According to Twardowski, truth is if it is independent of temporal coordinates. This understanding was one of the main arguments against truth-relativism. Kotarbiński rejected this view as far the issue concerns sentences about the future, but he did not elaborated this idea from a logical point of view. Leśniewski offered an argument that truth is eternal if and only if it is sempiternal; Twardowski shared this opinion. Łukasiewicz rejected sempiternality but retained eternality. His main novelty consisted in applying three-valued logic to explain how it is possible that truth is not sempiternal. Łukasiewicz also pointed out that bivalence together with the principle of causality implies radical determinism. Kotarbiński accepted Leśniewski’s criticism and he defended Twardowski’s view in Elementy. Tarski did not explicitly addressed to the problem of absoluteness or temporality of truth. On the other hand, Kokoszyńska proposed an interpretation of the semantic theory of truth as absolute. It is possible to justify absoluteness of truth in semantics cum the principle of bivalence and show that bivalence does not imply determinism.
This chapter takes up the charge that Mill commits the fallacy of composition in his proof of the principle of utility. This is the fallacy of assuming that what is true of the parts of a whole must therefore be true of the whole as well. It is a logical fallacy commonly committed in inferences from the attributes, properties, or characteristics of the parts of a whole to the attributes, properties, or characteristics of the corresponding whole. The following argument is an example: “Each word in this sentence is in the Oxford English Dictionary; therefore, this sentence is in the Oxford English Dictionary.” Mill allegedly commits the fallacy of composition in the third paragraph of the fourth chapter of Utilitarianism, where his reasoning can be paraphrased as follows: Each person’s happiness is desirable for (is a good to) the person whose happiness it is; therefore, the general happiness is desirable for (is a good to) the aggregate of all persons. Mill’s argument, paraphrased in this way and taken in isolation, appears on the face of it to commit the fallacy of composition. The primary aim of this chapter is to demonstrate that it does not.
This chapter absolves Mill of the charge that he equivocates on the word “desirable” in his proof, where he supposedly switches from a construal indicating ability or capacity to one establishing value, specifically in the process of inferring that which it is good to desire, or worthy of desire, from that which it is possible to desire, or able to be desired. The supposedly fallacious version of the argument can be summarized as follows: Whatever is desired is desirable (can be desired); happiness is desired; therefore, happiness is desirable (worthy of desire). This interpretation and the associated accusation are grounded in Mill’s analogic reasoning in comparing desires as evidence of desirability with seeing as evidence of visibility and hearing as evidence of audibility. Mill is thus taken to equivocate between the standard sense of “desirable” as a normative term analogous to “good” and an idiosyncratic sense of “desirable” as a descriptive term comparable to “visible” and “audible.”
This chapter turns to the various objections George Edward Moore raises against Mill in accusing him of committing the naturalistic fallacy in his proof of the principle of utility. Secondary literature on Moore’s conception of the naturalistic fallacy consists largely of two debates going to the heart of the matter in his Principia Ethica. The first is a more fundamental, though waning, debate on the precise definition of the naturalistic fallacy, as there is hardly any agreement on exactly what Moore means by that designation. The second is a more lively and ongoing debate concerning whether the naturalistic fallacy, either in Moore’s seminal conception or in contemporary reconceptions, is clearly a mistake or merely a fundamental philosophical disagreement between naturalists and nonnaturalists. Both debates are relevant to the aims of this chapter in defense of Mill’s proof. All in all, Moore accuses Mill of making two mistakes in committing the naturalistic fallacy. The first is the mistake of confusing the meaning of the word “good” with the meaning of some other word, or of conflating the concept of good with some other concept. The second is the mistake of attempting to prove that happiness is desirable as an end in itself, despite the fact that intrinsic goodness is not susceptible of proof or disproof. The first is clearly a mistake. The second is not so clear, but both Moore and Mill agree that it, too, is a mistake. The aim of the present chapter is to show that Mill makes neither mistake.