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Gila Sher
University of California, San Diego
  1. The Bounds of Logic: A Generalized Viewpoint.Gila Sher - 1991 - MIT Press.
    The Bounds of Logic presents a new philosophical theory of the scope and nature of logic based on critical analysis of the principles underlying modern Tarskian logic and inspired by mathematical and linguistic development. Extracting central philosophical ideas from Tarski’s early work in semantics, Sher questions whether these are fully realized by the standard first-order system. The answer lays the foundation for a new, broader conception of logic. By generally characterizing logical terms, Sher establishes a fundamental result in semantics. Her (...)
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  2. Epistemic Friction: An Essay on Knowledge, Truth, and Logic.Gila Sher - 2016 - Oxford: Oxford University Press UK.
    Gila Sher approaches knowledge from the perspective of the basic human epistemic situation—the situation of limited yet resourceful beings, living in a complex world and aspiring to know it in its full complexity. What principles should guide them? Two fundamental principles of knowledge are epistemic friction and freedom. Knowledge must be substantially constrained by the world (friction), but without active participation of the knower in accessing the world (freedom) theoretical knowledge is impossible. This requires a grounding of all knowledge, empirical (...)
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  3.  46
    Invariance as a Basis for Necessity and Laws.Gila Sher - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (12):3945-3974.
    Many philosophers are baffled by necessity. Humeans, in particular, are deeply disturbed by the idea of necessary laws of nature. In this paper I offer a systematic yet down to earth explanation of necessity and laws in terms of invariance. The type of invariance I employ for this purpose generalizes an invariance used in meta-logic. The main idea is that properties and relations in general have certain degrees of invariance, and some properties/relations have a stronger degree of invariance than others. (...)
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  4. Substantivism About Truth.Gila Sher - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (12):818-828.
    Substantivism is a general philosophical methodology advocating a substantive approach to philosophical theorizing. In this article, I present an overview of this methodology with a special emphasis on the field of truth. I begin with a framework for understanding what is at stake in the substantivist–deflationist debate and describe the substantivist critique of deflationism. I then proceed to discuss contemporary substantivism as a positive methodology, present examples of recent substantivist theories of truth, delineate several principles of philosophical substantivism, and connect (...)
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  5. Truth as Composite Correspondence.Gila Sher - 2015 - In Unifying the Philosophy of Truth. Springer Verlag. pp. 191-210.
    The problem that motivates me arises from a constellation of factors pulling in different, sometimes opposing directions. Simplifying, they are: (1) The complexity of the world; (2) Humans’ ambitious project of theoretical knowledge of the world; (3) The severe limitations of humans’ cognitive capacities; (4) The considerable intricacy of humans’ cognitive capacities . Given these circumstances, the question arises whether a serious notion of truth is applicable to human theories of the world. In particular, I am interested in the questions: (...)
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  6.  33
    Pluralism and Normativity in Truth and Logic.Gila Sher - 2020 - American Philosophical Quarterly 57:337-350.
    In this paper I investigate how differences in approach to truth and logic (in particular, a deflationist vs. a substantivist approach to these fields) affect philosophers’ views concerning pluralism and normativity in these fields. My perspective on truth and logic is largely epistemic, focusing on the role of truth in knowledge (rather than on the use of the words “true” and “truth” in natural language), and my reference group includes Carnap (1934), Harman (1986), Horwich (1990), Wright (1992), Beall and Restall (...)
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  7.  77
    Forms of Correspondence: The Intricate Route From Thought to Reality.Gila Sher - 2013 - In Nikolaj Jang Lee Linding Pedersen & Cory Wright (eds.), Truth and Pluralism: Current Debates. Oxford University Press. pp. 157--179.
    The paper delineates a new approach to truth that falls under the category of “Pluralism within the bounds of correspondence”, and illustrates it with respect to mathematical truth. Mathematical truth, like all other truths, is based on correspondence, but the route of mathematical correspondence differs from other routes of correspondence in (i) connecting mathematical truths to a special aspect of reality, namely, its formal aspect, and (ii) doing so in a complex, indirect way, rather than in a simple and direct (...)
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  8. Invariance and Logicality in Perspective.Gila Sher - 2021 - In Gil Sagi & Jack Woods (eds.), The Semantic Conception of Logic: Essays on Consequence, Invariance, and Meaning. Cambridge, Britain: Cambridge University Press. pp. 13-34.
    Although the invariance criterion of logicality first emerged as a criterion of a purely mathematical interest, it has developed into a criterion of considerable linguistic and philosophical interest. In this paper I compare two different perspectives on this criterion. The first is the perspective of natural language. Here, the invariance criterion is measured by its success in capturing our linguistic intuitions about logicality and explaining our logical behavior in natural-linguistic settings. The second perspective is more theoretical. Here, the invariance criterion (...)
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  9. The Formal-Structural View Of Logical Consequence.Gila Sher - 2001 - Philosophical Review 110 (2):241-261.
    This paper offers a response to William’s Hanson’s criticism of Sher’s formal-structural conception of logical consequence and logical constants.
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  10. Truth and Scientific Change.Gila Sher - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (3):371-394.
    The paper seeks to answer two new questions about truth and scientific change: What lessons does the phenomenon of scientific change teach us about the nature of truth? What light do recent developments in the theory of truth, incorporating these lessons, throw on problems arising from the prevalence of scientific change, specifically, the problem of pessimistic meta-induction?
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  11.  54
    Logical Realism: A Tale of Two Theories.Gila Sher - forthcoming - In Sophia Arbeiter & Juliette Kennedy (eds.), The Philosophy of Penelope Maddy. Springer.
    The paper compares two theories of the nature of logic: Penelope Maddy's and my own. The two theories share a significant element: they both view logic as grounded not just in the mind (language, concepts, conventions, etc.), but also, and crucially, in the world. But the two theories differ in significant ways as well. Most distinctly, one is an anti-holist, "austere naturalist" theory while the other is a non-naturalist "foundational-holistic" theory. This methodological difference affects their questions, goals, orientations, the scope (...)
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  12.  54
    The Post-Truth Crisis, The Value of Truth, and the Substantivist-Deflationist Debate.Gila Sher - forthcoming - Australasian Philosophical Review.
    The present crisis of truth, the "post-truth" crisis, puts the philosophy of truth in a new light. It calls for a reexamination of the tasks of the philosophy of truth and sets a new adequacy condition on this philosophy. One of the central roles of the philosophy of truth is to explain the importance of truth for human life and civilization. Among other things, it has to explain what is, or will be, lost in a post-truth era. Clearly, the deflationist (...)
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  13.  50
    The Metaphysics of Truth: Anti-Deflationism and Substantial Pluralism.Gila Sher - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Two central themes of Douglas Edwards's The Metaphysics of Truth are anti-deflationism and substantial pluralism. In Part I of this paper I discuss Edwards's grounds for rejecting deflationism and suggest a few additional grounds. In Part II I discuss Edward's truth-pluralism and respond to his criticism of my correspondence-pluralism. While these pluralisms share significant features, their differences also raise several important questions.
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  14.  40
    Human Thought, Mathematics, and Physical Discovery.Gila Sher - forthcoming - In Yemima Ben Menahem & Carl Posy (eds.), Mathematical Knowledge, Objects and Applications: Essays in Memory of Mark Steiner. Berlin: Springer Nature.
    In this paper I discuss Mark Steiner's view of the contribution of mathematics to physics and take up some of the questions it raises. In particular, I take up the question of discovery and explore two aspects of this question ‒ a metaphysical aspect and a related epistemic aspect. The metaphysical aspect concerns the formal structure of the physical world. Does the physical world have mathematical or formal features or constituents, and what is the nature of these constituents? The related (...)
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  15. Truth as a Normative Modality of Cognitive Acts.Gila Sher & Cory Wright - 2007 - In Geo Siegwart & Dirk Griemann (eds.), Truth and Speech Acts: Studies in the Philosophy of Language. Routledge. pp. 280-306.
    Attention to the conversational role of alethic terms seems to dominate, and even sometimes exhaust, many contemporary analyses of the nature of truth. Yet, because truth plays a role in judgment and assertion regardless of whether alethic terms are expressly used, such analyses cannot be comprehensive or fully adequate. A more general analysis of the nature of truth is therefore required – one which continues to explain the significance of truth independently of the role alethic terms play in discourse. We (...)
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  16. On the Explanatory Power of Truth in Logic.Gila Sher - 2018 - Philosophical Issues 28 (1):348-373.
    Philosophers are divided on whether the proof- or truth-theoretic approach to logic is more fruitful. The paper demonstrates the considerable explanatory power of a truth-based approach to logic by showing that and how it can provide (i) an explanatory characterization —both semantic and proof-theoretical—of logical inference, (ii) an explanatory criterion for logical constants and operators, (iii) an explanatory account of logic’s role (function) in knowledge, as well as explanations of (iv) the characteristic features of logic —formality, strong modal force, generality, (...)
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  17. Lessons on Truth From Kant.Gila Sher - 2017 - Analytic Philosophy 58 (3):171-201.
    Kant is known for having said relatively little about truth in Critique of Pure Reason. Nevertheless, there are important lessons to be learned from this work about truth, lessons that apply to the contemporary debate on the nature and structure of truth and its theory. In this paper I suggest two such lessons. The first lesson concerns the structure of a substantive theory of truth as contrasted with a deflationist theory; the second concerns the structure of a correspondence theory of (...)
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  18.  99
    Truth & Transcendence: Turning the Tables on the Liar Paradox.Gila Sher - 2017 - In Bradley Armour-Garb (ed.), Reflections on the Liar. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 281-306.
    Confronting the Liar Paradox is commonly viewed as a prerequisite for developing a theory of truth. In this paper I turn the tables on this traditional conception of the relation between the two. The theorist of truth need not constrain his search for a “material” theory of truth, i.e., a theory of the philosophical nature of truth, by committing himself to one solution or another to the Liar Paradox. If he focuses on the nature of truth (leaving issues of formal (...)
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  19. Invariance and Necessity.Gila Sher - 2019 - In Bernhard Ritter, Paul Weingartner & Gabriele M. Mras (eds.), Philosophy of logic and Mathematics. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter. pp. 55-70.
    Properties and relations in general have a certain degree of invariance, and some types of properties/relations have a stronger degree of invariance than others. In this paper I will show how the degrees of invariance of different types of properties are associated with, and explain, the modal force of the laws governing them. This explains differences in the modal force of laws/principles of different disciplines, starting with logic and mathematics and proceeding to physics and biology.
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  20. Foundational Holism, Substantive Theory of Truth, and A New Philosophy of Logic: Interview with Gila Sher BY Chen Bo.Gila Sher & Chen Bo - 2019 - Philosophical Forum 50 (1):3-57.
    Gila Sher interviewed by Chen Bo: -/- I. Academic Background and Earlier Research: 1. Sher’s early years. 2. Intellectual influence: Kant, Quine, and Tarski. 3. Origin and main Ideas of The Bounds of Logic. 4. Branching quantifiers and IF logic. 5. Preparation for the next step. -/- II. Foundational Holism and a Post-Quinean Model of Knowledge: 1. General characterization of foundational holism. 2. Circularity, infinite regress, and philosophical arguments. 3. Comparing foundational holism and foundherentism. 4. A post-Quinean model of knowledge. (...)
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  21. Where Are You Going, Metaphysics, and How Are You Getting There? - Grounding Theory as a Case Study.Gila Sher - 2019 - In Miroslav Szatkowski (ed.), Quo Vadis, Metaphysics? Berlin, Germany: de Gruyter Studium. pp. 37-57.
    The viability of metaphysics as a field of knowledge has been challenged time and again. But in spite of the continuing tendency to dismiss metaphysics, there has been considerable progress in this field in the 20th- and 21st- centuries. One of the newest − though, in a sense, also oldest − frontiers of metaphysics is the grounding project. In this paper I raise a methodological challenge to the new grounding project and propose a constructive solution. Both the challenge and its (...)
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  22. The Model-Theoretic Argument: From Skepticism to a New Understanding.Gila Sher - 2016 - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), The Brain in a Vat. Cambridge, Britain: Cambridge University Press. pp. 208-225.
    In this paper I investigate Putnam’s model-theoretic argument from a transcendent standpoint, in spite of Putnam’s well-known objections to such a standpoint. This transcendence, however, requires ascent to something more like a Tarskian meta-level than what Putnam regards as a “God’s eye view”. Still, it is methodologically quite powerful, leading to a significant increase in our investigative tools. The result is a shift from Putnam’s skeptical conclusion to a new understanding of realism, truth, correspondence, knowledge, and theories, or certain aspects (...)
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  23. Wallace, Free Choice, and Fatalism.Gila Sher - 2015 - In S. M. Cahn & M. Eckert (eds.), Freedom and the Self: Essays on the Philosophy of David Foster Wallace. Columbia University Press. pp. 31-56.
    In this paper I reconstruct David Foster Wallace’s argument against fatalism in his undergraduate honors thesis, “Richard Taylor’s ‘Fatalism’ and the Semantics of Physical Modality”. My goal is to present the argument in a clear and concise way, so that it is easy to see its main line of reasoning and potential power. A secondary goal is to offer clarificatory and critical notes on some of the issues at stake. The reconstruction reveals interesting connections between Wallace’s argument and John MacFarlane’s (...)
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  24.  14
    Quine Vs. Quine: Abstract Knowledge and Ontology.Gila Sher - 2020 - In Frederique Janssen-Lauret (ed.), Quine, Structure, and Ontology. Oxford: Oxford. pp. 230-252.
    How does Quine fare in the first decades of the twenty-first century? In this paper I examine a cluster of Quinean theses that, I believe, are especially fruitful in meeting some of the current challenges of epistemology and ontology. These theses offer an alternative to the traditional bifurcations of truth and knowledge into factual and conceptual-pragmatic-conventional, the traditional conception of a foundation for knowledge, and traditional realism. To make the most of Quine’s ideas, however, we have to take an active (...)
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  25.  14
    Where Are You Going, Philosophy, and What Are Your Methods?Gila Sher - 2020 - Academics Journal 271:185-96.
    The viability of philosophy as a genuine field of knowledge has been challenged time and again. Some have challenged “traditional” philosophy, or what was considered “traditional philosophy” at a given time; others have challenged philosophy in general. But there has been considerable progress in philosophical methodology in the 20th- and 21st- centuries. In this talk I raise challenges to some of the current misconceptions of analytic philosophy, and I propose constructive methodological solutions.
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  26.  99
    Introduction and Commentary on Jennifer Hornsby's "Truth: The Identity Theory".Gila Sher - 2013 - Aristotelian Society 1:204-213.
    Jennifer Hornsby’s 1997 paper, ‘Truth: The Identity Theory’, has been highly influential in making the identity theory of truth a viable option in contemporary philosophy. In this introduction and commentary I focus on what distinguishes her theory and its methodology from the correspondence theory and the ‘substantivist’ methodology, and on other issues that have not been widely discussed in earlier commentaries yet are central to the current debate on truth.
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