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The Quandary about xorlo


posts: 2388

 


 
> pc:
> > --- And Rosta wrote:
> > > pc:
> > > > --- And Rosta wrote:
> > > > > "I went to the bathroom/doctor" is true
> if
> > > > > there
> > > > > is a bathroom/doctor that I went to. So
> why
> > > > > does
> > > > > English say "the"? It is not
> referentially
> > > > > specific
> > > >
> > > > But of course it is: the one I went to is
> > > quite
> > > > specific and is the one being referred to
> in
> > > this
> > > > case. To be sure, who it is may not be
> > > > important, etc., but it is still there.
> > >
> > > No, specificity affects truthconditions,
> > > because
> > > reference must be fixed before
> truthconditions
> > > apply. But the 'reference' of "the doctor"
> is
> > > irrelevant here; so long as I went to a
> doctor,
> > > "I went to the doctor" is true, and not
> > > contingent
> > > on which doctor "the doctor" refers to.
> >
> > True, it doesn't depend on that but that does
> not
> > mean that there is not a doctor that I went
> to
> > and who makes the claim true. We may not
> know or
> > care who it is but he is there nonetheless.
> Why
> > isn't he what is referred to by "the doctor."
>
> > Otherwise it just collapses to "a doctor,"
> which
> > is all right, too, — and still doesn't get
> any
> > generic doctors involved.
>
> That was my point: it does seem to be truth-
> conditionally equivalent to "a doctor", so why
> *"the"*? — Answer is that it refers to the
> generic
> doctor, which in nonopaque contexts is
> truthconditionally equivalent to "a doctor".

Well, that presupposes the existence of "generic
doctors," the very point at issue. I find that
it is easier to think that English "the" is just
used in a lot more ways than the simple list we
have given. Notice the ambiguity of, for example
"The doctor is a peculiar academic," which may
refer either to the unusual situation of the
medical faculty at the U or to the idiosyncracies
of Oliver Wendell Holmes the Elder. That is, it
can be used in generalities as well as
specificities, contrary to what the logician
might like to think. (And, by the way,
generalities are not claims about generic
individuals, but generic claims about ordinary
individuals, cf. averages, typicals, and the
like.)

 

> > > > > and nor is there *literally* even only
> one
> > > > > individual
> > > > > that could satisfy the description (cf.
> > > "the
> > > > > priest
> > > > > that christened me" — "the" because
> only
> > > one
> > > > > priest
> > > > > christened me).
> > > >
> > > > Yes, I might have gone to another doctor
> just
> > > as
> > > > effectively, but I did go to this one.
> > >
> > > That's a fact about the world, not about
> the
> > > meaning
> > > of the sentence.
> >
> > I thought the meaning of the sentence was a
> fact
> > about the world. I don't get the point here.
>
> > You may not know or care who the doctor was,
> but
> > tht doesn't mean I am not referring to him
> > (indeed, I may not knpow or care either).
>
> The meaning of the sentence is a set of
> truthconditions, not some particular state of
> affairs
> that happens to satisfy those truthconditions.
> If
> I in fact did not go to the doctor at all, the
> meaning of the sentence is still the same (--
> but
> the sentence becomes false).

Yes. And so? There is then no doctor I go to
and so none that I refer to, but that is just the
way things happen in false sentences.

> > > > Getting a coherent notion of what the
> > > mumbo-jumbo
> > > > is about would help. As far as I can
> tell,
> > > there
> > > > is nothing in Linguistics that covers
> this
> > > issue
> > > > in a relevant way.
> > >
> > > I remember having had this discussion
> before,
> > > so
> > > won't repeat it now.
> > Me too. I think it might help to get this
> round
> > (about the fourth with this group and
> something
> > like the tenth for the last 30 years (and a
> > couple more I know of in the previous 10) off
> to
> > a better start if we settled one question
> first.
> > There is a pattern of dealing with these
> issues
> > that goes back at least to the mid 1960s. It
> has
> > changed in details within each of the logical
> > languages but has remained constant in spirit
> and
> > broad construction. My position is a current
> > version of that tradition. Is your objection
> to
> > my position or the tradition of which it is a
> > part? In either case is the objection that
> it
> > doesn't work in fact or that it doesn't work
> in
> > principle. Or is the objection that, though
> it
> > works it is too messy or too hard or some
> other
> > extrinsic criterion? For the record, my
> > objection to your views (in so far as they
> are
> > more than examples and unsupported claims) is
> > that it doesn't work in principle and also
> that
> > it is too messy (and yet too simpleminded).
>
> If the tradition you mean is "propositionalism"
>
> — handling a sumti in an opaque sumti place
> by filling the sumti place with a proposition
> and quantifying the sumti within the
> proposition
> — then my objection is that it seems not to
> work at all for some sumti places (e.g. nelci2
> and pixra2), and that for other sumti places
> (e.g. nitcu2, casnu2) it seems more like a
> work-
> around, not capturing the true meaning of the
> selbri. Besides this objection to
> propositionalism,
> though, I think there should be a way to refer
> to Mr Broda — at least for those speakers who
> find it useful to do so.

Well, I think that one of the virtues of
propositionalism (I like the name, despite the
implications of being a crackpot scheme and the
fact that, at least as matters now stand --
though I don't see the change as a problem --
other absrtactions than propositions may be used,
depending on the particular predicate involved)
is that it brings out features that misterism
leave out (as well as actually working). We do
not just need a doctor — there are lots of them
and yet our need is unfilled — we need a doctor
is in certain relation to us, that is, we need a
situation, an event — or possibly a proprosition
being true. And the existence of the doctor is
part of that event or whatever, not something
that relies on the way the world is or even might
be. Similarly, we cannot (certain kinds of
abstract painting aside — and those can be
handled in another way) just picture a unicorn,
the picture is of a unicorn doing something,
however generic.
Admittedly, {nelci2} is less obvious, but not
problematic enough to throw over the many virtues
of the general pattern. {casnu2} is a proposition
and that seems to be what it should be, given the
nature of discussions. I suppose there can be
aesthetic disagreements but not any real problems
-- except that we need to make our English
definitions of some Lojban predicates a bit
clearer: reading some of the standard
translations with the Lojban objects sounds odd,
even when the situation — the truth-conditions
if you will — clearly work out just right.

 
> > > > > > And, insofar as I can get clear
> > > > > > statements of what happens, the Dr.
> Dr.
> > > > > reading
> > > > > > simply will not help: I don't need
> Dr.
> > > Dr.
> > > > > but a
> > > > > > real doctor and Dr. Dr. is not even a
> > > doctor,
> > > > > let
> > > > > > alone the one I need
> > > > >
> > > > > Dr Dr is a real doctor and is the one
> that
> > > is
> > > > > needed.
> > > >
> > > > Not so on the first point (since there is
> no
> > > > particular doctor I need and, if Dr. Dr.
> is a
> > > > doctor he is a particular one).
> > >
> > > Dr Dr is all doctors.
> >
> > Say what? I don't need all doctors either,
> just
> > one. And a concrete one at that.
>
> JohnPC is all slices of JPC, and gold is all
> bits
> of gold, but if I need JPC or I need gold, that
> doesn't mean I need all slices of JPC or all
> bits of gold.

Well, it is arguable whether JohnPC is all the
slices or something else or something more (the
last is the usual claim) and I suppose the same
could be said of gold and probably Dr. Dr.,
though much less clearly. Certainly in the
JohnPC case what I need is all the current
slice(s) and I don't need all the current doctors
or all the current gold. Of course, I would say
that I don't need any of the slices, just some
event in which JohnPC participates — even if
only as a slice. And, curiously, I am not sure
that I would object to an event in which Dr.Dr.
participates. But that will only mean that the
solution lies in propositionalism and, given
that, things can be handled with a simpler
ontology or, at least, a more Lojbanic one.
message truncated

 


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