Kriegel on Appearances

Uriah has an interesting post here on Desert Landscapes about appearances. He says that there are de re and de dicto reports of appearances, as follows:
It appears that a is F (de dicto)
a appears to be F (de re)

He says that (this is a correction from a previous version) the former entails the latter.

I would have thought, though, that the former does not entail the latter because it doesn’t require that a exist. But perhaps together with the claim that a exists we get the entailment.

I have one reservation still. Perhaps the de re reading carries with it the information that there is a causal/explanatory connection between a and whatever system is appeared to F-ly. Perhaps it says that the object a is causally relevant in some way to some appearance state involving the property F. If that is so, then it would take more than the de dicto reading together with a’s existence to imply the de re reading.


Kriegel on Appearances — 9 Comments

  1. Uriah appears to me to be saying the opposite of what you’re saying. From his post:

    ‘…a surprising thesis holds of appearance propositions: namely, that de dicto appearance propositions entail de re appearance propositions. That is, propositions of the form â��apparently, a is Fâ�� entail propositions of the form â��a is apparently F.â��’

  2. Jon,
    At least one obstacle to the inference from the de dicto appearence to the de re is that the former context is opaque and the latter (I think) is not. So “it appears (presumably, to me) that Bob is getting older and it appears (to me) that Bill is not getting older” might both be true though, in fact, Bob = Bill.
    But truth should be preserved under substitutivity in the de re case. Suppose then that the de dicto entailed the de re, then (since the converse holds) it would follow from “It appears to me that Bob is getting older” that “it appears to me that Bill is getting older”. But that shouldn’t follow.

  3. I think the conditions still aren’t strong enough. Say someone takes a picture of Al Gore and from that picture makes a very realistic mask in which he robs a bank. So Al Gore exists, and he is causally relevant to the appearance that he is robbing the bank, and it’s true that

    It appears that Al Gore is robbing the bank,

    but it’s not true that

    Al Gore (de re) appears to be robbing the bank.

  4. That’s not quite right. Here rather is the problem for holding that the de dicto claim entails its de re counterpart. Very curious to know why I am not permitted to derive (7). (Of course, asked this at dl as well)
    1. It appears that Bill is tall.
    2. It appears that Bob is not tall.
    3. Bill is apparently tall (from 1 and “de dicto entails de re”)
    4. Bob is apparently not tall (from 2 and same)
    5. Bill = Bob
    6. Bill is apparently tall and Bill is apparently not tall (3,4,5).
    7. Bill is apparently tall and not tall (from 6)

    I am assuming that for appearence contexts substitutivity of identicals holds in the de re case but not in the de dicto case. Maybe the inference from (Ap & Aq) to A(p & q) is not valid for appearence contexts. But even (6) is a little strange

  5. I don’t think either the de re or de dicto readings entail the existence of the subject ‘a’. It’s easily shown by substituting a nonreferring name for ‘a’.

    1. It appears that Pegasus doesn’t exist.
    2. Pegasus appears not to exist.

    Neither of those entail the existence of Pegasus.

  6. Chris:

    Good point. How about this:

    (*) If there is an x, such that x appears to be a, then if apparently a is F, then a is apparently F.

    This is getting ugglier and ugglier, but the basic idea I’m trying to capture is that when a particular appears to instantiate the property of being F, then the the particular does instantiate the property of appearing F (captured in the slogan “the appearance of instantiation entails the insantiation of appearance”). Perhas the “de dicto”/”de re” business was not the best way to capture that idea.

  7. Uriah,
    You might be right about the general idea. I’m not sure about (*), though. In my Al Gore case, there is someone–the bank robber–who appears to be Al Gore. And apparently, Al Gore is robbing the bank. But it is not true that Al Gore (de re, the man himself) is apparently robbing the bank. Maybe I’m misunderstanding (*), though.

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