Semantic Singularities

Semantic Singularities : Paradoxes of Reference, Predication, and Truth

By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Expected delivery to the United States in 16-21 business days.

Not ordering to the United States? Click here.


This book aims to provide a solution to the semantic paradoxes. It argues for a unified solution to the paradoxes generated by our concepts of denotation, predicate extension, and truth. The solution makes two main claims. The first is that our semantic expressions 'denotes', 'extension' and 'true' are context-sensitive. The second, inspired by a brief, tantalizing remark of Goedel's, is that these expressions are significant everywhere except for certain
singularities, in analogy with division by zero. A formal theory of singularities is presented and applied to a wide variety of versions of the definability paradoxes, Russell's paradox, and the Liar paradox. Keith Simmons argues that the singularity theory satisfies the following desiderata: it
recognizes that the proper setting of the semantic paradoxes is natural language, not regimented formal languages; it minimizes any revision to our semantic concepts; it respects as far as possible Tarski's intuition that natural languages are universal; it responds adequately to the threat of revenge paradoxes; and it preserves classical logic and semantics. Simmons draws out the consequences of the singularity theory for deflationary views of our semantic concepts, and concludes that if we
accept the singularity theory, we must reject deflationism.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 164 x 241 x 23mm | 562g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0198791542
  • 9780198791546

Table of contents

1: Semantic Paradox
2: Paradox and Context
3: Singularities
4: Identifying Singularities
5: Paradoxes of Definability, Russell's Paradox, the Liar
6: A General Theory of Singularities
7: The Theory at Work
8: Revenge, I
9: Revenge, II
10: Consequences for Deflationism
show more

Review Text

Summing up: Recommended CHOICE
show more

Review quote

Summing up: Recommended * CHOICE *
show more

About Keith Simmons

Keith Simmons is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, having previously been at the University of North Carolina from 1987 to 2014. He is author of Universality and the Liar (Cambridge 1993), and co-editor with Simon Blackburn of the volume on Truth in the series Oxford Readings in Philosophy (1999). Has written numerous articles in the philosophy and history of logic, philosophy of language, and Kant's
show more