CFP: Synthese: Hyperintensionality

Submission deadline: March 1, 2013

Topic areas


Synthese invites papers for a special issue on hyperintensionality

The deadline for submission is 1 March 2013.

All papers that make it past an initial screening by the guest editors will be sent out to at least two referees for peer review. The formal condition on acceptance is that all the reports eventually recommend the relevant paper for publication.

The Editors-in-Chief retain final say over which papers eventually get accepted for publication in the special issue.

This special issue will be guest-edited by Bjørn Jespersen (Czech Academy of Sciences; Technical University of Ostrava, Czech Republic) and Marie Duží (Technical University of Ostrava, Czech Republic).

Hyperintensionality is in essence a matter of the individuation of non-extensional (‘intensional’) entities. Following Cresswell, any individuation is hyperintensional if it is finer than necessary co-extensionality, such that equivalence does not entail identity. Importantly, hyperintensional granularity was originally negatively defined, leaving room for various positive definitions of its granularity. It is well-established among mathematical linguists and philosophical logicians that hyperintensional individuation is required at least for those attitudes that are not logically closed (especially in order to block logical and mathematical omniscience) and linguistic senses (in order to differentiate between, say, “a is north of b” and “b is south of a”, whose truth-conditions converge). It will be relevant to investigate which other areas than attitude logic and formal semantics will also need hyperintensions.

This special issue will take it for granted that hyperintensional individuation is required, so this premise need not be established in the submitted papers. There are already several theories around that demonstrate how to obtain hyperintensionality. The grand question is how to fix an upper bound (or perhaps several upper bounds) on hyperintensional individuation such that identity, and not just equivalence, among hyperintensions can be determined in a formally satisfactory and philosophically well-motivated manner. Such endeavours will probably take the form of a definition of a class of structures with an equivalence relation defined over them, accompanied by rules of conversion/transformation, but this special issue comes with no methodological constraints. In fact, the issue very much wishes to chart the different ways of going hyperintensional and of addressing the granularity question.

Hyperintensionality is not a stand-alone topic. While hyperintensionality is, narrowly speaking, a matter of criteria of identity, any worked-out theory of hyperintensions will need to take a stand on issues like compositionality, structured meaning, and the unity of (structured, hence) complex meanings (meaning-endowed particles combining into meaning-endowed complexes). This issue will be interested in papers that provide the nitty-gritty of the contributors’ particular hyperintensional theories, though at least a brief comparison with existing rival theories should not be missing. Below are some of the key questions that the envisaged issue, as a whole, should address, though the contributions are by no means restricted to them. Nor is any individual paper, of course, required to take a stand on each of the issues below.

  • Positive definitions of hyperintensional granularity (‘how hyper is hyperintensionality’?)
  • Is more than one measure of hyperintensional individuation required or desirable?
  • Should possible-world intensions be integrated into a full hyperintensional semantic theory/calculus? If so, how? In particular, how would hyperintensions ‘determine’ possible-world intensions?
  • What is the expressive power of one’s hyperintensional theory? What are its other meta-theoretical properties, such as soundness and completeness?
  • Must a hyperintensional theory be a higher-order logic?
  • Must or could or should a hyperintensional theory be extensional, in the sense of validating Leibniz’s Law, quantifying-in, substitutability of equivalents, etc.? Or is the notion of an extensional hyperintensional logic an oxymoron? 
  • Can truth-conditions be hyperintensionally individuated? In general, what is the relation between hyperintensions and truth-conditions?
  • Which puzzles count as puzzles of hyperintensionality? ‘Woodchuck’ / ‘groundhog’? ‘Hesperus’ / ‘Phosphorus’? Is the paradox of analysis a hyperintensionality puzzle? What about anaphora occurring inside attitude reports, presuppositions, verb phrase elision (e.g. “John loves his wife, and so does Peter”), non-empirical language (e.g. how to account for the semantic difference between “7+5=12” and “Ö144=12”?), counterfactuals, etc.
  • It is known how to go hyperintensional in the l-calculus: is it possible to go hyperintensional in the e-calculus, for instance, and if so, how exactly?
  • Will one hyperintensional theory / system / calculus suffice both for natural language, scientific language, mathematical language, logical language, any kind of language, or is a universal framework not a theoretical option, or perhaps an undesirable one?
  • How radically must theories of hyperintensionality depart from model-theoretic semantics? Are such theories continuous with existing model-theoretic ones?
  • What would a constructivist / intuitionist theory of hyperintensions look like? How would it extend to natural-language semantics?
  • What, if any, are the connections between hyperintensionality and neighbouring notions like structured meaning and procedural semantics?
  • If a typed universe is assumed, is a simple or a ramified type theory preferable or even unavoidable?

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