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2019 Placement Job Talk – Manish Oza
Wednesday December 4, 2019, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Manish Oza is a PhD candidate interested in logic and language, idealism, and legal theory. His PhD thesis is about the relation between logic and meaningful thought.
“Nonsense: A User’s Guide”
Many philosophers suppose that sometimes we think we are saying or thinking something meaningful when in fact we’re not saying or thinking anything at all: we are producing nonsense. But what is nonsense? An account of nonsense must, I argue, meet two constraints. The first constraint requires that nonsense can be used, not just mentioned. In particular, we can reason with nonsense. An account which fails to meet this constraint cannot explain why nonsense appears meaningful. The second constraint requires that nonsense does not express thoughts. An account which fails to meet this constraint undercuts the critical force of the concept of nonsense. I offer an account which meets both constraints. The central idea is that to be under the illusion that some nonsense makes sense is to enter a pretense that the nonsense is meaningful. Our use of nonsense within the pretence relies on the role of logical form in understanding.SHARE