Journal of Philosophical Logic

, Volume 39, Issue 5, pp 531–556 | Cite as

Shallow Analysis and the Slingshot Argument

  • Michael BaumgartnerEmail author


According to the standard opinions in the literature, blocking the unacceptable consequences of the notorious slingshot argument requires imposing constraints on the metaphysics of facts or on theories of definite descriptions (or class abstracts). This paper argues that both of these well-known strategies to rebut the slingshot overshoot the mark. The slingshot, first and foremost, raises the question as to the adequate logical formalization of statements about facts, i.e. of factual contexts. It will be shown that a rigorous application of Quine’s maxim of shallow analysis to formalizations of factual contexts paves the way for an account of formalizing such contexts which blocks the slingshot without ramifications for theories of facts or definite descriptions.


Slingshot argument Logical formalization Shallow analysis Factual contexts 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Anscombe, G. E. M. (1969). Causality and extensionality. Journal of Philosophy, 66, 152–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Barwise, J., & Perry, J. (1996). Semantic innocence and uncompromising situations. In A. P. Martinich (Ed.), The philosophy of language (pp. 369–381). Oxford: Oxford University Press (originally published 1975 in Midwest Studies in Philosophy).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Baumgartner, M. (forthcoming). Informal reasoning and logical formalization. In S. Conrad & S. Imhof (Eds.), Ding und Begriff. Frankfurt a.M.: Ontos.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Baumgartner, M., & Lampert, T. (2008). Adequate formalization. Synthese, 164, 93–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bennett, J. (1988). Events and their names. Indianapolis: Hackett.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bernays, P. (1958). Axiomatic set theory. Amsterdam: North-Holland.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Blau, U. (1977). Die dreiwertige Logik der Sprache. Berlin: de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Brandl, J. (1991). Some remarks on the “slingshot” argument. In G. Dorn & G. Schurz (Eds.), Advances of scientific philosophy (pp. 421–437). Amsterdam: Rodopi.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Brun, G. (2004). Die richtige Formel. Philosophische Probleme der logischen Formalisierung. Frankfurt a.M.: Ontos.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Carnap, R. (1947). Meaning and necessity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Church, A. (1943). Review of Carnap’s Introduction to semantics. Philosophical Review, 52, 298–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Cummins, R., & Gottlieb, D. (1972). On an argument for truth-functionality. American Philosophical Quarterly, 9, 265–269.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Davidson, D. (1980). Essays on actions and events. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Drai, D. (2002). The slingshot argument: An improved version. Ratio, 15, 194–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Epstein, R. L. (1990). The semantic foundations of logic: Propositional logic. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Epstein, R. L. (1994). The semantic foundations of logic: Predicate logic. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Etchemendy, J. (1990). The concept of logical consequence. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Frege, G. (1892/1984). On sense and meaning. In B. McGuinness (Ed.), Collected papers on mathematics, logic, and philosophy. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Gödel, K. (1944). Russell’s mathematical logic. In P. A. Schilpp (Ed.), The philosophy of Betrand Russell (pp. 123–153). New York: Tudor.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Haack, R. J. (1978). Quine’s theory of logic. Erkenntnis, 13, 231–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Hodges, W. (2001). Elementary predicate logic. In D. M. Gabbay & F. Guenthner (Eds.), Handbook of philosophical logic (2nd Ed., Vol. 1, pp. 1–130). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Iacona, A. (2004). Modal predicates. Australasian Journal of Logic, 2, 56–69.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Koons, R. C. (2000). Realism regained. An exact theory of causation, teleology, and the mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Lampert, T., & Baumgartner, M. (2010). The problem of validity proofs. Grazer Philosophische Studien, 80, 79–109.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Mellor, D. H. (1991). The singularity affecting facts of causation. In Matters of metaphysics (pp. 201–224). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Mellor, D. H. (1995). The facts of causation. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Neale, S. (1990). Descriptions. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Neale, S. (1995). The philosophical significance of Gödel’s slingshot. Mind, 104, 761–825.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Neale, S. (2001). Facing facts. Oxford: Clarendon.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Oliver, J. W. (1967). Formal fallacies and other invalid arguments. Mind, 76, 463–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Quine, W. v. O. (1953/1975). Three grades of modal involvement. In The ways of paradox (pp. 158–176). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Quine, W. v. O. (1960). Word and object. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Quine, W. v. O. (1982). Methods of logic, 4th Ed. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Russell, B. (1905). On denoting. Mind, 14, 479–493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Russell, B. (1977). The philosophy of logical atomism. In R. Marsh (Ed.), Logic and knowledge (pp. 175–281). New York: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Sainsbury, M. (2001). Logical forms. An introduction to philosophical logic, 2nd Ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Sobel, J. H. (2008). Collapsing arguments for facts and propositions. Australasian Journal of Logic, 6, 122–161.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Whitehead, A. N., & Russell, B. (1910). Principia mathematica. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Williamson, J. (1976). Facts and truth. The Philosophical Quarterly, 26, 203–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations