Daily Analysis: Rigid Designator

Kripke’s term for an expression that has the same referent in every possibly world. This includes proper names and natural-kinds. Example:

“The 44th president of the United States” designates Barack Obama in the actual world, but it does not rigidly designate him because in some possible world John McCain is the 44th President of the United States. However, “Barack Obama” picks out the same essence in every possible world that “Barack Obama” designates anything at all.


Daily Analysis: Trope

Trope: An unrepeatable, simple property that stands in contrast with a ‘universal’. Tropes do not exemplify universals like particulars which are complex events, but belong to the subject alone. An example would be the basketball skills of Michael Jordan or Beethoven’s musical talent. It should not be confused with the linguistic speech act that carries the same name.

Daily Analysis: Modus Tollens

Modus Tollens:

If P, then Q.
Therefore, ¬P.

Literally, ‘the denying mode’. A method of inference in propositional logic. May also be termed ‘denying the consequent’.

If Socrates is a God, then he is immortal.
Socrates is not immortal.
.: Socrates is not a God.

In the above sentence- If Socrates is a God, then he is immortal- ‘If Socrates is a God’ is the antecedent and ‘then he is immortal’ is the consequent (not to be confused with consequence).

Daily Analysis: Falsification

Falsification: Karl Popper’s theorized property that demarcates a scientific theory from a non-scientific theory. A scientific theory is open to empirical falsification via Modus Tollens.

Daily Analysis: Supervenience

Weak Supervenience: A weakly supervenes on B if and only if necessarily (for any property F in A, if an object x has F, then there exists a property G in B such that x has G), and if any y has G it has F.

Strong Supervenience: A strongly supervenes on B just in case, in every nomologically possible world, for each x and each property F in A, if x has F, then there is a property G in B such that x has G, and necessarily if any y has G, it has F.

(taken from here)

The moment I grasped supervenience stands out as one of the true leaps forward in my own philosophical development. It has applications everywhere but has specific application in philosophy of mind and ethics.