Bachelor of Arts Cynthia M. Grund

Constitutive Counterfactuality: The Logic of Interpretation in Metaphor and Music

Väitösaika- ja paikka: 13.3.1997 klo 12; Tampereen yliopiston Pinnin kiinteistön Paavo Koli -sali, Kehruukoulunkatu 1.

Vastaväittäjä: professori George Farre (Georgetown University, Washington D.C.); Kustos: professori Veikko Rantala; Oppiaine: filosofia

Contrary-to-fact, or counterfactual,reasoning is utilized by thinkers in many fields. It is a common exercise for historians to imagine how a particular course of events could have been quite different if only certain factors had been otherwise, or for scientists to envision how, if something in an experiment would have been changed, then the outcome would have been different. When philosophers have chosen to study counterfactual thinking, it has often been of this sort, where although the thinking involves contrary-to-fact assumptions, these assumptions most often do not involve very drastic departures from "reality as we know it".

In this dissertation, however, modes of contrary-to-fact thinking are investigated which do, indeed, require drastic departures from reality as we know it. The proposal that is precisely this kind of deviant counterfactual thinking that underlies our use and understanding of metaphors is put forth and found to be of value. Metaphors are often perceived as some of the chief vehicles for the creative use of language, and it is suggested that yet another creative use of language achieved through what technically are known as fictions also may be fruitfully studied in terms of counterfactual thinking. It is argued that the shared counterfactual nature of both metaphors and fictions has often led to the blurring of distinction between the two notions, and moreover, that the notion of fiction has for sometime been overshadowed and indeed, absorbed by the notion of metaphor. It is suggested that they are usefully kept separate in discussions of human cognition, the relation of language to reality and the creation of cultural objects.

A main consern of the dissertation is to examine how we can gain some understanding of what music is and of our relationship to it, by regarding music as the product of what is termed "counterfactual hearing". The discussion of counterfactuality, metaphor and fiction thus becomes central to this way of analyzing the complex web of relationships holding among sound, music, language and the effords of human cognition to order and relate to a world of sensuous experience. As part of the analysis, concepts and tools from the sort of formal logic known as intensional logic have been employed in order to clarify and explicate these relationships.

In the course of the dissertation, the work of such thinkers as Alan Tormey, David Lewis, Kari Kurkela, Veikko Rantala, Jerrold Levinson, Soren Kierkegaard, Hans Vaihinger, Jeremy Bentham, George Lakoff, Mark Johnson, Mark Turner, Samuel Levin and Carl Hausman is discussed. The dissertation is a collection of seven articles, together with an introductory section which provides an overview of the articles, as well as supplementary remarks regarding the philosophical program which they comprise.

Lisätietoja: Cynthia M. Grund puh. +45 42 600 421

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