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Re: [jboske] Opacity and belief

And Rosta scripsit:

> I'm not sure whether you are saying more than that 'Superman' and
> 'Clark Kent' are two names for the same individual. [...] If they
> are are merely two names for the same individual, then the example
> does not differ from the Jorge/xorces, tungsten/wolfram case.

Yet you originally asserted that it did; why?

> > As for the wolfram/tungsten case, this too was discovered *a posteriori*:
> > a German and a Swedish miner compared notes, or groups thereof, and
> > found they were talking about the same stuff 
> I would say that the words have changed in meaning, then, to become mere
> synonyms.

How so? I think the facts hardly justified the conclusion that Swedish
miners used to believe that the German ore was not tungsten (or vice
versa), they were simply agnostic on the subject.

Suppose you met Columbus at the dock on his return from the New World.
He hands you a chunk of yellow metal, saying "I think this is gold,
they have a lot of it over there, can you check?" You determine that
it is, in fact, gold. Do you know say that the meaning of "gold" has
changed to incorporate the New World stuff as well as the Old World
stuff? Or do you simply say that there is gold in the New World?

> At any rate, it seems clear to me that we have two different kinds
> of situation. In one, two different wordshapes both point to the 
> same sense. In the other, two wordshapes point to senses that may
> or may not be believed to be equivalent. 

There's a subtle distinction here that Kripke points out better
than I can. Until a few years ago, I did not know that "groundhog"
and "woodchuck" had the same referent (viz. the species *Marmota monax*);
I predicated some things of groundhogs, others of woodchucks.
Now I know better, and predicate all these things of the same critters,
whether you call them woodchucks, groundhogs, or M. monax (whose synonymy
I discovered only today, thanks to WordNet). I could have remained in
ignorance forever, but that would not mean that there were in fact
two distinct populations of woodchucks and groundhogs.

> I don't want to distinguish aprioricity and necessity. I want to
> distinguish synonymy and necessity. For example, "4" and "the square
> of 2" are not synonymous but are (a priori) necessarily equivalent.

I think it is not usual to speak of synonymy between phrases and words,
but only between words, precisely because phrases are not taken to
denote rigidly across possible worlds, and words (specifically names and
other demonstratives) often are. "Nixon" is not synonymous with
"the U.S. president in 1972" because it could have been otherwise if
Nixon had lost, or avoided politics, or never lived at all.

Nonetheless, I don't understand how "the square of 2" can designate
anything but 4 in any possible world (maybe in *impossible* worlds).
"4" and "the square of 2" look just as synonymous as "12" and "a dozen",
neither more nor less.

> I would contend, then, that "4" and "the square of 2" aren't
> exchangeable in intentionsal contexts, because they are nonsynonymous,
> but "12" and "a dozen" are exchangeable, and if we wanted to capture
> the idea that Ralph would assent to "12 da broda" but not to 
> "a dozen da brdoa" then either we would have to talk about Ralph
> assenting to sedu'u or we would have to talk about Ralph believing
> that mo'e la'e zoi zoi 12 zoi da broda.

If you have the appropriate false beliefs, nothing at all becomes
interchangeable in intentional contexts, not even "2" and "two".
I don't see how you can make the above distinction principled.

Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis vom dies! || John Cowan <jcowan@reutershealth.com>
Schliesst euer Aug vor heiliger Schau, || http://www.reutershealth.com
Denn er genoss vom Honig-Tau, || http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
Und trank die Milch vom Paradies. -- Coleridge (tr. Politzer)