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1. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 50 > Issue: 4
Ekaterina Vostrikova, Petr Kusliy Е.В. Вострикова
Rediscovering the logical analysis of language
Открывая логический анализ языка заново

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This paper gives an overview of the project of formal description of natural languages and discusses the place and the prospects of this project in contemporary philosophy. This project goes back to the ideas of Frege, Russell and Wittgenstein, however many contemporary philosophers, especially in Russia, believe that it is doomed to failure, because any natural language is vague and context-dependent. The authors argue that Russian philosophy of language could benefit from familiarity with the ideas developed within contemporary formal semantics. In particular, the authors provide some illustrations that denounce some delusions about natural languages and the impossibility of their formal analysis. The authors provide examples of some universal restrictions in syntax (such as condition C of the Chomsky's theory of binding) to show that, despite some popular philosophical views, the nature of languages is not fully conventional and their grammars are restricted. The authors also discuss evidence from sign languages showing that they are not mere pantomimes and that their grammars are restricted in the same ways that the grammars of the spoken languages are restricted. The authors present contemporary formal semantics of natural language as the modern version of the logical semantics originally developed by Frege, Russell, Tarski and others. They claim that the results of this discipline show that the conclusion that the logical analysis of natural language is a doomed project is not justified.
panel discussion
2. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 50 > Issue: 4
Evgeny Borisov Е.В. Борисов
How to analyze the sentence “I thought your yacht was larger than it is”?
Логический анализ предложения «Я думал, ваша яхта больше [чем она есть]»

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The sentence cited in the title - in what follows, I refer to it as (S) - occurs in a story Russell tells us in On Denoting. It represents the class of sentences containing a comparative predicate applied twice to a single object in the scope of an epistemic verb. The problem with sentences of this type is that the received tools of logical analysis do not allow both to accurately reflect their surface structure and to take into account some intuitions about our use of them in standard cases. For instance, as Kripke has shown, Russell's own analysis conflicts with our intuition since it renders (S) as an ascription of a de re belief about the size of the yacht. I argue that an analogous flaw have alternative analyses involving the notion of size, viz. ones offered by Kaplan and Salmon. In 2013, I proposed an objectual analysis of (S) which makes no use of the notion of size. That analysis has certain counter-intuitive implications, too. Recently, Gorbatov proposed a version of the objectual analysis based on interpretation of the adjective larger in (S) as a cross-world predicate in terms of Wehmeier's cross-world subjunctive modal logic (CSML). I argue that Gorbatov's analysis is counterintuitive, too, for it ascribes to the utterer a quite uncommon belief involving a particular possible world. Nevertheless, I find the idea behind his proposal - the interpretation of larger in (S) as a cross-world predicate - fruitful, and offer an alternative version of analysis of (S) in terms of CSML. The analysis I propose renders (S) as an ascription of an objectual attitude rather than a propositional one. I sketch the semantics of objectual attitude ascription involving a cross-world comparative predicate and argue that the analysis I propose is free from disadvantages of the analyses mentioned above.
3. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 50 > Issue: 4
Victor Gorbatov В.В. Горбатов
Who was thinking that Yacht was larger than it is ?
Кто именно думал, что «яхта больше [чем она есть]»?

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The present paper is a reply to Borisov's recent criticism of my interpretation of Russell's joke about yachts. I partially agree with him in the issue of semantic content / truth conditions differentiation. Nevertheless, I deem it necessary to clarify the basic idea of my approach and to to draw attention the main drawback of the Borisov's 'objectual analysis III' - namely, his interpretation ignores the “reflexive" content of the analyzed sentence.
4. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 50 > Issue: 4
Ivan Mikirtumov И.Б. Микиртумов
Arranging the rigging, or why “object” attitudes do not exist
Поправляя такелаж, или Почему не существует «объектных» установок

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The article deals with some problems of formalization of Russell's example with a yacht and Eugeniy Borisov's proposal concerning the usage of “object" affitudes. This idea seems wrong to me in terms of its contents, besides its formal realization fails. I believe that formalization of the example with a yacht must, firstly, take into account the pragmatics of the phrase's usage and, secondly, point at the mental representations of the objects. To do this, one can use propositions reflecting a technical aspect of semantic relations.
5. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 50 > Issue: 4
Daniel Tiskin Д.Б. Тискин
In search of expressive power: Evgeniy Borisov on the semantics of comparative predicates
В поисках выразительных средств

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The comment is focused on two aspects of the commented paper, viz. the choice of the appropriate auxiliary formalism for the analysis of Russell's joke about the yacht, and the more general issue of what sort of arguments are acceptable in the logical investigation of natural language semantics. As for technical issues, we suggest that an extensional language should be used which contains variables over possible worlds and over degrees and show how Russell's joke could be accounted for in such a formalism; in addition, some remarks concerning Borisov's technical work are provided. At the methodological side, we argue against purely intuitive considerations regarding the presence or absence of this or that component in the semantics of a given lexical item. Real evidence as to which sentences containing that word are acceptable and what they mean should be used instead.
6. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 50 > Issue: 4
Petr Kusliy П.С. Куслий
Couldn’t the same be stated in a simpler way?
Нельзя ли попроще?

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This comment on E. Borisov's text deals with some technical complications that his proposed analysis faces, according to the author's opinion. The author argues that Borisov's definition of the operator O is not clear and his theory might predict nonexistent readings unless the definition is stated clearly. The author criticizes Borisov's proposal for not being compositional and outlines an alternative analysis in terms of the contemporary semantic treatments of comparative constructions and attitude reports.
7. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 50 > Issue: 4
Evgeny Borisov Е.В. Борисов
Reply to critics
Ответ оппонентам

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In his reply, E. Borisov fixes the points of diversion between him and his critics and sketches the directions in which his argumentation will proceed. Among the issues mentioned are the problems of the interpretation of comparative constructions (whether they are about objects or sizes), semantic contribution of the modal operator "O" (introduced by Borisov), ways of retrospective reports of affitudes.
epistemology and cognition
8. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 50 > Issue: 4
Ilya Kasavin И.Т. Касавин
The critique of group belief: a discussion with Jennifer Lackey
Критика групповых убеждений

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The approach proposed by Jennifer Lackey is an analytical version of social epistemology, in which the subject of the research is the nature of collective (group) beliefs. She analyzes the possibility of explaining cognitive collectivity and reducing collective knowledge to the individual one at the example of deviant knowledge types - lie and bullshit. In the given paper, the author argues that Lackey's point of view deserves criticism for neither “group" nor “belief" receive a clear definition; no criteria are proposed to distinguish cognitively relevant and irrelevant social factors; the opposition of the individual and the group is retained. The author argues that the concept of collective knowledge could be much more consistent if one uses the group-grid approach elaborated by M. Douglas; one shows the social nature of the individual; one applies the entire toolkit of philosophy of language and discourse analysis for reduction of beliefs to linguistic expressions. Still the concept under criticism moves then closer to the criticalsocial epistemology, which is hardly acceptable for Lackey. What follows is
9. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 50 > Issue: 4
Daniel Tiskin Д.Б. Тискин
Conditional attitude ascription
Условное приписывание пропозициональных установок

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Many theories of the de dicto / de re ambiguity for quantifiers and descriptions follow the tradition started by Kaplan and Lewis in that they make use of notions that are epistemic in nature, such as the notion of acquaintance. This may create the impression that the question about de re in affitude report semantics should always be resolved by looking at the reported affitude; if the latter qualifies as de re according to some epistemological criteria, then also the affitude report may be true de re. The present paper aims to provide an argument to the contrary. The argument proceeds in several steps. First, we point out the existence of a wide range of de re readings (mostly already known from the literature), some of which do not target referential or quantificational expressions at all. Second, we show that the existing analyses either give wrong predictions for such cases, or are incomplete, or at least inelegant. Third, we offer a new analysis (which, as it turns out, has predecessors not united by any single tradition) whose main ingredient is the observation that the right predictions result from modifying the Context Set of the conversation in certain intuitive ways before the affitude report is added to the Common Ground. This is the semantic contribution of the paper. The philosophical upshot is that the reasons for an affitude report being de re at least in some cases have little to do with the grounds on which the corresponding mental state - the affitude itself - qualifies as de re. We also speculate as to how the proposed analysis, which divorces de re'ness from epistemic rapport, may be extended onto more traditional cases.
10. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 50 > Issue: 4
Enrique Villanueva Э. Вильянуэва
Argument and metaphysics
Рассуждение и метафизика

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This paper explores the idea of linguistic meaning in the case of metaphysical referents or entities, quoting Plato's view assumed by Wittgenstein that there couldn't be a language for metaphysical referents like the Good or God. In order to expose the conceptual situation recourse is made to the thesis of a Logical Proper Name and to the thesis of Private Names as contrasting views of the nature of names and language. Furthermore, it is surmised that the Wittgenstein view helps to realise why there cannot be metaphysical arguments. But all of that is presented in a very sketchy way and has to wait for further development.
11. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 50 > Issue: 4
Alexander Nikiforov А.Л. Никифоров
Is speaking about the transcendental possible?
Можно ли говорить о трансцендентном?

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This is a reply to the paper by Enrique Villanueva “Argument and metaphysics". Author considers the problem of meaning in terms of metaphysical statements and the possibility of discussions on metaphysical topics. The author demonstrates that Villanueva's arguments based upon a typology of languages, in terms of which one might talk about the meaning of linguistic expressions, inherits the traditional analytical ideas of language formulated by Frege, Wittgenstein and Russell, in which language as a static and potentially formalized structure is opposed to speech as a spontaneous empirical practice, which is subject to logical purification. Author criticizes the concepts that neglect the metaphysical discussions for the narrow understanding of meaning in linguistic expressions.
language and mind
12. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 50 > Issue: 4
Alexey Cherniak А.З. Черняк
The third reading: a cluster analysis
Третье прочтение: кластерный анализ

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This issue is dedicated to the analysis of sentences which purpose is to describe someone's psychological affitudes in terms of the corresponding but different affitudes of agents of describing reports, and which understanding produces so called “scope paradox". Normally any sentence which describes someone's attitude with propositional content has two readings: according to one of them the expression of how an agent of the report view the described affitude is placed outside of the scope of an affitude operator; according to another it is placed within that scope. But sometimes intuition says that neither reading would properly represent what is being said in the report. In order to solve the problem which such cases seem to generate the idea of a third reading was proposed. But perhaps we still don't need third reading in order to express proper understanding of such difficult cases; in what follows it will be shown for the sake of this hypotheses that if the sentences in question are analyzed as clusters of reports all we need are two standard readings.
13. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 50 > Issue: 4
Pavel Baryshnikov П.Н. Барышников
Cognitive linguistics and philosophy of mind: an explanatory gap in the ontology of linguistic sign
Когнитивная лингвистика и философия сознания

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This paper is aimed to analyze some grounds bridging the explanatory gap in philosophy of mind and linguistic sign theory. It's noted that the etymological ties between the notions of “consciousness", “cognition", “sign" are emphasized in the works on cognitive linguistics. This connection rises from the understanding of the symbolic nature of consciousness and the sign of semiosis as the key cognitive process. On the one hand, it is impossible to realize the communication procedures, knowledge, understanding, decisionmaking, orientation and even navigation without the process of signification. On the other hand, the human mind has its unique ability to produce the meaning apart from the “signal markings" available to other living beings. The ontology of this ability should be considered as a part of the complex problem of consciousness which includes the mind-body problem, the free will problem, image memory, narrative worlds, introspection, etc. In this paper, special attention is paid to the ontological and epistemological aspects of linguistic sign within the context of the bio-semiotic approach. The author argues that the linguistic nature of consciousness is inseparably connected with the ontological properties of consciousness. The author makes an attempt to prove the link between the mind-body problem and the problem of the explanatory gap in the ontology of linguistic sign. The analysis is focused on the following question: Is it possible that the rank of random names could cause the behavior of the organism in changing environment?
14. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 50 > Issue: 4
Mikhail Smirnov М.А. Смирнов
The problem of ontological commitments in event semantics
Проблема онтологических обязательств в семантике событий

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The investigation is devoted to the problem of formal representation of logical structure and ontological commitments of natural language event sentences. The specificity of ontological commitments problem with regard to natural and formal languages is shown. The alternative approaches to the formal representation of event sentences (argument approach, davidsonian and neodavidsonian approaches, operator approach) are characterized with respect to their key features from formal logical and ontological points of view. The difference in the logical structure of sentences expressing events by verb phrases and by nominalization is depicted. The role of a paraphrase in formal representation of natural language phenomena is discussed, as well as the notions of “hermeneutic" and “revolutionary" approaches in logic-semantical analysis introduced by J. Burgess and G. Rosen. It is shown that the neodavidsonian approach with regard to verb phrases is an example of “revolutionary" approach because it changes the original logical structure of natural language sentences. The analysis of ontological commitments shows that there is no bound event variable in the logical structure of verb phrases at sentence level but it's included in the internal semantic structure of a verb. The possible ways to the logical interpretation of the natural language mechanism of the dynamic shift between verb-based and nomi- nalized sentences are outlined.
15. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 50 > Issue: 4
Evgeny Loginov Е.В. Логинов
Pragmatism, truth, and the problem of meaning
Прагматизм, истина и проблема значения

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In this text I've tried to show how pragmatic maxim and pragmatic deduction of categories could be a thread of Ariadne in the labyrinth of the philosophy of meaning. Firstly I've briefly outlined the historical and philosophical circumstances of the problem. This exposition was based on ideas of Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Kant, Leibniz, Mill and Frege. Then I made a brief lexicographical research intending to eliminate the confusion over terminology, which appeared in Russell's papers and Wittgenstein's “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus". Secondly I've presented my metaphilosophical program and discussed some general issues like truth and falsehood, reference and convention, coherent theory of truth and metaphysical idealism. Then I've formulated the problem of meaning as a contradiction of our basic cognitive beliefs and tried to show that to seize the fortress is not an easy thing. Thirdly I've offered a way to avoid this contradiction.
case-studies – science studies
16. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 50 > Issue: 4
Garris Rogonyan Г.С. Рогонян
Measuring the mental: an apology for the analogy
Измерение ментального

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The article considers pros and cons for a theoretic-measurement analogy, proposed by some philosophers as an illustration of semantic indeterminacy. Within this analogy ascribing of meanings to a certain linguistic expressions is compared with attribution of numbers according to a certain theory of measurement. Donald Davidson used this analogy in order to extend W.V.O. Quine's thesis of indeterminacy of translation to the interpretation of all human behavior. In other words, not only linguistic meanings, but all mental states are considered as indeterminate. The article explains the failure of some counter-arguments put forward against Davidson's use of this analogy and against the thesis of indeterminacy on the whole. Particularly, instrumentalist version of the analogy is rejected for there is no direct relation between indeterminacy and underdetermination of theories by empirical evidences. The article concludes that the semantic indeterminacy is largely based on indeterminacy of rationality.
17. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 50 > Issue: 4
Evgeny Blinov Е.Н. Блинов
“Social engineering of the future”: Evgeniy Polivanov on the principles of early Soviet language building
«Социальная инженерия будущего»

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The article analyzes the project of scientific justification of language Reforms, realized by the Soviet regime in 20s and 30s, elaborated by Russian and Soviet linguist Evgenij Polivanov (1891-1938). Polivanov claims that a Soviet linguist should not limit his interests to the “general linguistics" and become an active “language builder" and “language politician". The reforms should be carefully planned by the experts in language sciences who master as well the methodology of dialectical materialism. In the polemics against Nikolai Marr's Japhetidology Polivanov argued that linguistics is a strict science and its deductions are not contradictory to Marxism, as the latter is primarily a materialist philosophy. His minimal program consisted in explaining his views on the evolution of language in the Marxist terms. The evolution of language is explained by the influence of internal and external factors. The socio-economical factors are not influencing the language in a direct manner, but their analysis allows to change the channel of language evolution. According to Polivanov, the introduction of Marxism into linguistics will make possible to explain the relationship between intralinguistic and extralinguistic factors and will transform the sciences of language into “social engineering of the future".
interdisciplinary studies
18. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 50 > Issue: 4
Olga Mitrenina О.В. Митренина
Is an agreement between linguists and logicians on the logic of language possible?: A language scholar’s response
Смогут ли языковеды и логики договориться о логике языка

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This paper is aimed to discuss some possibilities for a deeper collaboration between linguists and logicians in the field of the logic of natural language. This collaboration could occur in the field of modern generative grammar, a linguistic theory that mathematically describes language with abstract structures. The author argues that the analysis of these problems requires the cooperation between the linguists and the logicians. The following problems could be considered from this point of view: the description of modality that includes the observer or the source of opinion/obligation, the study of Dative case in Russian and the theory of functional heads proposed by Guglielmo Cinque.
19. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 50 > Issue: 4
Andrey Veretennikov А.А. Веретенников
Mind and language in the work of B. Whorf
Язык и сознание Бенджамина Уорфа

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In the article author develops the analysis of genesis of B. Whorf's views on language and reality. First part is dedicated to the historical analysis of Whorf's views on mind and language. Genesis of his views is threefold: modern logic, cultural linguistics and mysticism. The latter becomes in a sense prevalent. Second part deals with analysis of arguments of the critics of principle of 'linguistic relativity' and concludes in evaluation of the validity of the arguments for the proponents of the 'principle'. The article accompanies first Russian translation of Whorf's article 'Language, mind and reality', important for critical evaluation of his background views and his theosophical mysticism in particular.
20. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 50 > Issue: 4
Benjamin Lee Whorf, A. Veretennikov Б.Л. Уорф
Language, mind, and reality
Язык, сознание, реальность

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This text is a translation of an article of B.L. Whorf “Language, mind and reality" (first published in 1941). The text was originally written for the journal Theosophist (India) during the last year of Whorf's life. The article contains a formulation of the principle of linguistic relativity that relates to the idea of that the world picture of a user of a language depends on the grammar of the language she is using. The article also contains a critique of the Western science from Whorf's theosophist perspective. The paper was translated in Russian by Andrey A. Veretennikov.