Paul FRANCESCHI
PAPERS in ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHY, SEMIOTICS and PHILOSOPHICAL PSYCHOPATHOLOGY

 

Paul FRANCESCHI, PhD

University of Corsica

p.franceschi@univ-corse.fr

in French

This web site presents my papers in analytic philosophy. My research interests include metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of science, study of concepts, dialectic and cognition. My main concern is with paradoxical reasoning, either in philosophical arguments (the Doomsday Argument, Hempel's Problem, Goodman's Paradox, the Surprise Examination Paradox, the Sorites, and others) or in psycho-pathological reasoning. Some conceptual tools are also presented: n-universes, matrices of concepts and some complements to a theory of cognitive distortions.

 PUBLISHED PAPERS: PARADOXES

Une Solution pour l'Argument de l'Apocalypse A paper [html | PDF] published in French in the Canadian Journal of Philosophy Vol.28, July 1998, pp. 227-46

This paper presents a solution to the Doomsday Argument (DA). It is firstly shown that there is no objective criterion for the general choice of the reference class: in this case, DA calculation cannot take place. Secondly, the particular choice of a reference class is envisaged, as Leslie recommends it. But the arbitrariness of the selection legitimates multiple choices, by extension or by restriction: DA then notably works for genus Homo, species Homo sapiens, subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens, ... , a restrictively defined class corresponding to humans having not known of the computer, etc. DA finally works, but without terror.

 

The Doomsday Argument and Hempel's Problem English translation [html | pdf] of a paper published in French in the Canadian Journal of Philosophy Vol.29, July 1999, pp. 139-56 under the title Comment l'Urne de Carter et Leslie se Déverse dans celle de Hempel [html | PDF]

I begin by describing a solution to Hempel's Problem. I recall, second, the solution to the Doomsday Argument described in my previous Une Solution pour l'Argument de l'Apocalypse (Canadian Journal of Philosophy 1998-2) and remark that both solutions are based on a similar line of reasoning. I show thirdly that the Doomsday Argument can be reduced to the core of Hempel's Problem. 

 

A Solution to Goodman's Paradox English translation [html | pdf] of a paper published in French in Dialogue Vol. 40, Winter 2001, pp. 99-123 under the title Une Solution pour le Paradoxe de Goodman

In the classical version of Goodman's paradox, the universe where the problem takes place is ambiguous. The conditions of induction being accurately described, I define then a framework of n-universes, allowing the distinction, among the criteria of a given n-universe, between constants and variables. Within this framework, I distinguish between two versions of the problem, respectively taking place: (i) in an n-universe the variables of which are colour and time; (ii) in an n-universe the variables of which are colour, time and space. Finally, I show that each of these versions admits a specific resolution.

 

A Dichotomic Analysis of the Surprise Examination Paradox [pdf] English translation of a paper appeared in French in Philosophiques, 2005, vol. 32, pages 399-421 (with minor changes with regard to the published version)

 

This paper proposes a new framework to solve the surprise examination paradox. I survey preliminary the main contributions to the literature related to the paradox. I introduce then a distinction between a monist and a dichotomic analysis of the paradox. With the help of a matrix notation, I also present a dichotomy that leads to distinguish two basically and structurally different notions of surprise, which are respectively based on a conjoint and a disjoint structure. I describe then how Quine's solution and Hall's reduction apply to the version of the paradox corresponding to the conjoint structure. Lastly, I expose a solution to the version of the paradox based on the disjoint structure.

 

Probabilistic Situations for Goodmanian N-universes A paper appeared (2006) in French in the Journal of Philosophical Research, vol. 31, pages 123-141, under the title Situations probabilistes pour n-univers goodmaniens

I proceed to describe several applications of the theory of n-universes through several different probabilistic situations. I describe first how n-universes can be used as an extension of the probability spaces used in probability theory. The extended probability spaces thus defined allow for a finer modelling of complex probabilistic situations and fits more intuitively with our intuitions related to our physical universe. I illustrate then the use of n-universes as a methodological tool, with two thought experiments described by John Leslie. Lastly, I model Goodman's paradox in the framework of n-universes while also showing how these latter appear finally very close to goodmanian worlds.

 

A Third Route to the Doomsday Argument published (2009) [pdf] in English in the Journal of Philosophical Research, vol. 34, pages 263-278 (with significant changes with regard to the preprint) new

In this paper, I present a solution to the Doomsday argument based on a third type of solution, by contrast with, on the one hand, the Carter-Leslie view and on the other hand, the Eckhardt et al. analysis. I begin by strengthening both competing models by highlighting some variations of their ancestors models, which renders them less vulnerable to several objections. I describe then a third line of solution, which incorporates insights from both Leslie and Eckhardt's models and fits more adequately with the human situation corresponding to DA. I argue then that the resulting two-sided analogy casts new light on the reference class problem. This leads finally to a novel formulation of the argument that could well be more consensual than the original one.

 

 PUBLISHED PAPERS: CONCEPTS, SEMIOTICS

On a Class of Concepts English translation [pdf] of a paper published in French in Semiotica, vol. 139 (1-4), 2002, 211-226, under the title Une Classe de Concepts

This article describes the construction, of philosophical essence, of one class of concepts, whose structure and properties present an interest in several fields. The paper emphasises the applications in the field of paradigmatic analysis of the resulting taxonomy and proposes it as an alternative to the semiotic square put forth by Greimas.

 

The Dialectical Plan: an Alternative to the Paradigm English translation [html] of a paper published in French in Semiotica, vol. 146(1-4), 2003, 353-367, under the title Le plan dialectique: pour une alternative au paradigme

I apply the theory developed in Matrices of concepts (2002) to the methodology for conceiving a plan. Regarding the dialectical plan, the paradigm is a plan whose structure is thesis-antithesis-synthesis. I describe a new type of matricial dialectical plan, which presents several advantages in regard to the classical dialectical plan and proposes to constitute an alternative to this latter.

 

The Problem of the Relationships of love/hate/indifference English translation [PDF] of a paper published in French [pdf] in Semiotica vol. 150(1-4), 2004 under the title Le problème des relations amour-haine-indifférence

In Une classe de concepts (2002), I described a theory based on the matrices of concepts which aims at constituting an alternative to the classification proposed by Greimas, in the field of paradigmatic analysis. The problem of the determination of the relationships of love/hate/indifference arises in this construction. I state then the problem of the relationships of love/hate/indifference in a detailed way, and several solutions that have been proposed in the literature to solve it. I describe lastly a solution to this problem, based on an extension of the theory of matrices of concepts.

 

Paradigmatic analysis of a corpus of proverbs with the help of matrices of concepts A paper appeared in French in Semiotica, 2007, vol. 167, pp. 271-282 under the title Analyse paradigmatique d'un corpus de proverbes à l'aide des matrices de concepts


In Matrices of concepts (2002), I presented a theory based on matrices of concepts which aims to constitute an alternative to the classification proposed by Greimas, in the field of paradigmatic analysis. I proceed here to apply the matrices de concepts to the analysis of a corpus made up of Corsican proverbs.

PUBLISHED PAPERS: COGNITIVE DISTORTIONS, PHILOSOPHICAL PSYCHOPATHOLOGY

Complements for a theory of cognitive distortions [pdf] preprint of a paper published in French under the title Compléments pour une théorie des distorsions cognitives, in the Journal de Thérapie Comportementale et Cognitive, 2007, 17-2, pp. 84-88

The purpose of this study is to describe a conceptual framework for cognitive distortions, which notably allows to specify more accurately their intrinsic relationships. This conceptual framework aims at inserting itself within the apparatus of cognitive therapy and of critical thinking. The present analysis is based on the following fundamental concepts: the reference class, the duality and the system of taxa. With the help of these three notions, each cognitive distortion can be defined. A distinction is also made between, on the one hand, general cognitive distortions and on the other hand, specific cognitive distortions. The present model allows then to define within the same conceptual framework the general cognitive distortions such as dichotomous reasoning, disqualifying a given pole, minimisation and maximisation. It also allows to describe as specific cognitive distortions: disqualifying the positive, selective abstraction and catastrophism. Furthermore, the present model predicts the existence of two other general cognitive distortions: the omission of the neutral and requalifying in the other pole.

Theory of cognitive distorsions: application to generalised anxiety disorder, A paper published in French under the title Théorie des distorsions cognitives : application à l'anxiété généralisée in the Journal de Thérapie Comportementale et Cognitive, 2008, 18, pp. 127-131

This article follows the contribution to the general theory of cognitive distortions exposed in "Compléments pour une théorie des distorsions cognitives" (Journal de Thérapie Comportementale et Cognitive, 2007). The elements described, namely the reference class, the duality and the system of taxa, are applied here to generalised anxiety disorder. On the one hand, these elements allow to describe the cognitive distortions which are specific to generalised anxiety disorder, consistent with recent work emphasising the role played uncertain situations relative to future events. On the second hand, they allow to define a type of structured reasoning, of inductive nature, which leads to the formation and maintenance of anxious ideas.

 

A logical defense of Maher's model for polythematic delusions, A paper published in French in Philosophiques, autumn 2008, under the title Une défense logique du modèle de Maher pour les délires polythématiques

In this paper, we proceed to describe a model for the formation and maintenance of polythematic delusions encountered in schizophrenia, which is in adequation with Brendan Maher's account of delusions. Polythematic delusions are considered here as the conclusions of arguments triggered by apophenia that include some very common errors of reasoning such as post hoc fallacy and confirmation bias. We describe first the structure of reasoning which leads to delusions of reference, of telepathy and of influence, by distinguishing between the primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary types of delusional arguments. These four levels of arguments correspond to a stage the nature of which is respectively instantial, inductive, interpretative at a monothematic level and interpretative at a polythematic level. We also proceed to identify accurately the fallacious steps in the corresponding reasoning. We expose then the role of apophenia in the elaboration of delusional ideas. Lastly, we describe the role played by the hallucinations in the present model.

Theory of Cognitive Distortions: Over-generalisation ans Mislabelling

a paper published in French in the Journal de Thérapie Comportementale et Cognitive, 2009, 19-4, pages 136-140 under the title Théorie des distorsions cognitives : la sur-généralisation et l'étiquetage


In a previous article (Compléments pour une théorie des distorsions cognitives, Journal de Thérapie Comportementale et Cognitive, 2007), we introduced some elements aimed at contributing to a general theory of cognitive distortions. Based on the reference class, the duality and the system of taxa, these elements allow to define the general cognitive distortions as well as the specific cognitive distortions. This model is extended here to the description of two other classical cognitive distortions: over-generalisation and mislabelling. The definition of the two latter cognitive distortions is based on prior differentiation between three levels of reasoning: primary, secondary and ternary pathogenic arguments. The latter analysis also leads to define two other cognitive distortions which insert themselves into this framework: ill-grounded inductive projection and confirmation bias.

Theory of Cognitive Distortions: Personalisation

a paper published in French in the Journal de Thérapie Comportementale et Cognitive, 2010, 20-2, pages 51-55 under the title Théorie des distorsions cognitives : la personnalisation new

In a previous paper (Compléments pour une théorie des distorsions cognitives, Journal de Thérapie Comportementale et Cognitive, 2007), we did present some elements aimed at contributing to a general theory of cognitive distortions. Based on the reference class, the duality and the system of taxa, these elements led to distinguish between the general cognitive distortions (dichotomous reasoning, disqualification of one pole, minimisation, maximisation) and the specific cognitive distortions (disqualifying the positive, selective abstraction, catastrophism). By also distinguishing between three levels of reasoning - the instantiation stage, the interpretation stage and the generalisation stage - we did also define two other cognitive distortions: over-generalisation and mislabelling (Théorie des distorsions cognitives : la sur-généralisation et l'étiquetage, Journal de Thérapie Comportementale et Cognitive, 2009). We currently extend this model to another classical cognitive distortion: personalisation.

PREPRINTS

These papers are subject to revision. Comments welcome!

 

A characterization of the one-sidedness fallacy within the framework of the cognitive distorsions [pdf] new

In this paper, I propose an accurate description of the cognitive process involved in the one-sidedness fallacy, a widespread type of fallacy. I describe first several characterizations of the one-sidedness fallacy, that are either inductive or deductive, or occurring at a meta-philosophical level. I recall, second, the framework of the cognitive distortions described in Franceschi (2007). I give then a definition of the one-sidedness fallacy, by describing it as a general cognitive distortion: the disqualification of one pole. I show finally how the one-sidedness fallacy distinguishes itself from the confirmation bias.


A Two-Sided Ontological Solution to the Sleeping Beauty Problem [pdf] (updated December 2008; previous title: Sleeping Beauty and the Problem of World-reduction)

I describe in this paper an ontological solution to the Sleeping Beauty problem. I begin with describing the Entanglement urn experiment. I restate first the Sleeping Beauty problem from a wider perspective than the usual opposition between halfers and thirders. I also argue that the Sleeping Beauty experiment is best modelled with the Entanglement urn. I draw then the consequences of considering that some balls in the Entanglement urn have ontologically different properties form normal ones. In this context, considering a Monday-waking (drawing a red ball) leads to two different situations that are assigned each a different probability. This leads to a two-sided account of the Sleeping Beauty problem. On the one hand, the first situation is handled by the argument for 1/3. On the other hand, the second situation corresponds to a reasoning that echoes the argument for 1/2 but that leads however, to different conclusions.

 

A Brief Introduction to N-universes [pdf]

I present in this paper the basic elements of the n-universes, from an essentially pragmatic standpoint, i.e. by describing accurately the step-by-step process which leads to the modelling of a thought experiment.

On the Circularity in the Sorites paradox [html | PDF] (updated November 2003)

 

I begin by highlighting the importance of the step size in the induction step of the sorites paradox. A careful analysis reveals that the step size can be characterised as a proper instance of the concept very small. After having accurately described the structure of sorites-susceptible predicates, I argue that the structure of the induction step in the Sorites Paradox is inherently circular. This circularity emerges in the structure of Wang's paradox and also of the classical variations of the paradox with the young, bald, etc. Predicates. 

 

A Polar Concept Argument for the Existence of Abstracta [html | pdf] (May 2004)

 

I present a polar concept argument for the existence of abstract objects. After recalling the fundamentals concerning the debate about the existence of abstracta, I present in a detailed way the argument for the existence of abstracta. I offer two different variations of the argument: one, deductive and the other, inductive. The argument rests primarily on the fact that our universe is well-balanced. This well-balanced property results from the fact that all instantiable polar dualities are instantiated. Hence, the abstract pole of the abstract/concrete duality must also be exemplified. Lastly, I review several objections that can be raised against the present argument.

 

BOOK REVIEWS

English translation (postprint) of a review of John Leslie, Infinite Minds (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001), published in French in Philosophiques, 2003 [html]

English translation of a Review of Richard Bentall, Madness Explained (London: Allen Lane, Penguin Books, 2003), to appear in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry (2006)

USEFUL LINKS

Anthropic-principle.com by Nick Bostrom

Vagueness by Justin Needle http://www.falakros.net

People with online papers in philosophy by David Chalmers

Institut Jean Nicod Online papers

Online papers by Pascal Engel

IHPST Institut d'Histoire et de Philosophie des Sciences et des Techniques, with online papers

Cogprints Cognitive Sciences Eprint Archive

PhilSci Archive

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy edited by Edward N. Zalta

 

 

 

 (c) P. Franceschi