This paper discusses proof-theoreticsemantics, the project of specifying the meanings of the logical constants in terms of rules of inference governing them. I concentrate on Michael Dummett’s and Dag Prawitz’ philosophical motivations and give precise characterisations of the crucial notions of harmony and stability, placed in the context of proving normalisation results in systems of natural deduction. I point out a problem for defining the meaning of negation in this framework and prospects for an account of (...) the meanings of modal operators in terms of rules of inference. (shrink)
The paper briefly surveys the sentential proof-theoreticsemantics for fragment of English. Then, appealing to a version of Frege’s context-principle (specified to fit type-logical grammar), a method is presented for deriving proof-theoretic meanings for sub-sentential phrases, down to lexical units (words). The sentential meaning is decomposed according to the function-argument structure as determined by the type-logical grammar. In doing so, the paper presents a novel proof-theoretic interpretation of simple type, replacing Montague’s model-theoretic (...) type interpretation (in arbitrary Henkin models). The domains of derivations are collections of derivations in the associated “dedicated” natural-deduction proof-system, and functions therein (with no appeal to models, truth-values and elements of a domain). The compositionality of the semantics is analyzed. (shrink)
Prawitz conjectured that proof-theoretic validity offers a semantics for intuitionistic logic. This conjecture has recently been proven false by Piecha and Schroeder-Heister. This article resolves one of the questions left open by this recent result by showing the extensional alignment of proof-theoretic validity and general inquisitive logic. General inquisitive logic is a generalisation of inquisitive semantics, a uniform semantics for questions and assertions. The paper further defines a notion of quasi-proof-theoretic validity (...) by restricting proof-theoretic validity to allow double negation elimination for atomic formulas and proves the extensional alignment of quasi-proof-theoretic validity and inquisitive logic. (shrink)
This essay addresses one of the open questions of proof-theoreticsemantics: how to understand the semantic values of atomic sentences. I embed a revised version of the explanatory proof system of Millson and Straßer (2019) into the proof-theoreticsemantics of Francez (2015) and show how to specify (part of) the intended interpretation of atomic sentences on the basis of their occurrences in the premises and conclusions of inferences to and from best explanations.
This paper considers proof-theoreticsemantics for necessity within Dummett's and Prawitz's framework. Inspired by a system of Pfenning's and Davies's, the language of intuitionist logic is extended by a higher order operator which captures a notion of validity. A notion of relative necessary is defined in terms of it, which expresses a necessary connection between the assumptions and the conclusion of a deduction.
Dummett’s justification procedures are revisited. They are used as background for the discussion of some conceptual and technical issues in proof-theoreticsemantics, especially the role played by assumptions in proof-theoretic definitions of validity.
This paper deals with a collection of concerns that, over a period of time, led the author away from the Routley–Meyer semantics, and towards proof- theoretic approaches to relevant logics, and indeed to the weak relevant logic MC of meaning containment.
ABSTRACTAn adequate semantics for generic sentences must stake out positions across a range of contested territory in philosophy and linguistics. For this reason the study of generic sentences is a venue for investigating different frameworks for understanding human rationality as manifested in linguistic phenomena such as quantification, classification of individuals under kinds, defeasible reasoning, and intensionality. Despite the wide variety of semantic theories developed for generic sentences, to date these theories have been almost universally model-theoretic and representational. This (...) essay outlines a range of proof-theoretic analyses for characterizing generics. Particular attention is given to an expressivist proof-theory that can be traced to 1) work on logical syntax that Carnap undertook prior to his turn toward truth-conditional model theory in the late 1930s, and 2) research on sequent calculi and natural deduction systems that originate in work from Gentzen and Prawitz.1. (shrink)
Inferentialism is a theory in the philosophy of language which claims that the meanings of expressions are constituted by inferential roles or relations. Instead of a traditional model-theoreticsemantics, it naturally lends itself to a proof-theoreticsemantics, where meaning is understood in terms of inference rules with a proof system. Most work in proof-theoreticsemantics has focused on logical constants, with comparatively little work on the semantics of non-logical vocabulary. Drawing (...) on Robert Brandom’s notion of material inference and Greg Restall’s bilateralist interpretation of the multiple conclusion sequent calculus, I present a proof-theoreticsemantics for atomic sentences and their constituent names and predicates. The resulting system has several interesting features: (1) the rules are harmonious and stable; (2) the rules create a structure analogous to familiar model-theoreticsemantics; and (3) the semantics is compositional, in that the rules for atomic sentences are determined by those for their constituent names and predicates. (shrink)
Semantics plays a role in grammar in at least three guises. (A) Linguists seek to account for speakers‘ knowledge of what linguistic expressions mean. This goal is typically achieved by assigning a model theoretic interpretation in a compositional fashion. For example, *No whale flies* is true if and only if the intersection of the sets of whales and fliers is empty in the model. (B) Linguists seek to account for the ability of speakers to make various inferences based (...) on semantic knowledge. For example, *No whale flies* entails *No blue whale flies* and *No whale flies high*. (C) The wellformedness of a variety of syntactic constructions depends on morpho-syntactic features with a semantic flavor. For example, *Under no circumstances would a whale fly* is grammatical, whereas *Under some circumstances would a whale fly* is not, corresponding to the downward vs. upward monotonic features of the preposed phrases. It is usually assumed that once a compositional model theoretic interpretation is assigned to all expressions, its fruits can be freely enjoyed by inferencing and syntax. What place might proof theory have in this picture? (shrink)
In the proof-theoreticsemantics approach to meaning, harmony , requiring a balance between introduction-rules (I-rules) and elimination rules (E-rules) within a meaning conferring natural-deduction proof-system, is a central notion. In this paper, we consider two notions of harmony that were proposed in the literature: 1. GE-harmony , requiring a certain form of the E-rules, given the form of the I-rules. 2. Local intrinsic harmony : imposes the existence of certain transformations of derivations, known as reduction and (...) expansion . We propose a construction of the E-rules (in GE-form) from given I-rules, and prove that the constructed rules satisfy also local intrinsic harmony. The construction is based on a classification of I-rules, and constitute an implementation to Gentzen’s (and Pawitz’) remark, that E-rules can be “read off” I-rules. (shrink)
I explain why model theory is unsatisfactory as a semantic theory and has drawbacks as a tool for proofs on logic systems. I then motivate and develop an alternative, truth-valuational substitutional approach (TVS), and prove with it the soundness and completeness of the first order Predicate Calculus with identity and of Modal Propositional Calculus. Modal logic is developed without recourse to possible worlds. Along the way I answer a variety of difficulties that have been raised against TVS and show that, (...) as applied to several central questions, model-theoreticsemantics can be considered TVS in disguise. The conclusion is that the truth-valuational substitutional approach is an adequate tool for many of our logic inquiries, conceptually preferable over model-theoreticsemantics. Another conclusion is that formal logic is independent of semantics, apart from its use of the notion of truth, but that even with respect to it its assumptions are minimal. (shrink)
This paper studies the relationship between labelled and nested calculi for propositional intuitionistic logic, first-order intuitionistic logic with non-constant domains and first-order intuitionistic logic with constant domains. It is shown that Fitting’s nested calculi naturally arise from their corresponding labelled calculi—for each of the aforementioned logics—via the elimination of structural rules in labelled derivations. The translational correspondence between the two types of systems is leveraged to show that the nested calculi inherit proof-theoretic properties from their associated labelled calculi, (...) such as completeness, invertibility of rules and cut admissibility. Since labelled calculi are easily obtained via a logic’s semantics, the method presented in this paper can be seen as one whereby refined versions of labelled calculi (containing nested calculi as fragments) with favourable properties are derived directly from a logic’s semantics. (shrink)
Alberto Coffa used the phrase "the Copernican turn in semantics" to denote a revolutionary transformation of philosophical views about the connection between the meanings of words and the acceptability of sentences and arguments containing those words. According to the new conception resulting from the Copernican turn, here called "the Copernican view", rules of use are constitutive of the meanings of words. This view has been linked with two doctrines: (A) the instances of meaning-constitutive rules are analytically and a priori (...) true or valid; (B) to grasp a meaning is to accept its rules. The pros and cons of different versions of the Copernican view, ascribable to Wittgenstein, Carnap, Gentzen, Dummett, Prawitz, Boghossian and other authors, will be weighed. A new version will be proposed, which implies neither (A) nor (B). (shrink)
We examine the proof-theoretic verificationist justification procedure proposed by Dummett. After some scrutiny, two distinct interpretations with respect to bases are advanced: the independent and the dependent interpretation. We argue that both are unacceptable as a semantics for propositional intuitionistic logic.
This paper shows how to derive nested calculi from labelled calculi for propositional intuitionistic logic and first-order intuitionistic logic with constant domains, thus connecting the general results for labelled calculi with the more refined formalism of nested sequents. The extraction of nested calculi from labelled calculi obtains via considerations pertaining to the elimination of structural rules in labelled derivations. Each aspect of the extraction process is motivated and detailed, showing that each nested calculus inherits favorable proof-theoretic properties from (...) its associated labelled calculus. (shrink)
I argue for a kind of logical pluralism on the basis of a difficulty with defining the meaning of negation in the framework of Dummett's and Prawitz' proof-theoreticsemantics.
A graph-theoretic account of fibring of logics is developed, capitalizing on the interleaving characteristics of fibring at the linguistic, semantic and proof levels. Fibring of two signatures is seen as a multi-graph (m-graph) where the nodes and the m-edges include the sorts and the constructors of the signatures at hand. Fibring of two models is a multi-graph (m-graph) where the nodes and the m-edges are the values and the operations in the models, respectively. Fibring of two deductive systems (...) is an m-graph whose nodes are language expressions and the m-edges represent the inference rules of the two original systems. The sobriety of the approach is confirmed by proving that all the fibring notions are universal constructions. This graph-theoretic view is general enough to accommodate very different fibrings of propositional based logics encompassing logics with non-deterministic semantics, logics with an algebraic semantics, logics with partial semantics and substructural logics, among others. Soundness and weak completeness are proved to be preserved under very general conditions. Strong completeness is also shown to be preserved under tighter conditions. In this setting, the collapsing problem appearing in several combinations of logic systems can be avoided. (shrink)
We present epistemic multilateral logic, a general logical framework for reasoning involving epistemic modality. Standard bilateral systems use propositional formulae marked with signs for assertion and rejection. Epistemic multilateral logic extends standard bilateral systems with a sign for the speech act of weak assertion (Incurvati and Schlöder 2019) and an operator for epistemic modality. We prove that epistemic multilateral logic is sound and complete with respect to the modal logic S5 modulo an appropriate translation. The logical framework developed provides the (...) basis for a novel, proof-theoretic approach to the study of epistemic modality. To demonstrate the fruitfulness of the approach, we show how the framework allows us to reconcile classical logic with the contradictoriness of so-called Yalcin sentences and to distinguish between various inference patterns on the basis of the epistemic properties they preserve. (shrink)
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, topic neutrality, basicness, and (quasi-)apriority, (v) the veridicality of logic and its applicability to science, (v) the normativity of logic, (vi) error, revision, and expansion in/of logic, and (vii) the relation between logic and mathematics. The high explanatory power of the truth-theoretic approach does not rule out an equal or even higher explanatory power of the proof-theoretic approach. But to the extent that the truth-theoretic approach is shown to be highly explanatory, it sets a standard for other approaches to logic, including the proof-theoretic approach. (shrink)
The author considers the model-theoretic character of proofs and disproofs by means of attempted counterexample constructions, distinguishes this proof format from formal derivations, then contrasts two approaches to semantic tableaux proposed by Beth and Lambert-van Fraassen. It is noted that Beth's original approach has not as yet been provided with a precisely formulated rule of closure for detecting tableau sequences terminating in contradiction. To remedy this deficiency, a technique is proposed to clarify tableau operations.
In this dissertation, we shall investigate whether Tennant's criterion for paradoxicality(TCP) can be a correct criterion for genuine paradoxes and whether the requirement of a normal derivation(RND) can be a proof-theoretic solution to the paradoxes. Tennant’s criterion has two types of counterexamples. The one is a case which raises the problem of overgeneration that TCP makes a paradoxical derivation non-paradoxical. The other is one which generates the problem of undergeneration that TCP renders a non-paradoxical derivation paradoxical. Chapter 2 (...) deals with the problem of undergeneration and Chapter 3 concerns the problem of overgeneration. Chapter 2 discusses that Tenant’s diagnosis of the counterexample which applies CR−rule and causes the undergeneration problem is not correct and presents a solution to the problem of undergeneration. Chapter 3 argues that Tennant’s diagnosis of the counterexample raising the overgeneration problem is wrong and provides a solution to the problem. Finally, Chapter 4 addresses what should be explicated in order for RND to be a proof-theoretic solution to the paradoxes. (shrink)
The impossibility results in judgement aggregation show a clash between fair aggregation procedures and rational collective outcomes. In this paper, we are interested in analysing the notion of rational outcome by proposing a proof-theoretical understanding of collective rationality. In particular, we use the analysis of proofs and inferences provided by linear logic in order to define a fine-grained notion of group reasoning that allows for studying collective rationality with respect to a number of logics. We analyse the well-known paradoxes (...) in judgement aggregation and we pinpoint the reasoning steps that trigger the inconsistencies. Moreover, we extend the map of possibility and impossibility results in judgement aggregation by discussing the case of substructural logics. In particular, we show that there exist fragments of linear logic for which general possibility results can be obtained. (shrink)
In a recent paper by Tranchini (Topoi, 2019), an introduction rule for the paradoxical proposition ρ∗ that can be simultaneously proven and disproven is discussed. This rule is formalized in Martin-Löf’s constructive type theory (CTT) and supplemented with an inferential explanation in the style of Brouwer-Heyting-Kolmogorov semantics. I will, however, argue that the provided formalization is problematic because what is paradoxical about ρ∗ from the viewpoint of CTT is not its provability, but whether it is a proposition at all.
I explore, from a proof-theoretic perspective, the hierarchy of classical and paraconsistent logics introduced by Barrio, Pailos and Szmuc in. First, I provide sequent rules and axioms for all the logics in the hierarchy, for all inferential levels, and establish soundness and completeness results. Second, I show how to extend those systems with a corresponding hierarchy of validity predicates, each one of which is meant to capture “validity” at a different inferential level. Then, I point out two potential (...) philosophical implications of these results. Since the logics in the hierarchy differ from one another on the rules, I argue that each such logic maintains its own distinct identity. Each validity predicate need not capture “validity” at more than one metainferential level. Hence, there are reasons to deny the thesis ) that the validity predicate introduced in by Beall and Murzi in, 143–165, 2013) has to express facts not only about what follows from what, but also about the metarules, etc. (shrink)
This paper provides a proof-theoretic account of imperative logical consequence by generalising Greg Restall’s multiple conclusion bilateralism for declarative logic. According to imperative bilateralism, a sequent Γ ⊢ Δ is valid iff jointly commanding all the imperatives Φ ∈ Γ and prohibiting all the imperatives Ψ ∈ Δ clashes. This account has three main virtues: (1) it provides a proof-theoretic account of imperatives; (2) it does not rely on the controversial notion of imperative inference; and (3) (...) it is neutral regarding cognitivism about imperatives. (shrink)
The focus of this paper are Dummett's meaning-theoretical arguments against classical logic based on consideration about the meaning of negation. Using Dummettian principles, I shall outline three such arguments, of increasing strength, and show that they are unsuccessful by giving responses to each argument on behalf of the classical logician. What is crucial is that in responding to these arguments a classicist need not challenge any of the basic assumptions of Dummett's outlook on the theory of meaning. In particular, I (...) shall grant Dummett his general bias towards verificationism, encapsulated in the slogan 'meaning is use'. The second general assumption I see no need to question is Dummett's particular breed of molecularism. Some of Dummett's assumptions will have to be given up, if classical logic is to be vindicated in his meaning-theoretical framework. A major result of this paper will be that the meaning of negation cannot be defined by rules of inference in the Dummettian framework. (shrink)
Donald Davidson was one of the most influential philosophers of the last half of the 20th century, especially in the theory of meaning and in the philosophy of mind and action. In this paper, I concentrate on a field-shaping proposal of Davidson’s in the theory of meaning, arguably his most influential, namely, that insight into meaning may be best pursued by a bit of indirection, by showing how appropriate knowledge of a finitely axiomatized truth theory for a language can put (...) one in a position both to interpret the utterance of any sentence of the language and to see how its semantically primitive constituents together with their mode of combination determines its meaning (Davidson 1965, 1967, 1970, 1973a). This project has come to be known as truth-theoreticsemantics. My aim in this paper is to render the best account I can of the goals and methods of truth-theoreticsemantics, to defend it against some objections, and to identify its limitations. Although I believe that the project I describe conforms to the main idea that Davidson had, my aim is not primarily Davidson exegesis. I want to get on the table an approach to compositional semantics for natural languages, inspired by Davidson, but extended and developed, which I think does about as much along those lines as any theory could. I believe it is Davidson’s project, and I defend this in detail elsewhere (Ludwig 2015; Lepore and Ludwig 2005, 2007a, 2007b, 2011). But I want to develop and defend the project while also exploring its limitations, without getting entangled in exegetical questions. (shrink)
This paper considers Rumfitt’s bilateral classical logic (BCL), which is proposed to counter Dummett’s challenge to classical logic. First, agreeing with several authors, we argue that Rumfitt’s notion of harmony, used to justify logical rules by a purely proof theoretical manner, is not sufficient to justify coordination rules in BCL purely proof-theoretically. For the central part of this paper, we propose a notion of proof-theoretical validity similar to Prawitz for BCL and proves that BCL is sound and (...) complete respect to this notion of validity. The major difficulty in defining validity for BCL is that validity of positive +A appears to depend on negative −A, and vice versa. Thus, the straightforward inductive definition does not work because of this circular dependance. However, Knaster-Tarski’s fixed point theorem can resolve this circularity. Finally, we discuss the philosophical relevance of our work, in particular, the impact of the use of fixed point theorem and the issue of decidability. (shrink)
The fundamental assumption of Dummett’s and Prawitz’ proof-theoretic justification of deduction is that ‘if we have a valid argument for a complex statement, we can construct a valid argument for it which finishes with an application of one of the introduction rules governing its principal operator’. I argue that the assumption is flawed in this general version, but should be restricted, not to apply to arguments in general, but only to proofs. I also argue that Dummett’s and Prawitz’ (...) project of providing a logical basis for metaphysics only relies on the restricted assumption. (shrink)
The problem analysed in this paper is whether we can gain knowledge by using valid inferences, and how we can explain this process from a model-theoretic perspective. According to the paradox of inference (Cohen & Nagel 1936/1998, 173), it is logically impossible for an inference to be both valid and its conclusion to possess novelty with respect to the premises. I argue in this paper that valid inference has an epistemic significance, i.e., it can be used by an agent (...) to enlarge his knowledge, and this significance can be accounted in model-theoretic terms. I will argue first that the paradox is based on an equivocation, namely, it arises because logical containment, i.e., logical implication, is identified with epistemological containment, i.e., the knowledge of the premises entails the knowledge of the conclusion. Second, I will argue that a truth-conditional theory of meaning has the necessary resources to explain the epistemic significance of valid inferences. I will explain this epistemic significance starting from Carnap’s semantic theory of meaning and Tarski’s notion of satisfaction. In this way I will counter (Prawitz 2012b)’s claim that a truth-conditional theory of meaning is not able to account the legitimacy of valid inferences, i.e., their epistemic significance. (shrink)
[...] I will only investigate [Austin's] claims as challenges to present-day model theoreticsemantics. My main point will be to draw a sharp line between the semantic and pragmatic aspects of performatives and thereby discover a gap in Austin’s treatment. This will in my view naturally lead to the proposal in Section 2, that is, to treating performatives as denoting changes in intensional models. The rest of Section 2 will be concerned with the status of felicity conditions and (...) a tentative extension of Montague’s PTQ. (shrink)
Ian Rumfitt has proposed systems of bilateral logic for primitive speech acts of assertion and denial, with the purpose of ‘exploring the possibility of specifying the classically intended senses for the connectives in terms of their deductive use’ : 810f). Rumfitt formalises two systems of bilateral logic and gives two arguments for their classical nature. I assess both arguments and conclude that only one system satisfies the meaning-theoretical requirements Rumfitt imposes in his arguments. I then formalise an intuitionist system of (...) bilateral logic which also meets those requirements. Thus Rumfitt cannot claim that only classical bilateral rules of inference succeed in imparting a coherent sense onto the connectives. My system can be extended to classical logic by adding the intuitionistically unacceptable half of a structural rule Rumfitt uses to codify the relation between assertion and denial. Thus there is a clear sense in which, in the bilateral framework, the difference between classicism and intuitionism is not one of the rules of inference governing negation, but rather one of the relation between assertion and denial. (shrink)
This thesis introduces the "method of structural refinement", which serves as a means of transforming the relational semantics of a modal and/or constructive logic into an 'economical' proof system by connecting two proof-theoretic paradigms: labelled and nested sequent calculi. The formalism of labelled sequents has been successful in that cut-free calculi in possession of desirable proof-theoretic properties can be automatically generated for large classes of logics. Despite these qualities, labelled systems make use of a (...) complicated syntax that explicitly incorporates the semantics of the associated logic, and such systems typically violate the subformula property to a high degree. By contrast, nested sequent calculi employ a simpler syntax and adhere to a strict reading of the subformula property, making such systems useful in the design of automated reasoning algorithms. However, the downside of the nested sequent paradigm is that a general theory concerning the automated construction of such calculi (as in the labelled setting) is essentially absent, meaning that the construction of nested systems and the confirmation of their properties is usually done on a case-by-case basis. The refinement method connects both paradigms in a fruitful way, by transforming labelled systems into nested (or, refined labelled) systems with the properties of the former preserved throughout the transformation process. To demonstrate the method of refinement and some of its applications, we consider grammar logics, first-order intuitionistic logics, and deontic STIT logics. The introduced refined labelled calculi will be used to provide the first proof-search algorithms for deontic STIT logics. Furthermore, we employ our refined labelled calculi for grammar logics to show that every logic in the class possesses the effective Lyndon interpolation property. (shrink)
Many prominent writers on the philosophy of logic, including Michael Dummett, Dag Prawitz, Neil Tennant, have held that the introduction and elimination rules of a logical connective must be ‘in harmony ’ if the connective is to possess a sense. This Harmony Thesis has been used to justify the choice of logic: in particular, supposed violations of it by the classical rules for negation have been the basis for arguments for switching from classical to intuitionistic logic. The Thesis has also (...) had an influence on the philosophy of language: some prominent writers in that area, notably Dummett and Robert Brandom, have taken it to be a special case of a more general requirement that the grounds for asserting a statement must cohere with its consequences. This essay considers various ways of making the Harmony Thesis precise and scrutinizes the most influential arguments for it. The verdict is negative: all the extant arguments for the Thesis are weak, and no version of it is remotely plausible. (shrink)
In recent years there has been a revitalised interest in non-classical solutions to the semantic paradoxes. In this paper I show that a number of logics are susceptible to a strengthened version of Curry's paradox. This can be adapted to provide a prooftheoretic analysis of the omega-inconsistency in Lukasiewicz's continuum valued logic, allowing us to better evaluate which logics are suitable for a naïve truth theory. On this basis I identify two natural subsystems of Lukasiewicz logic which (...) individually, but not jointly, lack the problematic feature. (shrink)
Definitions I presented in a previous article as part of a semantic approach in epistemology assumed that the concept of derivability from standard logic held across all mathematical and scientific disciplines. The present article argues that this assumption is not true for quantum mechanics (QM) by showing that concepts of validity applicable to proofs in mathematics and in classical mechanics are inapplicable to proofs in QM. Because semantic epistemology must include this important theory, revision is necessary. The one I propose (...) also extends semantic epistemology beyond the ‘hard’ sciences. The article ends by presenting and then refuting some responses QM theorists might make to my arguments. (shrink)
Deductive inference is usually regarded as being “tautological” or “analytical”: the information conveyed by the conclusion is contained in the information conveyed by the premises. This idea, however, clashes with the undecidability of first-order logic and with the (likely) intractability of Boolean logic. In this article, we address the problem both from the semantic and the proof-theoretical point of view. We propose a hierarchy of propositional logics that are all tractable (i.e. decidable in polynomial time), although by means of (...) growing computational resources, and converge towards classical propositional logic. The underlying claim is that this hierarchy can be used to represent increasing levels of “depth” or “informativeness” of Boolean reasoning. Special attention is paid to the most basic logic in this hierarchy, the pure “intelim logic”, which satisfies all the requirements of a natural deduction system (allowing both introduction and elimination rules for each logical operator) while admitting of a feasible (quadratic) decision procedure. We argue that this logic is “analytic” in a particularly strict sense, in that it rules out any use of “virtual information”, which is chiefly responsible for the combinatorial explosion of standard classical systems. As a result, analyticity and tractability are reconciled and growing degrees of computational complexity are associated with the depth at which the use of virtual information is allowed. (shrink)
This is part one of a two-part paper, in which we develop an axiomatic theory of the relation of partial ground. The main novelty of the paper is the of use of a binary ground predicate rather than an operator to formalize ground. This allows us to connect theories of partial ground with axiomatic theories of truth. In this part of the paper, we develop an axiomatization of the relation of partial ground over the truths of arithmetic and show that (...) the theory is a proof-theoretically conservative extension of the theory PT of positive truth. We construct models for the theory and draw some conclusions for the semantics of conceptualist ground. (shrink)
The paper studies a cluster of systems for fully disquotational truth based on the restriction of initial sequents. Unlike well-known alternative approaches, such systems display both a simple and intuitive model theory and remarkable proof-theoretic properties. We start by showing that, due to a strong form of invertibility of the truth rules, cut is eliminable in the systems via a standard strategy supplemented by a suitable measure of the number of applications of truth rules to formulas in derivations. (...) Next, we notice that cut remains eliminable when suitable arithmetical axioms are added to the system. Finally, we establish a direct link between cut-free derivability in infinitary formulations of the systems considered and fixed-point semantics. Noticeably, unlike what happens with other background logics, such links are established without imposing any restriction to the premisses of the truth rules. (shrink)
This paper presents a sequent calculus and a dual domain semantics for a theory of definite descriptions in which these expressions are formalised in the context of complete sentences by a binary quantifier I. I forms a formula from two formulas. Ix[F, G] means ‘The F is G’. This approach has the advantage of incorporating scope distinctions directly into the notation. Cut elimination is proved for a system of classical positive free logic with I and it is shown to (...) be sound and complete for the semantics. The system has a number of novel features and is briefly compared to the usual approach of formalising ‘the F ’ by a term forming operator. It does not coincide with Hintikka’s and Lambert’s preferred theories, but the divergence is well-motivated and attractive. (shrink)
A sorites argument is a symptom of the vagueness of the predicate with which it is constructed. A vague predicate admits of at least one dimension of variation (and typically more than one) in its intended range along which we are at a loss when to say the predicate ceases to apply, though we start out confident that it does. It is this feature of them that the sorites arguments exploit. Exactly how is part of the subject of this paper. (...) The majority of philosophers writing on vagueness take it to be a kind of semantic phenomenon. If we are right, they are correct in this assumption, which is surely the default position, but they have not so far provided a satisfactory account of the implications of this or a satisfactory diagnosis of the sorites arguments. Other philosophers have urged more exotic responses, which range from the view that the fault lies not in our language, but in the world, which they propose to be populated with vague objects which our semantics precisely reflects, to the view that the world and language are both perfectly in order, but that the fault lies with our knowledge of the properties of the words we use (epistemicism). In contrast to the exotica to which some philosophers have found themselves driven in an attempt to respond to the sorites puzzles, we undertake a defense of the commonsense view that vague terms are semantically vague. Our strategy is to take fresh look at the phenomenon of vagueness. Rather than attempting to adjudicate between different extant theories, we begin with certain pre-theoretic intuitions about vague terms, and a default position on classical logic. The aim is to see whether (i) a natural story can be told which will explain the vagueness phenomenon and the puzzling nature of soritical arguments, and, in the course of this, to see whether (ii) there arises any compelling pressure to give up the natural stance. We conclude that there is a simple and natural story to be told, and we tell it, and that there is no good reason to abandon our intuitively compelling starting point. The importance of the strategy lies in its dialectical structure. Not all positions on vagueness are on a par. Some are so incredible that even their defenders think of them as positions of last resort, positions to which we must be driven by the power of philosophical argument. We aim to show that there is no pressure to adopt these incredible positions, obviating the need to respond to them directly. If we are right, semantic vagueness is neither surprising, nor threatening. It provides no reason to suppose that the logic of natural languages is not classical or to give up any independently plausible principle of bivalence. Properly understood, it provides us with a satisfying diagnosis of the sorites argumentation. It would be rash to claim to have any completely novel view about a topic so well worked as vagueness. But we believe that the subject, though ancient, still retains its power to inform and challenge us. In particular, we will argue that taking seriously the central phenomenon of predicate vagueness—the “boundarylessness” of vague predicates—on the commonsense assumption that vagueness is semantic, leads ineluctably to the view that no sentences containing vague expressions (henceforth ‘vague sentences’) are truth-evaluable. This runs counter to much of the literature on vagueness, which commonly assumes that, though some applications of vague predicates to objects fail to be truth-evaluable, in clear positive and negative cases vague sentences are unproblematically true or false. It is clarity on this, and related points, that removes the puzzles associated with vagueness, and helps us to a satisfying diagnosis of why the sorites arguments both seem compelling and yet so obviously a bit of trickery. We give a proof that semantically vague predicates neither apply nor fail-to-apply to anything, and that consequently it is a mistake to diagnose sorites arguments, as is commonly done, by attempting to locate in them a false premise. Sorites arguments are not sound, but not unsound either. We offer an explanation of their appeal, and defend our position against a variety of worries that might arise about it. The plan of the paper is as follows. We first introduce an important distinction in terms of which we characterize what has gone wrong with vague predicates. We characterize what we believe to be our natural starting point in thinking about the phenomenon of vagueness, from which only a powerful argument should move us, and then trace out the consequences of accepting this starting point. We consider the charge that among the consequences of semantic vagueness are that we must give up classical logic and the principle of bivalence, which has figured prominently in arguments for epistemicism. We argue there are no such consequences of our view: neither the view that the logic of natural languages is classical, nor any plausible principle of bivalence, need be given up. Next, we offer a diagnosis of what has gone wrong in sorites arguments on the basis of our account. We then present an argument to show that our account must be accepted on pain of embracing (in one way or another) the epistemic view of “vagueness”, i.e., of denying that there are any semantically vague terms at all. Next, we discuss some worries that may arise about the intelligibility of our linguistic practices if our account is correct. We argue none of these worries should force us from our intuitive starting point. Finally, we cast a quick glance at other forms of semantic incompleteness. (shrink)
Philosophers of language have drawn on metamathematical results in varied ways. Extensionalist philosophers have been particularly impressed with two, not unrelated, facts: the existence, due to Frege/Tarski, of a certain sort of semantics, and the seeming absence of intensional contexts from mathematical discourse. The philosophical import of these facts is at best murky. Extensionalists will emphasize the success and clarity of the model theoreticsemantics; others will emphasize the relative poverty of the mathematical idiom; still others will (...) question the aptness of the standard extensional semantics for mathematics. In this paper I investigate some implications of the Gödel Second Incompleteness Theorem for these positions. I argue that the realm of mathematics, proof theory in particular, has been a breeding ground for intensionality and that satisfactory intensional semantic theories are implicit in certain rigorous technical accounts. (shrink)
Both in formal and computational natural language semantics, the classical correspondence view of meaning – and, more specifically, the view that the meaning of a declarative sentence coincides with its truth conditions – is widely held. Truth (in the world or a situation) plays the role of the given, and meaning is analysed in terms of it. Both language and the world feature in this perspective on meaning, but language users are conspicuously absent. In contrast, the inferentialist semantics (...) that Robert Brandom proposes in his magisterial book ‘Making It Explicit’ puts the language user centre stage. According to his theory of meaning, the utterance of a sentence is meaningful in as far as it is a move by a language user in a game of giving and asking for reasons (with reasons underwritten by a notion of good inferences). In this paper, I propose a proof-theoretic formalisation of the game of giving and asking for reasons that lends itself to computer implementation. In the current proposal, I flesh out an account of defeasible inferences, a variety of inferences which play a pivotal role in ordinary (and scientific) language use. (shrink)
Gödel’s slingshot-argument proceeds from a referential theory of definite descriptions and from the principle of compositionality for reference. It outlines a metasemantic proof of Frege’s thesis that all true sentences refer to the same object—as well as all false ones. Whereas Frege drew from this the conclusion that sentences refer to truth-values, Gödel rejected a referential theory of definite descriptions. By formalising Gödel’s argument, it is possible to reconstruct all premises that are needed for the derivation of Frege’s thesis. (...) For this purpose, a reference-theoretical semantics for a language of first-order predicate logic with identity and referentially treated definite descriptions will be defined. Some of the premises of Gödel’s argument will be proven by such a reference-theoretical semantics, whereas others can only be postulated. For example, the principle that logically equivalent sentences refer to the same object cannot be proven but must be assumed in order to derive Frege’s thesis. However, different true (or false) sentences can refer to different states of affairs if the latter principle is rejected and the other two premises are maintained. This is shown using an identity criterion for states of affairs according to which two states of affairs are identical if and only if they involve the same objects and have the same necessary and sufficient condition for obtaining. (shrink)
Since 1976 Hilary Putnam has on many occasions proposed an argument, founded on some model-theoretic results, to the effect that any philosophical programme whose purpose is to naturalize semantics would fail to account for an important feature of every natural language, the determinacy of reference. Here, after having presented the argument, I will suggest that it does not work, because it simply assumes what it should prove, that is that we cannot extend the metatheory: Putnam appears to think (...) that all we may determinately say about the relations between words and entities in the world is what the model theory tells us, but he has never offered justifications for that. At the end of the article, I will discuss the apparently reliable intuition that seems to me to be at the root of the argument, that is that, given a formal theory, there is an infinite number of ways of connecting it to, or of projecting it onto, the world. I will suggest that we should resist this intuition, because it rests on a very doubtful notion of world, which assumes that for any class of objects there is a corresponding property. (shrink)
A new proof style adequate for modal logics is defined from the polynomial ring calculus. The new semantics not only expresses truth conditions of modal formulas by means of polynomials, but also permits to perform deductions through polynomial handling. This paper also investigates relationships among the PRC here defined, the algebraic semantics for modal logics, equational logics, the Dijkstra???Scholten equational-proof style, and rewriting systems. The method proposed is throughly exemplified for S 5, and can be easily (...) extended to other modal logics. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to provide an intuitive semantics for systems of justification logic which allows us to cope with the distinction between implicit and explicit justifiers. The paper is subdivided into three sections. In the first one, the distinction between implicit and explicit justifiers is presented and connected with a proof-theoretic distinction between two ways of interpreting sequences of sentences; that is, as sequences of axioms in a certain set and as sequences proofs constructed (...) from that set of axioms. In the second section, a basic system of justification logic for implicit and explicit justifiers is analyzed and some significant facts about it are proved. In the final section, an adequate semantics is proposed, and the system is proved to be sound and complete whit respect to it. (shrink)
In virtue of what does a sign have meaning? This is the question raised by Wittgenstein's rule-following considerations. Semantic dispositionalism is a (type of) theory that purports to answer this question. The present paper argues that semantic dispositionalism faces a heretofore unnoticed problem, one that ultimately comes down to its reliance on unanalyzed notions of repeated types of signs. In the context of responding to the rule-following paradox—and offering a putative solution to it—this amounts to simply assuming a solution to (...) the problem in one domain and using it to solve the same problem in another. Given, moreover, the level at which the rule-following paradox undercuts dispositionalism—the level of the notion of a sign's repetition—the objections made to the view also rule out causal/informational theories of meaning as well as communitarian/assertion-theoretic ones as potential solutions to the rule-following paradox. (shrink)
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