Prior's Puzzle Generalized
Justin D'Ambrosio (Australian National University)

October 11, 2019, 7:00am - 8:00am
Logic Group, The University of Melbourne

Old Arts
Parkville 3010


National Taiwan University

Topic areas


Justin D'Ambrosio (ANU) will present "Prior's Puzzle Generalized" at 11 in Old Arts 224 on 11 October.

Abstract: Prior's puzzle is the puzzle of why, given the assumption that that-clauses denote propositions, substitution of "the proposition that P" for "that P" within the complements of many propositional attitude verbs is invalid. I show that there are two variants on Prior's puzzle---a quantificational variant and a pronominal variant---that have the same source and warrant the same solution as the original puzzle. I then show that neither the original puzzle nor its variants are specific to that-clauses or propositional attitude verbs. Rather, they arise in the complements of all kinds of attitude verbs, in adjectival positions, in adverbial positions, and in a variety of other positions as well. These variants, together with the generalization to other grammatical categories, show that a wide range of proposed solutions to Prior's puzzle fail, or are radically incomplete. But the quantificational variant of the puzzle also has a more dire consequence: it threatens to undermine Lewis's method of defining theoretical terms via Ramsification. I go on to discuss the relative merits of two approaches to the generalized puzzle, and conclude that one has significant advantages.

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)




Who is attending?

No one has said they will attend yet.

Will you attend this event?

Let us know so we can notify you of any change of plan.