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|Title:||Types, Categories and Significance|
|Authors:||Sommerville, Stephen Thomas|
|Abstract:||In this dissertation, I confront a problem in the philosophy of language from an historical and systematic standpoint. The problem consists in explicating a concept of nonsignificance which can apply, inter alia, to the appraisal of philosophical assertions as category-mistaken or typeabsurd. Such appraisals often take the form: "To say 'a is F' is non-significant, because a is not the ~of thing which can be For not-F." Accordingly, the thesis begins in an examination of the historical and philosophical basis for Russell's theory of logical tvpes, with its concomitant classification of propositions into true, false or nonsignificant. In Part I, I seek to remedy a failing in past exegeses of the development of Russell's type theory which ignore Russell's demand that his "proper" solution to the paradoxes--the ramified theory of types-not simply provide a consistent logicist system; but should also be recommended by his other philosophical doctrines. I remedy this failing by showing that: (i) the source of inconsistency in Frege's logicism lies in his underlying semantic doctrines: complete definition and the treatment of extensions as objects; (ii) the genesis of Russell's ramified theory lies in his logic, epistemology and theory of meaning--viz: the connections between his Vicious Circle Principle, his Multiple Relation Theory of judgement, and his doctrine of incomplete symbols. (iii) in particular, the Multiple Relation Theory provided Russell with a foundation for the ramified theory which was undermined when Wittgenstein subjected it to two "paralysing" objections (hitherto, only partly reconstructed), within Wittgenstein's ongoing critique of the logical doctrines of PM. I reconstruct these criticisms and survey, in general, the critical background to the ramified theory resulting in the changes from the first to the second editions of PM. In concluding Part I, I anticipate the constructive enterprise of Part II in arguing that previous attempts to extend the application of type theory to meaningful predication as a whole have often failed through their insensitivity to contextual relativity and linguistic creativity. Nonetheless, I discuss two accounts--Wittgenstein's theory of formal concepts and Ryle's theory of categories--having features which I preserve in Part II. In addition, I argue against construing category-mistakes as ungrammatical or as false. My general contention through Part II is that category-mistaken significance-failures are best explicated within a theory of linguistic acts (broadly Austinian) . I support this contention by considering the circumstances of an utterance failing to yield a statement in context through its failure to express 'content' to an audience. This notion of 'content' is developed by recourse to those techniques of formal semantics which provide an articulation of structural and algebraic features of contexts, utterances and speech-acts in the interaction of which significance is appraised. The interpreted formal languages I develop borrow features from significance and context logics given in Routley and Goddard's The Logic of Significance and Context, (1973); though my approach to the semantics diverges markedly from theirs. The semantic structures I develop are recommended by their exhibiting systematic relations beaveen utterances, contexts and significance without demanding that category-mistaken predications be diagnosed on the basis of~ priori allocations to categories. They represent a category-mistaken predication in terms of a conflict between conditions for successfully talking about items of a type or sort, and for making a statement of such items, in context. Only in this way, it is argued, can a philosophical theory of meaning accommodate fully the richness, creativity and diversity of linguistic acts in context.|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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