Philosophy Department Seminar - Induction and Interpretation with Robert Williams (University of Leeds)
Cotham House G2
In my own work I have been looking at how to best formulate this "substantive" version of radical interpretation, and what it can predict and explain across a range of specific areas---from the denotation of moral terms, to the interpretation of (apparently) unrestricted quantifiers, to the theory of singular reference. In this paper, I look at one particular aspect, linking back to the folklore-Lewisian story. The suggestion in the nascent literature is that a metasemantic role for elite properties falls out of substantive radical interpretation, if we pay attention to the consequences of substantive epistemic norms of inductive reasoning. The idea is this: Goodman taught us that enumerative inductive inferences must be restricted to the projectable properties, and so to make sense of an agent who is indulging in induction, we will interpret the target concepts as denoting projectable properties. If we independently agree that the projectable properties are just those that are elite enough, then we will have an explanation about why (at least for certain concepts) metaphysically elite properties are 'reference magnets'.
Well, perhaps! I'll be having a look at what we might say about induction, and the impact this has on substantive radical interpretation as I understand it. The aim is to determine the terms of exchange between these first-order epistemic issues and the metaphysics of mental content.