TOPICS IN ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHY 2
This is the second meeting of analytic philosophers from Serbia and Romania, in an effort to forge and sustain academic collaboration between philosophers from the two neighboring countries. (Click here for the details of the first meeting.) We hope the collaboration will continue for many years to come!
The meeting takes place on March 29-30, 2018 and is hosted by the University of Belgrade. There will be 11 participants, 6 on the Serbian side (Vojislav Božičković, Andrej Jandrić, Radmila Jovanović, Miljana Milojević - speakers; Ljubomir Stevanović, Miloš Panajotov - commentators) and 5 on the Romanian side (Adrian Ludușan, Mihai Rusu, Sergiu Spătan, Paula Tomi - speakers; Dan Zeman - commentator). Below you can find the program of the event and the abstracts of the presentations.
The workshop is organized by Miljana Milojević, Adrian Briciu and Dan Zeman, with the support of the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade. Please send an email to miljana.milojevic[at]f.bg.ac.rs if you want to particiate.
You can download the poster of the event here.
Thursday, March 29
15.00 - 16.15: Paula Tomi, "The Deflationist’s Liberty: A Defense of Metaphysical Neutrality"
Comments: Miloš Panajotov
16:15 - 17.30: Miljana Milojević, "Wide Selves"
Comments: Dan Zeman
17.45 - 19.00: Sergiu Spătan, "Mindreading and Knowledge Ascriptions"
Comments: Ljubomir Stevanović
Friday, March 30
10.15 - 11.15: Vojislav Božičković, "Modes of Presentation Through Time"
11.15-12.15: Mihai Rusu, "Knowledge of Metaphysical Necessity and Epistemic Constraints in Realist Accounts of Modality"
14.00 - 15.00: Andrej Jandrić, "General Terms, Rigidity and Necessary Properties"
15.00 - 16.00: Radmila Jovanović, "Problematic Pronominal Anaphora: New Solutions Compared"
16.15 - 17.15: Adrian Ludușan, "Reference, Categoricity, and Schematic Theories"
Paula Tomi (University of Bucharest), "The Deflationist’s Liberty: A Defense of Metaphysical Neutrality"
Truth deflationism may be defined vaguely as the denial of the idea that truth is a substantive property; thus, truth is superficial and may be explained in a trivial manner. A well-known form of deflationism about truth is Horwich’s theory – the minimalist one. This minimalist theory considers that all that can be said about truth may be condensed by the T-schema and its instantiations. In this case, the role of truth is reduced to a logical one.Therefore, it seems that a deflationist about truth does not need any metaphysical approach. Deflationism about truth may be generalized to the other semantic notions too, in order to engender coherence and strength for the theory. On the other hand, it was argued (by Amie Thomasson) that a semantic deflationist has to be a metaphysical deflationist too. Starting from a deflationary point of view about truth, one must accept the same theory for his metaphysical view. I think Thomasson’s conclusion is too strong and the second part might be weakened in order to leave place for metaphysical neutrality. The aim of this paper is to answer the following question: does a truth deflationist have to accept a similar metaphysical position? Amie Thomasson’s answer is a strong yes, but I believe that a semantic deflationist might be metaphysically neutral and I am going to sketch an argument against her idea.
Miljana Milojević (University of Belgrade), "Wide selves"
It is safe to say that any attempt to answer the questions about the nature and the boundaries of the self still produces a fare amount of controversy. Nevertheless, a long debate about these questions created a sort of a philosophical chart or a map, which nodes present different theories about the metaphysical nature of the self—whether it is a simple entity, scattered object or it does not exist at all—about the nature of its essential properties—whether they are biological or psychological—about its persistance conditions in the form of different theories of personal identity, etc. With the help of this previous philosophical work, most of the recent literature in this field focuses on following different lines of argumentation outlined in this philosophically charted territory and on testing plausibility of various implications of these complex theories. This talk will not diverge from this practice, and I will follow a path set by neo-Lockean theories of personal identity, and investigate whether this line of argumentation leads us to accepting the possibility of wide, partially non-biological, selves. I will present several contemporary arguments in favour and against this possibility, and offer a new argument for including some wide systems in the category of selves.
Sergiu Spătan (University of Hamburg), "Mindreading and Knowledge Ascriptions"
How do we ascribe knowledge to others? Presumably, the process is similar to ascribing knowledge to oneself. In Spatan, 2017 (manuscript) I argued that the willingness to ascribe knowledge to oneself tracks the ascriber’s (=subject) metacognitive attitude of certainty. In this presentation, I claim that ascribing knowledge to somebody else amounts to simulating the other person’s target belief and her reasons for that belief, while confronting the simulated reasons with the ascriber’s own rebuttals, and then evaluating the target belief as if it was the ascriber’s own mental state.In the end, an ascriber A is disposed to claim that "S knows that p" iff, were A to simulate S’s belief in p and S’s reasons for p, and confront them to A’s rebuttals of p, she would be psychologically certain that p. To justify this claim, I firstly introduce a general simulationist framework of mindreading, and define "reasons" and "rebuttals" from a purely psychological point of view, after which I argue for a psychological-certainty driven account of third-person knowledge ascriptions: the willingness to ascribe knowledge to a third person tracks the ascriber’s metacognitive attitude of psychological certainty.
Vojislav Božičković (University of Belgrade), "Modes of Presentation Through Time"
Evans and Campbell have claimed that to think of an object under the same demonstrative perception-based mode of presentation from one occasion to the next is to keep track of it which, according to Campbell, can be maintained across distinct sensory modalities. While defending this view, I argue that disallowing the same sense to persist once the relevant object is no longer kept track of is unmotivated and diminishes the importance of Evans’s and Campbell’s accounts of persisting modes of presentation. In advancing this claim, I confront it with Recanati’s view, by showing that we do not need fine grained modes of presentation on top of coarse grained ones, as he would have us believe. In so doing, I side with Papineau, as against Recanati, but hold with Recanati, as against Papineau, that there is something distinctive about demonstrative modes of presentation.
Mihai Rusu (USAMV Cluj-Napoca/Babeș-Bolyai University), "Knowledge of Metaphysical Necessity and Epistemic Constraints in Realist Accounts of Modality"
Ontological realism about modality is the view that modal statements are about mind-independent, objective properties of things. In principle, for an ontological realist about modality there should be no strong distinction in nature or ontological status between ordinary truth and modal truth. The staple of objectivist views of modal truth is metaphysical modality, that is, a type of modality that should not be grounded in other sources of modal truth (conceptual schemes or structures, natural laws, etc.). However, knowledge of metaphysically necessary truths remains the most important quandary of realist accounts in their various guises. This paper examines two prominent views of this sort (Kripke’s and Williamson’s) and the solutions they propose for explaining this kind of knowledge. Although the two theories are fairly different in content, beside their basic realist commitment, their explanations of the way we come to assess metaphysical necessity are very similar. I aim to show that these theoretical solutions are also ineffective, as the constraints they impose on modal cognition are much too strong. While satisfactory positive conclusions are rather difficult to work out from this standpoint, the talk will end with a discussion of the status of classical modal concepts as philosophical notions that should prove illuminating in what regards some of the difficulties that modal epistemology typically encounters.
Andrej Jandrić (University of Belgrade), "General Terms, Rigidity and Necessary Properties"
Kripke introduced the notion of rigid designation for singular terms to argue against the descriptive theory of the meaning of names, and to explain the necessity of certain theoretical identifications. He proceeded to apply the notion to general terms, and considered the terms for natural kinds (‘tiger’, ‘cat’), stuffs (‘water’, ‘gold’) and phenomena (‘lightning’) as rigid designators. Michael Devitt pointed out that the extrapolation of the notion of rigid designation from singular to general terms encounters serious problems and proposed that, in the case of general terms, it should be replaced with a notion of rigid application. Intuitively, a general term is a rigid applier if and only if it picks out a necessary property, i.e. a property an object has in every possible world in which it exists if it possesses that property in any possible world. However, the terms’ ‘water’ and ‘H2O’ being rigid appliers is not sufficient to vindicate the necessity of Kripke’s paradigm case of a necessary a posteriori truth ‘Water is H2O’. In my presentation, I will first introduce the appropriate notion of rigid designation for general terms, and then argue that if general terms F and G are both rigid designators and rigid appliers, the identity statement ‘F is G’ (e.g. ‘Water is H2O’) and the inclusion statement ‘All Fs are Gs’ (e.g. ‘All cats are animals’) will turn out to be necessarily true, if true.
Radmila Jovanović (University of Belgrade), "Problematic Pronominal Anaphora: New Solutions Compared"
In this talk I will analyse some problematic cases of pronominal anaphora, such as the famous donkey-sentence: Every man who owns a donkey beats it. The issue is to provide a satisfactory semantic analysis of pronouns “he” or “it”, which becomes more challenging when there is an interplay between pronouns and indefinites. I will compare solutions provided by dinamic semantics, such as Discourse Representation Theory and Dinamic Predicate Logic, with new solutions using Game Theory Semantics (GTS) and Constructive Tipe Theory (CTT). I will scketch a dialogical account of anaphora, making use of CTT. I will argue that the GTS approach, which puts emphasis on expressing the dependence relations in terms of choices resulting from interaction, is indeed a good way of dealing with anaphora. Moreover, the “outside-in” semantics seems to be much more promising in the analysis of a natural language then the classical “inside-out” approach. However, the dialogical approach provides a first-order solution that does not require any devices other than those of constructive or even classical logic when formulated within a suitably adapted CTT framework.
Adrian Ludușan (Babeș-Bolyai University), "Reference, Categoricity, and Schematic Theories"
The central problem that I will address is that of the determinacy of reference of non-algebraic theories, focusing on Peano Arithmetic (PA). To this end, I will present how (A) Putnam’s semantic challenge regarding the determinacy of reference of singular mathematical terms, and (B) Benacerraf’s ontological challenge regarding mathematical 'objects’ paved the way for structuralism in the philosophy of mathematics. I will argue that structuralist stances generate a ‘new’ problem for the determinacy of reference, pitched, this time, at the level of theories (i.e the central problem), not singular terms. There are two distinct philosophical resolutions of the central problem: by appeal to I) arguments via Tennenbaum’s Theorem (McCarty, Dean, Halbach & Horsten), or II) arguments via Dedekind’s Categoricity Theorem (DCT), which came in two flavors, considering the medium in which the proof is conducted: IIa) in second order logic (Dedekind, Kreisel, Isaacson, Shapiro), or IIb) full schematic first-order logic (Parsons, Feferman, McGee, Lavine). I will assess both types of arguments for the uniqueness thesis via Dedekind Categoricity Theorems, and argue that neither strategy of argumentation is philosophically sound.