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I. relational theories (Platonic theories)


I. relational theories (Platonic theories) Knowledge has a foundation There are basic objects and facts Objects: The Sierra Facts: That Cicero is an orator – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: I. relational theories (Platonic theories)

I. relational theories (Platonic theories)
  • Knowledge has a foundation
  • There are basic objects and facts
  • Objects The Sierra
  • Facts That Cicero is an orator
  • That-p
  • The fact that-p
  • The fact that Cicero is an orator

Relational theories
  • linguistic events have a special relation to
  • The linguistic event is right there embracing the
  • linguistic events are always successful
  • you can't embrace nothing

the problem of nonexistent entities
  • Euthydemus Problem linguistic entity can't
    embrace nothing
  • linguistic relations are special

What to do?
  • Obvious strategy for relational theory introduce
    something the linguistic entity can embrace
  • Ontological move

What does this something have to do
  • The problem of intersubjectivity
  • Considers Smith's linguistic entity LE -1
  • Consider Jones linguistic entity LE -2
  • Both can embrace the same thing
  • temptation is to think that LE1LE2

How can they be identical?
  • Must be the case that there's a saying that does
    not depend on LE1 or LE2
  • it is intersubjective to him without being an
    objective fact
  • something that is beyond Jones or Smith's
    particular act

  • postulate domain of linguistic events or objects
  • linguistic events embrace these linguistic
  • linguistic objects are fact substitutes
  • so
  • LE1 gets at LO1
  • LE2 gets at LO1
  • we have a duplication, facts are duplicated in
    linguistic objects

A very ad hoc theory
  • the class or set of linguistic objects
  • the class or set of facts

  • words in linguistic expressions have meanings
  • Its obvious
  • the commonsense framework
  • facts have being
  • linguistic objects have being
  • both are objective in the sense that neither
    depend on you or I

  • linguistic objects are the beings of linguistic
  • the being of linguistic expressions
  • linguistic objects are what the linguistic events
  • let's call linguistic objects meanings for now
  • meanings are the being of linguistic events
  • meanings are real
  • meanings are a community fact

community fact
  • it is a community fact that textbook means
  • private meanings
  • private meanings are parasitic upon the community
  • Platonism of forms denies that private meanings
    depend on the community there arent any
  • The Platonic tyranny of ideas
  • The Aristotelian tyranny of logic

the realm of meaning
  • the realm of meaning is distinguished from the
    realm of actual objects and facts
  • W in English
  • W in Spanish
  • these are different but the meanings are the same
  • but meanings do not belong to the actual world

putting the theory to work
  • consider
  • Jones says George Bush! (as he passes in the
  • Jones says that George Bush is president
  • in one case, George Bush is present
  • in the other case, he is not present
  • the first one commits us to saying George Bush!,
    the second one does not, it only commits us to a
    fact about the object
  • distinguish say1 and say2

Say1 and Say2
  • we have ways of pinning the speaker down to
  • what the speaker is talking about
  • what the speaker believes in about it
  • Say1 involves the context in which Bush is
  • but if Jones says2 that George Bush is president,
    its incorrect to infer that George Bush is
  • we have ways of pinning ourselves down to being
    committed to the presence of the object and not
    just facts about

  • it seems that "says" can be treated like "seeks"
  • Jones seeks a unicorn does not entail that there
    is a unicorn

  • now philosophers come along and confusion reigns
  • when Jones says George Bush! And Smith's says
    George Bush!, George Bush is present
  • are both Jones and Smith's saying the same thing
    is present?
  • Put yourself in the story. You want George Bush
    right there to both of them.
  • Jones is close, Smith's as far.

  • Jones sees the hair, the face

  • Smith's sees G.B. as a politician

saying of
  • "strictly speaking" we say, "most are saying
    things about George Bush but what it is that they
    are saying of him isn't the same"
  • we distinguish between what you are saying of
    something and that of which you are saying it

  • but, the key point, is that we are immediately
    lead to draw distinctions.
  • Distinctions between what we "really" say
    something about and what we say about it

a relational theory of reference
  • 1. Some things we talk about directly
  • 2. Some things we don't, but we get at them
    through a linguistic entity
  • the linguistic object is related to George Bush
    in some way
  • Picture
  • James mind gets at GB
  • Smiths mind gets at LO, LO gets at GB
  • Abstract away from the LE

philosophy of language
  • we are putting things together in the process of
    reflecting about linguistic activity (including
  • We mobilize what seems to be necessary features
  • our machinery is shaky
  • philosophers don't care when things are going
    right, philosophers are negative people
  • Philosophers want things to go bad

  • we decided to distinguish between what we say
    something of in the narrow and the broad sense
  • sometimes our linguistic activity is mediated
    sometimes it isn't (abstracting from LE)
  • Picture
  • Jones Mind direct reference ? GB
  • Smiths Mind ?LO ? GB
  • so there is something getting at George Bush and
    something getting at the rest
  • Jones really picks out George Bush, Smith gets at

  • floating our armchairs down the linguistic
    stream, as happy as clams
  • not all situations are correct, sometimes they're

  • Suppose Jones is saying something about a
    nonexistent entity because George Bush has
  • picture
  • Mind ? ?
  • Weird. If whatever is that we are talking about
    ceases to exist while we are talking about it, is
    there a phenomenological ripple? Like the
    matrix, a ripple in which things repeat (like the
    black cat)?
  • Didn't we start out by claiming that saying is
    always successful?
  • We could give this up singular terms don't refer

not exactly
  • reconstruct singular terms
  • picture
  • Jones mind ? LO ? Person
  • Smiths mind ? LO ? Person
  • we can say that they always get at George Bush
    through the linguistic objects

what is a linguistic object
  • we can say that it has parts
  • part meaning, part logical form ?
  • the unity gets at George Bush
  • or
  • we can say that the linguistic object
  • part referential core
  • part meaning
  • part logical form
  • the referential core gets at George Bush with the
    help of the other two (Searle)

  • philosophers start to feel uneasy here, armchair
    philosophy of language feels the pinch.
  • Isn't reference a relationship between object,
    the environment, the word, in some kind of
    relation between the speaker in the world?

Causal theory
  • causal theory is brought in to redress the
    balance of the world
  • a tree falls, causal vibrations, vibrates the
    body, we hear a sound.
  • We tell a causal story about how the linguistic
    object gets tied up to the world that mimics our
    story about sound.

Referential core
  • The linguistic object may have two parts
  • referring part
  • meaning

the referential core
  • when does it have a referential core?
  • Consider this multiple situations in which Jones
    finds himself talking about O1.
  • If the linguistic object has a determinable
    relation in all the situations, it is a name
  • if it is invariant, it is a Millian Name
  • put it in terms of possible worlds
  • put it in terms of possible stages of this world

the account is causal
  • it tells how this determinable relation happens,
    environmentally speaking.
  • What fixes a world?
  • What determines a different context?
  • Not a problem for the Platonist the tyranny of

Form and content
  • Removing the mystery from the notion of form and
    content (a brief aside)
  • We start by looking at the word quality
  • Simplest distinction qualities and relations
  • Red is a quality think of a sentence a is
  • juxtaposed is a relation think of the
    sentence As juxtaposed with B

Lo, red!
A is juxtaposed with B
  • Contrast two kinds of expressions
  • Referring expressions
  • Sometimes called subject or objects
  • Characterizing expressions
  • Sometimes called predicates

the walker with a torch
  • Consider the sentence a is red
  • The sentence contains a referring expression a
  • The sentence contains a characterizing expression
  • We have a predicate and the subject
  • Consider the sentence a is taller than b
  • The sentence contains two referring expressions
    and a characterizing expression is taller than
  • We have a predicate and two subjects

  • The contrast form and content is another way of
    talking about the contrast structure and
  • Most structure concepts are relational
  • The form and content distinction is fundamentally
    the distinction between relation and quality

  • Why do we need to distinguish between form and
  • Dont take the words too seriously but understand
    them as part of the story that we tell
  • Anyway, we cant have a world in which objects
    stand in relation or have structure but dont
    have any qualities or intrinsic character
  • The problem is what are the qualities?

  • Things seem to be unpackable as relations
  • We cant have a world with no relations, with no
  • We need relations just as much as we need content
  • We need objects (or subjects) to be in the
    relations and to have the content!

Referring expressions
  • Referring expressions are sometimes called
    subject and object
  • Contrast these with characterizing expressions,
    sometimes called predicates
  • Characterizing expressions can be relational or
    non-relational content expressions

Whats in a name?
  • Subject or object expressions refer no problem
  • Relational characterizing expressions dont refer
  • Why? They offer content
  • Non-relational characterizing expressions express
  • What counts as content?

  • Non-relational characterizing expressions express
  • red, a quality expression, is uncontroversial
  • Whitehead (Russells coauthor) thought objects
    had content somewhat like feelings
  • Russell thought content expressions included the
    tall stoner in the corner (he would have said,
    the tall man with an overcoat in the corner)

  • What is the limit to a content expression?
  • Do objects have feelings as Whitehead says? Do
    they have an attitude?
  • Objects with an attitude problem.
  • Why not?

The sadness in Smiths face
Russells problem
  • Relate the discussion last day to Russell
  • Russell knows that we have to separate content
    expressions from subject-object expressions
  • Why? You cant refer to the sadness in Smiths
    face. Can you?
  • Why not? Because the sadness isnt there the way
    that an object is there, it is there the way the
    redness is there as a content.
  • In a red object, we can refer to its hunkiness
    but its redness belongs to the content.
  • Compare referring to a pile of sticks vs
    characterizing it as a ladder Russell says that
    we cannot refer to its ladderiety, we need a
    definite description! The two rails transected
    every few feet .... or whatever.

Content descriptions
  • Yes my fellow Americans, definite descriptions
    express a content
  • Platonists like Russell (Lycan, Kripke, etc.)
    take for granted that contents must be contents
    of something
  • Contents cannot be contents of nothing can they?
  • subject and object expressions provide the
    referential core for all descriptions

Referential core
  • Some LEs (LE) get at the
  • objects
  • the object (as color expanses) is present
  • subject/object expressions
  • Notice in this picture, the object exists only
    in virtual visual space matrix space

Area A represents the private world of visual
space, Area B represents the public world of
physical space
Descriptive Content
  • Other LEs get at the Facts, F1
  • nothing but the facts
  • Content expressions or definite descriptions
  • The first president to be mired in the middle
    east for GB.

F1 is a fact about the book loved by everyone
The LE is M
the machinery
  • Russell has in mind
  • (a) is a sensation of red in the private world of
    visual space brought about by the causal world a
    sensum in visual space. The light of the book as
    causal agent. (b) is getting at the sensum
    (acquaintance). It gives rise to the LE, M1
  • The LE has the referential core, a, the definite
    description provides the content

Reference and description again
  • Reference is a way of getting at objects
  • Process/product ambiguous
  • Description is a way of providing content
  • Metaphors built on reasonable metaphors
  • What is the difference between a description of
    Julius Caesar the man who was assassinated on
    the Ides of March, the founder of the Roman
    Empire and a truth about Caesar?
  • Is truth a relational expression or a content
    expression or neither (normative)?

Breaking facts apart
  • Consider the sentence this red and rectangular
    item is the surface
  • this red and rectangular item subject, N
  • is the surface predicate, VP
  • Whats up for grabs is (b)
  • (a) isnt, its believed in
  • (a) can be described in all sorts of ways

  • Every character, every way of characterizing,
    belongs to the right of the copula
  • The this F or the F part is a picker-outer
    a ST
  • For Russell, the sensation gets picked out, he
    thought sensations were available to be picked

  • G.E. Moore had a more liberal view he didnt
    separate the two parts
  • Moore talked about apprehending, (b), the fact,
    F1, that the item is red and rectangular it is
    analogous to seeing GB as a politician, a
    phenomenologically weird idea.
  • Or, seeing that the tractor is plowing the field
    in a tough sense
  • (a) is the sense datum.

Bare STs
  • The namers or describers hold that the this in
    this red and rectangular item is a bare this
  • The ultimate picker-outer
  • No categorizing, no characterizing, just picking
  • Moore, Russell and Kripke ignore the VP but in
    different ways
  • Relational rigidity requires sheer picker-outers
  • Key theme for the relational view is the
    directness of the relation between the mind and
    what is apprehended

Reference and truth
  • The pain, (b), is recognized (a), as a throbbing
    pain. Where the sensation, c, is not up for
    grabs, it is what it is.
  • The relational theory relies on
  • Directness of apprehending the feeling
  • apprehend directly the fact, F1, that it is

Essential features
  • If you are Russell, you get directly at the pain.
  • If your Moore, you get at a fact about it.
  • Two essential features
  • (a) apprehending
  • (b) getting at the facts, getting at the Truth,
    MIB fashion

Facts and meanings
  • Meanings are involved in LEs to allow that two
    people can assert/claim the same thing.
  • We posited a domain of meanings. M3 that
    corresponds to the fact, F3.
  • The fact that Tom is tall, F3, is very close,
    somehow, to the meaning, that Tom is tall, M3.
  • Are there really facts?

  • In our crude theory, we have beliefs that have
  • Meanings correspond to facts
  • There are propositions
  • Lets be ontologically promiscuous and say that
    propositions exist.
  • We say, sentences express propositions and we
    say, two sentences express the same proposition.
  • We say, two sentences (even in different
    languages) have the same meaning.

Facts and propositions
  • Ontological promiscuity
  • One point of view propositions are like facts.
  • Why not?
  • Maybe they, like facts, are whatever the
    sentences pertain to.
  • Second point of view propositions are not like
  • Why not?
  • Unlike facts, they can be true or false
  • Are propositions meanings?
  • If so, propositions wouldnt have meanings (they
    are meanings).

Model considerations
  • philosophers dont obey reality, philosophers
    make reality
  • Since we are making the model, we can make
    appropriate changes, mutatis mutandis
  • Propositions are meanings with something like,
    roughly analogous to, sentential structure
  • Why not?

  • Are there really facts and propositions?
  • In some sense
  • Facts and propositions have parts
  • The word tall stands for a quality, the
    property of being tall or tallness
  • They are STs
  • that Tom is tall is a fact
  • Its a that-clause functioning as an ST
  • tom picks out Tom

Abstracta and concreta
  • The theory now includes abstract individuals that
    are qualities, attributes, and propositions in
    the world.
  • Facts and Tom are in the world in a narrow
    sense - concreta
  • The notion of an individual is that it is
    properly referred to by a ST, an expression
    followed by a verb in the singular.
  • Concreta are at the other end from abstracta
  • Concrete individuals that you can step on

  • Facts, relations and properties appear at the top
    among the meanings Mi, etc.)
  • They appear at the bottom among things that are
  • Our view is inflationary
  • Allows us to talk about cases in which we want to
    separate tallness and the meaning of tallness

  • Meanings of LEs (sentences) are like facts
    except meanings can be false, M3, for example,
    doesnt correspond to anything.
  • M3 is the meaning being phlogiston or being
    president Obama
  • Some meanings dont correspond to anything in the
  • When the meanable has sentential structure,
    call it a proposition
  • ? we can have propositional meanings (that Tom
    is tall)
  • Why not?
  • This will serve as our working definition of

Absolute objectivity
  • Meanings are objective with respect to the
  • The objectivity is intersubjectivity
  • Facts are absolutely objective but propositions
  • Classical view (Plato, Aristotle, moderns, etc.)
    propositions are absolutely objective but facts
  • Strong relational theories props are absolutely
  • Moderate view would say they are merely objective

  • Distinguish referring expressions and
    characterizing expressions
  • red and redness are different words, but
    redness is a ST or referring expression.
  • red is a characterizing expression
  • Perhaps redness is the name of the property for
    which the characterizing expression stands
  • Lets run them (the adjective and the noun)
    together for now later we could fix this

  • tall is related to a property, the property of
    being tall or tallness
  • being tall, tallness are singular terms
  • Use the word individual for items referred to
    by singular terms
  • In the category of individuals, then, distinguish
  • Concrete individuals, call them particulars
  • Abstract individuals tallness, shortness,
    triangularity, facts, possibilities
  • STs refer to individuals

Collection then Division
Meanings can be in the world in a broad and
narrow sense In the narrow sense, for the
relational theorists, are facts, qualities and
relations (the color of trees, flowers) In the
broad sense, are things like the person in
pursuit of the almighty dollar. Take seriously,
for now, the view that tall and tallness are
only superficially different
The person in pursuit of the almighty dollar
Flowers, trees
  • Footnote
  • Philosophers speak of intention,
  • Its aboutness aboutintends, the character of
    being about is aboutnessintentionality, its up
    a metalevel (philosophers are seriously confused
    about these issues) since we add a ness, -ity or
  • Intendables are meanables
  • Believables are mental meanables

  • The sentence
  • Taking seriously the suggestion that tall and
    tallness are superficially different
  • tom is tall involves the property of being tall
  • tallness and tall simply refer to the same
  • The grammatical difference between referring and
    characterizing expressions is superficial

X is the tallness to which tallness refers, (a)
the referential relation, (b) the relation of
  • Whats the difference between
  • Tom, to be, tall
  • And
  • Tom is tall?
  • Answer
  • In the sentence tom is tall we commit ourselves
    the existence of a connection between the
  • Philosophers say, we commit ourselves to the idea
    that Tom exemplifies tallness
  • Or, with Aristotle Tom has tallness, or, with
    Plato, Tom participates in Tallness

See tall Tom dunk!
  • The philosopher of language is sensitive enough
    to notice that exemplifies, participates and
    inheres or has work in similar ways.

  • Start with a fact, that Tom is tall with
  • Attribute Tallness and, of course, Tom
  • These are ground floor realities

Constituents of Fact, F1, are Tom and Tallness
  • Suppose Ludwig apprehends the fact that an item
    is rectangular.
  • We have R1, rectangularity, the sense datum, S1
    that has it.
  • To put it linguistically, Ludwig says, the item
    is rectangular and he means it.
  • Rectangularity was in our ontological box
  • Many items can have a share of rectangularity

F1, the fact Tallness Tom with constituents
  • Rectangularity can be had by many things
  • Things have it, share it, participate in it,
    exemplify it
  • Take your pick
  • Rectangularity is a one over many things
  • Rectangularity is a One over many minds
  • Many people can have beliefs about it
  • Remember, there is a kind of repetition here
    (between the domain of representables and

The One over the many, the instances of the one
Bradleys puzzle
  • Our theory avoids Bradleys puzzle
  • Lycans version leads to problems with relations
    each substance, A, has its own piece or chunk of
    green, say, green59
  • The real version does not there is a thing that
    is green59 and here is another that is green59
    but, there is really one green59 and each thing
    exemplifies it
  • A numerically identical universal as opposed to
    qualitative identity why not? Bradley treated
    the hunks of green like things otherwise the
    puzzle wouldnt work
  • Lycan has an annoying habit of ignoring such
    things for his own dialectical purposes.

Lycans version each A has its own personal
green, so we generate Bradleys puzzle.
The real version there is only one Green
Theory additions
  • Language is used in many different ways
    exhorting, communicating, complaining, in
    wimpering about difficult situations
  • Our theory will ignore all these uses of language
  • We concentrate on the context in which we are
    using language to talk to ourselves.
  • Good explanations dont start by tackling
    everything at once
  • Start with a simple model and go from there
  • Avoid trying too much (Gibson calls it the
    insanity of thinking that everything is relevant)

Elementary theory
(a) is juxtaposed with (b)
  • In our elementary theory, two items, a and b, can
    be juxtaposed, R.
  • In our first attempt, we took this to mean that
    Jones was representing a fact, F1 that S1 is
    juxtaposed with S2.

Jones represents the fact that S1 is next to S2.
Linguistically speaking
  • Linguistically speaking, Jones knows the meaning
    of S1, S2 and F1 by the same means he gets
    at them via a special act of referring.
  • Instead of Jones getting at the fact, we could do
    it another way introduce another class of
  • Jones would get at R1, juxtaposition.
  • Now our theory extends the relational theory to
    include higher order entities (universals, mass
    terms) without losing sight of the fact that such
    terms have meaning here they are names.
  • The names stand for what we get at the items as.

As before, Jones gets at R1, juxtaposition, the
two items, S1 and S2 stand in the relation
Stairway to heaven
  • Naturally, these new relations have certain
  • We can get at these characters too.
  • Our relational theory gets extended

Q, being a quality as a higher order quality of
  • We can make the same move with respect to
  • We can have higher order characters of relations

  • Just as we have expressions that stand for 1st
    order items, we have expressions that stand for
    2nd order items.
  • Our terms mean what they mean because of this.
  • Terms can stand for higher order characters.
  • Not exactly a desert landscape
  • Our theory explains by having a very rich
    conceptual structure.

Logical words
  • Logical words must be added to our vocabulary
    and, or, not, if, then, all, some.
  • Parmenides problem
  • Logical words do not stand for qualities and
    relations and do not have instances as do
    qualities and relations.
  • Parmenides starts out by saying there is no
    notness in the world. Socrates (Plato) takes
    him to mean that there are no logical relations
    in the world.
  • Content expressions give content to the world,
    color, shape, smell.
  • Logical words only function in language.
  • How do we learn to use them?

  • We cant say that we get at notness.
  • Notness isnt some sort of weather that isnt

(a) is not (b) but we cant get at notness, c.
Parmenides problem.
Notness isnt weather that is not sunny.
And, or, not, if, then, all, some
  • Logical words do not stand for qualities and
  • They do not have instances as do qualities and
  • Not is not a meaningless word, yet it is not a
    quality or relation.
  • We dont have sensations of not

  • Philosophically, speaking, not is not a quality
    of things, a relation between things.
  • not really functions in the context of the
    whole sentence Jones is not tall.
  • We need a way to distinguish between content
    notions, subject-predicate notions and the
    logical connections between propositions.
  • Logical words function in language

Jones said, I can see his negativity but my
metaphysical microscope cannot detect any
Kinds of relationalism
  • The tough relationalist can say notness is.
  • Plato tries this notness is part of the content
    of the world, notness names the not, the other
    as other, otherness.
  • The mild relationalist could say OK, logical
    words do not name elements in the world. Of
    course, what we experience are differences and
    agreements and we idealize and form the notion of
    logical relation.
  • The mild rationalist can talk in terms of
    abstraction and idealization. Why not?
  • Problem what kind of account can be given of
    logical terms functioning in a radically
    different way?

Mild relationalism
  • The idealization move doesnt really explain
    anything, handwaving
  • How does it explain how we get from the crude
    use of words to the kind of logical use that we
    find in, say, argumentation and inference?

  • According to Socrates Parmenides, we never
    experience logical entities, therefore, our
    ability to understand the meaning of logical
    words cannot be accounted for in terms of our

  • One move that we can make with respect to logical
    words is innatism
  • We have the ability to use logical words, so the
    mind must be born with innate abilities to use
    logical words
  • Alternately, it could be born with the abilities
    to acquire the abilities to use logical words.

2nd order abilities
We might argue that we are born with the innate
ability, a, to think and talk about the
rectangle, b. The ability is actualized by the
experience, c, of the rectangular item.
Innate abilities
  • We might argue that there are no innate
  • There are abilities, a, with respect to sensa, b,
    that are the abilities to acquire the abilities,
    d, to talk about rectangles.
  • We could invent all sorts of higher order
  • The skys the limit.

Central idea
  • Key idea is that we dont know the meaning by
    experience, we never really experience a case of
    notness, of implicature (Grices happy phrase for
  • One need not grant that we directly experience
    what logical words stand for.
  • We never experience something as implying

What, what?
  • What do we experience, then?
  • The moderate relationalist would say that what we
    experience is some kind of semantic activity (an
  • We read into the situation the idea of
  • Philosophical axiom a reduction in content is
    immediately accompanied by an increase in
  • OR, a decrease of internal relations is always
    followed by an increase in external relations

Mild relationalism
  • Go back to the mild relationalist who claimed
    that relation words stand for relations, 1st and
    2nd order and we can get at them.
  • Why would we be tempted to hold such a view?

  • Philosophical axiom There is no position so
    absurd that is has not been warmly embraced by
  • But, in this case, mild relationalism has some

  • Consider the following

We find a triangle, T1, the character of being
three-sided, C1, and the character of having
three angles, C2.
Everywhen, everywhere, everyhow
  • Whats interesting here is that C1 entails C2,
    everywhere, everywhen, everyhow.
  • I.e, the meanings of the words are eternally
    bound up.
  • Descartes refers to this as a nexus.
  • Imagine here the intersubjective domain of
    meaning spills out into the objective domain of
  • Of course, thats what Pythagoreanism is all

Whats the point?
  • Talking about experiencing a nexus makes
    perfectly good sense, in some sense of sense.
  • C1 and C2 are distinct existences but there is a
    nexus close by and near to them.

Implies, entails
  • implies and entails are not like nonsense
    sounds like ooopahpahdo.
  • How do we account for that?
  • So, you can see why we embrace higher order

Holding the line
  • If we know how to use words for what it is to be
    a quality, a relation or a possibility, let
    alone, implication, then, since these are 2nd
    order, or 3rd order characteristics exemplified
    by abstract entities, we better get friendly with
  • Quines program of rejecting them is
    counterintuitive, bizarre but he accepts sets of

The Grand Scheme
  • Consider the grand scheme

We find the intersubjective domain of meaning and
the domain of the absolutely objective. The
latter is whatever it is entirely independent of
what we say or think. The domain of meanings is a
function of what humans do.
The independent
  • Can we throw out the absolutely objective?
  • Arent some things absolutely objective?
  • Whether we like it or not, not everything is a
    product of the way we think.
  • Is the way we think a product of the way we think
    about how we think?
  • There must be something which is independent of
    how we use language.
  • Problem is, how do we define the notion?

Second thoughts
  • We saw that there is something funny about words
    like not, and, or, all, some, if,
  • We are completely Parmenidean here we are not
    tempted to say that they are something absolutely
  • We have a meaning, not. But is there notness in
    the world?
  • There is round, sweet, and green in the world.
  • It makes sense to say that there is no notness
    in the world, that not is something that exists
    in the domain of meaning and of language. There
    is no absolutely objective entity called not.
  • Our diagram contains the word not and the
    meaning, the character of negation, negativity or

Alternatives to Relationalism
  • Lets go back to the BE.
  • Hume is a good example.
  • We can mine his position to see how we might deal
    with the fact that logical words have meaning but
    no reality. Humes popularity comes and goes, at
    the moment, his star is ascendant.

Hume on necessity
  • Hume rejected Descartes idea of a nexus.
  • Consider the following cases

(a) Is the content of a thought, A or B, and (b)
is the thinking.
Points of convergence
  • Hume and Descartes would agree with this picture
    when A and B were separate existences.
  • Differences arise when we argue for a nexus
    between A and B.

Descartes a nexus exists between A and B, a tie,
or link (vinculum).
Historical review
  • We cant go forward unless we understand where we
    have been. Humes reaction to Descartes makes
    sense only in context.
  • Consider the basic Cartesian model of

A thinking with a content act-content
  • The basic model of why it is a representation
    of, its aboutness is

The representation points toward and object, it
intends it
Simple natures
  • In Rule 12, Descartes tells us that we represent
    simple natures as connected.

  • To have the concept of a connection among simple
    natures is to have the ability to represent it.

Complex abilities
  • We have the ability to think of simple natures as

Notice that in the diagram here, the natures are
contained in separate contents unlike the
previous diagram
  • Descartes favorite example

The sentence God necessarily exists is
parasitic upon the proposition (meanable with
sentential form) that God necessarily exists. The
latter exemplifies a connection between
perfection, God, and Existence knowing in its
finest hour.
Internal connections
  • So, Descartes thought of the thought that they
    are necessarily connected as a connection between
    contents, an internal or intrinsic connection

Humes response
  • Hume rejected all internal relations. He wants to
    say that what was mistakenly thought of as an
    Internal relation between contents was really an
    external relation between acts.

Humes problem
  • Hume faces a major obstacle how can he sell the
    view that everybody got it wrong? Its God, after
    all, with a capital G.
  • Could thoughts of God be wrong?

Humes solution
  • Hume rejects the view we constructed earlier that
    holds that we can perceive higher-order relations
    within contents
  • Hume also rejects the view that we can experience
    facts involving these qualities.
  • Whats his picture?

Sequences 1
  • Suppose that you have an experience of lightning

Sequences 2
  • Followed by an experience of thunder

  • Hume argues that, after many such experiences,
    one sweats with the conviction that thunder
    follows lightning, i.e., that lightning causes
  • Hume is confused about this.

  • It was a nice argument designed to try to talk
    people out of the idea that they can experience
    the fact that items are connected (causally or

  • Look more closely at Humes notion of
  • Humes view is based on the idea that necessity
    in connection with causality is based on a
    sequence of observings.
  • You and I feel that it is not so much that, as
    the necessity involved in the idea that whenever
    A then B.
  • That is, we think of a causal law, we think
    whenever A then necessarily B.
  • The necessity involved is related to our
    entitlement to infer something from something.

  • The entitlement means that we are entitled to
    believe it because it is part of the notion of
    implication (i.e., saying that one thing implies
  • To say that if you have reason to accept the one,
    then ipso facto, you have reason to accept the
  • The meaning of necessity is inferential
  • It might spill over into Humes idea of
    conviction but no feeling, however abstract,
    need be involved.
  • No more than if, upon hearing that your friends
    just left, you say, oh, then theyll be here any
  • The idea may be comforting but the sense of
    comfort isnt part of the inference.

Entitlement and inference
  • Consider the following sentences, each written on
    the backs of centipede
  • All containers with moisture inside get moist on
    the outside if the sides have holes
  • Skin is a fluid container that gets moist on the
  • Written on the back of a centipede, these
    sentences dont do anything.

Semantic activity
  • But, if get these sentences into our heads and we
    go from two things we knew to something we didnt
  • Skin has holes.
  • And the activity of being able to do arrive at
    the last sentence is part of what we count as
    saying someone understands their sentences.

  • Semantic activity occurs because the last
    sentence is directly related to the meanings of
    the sentences.
  • The semantic activity of the symbols is
    self-contained, it happens by itself.
  • Strictly speaking, the active symbols are the
    interpreted states of an integrated system within
    which they are automatically manipulated.
  • Semantic activity of this sophisticated kind
    rivals the power of the familiar referential

  • Recall that you and I feel that it is not so much
    that a nature or essence is involved when we say
    A is necessarily connected with B, as it is the
    necessity involved in the idea that whenever A
    then B.
  • That is, we think of a causal law, we think
    whenever A then necessarily B.
  • The necessity involved is related to our
    entitlement to infer something from something.

  • The point meaning can enter into discourse as a
    result of the web of entitlements that are
    activated as a result of a claim.
  • Meaning need not be parasitic upon a referential
  • other possibilities occur
  • Humes mistake was in failing to have a
    non-emotive account of the entitlement.
  • He could not construct a normative account of

  • Our world is largely normative when you and I
    say, I can pay, I have the cash, we are cashing
    out an entitlement.
  • It is part of the complex transactional economy
    within which we operate that we can do the
    things that we can do.
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