Friday, July 04, 2003

License plate frame: Protect America with guns -- not rocks.

Today: Tired, distracted -- difficult to concentrate. Still sleeping, eating badly; did get hair (them all) cut, though. Saw a great, great movie: Where Do We Go From Here?, 194?, dir. Gregory Ratoff, w/ songs by Weill & Ira Gershwin (which I've got the demo versions of) and incidental music by David Raskin. The kind of satire on American myth that, I'd bet, only immigrants (even extremely assimilationist ones like Weill) could come up with.

From Rosen's paper on Brandom: "Brandom suggests that the meaningful use of non-modal language presupposes the legitimacy of modal notions....To a first approximation, the word 'red' means what it does because claims of the form 'x is red' *exclude* claims of the form 'x is green' and *entail* claims of the form 'x is colored.' Doubts about the legitimacy of the modal idiom are therefore self-defeating." [According to Rosen, this argument has roots in Kant and Sellars.]

I'm not sure about 'exclude,' but the 'entails' clause suggests that to speak of logical consequence is to implicitly speak of necessity. ('A entails B' couldn't just 'happen' to be true.) I suppose that 'exclude' could be read as 'entails that claims of the form ... are false' or, if you don't want to include a semantic notion, 'x is not green.' (And why one would opt for one over the other is itself interesting.) What, then, to make of logical truths: "X is red if x is red." The non-logical terms in this don't seem to have much to do with its entailing or excluding other statements. Do the syntcategorematic terms? On some views, the special status of "x is red if x is red" has to do with the fact that its truth-grounds have little to do with 'red,' which we can see by the fact that we get something true (on the same grounds) whatever predicate we replace 'red' with. Modal claims might be made about this (e.g. *necessarily* we always get a truth by rotating in a diff. predicate), but that's not the same as saying that the 'meaning of the sentence' has to do with its entailments.

Although: It has looked to me, teaching elementary logic, that certain theorems just express something about our committment to what we take to be reasonable ways to argue. In fact, you don't even need the inference rules to prove the material conditional theorems (which embody features of the truth-functional reading we're to give to conditional assertions in the symbolic language), but only the acceptance of conditional derivation. It would be interesting to take this up with Kaplan.

Tomorrow: Groceries, trade in a few promos (buy Portishead, Brokeback, maybe something else?), get to work somewhere [finding the right cafe is a struggle], try to ignore various tiny tasks/distractions. Might not do anything in the evening. (Curiously uninterested in the fact that it's July 4.)

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?