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Formal Metaphysics Workshop

Research Project: Metaphysics: Identity, Existence & Structure

16th November 2013

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Confirmed speakers include: Mark Jago (Nottingham), Jean-David Lafrance (Oxford) Bryan Pickel (Edinburgh)


09:00 – 10:20 Jean-David Lafrance On the Fusion of an Object with Itself
10:20 – 10:30 tea/coffee
10:30 – 11:50 Aaron J Cotnoir Composite Objects as Ersatz Constructions
11:50 – 12:00 break
12:00 – 13:20 Bryan Pickel In Defence of Tarski on Variables
13:20 – 14:30 lunch
14:30 – 15:50 Bruno Jacinto
Supervaluationism, its Model -Theory and Higher-Order Vagueness

15:50 – 16:00 tea/coffee
16:00 – 17:20 Mark Jago Truthmaking Logics
19:00 Workshop dinner at Playfairs Restaurant

For more information about this event, please send an email to the workshop organisers at arche@st-andrews.ac.uk

This workshop has been sponsored by the Scots Philosophical Association


Aaron Cotnoir

Composite Objects as Ersatz Constructions

Abstract: In this paper, I explore an under-represented view in the metaphysics of material objects — what I call mereological ersatzism, or the view that ordinary objects are set-theoretic constructions built up from fundamental things. I show how ersatzists can represent any mereological structure, and any non-emergent properties of macrophysical objects. The technique applies some formal results in temporal logics in a novel way.

Mark Jago

Truthmaking Logics

Abstract: This paper describes preliminary investigations into truthmaking logic. I develop several semantics in terms of truthmakers, and use these to construct various notions of truthmaking entailment, which stands to classical entailment as truthmaking stands to truth. The resulting logics are relevant logics, and this fact provides a neat way to give semantics for (some) relevant logics in terms of a truth-like notion. I present a number of technical results about these truthmaking semantics, and discuss some of their philosophical applications.

Jean-David Lafrance

On the Fusion of an Object with Itself

Abstract: Any object is both the mereological fusion of its proper parts and of its improper part: an object fuses the many things that are parts of it, as well as itself. Surprisingly, many philosophers think that the fusion of an object with itself could be another, distinct object. They contend that an object that is (wholly) located at more than one place at once can compose alone a further thing. In these cases, the operation of fusion operates on an object, but results in something that is not the object. I call ‘cases of magical composition’ these alleged cases of composition, and I argue that they are not coherent. Along the way, I show that we should think of cases of magical composition as cases of coincidence.

Bryan Pickel

In Defence of Tarski on Variables

Abstract: The theory of quantification developed by Tarski is a fixed point for many debates in metaphysics, formal semantics, and philosophy of logic. Kit Fine (2003,2007) has offered an intriguing set of challenges to Tarski’s account, which threaten to undermine it at its very heart. Fine insists that a version of Russell’s “antimony of the variable” plagues all extant treatments of variables, including the standard Tarskian approach. He says, “There are deep problems concerning the role of variables that have never been properly recognized, let alone solved, and once we attempt to solve them we see that they have profound implications not only for our understanding of variables but also for our understanding of other forms of expression and for the general nature of semantics.” We show how Fine’s arguments can be resisted, and thus that there is no compelling reason to abandon the Tarskian semantics of variables and variable binding.

Bruno Jacinto

Supervaluationism, its Model-Theory and Higher-Order Vagueness

Abstract: Some attempts to capture the supervaluationist logic for a propositional language with a ‘definitely’ operator (standing for supertruth) have made use of model-theoretic semantics for modal logic, with some debate ensuing concerning what are the definitions of model, truth in a model and validity that best capture the commitments of supervaluationists. I show how Williamson’s (1994) suggestion of seeing the points in a supervaluationist model as ω-level precisifications leads to definitions of these notions that the supervaluationist should see as appropriately reflecting their commitments, and a fortiori, to the correct supervaluationist logic for the language in question. Furthermore, I show that the resulting semantics provides the supervaluationist with a sound reply to Delia Graff Fara’s gap-principles’ argument, an argument purporting to show that there is some incoherency in the supervaluationist position, since given a finite sorites series for a vague predicate, not all of its gap-principles can be true.


16th November 2013


School II
United College, St Salvator's Quad
St Andrews, KY169AL United Kingdom
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