‘west of here’.” p. 170
5 “This adjustment lays [certain] inferences…conveniently open to logical inspection.” p. 170 ‘George married Mary and Mary is a widow’ doesn’t entail that George had a wife at a time when she was also a widow, as is evidence when reparsed as: ‘George marries before now Mary and Mary is a widow now; therefore George marries before now (one who is) a widow now.’ p. 170
6 Regimentation of names Names lead to certain puzzling cases and perhaps truth-value gaps. Suppose no one is named “Mary Lebowski”. Is “Mary Lebowski pets puppies” true, false, or neither?
7 Regimentation of names The contribution of a name to a sentence’s truth value depends on there existing an object to which the name refers. If there exists an individual to which “Mary Lebowski” refers, then “Mary Lebowski pets puppies” is true if and only if Mary Lebowski pets puppies and “Mary Lebowski pets puppies” is false if Mary Lebowski doesn’t pet puppies.
8 Regimentation of names A so-called name that refers to no existing object has nothing to contribute to its embedding sentence. Thus, if Mary Lebowski fails to exist, “Mary Lebowski pets puppies” is neither true nor false. Weird!
9 Regimentation of names We can relieve ourselves of the weirdness of truth-value gaps by abandoning the category of singular terms and assimilating names to predicates.
10 Regimentation of names Thus, instead of translating “Mary Lebowski pets puppies” into the predicate calculus as Pm …where ‘m’ is a constant alleging to name an individual and ‘Px’ is a predicate true of petters of puppies, we can translate as (x)(Mx & Px) …where we ditch the alleged singular term in favor of a general term equivalent to “is a Mary Lebowski”.
11 Regimentation of names Regimenting “Mary Lebowski pets puppies” in the aforementioned way dispenses with truth-value gaps. If we want to say that there exists no such individual as Mary Lebowski, we can say ~(x)(Mx) Or It is not the case that there exists an object x such that x is a Mary Lebowski Thus “Mary Lebowski pets puppies” turns out to have a truth-value after all. It is false since it is false that There exists an object x such that x is a Mary Lebowski and x is a petter of puppies
12 There is only one Matt. There exists at least one object x such that x is a Matt and for each object y if y is a Matt then y is identical to x. (x)(y)(Mx & (My x=y)) (x)(Mx & (y)(My x=y))
14 Study question: Why regard as false sentences with grammatical subjects that are singular terms that fail to refer to any existing entity?