Operator arguments revisited

Journal article


Fritz, Peter, Hawthorne, John and Yli-Vakkuri, Juhani 2019. Operator arguments revisited. Philosophical Studies. 176 (11), pp. 2933 - 2959. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-018-1158-8
AuthorsFritz, Peter, Hawthorne, John and Yli-Vakkuri, Juhani
Abstract

Certain passages in Kaplan’s ‘Demonstratives’ are often taken to show that non-vacuous sentential operators associated with a certain parameter of sentential truth require a corresponding relativism concerning assertoric contents: namely, their truth values also must vary with that parameter. Thus, for example, the non-vacuity of a temporal sentential operator ‘always’ would require some of its operands to have contents that have different truth values at different times. While making no claims about Kaplan’s intentions, we provide several reconstructions of how such an argument might go, focusing on the case of time and temporal operators as an illustration. What we regard as the most plausible reconstruction of the argument establishes a conclusion similar enough to that attributed to Kaplan. However, the argument overgenerates, leading to absurd consequences. We conclude that we must distinguish assertoric contents from compositional semantic values, and argue that once they are distinguished, the argument fails to establish any substantial conclusions. We also briefly discuss a related argument commonly attributed to Lewis, and a recent variant due to Weber.

Keywordssemantics; modal logic; David Kaplan; tense logic; relativism; propositions
Year2019
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Journal citation176 (11), pp. 2933 - 2959
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
ISSN0031-8116
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-018-1158-8
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85053810295
Page range2933 - 2959
Research GroupDianoia Institute of Philosophy
Place of publicationNetherlands
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