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Pluralism Project

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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.