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I. relational theories (Platonic theories)

I. relational theories (Platonic theories)

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I. relational theories (Platonic theories)

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  1. I. relational theories (Platonic theories) • Knowledge has a foundation • There are basic objects and facts • Objects: The Sierra • Facts: That Cicero is an orator • That-p • The fact that-p • The fact that Cicero is an orator

  2. Relational theories: • linguistic events have a special relation to facts • The linguistic event is right there embracing the fact • linguistic events are always successful • you can't embrace nothing

  3. the problem of nonexistent entities • Euthydemus Problem: linguistic entity can't embrace nothing • linguistic relations are special

  4. What to do? • Obvious strategy for relational theory: introduce something the linguistic entity can embrace • Ontological move

  5. What does this “something” have to do • The problem of intersubjectivity • Considers Smith's linguistic entity: LE -1 • Consider Jones linguistic entity: LE -2 • Both can embrace the same thing • temptation is to think that LE1=LE2

  6. How can they be identical? • Must be the case that there's a saying that does not depend on LE1 or LE2 • it is intersubjective to him without being an objective fact • something that is beyond Jones or Smith's particular act

  7. intersubjectivity • postulate domain of linguistic events or objects • linguistic events embrace these linguistic objects • linguistic objects are fact substitutes • so • LE1 gets at LO1 • LE2 gets at LO1 • we have a duplication, facts are duplicated in linguistic objects

  8. A very ad hoc theory • the class or set of linguistic objects • the class or set of facts

  9. meanings • words in linguistic expressions have meanings • It’s obvious • the commonsense framework • facts have being • linguistic objects have being • both are objective in the sense that neither depend on you or I

  10. existence • linguistic objects are the beings of linguistic events • the being of linguistic expressions • linguistic objects are what the linguistic events embrace • let's call linguistic objects “meanings” for now • meanings are the being of linguistic events • meanings are real • meanings are a community fact

  11. community fact • it is a community fact that “textbook” means something • private meanings • private meanings are parasitic upon the community • Platonism of forms denies that private meanings depend on the community – there aren’t any • The Platonic tyranny of ideas • The Aristotelian tyranny of logic

  12. the realm of meaning • the realm of meaning is distinguished from the realm of actual objects and facts • “W” in English • “W” in Spanish • these are different but the meanings are the same • but meanings do not belong to the actual world

  13. putting the theory to work • consider • Jones says George Bush! (as he passes in the market) • Jones says that George Bush is president • in one case, George Bush is present • in the other case, he is not present • the first one commits us to saying George Bush!, the second one does not, it only commits us to a fact about the object • distinguish say1 and say2

  14. Say1 and Say2 • we have ways of pinning the speaker down to • what the speaker is talking about • what the speaker believes in about it • Say1 involves the context in which Bush is present • but if Jones says2 that George Bush is president, it’s incorrect to infer that George Bush is present • we have ways of pinning ourselves down to being committed to the presence of the object and not just facts about

  15. opaque • it seems that "says" can be treated like "seeks" • Jones seeks a unicorn does not entail that there is a unicorn

  16. Philosophers • now philosophers come along and confusion reigns • when Jones says “George Bush!” And Smith's says “George Bush!”, George Bush is present • are both Jones and Smith's saying the same thing is present? • Put yourself in the story. You want George Bush right there to both of them. • Jones is close, Smith's as far.

  17. Jones • Jones sees the hair, the face

  18. Smith's • Smith's sees G.B. as a politician

  19. saying of • "strictly speaking" we say, "most are saying things about George Bush but what it is that they are saying of him isn't the same" • we distinguish between what you are saying of something and that of which you are saying it

  20. crude • but, the key point, is that we are immediately lead to draw distinctions. • Distinctions between what we "really" say something about and what we say about it

  21. a relational theory of reference • 1. Some things we talk about directly • 2. Some things we don't, but we get at them through a linguistic entity • the linguistic object is related to George Bush in some way • Picture: • James’ mind gets at GB • Smith’s mind gets at LO, LO gets at GB • Abstract away from the LE

  22. philosophy of language • we are putting things together in the process of reflecting about linguistic activity (including expressions) • We mobilize what seems to be necessary features • our machinery is shaky • philosophers don't care when things are going right, philosophers are negative people • Philosophers want things to go bad

  23. distinctions • we decided to distinguish between what we say something of in the narrow and the broad sense • sometimes our linguistic activity is mediated sometimes it isn't (abstracting from LE) • Picture: • Jones’ Mind direct reference  GB • Smith’s Mind LO  GB • so there is something getting at George Bush and something getting at the rest • Jones really picks out George Bush, Smith gets at facts

  24. Mistakes • floating our armchairs down the linguistic stream, as happy as clams • not all situations are correct, sometimes they're mistaken

  25. Jones • Suppose Jones is saying something about a nonexistent entity because George Bush has vanished • picture: • Mind  ? • Weird. If whatever is that we are talking about ceases to exist while we are talking about it, is there a phenomenological ripple? Like the matrix, a ripple in which things repeat (like the black cat)? • Didn't we start out by claiming that saying is always successful? • We could give this up: singular terms don't refer (Russell)

  26. not exactly • reconstruct singular terms • picture: • Jones’ mind  LO  Person • Smith’s mind  LO  Person • we can say that they always get at George Bush through the linguistic objects

  27. what is a linguistic object • we can say that it has parts • part meaning, part logical form  • the unity gets at George Bush or • we can say that the linguistic object • part referential core • part meaning • part logical form • the referential core gets at George Bush with the help of the other two (Searle)

  28. tension • philosophers start to feel uneasy here, armchair philosophy of language feels the pinch. • Isn't reference a relationship between object, the environment, the word, in some kind of relation between the speaker in the world?

  29. Causal theory • causal theory is brought in to redress the balance of the world • a tree falls, causal vibrations, vibrates the body, we hear a sound. • We tell a causal story about how the linguistic object gets tied up to the world that mimics our story about sound.

  30. Referential core • The linguistic object may have two parts • referring part • meaning

  31. the referential core • when does it have a referential core? • Consider this: multiple situations in which Jones finds himself talking about O1. • If the linguistic object has a determinable relation in all the situations, it is a name (rigid) • if it is invariant, it is a Millian Name • put it in terms of possible worlds • put it in terms of possible stages of this world

  32. the account is causal • it tells how this determinable relation happens, environmentally speaking. • What fixes a world? • What determines a different context? • Not a problem for the Platonist: the tyranny of forms

  33. Form and content • Removing the mystery from the notion of form and content (a brief aside) • We start by looking at the word “quality” • Simplest distinction: qualities and relations • “Red” is a quality – think of a sentence “a is red” • “juxtaposed” is a relation – think of the sentence “A’s juxtaposed with B” Lo, red! A is juxtaposed with B

  34. expressions • Contrast two kinds of expressions • Referring expressions • Sometimes called “subject” or “objects” • Characterizing expressions • Sometimes called “predicates” Jones the walker with a torch

  35. Examples • Consider the sentence “a is red” • The sentence contains a referring expression ‘a’ • The sentence contains a characterizing expression ‘red’ • We have a predicate and the subject • Consider the sentence “a is taller than b” • The sentence contains two referring expressions and a characterizing expression ‘is taller than’ • We have a predicate and two subjects

  36. structure • The contrast “form and content” is another way of talking about the contrast “structure and content” • Most structure concepts are relational • The form and content distinction is fundamentally the distinction between relation and quality

  37. Why? • Why do we need to distinguish between form and content? • Don’t take the words too seriously but understand them as part of the story that we tell • Anyway, we can’t have a world in which objects stand in relation or have structure but don’t have any qualities or intrinsic character • The problem is: what are the qualities?

  38. relations • Things seem to be unpackable as relations • We can’t have a world with no relations, with no structure • We need relations just as much as we need content • We need objects (or subjects) to be in the relations and to have the content!

  39. Referring expressions • Referring expressions are sometimes called ‘subject’ and ‘object’ • Contrast these with characterizing expressions, sometimes called ‘predicates’ • Characterizing expressions can be relational or non-relational “content” expressions

  40. What’s in a name? • Subject or object expressions refer – no problem • Relational characterizing expressions don’t refer • Why? They offer content • Non-relational characterizing expressions express content • What counts as content?

  41. Content • Non-relational characterizing expressions express content • ‘red’, a quality expression, is uncontroversial • Whitehead (Russell’s coauthor) thought objects had content somewhat like “feelings” • Russell thought content expressions included “the tall stoner in the corner” (he would have said, “the tall man with an overcoat in the corner”)

  42. Stoners • What is the limit to a content expression? • Do objects have feelings as Whitehead says? Do they have an attitude? • Objects with an attitude problem. • Why not? The sadness in Smith’s face

  43. Russell’s problem • Relate the discussion last day to Russell • Russell knows that we have to separate content expressions from “subject-object” expressions (referring). • Why? You can’t refer to the sadness in Smith’s face. Can you? • Why not? Because the sadness isn’t there the way that an object is there, it is there the way the redness is there as a content. • In a red object, we can refer to its hunkiness but its redness belongs to the content. • Compare referring to a pile of sticks vs characterizing it as a ladder – Russell says that we cannot refer to its ladderiety, we need a definite description! “The two rails transected every few feet ....” or whatever.

  44. Content descriptions • Yes my fellow Americans, definite descriptions express a content • Platonists like Russell (Lycan, Kripke, etc.) take for granted that contents must be contents of something • Contents cannot be contents of nothing can they? • “subject” and “object” expressions provide the referential core for all descriptions

  45. Referential core • Some LE’s (LE) get at the • objects – • the object (as color expanses) is present • subject/object expressions • Notice: in this picture, the object exists only in virtual visual space – matrix space Area A represents the private world of visual space, Area B represents the public world of physical space

  46. Descriptive Content • Other LE’s get at the Facts, F1 • nothing but the facts • Content expressions or definite descriptions • ‘The first president to be mired in the middle east’ for GB. F1 is a fact about the book: “loved by everyone” The LE is M

  47. the machinery • Russell has in mind: • (a) is a sensation of red in the private world of visual space brought about by the causal world: a sensum in visual space. The light of the book as causal agent. (b) is getting at the sensum (acquaintance). It gives rise to the LE, M1 • The LE has the referential core, a, the definite description provides the content

  48. Reference and description again • Reference is a way of getting at objects • Process/product ambiguous • Description is a way of providing content • Metaphors built on reasonable metaphors • What is the difference between a description of Julius Caesar: ‘the man who was assassinated on the Ides of March’, ‘the founder of the Roman Empire’ and a truth about Caesar? • Is truth a relational expression or a content expression or neither (normative)?

  49. Breaking facts apart • Consider the sentence ‘this red and rectangular item is the surface’ • [this red and rectangular item] subject, N • [is the surface] predicate, VP • What’s up for grabs is (b) • (a) isn’t, it’s believed in • (a) can be described in all sorts of ways

  50. Characterizing • Every character, every way of characterizing, belongs to the right of the copula • The ‘this F’ or ‘the F’ part is a picker-outer – a ST • For Russell, the sensation gets picked out, he thought sensations were available to be picked out...