Project

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Russellianism

Applicant Bonardi Paolo
Number 158399
Funding scheme Advanced Postdoc.Mobility
Research institution Philosophisches Seminar Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education Institution abroad - IACH
Main discipline Philosophy
Start/End 01.02.2015 - 31.08.2017
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Keywords (8)

Substitution problem; Attitude reports; Russellian propositions; Gappy propositions; Genuinely empty names; Guises / modes of presentation; The unity of the proposition; Nonexistent objects

Lay Summary (Italian)

Lead
RUSSELLIANISMO
Lay summary

In sintesi

I filosofi analitici chiamano ciò che un enunciato significa e che un soggetto crede, asserisce, dubita, ecc. proposizione. Secondo molti, le proposizioni hanno una struttura e dei costituenti, i quali giocano il ruolo di contenuti semantici delle espressioni sub-enunciative. Alcuni filosofi, detti Russelliani, sostengono che i costituenti proposizionali sono individui e attributi, e che il contenuto semantico di un nome proprio è il suo referente; altri, detti Fregeani, affermano che tali costituenti sono modi di presentazione d’individui e attributi. Certi Russelliani ammettono l’esistenza dei modi di presentazione, ma sostengono che si tratta di entità non-semantiche e psicologiche.

 

Soggetto e obiettivo

Il presente progetto difende l’approccio Russelliano alle proposizioni e ai modi di presentazione ed ha un triplice obiettivo. Primo, esso mira a determinare le condizioni d’identità dei modi di presentazione, sfruttando le nozioni di coordinazione e co-riferimento interno dovute a Fine e Recanati. Secondo, si propone di determinare il contenuto semantico degli operatori enunciativi, e insieme di risolvere il problema dell’unità della proposizione Russelliana, introducendo speciali funzioni. Terzo, intende risolvere noti problemi riguardanti i nomi vuoti (nomi senza referente), sostenendo che essi esprimono gaps, concepiti come oggetti inesistenti e inseriti nell’ambito della logica classica.

 

Contesto socio-scientifico

 Le presenti proposte vorrebbero contribuire in modo originale al più vasto e ambizioso programma di ricerca inter-disciplinare volto al chiarimento della natura degli eventi mentali e allo sviluppo dell’intelligenza artificiale. 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 15.01.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Publications

Publication
Proper Names and “That”-Clauses: A Dilemma for Millians
Paolo Bonardi (2017), Proper Names and “That”-Clauses: A Dilemma for Millians, in Theoria (Sweden), 1-10.
Coordination, Understanding and Semantic Requirements
Paolo Bonardi, Coordination, Understanding and Semantic Requirements, in Miircea Dumitru (ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Kaplan’s Counterexample to Quine’s Theorem
Bonardi Paolo, Kaplan’s Counterexample to Quine’s Theorem, in Grazer Philosophische Studien.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Professor Nathan Salmon (UCSB) United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Professor Scott Soames (USC) United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Professor David Kaplan (UCLA) United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
European Congress of Analytic Philosophy Talk given at a conference Dismissing semantic coordination 22.08.2017 Munich, Germany Bonardi Paolo;
The New York Philosophy of Language Workshop Individual talk Modes of Presentation, Coordination, and Occurrences of Russellian Propositions 27.03.2017 NYU, United States of America Bonardi Paolo;
Colloquium Series Individual talk Millianism, nonexistence and classical logic 24.03.2017 Carleton University (Ottawa), Canada Bonardi Paolo;
Lecture in a graduate course Individual talk Modes of presentation, coordination and occurrences of Russellian propositions 23.03.2017 Carleton University (Ottawa), Canada Bonardi Paolo;
Departmental seminar Individual talk The Farewell to the Creatures of Darkness 13.12.2016 NYU Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Bonardi Paolo;
Departmental seminar Individual talk The Semantic Content of Empty Names and the Logic of Nonexistent Objects 08.12.2016 University of Hong Kong, Hongkong Bonardi Paolo;
Departmental seminar Individual talk Modes of Presentation, Coordination and Occurrences of Russellian Propositions 07.12.2016 Lingnan University, Hongkong Bonardi Paolo;
CAPE Lecture Individual talk The Semantic Content of Empty Names and the Logic of Nonexistent Objects 25.07.2016 University of Kyoto, Japan Bonardi Paolo;
Conference Individual talk Modes of Presentation, Coordination and Occurrences of Russellian Propositions 18.07.2016 Tokyo Metropolitan University, Japan Bonardi Paolo;
Departmental seminar Individual talk Modes of presentation, cognitive coordination and occurrences of Russellian propositions 28.04.2016 UNAM, Mexico Bonardi Paolo;
Thinking the Same: A Workshop on Mental Files Talk given at a conference The Identity of Modes of Presentation and Mental Files 15.09.2015 Istanbul, Turkey Bonardi Paolo;
Existence, Non-Existence and Intentionality Talk given at a conference Millianism, Nonexistence and Classical Logic 04.07.2015 Geneva, Switzerland Bonardi Paolo;
Graduate Seminar, Philosophy Department, UCSB Individual talk A Sinnless Solution to Frege's Puzzle 08.05.2015 UCSB, Santa Barbara (California), United States of America Bonardi Paolo;
2015 meeting of the American Philosophical Association (Central Division) Talk given at a conference A Sinnless Solution to Frege's Puzzle 18.02.2015 Saint Louis (Missouri), United States of America Bonardi Paolo;


Awards

Title Year
Short-Term postdoctoral fellowship (11 months, from January 2018) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science 2017
Invited member of the International Exchange Alumni, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State 2016

Abstract

FNS project - RussellianismMy research project defends an amended version of Nathan Salmon’s Russellianism, according to which: (T1) the semantic content of a simple sentence or a belief report is a Russellian proposition;(T2) the semantic content of a singular term - proper name, simple demonstrative, singular personal pronoun, etc. - is exhausted by its referent; (T3) the cognitive content of a sentence is richer than its semantic content, the former involving guises (i.e. modes of presentation). I aim to solve three problems that Salmon’s account encounters: (P1) What are guises and, more importantly, what are their criteria of individuation? (P2) What creates the unity of a semantically expressed Russellian proposition?(P3) What is the semantic content of an empty (singular) term? I wish to propose the following solutions to (P1), (P2) and (P3) respectively: (S1) Guises are either token or type mental (viz. belief) states. Mental states are individuated by token propositions, i.e. structured propositions whose constituents are maximal sets of positively coordinated occurrences of objects contained in Russellian propositions (so, modes of presentation ‘emerge’ from Russellian propositions and coordination). In particular, type mental states are individuated using Kit Fine’s notion of interpersonal/objective coordination, whereas token mental states are individuated using my own notion of intrapersonal/subjective coordination; (S2) The semantic contents of operators (connectives, modal operators, attitudinatives) are functions from propositions or propositional building blocks (individuals, properties, relations) to (more complex) propositions; exemplification is also a function from propositional building blocks to propositions; these special functions are the ‘glue’ that keeps together the constituents of the semantically expressed Russellian propositions; (S3) The semantic contents of empty terms are gaps; gaps are conceived as nonexistent objects; and the logic of nonexistent objects is a version of classical logic proposed by Graham Priest. Problems (P1)-(P3) are rather independent, and so are their solutions, (S1)-(S3): (P1)/(S1) is about cognition/psychology; (P2)/(S2) and (P3)/(S3) concern different aspects of semantics. Nonetheless, (S1)-(S3) sustain one another and are complementary parts of the very same framework, Salmon’s Russellianism.My research on (S1) is advanced. So, the bulk of the project will be on (S2) and (S3). I would intend to work on (S1) with Nathan Salmon (University of California, Santa Barbara), on (S2) with Jeffrey King (Rutgers University), on (S3) with Tim Crane (University of Cambridge) and, unofficially, with David Braun (University at Buffalo). Under their supervisions, I will improve four already written papers (three of them are enclosed in this FNS application) and I will write a considerable number of entirely new and more specific papers on (S1)-(S3). I aim to publish two articles per year in highly-ranked philosophical journals. For my Return Option, I have chosen Professor Hans-Johann Glock (University of Zurich). Under his supervision, I will write a book on (S1) or (S2) or (S3) (I will judge, at that point, which part of my research deserves to be presented in a book).
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