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David Nicolas, Institut Jean Nicod, Paris
Sentences that exhibit sensitivity to order (e.g. “John and Mary arrived at school in that order” and “Mary and John arrived at school in that order”) present a challenge for the standard formulation of plural logic. In response, some authors have advocated new versions of plural logic based on more fine-grained notions of plural reference, such as serial reference (Hewitt 2012) and articulated reference (Ben-Yami 2013). The aim of this work is to show that sensitivity to order should be accounted for without altering the standard formulation of plural logic. In particular, sensitivity to order does not call for a more fine-grained notion of plural reference. We point out that the phenomenon in question is quite broad and that current proposals are not equipped to deal with the full range of cases in which order plays a role. Then we develop an alternative, unified account, which locates the phenomenon not in the way in which plural terms can refer, but in the meaning of special expressions such as “in that order” and “respectively”.
We have a variety of logic seminars and logic-friendly seminars at the CUNY Graduate Center.
Achille Varzi, Columbia University
Gunky Models for Atomistic Mereology
Abstract: It is customary practice to define ‘x is a composed of the ys’ as ‘x is a sum of the ys and the ys are pairwise disjoint (i.e., no two of them have any parts in common)’. This predicate has played a central role in the debate on the special composition question and on related metaphysical issues concerning the mereological structure of objects. In this talk I shall argue that its customary characterization is nonetheless inadequate. In particular, there are perfectly classical (even extensional) mereological models in which everything qualifies as composed of atoms although some elements in the domain are gunky, i.e., can be divided indefinitely into smaller and smaller proper parts. That is bad news for the mereological atomist. Even worse, I think, is the moral one should draw in relation to the broader picture, beginning with our understanding of mereological composition tout court. I will conclude with some remarks concerning the sort of mereology that is needed to block the problem.
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