Friday, March 16, 2007

Notes on Ludlow: Ch. 4

**WARNING: Technical Post**

In chapter 4, Ludlow supports a strong view about the relationship between language and reality - he seems to think that a correct semantic theory (in his sense) for a given language will tell us what there is. Here he seems to confuse what use of a given language would commit us to and what there actually is. Just because, for instance, use of English commits to me to the existence of, say, grobbles, does not mean that grobbles really exist. A semantic theory, then, might tell us some of the metaphysical commitments of a given language, but that on its own does not tell us anything yet about metaphysics itself. Take an axiom he gives, for instance:
(1') For all x, Val (x, snow) iff x = snow
Ludlow thinks that the truth of 1' commits us to the existence of snow. But that doesn't seem right at all - it only commits us to there being snow if we also suppose that 'snow' has a semantic value in Ludlow's sense, which it might not. Contra Ludlow, 1' doesn't appear to have any metaphysical commitments at all.

In the rest of the chapter, Ludlow applies these thoughts to events and names, etc. Though I won't go into details, I just didn't get his discussion of names at all. Maybe I would have to have read some of the papers he cites towards the end of that discussion.

Yet again, more later.

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