Tuesday, June 5, 2007

1

I guess no one else is posting their responses up for the assignment? (common little lemmings you know you can fly!...) Well perhaps someone needs to leap first. So, I'll post what I have for the first question up, and the rest of the questions as comments to the already placed posts. If anyone thinks I'm plainly wrong, have made things to convoluted, etc. LET ME KNOW. If people don't let others know where they go wrong, or where to make some revisions to their arguments, then ya' can't improve. So, on to question:

1.
a. Argument from Paraphrase:

(1) I believe permissible paraphrases of ordinary language.

(2) I believe permissible paraphrases of ordinary language of what I believe.

(3) Ordinary language permits the paraphrase: there are many ways that things could have been, besides the way they actually are.

(4) (3) is a sentence of existential quantification; that there are entities of a certain description (“ways things might have been”).

(5) So, I believe that there are entities of a certain description (“ways things might have been”).

Hopefully this is a valid re-construction of the argument. The truth of the conclusion follows from the truth of the premises in virtue of the argument's form, so all good. But, premise (4) seems glaringly false, therefore making the argument unsound. I don't think (4) is on the face of it paraphrased properly as a sentence of existential quantification from (3). Unfortunately it is difficult to pinpoint why, but I'll give it a shot.

In (3) the phrase “there are many ways that things could have been” the emphasis is placed strictly on the ways. It is about the ways things are, or could be. In (4) the phrase “there are entities of a certain description (“ways things might have been”)”, there is a doubling of things emphasis. (4) could be rephrased as: “there are things of a certain description (“ways things might have been”). In a sense there in a conjunction of emphasis in this phrase. First, there are things of a certain description, and second, there are ways these things might have been. So, (4) is not a strict paraphrase of (3). It is something extra, plus a paraphrase of (3). Where the something extra is the thing, not just the way it is or could be.

b. Argument from Philosophical Utility:

(1) If an ontological hypothesis (GR) has sufficient and greater net utility than its rivals, then GR has eminent utility.

(2) The ontological hypothesis (GR) has sufficient and greater net utility than its rivals.

(3) So, GR has eminent utility.

(4) If an ontological hypothesis (GR) has eminent utility, then that gives us good reason to believe that GR is true.

(5) So, we have good reason to believe that GR is true.

This also seems to be a valid re-construction. (2) and therefore (3), seem false or rather, yet to be proven. Or as Bricker would say “wishful thinking” in possibilia. For Bricker, possibilia provide both the requisite objects that intentional states are about, and the requisite domains over which modal operators range. So Bricker takes “the existence in possibilia to be a prerequisite”. Now, taking what Lewis says in Counterfactuals, it seems that his criteria in favour for the sufficient and greater utility of GR (or eminent utility), is that it's possibilia, or sentences concerning, “should be taken at their face value unless (1) taking them at face value is known to lead to trouble and (2) taking them some other way is known not to.” In a sense, I think Lewis is making a stronger claim than Bricker. Namely that: The ontological hypothesis (GR), that possibilia exist, is true iff GR has sufficient and greater net utility than its rivals, i.e. taking them at face value is not known to lead to trouble and not taking them some other way is known not to.

I realize this is a messy biconditional, but, that is what Lewis seems to want for (2). Unfortunately, I cannot see a way in which the right-hand of the biconditional can be satisfied, unless an appeal to wishful thinking is made just as Bricker (though I should mention that I don't agree with his motivations for realism either), states. And perhaps this is more of a reflection on myself, but, I do not defer to the glass being half full of utility juice, unlike Lewis.

2 comments:

Chelsey said...

It doesn't look like my first crack at leaving comments stuck. So, here is another go... Below will be the second part of question 2. (the first part was a response to Adam's post), 3., and 4.

Second part of 2.

Non-contingency Objection:

(1)If there is something, x, that(unrestrictedly) necessarily exists in reality, then the proposition, φ, is true.

(2)There is something, x, that (unrestrictedly) necessarily exists in reality.

(3)So, proposition, φ, is true.

(4)If the proposition, φ, is true, then there is something, x, that (unrestrictedly) necessarily exists in reality.

(5)So, there is something, x, that (unrestrictedly) necessarily exists in reality.

(6)But, if (5), then there is something, ~x, that possibly exists in reality.

(7)So, there is something, ~x, that possibly exists in reality.

(8)Therefore, (3) and (7).

Ummmm gulp!, this argument has to be unsound, but everything follows correctly. I need to think a lot more about this one. I'm bothered with unrestricting necessity to begin with, so there is not a particular premise here to deny. If the background assumption that unrestricting necessity (and thereby making truth non-contingent) is the way to handle cases in which extraordinary interpretations are required, then I'm not on board. Further posts will be required on this front, partly due to the fact that unrestricted necessity is an oxymoron. Necessity is meant to restrict, it is necessarily the case that..., but to unrestrict, is to say that it is not necessarily the case that... it could possibly be the case that...

3.
“Ordinary” vs. “Extraordinary”

Argument Against the Ordinary:

(1)There are non-modal existential claims which GR takes to be true.

(2)GR treats our non-modal claims about ordinary individuals as implicitly world restricted claims (the true claim that the actual world has parts).

(3)So, there are non-modal existential claims which GR takes to be true and as implicitly world restricted.

(4)But, GR cannot construe the quantifiers in particular cases of non-modal existential claims as invariably world-restricted.

(5)So, GR cannot take non-modal existential claims to be true.

This is a problem for ordinary cases, so Divers opts to deny (2) in these particular, or extraordinary instances. He recommends that (2) should be rewritten as:

GR treats our non-modal claims about ordinary individuals as unrestricted claims.

In the extraordinary cases, the claims are now not taken to express world-restricted contents. Thus, they should be interpreted as unrestricted, and not ranging over the actual.
I'm not sure if a justification for (4) is needed here, probably is. In the cases that Divers cites on p. 48, (G6*) and (G7*), each are held false, or call for extraordinary measures, on the grounds that when the non-modal existential claims are modally expressed, they can no longer be read as world restricted true claims because they no longer express claims about ontological primitives (i.e. no world has distinct worlds as parts, in the case of G6*, and no set is part of any individual, in the case of G7*). Hopefully this is right? But, it seems rather haphazard to say, “when these cases arise, then ooopppsss, let's just unrestrict things”. Perhaps, the rules regarding ontological primitives of GR (there are sets; there are individuals; everything is either a set or an individual), in other words the reasons why these cases are extraordinary should be readdressed. So, I guess Divers argument (if properly laid-out) is sound, but I don't think he's putting his finger on the right part of the problem.

4.
Accidental Intrinsics & Counterpart Theory

According to GR:

(i) GR worlds represent individuals by having individuals as parts; and
(ii) Every individual that is part of any world is part of exactly one world.

(1)Individual, a, has the intrinsic property, p.

(2)If GR worlds represent individuals by having individuals as parts, then individual a, has the intrinsic property p, at worlds, w1, w2, w3, ..., w*.

(3)But, every individual, including individual, a, that is part of any world is part of exactly one world.

(4)So, GR worlds cannot represent individuals by having individuals as parts.

Divers argument against holding both (i) and (ii) seems sound enough. Either GR needs to get rid of individuals having intrinsic properties, in which case the worlds cannot vary, or the worlds can vary, and the individual cannot have intrinsic properties. Simple problem. The solution is not so simple. Honestly, I'm very undecided here, but my gut reaction (in other words not an argument), is that (2) which incorporates (i) should be abandoned (if not GR altogether...).

Chris Tillman said...

The second argument in the main post is valid but the first is not. See my comment on Adam's post for revision suggestion.