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Sunday, January 31, 2016

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A few points (here we are in less agreement).

1. An aporia is where all the collectively competing statements have a strong claim to plausibility, as implied by your assertion that ‘a genuine aporia [is] an insoluble problem’. Not all the statements have, in their present form, such a claim. It’s not clear, for example, how g follows from f and d. How does ‘the linguistic function of a name is exhausted by the fact that it names its bearer’ plus ‘Peter believes both that Paderewsi is musical and that Paderewski is not musical’ imply ‘Peter believes, of one and the same man, Paderewski, that he is both musical and not musical’? I am not denying it does follow, only that the mechanism is not obvious.

2. This is not quite the Paderewski problem as Kripke sets it up. Kripke’s focus is on the ‘standard’ or ‘usual’ meaning of a proper name. His disquotational principle, invoked in his version of your (c) above, is that if a speaker S reflectively and sincerely assents to a sentence ‘a is F,’ and if he understands the words in their usual or standard sense, then S believes that a is F. I appreciate that you say ‘normal English speaker’ but it’s important that ‘normal’ qualifies the terms used in the statement assented to, not just the speaker.

3. Kripke omits your (g), as far as I can see. I don’t have the paper in front of me right now, but I think he assumes that ‘Peter believes both that Paderewsi is musical and that Paderewski is not musical’ directly implies ‘Peter believes a contradiction’. This ties in with his point that proper names, just like common names, have a standard meaning. If both tokens of the name ‘Paderewsi’ in ‘Paderewsi is musical’ and ‘Paderewsi is not musical’ have their standard meaning, then by implication they have the same meaning. But a contradiction is where the same linguistic predicate is both affirmed and denied of the same linguistic subject, i.e. where the subject has the same meaning in both cases. So it would follow that Peter believes a contradiction, so long as he understands both tokens of the proper name in the same sense or meaning. We don’t need your (g), and we don’t really need your (d) either.

Putting this another way. ‘Richmond’ is a place near where I live in London. It is also a place in Yorkshire. Now a person may disagree with my statement ‘Richmond is in London’ because he thinks I mean the place in Yorkshire. That is not a genuine disagreement, nor do we have contradictory beliefs, because we are understanding the two tokens of ‘Richmond’ in different senses. But the disagreement can be genuine. Perhaps we are disagreeing about whether Richmond is in Surrey or not, because of a disagreement about county boundaries. Then we both agree about the standard meaning of ‘Richmond’ in this context, and we are disagreeing, and the beliefs that Richmond is in Surrey and that Richmond is not in Surrey do contradict. Different people can have these contradictory beliefs, but the same person cannot. The same person cannot believe that Richmond is in Surrey and that Richmond is not in Surrey, where ‘Richmond’ means ‘Richmond upon Thames’.

Putting more flesh on this.

A contradiction consists of two statements, namely a statement and its denial or negation (nego = Latin for ‘deny’, thus negatio is literally denial). In order for the denial of p to be a denial, the sentence ‘p’ must have the same sense or meaning in both the statement and the denial. I.e in order for ‘p’ and ‘it is not the case that p’ to be contradictory, ‘p’ must have the same meaning in both occurrences. Thus ‘Richmond is in Surrey’ and ‘it is not the case that Richmond is in Surrey’ are not statement and denial if ‘Richmond’ means the place in Yorkshire, and the place on the Thames, respectively.

This is true even when the statements cannot both be true, or both be false. Suppose Susan is the tallest, and the cleverest girl in the class. Then if ‘the tallest girl in the class is running’ is true, ‘the cleverest girl in the class is not running’ must be false, and vice versa. But this doesn’t make them contradictory. The sentence embedded in the negation must have the same sense as the sentence which is negated.

It seems clear from this definition that simultaneously believing contradictory statements, in the sense of ‘contradictory’ just given, is problematic. For we would have to believe the statements under their correct meaning, i.e. understand the sentence which is affirmed, and the sentence denied, as having the same meaning.

Finally, turning to the Paderewski problem, if Millianism is true, and if the referent of ‘Paderewski’ in ‘Paderewski is bald’ and ‘Paderewski is not bald’ is the same person, and assuming ‘is’, ‘bald’ and ‘not’ have their standard dictionary meaning, then the statements are clearly contradictory. It also seems implausible that anyone can simultaneously believe them, regardless of whether we can ‘quantify in’.

However, Millianism is not essential. All we need is the assumption that proper names have a standard meaning (or a standard meaning determined by context, such as ‘Richmond on Thames’ or ‘Richmond on Swale’). If that is true, it doesn’t matter at all whether the name is Millian (i.e. signifies referent), or whether it signifies a simple haecceity propery, or a complex description.

So I object that you have overspecified the problem, and the aporia is much simpler, namely (1) proper names do have a standard meaning (2) it is possible to assent to ‘a is F’ and ‘a is not F’, where ‘a’ ‘F’ etc have their standard meaning in both statements (3) it is not possible to assent to contradictory statements, under the standard definition of ‘contradictory statements’. This is an aporetic triad.

Thanks for the comments, Ed.

Ad (1). The inference needs to be spelled out but I think it is valid.

If Peter believes that Pad is musical and that Pad is not musical, and 'Pad' refers, as Frege would say, to its customary sense rather than its customary referent, then you cannot get to the de re 'Peter believes, of Pad, that he is both musical and not musical.' But if 'Pad' is a Millian tag, then the reference goes straight through to the man, who is then believed by Peter to be both musical and not musical.

Ad (2). Of course. Have I violated this stricture? I am using 'Pad' with its normal sense. By the way, that reductio I gave is not the Pad problem; it is MY argument against Millianism. I am arguing that Millianism entails the Pad problem, so Millianism is untenable.

Ad (3). >>but I think he assumes that ‘Peter believes both that Paderewsi is musical and that Paderewski is not musical’ directly implies ‘Peter believes a contradiction’. <<

But don't forget that 'Peter believes that Pad is musical' is ambiguous as between de dicto and de re readings.

Kripke needs an irreducibly de re reading to generate his puzzle.

Holy moly! It looks like we are about to return to old disputes about -- of all things -- formal logic!

>>A contradiction consists of two statements, namely a statement and its denial or negation (nego = Latin for ‘deny’, thus negatio is literally denial).<<

I am not trying to be cantankerous, but I have a couple of problems with this.

First, you seem to be giving another argument from etymology. (Earier you did this when you tried to show that all reference is back reference because that is what 'anaphora' means.) True, 'nego' means 'I deny' just as 'affirmo' means 'I affirm.' It is also true that 'negatio' means 'denial.' But it doesn't follow that logical negation involves denial.

Denial is a speech act. A person, not a proposition, denies or affirms. But *it is not the case thast grass is gree* is the negation of *Grass is green* whether or not anyone denies the latter.

I also balk/baulk at 'statement' for similar reasons. You will note that Kripke does not use 'statement' in his article.

>>the aporia is much simpler, namely (1) proper names do have a standard meaning (2) it is possible to assent to ‘a is F’ and ‘a is not F’, where ‘a’ ‘F’ etc have their standard meaning in both statements (3) it is not possible to assent to contradictory statements, under the standard definition of ‘contradictory statements’. This is an aporetic triad.<<

But doesn't this reduce to a dyad? (2) and (3) are contradictories.

But the dyad is aporetic only if both limbs are plausible. I will now argue that both limbs are plausible only on Millianism.

What does the plausibility of (2) rest on? The Paderewski case. Peter is introduced to the Polish name via some such description as 'a famous pianist.' Later the same name comes up in a context wherein the Polish name is used in connection with 'a politician.' In Peter's mind, no politician is (world-class) musical. So Peter assumes that there are two men both called 'Paderewski.' In reality, however, there is only one man in question. Peter refers to that one man when he assents to 'Pad is musical' and 'Pad is unmusical.' So assenting, Peter believes DE RE, of one and the same man, that he is musical and that he is unmusical. This is surely possible, but only if names are Millian. For if names are Fregean, then Peter will not be referring to one and the same man.

>> I am arguing that Millianism entails the Pad problem, so Millianism is untenable.
We agree on this. But I think you have overspecified the problem. Millianism implies that the proper names have the same meaning in the affirmation and the negation, and this is a problem. But we get the same problem without explicitly assuming Millianism, so long as the names have the same meaning in the affirmation and the negation.

>>Kripke needs an irreducibly de re reading to generate his puzzle.
Not so, if I am right. All that is required is for Peter to understand the two occurrences of 'Pad' in 'Pad is bald' and 'Pad is not bald' as having the same meaning. This is how Kripke sets up the problem up. He says that ‘The speaker should satisfy normal criteria for using “London” as a name of London’ (p.249). He says, in formulating the ‘disquotational principle’, that the speaker must use the words in the standard way, i.e. use them to mean what a normal speaker should mean by it (ibid). My references are to the original version (‘A Puzzle about Belief’, in Meaning and Use, ed. A. Margalit (Dordrecht: Reidel), pp. 239-83). The arguments I mentioned in my comments on your other post are also relevant here. And he gives apparently plausible arguments that Peter uses ‘Paderewski’ in the standard way. Actually most of the arguments are in the ‘London/Londres’ case, but you can read them across.

So I claim that the following triad expresses the problem without assuming Millianism.

(1) proper names can have a standard meaning
(2) it is psychologically possible to assent to ‘a is F’ and ‘a is not F’, where ‘a’ ‘F’ etc have their standard meaning in both statements
(3) it is psychologically impossible to assent to contradictory statements, under the standard definition of ‘contradictory statements’.

I suppose you could argue that the notion of standard meaning presumes Millianism, but then I think you have lost the argument.

Sorry I missed your further comment at at 4:44 AM.

>>But doesn't this reduce to a dyad? (2) and (3) are contradictories.
Not quite, because (2) assumes the whole idea of ‘standard meaning’. If you deny standard meaning, you can deny (2).

>> I will now argue that both limbs are plausible only on Millianism.
And you argue on the plausibility of (2). Right, but you need to address the ‘standard meaning’ issue. Again, I don’t have the paper in front of me, but Kripke somewhere argues that Peter learns the meaning of ‘London’, ‘Londres’ ‘Pad’ etc. in the way we normally learn the meaning of proper names. So I return to premiss (1) of the triad. Clearly there can be contradictory statements using proper names. E.g. ‘Richmond on Thames is in Surrey’ / ‘Richmond on Thames is not in Surrey’, where the name unambiguously has the same meaning in each statement. This suggests something like a standard meaning. But how do we learn the standard meaning, except in the way K suggests?

Btw I agree with you that premiss (2) is faulty. But I don’t think the problem is Millianism. The problem is the assumption about how we learn proper names, IMO. Once we have the correct explanation (which unsurprisingly invokes the intralinguistic theory) the problem dissolves.

"Peter refers to that one man when he assents to 'Pad is musical' and 'Pad is unmusical.' So assenting, Peter believes DE RE, of one and the same man, that he is musical and that he is unmusical. This is surely possible, but only if names are Millian. For if names are Fregean, then Peter will not be referring to one and the same man."

Why not?

Surely two different descriptions can be satisfied by one and the same man, without this being known to the speaker.

I am looking at the article now. Kripke says (beginning of section III) ‘I am supposing that Pierre satisfies all criteria for being a normal French speaker, in particular, that he satisfies whatever criteria we usually use to judge that a Frenchman (correctly) uses ‘est jolie’ to attribute pulchritude and uses ‘Londres‘ [his emphasis] — standardly [my emphasis]—as a name of London.’ Then he says that Pierre moves to London and learns English by the ‘direct method’, because none of his neighbours know French, and so he learns by picking up English, and so learning that everyone calls this city ‘London’. And then he says

Pierre’s neighbors would surely be said to use ‘London’ as a name for London and to speak English. Since, as an English speaker, he does not differ at all from them [my emph], we should say the same of him.
Anyone else, growing up in London with the same knowledge and beliefs that he expresses in England, we would undoubtedly judge to believe that London is not pretty. Can Pierre's French past nullify such a judgment? Can we say that Pierre, because of his French past, does not believe that [London is not pretty]? Suppose an electric shock wiped out all his memories of the French language, what he learned in France, and his French past. He would then be exactly like his neighbors in London. He would have the same knowledge, beliefs, and linguistic capacities. We then presumably would be forced to say that Pierre believes that London is ugly if we say it of his neighbors.
The point of this is to persuade us that Pierre has learned the name ‘London’ in the way that Londoners like me learned it, and so is using it in the standard way. Nowhere is there any appeal to the meaning of a name being the object that it names. Kripke never sets up the problem by claiming that Pierre learns that the meaning of ‘London’ is London itself. Only that he learns the name as we all do.

Ed,

You seem to be changing the subject. Don't forget that we are or were talking about are belief contexts. I thought you wanted to discuss Kripke's famous paper.

Something has gone wrong here.

And I don't know why you harp on standard meaning. Isn't it perfectly obvious that proper names are to be used in their standard meaning?

Things will also become unbearably murky if you bring in your intralinguistic theory -- which I find incomprehensible.

My 'take away' from the Ortcutt and Pad examples is that there is no irreducible de re belief. Millianism, however, commits us to cases of irreducible de re belief. I conclude that Millianism is false.

Do you accept the last paragraph?

But Kripke is a Millian and so he is stuck with his puzzle about belief.

My 11:42 is not a response to your 11:32.

As for the latter, I will say that Pierre and Peter are not philosophers of language, but ordinary blokes. But Kripke is a Millian, which is why he has a puzzle on his hands.

'Paderewski' in

Peter believes that Paderewski is musical
and
Peter believes that Paderewski is not musical

refers directly to one and the same man, not via a sense. So Kripke is committed to saying that one and the same man is believed by Peter to be musical and believed by Peter to be not musical -- which is the puzzle.

We could solve the puzzle by adopting a description theory of names -- but then Kripke's powerful arguments against this kick in.

>>You seem to be changing the subject. Don't forget that we are or were talking about are belief contexts. I thought you wanted to discuss Kripke's famous paper.<<

I too am completely confused. My quotes above about 'London' and 'Londres' are from that very paper. We are talking about 'Puzzle about Belief'?

Lost in puzzlement, and going to bed.

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