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Here in Nancy, Day 2

Friday, June 30, 2006 at 04:29PM

Nancy Day 2 was a quiet as far as the official program went. Talks were scheduled in the morning leaving the afternoon free. Michael Lynch and I took in the Musée des Beaux-Arts and talked philosophy and much else with Peter van Inwagen, Scott Shalkowski and others into the evening and late in the night.

The morning featured a well-put-together talk by Jonathan Lowe on the contrast between his robust essentialism and conceptualism. For Jonathan, conceptualism collapses into a global anti-realism because it really requires a kind of essentialism about concepts and agents themselves.

I also attended a helpful presentation by Mathieu Marion on game semantics for logic. (For an introduction to game semantics, try the Stanford Encyclopedia entry by Wilfrid Hodges.) Mathieu contrasted the agonistic conception of game semantics according to which the two players (proponent and opponent, or Abelard and Eloise) are competing against one another. He proposed a cooperative understanding in which the players are building something together, like a proof. This strikes me as plausible. The devil, however, is in the detail. The distinctive feature of game semantics is that the proof is not a play of a game, or something you can look back on as having constructed. A proof corresponds to a winning strategy for the proponent, and a refutation corresponds to a winning strategy for the opponent. (Parenthetical remark: Compare this to my comments a few weeks ago on the duality between proofs and counterexamples. Game semantics is an account of proofs and counterexamples. It seems to be interestingly self-dual. I should think more about this… End parenthetical remark.) The issue I find with thinking of game semantics as a cooperative construction of a proof or a refutation is that you don’t get a proof or refutation through a play of the game. You construct a proof (or a refutation) through repeated plays of the game where the opponent (or proponent) tries all possible options and the proponent (or opponent) deals with them all.

That will bear more thinking, and I’ll attempt to do some of that thinking.

For now however, I’ll attend to Day 3. The report on Day 3 will hopefully come today or tomorrow.

News Archive

2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | Happy 2006Teaching in Semester 1, 2006Assorted crosscultural observations, upon visiting the supermarketPhase ChangeFun with Playlists: Squeezing your music library onto a 2GB iPodDegrees of Truth, Degrees of FalsityMasses of Formal PhilosophyGreg Hjorth coming back to MelbourneMarathon EffortLast Night at the MCGDame Edna at the Commonwealth Games Closing CeremonyBeing a logician means sometimes having to say that you're sorry. Or at least, that you're wrong.Oh, and there's another paper, tooSpooky coincidence? I think notAJL Papers2006 redesign in progressEnclosuresThe Shifty SalesmanWell, that was easy...Happy 5 day!Masses of Formal Philosophy: Question 1On the Cable Guy ParadoxOn Regret and SlingshotsEnd of SemesterInterviewedThis football game is pretty tense...Key Ideas in the theory of proofs #1: The Duality of Proofs and CounterexamplesTeaching in Semester 2, 2006Off to FranceHere in Nancy, Day 1Here in Nancy, Day 2Back homeAssorted ObservationsInterviewed againOn PoliticsOn the InterviewTen Questions about BooksVisitsAn idea...Masses of Formal Philosophy: Question 2Party on TuesdayA Philosophical Poll: on a priori knowledge of possibilitiesHorn tootingScenes from an afternoonOff to India...2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 |

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I’m Greg Restall, and this is my website. I work in Philosophy at the University of Melbourne. Email: greg at; Post: School of of Philosophy, Anthropology and Social Inquiry, University of Melbourne, Parkville 3010, Australia.

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