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By Chet A. Creider, Jane Tapsubei Creider

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Extra resources for A grammar of Nandi

Example text

What we can say now, however, is that whatever we would do in those circumstances, we would not be translating 33 34 our purported other-thinkers as simultaneously determining a given determinable in two different ways. We would not so translate them because we could not do so. This point rests on a fundamental feature of the assessment of subjunctive conditionals. Such conditionals are not assessed for truth or falsity in vacuo: they presuppose a background of relatively normal conditions. Just how normal the presupposed conditions are taken to be will depend, case by case, on the context and in particular on the supposition we are required to entertain by the antecedent of the relevant conditional.

23 In other words, we might press them to acknowledge that red and green are not independent of one another in the sense in which red and circularity are independent of one another, but are mutually exclusive determinates in the same range of determinables. Suppose they deny this, and claim (apparently) that there is no relevant difference between the red/circular case and the red/green case. Do we any longer understand them? If we press them further, and they do not give way, will there come a point where we have to translate them as ascribing two (by our lights) mutually incompatible physical quantities to the same stretch of reality, as if they were to say that there were exactly four people in the room, and also exactly five?

According to the transfinite rule DC2 of Carnap's Language I, for instance, a sentence s of Language I that contains some free variable v is a logical consequence of the infinite class of sentences of Language I which is obtained by substituting names of positive integers for v in s (Carnap 1937: 38; Sarkar 1992: 197). Carnap calls such transfinite rules syntactical because they can be specified formally, even though the question whether they are correctly applied in a given case is not decidable (Carnap 1937: 100).

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