Logic, Meaning and Language

Mon-Tue, August 29-30, 2016

Formal languages have been advanced by philosophers as vehicles of expression that facilitate rigour in science. The aim of this workshop will be to shed light on the relation between formal languages and what they are used to express. Do they express the same thoughts expressed by natural language, in a more precise way (Frege)? Are they a means for explicating concepts (Carnap)? What, if anything, makes a formal framework more correct than another? Given that mathematics and science are not normally carried out in fully formalised languages, despite their abundance in the past century, what is the value of these languages?

Program

All talks will take place at the Edelstein Center, Levy Building, Edmond Safra Campus, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Monday, August 29, 2016

9:30-10:00    Registration

10:00-11:15   Luis Rosa (MCMP, LMU Munich): Reliable reasoning in natural language

11:15-11:45   Coffee break

11:45-13:00   Giulia Felappi (Southampton): Validity, truth content and how content is reached

13:00-15:00   Lunch break

15:00-16:15   Andrea Iacona (Turin): On the hypothesis that distinct names denote distinct objects

16:15-16:45   Coffee break

19:00              Workshop dinner

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

10:00-11:15   Ori Simchen (University of British Columbia): On conflating the representation and the represented

11:15-11:30   Coffee break

11:30-12:45   Gil Sagi (MCMP, LMU Munich; Edelstein): Some general considerations on logic and natural language

12:45-14:00   Lunch break

14:00-15:15   David Kashtan (Hebrew University): Material adequacy

 

AbstractsGiulia Felappi (Southampton): Validity, truth content and how content is reached

The notion of validity is usually spelled out in terms of necessary preservation of truth: an argument is said to be valid if there is no possible situation in which its premises are all true and its conclusion is not true. But not everybody agrees that truth really is the central and unique notion that matters in defining validity. In my talk, I will discuss some prima facie counterexamples to validity as preservation of truth with the aim of understanding what else, if not merely truth, validity should be concerned with.

Andrea Iacona (Turin): On the hypothesis that distinct names denote distinct objects

This paper focuses on the hypothesis that distinct names denote distinct objects, which was entertained by Russell and Wittgenstein as part of their conception of a logically perfect language. Some foregone objections to this hypothesis will be considered, in order to show that none of them resists scrutiny. As far as we know, no compelling reason has ever been offered against it.

Luis Rosa (MCMP, LMU Munich): Reliable reasoning in natural language

It is relatively easy to say when reasoning in formal languages is reliable, e.g. using model-theoretic semantics. But whatever we say to that effect will be concerned with an artificial notion of reliability in reasoning (basically there is a big difference between truth and truth-in-a-model), and it won’t deliver, or at least not immediately, an answer to the question: when is reasoning in natural language reliable? That is the question I am going to address here. I will flesh out a reliability-entailing condition for reasoning in natural language that allows us to be neutral on what is the logical form/structure of natural-language sentences.

Ori Simchen (University of British Columbia): On conflating the representation and the represented

A prevalent post-linguistic-turn tendency in philosophy is to regard formal semantic analyses as metaphysically revealing with respect to the facts conveyed by our sentences.  I illustrate this general tendency in several areas – numbers, de re modality, cognitive attitudes – before turning to structured propositions.  I argue that problems besetting structured propositions offer a compelling reason to regard them under an instrumentalist attitude as merely representing whatever they are adduced to explain (what is said; what is believed, hoped, feared, etc.; what is true or false; what is necessary, contingent, impossible, etc.) rather than realities in their own right underlying the relevant phenomena.  I conclude by offering a conjecture as to the origins of the aforementioned tendency.

Gil Sagi (MCMP, LMU Munich; Edelstein): Some general considerations on logic and natural language

Most of the contemporary research in logic is carried out with respect to formal, mathematical, languages. Logic, however, is said to be concerned with correct reasoning, and it is natural language that we usually reason in. Can logic keep its promise in the realm where its motivation originates? On the one hand, we have formal semanticists who study the logic of natural language, assuming it exists. On the other hand, some philosophers have denied that there is a logical consequence relation in natural language. In this talk I will look at the relation between logic and natural language from the most general perspective, assuming about either as little as possible. I will draw from the works of Frege, Carnap, Chomsky, Glanzberg, Steinberger and others.

David Kashtan (Hebrew University): Material adequacy
 
Definition is the idealized form of concept analysis. When is a definition successful, and how does one decide between competing definitions? As in all scientific inquiry, a criterion for success should be specified prior to investigation. “Prior” is here meant not temporally, but logically: The criterion should be specified without assuming the definition to be judged. In this talk I will ask some questions (but give few if any answers) concerning the framework in which such criteria can be formulated. As a case study I will look at the concept of truth. It will turn out to be more than just a case study.

For inquiries, please contact Gil Sagi: Gil.Sagi@lrz.uni-muenchen.de