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AIC Seminar Series

A System of the World

Edward ZaltaCenter for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University[Home Page]

Notice:  hosted by Richard Waldinger

Date:  Thursday, March 5th 2009 at 4:00pm

Location:  EJ228 (SRI E building)  (Directions)


Our best scientific theories, and our best philosophical theories about how to interpret those scientific theories, suggest that a correct ontology must include entities from such fundamental categories as (a) mathematical objects (e.g., numbers, sets, geometrical objects, etc.), (b) mathematical relations (e.g., successor, membership, group addition, etc.), (c) possible worlds and possible objects (to interpret modal claims such as "There might be a planet perturbing the orbit of Uranus" and assignments of probability to possible events), and (d) concepts (used primarily in the cognitive sciences), among others. In this talk, I describe a theory that systematizes these, and other, categories and the entities within a axiomatic system stated within general second-order modal logic (interpreted with Henkin models). Automated reasoning tools are deployed to derive theorems about the entities in the formal ontology. This ontology provides entities that can serve as the denotations of puzzling terms that occur in scientific (and natural) language, leading to the assignment of truth conditions for philosophically interesting data that preserve their intuitive truth value and entailments.

   Bio for Edward Zalta

Edward N. Zalta is a Senior Research Scholar at the Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI). His research specialties include: * Metaphysics and Epistemology * Philosophy of Logic/Philosophy of Logic * Philosophy of Language/Intensional Logic * Philosophy of Mathematics * Philosophy of Mind/Intentionality Zalta has taught courses at Stanford University, Rice University, the University of Salzburg, and the University of Auckland, and has lectured in various universities in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Slovenia and Israel. His other philosophical interests include: modal logic, formal semantics, contemporary analytic philosophy, contemporary history of philosophy (Bolzano, Brentano, Frege, Meinong, Husserl, Russell, early Wittgenstein, Carnap, Quine), modern philosophy (Descartes – Kant), normative ethics, biomedical ethics, and computers and ethics. Zalta is also the Principal Editor of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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