B.Phil. Seminar Volker Halbach and Gabriel Uzquiano
Philosophical Logic and Philosophy of Language

Michaelmas term 2008

Thursday 11-13 (even weeks), Faculty Lecture Room, 10 Merton Street.

These four classes in philosophical logic are primarily for BPhil students who are taking the Logic and Language option. Each week we will discuss one reading, which everyone is expected to have read. Discussion will be introduced by Volker Halbach in week 2, by Gabriel Uzquiano in week 8 and by students in the remaining weeks. Student introductions should be short (10-15 minutes) summarizing the main ideas and possibly raising a question or two.

Week 2

Main text: Saul Kripke: "Outline of a Theory of Truth", Journal of Philosophy 72 (1975), 690-712, reprinted in Robert L. Martin, Recent essays on truth and the Liar paradox, Clarendon Press and Oxford University Press, 1984.

Kripke's paper revived the discussion on the liar paradox and there is an enormous literature building on Kripke's work. Here are some further readings:

McGee, V., 1990, Truth, Vagueness, and Paradox — An Essay on the Logic of Truth, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing ( a very good account of the technical material hinted at by Kripke ).

Week 4.

Another important topic in the theory of truth is deflationism. Generally speaking, deflationism is the doctrince that truth is an insubstantial notion.

Main text: Volker Halbach: "How Innocent is Deflationism?", Synthese 126 (2001), 167-194

Shapiro, Stewart, 1998, “Proof and Truth: Through Thick and Thin”, Journal of Philosophy 95 (10): 493–521 (Shapiro started the discussion on conservativeness with this paper attacking mainly Field's account of deflationism)

Ketland, Jeffrey, 1999, “Deflationism and Tarski’s Paradise” Mind 108 (429): 69–94. (Independently of Shapiro Ketland published a paper attacking deflationism using arguments similar to Shapiro's arguments)

Field, Hartry, 1999, “Deflating the Conservativeness Argument”, Journal of Philosophy 96: 533–40. (Field's reply to Shapiro)

Shapiro, Stewart, 2002, “Deflation and Conservation”, Principles of truth (Volker Halbach and Leon Horsten, editors), Frankfurt a.M.: Dr. Hänsel-Hohenhausen, 103-128 (Shapiro's replay to Field).

Week 6.

Main text: John Etchemendy: "Tarski on Truth and Logical Consequence", Journal of Symbolic Logic 53 (1988), 51-79.

Week 8.

Main text: Vann McGee: "Everything" in Sher, G. Tieszen, R. (eds.) Between Logic and Intuition: Essays in Honor of Charles Parsons. (2000) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Uzquiano and Rayo: Absolute Generality, Oxford: Oxford University Press. November 2006. (an anthology with many important contributions)