Truth in Expressively Rich Languages

A one-day workshop focusing on the applications of formal theories of truth to expressively rich languages, e.g., languages with generalized quantifiers, conditionals, modalities etc.

Date
April 30, 2021
Location
Online Workshop via Zoom

This workshop is hosted by the ERC-Starting Grant ‘Truth and Semantics’ (TRUST 803684) at the University of Bristol directed by Johannes Stern.

Confirmed Speakers

  • Catrin Campbell-Moore (Bristol)
  • Hartry Field (NYU)
  • Michael Glanzberg (Rutgers)
  • Lucas Rosenblatt (CONICET, Buenos Aires)
  • Lorenzo Rossi (MCMP)
  • Johannes Stern (Bristol)

Registration

Please contact Johannes Stern if you would like to attend the workshop.

Programme

All times are in GMT+1

  • 13h30-14h45 Catrin Campbell-Moore: Beliefs and a general supervaluational fixed-point account

    Abstract: I offer a very general construction, related to the supervaluational Kripkean account for the liar paradox, which can immediately apply to a whole range of potentially self-referential, or self-dependent notions. It can, for example, help with cases where one’s adopted beliefs can provide additional evidence that undermines their own rational adoption, finding indefinite attitudes that definitely satisfy any definite recommendations.

  • 15h00-16h00 Johannes Stern: Simple Conditionals in Fixed-point Semantics

    Abstract: We investigate conditionals in Kripke-style theories of truth and propose attractive truth-conditions for a variably-strict conditional that lead to a monotone evaluation scheme. As a consequence, the Kripke jump associated with the evaluation scheme will have fixed points.

  • 16h15-17h30 Harty Field: Ordinary Conditionals and Naive Truth

    Abstract: After distinguishing several kinds of conditionals, the talk will focus on ordinary indicative (epistemic) conditionals, and discuss the problem of how to generalize variably strict semantics to accommodate naive truth for them. (I’ll say a bit about the more general goal of getting naive truth in a framework where different kinds of conditionals can interact. Independent of how we get naivety for the other kinds of conditionals in isolation, the general goal rules out the simplest options for the epistemic conditionals.)

  • 17h30-18h30 Break

  • 18h30-19h30 Lucas Rosenblatt: The Kripkean Conception of Paradoxicality

    Abstract: A lot has been written on solutions to the semantic paradoxes but very little on the topic of general theories of paradoxicality. The reason for this, I believe, is that in most cases it is not easy to disentangle a solution to the paradoxes from a specific conception of what those paradoxes consist in. This paper goes some way towards remedying this situation. I first address the question of what should one expect from a theory of paradoxicality. I then present and critically analyze one account that have been offered in the literature: the Kripkean theory of paradoxicality. According to this theory, a statement is paradoxical if it cannot obtain a classical truth-value at any acceptable interpretation. In order to assess this proposal rigorously I provide a non-metalinguistic characterization of (Kripke’s notion of) paradoxicality and I evaluate whether the resulting account satisfies a number of reasonable desiderata.

  • 19h45-21h00 Michael Glanzberg & Lorenzo Rossi: Truth and Quantification

    Abstract: Theories of self-applicable truth have been motivated in two main ways. First, if truth-conditions provide the meaning of (many kinds of) natural language expressions, then self-applicable truth is instrumental to develop the semantics of natural languages. Second, a self-applicable truth predicate is required to express generalizations that would not be otherwise expressible in natural languages. In order to fulfill its semantic and expressive role, we argue, the truth predicate has to be studied in its interaction with constructs that are actually found in natural languages and extend beyond first-order logic — modals, indicative conditionals, arbitrary quantifiers, and more. Here, we focus on truth and quantification. We develop a Kripkean theory of self-applicable truth (strong Kleene-style) for the language of Generalized Quantifier Theory. More precisely, we show how to interpret a self-applicable truth predicate for the full class of type ⟨1, 1⟩ (and type ⟨1⟩) quantifiers to be found in natural languages. As a result, we can model sentences which are not expressible in theories of truth for first-order languages (such as ‘Most of what Jane’s said is true’, or ‘infinitely many theorems of T are untrue’, and several others), thus expanding the scope of existing approaches to truth, both as a semantic and as an expressive device. Along the way, we will point at the relations between our work and recent works in similar directions (by Hartry Field, Bruno Whittle, and others).