Wednesday, March 29

Session 1

Chaired by Shaun Whittle (OSU)


9:00 – 9:45 Talk 1: Friederike Moltman (Linguistics, NYU)

Title: Truth Predicates, Truth Bearers, and their Variants

Abstract: Theories of truth can hardly avoid taking into account how truth is expressed in natural language. Existing theories of truth have generally focused on ‘true’ occurring with ‘that’-clauses. This talk takes a closer look at predicates of truth (and related notions) when they apply to objects, the referents of referential noun phrases. It argues that truth predicates and their variants, predicates of correctness, satisfaction, and validity, do not primarily apply to propositions (not even with ‘that’-clauses), but to a range of attitudinal and modal objects, objects we refer to as ‘claims’, ‘beliefs’, ‘judgments’, ‘demands’, ‘promises, ‘obligations’ etc. As such natural language reflects a notion of truth that is primarily a normative notion conveyed by correct, though not as a notion that is action-guiding, but rather one that is constitutive of representational objects independently of any actions that may go along with them. I will also argue that the predicate ‘true’ is part of a larger class of satisfaction predicates (satisfied, realized, taken up etc), whose semantic differences are best accounted for in terms of a truth maker theory along the lines of Fine’s truthmaker semantics.

9:45 – 9:55 Commentary by Colin McColough-Benner (UConn)

9:55 – 10:20 Q&A

10:20 – 10:40 Break

10:40 – 11:25 Talk 2: Jared Henderson (Philosophy, UConn)

Title: Contextualism, Indexicality, and Anaphora

Abstract: The target of this paper is a kind of contextualist about truth. This sort of contextualist makes two claims: that ‘is true’ is context-sensitive and that this context-sensitivity allows us to avoid paradox. I argue that these two claims are in tension with one another. The forms of contextualism that are best equipped to avoid paradox are implausible as semantic proposals, and the most plausible contextualist semantic proposal is ill-equipped to avoid paradox. To establish these claims, I discuss the interactions of context-sensitive expressions with verb phrase anaphora. I end by discussing some potential upshots for approaches to paradox and the semantics of the natural language truth predicate.

11:25 – 11:35 Commentary by Daniel Puthawala (OSU) and Symon Stevens-Guille (OSU)

11:35 – 12:00 Q&A

12:00 – 1:30 Lunch


Session 2

Chaired by Drew Johnson (UConn)


1:30 – 2:15 Talk 3: Keith Simmons (Philosophy, UConn)

Title: Paradox and Context

Abstract: The paper argues for a unified approach to the Liar paradox, the paradoxes of definability, and a version of Russell’s paradox.  The paper makes two main claims.  The first is that our semantic expressions ‘true’, ‘refers’ and ‘extension’ are context-sensitive.  The second, inspired by a brief, tantalizing remark of Gödel’s, is that these expressions are significant everywhere except for certain singularities, in analogy with division by zero.  The consequences of this approach for deflationism are also examined.

2:15 – 2:25 Commentary by Giorgio Sbardolini (OSU)

2:25 – 2:50 Q&A

2:50 – 3:10 Break

3:10 – 3:55 Talk 4: Michael Glanzberg (Philosophy, Northwestern)

Title: How Extraordinary?: Context Dependence in Truth and Paradox

Abstract: One of the responses to a well-known family of paradoxes, including Russell’s paradox and the Liar paradox, is to claim that quantification is never absolutely unrestricted.  I have defended a contextualist version of this response, which argues that the lack of absolutely unrestricted quantifiers is an effect of context dependence of quantifiers on the background domain.  In earlier work, however, I raised the concern that this sort of context dependence is distinct from the ordinary context dependence we see with quantifier domain restriction.  I thus proposed an ‘extraordinary’ form of context dependence.  In this paper, I shall reconsider how extraordinary the context dependence required by the contextualist response to the paradox really is. Relying on recent work on the semantics of quantifiers, especially, the ‘distributive-universal’ quantifiers, I shall show that some cases of context dependence of background domain can be assimilated to the ordinary context dependence of quantifier domain restriction.  Thus, in a least some cases, the contextualist response to the paradoxes can be seen as an appeal to ordinary context dependence.

3:55 – 4:05 Commentary by Eric Guindon (UConn)

4:05 – 4:30 Q&A



Thursday, March 30

Session 3

Chaired by Teresa Kouri (OSU)


9:00 – 9:45 Talk 5: Jc Beall (Philosophy, UConn, UTas)

Title: From a subclassical point of view: remarks on ttruth, strewth, and restricted quantification

Abstract: This talk moves quickly through remarks from a particular subclassical (-logic) point of view. One aim of the talk is to illustrate — though not dwell on — some salient differences between the classical-logic ‘restrictivist’ theorists (including well-known contextualist theorists of truth) and subclassical theorists. Another aim is to advance a new option for understanding restricted-quantification claims in a subclassical setting. The biggest aim is to generate discussion!

9:45 – 9:55 Commentary by Ethan Brauer (OSU)

9:55 – 10:20 Q&A

10:20 – 10:40 Break

10:40 – 11:25 Talk 6: Steven Dalglish (Philosophy, OSU)

Title: Dealing with Truth Ache: Semantics and Contextualism about Truth

Abstract: Contextualists about truth argue that truth predicates are context-sensitive and that, because of this, we can reflectively assess a liar sentence without being infected by its paradoxicality. My talk examines the motivations for this view. In particular, I argue that the view is not best presented as a descriptive semantics of natural language truth predicates but that it is instead better presented as a prescriptive thesis about the use of truth predicates when doing natural language semantics. Given this description of the Contextualist’s project, I provide reasons that suggest the contextualist has not succeeded. Finally, I argue that, in light of my earlier remarks, a pernicious revenge paradox prevents Keith Simmons’ variety of contextualism from meeting the lofty goals he sets himself.

11:25 – 11:35 Commentary by Nathan Kellen (UConn)

11:35 – 12:00 Q&A

12:00 – 1:30 Lunch


Session 4

Chaired by Andrew Tedder (UConn)


1:30 – 2:15 Talk 7: Yael Sharvit (Linguistics, UCLA)

Title: Negative polarity items under ‘true’

Abstract: Strict negative polarity items (e.g., ‘in years’, ‘until tomorrow’) are acceptable in the scope of ‘not’ unless the negative polarity item and some “blocker” are in the scope of the same occurrence of ‘not’, and the negative polarity item is in the scope of the “blocker”. ‘It is true that’ is a “blocker” but ‘think’ is not (as illustrated by the unacceptability of ‘It isn’t true that Mary has had a good friend in years’ vs. the acceptability of ‘I don’t think that Mary has had a good friend in years’). We discuss what this fact implies about the syntax and semantics of ‘think S’ and ‘S is true/it is true that S’.

2:15 – 2:25 Commentary by Andrew Parisi (UConn)

2:25 – 2:50 Q&A

2:50 – 3:10 Break

3:10 – 4:00 Additional Talk: Richard Zach (Philosophy, UCalgary)

Title: General Rules for Sequent Calculus and Natural Deduction

Abstract: A general method for constructing proof systems for finite-valued logics, including sequent calculi and natural-deduction systems has long been known.  This method also applies in the case of two-valued logic in both the classical and intuitionistic case. For the usual connectives, it produces what has recently been investigated under the label “general elimination rules” of natural deduction.  These systems are not only complete, but also eliminate cuts and normalize. Reflecting on the general method also shows that a general formulas-as-types correspondence between introduction and general elimination rules on the one hand, and constructors and destructors in a generalized lambda calculus, on the other, can be systematically obtained.  For the conditional, e.g, the corresponding general constructor is just lambda abstraction, while the general destructor is the generalized application operator of Joachimski and Matthes.

4:00 – 4:30 Q&A