Home Page of Dennis J. Darland's Philosophy
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My Philosophy

  1. General Remarks, Meta philosophy, and Method

    1. The ideas presented here are all preliminary. I am just working them out. I prefer to do it on web pages, as they have a greater persistence than email, etc.. I hope to get feedback and have been sending emails with links to these web pages. I hope to be able to improve them from feedback that I could not with just email (without the persistence), or publication in a journal (where I would for the most part have to produce a final product before getting feedback).
    2. On my method and a very brief introduction to Prolog.My Philosophical Method.(P)(Revised May 9/2011)
    3. Some background information.Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on "incomplete symbols".
  2. Favorite (or otherwise important) relevant quotations

    1. A favorite quote - relevant to my philosophy: "A proposition is just a symbol It is a complex symbol in the sense that it has parts which are also symbols: a symbol may be defined as complex when it has parts that are symbols. In a sentence containing several words, the several words are each symbols, and the sentence containing them is therefore a complex symbol in that sense. There is a good deal of importance to philosophy in the theory of symbolism, a good deal more that at one time I thought. I think the importance is almost always negative, i.e. the importance lies in the fact that unless you are fairly self-conscious about symbols, unless you are fairly aware of the relation of the symbol to what it symbolizes, you will find yourself attributing to the thing properties which only belong to the symbol. That, of course, is especially likely in very abstract studies such as philosophical logic, because the subject-matter that you are supposed to be thinking of is so exceedingly difficult and elusive that any person who has ever tried to think about it knows you do not think about it except perhaps once in six months for half a minute. The rest of the time you think about the symbols, because they are tangible, but the thing you are supposed to be thinking about is fearfully difficult and one does not often manage to think about it. The really good philosopher is the one who does once in six months think about it for a minute. Bad philosophers never do." ---- Bertrand Russell in "The Philosophy of Logical Atomism" - Volume 8 of The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell, page 166.
    2. From page xli of the CPBR volume 5 - in a letter of 13 June 1905 to Lucy Donnelly BR wrote:

      "For a long time I have been at intervals debating this conundrum: If two names or descriptions apply to the same object, whatever is true of the one is true or the other. Now George IV wished to know whether Scott was the author of Waverly. Hence, putting "Scott" on the place of "the author of Waverly", we find that George IV wished to know whether Scott was Scott, which implies more interest in the Laws of Thought than was possible for the First Gentleman of Europe. This little puzzle was quite hard to solve; the solution, which I have now found, throws a flood of light on the foundations of mathematics and the whole problem of the relation of thought to things."

      The solution was published on "On Denoting".

    3. From "On Denoting" - page 423 of CPBR volume 4, BR wrote:

      'According to the view which I advocate, a denoting phrase is essentially part of a sentence, and does not, like most single words, have any significance on its own account. If I say "Scott was a man", that is a statement of the form "x was a man", and it has "Scott" for its subject". But if I say "the author of Waverly was a man", that is not a statement of the form "x was a man", and does not have "the author of Waverly for its subject. ... , we may put, in place of "the author of Waverly was a man" the following: "One and only one entity wrote Waverly, and that one was a man".

      ... And speaking generally, suppose we wish to say that the author of Waverly had the property F, what we wish to say is equivalent to "One and only one entity wrote Waverly, and that one had the property F."

      ... "Scott was the author of Waverly" (i.e. "Scott was identical with the author of Waverly") becomes "One and only one entity wrote Waverly, and Scott was identical with that one"; or reverting to the wholly explicit form: "It is not always false of x that x wrote Waverly, that it is always true of y that if y wrote Waverly y is identical with x, and that Scott is identical with x."

    4. From Quine - Word and Object page 142:
      "(1) 'Tully was a Roman' is trochaic.
      When a singular term is used in a sentence purelt to specify its object, and the sentence is true of the object, then certainly the sentence will stay true when any other singular term is substituted that designates the same object. Here we have a criterion for what may be called purely referential position: the position musy be subject to the substituitivity of identity. That position of 'Tully' in (1) is not purely referential is reflected in the falsity of what we get by supplanting 'Tully' in (1) by 'Cicero'.

  3. New (revised post 2014) Philosophy

    1. 4/1/2014
      There have been MAJOR changes to the details of my philosophy, although I think that the general thrust was correct. It will take some time to re access my ideas and rewrite them. (3/30/2014)
    2. I am experimenting with color and css before embarking on writing my new ideas.
    3. I have also reorganized this page with that goal in mind.
    4. The appearance may be changing a lot for a while.
    5. I need to make a revision to my theory of belief.
    6. According to the definition I had been giving (pre 2014 below) , "Tom believed Cicero denounced Catiline" would be false if Catiline had never existed. I mean Tom couldn't believe it - not just that Cicero couldn't denounce Catiline, if Catiline didn't exist. I am assuming you can make true statements about the past that no longer exists - but that is not the problem here. I want now to say that statement is true if there is a relation of belief only between Tom and the symbols CICERO, DENOUNCED AND CATILINE. But Tom's belief can only be true if the corresponding objects Cicero, denounced and Catiline exist and are in the correct relation. They cannot be in that relation if they don't exist. It can be made sense of the the theory of descriptions, but will be false. But on the my old analysis of belief, the symbol relation would fail, so it would be false that Tom believed it on that analysis. Now, I maintain what I called the symbol_r relation before is all that is needed for belief. This close to one of two positions Russell examines in paper 14 of the CPBR, Volume 5 (page 452) ,"On the Nature of Truth" [1907]. (Russell uses the word "idea" where I use the word "symbol"). "Thus a belief, i this view be adopted, will not consist of one idea with a complex object, but will consist of several related ideas. That is, if we believe (say) that A is B, we shall have the ideas of A and B, and these idea will be related in a certain manner; but we shall not have a single complex idea which can be described as the idea "A is B". Later on page 453: "Beliefs are then complexes of ideas, to which complexes of objects of the objects of the ideas may or may not correspond." When they do correspond, the beliefs are true, and are beliefs in facts; when they do not, the beliefs are erroneous, and beliefs in nothing." I would call this a correspondence theory of truth. But the reason we believe it is that our ideas, cohere when we take it seriously. We can make predictions that often come true. Thus there is evidence that there are objects corresponding to our ideas. BR changed his mind on this in 1910. See page xxxvii in CPBR volume 5. He then thought the beliefs were relations of the believer to Cicereo, denounced and Catiline. (not ideas of them) Thus he changed from my new opinion to what had been my old opinion - or something close to that has happened. I need to study why he changed his views - in the opposite direction that I have. On my view the symbols have relations to the corresponding objects. These relations assume the proper mental capacity, and the correct experiences. I had the view previously that the symbol relation was intrinsic to the belief. But that makes it impossible to have beliefs about what never existed. (And I mean beliefs at all - not just that you couldn't have true beliefs. This problem BR would also have in his 1910 theory - or so it appears to me.
    7. Definition of Belief and True Belief (4/3/2014)
      According to the definition of belief (or judgment), I am now adopting (much like BR's of 1907), a belief is a relation of a person to symbols (or ideas). The belief is true, not only of the belief exists, but in addition, symbol relations hold between the symbols and the objects they symbolize, and also those objects themselves are in the correct corresponding relation.
      Thus Tom believes "Cicero denounced Catiline" consists of a relation between Tom, DENOUNCED, CICERO, and CATILINE. (Here DENOUNCED, CICERO and CATILINE are symbols belonging to Tom). If this belief is true, then in addition, There is a symbolic relation between CICERO and Cicero, CATILINE and Catiline, and DENOUNCED and denounced. And also the indicated relation between denounced, Cicero and Catiline. If Tom communicated this He would create a relation between the words "denounced", "Cicero", and Catiline". There would be a different relation, for Tom, between "denounced" and DENOUNCED", "Cicero" and CICERO, and "Catiline" and CATILINE. If Bill heard this, he would understand it if he had corresponding relations between the words, symbols and objects. That is Bill would need symbols (not the same as Tom's) DENOUNCED_2, CICERO_2, and CATILINE_2. These would have been learned by Bill socially, as Tom learned them. (Plus, of course, the appropriate learning capability.) So Bill hears a relation between "denounced", "Cicero" and "Catiline". If he believes what Tom said, this creates a relation between Bills symbols DENOUNCED_2, CICERO_2, and CATILINE_2. And from their similar experience Bill would also have the symbol relations between DENOUNCED_2 and denounced, CICERO_2 and Cicero, and CATILINE_2 and Catiline. For the symbol relation here, could be substituted a definite description. The object (O) for which symbol (S) is meant by person (P). Now, if object O intended by a definite description (or symbol or idea) in a sentence does not exist, a sentence containing it is still significant, but false (with usual scope applied). But Tom or Bill can still have a belief relation to the symbols (or ideas or description)). If the corresponding objects do not exist (we are speaking non-temporally here). the beliefs must be false. If we had made the beliefs a relation to the objects themselves, then it would have to be false that the beliefs even existed.
    8. On Opacity (4/3/2014)
      From Quine _Word and Object_ page 145: "A construction that may be transparent or opaque is the belief construction, 'a believes that p' Thus suppose that though (7) Tom believes that Cicero denounced Catiline, he is ill-informed enough to think that the Cicero of the orations and the Tully of De Senectute were two. Faced with the denial of 'Tully denounced Catiline', we are perhaps prepared to affirm (7) and to deny that Tom believes that Tully denounced Catiline. If so, the position of 'Cicero' in (7) is not purely referential. But the position of 'Cicero' in the part 'Cicero denounced Catiline' , considered apart, is purely referential. So 'believes that' (so conceived) is opaque." I believe this and the other arguments I have seen (say Stich on Folk Psychology and also Quine concerning modal contexts) can be handled by my analysis of belief.
      Now, upon my analysis of belief, Tom's belief that "not Tully denounced Catiline", consists of a relation between Tom and his ideas DENOUNCED, TULLY, and CATILINE. Note that although Cicero = Tully, Tom does not know this. And TULLY not = CICREO. Those are distinct symbols for Tom. (don't worry about the word 'not' yet).
    9. Expressing Equality (4/3/2014)
      The belief that Bill believed 'Cicereo = Tu;;y' however would be a relation between Bill, EQUALS, TULLY_2, and CICERO_2. To express the inequality of TULLY_2, and CICERO_2, you need symbols for the symbols (for the people) instead of symbols of people. lets use '&' before a symbol to form a symbol of a symbol. (This is similar to taking the address of a variable in the computer languages c or c++). Thus Bill believes TULLY_2 differs from CICERO_2 would be a relation between Bill, DIFFERS, &TULLY_2, and &CICERO_2.
    10. Symbols without corresponding object (4/3/2014)
      As I am using the word "symbol" there can be symbols such as SANTA_CLAUS, without a corresponding object, e.g. Santa Clause.
    11. Symbol for relation different from relation (4/11/2014)
      In "The Nature of Truth" (1905) (written before "On Denoting" - he is still maintaining there is a sort of Being besides what Exists), CPBR, volume 4, page 494, BR discussed the fact that when we say the earth goes round the sun, our idea of the earth does not go round our idea of the sun. This is true - the symbol ORBITS is not equal the the relation orbits. (rather it stands for it).
    12. Radical Incompleteness of Propositions (4/11/2014)
      I see no way to define propositions except as an equivalence class of beliefs which are synonymous. (More accurately things we understand - we need not believe or disbelieve them). (I know Quine pointed out problems with synonymy - but I think they can be answered). The problem is that it would seem there are many facts for which no corresponding belief exists. This is correct. There are facts for which no corresponding proposition exists. This is true even in pure mathematics. There are non-computable (hence inexpressible) real numbers. In fact, 0% of facts have corresponding propositions (The number of facts is a larger infinity.). But propositions are true when there is a fact corresponding to beliefs in that equivalence class. There are propositions which imply there are facts we do not know or even believe or disbelieve or understand, but these propositions need not imply the existence of the the propositions corresponding to these facts.
    13. I think BR's 1905 argument against any form of correspondence theory of truth is wrong.(4/12/2014)
      BR argues in "The Nature of Truth" (1905), CPBR, volume 4, pages 493-494"
      "But even supposing some other definition of correspondence with reality could be found, a more general argument against definitions of truth would still hold good. An idea is to be true when it corresponds with reality, i.e. when it is true that it corresponds with reality, i.e. when the idea that it corresponds with reality corresponds with reality, and so on. This will never do."
      First, it seems that this argument could be made against any definition of truth - not just correspondence theories.
      Second, we do not check for the truths in this manner - even if the definition is true. That is a separate epistemological question.
      Third, I believe BR later adopted a correspondence theory and thus must have, himself, abandoned this argument.
  4. Post 2014 philosophy in prolog

    1. Nothing Yet
  5. Remarks of mine on other philosophers, etc.

    1. I have done an Anatomy of a proof in Principia Mathematica
    2. Reaction to Stich.(P) (March 22, 2013)
    3. Reaction to Fodor.(P) (July 14, 2013)
    4. Fodor, me and Propositional Attitudes (P) (July 14, 2013)
    5. On Kripke (P) (revised December 19, 2007)
    6. On Landini on LW's criticism of BR's multiple relation theory of belief (P) (revised December 18, 2007)
  6. Remarks of other philosophers on my philosophy

    1. A Discussion with W. M.(H)
  7. Old (pre 2014) Philosophy

    1. Important Revision of Main Ideas on Telling, Belief, and Truth(March 5-7, 2013)
    2. New Ideas on Analysis of Sense Language(March 7, 2013)
    3. Important Note on definition of belief and opacity.(P)(revised May 9, 2011)
    4. The Illusion of Opacity (July 21, 2013)
    5. Determinism vs Free Will (October 3, 2013)
    6. Intelligent Goal Directed Systems (October 4, 2013)
    7. On going on the same way.(P)(revised May 13, 2011)
    8. Note on identity beliefs.(P)(revised May 10, 2011)
    9. Belief_r in plain English - As best I can explain.(P)(revised May 9, 2011)
    10. A revision to my definition of belief On Variables(P)(added Sept. 26, 2007)(revised May 10, 2011)
    11. A sample of a complex belief(P)(revised May 10, 2011)
    12. Note on definite descriptions and opacity.(P)(Revised May 10, 2011)
    13. Note on why opacity matters.(P)(revised May 11, 2011)
    14. Note on the logic of belief.(P)(revised May 13, 2011)
    15. Note on Symbolism(P)(revised May 13, 2011)
    16. Note on Quantifying into belief contexts.(P)(revised May 9, 2011).
    17. On Intensional Functions of Functions(P) (revised May 13, 2011)
    18. Note on Understanding.(P)(revised May 9, 2011)
    19. Note on what Propositions are.(P) (revised May 9, 2011)
    20. More on Intension.(P)(revised May 16, 2011)
    21. On Truth and Wittgenstein"s Objection to Russell"s Theory of Knowledge. On Truth.(P)(revised May 9, 2011)
    22. On Explaining Symbols(P).(revised May 16, 2011)
    23. On Symbols and Existence.(P)(revised May 16, 2011)
    24. PM Definitions of "the" and classes (P)(revised May 16, 2011)
    25. The trouble with Incomplete Symbols.(P)(revised May 16, 2011)
    26. Predicates, Intension, and Induction: Grue.(P)(revised May 16, 2011)
  8. Pre 2014 philosophy in prolog

    1. My philosophy in Prolog.(P)(revised May 16, 2011)
    2. More of my philosophy in Prolog.(P)(revised May 16, 2011)
    3. More Philosophy - including Perception in Prolog(T)
    4. Principia Mathematica Class Definitions in Prolog(P)(revised May 16, 2011)