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D oubleplusungood double privation and multiply modified artefact properties Tutorial in two parts Deparment of Computer Science Technical University of Ostrava 26 February & 1 March 2013. Bjørn Jespersen TU Ostrava Dept. Computer Science [email protected] relevant TIL literature.

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Bj rn jespersen tu ostrava dept computer science bjornjespersen@gmail com

Doubleplusungooddouble privation and multiply modified artefact propertiesTutorial in two partsDeparment of Computer ScienceTechnical University of Ostrava26 February & 1 March 2013

Bjørn Jespersen

TU Ostrava

Dept. Computer Science

[email protected]

Relevant til literature
relevant TIL literature

  • A new logic of technical malfunction (with M. Carrara), StudiaLogica,

    DOI 10.1007/s11225-012-9397-8, forthcoming

  • Alleged(ly) in: The Logica Yearbook 2012, V. Punčochář, P. Švarný (eds.),

    College Publications, London, forthcoming

  • Alleged assassins: realist and constructivist semantics for modal modifiers(with G. Primiero), LNCS 7758 (2013), 94-114

  • Two kinds of procedural semantics for privative modification (with

    G. Primiero), LNAI 6284 (2010), 252-71

  • Double privation and multiply modified properties (with M. Carrara),

    in submission

  • Left subsectivity, in submission

T he problem
the problem

If a property F has been multiplymodified in this or that manner, is an individual a that has the so modified property an F?

 0M’ 0M 0F , ‘a happy bald child’

F/() (); M, M’/(() ()) ()

0M* 0M 0F, ‘a very happy child’

M* /((() ()) /(() ())) (() ())

Subsective privative modal
subsective, privative, modal

0Ms 0Fwt0a 0Mp 0Fwt0a

 

0Fwt0a0 0Fwt0a

A modal modifier, preliminarily speaking, is one that oscillates between being subsective and being privative.

Subsectionsays what something is; privation, what something isnot; and modal modification, what something may be.

Two main findings main hypothesis open question
two main findings + main hypothesis + open question

  • Problem: the received rule for single privative modification is too strong when extended to multiple privation.

  • Solution: replace propositional (Boolean) negation by property negation in order to operate on the contraries of properties. Intuitive, since something that operates on properties (a modifier) is replaced by something else that also operates on properties (property negation).

  • Result: a pair of privative modifiers is equivalent to one modal modifier.

  • Hypothesis: the logic of multiple privation is a logic of contraries.

  • Open question: where does logic end and semantics begin?

Double privation 1 st and 2 nd order til degree examples
double privation, 1st and 2ndorder (TIL: degree): examples

  • 0Almost* 0Finished0Meal

  • 0Almost* 0Half0Pound

  • 0Former0Apparent 0Heir

  • 0Former* 0Apparent0Heir

M odifiers of propositions of properties of other modifiers
modifiers of propositions, of properties, of other modifiers

DEFINITION 1 (first- and second-order modifier).

Apropositional modifier is of type (), forming a proposition from a proposition.

A property modifieris of type (), forming a property from a property, and is thus a first-order (in TIL: first-degree) modifier.

A modifier of property modifiersis of type

(() ()), i.e. a second-order (in TIL: second-degree) modifier. 

S ubsective modifier
subsective modifier

DEFINITION 2 (subsective property modifier).

Let M/(); let gsrange over (()); let x range over ; let F/; let /((() (()))): it is true or else false that a particular modifier Mis an element of a particular set of modifiers. Then:

M is subsective w.r.t. F

iff Mg [0Req0F [gs0F]]. 

Double privation as double boolean negation
double privation as double Boolean negation

[[0Mp [0Mp0F]]wt0a]




[0 [0[0Fwt 0a]]]



[[[0Mp* 0Mp] 0F]wt0a]


[[[00] 0F]wt0a]





What just went wrong
what just went wrong?

  • 0Fake0Fake 0Fwt0a,

    [[[0Fake* 0Fake] 0F]wt0a] ought obviously not to translate into 0 00Fwt0a

    there’s negation, and there’s negation:

  • a is a non-F :property negation

  • Not (a is an F) :Boolean/propositional/truth-value negation

Property negation informally
property negation (informally)

  • The sentences “It is a not-white log” and “It is not a white log” do not imply one another’s truth. For if “It is a not-white log” is true, it must be a log: but that which is not a white log need not be a log at all.(Prior Analytics I, 46, 1)

  • From the fact that John is not dishonest we cannot conclude that John is honest, but only that he is possibly so.

    (La Palma Reyes et al. 1999, p. 255.)

Non boolean negation
non-Boolean negation

[[0Mp’ [0Mp0F]]wt0a]


[[0non [0Mp0F]]wt0a]


[[0non [0non 0F]]wt0a]



Privative modifier
privative modifier

DEFINITION 3 (privative property modifier).

Let M/(); let gprange over (()); let x range over ; let F/; let /((() (()))). Then:

M is privative w.r.t. F iff

Mgp[0Req [0non 0F] [gp0F]].

From Def. 3 we obtain the following elimination rule for privative modifiers Mp:



0nonfwt x

M odal modifier
modal modifier

DEFINITION 4 (modal property modifier).

Let M/(); let gmrange over (()); let x range over ; let F/; let /((() (())));

let /(()) and /(()). Then:

M is modal w.r.t. F iff

M  gm0Reqwtx0w´0t´0Mm 0Fwt x

0Fw’t’ x0w´´0t´´0Mm 0Fwt x0non 0Fw´´t´´ xgm 0F. 

From Def. 4 we obtain the following conditional elimination rule for Mm:



w’ 0t’ 0Mmfwt0afw’t’0a

0w’’ 0t’’ 0Mmfwt0a0nonfw’’t’’0a

Gloss: “From a being an 0Mmf at w, t, infer that there is a w´, t´ such that if a is an 0Mmf at w, t then a is an f at w´, t´ and that there is an alternative w´´, t´´ such that if a is an 0Mmf at w, t then a is a 0nonfat w´´, t´´.”

Rule 1
rule 1




Rule 2
rule 2




R ule 3
rule 3

[[0Ms’ [0Ms0F]]wt0a]





R ule 4
rule 4

[[0Ms’ [0Mp0F]]wt0a]




0non 0Fwt0a

Rule 5
rule 5



[[0non [0Ms0F]]wt0a]

R ule 6
rule 6

[[0Mp’ [0Mp0F]]wt0a]


[[0non [0Mp0F]]wt0a]/[[0Mp’ [0non 0F]]wt0a]


[[0non’ [0non 0F]]wt0a]

Rule 7
rule 7

[[[0Ms* 0Ms] 0F]wt0a]





Rule 8
rule 8

[[[0Mp* 0Mp] 0F]wt0a]


[[[0non* 0Mp] 0F]wt0a]/ [[[0Mp* 0non] 0F]wt0a]


[[[0non* 0non] 0F]wt0a]

Rule 9
rule 9

[[[0Ms* 0Mp] 0F]wt0a]





Rule 10
rule 10

[[[0Mp* 0Ms] 0F]wt0a]


[[[0non* 0Ms] 0F]wt0a]

T he logic of non intuitive sketch
the logic of non (intuitive sketch)

Formally, non takes a (modified or basic) property to one of its contraries, leaving it open which particular contrary.

Imagine a residing in the capital of some country.

When a leaves the capital, a moves to a town in the province.

When a leaves that town, a has the choice between returning to the capital or going to some other town in the province.

From the point of view of the first town a goes to, its complement includes both the capital and all the other towns in the province. So each new privation introduces a shift in perspectiveas to what the complement is.

It is crucial not to confuse non, which operates on properties, with the complement function \, which operates on sets. The complement of a complement is the original set, thereby reinstalling the problem with Boolean negation.


  • The general rule of privation replaces the property constructed by 0Mp0F by the property constructed by 0non0F

  • A pair of privative modifiers is equivalent to one modal modifier

  • The present framework serves an extensional, set-theoretic purpose: is a in or out?

  • Further research will be hyperintensional, semantic: ‘is an almost finished meal’versus

    ‘is almost half a pound’


(1) What are the various ways of carving up the scopes of the adjective ‘doubleplusungood’? (Orwell, 1984, 1949)

(2) Is any one analysis superior?