Prescription for Descriptionists

Ilkka Pättiniemi One can take (at least) two attitudes when it comes to the meaning of words (or concepts, phrases etc.). One can be a prescriptivist, that is one can hold to the idea that words have a real meaning that is determined by some, possibly metaphysical, facts about the world outside of their use.Continue reading “Prescription for Descriptionists”

Addendum on Vagueness, Bivalence, and Science

Ilkka Pättiniemi For this week’s installment I will tie up some loose ends from my post on vagueness, as there is always more to say.  Thing the first: bivalence and realism.It seems clear that scientific realism requires bivalence, but does bivalence (or the demand for bivalence) imply (a demand for) realism? Simply put: no. TheContinue reading “Addendum on Vagueness, Bivalence, and Science”

Non-Realism Is Not Anti-Realism

Johan Hietanen Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of discussing with philosophers of science about the virus behind COVID-19. Among other topics, I’ve heard an argument along the following lines: “If you’re not, at your core, a realist about the virus, then it would make no sense for you to support any prevention or management ofContinue reading “Non-Realism Is Not Anti-Realism”

The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Natural Language

Ilkka Pättiniemi In his classic paper “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences” (1960), Eugene Wigner tells a story of two friends meeting after a long while. One of them has become a statistician working in population trends. He shows a reprint of his recent paper to his friend, who, upon seeing aContinue reading “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Natural Language”

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