In this paper we distinguish between various kinds of doxastic theories. One distinction is between informal and formal doxastic theories. AGM-type theories of belief change are of the former kind, while Hintikka’s logic of knowledge and belief is of the latter. Then we distinguish between static theories that study the unchanging beliefs of a certain agent and dynamic theories that investigate not only the constraints that can reasonably be imposed on the doxastic states of a rational agent but also rationality (...) constraints on the changes of doxastic state that may occur in such agents. An additional distinction is that between non-introspective theories and introspective ones. Non-introspective theories investigate agents that have opinions about the external world but no higher-order opinions about their own doxasticnstates. Standard AGM-type theories as well as the currently existing versions of Segerberg’s dynamic doxastic logic (DDL) are non-introspective. Hintikka-style doxastic logic is of course introspective but it is a static theory. Thus, the challenge remains to devise doxastic theories that are both dynamic and introspective. We outline the semantics for truly introspective dynamic doxastic logic, i.e., a dynamic doxastic logic that allows us to describe agents who have both the ability to form higher-order beliefs and to reflect upon and change their minds about their own (higher-order) beliefs. This extension of DDL demands that we give up the Preservation condition on revision. We make some suggestions as to how such a non-preservative revision operation can be constructed. We also consider extending DDL with conditionals satisfying the Ramsey test and show that Gärdenfors’ well-known impossibility result applies to such a framework. Also in this case, Preservation has to be given up. (shrink)
The theories of belief change developed within the AGM-tradition are not logics in the proper sense, but rather informal axiomatic theories of belief change. Instead of characterizing the models of belief and belief change in a formalized object language, the AGM-approach uses a natural language — ordinary mathematical English — to characterize the mathematical structures that are under study. Recently, however, various authors such as Johan van Benthem and Maarten de Rijke have suggested representing doxastic change within a formal logical (...) language: a dynamic modal logic. Inspired by these suggestions Krister Segerberg has developed a very general logical framework for reasoning about doxastic change: dynamic doxastic logic (DDL). This framework may be seen as an extension of standard Hintikka-style doxastic logic with dynamic operators representing various kinds of transformations of the agent's doxastic state. Basic DDL describes an agent that has opinions about the external world and an ability to change these opinions in the light of new information. Such an agent is non-introspective in the sense that he lacks opinions about his own belief states. Here we are going to discuss various possibilities for developing a dynamic doxastic logic for introspective agents: full DDL or DDL unlimited. The project of constructing such a logic is faced with difficulties due to the fact that the agent’s own doxastic state now becomes a part of the reality that he is trying to explore: when an introspective agent learns more about the world, then the reality he holds beliefs about undergoes a change. But then his introspective (higher-order) beliefs have to be adjusted accordingly. In the paper we shall consider various ways of solving this problem. (shrink)
This paper presents a uniform semantic treatment of nonmonotonic inference operations that allow for inferences from infinite sets of premises. The semantics is formulated in terms of selection functions and is a generalization of the preferential semantics of Shoham (1987), (1988), Kraus, Lehman, and Magidor (1990) and Makinson (1989), (1993). A selection function picks out from a given set of possible states (worlds, situations, models) a subset consisting of those states that are, in some sense, the most preferred ones. A (...) proposition α is a nonmonotonic consequence of a set of propositions Γ iff α holds in all the most preferred Γ-states. In the literature on revealed preference theory, there are a number of well-known theorems concerning the representability of selection functions, satisfying certain properties, in terms of underlying preference relations. Such theorems are utilized here to give corresponding representation theorems for nonmonotonic inference operations. At the end of the paper, the connection between nonmonotonic inference and belief revision, in the sense of Alchourrón, Gärdenfors, and Makinson, is explored. In this connection, infinitary belief revision operations that allow for the revision of a theory with a possibly infinite set of propositions are introduced and characterized axiomatically. (shrink)
Enligt ett realistiskt synsätt kan ett påstående vara sant trots att det inte ens i princip är möjligt att veta att det är sant. En sanningsteoretisk antirealist kan inte godta denna möjlighet utan accepterar en eller annan version av Dummetts vetbarhetsprincip: (K) Om ett påstående är sant, så måste det i princip vara möjligt att veta att det är sant. Det kan dock förefalla rimligt, även för en antirealist, att gå̊ med på̊ att det kan finnas sanningar som ingen faktiskt (...) vet (har vetat, eller kommer att veta) är sanna. Man kan därför tänka sig att en antirealist skulle acceptera principen (K) utan att därför gå med på den till synes starkare principen: (SK) Om ett påstående är sant, så måste det faktiskt finnas någon som vet att det är sant. Ett mycket omdiskuterat argument – som ytterst går tillbaka till Alonzo Church, men som först publicerades i en uppsats av Frederic Fitch i Journal of Symbolic Logic 1963 – tycks emellertid visa att principen (K) implicerar principen (SK). Anta nämligen att (K) är sann, medan (SK) inte är det. Men om (SK) är falsk, så finns det ett påstående som är sant men som ingen faktiskt vet är sant. Anta nu att p är ett sådant påstående. Låt Kp betyda att någon vet att p är sant. Det galler alltså̊ att p är sant samtidigt som Kp inte är det. Betrakta nu påståendet (p ∧ −Kp). Enligt antagandet är detta påstående sant. Enligt (K) måste det då vara möjligt att någon vet att (p ∧ −Kp). D.v.s., det måste vara möjligt att påståendet K(p ∧ −Kp) är sant. Men i så fall är det också̊ möjligt att påståendet Kp ∧ K−Kp är sant, vilket i sin tur implicerar att det är möjligt att Kp ∧ −Kp är sant, vilket ju är absurt. Således kan inte (K) vara sann samtidigt som (SK) är falsk. Vi tycks således kunna sluta oss till att (K) implicerar (SK). I uppsatsen diskuterar jag några olika sätt att undgå̊ Church-Fitch paradoxala slutsats. Ett tillvägagångssätt är att ersätta kunskapsoperatorn med en hierarki av kunskapspredikat. Ett annat är baserat på distinktionen mellan faktisk och potentiell kunskap och ett förkastande av den vanliga modallogiska formaliseringen av principen (K). Den senare typen av lösning betraktas både från ett realistiskt och ett icke-realistiskt perspektiv. Utifrån denna analys kommer jag fram till slutsatsen att vi, vare sig vi är realister eller antirealister rörande sanning, kan sluta oroa oss för vetbarhetsparadoxen och ändå uppskatta Church-Fitchs argument. (shrink)
In earlier papers (Lindström & Rabinowicz, 1989. 1990), we proposed a generalization of the AGM approach to belief revision. Our proposal was to view belief revision as a relation rather thanas a function on theories (or belief sets). The idea was to allow for there being several equally reasonable revisions of a theory with a given proposition. In the present paper, we show that the relational approach is the natural result of generalizing in a certain way an approach to belief (...) revision due to Adam Grove. In his (1988) paper, Grove presents two closely related modelings of functional belief revision, one in terms of a family of "spheres" around the agent's theory G and the other in terms of an epistemic entrenchment ordering of propositions. The "sphere"-terminology is natural when one looks upon theories and propositions as being represented by sets of possible worlds. Grove's spheres may be thought of as possible "fallback" theories relative to the agent's original theory: theories that he may reach by deleting propositions that are not "sufficiently" entrenched (according to standards of sufficient entrenchment of varying stringency). To put it differently, fallbacks are theories that are closed upwards under entrenchment The entrenchment ordering can be recovered from the family of fallbacks by the definition: A is at least as entrenched as B iff A belongs to every fallback to which B belongs. To revise a theory T with a proposition A, we go to the smallest sphere that contain A-worlds and intersect it with A. The relational notion of belief revision that we are interested in, results from weakening epistemic entrenchment by not assuming it to be connected. I.e., we want to allow that some propositions may be incomparable with respect to epistemic entrenchment. As a result, the family of fallbacks around a given theory will no longer have to be nested. This change opens up the possibility for several different ways of revising a theory with a given proposition. (shrink)
In this paper, I shall consider the challenge that Quine posed in 1947 to the advocates of quantified modal logic to provide an explanation, or interpretation, of modal notions that is intuitively clear, allows “quantifying in”, and does not presuppose, mysterious, intensional entities. The modal concepts that Quine and his contemporaries, e.g. Carnap and Ruth Barcan Marcus, were primarily concerned with in the 1940’s were the notions of (broadly) logical, or analytical, necessity and possibility, rather than the metaphysical modalities that (...) have since become popular, largely due to the influence of Kripke. In the 1950’s modal logicians responded to Quine’s challenge by providing quantified modal logic with model-theoretic semantics of various types. In doing so they also, explicitly or implicitly addressed Quine’s interpretation problem. Here I shall consider the approaches developed by Carnap in the late 1940’s, and by Kanger, Hintikka, Montague, and Kripke in the 1950’s, and discuss to what extent these approaches were successful in meeting Quine’s doubts about the intelligibility of quantified modal logic. (shrink)
“There is no use in trying,” said Alice; “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast”. Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass. -/- It is a rather common view among philosophers that one cannot, properly speaking, be said to believe, conceive, imagine, hope for, or seek (...) what is impossible. -/- Some philosophers, for instance George Berkeley and the early Wittgenstein, thought that logically contradictory propositions lack cognitive meaning (informational content) and cannot, therefore, be thought or believed. Philosophers who do not go as far as Berkeley and Wittgenstein in denying that impossible propositions or states of affairs are thinkable, may still claim that it is impossible to rationally believe an impossible proposition. On a classical “Cartesian” view of belief, belief is a purely mental state of the agent holding true a proposition p that she “grasps” and is directly acquainted with. But if the agent is directly acquainted with an impossible proposition, then, presumably, she must know that it is impossible. But surely no rational agent can hold true a proposition that she knows is impossible. Hence, no rational agent can believe an impossible proposition. Thus it seems that on the Cartesian view of propositional attitudes as inner mental states in which proposition are immediately apprehended by the mind, it is impossible for a rational agent to believe, imagine or conceive an impossible proposition. -/- Ruth Barcan Marcus (1983) has suggested that a belief attribution is defeated once it is discovered that the proposition, or state of affairs that is believed is impossible. According to her intuition, just as knowledge implies truth, belief implies possibility. -/- It is commonplace that people claim to believe propositions that later turn out to be impossible. According to Barcan Marcus, the correct thing to say in such a situation is not: I once believed that A but I don’t believe it any longer since I have come to realize that it is impossible that A. What one should say is instead: It once appeared to me that I believed that A, but I did not, since it is impossible that A. Thus, Barcan Marcus defends what we might call Alice’s thesis: Necessarily, for any proposition p and any subject x, if x believes p, then p is possible. -/- Alice’s thesis that it is impossible to hold impossible beliefs, seems to come into conflict with our ordinary practices of attributing beliefs. Consider a mathematical example. Some mathematicians believe that CH (the continuum hypothesis) is true and others believe that it is false. But if CH is true, then it is necessarily true; and if it is false, then it is necessarily false. Regardless of whether CH is true or false, the conclusion seems to be that there are mathematicians who believe impossible propositions. -/- Examples of apparent beliefs in impossible propositions outside of mathematics are also easy to come by. Consider, for example, Kripke’s (1999) story of the Frenchman Pierre who without realizing it has two different names ‘London’ and ‘Londres’ for the same city, London. After having arrived in London, Pierre may assent to ‘Londres is beautiful and London is not beautiful’ without being in any way irrational. It seems reasonably to infer from this that Pierre believes that Londres is beautiful and London is not beautiful. But since ‘Londres’ and ‘London’ are rigid designators for the same city, it seems to follow from this that Pierre believes the inconsistent proposition that we may express as ‘London is both beautiful and not beautiful’. (shrink)
Modal logic is one of philosophy’s many children. As a mature adult it has moved out of the parental home and is nowadays straying far from its parent. But the ties are still there: philosophy is important to modal logic, modal logic is important for philosophy. Or, at least, this is a thesis we try to defend in this chapter. Limitations of space have ruled out any attempt at writing a survey of all the work going on in our field—a (...) book would be needed for that. Instead, we have tried to select material that is of interest in its own right or exemplifies noteworthy features in interesting ways. Here are some themes that have guided us throughout the writing: • The back-and-forth between philosophy and modal logic. There has been a good deal of give-and-take in the past. Carnap tried to use his modal logic to throw light on old philosophical questions, thereby inspiring others to continue his work and still others to criticise it. He certainly provoked Quine, who in his turn provided—and continues to provide—a healthy challenge to modal logicians. And Kripke’s and David Lewis’s philosophies are connected, in interesting ways, with their modal logic. Analytic philosophy would have been a lot different without modal logic! • The interpretation problem. The problem of providing a certain modal logic with an intuitive interpretation should not be conflated with the problem of providing a formal system with a model-theoretic semantics. An intuitively appealing model-theoretic semantics may be an important step towards solving the interpretation problem, but only a step. One may compare this situation with that in probability theory, where definitions of concepts like ‘outcome space’ and ‘random variable’ are orthogonal to questions about “interpretations” of the concept of probability. • The value of formalisation. Modal logic sets standards of precision, which are a challenge to—and sometimes a model for—philosophy. Classical philosophical questions can be sharpened and seen from a new perspective when formulated in a framework of modal logic. On the other hand, representing old questions in a formal garb has its dangers, such as simplification and distortion. • Why modal logic rather than classical (first or higher order) logic? The idioms of modal logic—today there are many!—seem better to correspond to human ways of thinking than ordinary extensional logic. (Cf. Chomsky’s conjecture that the NP + VP pattern is wired into the human brain.) In his An Essay in Modal Logic (1951) von Wright distinguished between four kinds of modalities: alethic (modes of truth: necessity, possibility and impossibility), epistemic (modes of being known: known to be true, known to be false, undecided), deontic (modes of obligation: obligatory, permitted, forbidden) and existential (modes of existence: universality, existence, emptiness). The existential modalities are not usually counted as modalities, but the other three categories are exemplified in three sections into which this chapter is divided. Section 1 is devoted to alethic modal logic and reviews some main themes at the heart of philosophical modal logic. Sections 2 and 3 deal with topics in epistemic logic and deontic logic, respectively, and are meant to illustrate two different uses that modal logic or indeed any logic can have: it may be applied to already existing (non-logical) theory, or it can be used to develop new theory. (shrink)
Aristotle’s words in the Metaphysics: “to say of what is that it is, or of what is not that it is not, is true” are often understood as indicating a correspondence view of truth: a statement is true if it corresponds to something in the world that makes it true. Aristotle’s words can also be interpreted in a deflationary, i.e., metaphysically less loaded, way. According to the latter view, the concept of truth is contained in platitudes like: ‘It is true (...) that snow is white iff snow is white’, ‘It is true that neutrinos have mass iff neutrinos have mass’, etc. Our understanding of the concept of truth is exhausted by these and similar equivalences. This is all there is to truth. In his book Truth (Second edition 1998), Paul Horwich develops minimalism, a special variant of the deflationary view. According to Horwich’s minimalism, truth is an indefinable property of propositions characterized by what he calls the minimal theory, i.e., all (nonparadoxical) propositions of the form: It is true that p if and only if p. Although the idea of minimalism is simple and straightforward, the proper formulation of Horwich’s theory is no simple matter. In this paper, I shall discuss some of the difficulties of a logical nature that arise. First, I discuss problems that arise when we try to give a rigorous characterization of the theory without presupposing a prior understanding of the notion of truth. Next I turn to Horwich’s treatment of the Liar paradox and a paradox about the totality of all propositions that was first formulated by Russell (1903). My conclusion is that Horwich’s minimal theory cannot deal with these difficulties in an adequate way, and that it has to be revised in fundamental ways in order to do so. Once such revisions have been carried out the theory may, however, have lost some of its appealing simplicity. (shrink)
In this paper I consider two paradoxes that arise in connection with the concept of demonstrability, or absolute provability. I assume—for the sake of the argument—that there is an intuitive notion of demonstrability, which should not be conflated with the concept of formal deducibility in a (formal) system or the relativized concept of provability from certain axioms. Demonstrability is an epistemic concept: the rough idea is that a sentence is demonstrable if it is provable from knowable basic (“self-evident”) premises by (...) means of simple logical steps. A statement that is demonstrable is also knowable and a statement that is actually demonstrated is known to be true. By casting doubt upon apparently central principles governing the concept of demonstrability, the paradoxes of demonstrability presented here tend to undermine the concept itself—or at least our understanding of it. As long as we cannot find a diagnosis and a cure for the paradoxes, it seems that the coherence of the concepts of demonstrability and demonstrable knowledge are put in question. There are of course ways of putting the paradoxes in quarantine, for example by imposing a hierarchy of languages a` la Tarski, or a ramified hierarchy of propositions and propositional functions a` la Russell. These measures, however, helpful as they may be in avoiding contradictions, do not seem to solve the underlying conceptual problems. Although structurally similar to the semantic paradoxes, the paradoxes discussed in this paper involve epistemic notions: “demonstrability”, “knowability”, “knowledge”... These notions are “factive” (e.g., if A is demonstrable, then A is true), but similar paradoxes arise in connection with “nonfactive” notions like “believes”, “says”, “asserts”.3 There is no consensus in the literature concerning the analysis of the notions involved—often referred to as “propositional attitudes”—or concerning the treatment of the paradoxes they give rise to. (shrink)
The main objective of this paper is to examine how theories of truth and reference that are in a broad sense Fregean in character are threatened by antinomies; in particular by the Epimenides paradox and versions of the so-called Russell-Myhill antinomy, an intensional analogue of Russell’s more well-known paradox for extensions. Frege’s ontology of propositions and senses has recently received renewed interest in connection with minimalist theories that take propositions (thoughts) and senses (concepts) as the primary bearers of truth and (...) reference. In this paper, I will present a rigorous version of Frege’s theory of sense and denotation and show that it leads to antinomies. I am also going to discuss ways of modifying Frege’s semantical and ontological framework in order to avoid the paradoxes. In this connection, I explore the possibility of giving up the Fregean assumption of a universal domain of absolutely all objects, containing in addition to extensional objects also abstract intensional ones like propositions and singular concepts. I outline a cumulative hierarchy of Fregean propositions and senses, in analogy with Gödel’s hierarchy of constructible sets. In this hierarchy, there is no domain of all objects. Instead, every domain of objects is extendible with new objects that, on pain of contradiction, cannot belong to the given domain. According to this approach, there is no domain containing absolutely all propositions or absolutely all senses. (shrink)
As emphasized by Alonzo Church and David Kaplan (Church 1974, Kaplan 1975), the philosophies of language of Frege and Russell incorporate quite different methods of semantic analysis with different basic concepts and different ontologies. Accordingly we distinguish between a Fregean and a Russellian tradition in intensional semantics. The purpose of this paper is to pursue the Russellian alternative and to provide a language of intensional logic with a model-theoretic semantics. We also discuss the so-called Russell-Myhill paradox that threatens simple Russellian (...) type theory if propositions satisfies very strict principles of individuation. One way of avoiding the paradox is to adopt a ramified rather than a simple theory of types. (shrink)
Årets Hägerströmföreläsningar i Uppsala gavs i februari av den norske filosofen Dagfinn Føllesdal. Ämnet var "Mening og Erfaring". Dagfinn Føllesdal doktorerade 1961 vid Harvard med Willard Van Quine som handledare på en avhandling om kvantifierad modallogik. Han blev internationellt känd främst för studier om Husserls fenomenologi och dess förhållande till Frege samt för sina arbeten om Quines språkfilosofi. Allt sedan 60-talet har Føllesdal delat sin tid mellan Oslouniversitetet och Stanforduniversitetet i Kalifornien. I sina föreläsningar diskuterade Føllesdal meningsbegreppet med anknytning till (...) teorier formulerade av sådana tidigare Hägerströmföreläsare som Quine, Davidson och Kripke. En utgångspunkt för framställningen var Quines empiristiska syn på språket: Allt vi kan lära om omvärlden och varandra, inklusive språket, är grundat på socialt tillgänglig evidens. Enligt Quines uppfattning är språket väsentligen ett socialt fenomen. Detta innebär att: (i) språket har blivit till genom en social process; (ii) individens inlärning av språket sker på basen av socialt tillgänglig information; och (iii) användningen av språket är en social process. Den centrala frågeställningen som diskuterades i föreläsningarna var: Hur skall vi utifrån en empiristisk syn på språket förstå mening och kommunikation? Quine var den förste att på ett helt explicit sätt formulera denna problemställning. (shrink)
Is it possible to give a justification of our own practice of deductive inference? The purpose of this paper is to explain what such a justification might consist in and what its purpose could be. On the conception that we are going to pursue, to give a justification for a deductive practice means to explain in terms of an intuitively satisfactory notion of validity why the inferences that conform to the practice coincide with the valid ones. That is, a justification (...) should provide an analysis of the notion of validity and show that the inferences that conform to the practice are just the ones that are valid. Moreover, a complete justification should also explain the purpose, or point, of our inferential practice. We are first going to discuss the objection that any justification of our deductive practice must use deduction and therefore be circular. Then we will consider a particular model of justificatory explanation, building on Georg Kreisel’s concept of informal rigour. Finally, in the main part of the paper, we will discuss three ideas for defining the notion of validity: (i) the classical conception according to which the notion of (bivalent) truth is taken as basic and validity is defined in terms of the preservation of truth; (ii) the constructivist idea of starting instead with the notion of (a canonical) proof (or verification) and define validity in terms of this notion; (iii) the idea of taking the notions of rational acceptance and rejection as given and define an argument to be valid just in case it is irrational to simultaneously accept its premises and reject its conclusion (or conclusions, if we allow for multiple conclusions). Building on work by Dana Scott, we show that the last conception may be viewed as being, in a certain sense, equivalent to the first one. Finally, we discuss the so-called paradox of inference and the informativeness of deductive arguments. (shrink)
We discuss various possibilities for developing a dynamic doxastic logic (DDL) for introspective agents: agents who have the ability to form higher-order beliefs. Such agents can reflect upon and change their minds about their own beliefs. The project of constructing such a logic, full DDL or DDL unlimited, is ridden with difficulties due to the fact that the agent's own doxastic state now becomes a part of the reality he is trying to explore. When an introspective agent learns more about (...) the world (and himself), the reality he holds beliefs about undergoes a change in its doxastic part, which means that his introspective beliefs have to be adjusted accordingly. (shrink)
The present essay is a critical study of Barwise and Perry’s book, emphasizing the logical and model-theoretical aspects of their work. I begin by presenting the authors’ criticism of the classical view of logic and semantics within the tradition of Frege, Russell and Tarski. In this connection, I discuss the so-called Frege argument (“the slingshot”). I try to show that the argument appears inconclusive, not only from a situation-theoretic perspective, but also from such alternative perspectives as orthodox Fregean semantics or (...) Russellian semantics. I then discuss the ontology of situation semantics and the way it is modeled within set theory. In particular, I compare the notion of an abstract situation with that of a possible world. The last two sections concern the model-theoretic aspects of the authors’ theory. In Section 7, I discuss how the “partial” perspective of situation semantics differs from that of classical model theory. Finally, in Section 8, different model-theoretic accounts of attitude reports within situation semantics are discussed, in particular the “relations to situations”-approach presented by the authors in Chapter 9 of S & A. The usual problems of “logical omniscience” that appear in standard Hintikka-style epistemic logic are avoided in situation semantics. I argue, however, that situation semantics is faced with analogous counter-intuitive results, unless the expressive power of the language under study is suitably restricted. (shrink)
A central aim for philosophers of science has been to understand scientific theory change, or more specifically the rationality of theory change. Philosophers and historians of science have suggested that not only theories but also scientific methods and standards of rational inquiry have changed through the history of science. The topic here is methodological change, and what kind of theory of rational methodological change is appropriate. The modest ambition of this paper is to discuss in what ways results in formal (...) theories of belief revision can throw light on the question of what an appropriate theory of methodological change would look like. (shrink)
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