Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: From plurals to superplurals : in defence of higher-level plural logic
Author: Grimau Roca, Berta
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 4311
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2018
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Plural Logic is an extension of First-Order Logic with plural terms and quantifiers. When its plural terms are interpreted as denoting more than one object at once, Plural Logic is usually taken to be ontologically innocent: plural quantifiers do not require a domain of their own, but range plurally over the first-order domain of quantification. Given that Plural Logic is equi-interpretable with Monadic Second-Order Logic, it gives us its expressive power at the low ontological cost of a first-order language. This makes it a valuable tool in various areas of philosophy. Some authors believe that Plural Logic can be extended into an even more expressive logic, Higher-Level Plural Logic, by adding higher-level plural terms and quantifiers to it. The basic idea is that second-level plurals stand to plurals like plurals stand to singulars (analogously for higher levels). Allegedly, Higher-Level Plural Logic enjoys the expressive power of type theory while, again, committing us only to the austere ontology of a first-order language. Were this really the case, Higher-Level Plural Logic would be a very useful tool, extending and strengthening some of the applications of Plural Logic. However, while the notions of plural reference and quantification enjoy widespread acceptance today, their higher-level counterparts have been received with scepticism. The main objection raised against them is that higher-level plural reference is unintelligible. This has been argued, among others, on the grounds that there are no higher-level plurals in natural language and that, if there were any, they could be eliminated. In this thesis, after introducing the debate on plurals in Chapters 1 and 2, I turn to defending the legitimacy of the notion of higher-level plural reference. To this end, in Chapter 3, I present and elucidate the notion. Next, in Chapter 4, I show that some natural languages clearly contain these expressions and that they do so in an ineliminable manner. Finally, in Chapters 5 and 6, I develop a semantics for higher-level plurals that employs only devices previously well-understood by English speakers. To finish, in Chapter 7, I describe an application of Higher-level Plural Logic: a strengthening of the neo-Fregean programme. After describing my proposal, I turn to the issue of the logical status of this formalism and defend an optimistic take on the matter.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: B Philosophy (General) ; BC Logic