Kit Fine: Metaphysical Ground | Who Shaves the Barber? #46

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Some things are true in virtue of other things. For example, the fact that it is either raining or snowing today is true in virtue of the fact that it is raining today (if, indeed, it is). Or consider another example, put in different terms: the fact that my cat Irene exists is sufficient to account for the fact that at least one cat exists. We might then ask: what is this being in virtue of, or accounting for?

Philosophers call this metaphysical ground. Thus, the existence of my cat Irene grounds the fact that at least one cat exists. But how does this grounding relation work? How is it related to logical entailment? To cause? To essence? Is it possible for there to be partial grounding? Can a fact ground itself? If not, does a vicious regress emerge? What is the role of ground in metaphysics? In this interview, metaphysician Kit Fine covers these questions and more before zeroing in on a logical puzzle of ground, related to the paradoxes of self-reference such as the Liar.

Next week: Left Market Anarchism

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Video

Special thanks to Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.
Click here for the full list of episodes!

Topics discussed

0:20 – Intro to Kit Fine
2:50 – Vagueness
6:44 – What is ground?
10:40 – Realism
16:15 – Two notions of necessary ground
19:10 – Relevance and ground
24:35 – Ground and philosophy, cause and science
28:00 – Ground and ontological reduction
35:18 – Regress, circularity, and weak ground
44:55 – Types of ground and the “source” of logic
52:50 – Ground of ground
1:03:02 – Essence and ground
1:09:10 – A puzzle of ground

Sources

Kit Fine (homepage)
Vagueness, truth, and logic” (Kit Fine)
A Guide to Ground” (Kit Fine)
Some Puzzles of Ground” (Kit Fine)…

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Steve Patterson: Certainty and Logic | Who Shaves the Barber? #26

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Steve Patterson

Steve Patterson’s book Square One: The Foundations of Knowledge begins with the bold claim: “Truth is discoverable. I’m certain of it.” The rest of the book is an attempt to prove that there are certain truths for which there is not a sliver of doubt.

I am, to say the least, unconvinced. Universal fallibilism – the claim that all knowledge leaves room for doubt – is, ironically enough, a view I’m particularly confident of (though, obviously, not certain of). Indeed, I did a two-part podcast on this topic (Against Certainty: Knowledge and Experience and Against Certainty: Logic). In this interview, I challenge Steve’s claims to certainty with my skeptical doubts. The conversation takes us through the Münhhausen Trilemma, the nature of justification, subjective experience, and, of course, the ever-popular liar paradox.

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Next week: Catarina Dutilh Novaes: Logic as Social Practice

Special thanks to Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.
Click here for the full list of episodes!

Topics discussed

0:41 – The goal of certainty
2:59 – Agrippan trilemma
6:37 – Certainty v. necessity (epistemology v. metaphysics)
19:08 – Justification (grounds for belief)
25:42 – Certainty about experience v. certainty about logical truths
29:03 – Meditating on experience
31:40 – Presuppositions of skepticism?
41:50 – Negation
43:32 – “Logic and existence are inseparable”
47:28 – Philosophy of language
49:50 – Liar paradox, negation, and the possibility of contradiction

Sources

Square One: The Foundations of Knowledge by Steve Patterson
How to Resolve the Liar’s Paradox” by Steve Patterson (video)…

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Greg Restall: Logical Pluralism | WSB #16

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Greg Restall

What is logical pluralism? Greg Restall, logician and Professor of Philosophy from the University of Melbourne joins me to answer this question.

When we study logic, we’re concerned with consequence or entailment: what follows from what. But what are the criteria for being “consequence”? Professor Restall says there are three: necessity, formality, and normativity. Given these criteria, he argues there is more than one relation worthy of the name “consequence”. In other words, there is more than one system of logic that correctly represents our informal grasp of necessary entailment. This is because logical rules operate differently depending on the sort of “case” they’re functioning in. Among various, Professor Restall highlights two types of cases: “possible worlds” and “situations”. The first fit classical logic, the second paraconsistent logic. Though they differ on what kinds of arguments are valid, they both correctly represent deductive reasoning. Professor Restall explains why this makes perfect sense.

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Video

Next week: Greg Restall: Objections to Logical Pluralism, and the Preface and Liar Paradoxes

Special thanks to Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.

Topics discussed

0:20 – Introduction to Greg Restall
1:49 – What is logic about?
12:41 – The metaphysics of logic
21:20 – What is logical pluralism?
22:52 – The criteria for consequence
24:32 – Necessity
25:37 – Formality
27:17 – Normativity
33:15 – The role of cases: classical v. paraconsistent logics
39:10 – Possible worlds v.…

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