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Partial Semantics for Quantified Modal Logic
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9128-2565
2018 (English)In: Journal of Philosophical Logic, ISSN 0022-3611, E-ISSN 1573-0433, Vol. 47, no 6, p. 1049-1060Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

When it comes to Kripke-style semantics for quantified modal logic, there’s a choice to be made concerning the interpretation of the quantifiers. The simple approach is to let quantifiers range over all possible objects, not just objects existing in the world of evaluation, and use a special predicate to make claims about existence (an existence predicate). This is the constant domain approach. The more complicated approach is to assign a domain of objects to each world. This is the varying domain approach. Assuming that all terms denote, the semantics of predication on the constant domain approach is obvious: either the denoted object has the denoted property in the world of evaluation, or it hasn’t. On the varying domain approach, there’s a third possibility: the object in question doesn’t exist. Terms may denote objects not included in the domain of the world of evaluation. The question is whether an atomic formula then should be evaluated as true or false, or if its truth value should be undefined. This question, however, cannot be answered in isolation. The consequences of one’s choice depends on the interpretation of molecular formulas. Should the negation of a formula whose truth value is undefined also be undefined? What about conjunction, universal quantification and necessitation? The main contribution of this paper is to identify two partial semantics for logical operators, a weak and a strong one, which uniquely satisfy a list of reasonable constraints (Theorem 2.1). I also show that, provided that the point of using varying domains is to be able to make certain true claims about existence without using any existence predicate, this result yields two possible partial semantics for quantified modal logic with varying domains.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 47, no 6, p. 1049-1060
Keywords [en]
Quantified modal logic, Varying domains Semantics, Existence, Partial semantics
National Category
Philosophy
Research subject
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-156326DOI: 10.1007/s10992-018-9461-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-156326DiVA, id: diva2:1204933
Available from: 2018-05-09 Created: 2018-05-09 Last updated: 2018-11-12Bibliographically approved

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