consequently.org: Greg Restall’s website in consequently.org: Greg Restall’s website Greg Restall's publications on logic and philosophyGreg RestallGreg Restallgreg@consequently.orgPhilosophy, Logic, mathematics, pdf, research, University, Greg Restall, Melbourne, Australia, VictorianoHugo
https://consequently.org/
en-usThu, 14 Mar 2019 22:41:59 UTCconsequently.org: Greg Restall’s website
https://consequently.org/
Mon, 01 Jan 0001 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/Presentations
https://consequently.org/presentation/
Mon, 01 Jan 0001 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/presentation/Isomorphisms in a Category of Proofs
https://consequently.org/presentation/2019/isomorphisms-pts3/
Thu, 07 Mar 2019 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/presentation/2019/isomorphisms-pts3/<p><em>Abstract</em>: In this talk, I show how a category of classical proofs can give rise to three different hyperintensional notions of sameness of content. One of these notions is very fine-grained, going so far as to distinguish \(p\) and \(p\land p\), while identifying other distinct pairs of formulas, such as \(p\land q\) and \(q\land p\); \(p\) and \(\neg\neg p\); or \(\neg(p\land q)\) and \(\neg p\lor\neg q\). Another relation is more coarsely grained, and gives the same account of identity of content as equivalence in Angell’s logic of analytic containment. A third notion of sameness of content is defined, which is intermediate between Angell’s and Parry’s logics of analytic containment. Along the way we show how purely classical proof theory gives resources to define hyperintensional distinctions thought to be the domain of properly non-classical logics.</p>
<ul>
<li>This is a talk at the <a href="http://ls.informatik.uni-tuebingen.de/PTS3/overview.html">Third Tübingen Conference on Proof-Theoretic Semantics</a>, 27–30 March 2019.</li>
</ul>
Collection Frames for Substructural Logics
https://consequently.org/presentation/2019/collection-frames-logicmelb/
Thu, 07 Mar 2019 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/presentation/2019/collection-frames-logicmelb/<p><em>Abstract</em>: In this talk I present a new frame semantics for positive substructural and relevant propositional logics. This frame semantics is both a <em>generalisation</em> of Routley–Meyer ternary frames and a <em>simplification</em> of them. The key innovation is the use of a single accessibility relation to relate collections of points to points. Different logics are modelled by varying the kinds of collections featuring in the relation: for example, they can be sets, multisets, lists or trees. In this talk I will focus on multiset frames, which are sound and complete for the logic RW+ (positive multiplicative and additive linear logic with distribution for the additive connectives, or equivalently, the relevant logic R+ without contraction).</p>
<p>This is joint work with Shawn Standefer.</p>
<ul>
<li><p>The talk is a <a href="https://philevents.org/event/show/69618">Melbourne Logic Seminar</a>.</p></li>
<li><p>The <a href="https://consequently.org/slides/collection-frames-talk-logicmelb.pdf">slides for the talk are available here</a>.</p></li>
</ul>
Classes
https://consequently.org/class/
Mon, 01 Jan 0001 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/class/PHIL30043: The Power and Limits of Logic
https://consequently.org/class/2019/phil30043/
Sat, 02 Mar 2019 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/class/2019/phil30043/
<p><strong><span class="caps">PHIL30043</span>: The Power and Limits of Logic</strong> is a <a href="https://handbook.unimelb.edu.au/view/2019/PHIL30043">University of Melbourne undergraduate subject</a>. It covers the metatheory of classical first order predicate logic, beginning at the <em>Soundness</em> and <em>Completeness</em> Theorems (proved not once but <em>twice</em>, first for a tableaux proof system for predicate logic, then a Hilbert proof system), through the <em>Deduction Theorem</em>, <em>Compactness</em>, <em>Cantor’s Theorem</em>, the <em>Downward Löwenheim–Skolem Theorem</em>, <em>Recursive Functions</em>, <em>Register Machines</em>, <em>Representability</em> and ending up at <em>Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems</em> and <em>Löb’s Theorem</em>.</p>
<figure>
<img src="https://consequently.org/images/godel.jpg" alt="Kurt Godel, seated">
<figcaption>Kurt Gödel, seated</figcaption>
</figure>
<p>The subject is taught to University of Melbourne undergraduate students (for Arts students as a part of the Philosophy major, for non-Arts students, as a breadth subject). Details for enrolment are <a href="https://handbook.unimelb.edu.au/view/2018/PHIL30043">here</a>. I make use of video lectures I have made <a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409">freely available on Vimeo</a>.</p>
<h3 id="outline">Outline</h3>
<p>The course is divided into four major sections and a short prelude. Here is a list of all of the videos, in case you’d like to follow along with the content.</p>
<h4 id="prelude">Prelude</h4>
<ul>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/59401942">Logical Equivalence</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/59403292">Disjunctive Normal Form</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/59403535">Why DNF Works</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/59463569">Prenex Normal Form</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/59466141">Models for Predicate Logic</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/59880539">Trees for Predicate Logic</a></li>
</ul>
<h4 id="completeness">Completeness</h4>
<ul>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/59883806">Introducing Soundness and Completeness</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/60249309">Soundness for Tree Proofs</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/60250515">Completeness for Tree Proofs</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/61677028">Hilbert Proofs for Propositional Logic</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/61685762">Conditional Proof</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/62221512">Hilbert Proofs for Predicate Logic</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/103720089">Theories</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/103757399">Soundness and Completeness for Hilbert Proofs for Predicate Logic</a></li>
</ul>
<h4 id="compactness">Compactness</h4>
<ul>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/63454250">Counting Sets</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/63454732">Diagonalisation</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/63454732">Compactness</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/63455121">Non-Standard Models</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/63462354">Inexpressibility of Finitude</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/63462519">Downward Löwenheim–Skolem Theorem</a></li>
</ul>
<h4 id="computability">Computability</h4>
<ul>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/64162062">Functions</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/64167354">Register Machines</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/64207986">Recursive Functions</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/64435763">Register Machine computable functions are Recursive</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/64604717">The Uncomputable</a></li>
</ul>
<h4 id="undecidability-and-incompleteness">Undecidability and Incompleteness</h4>
<ul>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/65382456">Deductively Defined Theories</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/65392670">The Finite Model Property</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/65393543">Completeness</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/65440901">Introducing Robinson’s Arithmetic</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/65442289">Induction and Peano Arithmetic</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/65443650">Representing Functions and Sets</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/65483655">Gödel Numbering and Diagonalisation</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/65497886">Q (and any consistent extension of Q) is undecidable, and incomplete if it’s deductively defined</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/65498016">First Order Predicate Logic is Undecidable</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/65501745">True Arithmetic is not Deductively Defined</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/65505372">If Con(PA) then PA doesn’t prove Con(PA)</a></li>
</ul>
UNIB10002: Logic, Language and Information
https://consequently.org/class/2019/unib10002/
Sat, 02 Mar 2019 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/class/2019/unib10002/<p><strong><span class="caps">UNIB10002</span>: Logic, Language and Information</strong> is a <a href="http://unimelb.edu.au">University of Melbourne</a> undergraduate breadth subject, introducing logic and its applications to students from a wide range of disciplines in the Arts, Sciences and Engineering. I coordinate this subject with my colleague Dr. Jen Davoren, with help from Prof. Lesley Stirling (Linguistics), Dr. Peter Schachte (Computer Science) and Dr. Daniel Murfet (Mathematics).</p>
<p>The subject is taught to University of Melbourne undergraduate students. Details for enrolment are <a href="https://handbook.unimelb.edu.au/view/2019/UNIB10002">here</a>. We teach this in a ‘flipped classroom’ model, using resources from our Coursera subjects <a href="https://consequently.org/class/2015/logic1_coursera">Logic 1</a> and <a href="https://consequently.org/class/2015/logic2_coursera">Logic 2</a>.</p>
Writings
https://consequently.org/writing/
Mon, 01 Jan 0001 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/writing/Generality and Existence I: Quantification and Free Logic
https://consequently.org/writing/generality-and-existence-1/
Fri, 01 Mar 2019 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/writing/generality-and-existence-1/<p>In this paper, I motivate a cut free sequent calculus for classical logic with first order quantification, allowing for singular terms free of existential import. Along the way, I motivate a criterion for rules designed to answer Prior’s question about what distinguishes rules for logical concepts, like ‘conjunction’ from apparently similar rules for putative concepts like ‘tonk’, and I show that the rules for the quantifiers—and the existence predicate—satisfy that condition.</p>
Generality and Existence 2: Modality and Quantifiers
https://consequently.org/presentation/2019/generality-and-existence-2-apa/
Tue, 05 Feb 2019 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/presentation/2019/generality-and-existence-2-apa/<p><em>Abstract</em>: In this talk, I motivate and define a cut free sequent calculus for first order modal predicate logics, allowing for singular terms free of existential import. I show that the <em>cut</em> rule is admissible in the cut-free calculus, and explore the relationship between contingent ‘world-bound’ quantifiers and possibilist ‘world-undbound’ quantifiers in the system.</p>
<ul>
<li><p>This is a talk for the Association for Symbolic Logic at the Central Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association, at Denver, Colorado.</p></li>
<li><p>The <a href="https://consequently.org/slides/generality-and-existence-2-slides-apa-screen.pdf">slides for the talk are available here</a>, and a version formatted for printing, as a handout, is <a href="https://consequently.org/slides/generality-and-existence-2-slides-apa-print.pdf">available here</a>.</p></li>
</ul>
News
https://consequently.org/news/
Sun, 27 Jan 2019 20:49:05 +1100https://consequently.org/news/Summer Reading 2018-2019
https://consequently.org/news/2019/summer-reading-2018-2019/
Sun, 27 Jan 2019 20:49:05 +1100https://consequently.org/news/2019/summer-reading-2018-2019/<p>This summer break, I set aside some time to turn off my devices, unplug from the internet, and read some honest-to-goodness <em>books</em>. Some I received from friends and family as Christmas or Birthday gifts (thanks, Sharon, Zac, Neil!), and some I had accumulated on my “to-read” pile waiting for just the right time. Here are some short reviews of my summer reading pile, in case you’d like to follow along.</p>
<p></p>
<p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Christmas and New Year reading (and reference). <a href="https://t.co/LKLFIbQKPM">pic.twitter.com/LKLFIbQKPM</a></p>— Greg Restall (@consequently) <a href="https://twitter.com/consequently/status/1078484355981414400?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 28, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p>
<hr />
<p>Haruki Murakami’s <a href="https://www.amazon.com/What-Talk-About-When-Running/dp/0307389839/consequentlyorg"><em>What I Talk About When I Talk About Running</em></a> is a delightful little book. It’s an enjoyable and personable mixture of <em>memoir</em> and <em>runners’ journal</em>. I’ve taken up running as a serious exercise practice in the last few years, and Murakami’s writing about his serious practice of long-distance running, and how he fits that in to the life of a writer was challenging and inspiring.</p>
<p>After reading it, I thought I could take my running practice more seriously, and I surprised myself by managing my first sub 5 minute-per-kilometre 10K run in the next week. Reading <em>What I Talk About When I Talk About Running</em> will remain with me for some time.</p>
<hr />
<p>Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, is well known to be a reflective thinker, whose theological writing seriously engages with a range of theological traditions, but which also comes from a sustained contemplative practice. I don’t find Williams’ writing <em>easy</em>, but it’s always been rewarding when I’ve made the time to slow down and digest it. Williams’ new book <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Christ-Heart-Creation-Rowan-Williams/dp/1472945549/consequentlyorg"><em>Christ the Heart of Creation</em></a> is an attempt to revisit the classical doctrine of the incarnation in a new way: by focussing relentlessly on the idea that there is no competition between divine and creaturely action. According to Williams, too often we conceive of God as just another agent like any agent–except perhaps rather <em>Bigger</em>. (The metaphor is strained, but the relationship between a creature and God is more akin to the relationship between a fictional character and its author than between one character and another. Hermione stands to Harry in rather a different way than Hermione does to J. K. Rowling.) The way the Creator acts in creation is categorically distinct from the way a creature acts in creation. Williams examines different vocabulary used to give an account of the incarnation–from Augustine, the Chalcedonian Creed and Byzantine theologians Maximus the Confessor and John of Damascus, through Aquinas and Calvin to Barth and Bonhoeffer, with a sprinkling of Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein along the way, and always with care to the creature/creation distinction firmly on focus.</p>
<p>The result is a sympathetic recasting of traditional doctrines in a manner that breathes life into what may have seemed obsolete vocabulary. For Williams, incarnational vocabulary is a natural expression of a community attempting to articulate what they have encountered God doing in and through the human life of Jesus. The icing on the cake for me was Williams’ discussion of Paul’s “Body of Christ” language, which is, on this view, <em>much</em> more than a metaphor. This was a valuable read, well worth the time to digest slowly.</p>
<hr />
<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Zen-Doctrine-No-Mind/dp/0877281823/consequentlyorg"><em>The Zen Doctrine of No-Mind</em></a>, by D. T. Suzuki, is an exposition of the teaching of the Zen master Hui-neng (638–713). This book is an introduction to a debate in the early development of Zen Buddhism, a debate about sudden enlightenment and the doctrine of no-mind. I’d read some elementary expositions of Zen Buddhism before, but it was good to tackle a more extended work by the master D. T. Suzuki.</p>
<hr />
<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Return-Prodigal-Son-Story-Homecoming/dp/0385473079/consequentlyorg"><em>The Return of the Prodigal Son</em>: <em>A Story of Homecoming</em></a>, is a little book featuring reflections by Henri Nouwen, on a famous <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Return_of_the_Prodigal_Son_(Rembrandt)">painting by Rembrandt</a>. The painting depicting the return of the prodigal son, from Jesus’ parable (<a href="http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=415579440">Luke 15:11-32</a>). Nouwen reflects on the painting as he undergoes a significant turn in his life, departing his life as an academic in the US to live as a chaplain at Daybreak, a L’Arche community in Toronto.</p>
<p>The book is a thoughtful meditation on the painting, systematically taking three distinct perspectives, first identifying with the returning younger son, then identifying with the older son, and – at the end – reflecting on what it could mean to identify with the father in the parable.</p>
<hr />
<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/MaddAddam-Trilogy-Margaret-Atwood/dp/0307455483/consequently"><em>MaddAddam</em></a>, by Margaret Atwood is the third novel and the conclusion of the dystopian (post-apocalyptic) <em>Oryx and Crake</em> trilogy. I’d read the <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0385721676/consequentlyorg">first (<em>Oryx and Crake</em>)</a> and <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307455475/consequentlyorg">second (<em>The Year of the Flood</em>)</a> books of the trilogy years ago, and this had been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years. Now, with this summer, I finally had time to read it.</p>
<p>The books of the trilogy are set in and around the “waterless flood”, which swept away most of humanity in a genetically engineered disaster. There is a two-track narrative in <em>MaddAddam</em>, with one thread set before the flood, and the other, in its aftermath. In this book we learn more of Zeb and Adam, half-brothers who play very different roles in the world leading up to the flood and its immediate aftermath, and we learn more of the Crakers, the genetically engineered placid human-variants who Crake designed to replace us in the wake of the apocalypse. Atwood is perceptive when it comes to the different social roles religions can play in a world undergoing radical change. While Adam’s community of God’s Gardeners (think of a sect of environmentally-minded Quakers and you won’t go far wrong) are the central focus in <em>The Year of the Flood</em> (Book 2), in <em>MaddAddam</em> we hear from Adam and Zeb’s father, “The Rev”, who established the corporate friendly Church of PetrOleum: “My friends, as we all know, ‘oleum’ is the Latin word for oil. And indeed, oil is holy throughout the Bible! What else is used for the anointing of priests and prophets and kings? Oil!” As with <em>The Handmaid’s Tale</em>, religion can be co-opted into repression or exploitation, as much as it might be a force for liberation or conservation.</p>
<hr />
<p>Richard Prum’s <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Evolution-Beauty-Darwins-Forgotten-Theory/dp/0385537212/consequentlyorg"><em>The Evolution of Beauty</em></a> is a colourful account of the evolutionary dynamics of mate choice and the debate between adaptationists and non-adaptationists. What I enjoyed most in the book was the many examples of the variety of behaviours in the animal world–particularly in different bird species, but also in primates–and the insight into the distinct dynamics for selection and how different behaviours arise as a result of how mate selection takes place. There are many striking examples of different mating behaviour between bower birds on the one hand (where the selection of mates is basically up to the female bird–the males perform in their bowers and the females choose from among the males) and ducks (where the males choose and mate with females). The evolutionary dynamics are very different in each case, resulting in not only an incredible variety of different behaviours (in bower collecting, mating displays, plumage colouration, etc.), but also in the differences between species in which forced copulation occurs (common in ducks, for example) and those in which it is rare or nonexsitent (bower birds).</p>
<p>Without reading into the secondary literature, I can’t say much about the debate between adaptationists and non-adaptationists (as far as I can tell this turns on different ways “fitness” can be understood, and this turns out to be a pretty subtle matter), so I’m not going to judge on whether Prum is right about the side of the debate he lands on – but I <em>do</em> think that the book is very valuable as an introduction to the many and varied dynamics of mate selection and evolution among animal life, and the consequences that this might have for the evolution of the variety of behaviours among our primate cousins–including us. This was a delightful read.</p>
<hr />
<p>The last book in my pile was <em>not</em> like the others. Gozo Shioda’s <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Aikido-Complete-Techniques-Gozo-Shioda/dp/1568364857/consequentlyorg"><em>Aikido</em>: <em>The Complete Basic Techniques</em></a> is not the kind of book you read from cover to cover. It’s a reference book, that you dip in and out of as required. I’ve referred to it repeatedly to help me remember and understand techniques I’m learning in my Aikodo classes. It’s one of the definitive Yoshinkan Aikido texts, and in my couple of years of practice, I’m reaching the stage where I’ve begun to learn enough of the <em>very</em> basic things that I am beginning to get hints of where the practice goes from here. I’m finding that having written words and pictures does help me reflect on and remember what I’m learning in class, so I’ll be referring to this a great deal in the years ahead.</p>New Work for a (Formal) Theory of Grounds
https://consequently.org/presentation/2018/new-work-for-a-theory-of-grounds-logicmelb/
Fri, 07 Dec 2018 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/presentation/2018/new-work-for-a-theory-of-grounds-logicmelb/<p><em>Abstract</em>: In this talk, I provide two different models for a theory of grounds meeting the following desiderata:\(\def\yright{\succ}\)</p>
<ol>
<li><em>Grammar</em>: There are objects, which we call <em>grounds</em>, which can be grounds <em>for</em> propositions or grounds <em>against</em> propositions.</li>
<li><em>Derivation</em>: A derivation of a sequent \(X\yright A,Y\) gives us a systematic way to construct a ground <em>for</em> \(A\) out of grounds for each member of \(X\) and grounds against each member of \(Y\), and a derivation of a sequent \(X,A\yright Y\) gives us a systematic way to construct a ground <em>against</em> \(A\) out of grounds for each member of \(X\) and grounds against each member of \(Y\). So, a derivation of \(\yright A\) gives us a way to construct a ground for \(A\), and a derivation of \(A\yright\) gives us a way to construct a ground against \(A\).</li>
<li><em>Interpretation</em>: This theory can be interpreted in an <em>epistemic</em> sense, where grounds are our means to access the truth or falsity of a proposition, or a <em>metaphysical</em> sense, where grounds show how a proposition is made true by the world.</li>
<li><em>Grasp</em>: Grounds are the kinds of things we can <em>possess</em>.</li>
<li><em>Hyperintensionality</em>: Not every ground is a ground for every tautology. A ground for \(A\) need not also be a ground for each logical consequence of \(A\).</li>
<li><em>Structure</em>: A ground for \(A\to B\) can be seen as a function from grounds for \(A\) to grounds for \(B\). A ground for \(A\land B\) can be seen as consisting of a ground for \(A\) and a ground for \(B\). A ground against \(A\lor B\) can be seen as consisting of a ground against \(A\) and a ground against \(B\). A ground for \(\neg A\) can be obtained from a ground against \(A\), and a ground against \(\neg A\) can be obtained from a ground for \(A\).</li>
</ol>
<p>The result is a model of grounds with significant similarities to the BHK interpretation of constructive logic, but for the classical sequent calculus.</p>
<ul>
<li><p>This is a talk for the <a href="http://blogs.unimelb.edu.au/logic/logic-seminar/">Melbourne Logic Seminar</a>.</p></li>
<li><p>The <a href="https://consequently.org/slides/new-work-for-a-theory-of-grounds-logicmelb.pdf">slides of the talk are available here</a>.</p></li>
</ul>
Truth and Stereotypes
https://consequently.org/presentation/2018/truth-and-stereotypes/
Sun, 21 Oct 2018 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/presentation/2018/truth-and-stereotypes/<p><em>Abstract</em>: Our thoughts and our conversations are filled with generalisations. From everyday trivialities such as <em>birds fly</em> or <em>trams are crowded</em> to contested claims such as <em>women are oppressed</em> or <em>Muslims are peace-loving</em>, we think and communicate using generalisations and stereotypes. This way of understanding the world is useful and pervasive, but at the same time, it has significant limitations.</p>
<p>In this lecture, I will explain some of the surprising features of these generalisations. Then I’ll apply some of the tools developed by philosophers of language over the last decades, in order to understand why generalisations and stereotypes are so pervasive; why they can behave so strangely and can sometimes lead us astray; and finally, to learn how we can use generalisations and stereotypes productively in our thinking and our communication.</p>
<ul>
<li>This is a <a href="https://events.unimelb.edu.au/events/11429-truth-and-stereotypes">free public lecture at the University of Melbourne</a>, held at 7pm in the Kathleen Fitzpatrick Lecture Theatre (Arts West). Although it’s free, it’s a good idea to <a href="http://alumni.online.unimelb.edu.au/GRestall">book tickets</a>.</li>
<li>The slides for the talk are <a href="https://consequently.org/slides/truth-and-stereotypes.pdf">available here</a>.</li>
</ul>
Philosophy in Public
https://consequently.org/news/2018/philosophy-in-public/
Sun, 28 Oct 2018 13:34:27 +1100https://consequently.org/news/2018/philosophy-in-public/<p>Last Wednesday, I went down to the studios at <a href="http://about.abc.net.au/press-releases/abc-opens-its-new-southbank-centre/">ABC Southbank</a>, to be interviewed by Libbi Gorr for ABC Radio Melbourne’s <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/radio/melbourne/programs/sundays/">Sunday program</a>. As I made my way through the building, and settled into the little studio, I thought I heard a familiar voice, faintly in the distance. Libbi explained that this was Kevin Rudd (the former Prime Minister), who was being interviewed in the next room. Unlike the former PM, I wasn’t doing the rounds of media because I had a book to promote. But I was doing promotion in my own small way. The <a href="http://newsroom.melbourne.edu/about">University of Melbourne’s Media Office</a> does a good job at getting the word out about public lectures, and the description for the lecture I’m giving on <a href="https://consequently.org/presentation/2018/truth-and-stereotypes/">Tuesday night</a> apparently appealed to Libbi Gorr and her producer, and they thought it would be fun to interview me for the Sunday program, so on Tuesday midday, I get an email from the Media Office asking if I’d be up for an interview in the studio with Libbi, talking about Truth and Stereotypes.</p>
<p>So, that’s why I found myself in the studio having a fun 20 minute conversation with Libbi about stereotypes, thoughts, language and communication, and the possibility of objectivity and agreement (or disagreement) when we’re all situated in different places and have different perspectives. It didn’t go in the directions I expected. But I wasn’t trying to stick to any particular talking points. The aim was to have a fruitful conversation, and to engage the audience with some interesting questions, and to spark interest in the topics I’ll be covering in my public lecture. The interview was edited down to 17 minutes, and <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/radio/melbourne/programs/sundays/greg-restall/10432666">the result is here</a>. If it gets people interested in thinking in a different way about things, and curious about what we do when we approach issues of language and meaning as philosophers, I’ll count that as a win.</p>
<p>So now, I’ve got to finish my preparation for <a href="https://consequently.org/presentation/2018/truth-and-stereotypes/">Tuesday’s lecture</a>.</p>
With help from Hugo, GitHub, Netlify, Working Copy and Shortcuts, I might update this website more frequently
https://consequently.org/news/2018/with-help-from-hugo-github-netlify-working-copy-and-shortcuts-i-might-update-this-website-more-frequently/
Sun, 21 Oct 2018 16:39:00 +1100https://consequently.org/news/2018/with-help-from-hugo-github-netlify-working-copy-and-shortcuts-i-might-update-this-website-more-frequently/<p>If you’ve been following my <a href="https://consequently.org/presentation/">travels</a>, you’ll get some sense that this has been a busy year. I’ve done lots of writing on my <a href="https://consequently.org/writing/ptrm">book</a>, and I’ve managed to give lots of talks, both in the US and in Argentina, as well as at home. I haven’t posted here for nearly a year–writing elsewhere has been a higher priority.</p>
<p>However, this weekend, I’ve made a few changes to the website which means that I might post here a little more often. The site is produced by <a href="http://gohugo.io">Hugo</a>, a really sweet static site generator. Until yesterday, if I wanted to update my site, what I did was</p>
<ol>
<li>Write files on whatever device I was using–most probably my Mac, but maybe my iPad–and push them to my my <a href="https://github.com/consequently/consequently-hugo">Git repository</a>, which contains the source for the whole website.</li>
<li>Then, on my Mac, sync up the repository.</li>
<li>Run hugo to update the generated files.</li>
<li>Sync the result up to GitHub.</li>
</ol>
<p>That worked fine, but I needed to do steps 2–4 on my Mac, and I don’t always have my Mac with me. Sometimes I prefer to write on my (smaller, less fiddly an distracting) iPad, and sometimes I only have my phone with me, and it’d be nice to update files on the website without having to run through my Mac to do that. I use <a href="http://workingcopyapp.com">Working Copy</a> on my iPhone and iPad to keep local copies of my website files (as well as the papers and book I’m currently working on) so it’s as easy as anything to edit these files wherever I have one of these devices on hand.</p>
<p>Here’s where <a href="http://netlify.com">Netlify</a> comes in. It’s a continuous integration service, that does step 2-4 in the cloud, without me having to be at my Mac. It’s <a href="https://gohugo.io/hosting-and-deployment/hosting-on-netlify/">very easy to wire up Netlify and Github</a> so that whenever I add a new file (or edit a file) in the source to my website, a little daemon spins up on the Netlify servers, runs hugo on the files, and syncs the result up to my website. It means that now I can edit files from any device connected to the internet, and the site is nicely generated, without me having to either edit in a web form (ugh!) or deal with a database driven website that either needs software maintenance or is prone to spam and server injection nastiness, or goes down at a drop of a hat. The site is still statically generated HTML, and I have control over how it is made. It’s a lovely solution.</p>
<p>So, over the weekend I’ve set things up, flipped the switches, and if you’re reading this, you’re reading the first entry written on my iPad and served up through the Netlify CI service.</p>
<p>The next step is to write some little <a href="https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208309">Shortcuts</a> which make the job of creating new entries in the <a href="https://consequently.org/news/">News</a>, <a href="https://consequently.org/writing/">Writing</a>, <a href="https://consequently.org/class/">Class</a> and <a href="https://consequently.org/presentation/">Presentation</a> categories, with the datestamps and other boilerplate set automatically, even quicker, so there’s less friction in making new entries. I’ve done the first draft of the “News” shortcut already, and if you can see this entry, it means it’s worked.</p>
<p>As always, this is a work in progress, and probably things broke as I shifted things around. If you notice anything broken, please let me know. Thanks!</p>
Accommodation, Inference, Generics and Pejoratives
https://consequently.org/presentation/2018/accommodation-melb-workshop/
Wed, 10 Oct 2018 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/presentation/2018/accommodation-melb-workshop/<p><em>Abstract</em>: In this talk, I aim to give an account of norms governing our uses of <em>generic judgements</em> (like “kangaroos have long tails”, “birds lay eggs”, or “logic talks are boring”), norms governing <em>inference</em>, and the relationship <em>between</em> generics and inference. This connection goes some way to explain why generics exhibit some very strange behaviour: Why is it, for example, that “birds lay eggs” seems true, while “birds are female” seems false, despite the fact that only female birds lay eggs?</p>
<p>Given the connection between generics and inference, I’ll go on to consider how inference relates to the process of <em>accommodation</em>, which plays a significant role in how we manage dialogue and conversation. This, in turn, helps shed some light on some different ways expressions can involve <em>pejorative force</em>, and can inform options for how our vocabulary and our concepts can be revised or reformed.</p>
<ul>
<li>This is a talk for a workshiop on Social Ontology at the University of Melbourne.</li>
<li>The <a href="https://consequently.org/slides/accommodation-melb-workshop.pdf">slides for the talk are available here</a>, and the <a href="https://consequently.org/handouts/accommodation-melb-workshop-handout.pdf">handout is here</a>.</li>
</ul>
Accommodation, Inference, Generics and Pejoratives
https://consequently.org/presentation/2018/accommodation-uq/
Thu, 04 Oct 2018 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/presentation/2018/accommodation-uq/<p><em>Abstract</em>: In this talk, I aim to give an account of norms governing our uses of <em>generic judgements</em> (like “kangaroos have long tails”, “birds lay eggs”, or “logic talks are boring”), norms governing <em>inference</em>, and the relationship <em>between</em> generics and inference. This connection goes some way to explain why generics exhibit some very strange behaviour: Why is it, for example, that “birds lay eggs” seems true, while “birds are female” seems false, despite the fact that only female birds lay eggs?</p>
<p>Given the connection between generics and inference, I’ll go on to consider how inference relates to the process of <em>accommodation</em>, which plays a significant role in how we manage dialogue and conversation. This, in turn, helps shed some light on some different ways expressions can involve <em>pejorative force</em>, and can inform options for how our vocabulary and our concepts can be revised or reformed.</p>
<ul>
<li>This is a <a href="https://hapi.uq.edu.au/event/session/3538">talk for the University of Queensland Philosophy Seminar Series</a> (3pm-5pm, Fridays).</li>
<li>The <a href="https://consequently.org/slides/accommodation-uq.pdf">slides for the talk are available here</a>, and the <a href="https://consequently.org/handouts/accommodation-uq-handout.pdf">handout is here</a>.</li>
</ul>
Negation on the Australian Plan
https://consequently.org/writing/nap/
Tue, 18 Sep 2018 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/writing/nap/<p>We present and defend the Australian Plan semantics for negation. This is a comprehensive account, suitable for a variety of different logics. It is based on two ideas. The first is that negation is an exclusion-expressing device: we utter negations to express incompatibilities. The second is that, because incompat<em>ibility</em> is modal, negation is a modal operator as well. It can, then, be modelled as a quantifier over points in frames, restricted by accessibility relations representing compatibilities and incompatibilities between such points. We defuse a number of objections to this Plan, raised by supporters of the American Plan for negation, in which negation is handled via a many-valued semantics. We show that the Australian Plan has substantial advantages over the American Plan.</p>
Defining Rules, Proofs and Counterexamples
https://consequently.org/presentation/2018/defining-rules-proofs-and-counterexamples-ba-logic-vii/
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/presentation/2018/defining-rules-proofs-and-counterexamples-ba-logic-vii/<p><em>Abstract</em>: In this talk, I will present an account of <em>defining rules</em>, with the aim of explaining these rules they play a central role in analytic proofs. Along the way, I’ll explain how Kreisel’s <em>squeezing argument</em> helps us understand the connection between an informal notion of validity and the notions formalised in our accounts of proofs and models, and the relationship between proof-theoretic and model- theoretic analyses of logical consequence.</p>
<ul>
<li><p>This is a talk for the <a href="http://ba-logic.com/workshops/7th-workshop/">VII Workshop on Philosophical Logic</a>.</p></li>
<li><p>The <a href="https://consequently.org/slides/defining-rules-proofs-and-counterexamples-slides.pdf">slides for the talk are available here</a>, and the <a href="https://consequently.org/handouts/defining-rules-proofs-and-counterexamples-handout.pdf">handout is here</a>.</p></li>
</ul>
Proof Theory, Rules and Meaning — an introduction
https://consequently.org/presentation/2018/proof-theory-rules-and-meaning/
Mon, 30 Jul 2018 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/presentation/2018/proof-theory-rules-and-meaning/<p><em>Abstract</em>: I introduce the key themes from my book-in-progress, <a href="https://consequently.org/writing/ptrm/">Proof Theory, Rules and Meaning</a>.</p>
<ul>
<li><p>This is a talk for the <a href="http://ba-logic.com/workshops/symposium-restall/">symposium</a> on the manuscript held at the Argentinean Society of Philosophical Analysis (SADAF) in Buenos Aires, in July 2018.</p></li>
<li><p>The <a href="https://consequently.org/slides/proof-theory-rules-and-meaning-intro-ba.pdf">slides for the talk are available here</a>.</p></li>
</ul>
PHIL30043: The Power and Limits of Logic
https://consequently.org/class/2018/phil30043/
Mon, 16 Jul 2018 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/class/2018/phil30043/
<p><strong><span class="caps">PHIL30043</span>: The Power and Limits of Logic</strong> is a <a href="https://handbook.unimelb.edu.au/view/2018/PHIL30043">University of Melbourne undergraduate subject</a>. It covers the metatheory of classical first order predicate logic, beginning at the <em>Soundness</em> and <em>Completeness</em> Theorems (proved not once but <em>twice</em>, first for a tableaux proof system for predicate logic, then a Hilbert proof system), through the <em>Deduction Theorem</em>, <em>Compactness</em>, <em>Cantor’s Theorem</em>, the <em>Downward Löwenheim–Skolem Theorem</em>, <em>Recursive Functions</em>, <em>Register Machines</em>, <em>Representability</em> and ending up at <em>Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems</em> and <em>Löb’s Theorem</em>.</p>
<figure>
<img src="https://consequently.org/images/godel.jpg" alt="Kurt Godel, seated">
<figcaption>Kurt Gödel, seated</figcaption>
</figure>
<p>The subject is taught to University of Melbourne undergraduate students (for Arts students as a part of the Philosophy major, for non-Arts students, as a breadth subject). Details for enrolment are <a href="https://handbook.unimelb.edu.au/view/2018/PHIL30043">here</a>. I make use of video lectures I have made <a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409">freely available on Vimeo</a>.</p>
<h3 id="outline">Outline</h3>
<p>The course is divided into four major sections and a short prelude. Here is a list of all of the videos, in case you’d like to follow along with the content.</p>
<h4 id="prelude">Prelude</h4>
<ul>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/59401942">Logical Equivalence</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/59403292">Disjunctive Normal Form</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/59403535">Why DNF Works</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/59463569">Prenex Normal Form</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/59466141">Models for Predicate Logic</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/59880539">Trees for Predicate Logic</a></li>
</ul>
<h4 id="completeness">Completeness</h4>
<ul>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/59883806">Introducing Soundness and Completeness</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/60249309">Soundness for Tree Proofs</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/60250515">Completeness for Tree Proofs</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/61677028">Hilbert Proofs for Propositional Logic</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/61685762">Conditional Proof</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/62221512">Hilbert Proofs for Predicate Logic</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/103720089">Theories</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/103757399">Soundness and Completeness for Hilbert Proofs for Predicate Logic</a></li>
</ul>
<h4 id="compactness">Compactness</h4>
<ul>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/63454250">Counting Sets</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/63454732">Diagonalisation</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/63454732">Compactness</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/63455121">Non-Standard Models</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/63462354">Inexpressibility of Finitude</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/63462519">Downward Löwenheim–Skolem Theorem</a></li>
</ul>
<h4 id="computability">Computability</h4>
<ul>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/64162062">Functions</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/64167354">Register Machines</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/64207986">Recursive Functions</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/64435763">Register Machine computable functions are Recursive</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/64604717">The Uncomputable</a></li>
</ul>
<h4 id="undecidability-and-incompleteness">Undecidability and Incompleteness</h4>
<ul>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/65382456">Deductively Defined Theories</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/65392670">The Finite Model Property</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/65393543">Completeness</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/65440901">Introducing Robinson’s Arithmetic</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/65442289">Induction and Peano Arithmetic</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/65443650">Representing Functions and Sets</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/65483655">Gödel Numbering and Diagonalisation</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/65497886">Q (and any consistent extension of Q) is undecidable, and incomplete if it’s deductively defined</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/65498016">First Order Predicate Logic is Undecidable</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/65501745">True Arithmetic is not Deductively Defined</a></li>
<li><a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2262409/video/65505372">If Con(PA) then PA doesn’t prove Con(PA)</a></li>
</ul>
PHIL20030: Meaning, Possibility and Paradox
https://consequently.org/class/2018/phil20030/
Mon, 16 Jul 2018 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/class/2018/phil20030/
<p><strong><span class="caps">PHIL20030</span>: Meaning, Possibility and Paradox</strong> is a <a href="http://unimelb.edu.au">University of Melbourne</a> undergraduate subject. The idea that the meaning of a sentence depends on the meanings of its parts is fundamental to the way we understand logic, language and the mind. In this subject, we look at the different ways that this idea has been applied in logic throughout the 20th Century and into the present day.</p>
<p>In the first part of the subject, our focus is on the concepts of necessity and possibility, and the way that ‘possible worlds semantics’ has been used in theories of meaning. We will focus on the logic of necessity and possibility (modal logic), times (temporal logic), conditionality and dependence (counterfactuals), and the notions of analyticity and a priority so important to much of philosophy.</p>
<p>In the second part of the subject, we examine closely the assumption that every statement we make is either true or false but not both. We will examine the paradoxes of truth (like the so-called ‘liar paradox’) and vagueness (the ‘sorites paradox’), and we will investigate different ways attempts at resolving these paradoxes by going beyond our traditional views of truth (using ‘many valued logics’) or by defending the traditional perspective.</p>
<p>The subject serves as an introduction to ways that logic is applied in the study of language, epistemology and metaphysics, so it is useful to those who already know some philosophy and would like to see how logic relates to those issues. It is also useful to those who already know some logic and would like to learn new logical techniques and see how these techniques can be applied.</p>
<p>The subject is offered to University of Melbourne undergraduate students (for Arts students as a part of the Philosophy major, for non-Arts students, as a breadth subject). Details for enrolment are <a href="https://handbook.unimelb.edu.au/view/2018/PHIL20030">here</a>.</p>
<figure>
<img src="https://consequently.org/images/peter-rozsa-small.png" alt="Rosza Peter">
<figcaption>The writing down of a formula is an expression of our joy that we can answer all these questions by means of one argument. — Rózsa Péter, Playing with Infinity</figcaption>
</figure>
<p>I make use of video lectures I have made <a href="http://vimeo.com/album/2470375">freely available on Vimeo</a>. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, I hope they’re useful. Of course, I appreciate any constructive feedback you might have.</p>
<h3 id="outline">Outline</h3>
<p>The course is divided into four major sections and a short prelude. Here is a list of all of the videos, in case you’d like to follow along with the content.</p>
<h4 id="classical-logic">Classical Logic</h4>
<ul>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/71195118">On Logic and Philosophy</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/71196826">Classical Logic—Models</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/71200032">Classical Logic—Tree Proofs</a></li>
</ul>
<h4 id="meaning-sense-reference">Meaning, Sense, Reference</h4>
<ul>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/71206884">Reference and Compositionality</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/71226471">Sense and Reference</a></li>
</ul>
<h4 id="basic-modal-logic">Basic Modal Logic</h4>
<ul>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/71556216">Introducing Possibility an Necessity</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/71558401">Models for Basic Modal Logic</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/71558696">Tree Proofs for Basic Modal Logic</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/71560394">Soundness and Completeness for Basic Modal Logic</a></li>
</ul>
<h4 id="normal-modal-logics">Normal Modal Logics</h4>
<ul>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/72135540">What Are Possible Worlds?</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/72137443">Conditions on Accessibility Relations</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/72137856">Equivalence Relations, Universal Relations and S5</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/72139085">Tree Proofs for Normal Modal Logic</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/72140275">Applying Modal Logics</a></li>
</ul>
<h4 id="double-indexing">Double Indexing</h4>
<ul>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/72140275">Temporal Logic</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/72143616">Actuality and the Present</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/72266887">Two Dimensional Modal Logic</a></li>
</ul>
<h4 id="conditionality">Conditionality</h4>
<ul>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/74494229">Strict Conditionals</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/74498276"><em>Ceteris Paribus</em> Conditionals</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/74504639">Similarity</a></li>
</ul>
<h4 id="three-values">Three Values</h4>
<ul>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/74628150">More than Two Truth Values</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/74636384">K3</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/74680756">Ł3</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/74680954">LP</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/74682689">RM3</a></li>
</ul>
<h4 id="four-values">Four Values</h4>
<ul>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/74685077">FDE: Relational Evaluations</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/74685986">FDE: Tree Proofs</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/74695340">FDE: Routley Evaluations</a></li>
</ul>
<h4 id="paradoxes">Paradoxes</h4>
<ul>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/76045884">Truth and the Liar Paradox</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/76049193">Fixed Point Construction</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/76055233">Curry’s Paradox</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/76057722">The Sorites Paradox</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/76061452">Fuzzy Logic</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/76066245">Supervaluationism</a></li>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/76070423">Epistemicism</a></li>
</ul>
<h4 id="what-to-do-with-so-many-logical-systems">What to do with so many logical systems</h4>
<ul>
<li><a href="https://vimeo.com/album/2470375/video/76070953">Logical Monism and Pluralism</a></li>
</ul>
What Proofs are For
https://consequently.org/presentation/2018/what-proofs-are-for-melbourne-glasgow/
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/presentation/2018/what-proofs-are-for-melbourne-glasgow/<p><em>Abstract</em>: In this short talk, I present a new account of the nature of proof, with the aim of explaining how proof could actually play the role in reasoning that it does, and answering some long-standing puzzles about the nature of proof. Along the way, I’ll explain how Kreisel’s Squeezing argument helps us understand the connection between an informal notion of of validity and the notions formalised in our accounts of proofs and models, and the relationship between proof-theoretic and model-theoretic analyses of logical consequence.</p>
<ul>
<li><p>This is a talk for the <a href="https://philevents.org/event/show/41790">Melbourne–Glasgow Formal Philosophy Workshop</a>.</p></li>
<li><p>The <a href="https://consequently.org/slides/what-proofs-are-for-melbourne-glasgow-slides.pdf">slides for the talk are available here</a>, and the <a href="https://consequently.org/handouts/what-proofs-are-for-melbourne-glasgow-handout.pdf">handout is here</a>.</p></li>
</ul>
Isomorphisms in a Category of Proofs
https://consequently.org/presentation/2018/mit-sllerg/
Fri, 05 Jan 2018 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/presentation/2018/mit-sllerg/<p><em>Abstract</em>: In this talk, I show how a category of formulas and classical proofs can give rise to three different hyperintensional notions of sameness of content. One of these notions is very fine-grained, going so far as to distinguish \(p\) and \(p\land p\), while identifying other distinct pairs of formulas, such as \(p\land q\) and \(q\land p\); \(p\) and \(\neg\neg p\); or \(\neg(p\land q)\) and \(\neg p\lor\neg q\). Another relation is more coarsely grained, and gives the same account of identity of content as equivalence in Angell’s logic of analytic containment. A third notion of sameness of content is defined, which is intermediate between Angell’s and Parry’s logics of analytic containment. Along the way we show how purely classical proof theory gives resources to define hyperintensional distinctions thought to be the domain of properly non-classical logics.</p>
<ul>
<li>This is a talk for the MIT SLLERG Group.</li>
<li>The <a href="https://consequently.org/slides/isomorphisms-talk-mit-2018.pdf">slides can be downloaded here</a>, but the <a href="https://consequently.org/handouts/isomorphisms-handout-mit-2018.pdf">handout</a> (4 pages) is best for printing out and reading, so it’s probably better that you <a href="https://consequently.org/handouts/isomorphisms-handout-mit-2018.pdf">download and print that</a>.</li>
</ul>
Accommodation, Inference, Generics and Pejoratives
https://consequently.org/presentation/2018/mit-wip/
Fri, 05 Jan 2018 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/presentation/2018/mit-wip/<p><em>Abstract</em>: In this talk, I aim to give an account of norms governing our uses of <em>generic judgements</em> (like “kangaroos have long tails”, “birds lay eggs”, or “logic talks are boring”), norms governing <em>inference</em>, and the relationship <em>between</em> generics and inference. This connection goes some way to explain why generics exhibit some very strange behaviour: Why is it, for example, that “birds lay eggs” seems true, while “birds are female” seems false, despite the fact that only female birds lay eggs?</p>
<p>Given the connection between generics and inference, I’ll go on to consider how inference relates to the process of <em>accommodation</em>, which plays a significant role in how we manage dialogue and conversation. This, in turn, helps shed some light on some different ways expressions can involve <em>pejorative force</em>, and can inform options for how our vocabulary and our concepts can be revised or reformed.</p>
<ul>
<li>This is a talk for the MIT Philosophy Work in Progress series (1pm-2pm, Thursdays).</li>
<li>The <a href="https://consequently.org/slides/accommodation-mit.pdf">slides for the talk are available here</a>, and the <a href="https://consequently.org/handouts/accommodation-mit-handout.pdf">handout is here</a>.</li>
</ul>
Accommodation, Inference, Generics and Pejoratives
https://consequently.org/presentation/2018/uconn-brown-bag/
Fri, 05 Jan 2018 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/presentation/2018/uconn-brown-bag/<p><em>Abstract</em>: In this talk, I aim to give an account of norms governing our uses of <em>generic judgements</em> (like “kangaroos have long tails”, “birds lay eggs”, or “logic talks are boring”), norms governing <em>inference</em>, and the relationship <em>between</em> generics and inference. This connection goes some way to explain why generics exhibit some very strange behaviour: Why is it, for example, that “birds lay eggs” seems true, while “birds are female” seems false, despite the fact that only female birds lay eggs?</p>
<p>Given the connection between generics and inference, I’ll go on to consider how inference relates to the process of <em>accommodation</em>, which plays a significant role in how we manage dialogue and conversation. This, in turn, helps shed some light on some different ways expressions can involve <em>pejorative force</em>, and can inform options for how our vocabulary and our concepts can be revised or reformed.</p>
<ul>
<li>This is a talk for the <a href="http://events.uconn.edu/event/60881/2018-04-18">University of Connecticut Philosophy Brown Bag</a>.</li>
<li>The <a href="https://consequently.org/slides/accommodation-uconn.pdf">slides for the talk are available here</a>, and the <a href="https://consequently.org/handouts/accommodation-uconn-handout.pdf">handout is here</a>.</li>
</ul>
Accommodation, Inference, Generics and Pejoratives
https://consequently.org/presentation/2018/pitt-philosophy-colloquium/
Fri, 05 Jan 2018 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/presentation/2018/pitt-philosophy-colloquium/<p><em>Abstract</em>: In this talk, I aim to give an account of norms governing our uses of <em>generic judgements</em> (like “kangaroos have long tails”, “birds lay eggs”, or “logic talks are boring”), norms governing <em>inference</em>, and the relationship <em>between</em> generics and inference. This connection goes some way to explain why generics exhibit some very strange behaviour: Why is it, for example, that “birds lay eggs” seems true, while “birds are female” seems false, despite the fact that only female birds lay eggs?</p>
<p>Given the connection between generics and inference, I’ll go on to consider how inference relates to the process of <em>accommodation</em>, which plays a significant role in how we manage dialogue and conversation. This, in turn, helps shed some light on some different ways expressions can involve <em>pejorative force</em>, and can inform options for how our vocabulary and our concepts can be revised or reformed.</p>
<ul>
<li>This is a talk for the <a href="http://www.philosophy.pitt.edu/event/greg-restall-u-melbourne-talk">University of Pittsburgh Philosophy Colloquium</a>.</li>
<li>The <a href="https://consequently.org/slides/accommodation-pitt.pdf">slides for the talk are available here</a>, and the <a href="https://consequently.org/handouts/accommodation-pitt-handout.pdf">handout is here</a>.</li>
</ul>
Isomorphisms in a Category of Proofs
https://consequently.org/presentation/2018/cmu-pure-and-applied-logic/
Fri, 05 Jan 2018 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/presentation/2018/cmu-pure-and-applied-logic/<p><em>Abstract</em>: In this talk, I show how a category of formulas and classical proofs can give rise to three different hyperintensional notions of sameness of content. One of these notions is very fine-grained, going so far as to distinguish \(p\) and \(p\land p\), while identifying other distinct pairs of formulas, such as \(p\land q\) and \(q\land p\); \(p\) and \(\neg\neg p\); or \(\neg(p\land q)\) and \(\neg p\lor\neg q\). Another relation is more coarsely grained, and gives the same account of identity of content as equivalence in Angell’s logic of analytic containment. A third notion of sameness of content is defined, which is intermediate between Angell’s and Parry’s logics of analytic containment. Along the way we show how purely classical proof theory gives resources to define hyperintensional distinctions thought to be the domain of properly non-classical logics.</p>
<ul>
<li>This is a <a href="https://calendar.google.com/calendar/event?eid=NG4zNDZkbXA5OTRqNzEwcDVpdTZhcHZjbm8gMDFsMXQ2c2I1dGJhcWk2NmJnOGIxOWszN29AZw&ctz=America/New_York">talk for the CMU Pure and Applied Logic Seminar Series</a>.</li>
<li>The <a href="https://consequently.org/slides/isomorphisms-talk-cmu-2018.pdf">slides can be downloaded here</a>, but the <a href="https://consequently.org/handouts/isomorphisms-handout-cmu-2018.pdf">handout</a> (4 pages) is best for printing out and reading, so it’s probably better that you <a href="https://consequently.org/handouts/isomorphisms-handout-cmu-2018.pdf">download and print that</a>.</li>
</ul>
Isomorphisms in a Category of Proofs
https://consequently.org/presentation/2018/cuny-gc-logic-and-metaphysics/
Fri, 05 Jan 2018 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/presentation/2018/cuny-gc-logic-and-metaphysics/<p><em>Abstract</em>: In this talk, I show how a category of classical proofs can give rise to three different hyperintensional notions of sameness of content. One of these notions is very fine-grained, going so far as to distinguish \(p\) and \(p\land p\), while identifying other distinct pairs of formulas, such as \(p\land q\) and \(q\land p\); \(p\) and \(\neg\neg p\); or \(\neg(p\land q)\) and \(\neg p\lor\neg q\). Another relation is more coarsely grained, and gives the same account of identity of content as equivalence in Angell’s logic of analytic containment. A third notion of sameness of content is defined, which is intermediate between Angell’s and Parry’s logics of analytic containment. Along the way we show how purely classical proof theory gives resources to define hyperintensional distinctions thought to be the domain of properly non-classical logics.</p>
<ul>
<li><p>This is a talk for the <a href="https://logic.commons.gc.cuny.edu">CUNY Graduate Center Logic and Metaphysics Seminar</a>.</p></li>
<li><p>The <a href="https://consequently.org/slides/isomorphisms-talk-cuny-2018.pdf">slides can be downloaded here</a>, but the <a href="https://consequently.org/handouts/isomorphisms-handout-cuny-2018.pdf">handout</a> (4 pages) is best for printing out and reading, so it’s probably better that you <a href="https://consequently.org/handouts/isomorphisms-handout-cuny-2018.pdf">download and print that</a>.</p></li>
</ul>
What Proofs are For
https://consequently.org/presentation/2018/what-proofs-are-for-nyu/
Fri, 05 Jan 2018 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/presentation/2018/what-proofs-are-for-nyu/<p><em>Abstract</em>: In this short talk, I present a new account of the nature of proof, with the aim of explaining how proof could actually play the role in reasoning that it does, and answering some long-standing puzzles about the nature of proof. Along the way, I’ll explain how Kreisel’s Squeezing argument helps us understand the connection between an informal notion of of validity and the notions formalised in our accounts of proofs and models, and the relationship between proof-theoretic and model-theoretic analyses of logical consequence.</p>
<ul>
<li><p>This is a talk for the NYU Philosophy Department Brown Bag Series.</p></li>
<li><p>The <a href="https://consequently.org/slides/what-proofs-are-for-nyu-slides.pdf">slides for the talk are available here</a>, and the <a href="https://consequently.org/handouts/what-proofs-are-for-nyu-handout.pdf">handout is here</a>.</p></li>
</ul>
Accommodation, Inference, Generics and Pejoratives
https://consequently.org/presentation/2018/cuny-gc-colloquium/
Fri, 05 Jan 2018 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/presentation/2018/cuny-gc-colloquium/<p><em>Abstract</em>: In this talk, I aim to give an account of norms governing our uses of <em>generic judgements</em> (like “kangaroos have long tails”, “birds lay eggs”, or “logic talks are boring”), norms governing <em>inference</em>, and the relationship <em>between</em> generics and inference. This connection goes some way to explain why generics exhibit some very strange behaviour: Why is it, for example, that “birds lay eggs” seems true, while “birds are female” seems false, despite the fact that only female birds lay eggs?</p>
<p>Given the connection between generics and inference, I’ll go on to consider how inference relates to the process of <em>accommodation</em>, which plays a significant role in how we manage dialogue and conversation. This, in turn, helps shed some light on some different ways expressions can involve <em>pejorative force</em>, and can inform options for how our vocabulary and our concepts can be revised or reformed.</p>
<ul>
<li><p>This is a talk for the <a href="https://philosophy.commons.gc.cuny.edu/spring-2018-colloquium-schedule/">CUNY Graduate Center Philosophy Colloquium</a>.</p></li>
<li><p>The <a href="https://consequently.org/slides/accommodation-cuny-2018.pdf">slides for the talk are available here</a>, and the <a href="https://consequently.org/handouts/accommodation-cuny-handout-2018.pdf">handout is here</a>.</p></li>
</ul>
Accommodation, Inference, Generics and Pejoratives
https://consequently.org/presentation/2018/unimelb-accommodation/
Tue, 13 Feb 2018 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/presentation/2018/unimelb-accommodation/<p><em>Abstract</em>: In this talk, I aim to give an account of norms governing our uses of <em>generic judgements</em> (like “kangaroos have long tails”, “birds lay eggs”, or “logic talks are boring”), norms governing <em>inference</em>, and the relationship <em>between</em> generics and inference. This connection goes some way to explain why generics exhibit some very strange behaviour: Why is it, for example, that “birds lay eggs” seems true, while “birds are female” seems false, despite the fact that only female birds lay eggs?</p>
<p>Given the connection between generics and inference, I’ll go on to consider how inference relates to the process of <em>accommodation</em>, which plays a significant role in how we manage dialogue and conversation. This, in turn, helps shed some light on some different ways expressions can involve <em>pejorative force</em>, and can inform options for how our vocabulary and our concepts can be revised or reformed.</p>
<ul>
<li><p>This is a talk for the <em><a href="https://philevents.org/event/show/42298">University of Melbourne Thursday Philosophy Seminar</a></em>.</p></li>
<li><p>The <a href="https://consequently.org/slides/accommodation-unimelb-2018.pdf">slides for the talk are available here</a>, and the <a href="https://consequently.org/handouts/accommodation-unimelb-handout-2018.pdf">handout is here</a>.</p></li>
</ul>
Truth Tellers in Bradwardine's Theory of Truth
https://consequently.org/writing/bradwardine-truth-tellers/
Wed, 21 Mar 2018 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/writing/bradwardine-truth-tellers/<p>Stephen Read’s work on Bradwardine’s theory of truth is some of the most exciting work on truth and insolubilia in recent years. Read brings together modern tools of formal logic and Bradwardine’s theory of signification to show that medieval distinctions can give great insight into the behaviour of semantic concepts such as truth. In a number of papers, I have developed a model theory for Bradwardine’s account of truth. This model theory has distinctive features: it serves up models in which every declarative object (any object signifying <em>anything</em>) signifies its own truth. This leads to a puzzle: there are good arguments to the effect that if anything is a truth-teller, it is <em>false</em>. This is a puzzle. What distinguishes <em>paradoxical</em> truth-tellers from <em>benign</em> truth tellers? It is my task in this paper to explain this distinction, and to clarify the behaviour of truth-tellers, given Bradwardine’s account of signification.</p>
Isomorphisms in a Category of Propositions and Proofs
https://consequently.org/presentation/2018/logicmelb-isomorphisms/
Tue, 13 Feb 2018 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/presentation/2018/logicmelb-isomorphisms/<p><em>Abstract</em>: In this talk, I show how a category of propositions and classical proofs can give rise to three different hyperintensional notions of sameness of content. One of these notions is very fine-grained, going so far as to distinguish \(p\) and \(p\land p\), while identifying other distinct pairs of formulas, such as \(p\land q\) and \(q\land p\); \(p\) and \(\neg\neg p\); or \(\neg(p\land q)\) and \(\neg p\lor\neg q\). Another relation is more coarsely grained, and gives the same account of identity of content as equivalence in Angell’s logic of analytic containment. A third notion of sameness of content is defined, which is intermediate between Angell’s and Parry’s logics of analytic containment. Along the way we show how purely classical proof theory gives resources to define hyperintensional distinctions thought to be the domain of properly non-classical logics.</p>
<ul>
<li><p>This is a talk for the <a href="blogs.unimelb.edu.au/logic/logic-seminar/">Melbourne Logic Seminar</a>.</p></li>
<li><p>The <a href="https://consequently.org/slides/isomorphisms-talk-unimelb-2018.pdf">slides of the talk are available here</a>, and the <a href="https://consequently.org/handouts/isomorphisms-handout-unimelb-2018.pdf">handout is here</a>.</p></li>
</ul>
Substructural Logics
https://consequently.org/writing/slintro/
Wed, 21 Feb 2018 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/writing/slintro/<p><i>Substructural logics</i> are non-classical logics <i>weaker</i> than classical logic, notable for the absence of <i>structural rules</i> present in classical logic. These logics are motivated by considerations from philosophy (relevant logics), linguistics (the Lambek calculus) and computing (linear logic). In addition, techniques from substructural logics are useful in the study of traditional logics such as classical and intuitionistic logic. This article provides an overview of the field of substructural logic.</p>
Community (the twelfth of twelve things I love about philosophical logic)
https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-12-community/
Sat, 30 Dec 2017 17:12:57 +1100https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-12-community/<p>I love the way I’ve met so many different people through working in logic, that I’ve made good friends, good colleagues, good teachers and mentors. I’ve been part of an enterprise that’s larger than any one person. I have been shaped by that community, and have had the opportunity to made some small mark on it myself.</p>
<p>Logic, like any other academic discipline, has a history. The activities of <em>doing</em> logic — of <em>studying</em>, <em>researching</em> and <em>teaching</em> — are spread out through time. Those activities are also, equally, spread out in space. Logic is done in many different places, in many different contexts, by many different individuals, and research teams. As I’ve already pointed out, those activities are shaped by different disciplinary connections (into philosophy, mathematics, computer science, linguistics, engineering, etc.), but they are also shaped by the emphases of different research groups and traditions. Research, these days, is dominated not so much by a small number of iconic logicians, but by research groups with distinctive research programmes.</p>
<p>Here are some examples: think of the difference between Amsterdam-style modal logic, on the one hand, and exact truthmaking semantics on the other, concerning approaches to intensionality and hyperintensionality, or for examples on the proof theoretical side of the street, the different traditions of Higher Order Type Theory and of Linear Logic and Ludics as frameworks for understanding proof, computation and meaning. The differences between these traditions are not simply matters of differences between individual researchers and their emphases — though of course, there are significant founding figures for each tradition I mention — the driving forces in each of these active research programmes is at the level of the <em>team</em> or beyond. Each approach brings with it a (larger or smaller) loose formation of researchers who work on problems in their fields: they get together at conferences and workshops, co-author papers, apply for research grants, supervise graduate students, all the while, maintaining and developing the tradition. Research that leaves a mark is not so much the activity of the brilliant sole researcher, it occurs at a larger scale.</p>
<p>Recognising this fact brings important questions to the fore: given that research at this scale is a community enterprise, how does that community function? Who is included? Who is excluded? How are people trained and shaped? What kinds of conversations are possible? What approaches are encouraged? My little corner of philosophical logic is only beginning to explicitly address some of these issues. <a href="https://gillianrussell.net">Gill Russell</a> and worked to get a decent gender balance in our <a href="http://consequently.org/writing/new-waves-in-philosophical-logic/">edited collection</a>. We partly succeeded on that front. We fail, mightily, on including participants from outside Europe, America and Australia. Further, the group of authors is overwhelmingly white. We could have done better. There is scope for the community to be more representative of thew wider community around us. Lasting change will require more than just good will and effort from individuals: it will involve broader social change, so that the oppressed and excluded get their due, and all to have the opportunities currently afforded to those who have the easiest access to higher education. That social change won’t come easy. However, those of us with the institutional capital to be able to shape and support research groups nonetheless have the opportunity to leave the discipline better than we found it, with a wider spectrum of voices included, with all people treated well, and a broader family of concerns taken seriously. We can run conferences where people are treated well; we can mentor and support our students, both women and men; we can encourage the work of those whose voices are routinely excluded, and so, build up a community that is resilient and flourishing.</p>
<p>As for me, I’ve been fortunate, more fortunate than I can readily discern. Not only have I been shaped by encouraging and supportive teachers and mentors throughout my own research career, but unlike many of my female colleagues, I’ve not been harassed or endangered. No-one has attempted to take advantage of me, or pass my work off as theirs. Overwhelmingly, people in my field have taken me seriously, even when I was a blundering student, attempting to find my way in the wider academic world. The reception I’ve had in the wider academic world is the kind of community I want for those coming after me.</p>
<p><em>Community</em> is the twelfth of <a href="http://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-i-love/">twelve things that I love about philosophical logic</a>.</p>
Proof Identity, Aboutness and Meaning
https://consequently.org/presentation/2017/proof-identity-aboutness-and-meaning/
Mon, 06 Nov 2017 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/presentation/2017/proof-identity-aboutness-and-meaning/<p><em>Abstract</em>: This talk is a comparison of how different approaches to hyperintensionality, aboutness and subject matter treat (classically) logically equivalent statements. I compare and contrast two different notions of subject matter that might be thought to be representational or truth first – <em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Aboutness-Carl-G-Hempel-Lecture/dp/0691144958/consequentlyorg">Aboutness</a></em> (Princeton University Press, 2014), and truthmakers conceived of as situations, as discussed in my “<a href="http://consequently.org/writing/ten/">Truthmakers, Entailment and Necessity</a>.” I contrast this with the kind of inferentialist account of hyperintensionality arising out of the <em>proof invariants</em> I have explored <a href="http://consequently.org/writing/proof-terms-for-classical-derivations/">in recent work</a>.</p>
<p>This is a talk presented at the <a href="https://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/humanities/research/philosophyresearch/researchprojects/thewholetruth/formalphilosophy/">Glasgow-Melbourne Formal Philosophy Workshop</a>.</p>
<ul>
<li>The <a href="http://consequently.org/slides/proof-identity-aboutness-and-meaning.pdf">slides are available here</a>.</li>
</ul>
Negation on the Australian Plan
https://consequently.org/presentation/2017/negation-on-the-australian-plan/
Wed, 23 Aug 2017 00:00:00 UTChttps://consequently.org/presentation/2017/negation-on-the-australian-plan/<p><em>Abstract</em>: In this talk, I explain the difference between <em>Australian Plan</em> semantics for negation – which treat negation as a kind of negative modality – and semantics based on the <em>American Plan</em>, which conceive of negation in terms of independent truth and falsity conditions. I will update the presentation of the Australian Plan (introduced in the 1970s in early days of the ternary relational semantics for relevant logics), in the light of more recent developments in logic, and defend this updated plan in the face of some recent criticisms due to <a href="http://www.michaelde.com">Michael De</a> and <a href="https://sites.google.com/site/hitoshiomori/home">Hitoshi Omori</a>, in their paper “<a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10992-017-9427-0">There is More to Negation than Modality</a>.” Along the way, I hope to draw out some insights into what we might want out of a representational semantics for a language with a consequence relation.</p>
<p>This talk is based on joint work with <a href="http://www.uva.nl/en/profile/b/e/f.berto/f.berto.html">Professor Franz Berto</a>, from the University of Amsterdam.</p>
<p>This is a talk presented at the <a href="http://blogs.unimelb.edu.au/logic/logic-seminar/">Melbourne Logic Seminar</a>.</p>
<ul>
<li>The <a href="https://consequently.org/slides/negation-on-the-australian-plan-logicmelb.pdf">slides are available here</a>.</li>
</ul>
Learning and Teaching (the eleventh of twelve things I love about philosophical logic)
https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-11-learning-and-teaching/
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 22:47:48 +1100https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-11-learning-and-teaching/<p>Working in philosophical logic, I love the opportunity to <em>learn</em> from so many people through history, and not only to <em>learn</em>, but to pass on a tradition, and to have the opportunity to extend the tradition, and to refine it a little, in passing it on. It’s been a delight to learn from some <a href="http://consequently.org/writing/logicians/">great figures</a>, the historical figures through their writing, and my contemporaries in person, both as <em>face-to-face teachers</em> (while a student, I learned logic from Sheila Oates-Williams, Neil Williams, Rod Girle, Ian Hinckfuss, and Graham Priest), but the learning doesn’t stop when you finish your degree. I’ve learned much from colleagues (Bob Meyer, Richard Sylvan, John Slaney, Allen Hazen, Graham Priest (again), Zach Weber, Dave Ripley, Shawn Standefer), whose work I admire, and who generously share of their time at whiteboards, in seminars, and in many many conversations. I have also learned a great deal from all of my <a href="http://consequently.org/writing/logicians/">graduate students</a>, who have sent me in directions I never expected to head. If learning logic is (in part) <a href="http://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-05-recognition/">gaining facility with the concepts you have</a>, as well as <a href="http://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-06-expansion/">acquiring new concepts</a>, then working <em>with others</em> is a very good way to learn. The kinds of knowledge you acquire is not merely <em>knowing that</em>, but it (at least in part) skills to be learned, and they’re learned by practice, and sometimes skilled practice is best acquired when guided by others — explicitly, when the teacher knows she is <em>teaching</em> — or implicitly, when we observe an expert displaying expertise, and we can use their practice to scaffold our own, and learn by imitation. I’ve learned so much from my teachers, not only in consciously building on their ideas, but in learning how to <em>be</em> a logician by starting in their footsteps.</p>
<p>One way to develop the tradition is to <a href="http://consequently.org/class/">teach</a>, and a significant part of my job at the <a href="http://unimelb.edu.au">University of Melbourne</a> is to teach, and a lot of my time is spent teaching philosophical logic. Putting together a course is a good way of sorting out your ideas, and in philosophical logic, where the concepts very clearly and precisely build on prior ideas, it is a real intellectual challenge to see how you can teach a course in 12 weeks that, say, <a href="http://consequently.org/class/2017/PHIL30043">introduces Gödel’s incompleteness theorems</a> and everything you need to understand them. This is a challenge, and designing the curriculum in such a way to carry undergraduate students from the basics of predicate logic, through soundness and completeness, into Peano arithmetic, recursive functions, diagonalisation, and into Gödel’s proofs — and to do it in some way that there is hope that the students will survive the journey with their curiosity and interest intact! — forces you to come to grips with the concepts in a way that a cursory understanding won’t suffice. I can truly say that I’ve come to understand things much more deeply when I’ve had the opportunity to <em>teach</em> them.</p>
<p>That’s why I’m enjoying <a href="http://consequently.org/writing/ptp/">writing my new book</a>. Officially, it is a research monograph and not a textbook, but one of the ways I’ve been describing it (to myself, and to others, who ask me what I’m writing on) is that it’s trying to explain to people attracted to normative pragmatic theories of meaning what they can do with recent work in logic (in proof theory, in particular), and to explain to logicians what philosophy they should have to understand why proof theory works so well. Yes, the core of it is a particular <em>argument</em> for a way of understanding the distinctive nature of logic, but that argument is buttressed by a lot of <em>showing</em> as well as <em>saying</em>. You’ve got to <em>learn some logic</em> to understand why it is the kind of thing it is, and to get a real sense of what it can <em>do</em> (and what it can’t). To do that, is to <em>teach</em>, as well as to <em>argue</em>, and that is just how I like it.</p>
<p><em>Learning and Teaching</em> is the eleventh of <a href="http://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-i-love/">twelve things that I love about philosophical logic</a>.</p>
Possibility (the tenth of twelve things I love about philosophical logic)
https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-10-possibility/
Mon, 18 Sep 2017 14:38:20 +1100https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-10-possibility/<p>In the <a href="http://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-09-necessity/">previous entry</a> I explored the connection between <em>proofs</em> and <em>necessity</em>. Here, I want to spend a little time exploring the other side of the logical street, the connection between <em>models</em> and <em>possibility</em>. As I have already explained, one core insight from 20th Century work in logic is the fundamental duality between proof theory and model theory. You can define logical notions like validity by way of proofs (a <em>valid</em> argument is certified by the existence of some proof) or by way of models (an argument is shown to be <em>invalid</em> by the existence of some model which serves as a <em>counterexample</em>).</p>
<p>Exploring proofs gives you can account of the different ways that concepts are tied together. (It gives you an account of what is involved in different kinds of necessary connections. The more different proofs you have, the more connections are possible.) Approaching the validity/invalidity boundary on the other side, by way of models, gives you a very different picture of this boundary. Defining more <em>models</em> means having more <em>counterexamples</em>.</p>
<p>Model building is one very fruitful way of articulating what is — and more importantly, what <em>isn’t</em> — a part of a theory. Suppose you are interested in some strange new theory. (Put yourself back into the 19th Century, and consider a strange newfangled theory of geometry, where you accept the first four of Euclid’s axioms, but you <em>deny</em> the parallel postulate.) You’ve got your collection of basic principles, but you’re not sure what follows from them. If you can manage to build a <em>model</em> for your theory, then this can begin to address the question of what the theory involves. In particular, <em>any</em> can give you a decisive answer to some questions about what the theory <em>doesn’t</em> involve. If your model \(\mathfrak M\) gives you a way to interpret all of the basic principles of the theory as being true, and if some other claim \(A\) turns out to be <em>false</em> in \(\mathfrak M\), then you can see how \(A\) <em>doesn’t</em> follow from those basic principles. \(\mathfrak M\) gives you a picture of how the theory could be true, and in this case, it shows how \(A\) comes apart from the axioms of the theory. (So, if you think that \(A\) <em>should</em> be true, according to the theory you’re exploring, you need to supplement your axioms.)</p>
<p>Having a model on hand — in and of itself — gives you little information about what <em>does</em> follow, because theories can have more than one model, in which different things hold. If something is <em>not</em> true in a model for your theory, that tells you that it is not a consequence of the first principles theory; but when something <em>is</em> true in a model for your theory, that’s not necessarily enough to show you that it is a consequence of the first principles of the theory. After all, it might hold in <em>some</em> models, and not others. To show that something does follow (given the soundness and completeness theorems) we need to show that it holds in <em>every</em> model of the theory.</p>
<p>So, models, in and of themselves don’t do <em>everything</em>, but they are an excellent way to open up new areas of logical space. The development of models of non-Euclidean geometries helped us expand our understanding of what is involved in talk of points and lines. The development of models of different modal logics or non-classical logics helps us come to grips with different options for how basic propositional notions such as conjunction, disjunction, negation, conditionality, possibility and necessity might fit together. Models are useful tools for sketching out options.</p>
<p>So, models for theories give us powerful tools for exploring logical notions, and they provide an especially powerful way for expanding our bounds of understanding what is <em>possible</em>. Constructing a model of a theory is one way to show how that theory <em>could be true</em>. I love the way which the <em>possibility</em> of logical space is a wide plenitude, that the different antecedents for a “what if…” lead us in so many different directions.</p>
<p><em>Possibility</em> is the tenth of <a href="http://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-i-love/">twelve things that I love about philosophical logic</a>.</p>
Necessity (the ninth of twelve things I love about philosophical logic)
https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-09-necessity/
Thu, 14 Sep 2017 23:55:19 +1100https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-09-necessity/<p>The next two thoughts are motivated by the two complementary aspects of contemporary research in logic, <em>proof theory</em> and <em>model theory</em>. As I try to emphasise to my students, there are two broad ways you can define logical concepts like <em>validity</em>. Following the way of <em>proofs</em>, an argument is valid if there is <em>some</em> proof leading from the premises to the conclusion. Following the way of <em>models</em>, an argument is valid if there is <em>no</em> model in which the premises are true and the conclusion is not. In proof theory, validity is vouchsafed by the existence of something: a <em>proof</em>, which certifies the claim to validity. Invalidity is the absence of such a certificate. In model theory, <em>in</em>validity is vouchsafed by the existence of something: a <em>model</em> — a <em>counterexample</em> to the claim of validity. Validity is the absence of any such counterexample. It was a great intellectual advance to understand that these are two very different ways to define logical concepts, such as validity, and it was a further advance to be able to rigorously prove that (on certain understandings of logic, such as classical first order predicate logic), these two different kinds of definitions can coincide to determine the <em>same</em> concept. A <em>soundness</em> theorem (relating an account of proofs and a account of models) shows that these two notions don’t <em>clash</em>: you never get both a proof showing that some argument is valid, <em>and</em> a model showing that it is invalid. A <em>completeness</em> theorem (also relating an account of proofs and a account of models) shows that these two notions cover the whole field — for each argument, we <em>either</em> have a proof (showing it is valid) or a counterexample (showing that it isn’t).</p>
<p>Having a sound and complete account of proofs and models for a particular understanding of validity gives you a very powerful toolkit: you can approach a question concerning validity in two distinct ways, by the way of proofs (attempting to build a bridge from the premises to the conclusions, or showing that there isn’t any) or by the way of models (attempting to show that there is a chasm between the premises and the conclusions by showing that there is some way to make the premises true and the conclusions untrue, or again, showing that there isn’t any). These two ways of accounting for validity have very different affordances, they are good for different things, both mathematically or technically, and philosophically or conceptually.</p>
<p>I am particularly interested in the kinds of conceptual gains that are possible when applying notions of proof and notions of model, and the modes of thinking that are involved when using these different tools.</p>
<p>One connection that I am beginning to learn is the intimate connection between proof and <em>necessity</em>, between logical consequence and the hardness and fixity of the logical <em>must</em>. It is one thing to think that an argument is valid, in the sense that it happens to fail to have a counterexample. It is another to have an account of <em>why</em> it is valid. What a proof gives you is some kind of account of <em>how</em> you can get from the premises to the conclusion. This kind of thing is quite powerful, especially given the generality of logical concepts. The power of concepts like conjunction, negation, the quantifiers, etc., (I think) is that our norms and rules for using them apply under the scope of suppositions (whether those suppositions are subjunctive alternatives — suppose that \(A\) had been the case — or indicative alternatives — suppose that, after all \(A\) is actually true), if we suppose that \(A\land B\) is true, it’s still totally appropriate (under the scope of that supposition) to deduce \(A\) and to deduce \(B\), the usual rules for conjunction still apply. A <em>proof</em> (on this view) from premises to a conclusion is the kind of chain of reasoning which will work under any different supposition. It shows us how the conclusion is already present, implicit in the premises. To have granted the premises is to be committed (at least implicitly) to the conclusion, and the proof renders that consequential commitment <em>explicit</em>. Of course, when confronted with a proof of an unacceptable conclusion from premises you have accepted, one appropriate response would be to reject one or another of the premises, and to resist the conclusion. That is always an option.</p>
<p>This brings logic up close to issues in <em>metaphysics</em>, in <em>epistemology</em> and in <em>philosophy of language</em>. In metaphysics, we ask questions about the ultimate nature of reality, and the bounds of what is possible, or what is necessary. Of how reality is and how it must be. The kind of necessary connection between premises and conclusion of a valid argument must bring us up to the boundary of metaphysical necessity. If something is metaphysically <em>possible</em>, then it must count as at least logically possible. If there is a way the world is that makes \(A\) true, then \(A\) cannot be logically inconsistent. If we could prove a triviality from \(A\), then this argument would apply were the world to be the way that possibility describes. Proofs in logic tell us <em>something</em> about what is necessary. (Of course, this isn’t to say that anything that is necessary is vouchsafed by a proof. That would be to say much more.)</p>
<p>Similarly, proofs can also play an <em>epistemic</em> and <em>dialogical</em> role. Provided that you and I agree on the norms governing our logical vocabulary, then if we possess a proof from \(A\) to \(B\), we agree that it’s out of bounds to accept \(A\) and reject \(B\). The proof can show us this much, to help map out the conceptual topography, see the space of possible options for us, even if we disagree on which options to take (perhaps you accept \(A\) and \(B\), and I reject both). A proof will do this work, even if we disagree on matters of necessity. Perhaps I take \(A\) to not only be false but to be <em>impossible</em>, and you take \(B\) to be <em>necessary</em>. (Such disputes are common in philosophy.) Regardless of the fact that one or other of us may be beyond the bounds of possibility, dispute here can still be rational. If, in the course of our reasoning, I begin to take your position as a live option (this is surely possible), I now have two positions before me: to accept \(A\) and \(B\), and to take them as <em>necessary</em>, or to reject \(A\) and \(B\) and to take them as <em>impossible</em>. When I do this, I can take something to be an <em>epistemic possibility</em> (a live option) which I think may also be metaphysically <em>impossible</em>. When we use the tools of <em>proofs</em>, we have guides to help see what positions are open to us, even if this does not tell us the whole story of which position may be best to take.</p>
<p>I love the way in which the <em>necessity</em> of the logical <em>must</em> brings us right up to concerns of metaphysics and epistemology, of the nature of reality and what options we have as we attempt to understand it.</p>
<p><em>Necessity</em> is the ninth of <a href="http://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-i-love/">twelve things that I love about philosophical logic</a>.</p>
Attention (the eighth of twelve things I love about philosophical logic)
https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-08-attention/
Wed, 13 Sep 2017 14:01:56 +1100https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-08-attention/<p>I’m not totally happy with the word for the next item on the list of <a href="http://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-i-love/">twelve things I love about philosophical logic</a>. The word on the list is <em>attention</em>, and it gets at something that I have learned, and which seems to me to be an important distinctive about working in <em>philosophical</em> logic, but I’m not altogether sure that “attention” is the best word for it. Maybe after I’ve explained what I mean, you could suggest a better short label for the phenomenon I’m gesturing towards.</p>
<p>Here’s the core idea: when you spend time working with core logical notions such as <em>consequence</em>, <em>consistency</em>, <em>necessity</em>, <em>possibility</em>, <em>model</em> and <em>proof</em>, you notice that you are attending to judgements and thoughts and claims in more than one way. You learn to distinguish between taking a claim to be <em>true</em>, and considering it as <em>possible</em>. You can agree that even though \(p\) isn’t true, it is <em>consistent</em> with \(q\). You can agree that it’s not true that \(p\) while still seriously entertain what it would be like <em>were</em> \(p\) to be true. Working with \(p\) as an hypothesis is not the same thing as taking it to be true. But even though working under the supposition that \(p\) is not the same thing as taking \(p\) to be true, it is related intimately to it. You don’t just consider at \(p\) from the “outside.” (Say, look at those crazy people who believe \(p\)! Aren’t they weird?) Instead, you “try it on for size” in the sense that you let your inferential norms and processes act on \(p\) as if it were one among the other things you are working with. You temporarily adopt \(p\) into your view of the world, or you change perspective and attempt to see what things look like from the other side of the street, backgrounding your prior commitment to \(\neg p\) (if you actually believe \(p\) is false), and trying a different set of commitments on for size. This moves you in the direction of a kind of intellectual sympathy. You can gain some insight concerning some of what it would be like to actually see things from \(p\)’s point of view.</p>
<p>This is just one way in which familiarity with core concepts of logic facilitates distinct skills for attending to judgement, and thereby, of paying attention to how we attend to the world around us, too.</p>
<p>With all that said, I’m not totally happy with “attention” as the word for this — the skill attained is not the acquisition of <em>sustained, focussed attention</em>. If you’re anything like me, your attention is often scattered, unfocussed, and you’re easily distracted, and if my history of 25 years working in philosophical logic is any testament, it’s not that becoming a logician is in and of itself a great help with dealing with distraction. (There are other practices which foster sustained, focussed attention and awareness, like meditation, prayer, reading, physical activity, etc.). No, instead, what is involved is a kind of suppleness of attention, the ability to shift between different positions, to creatively see things from different sides, and to take in different views. It’s those skills of attention that can be fostered when you spend time with the core concepts of logic.</p>
<p>So, here is another thing that I love in working in philosophical logic—how growing into mastery of core logical concepts has these kinds of consequences for my own thinking, my own <em>attention</em>, and as a result my own <em>life</em>.</p>
<p><em>Attention</em> is the eighth of <a href="http://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-i-love/">twelve things that I love about philosophical logic</a>.</p>
Pragmatics (the seventh of twelve things I love about philosophical logic)
https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-07-pragmatics/
Tue, 12 Sep 2017 12:53:42 +1100https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-07-pragmatics/<p>Some of my phrasing in the last <a href="http://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-05-recognition/">two</a> <a href="http://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-06-expansion/">posts</a> about what I love about philosophical logic have emphasised <em>capacities</em>, or <em>abilities</em>. I’ve described the <a href="http://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-05-recognition/">pleasure of the “<em>aha</em>!” moment</a> in terms of the kinds of mastery you acquire in handling the concepts you have, and I described <a href="http://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-06-expansion/">the joys of conceptual expansion</a> in terms of abilities gained. This is to take a <em>pragmatic</em> perspective on logic, to consider the connection to practices and actions.</p>
<p>Thinking of things “pragmatically” can be understood in a very crude way, fixing in advance what how you want to measure costs and benefits, and then doing some naïve cost/benefit calculation and then choosing option that somehow maximises benefits and minimises the costs (if that is even possible). This is not what I mean when I consider the connection between logic and pragmatics. I don’t think that the best way to select some logical system or logical theory is on the basis of that kind of cost/benefit analysis. Rather, it’s that there are connections between features of logical systems and the practices of <em>asserting</em>, <em>denying</em>, <em>inferring</em>, <em>questioning</em>, etc. What kind of connections are there? It’s not that the laws of logic are descriptively correct as a theory about how assertion and denial and inference actually work in practice. Rather, they can be understood as norms governing how those acts can be evaluated. (In particular, I think that if the argument from the premise \(A\) to the conclusion \(B\) is <em>valid</em>, then taking a position in which \(A\) is asserted and \(B\) is denied is <em>out of bounds</em>. If you’ve asserted \(A\) and \(B\) follows from \(A\) then in some sense, \(B\) is <em>undeniable</em>, in that any positions where you rule \(A\) in and \(B\) out are out of bounds. For more on this, take a look at my “<a href="http://consequently.org/writing/multipleconclusions">Multiple Conclusions</a>”, the <a href="https://scholar.google.com.au/scholar?cites=2800898225913341308&as_sdt=2005&sciodt=0,5&hl=en">critical literature it’s spawned</a>, and the <a href="http://consequently.org/writing/ptp">manuscript I’m working on</a> right now.) There’s much more to say about this, but I think that it’s a clarifying perspective on the connection between core concepts in logic and the different kinds of acts we can actually engage in, like asserting, or believing, like denying or rejecting. It is a <em>normative pragmatic</em> position concerning logic, that the concepts provide norms or standards by which acts can be evaluated.</p>
<p>You might worry that thinking of logic in terms of rules for a contingent human practice makes those rules themselves contingent too. Now, there’s nothing wrong with laws and rules being contingent. However, it’s a radical view of <em>logic</em> that takes the rules of logic to be contingent on human practices. If it’s a law of logic that either \(p\) or not \(p\) for all propositions \(p\), then it would seem to follow that either all non-avian dinosaurs were extinct by 65 million years ago, or not all non-avian dinosaurs were extinct by 65 million years ago, and that this <em>still</em> would have been the case even if there weren’t any people (or sentient creatures) around to reason about it. Contingently existing human reasoners like us can reason about all sorts of things, including what went on before contingently existing human reasoners existed.</p>
<p>Here’s an analogy I find compelling and clarifying when it comes to understanding how we can have a contingent practice with non-contingent rules. It’s the example of arithmetic and our counting practices. It’s contingently useful to creatures like us to engage in counting practices, introducing vocabulary for things we call “numbers”, which codify various practices of enumerating and pairing things up. Given that we want to engage in such a contingent practice (we have reason to keep track of the number of sheep we have in our flock, to make sure trades are fair, etc., but there was a time before any humans were doing these things), we have (again, contingent) reasons to use counting practices like those we actually have. At the very least, our counting practices give us ways to attend to patterns among practices of pairing things up. (It’s easy enough to figure out that if you have five sheep and I promised to give you three bags of grain for each of your sheep that I’ll owe you 15 bags of grain, than to laboriously pair up three bags with each sheep.) But the (contingently existing) practice of using number vocabulary in this way gets its power by having results that apply <em>invariantly</em> and <em>necessarily</em>. It’s not necessary that we have the concepts of <em>3</em> and <em>5</em> and <em>multiplication</em>, but it is necessary that if we do have concepts like these, governed in this way, then no matter what they’re counting, 3 times 5 is 15, and it is, necessarily. (Why do we want such <em>necessity</em>? I’d say that this is tied up with interaction between counting and planning: it is also true if I’ve promised three bags of grain for every sheep, then if I want 2 sheep, I owe you 6 bags; 3 sheep, then 9, etc. It’s not that the rules of counting apply differently in different hypothetical scenarios. They are applied the same way in all hypothetical scenarios.) A practice can be contingently useful while having norms that apply non-contingently.</p>
<p>The same holds, I think, for so-called logical laws, and the account <a href="http://consequently.org/writing/multipleconclusions">I prefer</a> puts this down to norms governing assertion and denial. The laws of logic can be understood as arising out of fundamental norms governing the practices of assertion and denial, and their interrelationship. The <em>generality</em> of certain laws of logic can be explained in terms of norms applying to assertion and denial <em>as such</em>, independently of any specific subject matter of those assertions and denials. The behaviour of the regular propositional connectives can be explained as ways to make explicit what is already implicit in the practice of assertion and denial. The behaviour of modal operators can be understood in terms of making explicit <a href="http://consequently.org/writing/cfss2dml/">norms governing different kinds of supposition</a>, while those for quantifiers make explicit relations of <a href="http://consequently.org/writing/generality-and-existence-1/">substitution and generality</a>, once the practice of assertion and denial is rich enough to involve singular terms. The story, I think, is rich in connections.</p>
<p>I love how philosophical logic is—when rightly understood—tied up with <em>practices</em> and <em>activities</em>. Through these connections, we see that understanding the grounds of our conceptual capacities brings logicians into the realm of practical action, in a way rather different to the picture that logicians are calculators solving predefined problems. Instead, logic is a normative discipline which describes some of the norms governing practices of assertion, denial, description, theorising, conjecture, and the like.</p>
<p>You don’t often find human concerns, our own contingent and local interests, preferences and desires — let alone the social and political concerns of life in a community — playing an explicit role inside a philosophical logician’s proof. These would be as alien there as they would inside a mathematical demonstration. However, this does not mean that these considerations are divorced from philosophical logic. After all, our interest in matters of logic have grown up with our interest in the communicative practices of asserting, denying, arguing and reasoning, and those are nothing if not social practices. Our own contingent and local circumstances and interests help explain why concepts like those from logic are worth using. It is a loss to the discipline if we don’t heed that connection.</p>
<p>The connection with <em>pragmatics</em> is the seventh of <a href="http://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-i-love/">twelve things that I love about philosophical logic</a>.</p>
Conceptual Expansion (the sixth of twelve things I love about philosophical logic)
https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-06-expansion/
Mon, 11 Sep 2017 09:26:50 +1100https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-06-expansion/<p>There are different delights to be found in working with concepts. It is not all a matter of <a href="http://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-05-recognition/">gaining greater mastery</a> of the concepts you have already acquired. There is also a special delight to be found in acquiring <em>new</em> concepts. I love that feeling of progress when you make a conceptual advance. A common way to do this is to <em>disambiguate</em>, to clarify matters by noticing that what you took to be one thing is really <em>two</em>. This is the clarity gained in uncovering a hidden confusion, the moment when ideas are sharpened and distinguished, when you form a new vocabulary and, as a result, you are able to say things you couldn’t express before. This one way to reap the rewards of <em>conceptual expansion</em>. Our repertoire of concepts is larger than it was.</p>
<p>Here’s an example of this phenomenon. (It’s not an uncontroversial example, but it’s one that I find quite compelling.) Consider what it means to <em>suppose</em> something. This is something we do regularly when we’re reasoning, when we’re planning, considering options, or discussing something with people who have different views. Often we “try a claim on for size”, suppose it’s the case, and reason from there. (This kind of dialectical move is something we not only <em>do</em>, it’s also at the heart of different accounts of the <a href="https://consequently.org/writing/ptp">structure of proof</a>.)</p>
<p>It’s an insight — a conceptual advance — to notice that the act of supposition can take different forms, that not all supposition is the same.</p>
<figure>
<img src="https://consequently.org/images/kennedy-shot.jpg" alt="NYT Times Kennedy Cover">
<figcaption>Oswald shot Kennedy. But what if he hadn't? Or what if he <b>didn't</b>?</figcaption>
</figure>
<p>If I suppose that it’s not the case that Oswald shot Kennedy, I can do this in two different ways.</p>
<p>I can <em>counterfactually</em> suppose (I can suppose that Oswald <em>hadn’t</em> shot Kennedy) and here I still grant that Oswald <em>did</em> shoot Kennedy (or at least, I leave it <em>open</em> that he did) and I could explore what would have followed in the (not-necessarily actual) circumstances where he <em>didn’t</em>. We do this sort of thing when we plan for the future or regret the past. We consider alternate possibilities, with an eye to understand what we can do, and what options are available to us.</p>
<p>But this is not the only form of supposition: we <em>indicatively</em> suppose when we ask ourselves whether we might be wrong, or when we consider what things are like from a point of view other than ours. When we suppose that Oswald <em>didn’t</em> shoot Kennedy, we take on a different view of how things <em>are</em>. I consider the option that it didn’t happen as I have taken it to happen, but that it actually happened in some other way. This is the kind of supposition involved when we’re considering opposing views and weighing different theories of how things are.</p>
<p>Once you realise that we can be doing different things in different forms of supposition means that you have the space to allow these kinds of supposition to operate in different ways, and to explore their distinct features. (This is the direction I pursue things in my paper on a <a href="http://consequently.org/writing/cfss2dml/">cut-free hypersequent calculus for two-dimensional modal logic</a>.)</p>
<p>The generation of <em>new</em> concepts is a different kind of conceptual mastery than the working out of consequences I discussed in the <a href="http://consequently.org">previous entry</a>. Here, instead of gaining mastery of an already established practice, we institute a new practice, and gain the ability to say new things.</p>
<p><em>Conceptual Expansion</em> is the sixth of <a href="http://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-i-love/">twelve things that I love about philosophical logic</a>.</p>
The Moment of Recognition (the fifth of twelve things I love about philosophical logic)
https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-05-recognition/
Sat, 09 Sep 2017 14:29:39 +1100https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-05-recognition/<p>Here is a more personal reflection on what I love in working in philosophical logic.</p>
<p>I love the “<em>aha</em>!” moment of <em>recognition</em>. This is the relief of a proof completed, or a counterexample found. It is the delight of gaining clarity into something that you had only dimly understood, or the dawning realisation that an assumption you had made is in fact false and a whole new vista of possibilities opens up to you.</p>
<p>The particular kind of “aha” that I mean is the kind where you’re working out of the consequences of something you already know. This can be understood as a kind of <em>mastery</em> that is gained when you become familiar with the conceptual tools you’re using. It is the acquisition of greater skill.</p>
<p>This is the “aha” that students in my second year logic class experienced when they figured out for themselves that not all symmetric and transitive relations must be reflexive. In one sense, they already <em>knew</em> the definitions of these concepts (at least, most of them did) and this fact was implicit in what they already knew, but now they had figured this out for themselves — they <em>saw</em> it for themselves. They understood something new about how these concepts fit together, how they relate.</p>
<p>There is a <em>lot</em> of scope for this when working in philosophical logic. We’re pushing concepts to their limits, finding the boundaries of conceptual space. We map out its topography. Sometimes you <em>think</em> that things hang together in some way (say, your examples of symmetric and transitive relations all happened to be reflexive, too) and then you suddenly <em>see</em> that they’re not. That moment of recognition is the dawning of new light, the opening up of new territory, the acquisition of new conceptual capacities, and moments like these are to something to be treasured.</p>
<p><em>The Moment of Recognition</em> is the fifth of <a href="http://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-i-love/">twelve things that I love about philosophical logic</a>.</p>
Interdisciplinarity (the fourth of twelve things I love about philosophical logic)
https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-04-interdisciplinarity/
Fri, 08 Sep 2017 14:27:05 +1100https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-04-interdisciplinarity/<p>The <a href="http://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-03-multiple-realisability/">multiple realisations</a> of a concept in logic often come from different disciplines. One thing I’ve grown to love in philosophical logic is the way different ideas, disciplines and traditions are connected in the space of the wider generality of formal logic. In my own work over the years in <a href="http://consequently.org/writing/isl">substructural logic</a>, <a href="http://consequently.org/writing/pluralism/">logical pluralism</a> and <a href="http://consequently.org/writing/ptp">proof theory</a> (among other things), traditions in computer science, linguistics, mathematics and philosophy have all played distinct roles.</p>
<p>Each discipline has its own examples, its own traditions, its own heroes, its own villains—and its own concerns. If you are aware of the distinctive features of different traditions, this allows for the strengths of those disciplines to shine, for the insights and examples of one discipline to be brought to bear on the questions and problems of others. If you’re a philosopher, you should, by nature, be interested in more than your own traditions—or at least you should if you understand philosophy in the way Wilfrid Sellars did:</p>
<blockquote>
<p>The aim of philosophy, abstractly formulated, is to understand how things in the broadest possible sense of the term hang together in the broadest possible sense of the term. — Wilfrid Sellars, “Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man”</p>
</blockquote>
<p>Through the meeting ground of <em>logic</em>, the linguist can speak to the mathematician, the computer programmer to the philosopher. All too often, we don’t step outside our own disciplinary bubbles, but in logic, staying inside your own hermetically sealed discipline actually takes effort on your own part. In the late 20th Century into the early 21st, the best work in logic is being done by linguists, computer scientists, mathematicians and philosophers. No one academic discipline is in the ascendancy in logic. You’re missing out if you don’t attend to the richer tapestry of that work, and in particular, you have much to gain by learning from the best work in traditions other than your own. Since logic is such a well-worn meeting place between these disciplines, those who have some training in logic have a head start when it comes to translating from one tradition to the other.</p>
<p>Sometimes interdisciplinary is understood as a relatively recent trend, and in many cases it is. Regardless, the concerns of logic naturally lend themselves to application in any different fields where we are concerned with judgement, with truth, with the way our claims hold together and bear on each other—and that is a broad tapestry. Logic has <em>always</em> been connected to philosophy and to mathematics, and with the rise of newer disciplines such as linguistics and computer science, the concerns of logic are deeply embedded in many domains of inquiry. Being a logician gives you a passport into these fields, and it is a pleasure to be able to venture widely, and to enjoy different scenery.</p>
<p><em>Interdisicplinarity</em> is the fourth of <a href="http://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-i-love/">twelve things that I love about philosophical logic</a>.</p>
Multiple Realisability (the third of twelve things I love about philosophical logic)
https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-03-multiple-realisability/
Thu, 07 Sep 2017 15:34:51 +1100https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-03-multiple-realisability/<p>Closely connected to the notion of <em>abstraction</em>, I love the way that logical concepts are <em>multiply realisable</em>. An abstract structure can be instantiated in different ways, and often in ways completely unforeseen when the original abstraction was made.</p>
<p>The twin moves of abstraction (moving from the particular to the general) and concretisation (going back from the general to the particular—perhaps to a new and <em>different</em> particular) in different domains brings different insights, different models, and new connections. These new connections often bring fresh insight.</p>
<p>For example, the simple notion of a <em>Boolean algebra</em> can be instantiated as a power set algebra (think of the subsets of a set and the operations of union, intersection and complementation). But this simple idea of a power set Boolean algebra can then be understood in different domains of application: you can think of the underlying set as a domain of <em>objects</em> and the subsets are extensions of different predicates. Or you can think of them as a set of possible worlds, and the subsets are propositions. And so on. Shifting from one representation to another is often conceptually fruitful when thinking about these different domains, or thinking about the ways that the formal techniques are applied. And you can answer questions about anything that counts as a Boolean algebra in one go. Here’s how the Hungarian recursion theorist Rózsa Péter put it:</p>
<blockquote>
<p>The writing down of a formula is an expression of our joy that we can answer all these questions by means of one argument.</p>
<p>— Rózsa Péter <em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Playing-Infinity-Mathematical-Explorations-Excursions/dp/0486232654/consequentlyorg">Playing with Infinity</a></em></p>
</blockquote>
<figure>
<img src="https://consequently.org/images/Rozsa-Peter.jpg" alt="Rózsa Péter">
<figcaption>Rózsa Péter.</figcaption>
</figure>
<p>But more than that, once you’ve studied Boolean algebras for a while you learn that not all Boolean algebras are (isomorphic to) power set algebras. Given a domain of objects, you can get a Boolean algebra out of less than the collection of <em>all</em> of the subsets of the underlying set of objects.</p>
<p>Here’s an example: take an infinite set <em>D</em>, and think of the finite subsets of <em>D</em> — those with finitely many members — together with the co-finite subsets of <em>D</em> — those which contain all of the elements of <em>D</em> <em>except</em> for finitely many members. (In the case of the natural numbers, the sets {0,1,2} and all of the numbers <em>other than</em> {1,2,3} would be fine, but the set of even numbers doesn’t count, because it contains infinitely many members and excludes infinitely many members too.) Then these sets, the finite and co-finite subsets of <em>D</em> form a Boolean algebra. (The union, intersection or complement of finite and co-finite sets is itself finite or co-finite.)</p>
<p>Once you see this, you see that there’s nothing in the idea of a Boolean algebra that means that the structure of truth values, or extensions of predicates, or propositions, <em>must</em> look like a power set Boolean algebra. Maybe it does, but maybe it doesn’t.</p>
<p>The move from the particular to the general and back not only allows us to transfer insights from one domain to another, it also means that we can gain insight into unconsidered possibilities, and different ways our concepts can be realised.</p>
<p><em>Multiple realisability</em> is the third of <a href="http://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-i-love/">twelve things that I love about philosophical logic</a>.</p>
Abstraction (the second of twelve things I love about philosophical logic)
https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-02-abstraction/
Wed, 06 Sep 2017 13:00:03 +1100https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-02-abstraction/<p>As I mentioned in the previous entry, philosophical logic uses the tools and techniques from formal logic, and formal logic is nothing if it is not <em>abstract</em>. It gets its power — as well as its weaknesses, to be sure — by abstracting away from specifics and moving to generalities. We explain the virtues of a particular argument (in part) by looking at its form, the structure which is in common to other arguments of the same shape. This goes back, at least, to Aristotle, who taught us that it isn’t a coincidence that both syllogisms</p>
<blockquote>
<p>All footballers are bipeds. All bipeds have feet. Therefore all footballers have feet.</p>
<p>All wombats are cute. All cute things are popular. Therefore all wombats are popular.</p>
</blockquote>
<p>have similar virtues. At the very least, they’re both <em>valid</em>. They both have the form:</p>
<blockquote>
<p>All <strong>F</strong>s are <strong>G</strong>s. All <strong>G</strong>s are <strong>H</strong>s. Therefore all <strong>F</strong>s are <strong>H</strong>s.</p>
</blockquote>
<p>and any syllogisms with that form are valid. Attending to the shape of the reasoning, and “tuning out” concern about whether the premises are <em>true</em> (are <em>all</em> wombats cute? Are <em>all</em> footballers bipeds? — most likely not) and focussing on the form, we see how the premises and conclusions are connected.</p>
<p>To study <em>form</em> or <em>structure</em> is to learn how to attend to one thing and to ignore others, to look for a new level of generality. I love to take the opportunity to stand back, to look at a problem again from a different angle, to reframe it in a different way, to attend to it again, perhaps to see something new, to notice the parallels between one thing and another.</p>
<p>Thinking of the role of <em>abstraction</em> involved in formal logic brings to the fore the aspect of logic that is a <em>design</em> task. Logic is a kind of conceptual engineering. It is always a choice to attend to focus on some features of a problem and to ignore others. Being formal and abstract, logic allows us to stand back and look for structure, to look for patterns — and the result is the delight in recognising a unifying pattern that helps us see something that we didn’t see before.</p>
<p><em>Abstraction</em> is the second of <a href="http://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-i-love/">twelve things that I love about philosophical logic</a>.</p>
The Dialectic (the first of twelve things I love about philosophical logic)
https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-01-the-dialectic/
Tue, 05 Sep 2017 13:36:03 +1100https://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-01-the-dialectic/<p>One thing I noticed when making my way from mathematics (my undergraduate degree was a B.Sc. in Mathematics at the <a href="http://www.smp.uq.edu.au/mathematics">University of Queensland</a>) to philosophy was the different approach when doing research in the two disciplines. To put it very coarsely, in mathematics, you prove theorems. In philosophy, you argue about things.</p>
<p>The standards for success are very different in philosophy and in mathematics. Witness <a href="https://arxiv.org/abs/1708.03486">Norbert Blum’s recent retraction</a> of his paper which purported to prove that <em>P</em> ≠ <em>NP</em>. While philosophers change their minds about things, I don’t recall anyone going so far as to retract a paper that argued for a position they now reject. That’s just not how philosophers work, and nor should they.</p>
<p>One of the joys about working in philosophical logic — especially for someone with a relatively short attention span, like me — is that I get to play on both sides of this street. I spend some time as a technical mathematical logician, playing the theorem-proving game, with all of the satisfaction of knowing that I’ve really <em>proved</em> something solid in its own way: a mathematical <em>result</em>. On the other hand, there’s more to life than theorems, and there’s more to <em>understanding</em> than the making of proofs. I love that my discipline — <em>philosophical</em> logic — gives equal time to the discursive, interpretive, philosophical side of the enterprise, that I can spend time writing papers attempting to give an account of <em>how</em> something works, to argue with others, developing views about the <em>grounds</em> or the <em>significance</em> of different concepts or techniques, that there are no barriers to taking the synoptic view, where conjectures can be explored and where perspectives can clash and collide, without expecting that any option be closed off to inquiry.</p>
<p>The joy in working philosophical logic is more, though, than having two sides to the coin, the <em>formal</em>/<em>technical</em> and the <em>discursive</em>/<em>interpretive</em>. The delight I find in the discipline is in the <em>dialectic</em> or the <em>interplay</em> between these two aspects of the craft. This delight comes when some technical result can shed light on a philosophical conundrum, or when a different interpretive perspective on problem uncovers the way to a new approach to prove a theorem. A recent example dear to my heart on the interplay between the discursive and the formal is how Mark Lance and Heath White’s work on the two forms of supposition in their “<a href="https://www.philosophersimprint.org/007004/">Stereoscopic Vision</a>” motivated and inspired my work on a <a href="http://consequently.org/writing/cfss2dml/">cut-free hypersequent calculus for two-dimensional modal logic</a>, which, in turn, has philosophical significance of its own on how we might acquire modal concepts and coordinate on their use, even when we disagree on what might be necessary or <em>a priori</em> knowable.</p>
<p>I find myself in a field where the best work involves formal results addressing issues that have philosophical significance, where discursive and the technical aspects play important, interlocking roles. If you formally model a theory, you nail your colours to the mast. You have to be specific and precise about what is being proposed. This (when done well) keeps you honest. It’s harder to hide or to fudge when you’re specific and precise about your theory’s commitments. On the other hand, the philosophical imperative — to understand, to probe the foundations, and to take the synoptic view — means that you don’t treat the formal theory as something to be explored for its own sake. Instead, you are always able to take the critical perspective, to ask whether <em>this</em> is the best model for the phenomenon in question, and to push beyond.</p>
<p>It is the <em>dialectic</em> between the formal and the discursive; the <em>dance</em> between the technical and the critical, that makes philosophical logic such a joy.</p>
<p>The <em>Dialectic</em> is the first of <a href="http://consequently.org/news/2017/twelve-things-i-love/">twelve things that I love about philosophical logic</a>.</p>