Institut Jean Nicod

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Modal Logic, Direct Reference and the Primacy of Ontology

Attention : exceptionnellement, cette séance se tiendra dans la salle
de conférences IV au 24 rue Lhomond (75005 Paris), près de l’Institut
Jean-Nicod

 

"Modal Logic, Direct Reference and the Primacy of Ontology"
by M. Oreste Fiocco, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, University of California, Irvine

There is an old dispute concerning the very intelligibility of *quantified
modal logic*. I argue that underlying this dispute, which is ostensibly
logical, is a metaphysical issue. This is the issue of *individuation*,
of what makes a thing the very thing it is. Since the rise of *direct
reference* accounts of the semantics of natural language, such accounts
have been challenged by the so-called *qua-problem*, which is supposed to
show that a pure theory of direct reference is untenable. I argue that
underlying this putative problem, which is ostensibly semantical, is a
metaphysical issue. Again, this is the issue of individuation. These
results indicate that insight into—even resolution of—disputes in the
philosophy of logic and in semantics can be obtained by first settling
fundamental ontological questions ; thus, *ontology has a certain primacy*.
The results also indicate that there are unifying ties between what the
world is like in itself and how conscious beings think and speak about it.
Hence, ontology determines basic features of intentionality.


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