Christopher Gauker (Salzburg)

MON FEB 12 — 13.30-15.30

Sala "Enzo Paci" — Direzione del Dipartimento (Via Festa del Perdono 7, Milano)

Against the Speaker-intention Theory of Demonstratives

It is commonly held that an utterance of a bare demonstrative, such as “that”, refers to an object o only if the speaker intends it to refer to o.  First, I argue that the theory is best formulated as a thesis concerning the conditions under which a formal context pertains to an utterance.  Second, I pose three objections to this theory:  It is question-begging; it is psychologically implausible; and it is inconsistent with the plausible assumption that thoughts too can contain bare demonstratives.  Finally, I sketch an alternative theory of the reference of demonstratives, according to which the reference of a demonstrative is that which is identified by an all-things-considered judgment that takes into account various accessibility criteria.


Jeff Pelletier (Alberta)

MON FEB 19 — 15.00-17.00

Sala "Enzo Paci" — Direzione del Dipartimento (Via Festa del Perdono 7, Milano)

How to Make Some Many-Valued Logics be Useful

In 1976 Nuel Belnap published a (relatively) well-known paper “A Useful Four-Valued Logic:  How a Computer Should Think” in which he argued for a four-valued logic that could accommodate knowledge bases that had been given conflicting data, or incomplete data, relevant to a query in some field of knowledge.  More of the formal background was presented in Michael Dunn’s “Intuitive Semantics for First Degree Entailment” that same year.  The logic became known as FDE.  A serious problem with FDE (and some related logics) is that you can’t do any reasoning with them!!  They do not contain a conditional connective that would allow for a normal modus ponens inference, nor from any other rule of inference that is equivalent to modus ponens, such as (unit) resolution and the like.  One cannot do sustained reasoning of the “chaining one result with the result of a different inference” form.  The present talk proposes a conditional connective for FDE that will work, and furthermore has interesting (and surprising) extensions to certain 3-valued logics, such as Lukasiewicz-3, Kleene-3, RM3, and LP (Priest’s “logic of paradox”).  


Vittorio Morato (Padua)

MON FEB 26 — 15.00-17.00

Sala "Enzo Paci" — Direzione del Dipartimento (Via Festa del Perdono 7, Milano)

Concepibilità kripkeana e modalità epistemiche

Kripke sembra difendere la tesi secondo cui non è possibile concepire in maniera genuina la negazione di una necessità metafisica M. Il meglio che si può fare è concepire una “presentazione qualitativa” della negazione di M e confondere la rappresentazione di tale possibilità con la rappresentazione della possibilità che M sia falsa. Per esempio, non si può concepire che l’acqua non sia H2O, il meglio che si può fare (o quel che di fatto facciamo quando crediamo di concepire che l’acqua non sia H2O) è concepire che un liquido “acquoso”, dissetante e incolore non sia H2O. In questo talk, mostrerò come la concepibilità kripkeana (KC) è problematica nel caso sia combinata con alcuni, apparentemente plausibili, principi che connettono la concepibilità con la modalità epistemica e, in particolare, con un principio che collega l’inconcepibilità (per un soggetto) che P con la non esistenza, per tale soggetto, della possibilità epistemica che P. Da KC e questi principi, si può infatti provare che ogni necessità metafisica è una necessità epistemica, ossia che vi è un "vincolo epistemico" sulle necessità metafisiche, un risultato decisamente poco kripkeano! Scopo del talk è trovare qualche soluzione a favore dei kripkeani (e quindi anche a mio favore). 


Delia Belleri (Vienna)

MON MAR 5 — 15.00-17.00

Sala "Enzo Paci" — Direzione del Dipartimento (Via Festa del Perdono 7, Milano)

Two Species of Merely Verbal Dispute

It is common to criticize a debate by alleging that it is a merely verbal dispute. But how conclusive would an argument based on such allegations be? I will take the material composition debate as a case-study and argue that the mere-verbality move is less decisive than one might expect. While assessing the dialectical effectiveness of the mere-verbality move, I will also try to mark some progress in the philosophical understanding and appreciation of the phenomenon itself of merely verbal disputes. My contribution will consist in shedding light on a distinction between the “faultlessness” and “faultiness” of a verbal dispute.


Robert Briscoe (Ohio/Glasgow)

MON MAR 12 — 15.00-17.00

Sala "Enzo Paci" — Direzione del Dipartimento (Via Festa del Perdono 7, Milano)

Models, Imagination, and Pictorial Understanding

Many types of pictures, including photographs, paintings, and drawings, are designed to elicit the experience as of an absent, three-dimensionally organized scene. Following standard usage in art history, aesthetics, and perceptual psychology, I shall refer to this experience as the experience of pictorial space. In this presentation, I begin by posing some objections to Kendall Walton’s imagining seeing theory of pictorial experience. According to the imagining seeing theory, pictures function as props in "visual games of make-believe": when we look at a picture, we (propositionally) imagine of our seeing of the 2D, pictorial surface that it is an instance of seeing of the depicted, 3D scene. Empirical studies of pictorial space perception as well as the methodology of virtual psychophysics in vision science, I argue, do not support Walton’s account. On the contrary, they provide compelling evidence for the view that pictorial experience and seeing face-to-face are experiences of the same psychological, explanatory kind. I subsequently examine the proposal that imagining seeing even if not necessary for pictorial experience, may nonetheless play a fundamental role in pictorial understanding – that is, in enabling intended viewers to interpret and make appropriate use of pictures. According to one version of this proposal, it is a virtual model – a model of an object or scene rendered in phenomenally 3D, pictorial space – and not our seeing of the 2D, pictorial surface, that is the target of our propositional imaginings when we view a picture. This proposal, I show, also confronts serious challenges. Finally, I consider some roles played by imagining seeing and propositional imagining more broadly in our emotional and aesthetic responses to pictorial works of art.