“The Universal Generalization Problem and Informational Screening”Shawn Standefer (University of Melbourne)
E561, Menzies Buiding
The rule of inference introducing a universal quantifier proceeds from a premiss involving a singular term to a conclusion with a universal quantifier. What entitles one to pass from the apparently particular premise to the general conclusion? One option, defended by Kit Fine, involves the use of arbitrary objects. Another option, defended by Carlo Cellucci, involves the use of substitution. In this talk, I will set out the Problem of Universal Generalization and provide some background on the views of Fine and Cellucci. I will argue that these views miss out on some related devices of generalization, such as modal operators. I will present an alternative account that uses the notion of informational screening. I will explain this notion, provide examples of how it works, and argue that it can accommodate Cellucci's proposal while also applying more broadly. Finally, I will close by considering some objections to the proposal.
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