58 votes
Accepted

Is "This sentence is written in English" nonsense?

"This sentence" is an indexical term. An indexical is a term like "I", "today", or "this city" where the reference of the term depends on the context of the ...
David Gudeman's user avatar
45 votes
Accepted

Is "that nose is fake" nonsense?

You understand what the sentence means; therefore, it is not nonsense. We can perform all sorts of analyses to try to analyse why the sentence is meaningful (e.g. the "nose" refers both to ...
wizzwizz4's user avatar
  • 2,160
21 votes
Accepted

Why is it wrong to answer a question with a tautology? Isn't "2+2" correct when answering 'What is "2+2"'?

The unstated assumption is that the person asking the question is asking for an answer that is in the simplest form. "What is 2+2?" could better be expressed as "What natural number is ...
Bumble's user avatar
  • 25.2k
19 votes

Why is it wrong to answer a question with a tautology? Isn't "2+2" correct when answering 'What is "2+2"'?

The teacher's goal when asking is not merely to obtain a correct answer (spoiler alert, because they already know the answer), but for the students to demonstrate knowledge, in order to make sure the ...
armand's user avatar
  • 6,324
19 votes
Accepted

What does "everything" mean?

Just extend the painter analogy. There is a set of things that need a painter, and the painter is excluded from that set. Likewise there is a set of things that need an ultimate creator and the ...
Marco Ocram's user avatar
  • 21.7k
18 votes

Why is it wrong to answer a question with a tautology? Isn't "2+2" correct when answering 'What is "2+2"'?

Short Answer When you use talk about "expressions" and "objects" to which they refer, you are in the domain of semiotics, linguistics, and the philosophy of language. Semioticians ...
J D's user avatar
  • 26.6k
17 votes

Why isn't the dictum "something can't come from nothing" a matter of consensus?

I disagree with your assertion that physics has nothing to say about this. There was a time when "nothing" was thought of as a box with no contents. Then it was discovered that it contained ...
niels nielsen's user avatar
16 votes

How can one refute John Searle's "syntax is not semantics" argument against strong AI?

Wittgenstein in his intermediate period provided a response, before the age of AI research and Searle's objections. In a nutshell: semantics is another syntax. Words only mean as role players in a ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 43.1k
15 votes

Is the statement "They like curry chicken." an objective or subjective statement?

An objective statement is a statement about "the thing in itself", with reality as is rather than as perceived. The statement "my computer runs Mac OS" is objective. I start there ...
Josiah's user avatar
  • 1,853
15 votes

Does or could ChatGPT understand text?

The argument is irrelevant. You can apply the same logic to say that humans don't understand text, since text doesn't exist in your brain. There are lots of software applications that read text- if ...
Marco Ocram's user avatar
  • 21.7k
14 votes

Is "This sentence is written in English" nonsense?

This sentence is written in english. Cette phrase est écrite en anglais. These are different sentences; they have different words to each other. An accurate translation of the first sentence into ...
wizzwizz4's user avatar
  • 2,160
12 votes
Accepted

Do Wittgenstein and Quine give the same criticisms of semantics?

Yes and no. They both criticize a certain approach to semantic theory that can be called realism about meaning. Roughly, realists see meanings as some kind of entities, although there is a wide range ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 43.1k
12 votes
Accepted

Are contradictory propositions in the propositional logic still contradictory in the predicate logic?

Something that is a contradiction in the propositional logic remains a contradiction in predicate logic. The problem with your examples is that they are not particularly clear as to whether you are ...
Bumble's user avatar
  • 25.2k
12 votes

Does or could ChatGPT understand text?

ChatGPT never gets the text questions online users type. All it gets is electrons. […] The ubiquitous claim that ChatGPT is trained on text stored on the internet is simply bonkers. This argument is ...
Tanner Swett's user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

Is there a way to avoid Gödel's incompleteness affecting mathematics as a whole?

It is a natural idea, but unfortunately the answer is no, it is not feasible. The root of incompleteness is not numbers, but the possibility of (implicit) self-reference, arithmetic is just the ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 43.1k
11 votes
Accepted

Is mathematics a language?

It is more than that. Even if we take the Galileo's metaphor literally, he is suggesting that there is a language of mathematics, specifically geometry, not that mathematics, as such, is a language: ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 43.1k
11 votes

Is "that nose is fake" nonsense?

"Fake" in "fake nose" typically means the nose is artificial (e.g. man-made and surgically inserted), not that it's not a nose. One might go one step further and say that it ...
NotThatGuy's user avatar
  • 9,779
11 votes

The problem of philosophy?

Many difficulties encountered in philosophy are indeed related to the inherent imprecision of language. The problem is perhaps more fundamental than your examples suggest, since if it were just a ...
Marco Ocram's user avatar
  • 21.7k
10 votes

Why isn't the dictum "something can't come from nothing" a matter of consensus?

Because "something can't come from nothing" leads to infinite regress/explanatory failure when you ask the question, "Where did things come from?" We will assume that "...
user3067860's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

How to implement the so called 'principle of charity'?

You are right that reading means interpreting, and we can never be sure that we did not misinterpret the author's intentions. But it is as with any human endeavor, we are fallible. The principle of ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 43.1k
9 votes

Is music just another language?

The answer is straightforward in the context of Chomsky's universal grammar, which music does not fit. However, the innate grammar structures postulated by Chomsky were not as universally encountered ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 43.1k
9 votes

Is the statement "They like curry chicken." an objective or subjective statement?

The other answers rely on either a non-technical understanding of the terms "subjective" and "objective" or depend on a particular philosophical viewpoint. This answer is viewpoint-...
David Gudeman's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

What is put on what (the mayo or the eggs) and why?

Narrowly construed the OP question is easy to answer and is not really philosophical, it concerns the colloquial semantics of "put X on Y". According to which, whatever goes on top or on the surface ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 43.1k
8 votes

Why is it wrong to answer a question with a tautology? Isn't "2+2" correct when answering 'What is "2+2"'?

Language is about communication, not formal logic. Most of the time, a question is asked to gain information. Usually, the information desired is about the subject of the question (e.g. “When's the ...
wizzwizz4's user avatar
  • 2,160
8 votes
Accepted

Why do we equate a mathematical object with what denotes it?

Why do we equate a mathematical object with what denotes it? In your example with the matrix, A is what mathematicians think of as a variable, while what you call the matrix, namely that you present ...
Speakpigeon's user avatar
  • 7,712
8 votes
Accepted

Is a non-existent apple not an apple?

I consider a misuse of language to be the source of confusion: Of course we can form the word “apple” in our mind. It is a concept invented to denote certains objects, like so many other concepts do. ...
Jo Wehler's user avatar
  • 31.6k
8 votes

If Large Language Models can do Maths, is Formalism true?

As a constructivist brother who places as much credence in Platonic Forms as he does in the Irish tuatha da dannan or the Norwegian troll, let me dispute the premise that LLMs do math or have much in ...
J D's user avatar
  • 26.6k
8 votes

Wittgenstein and tautology

Strictly speaking, one may, of course, say of the standard metre rod that it is one metre long. But Wittgenstein's point is that this is quite a different statement from saying that my dog's tail is ...
Bumble's user avatar
  • 25.2k
7 votes

Is music just another language?

In the context of the linked interview, both Chomsky and his interviewer have an understanding of the term "language" that excludes music from it. To put it as a syllogism: (P) All language ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 5,348
7 votes

Is consciousness information?

The problem with the idea that consciousness lasts forever because information is preserved is in the fact that information is being used in two different senses in your question. The differences lie ...
Not_Here's user avatar
  • 2,891

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