Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

Opacity, philosophy: also opacity of the reference. A problem with propositions (meanings of uttered sentences related to a speaker) is that one cannot be certain that one knows what an utterance refers to. E.g. in an empty room is a blackboard with the inscription "I am hungry". See also intensions, propositions, propositional attitudes, reference, inscrutability, quotation.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Excerpt Meta data

Books on Amazon
I 18
Opacity/description dependent/Boer: 1. This is usually a question of hidden parameters, additional arguments in the logical form, which do not appear in everyday language.
The hidden parameters would be the kind of representations quantified in (D5):

(D5) R is a concept-dependent relation = for each object x and y that x has the relation R to y, entails for a representation z and one behavior-determining relation Q:

A) a has Q to z and
B) either
(i) z forms y (i.e., z is or contains something that represents y for x)
(ii) z expresses y (i.e., z is a representation with a fulfillment condition which they have from y) and
C) for each representation r which maps y or expresses whether x has q to r depends on whether r has one or more intrinsic properties of a certain domain (i.e. there is a set F of intrinsic features of x' representations, for each representation r which maps y for x, x has Q to r iff r exemplifies a feature from F).

Or any entities that could be gained from such representations.
This explains why the alleged breach of (T2)

(T2) For arbitrary objects x, y, z and every two-digit relation R: if y = z and x has R to y, then x has R to z.

is only an apparent one: for the fact that b = c and that R (a, b, r) need not to contain R (a, c, r'), if this is not made explicit, it seems to be a two-digit relation that violates (T2).

2. Another possibility is that R itself is context-dependent: that "b = c" and "R (a, b)" would be logically compatible with "~R (a, c)" if the contexts are only different enough. E.g. "R" could be analyzed as the complex binary predicate "[λxy (Er) Gyrx]" whereby the domain of the questionable quantifier is a contextual set of mediating representations,
I 19
which differ in the applications "b = c", "R (a, b)" and "~ R (a, c)".
3. Strategy: Thesis that the alleged relations of R are not the real relations. It is not guaranteed that "b" in the various uses always stands for the same object here.
For example, if a name appears in a sentence both inside and outside of quotes, it is natural to assume that it refers once to the bearer, but also to a wordtype. Thus, in our case, different referents of "b" could also be assumed.
4. "about": can also be ambiguous. This can lead to that identity fails in the belief of something.
(A) In one sense, a belief about the evening star is at the same time also a belief about the morning star
B) in another sense, it is not. ((s) de re/de dicto).
Weaker/Boer: "For a G, A believes that N is G."
I 20
"From"/de re/Boer/(s): is stronger and, together with the identity of morning star and evening star, implies that the belief "of" the morning star equals the belief of the evening star.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.

Boer I
Steven E. Boer
Thought-Contents: On the Ontology of Belief and the Semantics of Belief Attribution (Philosophical Studies Series) New York 2010

Boer II
Steven E. Boer
Knowing Who Cambridge 1986

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-07-27