[FOM] Unrestricted Quantification and Paradox

Bob Clark rc514 at york.ac.uk
Thu Jun 7 05:48:41 EDT 2007


A couple of points:

1. Differentiating different kinds of self-reference on the grounds of
whether they lead to paradox is just ad hoc. Question is, can we deal
with the paradoxes just by banning certain sentences (or propositions,
or, indeed, speech acts, if you like) as meaningless or otherwise
defective? Well, is there some principled way of distinguishing harmless
self-reference from paradoxical s-r? Seems not, as the example maybe
shows. Perhaps there is some way - but it better not be on the basis of
whether the s-r leads to paradox, or we've gained nothing.

2. (laureano luna wrote:)

> While asserting (1) I'm not simply carrying out a
> physical activity such as proferring sounds, in
> addition I perform an intellectual act of assertion.
> By means of the intellectual act I make reference to
> the physical act and its result (the sounds), but it
> is never the intellectual act referring to itself. Of
> course, the mere physical act refers to nothing (we
> wouldn't say that a parrot proferring (1) refers to
> anything).

Hmmm. 'In addition ...' That's fine as far as it goes. But it doesn't
follow that I perform two acts, one physical and one
intentional/intellectual. There's just one act with different aspects,
among which, in this case, being spoken out loud and (in addition)
referring to itself.

It's a bit like this: 'I promise ...' There's not two separate acts,
saying the words and promising - saying 'I promise ...' is what
promising is, given the right surroundings (not a parrot, not an example
quoted in an email on FOM, etc). Likewise with reference in speech.
Saying 'The cat ...' is (one way of) referring to the cat, again given
the right surroundings. There's not two separate acts there, (1)saying
'The cat ...' and (2)referring to the cat.

(To reiterate:) To say 'The cat sat on the mat' just is to refer to the
cat (and to say of it that it sat etc). Likewise, to say 'What I'm
saying is inaudible' just is to refer to what I'm saying (and to say of
it that it's inaudible).



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