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The dissertation introduces new sequent-calculi for free first- and second-order logic, and a hyper-sequent calculus for modal logics K, D, T, B, S4, and S5; to attain the calculi for the stronger modal logics, only external structural rules need to be added to the calculus for K, while operational and internal structural rules remain the same. Completeness and cut-elimination are proved for all calculi presented.
Philosophically, the dissertation develops an inferentialist, or proof-theoretic, theory of meaning. It takes as a starting point that the sense of a sentence is determined by the rules governing its use. In particular, there are two features of the use of a sentence that jointly determine its sense, the conditions under which it is coherent to assert that sentence and the conditions under which it is coherent to deny that sentence. The dissertation develops a theory of quantification as marking coherent ways a language can be expanded and modality as the means by which we can reflect on the norms governing the assertion and denial conditions of our language. If the view of quantification that is argued for is correct, then there is no tension between second-order quantification and nominalism. In particular, the ontological commitments one can incur through the use of a quantifier depend wholly on the ontological commitments one can incur through the use of atomic sentences. The dissertation concludes by applying the developed theory of meaning to the metaphysical issue of necessitism and contingentism. Two objections to a logic of contingentism are raised and addressed. The resulting logic is shown to meet all the requirement that the dissertation lays out for a theory of meaning for quantifiers and modal operators.
According to Timothy Williamson, we should accept the simplest and most powerful second-order modal logic, and as a result accept an ontology of "bare possibilia". This general method for extracting ontology from logic is salutary, but its application in this case depends on a questionable assumption: that modality is a fundamental feature of the world.
Kripke models, interpreted realistically, have difficulty making sense of the thesis that there might have existed things that do not in fact exist, since a Kripke model in which this thesis is true requires a model structure in which there are possible worlds with domains that contain things that do not exist. This paper argues that we can use Kripke models as representational devices that allow us to give a realistic interpretation of a modal language. The method of doing this is sketched, with the help of an analogy with a Galilean relativist theory of spatial properties and relations.
I consider the first-order modal logic which counts as valid those sentences which are true on every interpretation of the non-logical constants. Based on the assumptions that it is necessary what individuals there are and that it is necessary which propositions are necessary, Timothy Williamson has tentatively suggested an argument for the claim that this logic is determined by a possible world structure consisting of an infinite set of individuals and an infinite set of worlds. He notes that only the cardinalities of these sets matters, and that not all pairs of infinite sets determine the same logic. I use so-called two-cardinal theorems from model theory to investigate the space of logics and consequence relations determined by pairs of infinite sets, and show how to eliminate the assumption that worlds are individuals from Williamson's argument.
I critically discuss some of the main arguments of Modal Logic as Metaphysics, present a different way of thinking about the issues raised by those arguments, and briefly discuss some broader issues about the role of higher-order logic in metaphysics.
The most common first- and second-order modal logics either have as theorems every instance of the Barcan and Converse Barcan formulae and of their second-order analogues, or else fail to capture the actual truth of every theorem of classical first- and second-order logic. In this paper we characterise and motivate sound and complete first- and second-order modal logics that successfully capture the actual truth of every theorem of classical first- and second-order logic and yet do not possess controversial instances of the Barcan and Converse Barcan formulae as theorems, nor of their second-order analogues. What makes possible these results is an understanding of the individual constants and predicates of the target languages as strongly Millian expressions, where a strongly Millian expression is one that has an actually existing entity as its semantic value. For this reason these logics are called ‘strongly Millian’. It is shown that the strength of the strongly Millian second-order modal logics here characterised afford the means to resist an argument by Timothy Williamson for the truth of the claim that necessarily, every property necessarily exists.
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