Pluralism Seminar Series

The Pluralism(s) Project

The research project.

Principal investigators: Sebastiano Moruzzi, Paolo Leonardi (Cogito Bologna unit), Massimiliano Carrara, Vittorio Morato (Cogito Padoa unit), Andrea Sereni (Pavia unit)

Associate investigators: Stefano Caputo (Università di Sassari), Filippo Ferrari (NIP - University of Aberdeen), Eugenio Orlandelli (Università di Bologna), Michele Palmira (Mc Gill University), Eva Picardi (Università di Bologna) Matteo Plebani (Università della Basilicata), Andrea Strollo (Scuola Normale di Pisa), Giorgio Volpe (Università di Bologna).

PhD Students: Francesco Spada (Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia), Luca Zanetti (Università di Bologna)

The seminar series will deal with different kinds of pluralism (alethic, logical, ontological and epistemic), each of which claims that a certain property (e.g truth) can take a plurality of forms.

The first part of the seminar will be devoted to truth pluralism since it is the kind of pluralism (among the ones mentioned before) that has received more attention in the literature.

In the second part of the seminar we will investigate the other kinds of pluralism.

Our research aim will be to establish whether there are connections between these different kinds of pluralism.

This seminar series is meant to be a preparation for the Cogito group for two international pluralism workshops in Bologna organized together with the Veritas research centre (Yonsei Univversity, Seul) (a third one will possibly take place in late Autumn 2015 related to the phil math and logic):

Schedule

(provisional)

Seminar 1 15/10/2014 Planning Session (discussion leader: Sebastiano Moruzzi)

Seminar 2 22/10/2014 reading seminar on M. Lynch Truth as One and Many chapters 1-3 (discussion leader: Sebastiano Moruzzi)

Seminar 3 29/10/2014 M. Lynch Truth as One and Many chapters 4-5 (discussion leader: Sebastiano Moruzzi)

Seminar 4 5/11/2014 M. Lynch Truth as One and Many chapters 5-6 (discussion leader: Sebastiano Moruzzi)

Seminar 5 12/11/2014 reading seminar on C. Wright "Truth: A Traditional Debate Reviewed" (discussion leader: Filippo Ferrari)

Seminar 6 12/11/2014 reading seminar on C. Wright “A plurality of pluralisms” (discussion leader: Luca Zanetti)

Seminar 7 3/12/2014 Research talk: S. Caputo "A problem for Alethic Functionalism"

Seminar 8 10/12/2014 Philosophy of Language Seminar on Pluralism 8 - The Problem of Mixed Compounds and Mixed Inference

Seminar 9 17/12/2014 Philosophy of Language Seminar on Pluralism 9 - research talk of Andrea Strollo

Seminar 10 21/1/2015 Reading of Douglas Edwards "Truth, Winning, and Simple Determination Pluralism"

Seminar 11 28/1/2015 Reading of Gila Sher "Forms of correspondence: the intricate route from thought to reality"

Seminar 12 4/2/2015 Douglas Edwards's talk in webconference on 'Truthmaking and the Nature of Truth'

Seminar 13 18/2/2015 Reading of Pascal Engel "Alethic Functionalism and the Norm of Belief"

Seminar 14 18/2/2015 Reading of Pascal Engel "Alethic Functionalism and the Norm of Belief"

Seminar 15 25/2/2015 Planning session: phase II pluralism project

Seminar 16 11/3/2015 Ontological pluralism

Seminar 17 25/3/2015 Reading of Cotnoir and Edwards "From truth pluralism to ontological pluralism and back"

Seminar 18 1/4/2015 Reading of Pedersen "Pluralism x 3"

Seminar 19 8/4/2015 Michele Palmira's talk on pluralism on singular thought

Seminar 20 28/4/2015 Reading of Beall and Restall Logical Pluralism - 1

Seminar 21 4/5/2015 Reading of Beall and Restall Logical Pluralism - 2

Further seminars are planned (see calendar).

Venue

The seminar venue will be the University of Bologna: aula rossa, Department of Philosophy and Communication, via Azzo Gardino 23, Bologna.

For those unable to attend the seminar, there will be the possibility to connect online (please send email to sebastiano DOT moruzzi AT unibo.it) at http://webconference.unibo.it/cogito

Pluralism Project

Different natures of pluralism

Unsurprisingly, pluralism can come in different forms.

Given a predicate or relational expression φ we can distinguish at least four pluralist
theses:

  1. Property pluralism there is more than one φ-attribute (property or relation)
  2. Predicate pluralism there is more than one φ-predicate or relational expression
  3. Semantic pluralism there is more than one φ-meaning
  4. Cognitive pluralism there is more than one φ-concept

Let's call this dimension of variation of pluralism the φ-nature dimension - the dimension that identifies the kind of pluralistic claim on φ.

If we represent the nature with a variable, say ν, we can formulate the fully general schema of a pluralistic thesis as:

[P] There is more than one φ-ν

Research question 1

Are there entailments between the φ-nature dimension of variation of the pluralist theses?

Different contents of pluralism

Quite trivially, given the nature of a pluralistic claim, the claim can be about different issues by instantiating φ with different predicates - we call this dimension of variation φ-content dimension. The φ-content dimension can give rise to substantially different philosophical theses.

The present project will explore four variations of the φ-content dimension:

  1. Alethic pluralism: there is more than one truth-ν
  2. Logical pluralism : there is more than one deductive consequence relation-ν
  3. Ontological pluralism: there is more then one existence-ν
  4. Epistemic pluralism: there is more than one justification/knowledge-ν

For each of these contents, the pluralistic theses can be articulated at least in four different way according to which value along the φ-nature dimension is chosen - i.e. according to the value of ν.

Research question 2

Are there entailments between the ν-content dimension of variation of the pluralist theses?

Radical and moderate pluralism

A pluralistic thesis can also be characterized on the basis of the degree of its pluralistic claim.

  1. Radical pluralism:φ is instantiated along the ν dimension in more than one way, but none of these ways is instantiated in all the objects of the domain.
  2. Moderate pluralism:φ is instantiated along the ν dimension in more than one way, and that one of these ways is instantiated in all the objects of the domain.

The case of Truth Pluralism

At least in the recent debate, truth pluralism has been conceived a property pluralism thesis. Following Pedersen we will define truth-pluralism as the thesis that

[TP] There is more than one truth-property.

In the debate both moderate and radical forms of truth-property pluralism have been proposed.

Research question 3

Seminar Series

Do the other values of ν help a truth-property pluralism in accounting for the scope problem?

The connections between property-pluralisms

In the recent debate on pluralism much has been published on alethic pluralism and its difficulties. Much less attention (though now it is growing more and more) has been devoted to the question on whether there are connections between truth property pluralism and the other varieties of attribute (property or relation) pluralism (i.e. ontological, logical and epistemic pluralism).

The present project intends to investigate whether or not there are such connections:

Research question 4

Are there entailments between the different varieties of a certain attribute (property or relation)-pluralism?

The motivation for pluralism

Property truth pluralism finds its main motivation in the apparent diversity of the ways in which a sentence (or proposition) can be true. A mathematical sentence, if true, seems to be true in a way totally different from, say, an ethical statement. Or, again, whereas the truth of a descriptive statements about physical objects seems to be somehow due to some sort of correspondence with reality, nothing of this sort seems to be the case in the discourse about the comic.

The appearance of the diversity of the ways in which a sentence (or proposition) can be true is known as the scope problem.

By claiming that truth is grounded in different properties, property truth pluralism offers a direct solution to the scope problem.

Research question 5

Are the proposals of the other attribute (property or relation) pluralisms (i.e. ontological, logical and epistemic) informed by the scope problem?

Pluralism and its competitors

Consider again truth property pluralism. The pressure to adopt this kind of pluralistic position is directly proportial to the pressure we have to dismiss a deflationist stance on truth (there is no substantial truth property) and an expressivist analysis of the discourse (the discourse is not truth-apt). In other words truth property pluralism has deflationism and expressivism as its main competitors.

To see why deflationism is a competitor of truth property pluralism consider the following thought: If truth is no genuine property at all, than the scope problem is itself deflated since the appearance of different ways of being true must be somehow deceptive.
A sentence's alethic profile is exhausted by the disquotional schema (and by the equivalence schema for a proposition), hence truth can easily be predicated across the different areas of discourse.

Now consider expressivm: if an expressivist analysis is successful on a given area of discourse, this area will be no longer a candidate for truth property pluralism since it would not be truth-apt. The less we have truth-apt areas, the more the scope problem loses its bite against a truth property monist proposal.

The problem of mixed compounds and mixed inferences

Literature on the problem of mixed compounds and mixed inferences

Tappolet (1997)‘‘Mixed Inferences: A Problem
for Pluralism about Truth Predicates’’, Analysis, 57 (1997), 209–10;

Sainsbury (1996) "Crispin Wright: Truth and Objectivity" Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Vol. 56, No. 4 (Dec., 1996) , pp. 899-904

JC Beall (2000). On Mixed Inferences and Pluralism About Truth
Predicates. Philosophical Quarterly 50 (200):380-382.

Christine Tappolet (2000). Truth pluralism and many-valued logics: A reply to Beall. Philosophical Quarterly 50 (200):382-385. [reply to Beall 2000]

Pedersen, (2006) ‘‘What Can the Problem of Mixed Inferences Teach us about Alethic Pluralism?’’, The Monist, 89:1,
3–117;

Edwards (2008) ‘‘How to Solve the Problem of Mixed Conjunctions,’’ Analysis, 68.2, 143–9

Cotnoir (2009) ‘‘Generic Truth and Mixed Conjunctions: Some Alternatives’’, Analysis, 69:2

Edwards, Douglas (2009). Truth-conditions and the nature of truth: Re-solving mixed conjunctions. Analysis 69 (4):684-688. [reply to Cotnoir 2009]

Timothy J. Nulty (2010). The Metaphysics of Mixed Inferences: Problems with Functionalist Accounts of Alethic Pluralism. [REVIEW] Metaphysica 11 (2):153-162.

Roy T. Cook (2011). Alethic Pluralism, Generic Truth and Mixed Conjunctions. Philosophical Quarterly 61 (244):624-629.

Jeremy Wyatt (2013). Domains, Plural Truth, and Mixed Atomic Propositions. Philosophical Studies 166 (1):225-236.