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 ...
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17 votes
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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 ...
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17 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 ...
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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 ...
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15 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 ...
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12 votes
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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 ...
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12 votes
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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 ...
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11 votes
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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 ...
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11 votes
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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: ...
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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 "...
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9 votes
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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 ...
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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 ...
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8 votes
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Supervaluationism and Theories of Truth

Bivalence and supertruth Yes, clearly a supervaluationist makes a distinction between the truth of a particular precisification and the supertruth of a statement true for all possible ...
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8 votes
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Is there an idea of linguistic realism similar to moral realism?

Your view is similar to that of late Wittgenstein, after the so-called "linguistic turn". In Philosophical Investigations published in 1953 he writes “For a large class of cases of the employment of ...
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8 votes
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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 ...
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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 ...
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7 votes

Shouldn't statements be considered equivalent based on their meaning rather than truth tables?

There is a difference between semantic consequence expressed by truth tables, and syntactic consequence in a deductive system, some authors use ⊨ for the former and ⊢ for the latter, and the ...
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7 votes

What is Quine's rebuttal to Grice and Strawson's In Defense of Dogma?

Quine's attack on the analytic/synthetic distinction is contained in a series of papers: Truth by Convention, Two Dogmas of Empiricism, Carnap on Logical Truth, and in the early chapters of Word and ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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7 votes
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Is steam necessarily ice?

Ice is H2O in solid state, and steam is H2O in gaseous state, so neither is H2O simpliciter and necessarily (or even actually) the other. The correct versions will be "the material of ice is ...
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6 votes

Understanding why Quine thinks certain belief sentences are meaningless

See W.V.Quine, QUANTIFIERS AND PROPOSITIONAL ATTITUDES, in THE JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY (1956). "Belief" contexts are "intensional" ones, and Quine does not "like" them because they have no satisfactory ...
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6 votes
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What is Quine's rebuttal to Grice and Strawson's In Defense of Dogma?

It would be to argue against meanings as mental or objective entities. Grice and Strawson rely on meaning as something propositional statement "inherently" has, Quine's position, like late ...
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6 votes
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Why aren't Kripke semantics "syntax in disguise"?

Algebraic semantics give a good organising framework for models of a logic, but they don’t give examples of models, except syntax itself. Kripke models give an easy way to construct lots of concrete ...
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5 votes
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How should we understand the oracle's dilemma in making a prediction?

In the example, the oracle is part of the universe, that is, she plays your role (1). There are then two options: She is governed by the same deterministic laws as the rest of the universe. She is ...
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5 votes
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Is a couple living in symbiosis?

"Symbiosis (from Ancient Greek σύν "together" and βίωσις "living") is close and often long-term interaction between two or more different biological species." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbiosis ...
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  • 2,869
5 votes

How to interpret "it is possible that x is impossible"?

Another option using a Possible Worlds account is to interpret "possible" and "impossible" slightly differently, making use of alternative Modal Logics for the box and diamond ...
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5 votes

Shouldn't statements be considered equivalent based on their meaning rather than truth tables?

I get, what you are saying, but implication in classical logic has nothing to do with the "meaning" of propositions. In particular, 3>2 and 4+6=10 are in fact equivalent statements. The reason for ...
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5 votes

Are there terms for being "inside" vs "outside" an argument?

You are correct, arguments do not take place in a void, the arguers have to share common principles or presuppositions to make an argument possible. If both are allowed to reject each other's premises ...
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