Sketches of Love

What follows treats love as consisting entirely of desires and motivational profile:
x loves y just in case x desires goods for y up to and greater than what x takes y to deserve
We might have as a dual:
x hates y just in case x desires bad for y up to a greater than what x takes y to deserve

Clarification 1: When John loves Sally, John wants good things to happen to Sally in general. John might want goods for Sally even if John isn't involved in Sally obtaining said goods.

Clarification 2: When John merely likes Sally, John wants good things for Sally that Sally deserves. Note, John not wanting Sally to receive goods greater than what John thinks Sally deserves is not equivalent to John wanting Sally to not receive goods greater than what John thinks Sally deserves. The latter - but not the former - would lead to John being upset if Sally did receive such goods.

Clarification 3: One might hold - as Velleman does - that John desires goods for Sally out of respect for her capacity for practical reasoning. I would not accept this though. It seems to me love for another person is love of that other person's qualities, because that's all there is to the other person. I can't imagine a table absent extension, color, shape, etc.; I can't imagine Sally absent all her qualities, so how could I love such a thing?

  • Response 1: If one loves another only for their qualities, then since these qualities can be instantiated elsewhere, the beloved is not unique, and that seems counterintuitive.

  • Rejoinder: While true qualities can be instantiated elsewhere, quality combinations are rarer. There are many blue-eyed individuals, but fewer blue-eyed brown-haired individuals. Attending to the configuration of a beloved sharply restricts the likelihood of another individual exhibiting the same quality set. Moreover, everyone has a height, but each person has a specific height. For each quality, each person has both a determinable and determinate aspects. Focusing on the determinate aspect sharply restricts the likelihood of another exhibiting the same determinate quality set. It is not simply that Sally has blue eyes, brown hair, etc., but that Sally has this shade, hue, and saturation, along with her many other features, which make her rather rare.

  • Response 2: If a beloved perished but all the beloved's qualities were found in a duplicate, would we love the duplicate? Likely not, so there must be something beyond the mere qualities.

  • Rejoinder: I’m not sure what to make of this exotic thought experiment, but I’m inclined to say – if all the properties are the same, including memories, etc. – then ‘yes’. Cp. Hurka who asks if our beloved is replaced with a clone with all the same properties would we still feel a sense of loss. He infers from answering this affirmatively that there is something special about the beloved beyond properties. I think this inference is fallacious. Of course I’d still feel a sense of loss, someone has died. Death is a loss. This doesn’t yet show there’s something beyond the properties of my beloved.

Clarification 4: Some qualities we dislike are found in those we love. John might dislike when others interrupt him in general, but dislike it much less when one interrupts him in a charismatic or charming manner. Similarly, things we dislike in general we might even enjoy if done by our lover because we generally like when things are done, say, cleverly or charismatically, and we find our lover clever or charismatic.

Fake Coins Puzzle


There are 12 coins before you, one of which is fake. The fake coin is either heavier than or lighter than the other 11 coins. The legitimate coins all weigh the same. You have a balance scale you can use to weigh the coins. You can use the scale at most three times. How do you find the fake coin?


Number the coins 1-12. Separate the coins into a pile of 1,2,3,4, a pile of 5,6,7,8, and a pile of 9,10,11,12. Let "f" denote the fake coin. Let the predicate "H" denote heavy and the predicate "L" denote light.

Weigh 1: 1,2,3,4 x 5,6,7,8. There are three possible outcomes:
Outcome I: 1,2,3,4 = 5,6,7,8. f is among 9,10,11,12.
Weigh 1.2: 1,9 x 10,11, where 1 is clearly not f. There are three possible outcomes:
Outcome I: 1,9 = 10,11. f is 12. DONE.
Outcome II: 1,9 > 10,11. Either H(9) or L(10) or L(11).
Weigh 1.2.3: 10 x 11. There are three possible outcomes:
Outcome I: 10 = 11. Then f is 9. DONE.
Outcome II: 10 > 11. Then f is 11. DONE.
Outcome III: 10 < 11. Then f is 10. DONE.
Outcome III: 1,9 < 10,11. Either L(9) or H(10) or H(11).
Weigh 1.2.3: 10 x 11. There are three possible outcomes:
Outcome I: 10 = 11. Then f is 9. DONE.
Outcome II: 10 > 11. Then f is 10. DONE.
Outcome III: 10 < 11. Then f is 11. DONE.
Outcome II: 1,2,3,4 > 5,6,7,8. f is either H(1), H(2), H(3), H(4), L(5), L(6), L(7), or L(8).
Weigh 1.2: 4,5,6,7 x 8,9,10,11. There are three possible outcomes:
Outcome I: 4,5,6,7 = 8,9,10,11. Then f is either H(1) or H(2) or H(3).
Weigh 1.2.3: 1 x 2. There are three possible outcomes:
Outcome I: 1 = 2. Then f is 3. DONE.
Outcome II: 1 > 2. Then f is 1. DONE.
Outcome III: 1 < 2. Then f is 2. DONE.
Outcome II: 4,5,6,7 > 8,9,10,11. Then f is either H(4) or L(8).
Weigh 1.2.3: 1 x 4. There are two possible outcomes:
Outcome I: 1 = 4. Then f is 8. DONE.
Outcome II: 1 < 4. Then f is 4. DONE.
Outcome III: 4,5,6,7 < 8,9,10,11. Then f is either L(5) or L(6) or L(7).
Weigh 1.2.3: 5 x 6. There are three possible outcomes:
Outcome I: 5 = 6. Then f is 7. DONE.
Outcome II: 5 < 6. Then f is 5. DONE.
Outcome III: 5 > 6. Then f is 6. DONE.
Outcome III: 1,2,3,4 < 5,6,7,8. f is either L(1), L(2), L(3), L(4), H(5), H(6), H(7), or H(8).
Weigh 1.2: 10,11,12,1 x 2,3,4,5. There are three possible outcomes:
Outcome I: 10,11,12,1 = 2,3,4,5. Then f is either H(6) or H(7) or H(8).
Weigh 1.2.3: 6 x 7. There are three possible outcomes:
Outcome I: 6 = 7. Then f is 8. DONE.
Outcome II: 6 > 7. Then f is 6. DONE.
Outcome III; 6 < 7. Then f is 7. DONE.
Outcome II: 10,11,12,1 > 2,3,4,5. Then f is either L(2) or L(3) or L(4).
Weigh 1.2.3: 2 x 3. There are three possible outcomes:
Outcome I: 2 = 3. Then f is 4. DONE.
Outcome II: 2 > 3. Then f is 3. DONE.
Outcome III: 2 < 3. Then f is 2. DONE.
Outcome III: 10,11,12,1 < 2,3,4,5. Then f is either L(1) or H(5).
Weigh 1.2.3: 1 x 4. There are two possible outcomes:
Outcome I: 1 = 4. Then f is 5. DONE.
Outcome II: 1 < 4. Then f is 1. DONE.

Garbage Logic


One sunny afternoon John asks Sally how she's doing, and Sally responds that she isn't happy. Sally then quotes the song by the band Garbage - "I'm only happy when it rains." John then claims Sally has committed a fallacy. Is John correct?


To get a feel for the question, consider whether you think the following is a good inference:

(i) S is only happy if it rains
(ii) It does not rain
(iii) Hence, S is not happy

Let "It rains" be denoted by Q and "S is happy" by P. If you think (i) has the form (Q->P) then this will be invalid. You might think this because "if" on its own seems to be introducing "It rains" as the antecedent of a material conditional. Then (i) is equivalent to: "It rains, only if S is happy." That is:

(1) It rains only if S is happy (Q->P)
(2) It does not rain (~Q)
(3) Hence, S is not happy (~P)

On the other hand, if you think (i) has the form (P->Q), then the argument is valid. You might think this because "only if" is typically taken to introduce the consequent of a material conditional, and "S is only happy if..." is plausibly read as "S is happy only if...". Then (i) is equivalent to "S is happy only if it rains." That is:

(4) S is happy only if it rains (P->Q)
(5) It does not rain (~Q)
(6) Hence, S is not happy (~P)

There are two further options as the setup permits another reading:

(iv) S is only happy if it rains
(v) S is not happy
(vi) Hence, it does not rain

So that taking "if" to introduce the antecedent, we have the valid:

(7) It rains only if S is happy (Q->P)
(8) S is not happy (~P)
(9) Hence, it does not rain (~Q)

And if you take "only happy if" to introduce the consequent, we have the invalid:

(10) S is happy only if it rains (P->Q)
(11) S is not happy (~P)
(12) Hence, it does not rain (~Q)

So, whether a fallacy has been committed depends on whether Sally intended to infer "it does not rain" or "Sally is not happy, as well as whether "Sally is only happy if it rains" should be read as "Sally is happy only if it rains" or "It rains only if Sally is happy."

Concerning the first, I take Sally to be supporting the claim "I'm not happy" by appealing to the fact that it is not raining, which is common knowledge. If this is correct, then the second premise of the argument should be "It does not rain." So we can rule out setup (vi)-(vi).

Concerning the second, I take Sally to be claiming that if she's happy, then it rains. That is, Sally is making a valid argument and John is incorrect. This reading is also consistent with Sally not being happy, but it raining nevertheless. In other words, all we know is that if Sally is happy then it's raining, and if it's not raining then Sally isn't happy. This is also a bit sadder. Sally isn't even happy all and only those times it rains. Rather, Sally is only happy some of the times it rains.

Exhaustive Paradox


John asks Sally if she is tired.
Sally responds: "I'm not tired, I'm exhausted."
John responds: "Well, I'm glad to hear you aren't exhausted!"

Sally is perplexed. But so is John. Explain both perplexities.


Clearly, what Sally means is that she is not just tired. That is, she is both exhausted and tired. So John suggesting she is not exhausted is perplexing to Sally.

Still, claiming to not be tired and to be exhausted is an odd way to claim to be both tired and exhausted. At least, John thinks so. He reasons that for any agent S, if S is exhausted then S is tired, since being exhausted is an extreme form of being tired. Hence, to claim:

  1. S is exhausted


       2. S is tired

So claiming, in addition:

       3. S is not tired

Is inconsistent. But John is trying to be charitable, and so’d rather not attribute an inconsistency to Sally. Rather, John takes Sally at her word when she claims "I'm not tired." Moreover, John believes, as is plausible:

        4. S is not tired


        5. S is not exhausted

And since John is a nice guy, he's glad to hear Sally isn't exhausted given that she isn't tired. Of course, that still leaves Sally as speaking inconsistently, since she explicitly says she is exhausted, and this conflicts with (5). In other words, if John assumes Sally speaks consistently then either Sally is not tired and not exhausted or tired and exhausted, either of which conflicts with Sally’s expressed claim. John is perplexed because he seems forced to conclude his friend Sally is inconsistent.


Consider the task of teaching someone to whistle. A natural strategy when teaching someone to whistle is to describe to your pupil how they should hold their mouth, tongue, etc., so that they may imitate the sound you make when you successfully whistle. This is not, however, a very successful pedagogical strategy. This strategy amounts to throwing true claims at the pupil and hoping they stick. A less natural strategy, a better strategy I think, is to have the pupil attempt to whistle themselves and, of course, fail. As they fail to whistle, however, you manipulate your mouth, tongue, etc., so that you imitate the sound they produce in their failure. Once you are able to imitate their sound, do so while slowly manipulating your mouth, tongue, etc., to the whistle position you have mastered. Once you understand the steps, describe each step to your pupil so they see how to get from their noise to your whistle. In other words, teach them how to whistle from what they already know, not from what you already know. 

For the Sake of Argument...

I had an instructor who thought hard about formal systems that might underwrite analysis of speech acts like supposition and asserting. He argued as a matter of logic, asserting entailed supposing, though supposing did not entail asserting. For example, the following would be counted as valid:

  1. John AST(The store is open)

  2. Hence, John SUP(The store is open)

While the following would not count as valid:

  1. John SUP(The store is open)

  2. Hence, John AST(The store is open)

I agree with the latter not counting as valid. Asserting seems clearly associated with a norm of truth in every case, while supposing does not. John might claim to know p while supposing not p, without intuitive conflict. In contrast, John claiming to know p while asserting not p, seems a misuse of asserting, i.e. a lie. He's surely asserted, but he's violated a norm.

Does this make trouble for the first argument too? Not obviously. John asserting p comes with a norm of assertion, and if it's entailed John supposes p as well, we might think John's supposing in this case comes with a norm of assertion as well. That doesn't mean John can't suppose without the norm, and indeed, in many cases he will do just that.

That said, I do think there's trouble holding the first entailment. Supposing as an attitude seems to me to involve - in every case - direction towards some further goal. John doesn't simply suppose the store is open. Rather, John supposes the store is open for a reason. This is clearest, I think, in situations where one might suppose something for the sake of contradiction, i.e. reductio proofs. John might suppose p with the intention of drawing out some inconsistency in a premise set combined with background logical constraints. This strikes me as how supposing works in natural language as well. When John supposes the store is open, it's natural to ask - if you aren't already party to reason for the supposition - why John is supposing such a thing, e.g. do you need milk? do you have a shift today?

This feature of supposing in mind, return to the first argument. If John asserts the store is open, then if this argument is valid, it follows John supposes the store is open. But if John supposes the store is open, then there is some goal X John has in mind which motivates this supposition. Hence, in every case of assertion, there is some goal X agents have in mind which motivates the assertion. I find this implausible.

I'll detail why in another post. In the meantime, what do you think?

A Simple Question


Mathematician S is thinking of a number which is either 1, 2, or 3. Mathematician P can ask S only one question to determine which number S is thinking of. S can only answer "Yes", "No", or "I don't know" to the question posed by P.


What question might P ask to determine which number S is thinking of?


There are many questions P might ask to determine S's number. I'll share what I'd ask S: If n is an odd integer larger than any you've divided any number into, is n divisible without remainder by the number you're thinking of? Let m be S's number. There are three options:

  1. S knows n is divisible without remainder by m iff m is 1
  2. S knows n is not divisible without remainder by m iff m is 2
  3. S does not know whether n is divisible without remainder by m or not iff m is 3

To see other question P might ask, check out the forum where I came across the puzzle here.


Two Stones Puzzle


Frank owes the merchant Jack a large sum, which Frank is unable to pay. Jack offers Frank a deal: “Convince your daughter Sally to marry me, and I’ll drop the debt.” Frank asks Sally if she’ll marry Jack, but Sally is uninterested. When Jack relates this to Frank, he responds: “I still may be able to help you out. I’ll drop the debt if you convince Sally to agree to the following deal. We all three go to the nearby river. I’ll grab two stones from the river bank, one white and one black. I’ll place the stones in a bag, then hand the bag to Sally. Sally will then pull a single stone from the bag. If Sally draws a black stone, then we’ll be married. If Sally draws white, then we won’t be married. In either case, I’ll drop the debt.” Jack tells Sally the new offer. Sally agrees given the new chances to save her father. However, while at the river Sally sees Jack put two black stones in the bag instead of one black and one white. Sally doesn’t want to ruin the deal by calling Jack out, but she also doesn’t want to marry Jack. What does Sally do?


After I came up with a solution, I looked at others. The standard solution (if there is one), seems to be: Sally draws a stone and quickly drops it into the river before anyone can tell what color it is. Sally then observes the group could determine the color of the stone she dropped by looking at the remaining stone in the bag.

That’s fine; it might work. But I’m not a fan of this solution, as it relies on dropping the stone before anyone can see its color.

I prefer my solution: Sally claims she is superstitious, and that drawing a black stone to start a marriage courts bad luck. Sally proposes that rather than she and the merchant marrying if she draws a black stone, they marry if she draws a white stone. Had the merchant been fair, there would be no reason for him to prefer one color over another, so he should have no grounds for rejecting Sally’s proposal.

Symposium: Socrates Responding to Agathon

Just prior to his speech, Socrates disputes Agathon's claim that Love is beautiful and good:

  1. There is some x such that Love loves x or there is no y such that Love loves y

  2. It is not the case there is no y such that Love loves y

  3. Hence, there is some x such that Love loves x

  4. If there is some x such that Love loves x, then Love desires x

  5. If Love desires x, then Love does not possess x

  6. Love loves/desires what is beautiful

  7. Hence, Love does not possess what is beautiful

  8. If Love does not possess what is beautiful, then Love is not beautiful

  9. Hence, Love is not beautiful

  10. Love loves/desires what is good

  11. Hence, Love does not possess what is good

  12. If Love does not possess what is good, then Love is not good

  13. Hence, Love is not good

  14. Hence, Love is neither beautiful nor good

(1) is plausible by law of excluded middle. Agathon grants (2), so (3) follows. Agathon grants (4) as well, presumably since loving is plausibly understood as a species of desiring. Socrates argues for (5) by observing infelicities, e.g. a bald man desiring to be bald, and accompanied by an explanation of putative counterexamples, e.g. what the bald man desires is that he continue to be bald. Agathon claimed (6) and (10); note I've collapsed the link between loving and desiring from (4) when characterizing these premises. (7) and (11) follow. Socrates motivates (8) and (12) by shifting from possession of an object with a quality to being an object with a quality. (9), (13), and (14) follow.

Why accept (4)? To be fair, I think it's right to say that if S desires x then S does not possess x, so I'm happy to grant the related (5). Desire seems motivational, and so intimately tied to action. If S desires something S already possesses, there seems little motivation or guidance for action on offer unless one appeal to something like continued possession, as Socrates points out. That said, (4) treats loving as a species of desiring. But it doesn't seem as obvious that, say, loving is motivational. S might love x without that love motivating or guiding action, e.g. love of an ancestor, love of a mathematical proof. Yet, this must be the case if loving is a species of desiring.

Why accept (8) and (12)? Socrates seems to shift from the lack of possession of an object to the lack of having whatever quality that object exhibits possesses. If this conditional is true, it's nevertheless irrelevant, since there seems little connection between, say, my not possessing a red apple and so thereby not being red. That is, it seems plausible Love might lack beautiful things, yet still be beautiful. Moreover, Love might seek out beautiful things because Love is beautiful, if one assumes - as many of the speakers seem to - that like attracts like.

Symposium: Speech of Pausanias

Pausanias provides an analysis of what he means by accepting a lover in the Heavenly manner:
It is honorable for a young man Y to accept a lover X iff

  1. X realizes he's justified in performing P for Y who returns the favor by performing Q
  2. Y understands he's justified in Q for X because X can make Y virtuous and wise
  3. X can make Y virtuous and wise
  4. Y is eager to be taught by X

The idea is that it is honorable for a young man to accept a lover just in case the lover realizes he can provide services for the young man who returns services in kind, and they both understand they are justified in this interaction with the eager young man gaining wisdom and virtue from the deal, and both can gain what they desire.

One worry to have about this is the transactional nature of honorable acceptance of a lover. For a young man to accept another as lover, the young man must essentially be engaged in cost-benefit analysis. Consider, according to this analysis the following holds: It is honorable for young man Y to accept lover X where,

  1. X realizes he is justified in performing P for Y who returns the favor by performing Q
  2. Y understands he's justified in Q for X because X can make Y virtuous and wise because X knows Z who is virtuous and wise, and while X tells Y he does not intend to lead Y to Z, Y holds out hope any way
  3. X can make Y virtuous and wise through Z
  4. Y is eager to be taught by X because Y hopes X will teach Y what X has learned from Z or will introduce Y to Z  

Pausanias might respond that Y loves virtue and wisdom. My quarrel here is not that, however, but rather that this should not count as honorable acceptance of a lover. Rather, it’s honorable acceptance of wisdom and virtue. The lover is incidental. Related, it seems counter-intuitive to claim love is never for the sake of an individual – the lover – rather than as some instrument.

Symposium: Speech of Phaedrus

Phaedrus sets the tone for the Symposium, complaining no poet praises Love. From Phaedrus, we learn Love is ancient – not the oldest – and one of the earliest gods to exist. Love has no parentage, though Love is said to have started to exist at some time. Phaedrus rests on authority in this origin myth, adding both humanity and the gods stand in awe and praise of Love.

We also learn Love is the greatest good for humans. Here, it seems Phaedrus is providing something of an argument, though as you’re no doubt aware he’s sees no reason to provide support for his claims, or consider potential counterexamples or difficulties. Rather, Phaedrus claims Love is the greatest guidance or motivator for humans, because whether lover or beloved, being shamed in a lover or beloved’s eyes is something we all seek to avoid and being admired is something we all seek. In fact, Phaedrus claims avoiding shame and seeking admiration effected through the lover-beloved pairing is a much better guidance or motivator than anything deriving from kinship, wealth, or even honor. Putting this point another way, if we are to seek to achieve great things, we require great guidance and motivation, and Love provides the best source of such guidance and motivation.

I pause here to point out the intuitive plausibility of this claim. Most of us no doubt can empathize with the sting of hearing those words from a lover “I’m disappointed in you.” Feeling that you’ve disappointed one you love – even if that love falls short of the sort of lover-beloved relationship Phaedrus has in mind here – is not enjoyable, and one feeling the sting is likely spurred to ensure they are not stung similarly in the future. In other words, the recipient will likely change their behavior to avoid disappointing their love. On the other hand, most of us likely know how good it feels to be admired by a lover, and to admire. Admiration by a lover spurs one to seek out further admiration, by achieving great things perhaps. We may even do quite drastic, perhaps unhappy, things for to acquire admiration and avoid shame. But I’m getting ahead of myself; let’s return to Phaedrus.

Phaedrus illustrates his understanding of Love as a great motivator with the example of the army of lovers. He claims, hyperbolically, that an army of lovers would be invincible, perhaps capable of taking over the world. I can’t help but think of Thebes’ Sacred Band, elite troops who loved, fought, and often died together, who respected one another as lovers might. They posed a considerable threat on the battlefield, from what I understand. I’m not sure which came first, the Symposium or the band. It’s not that important though. What is important is that this thought experiment seems well-motivated.

Phaedrus goes on to claim Love is the reason we are willing to make great sacrifices, with the greater sacrifice in the right context leading to the greater blessings from the gods. He provides three examples to illustrate. The first is of a lover Alcestis who sacrifices herself to save the life of her beloved – her husband. Alcestis is returned to life by the gods, a blessing provided for her great sacrifice. Note too in this example, the callback to how poorly kinship pales as a motivator for great sacrifice, as the husband’s parents are not even willing to sacrifice their lives for their son.

Contrast this with Orpheus, a lover who only caught a glimpse of his beloved, since he wasn’t willing to sacrifice himself. The gods did not praise Orpheus, but punished him with a mere image of his beloved. This is because Orpheus was unwilling to do what a lover should: sacrifice.

Where both Alcestis and Orpheus are examples of a lover sacrificing or not, Phaedrus’ third example is that of Achilles who he understands as the beloved of Patroclus. Even so, Achilles sacrificed himself by avenging the death of Patroclus by killing Hector, and consequently the gods gave him one of the highest prizes – the Isle of the Blessed. This is so even though Achilles was – as Phaedrus claims – the beloved and not the lover.

In fact the gods, Phaedrus claims, delight more with a beloved cherishes their lover, than when the lover cherishes the beloved. I suspect the point here trades on loving not being a symmetric relation. That is, just because x loves y it doesn’t follow that y loves x. Anyone can love, and one who loves may be motivated to do rather unacceptable things if that love is unrequited. This should be expected, as love is – again – a great motivator. But it seems paradigmatic cases Phaedrus has in mind of loving are those where love is symmetric, i.e. where the lover is loved in return. This is perhaps why the gods delight more with a beloved who cherishes their lover, than with a lover who cherishes the beloved. The latter may be had too easily, while the former secures a good.

Before closing his speech, Phaedrus says something rather puzzling: the lover is more like a god than the beloved. This is so because the lover is inspired by the gods. I can think of two ways to understand this passage.

  1. The implication here is that the beloved is not inspired by the gods. I think this is a problematic reading of the passage. If the lover is inspired by the gods, while the beloved is not, but the gods delight and bestow more honors on the beloved, then it seems the gods praise something more than what they inspire. More concretely, the gods praise Achilles the beloved for his sacrifice more than they praise Alcestis the lover for hers, though they make similar sacrifices. But Alcestis was inspired by the gods in her sacrifice, since she was a lover. There seems tension here, since this seems to imply that the gods praise something as greater than themselves. I take this consequence to speak against reading the passage as having the implication that the beloved is not inspired by the gods.
  2. But we can mitigate by claiming the beloved is not directly inspired by the gods, though the beloved is indirectly inspired. Achilles – after the death of Patroclus – acts as a lover would act, and so acts as if he’s inspired by a god. Because Achilles sacrifices himself, the way a lover would despite the fact that he is not a lover, he is more praiseworthy than Alcestis. Note: on this reading it is important only to claim Achilles acts as a lover. We can’t, for instance, go so far as to say Achilles – in acting as he does – becomes a lover. This is because if Achilles becomes a lover through his action, then Alcestis – who was already a lover – should receive just as much praise. Since she doesn’t, according to Phaedrus, we seem limited to saying Achilles acts as a lover would, but is not himself a lover. Ultimately then, the implication from the passage should be that the beloved is not inspired directly by the gods, but is inspired indirectly.

Summary aside, there are patent worries one should have about Phaedrus’ characterization of Love. Most clearly, Phaedrus simply assumes that Love guides lovers towards things that are good. This is not obviously true. We can illustrate the point in several ways.

  1. Consider first a lover who is not cherished by his beloved. It is easy to imagine a lover doing all sorts of terrible things for the sake of the beloved, because they aren’t cherished or perhaps because the beloved cherishes someone else.
  2. Consider second Phaedrus’ army of lovers not directed at admirable ends, but instead, say, genocide in the name of racial purity. Put another way, were Nazi’s lovers, I’d hope Phaedrus is incorrect about whether the resulting force was “invincible.” An army of lovers may achieve great things, but pure motivation need not be directed at a good end. 
  3. Consider third Achilles and Patroclus. Achilles seemed motivated by wrath and revenge rather than love. Indeed, it seems his love was an instrument for his wrath rather than the other way around, i.e. love was the justification but vengeance was the end. I take Achilles’ desecration of Hector’s body after killing him – parading him in view of his family and Troy – illustrates this point. Perhaps more telling is the fact that the gods had to intercede to force Achilles to stop, i.e. give Hector’s body to his father Priam for proper burial. Surely then the gods did not find this action praiseworthy. This again illustrates that Love understood by Phaedrus has no valence, it’s directed – but not much more.

Objections aside, I think Phaedrus’ speech is valuable for three reasons.

  1. First, Phaedrus provides Love a motivational character, which is taken up by subsequent speakers in the Symposium.
  2. Second, Phaedrus seems to play the role of a foil for later speakers. This is particularly apparent with the subsequent speech of Pausanias who begins his speech by making a philosophical distinction, something Phaedrus noticeably does not do throughout his speech. Phaedrus instead prefers to make claims, rely on myth, and basically play the role of a rhetorician. Pausanias doesn’t merely show Phaedrus as being a mere rhetorician by making philosophical distinctions where Phaedrus didn’t, but also tells by distinguishing between two sorts of love: one better than the other. I take this to be Pausanias picking up on the lack of direction towards the good that Phaedrus’ account of Love employs. In that, I think Pausanias is correct to make this distinction, as Love perhaps should be more than pure motivation; it should be directed towards something good.
  3. Third, Phaedrus’s speech isn’t merely a foil, but is a natural starting point for discussion to follow. Phaedrus’ account is wrong, but it’s by virtue of realizing his mistakes that we make progress towards the truth. Isn’t it plausible masses of people can be moved by mere rhetoric of the sort exhibited by Phaedrus – without reflecting much on its content? Of course. This is common enough in our lives today. It is common enough now, and likely was common enough then, to be worthy of being addressed directly. Phaedrus provides a case to dispute, but in doing so provides our base camp from where we begin our ascent towards understanding the nature of Love. It’s a starting point for dissent, which is a starting point for ascent.

Virtue in Rags: Virtue Requires Friendship

In Chapter 9 of the Nichomachean Ethics Aristotle defends - with a rather tortured argument - the claim that a virtuous friend is naturally desirable for a virtuous individual. I’ve attempted to extract his argument here (Let “John” and “Sally” designate distinct virtuous individuals):

(1) John exists
(2) If x exists then x perceives/thinks
(3) If x perceives/thinks then x perceives that x perceives/thinks
(4) If x perceives that x perceives/thinks then x perceives that x exists
(5) Hence, if x exists then x perceives that x exists                                                                                                     (from 2-4)
(6) John perceives that John exists                                                                                                                                     (from 1,4)
(7) If x exists then x's existence is intrinsically good/pleasant for x
(8) John's existence is intrinsically good/pleasant for John                                                                                    (from 1,6,7)
(9) If z is intrinsically good/pleasant for x & x perceives z, z seems good/pleasant for x
(10) Hence, John's existence seems good/pleasant for John                                                                                    (from 6,8,9)
(11) If y is x's friend, then whatever is intrinsically good/pleasant for x is intrinsically good/pleasant for y
(12) Sally is John's friend
(13) Hence, whatever is intrinsically good/pleasant for John is intrinsically good/pleasant for Sally   (from 11,12)
(14) Hence, John's existence is intrinsically good/pleasant for Sally                                                                   (from 8-13)
(15) If y is x's friend, then whatever seems intrinsically good/pleasant for x seems intrinsically good/pleasant for y
(16) Hence, John's existence seems intrinsically good/pleasant for Sally                                                          (from 12,15)
(17) If y is x's friend, then x is y's friend
(18) Hence, John  is Sally's friend                                                                                                                                         (from 12,17)
(19) Hence, Sally's existence is intrinsically good/pleasant for Sally                                                                   (repeat 1-8 replacing "John" with "Sally")
(20) Hence, Sally's existence seems intrinsically good/pleasant for Sally                                                         (repeat 1-10 replacing "John" with "Sally")
(21) Hence, whatever is intrinsically good/pleasant for Sally is intrinsically good/pleasant for John   (from 11,18)
(22) Hence, Sally's existence is intrinsically good/pleasant for John                                                                   (from 19-21)
(23) Hence, Sally's existence seems intrinsically good/pleasant for John                                                          (from 15,18)
(24) If z is intrinsically good/pleasant for y & z seems intrinsically good/pleasant for y, then z is desirable to y
(25) Hence, Sally's existence is desirable to John                                                                                                          (from 22,23,24)
(26) Hence, John's existence is desirable to Sally                                                                                                          (from 14,16,24)

Virtue in Rags: Vicious Friends

Several arguments in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics – in particular Chapter 9 – suggest Aristotle thinks virtuous individuals need friends because, as a second self, friends provide a route to self-knowledge. That sounds correct, but seems too limited. Consider the following: During a long-term relationship years ago, I tried in vain to be friendly with my lover's best friend, call her E. E and I did not get along, and were around each other often. Reflection on why suggested to me that E and I shared many qualities, but those qualities we shared were qualities I didn't like about myself, e.g. pride, aggressiveness, etc. Meeting with E reminded me of what I disliked about myself. In fact, I learned quite a bit about myself that I didn’t like from E, who I wouldn’t consider a friend.

Now, neither of us was virtuous, and it doesn’t seem Aristotle would count this relationship as a friendship, e.g. neither of us felt goodwill towards the other, etc. Nevertheless, E provided an effective route to self-knowledge because she was, in a sense, a second self – reflecting vicious qualities of mine at the time. This leads me to think where Aristotle thinks virtuous individuals need friends because their second-self provides self-knowledge, less-than-virtuous individuals might need less-than-virtuous relationships – not necessarily friendships - because these second-selves also provide self-knowledge.    

Moderate Modal Skepticism

Philosophers frequently motivate claims as possible based on conceivability.[1] It is then natural to wonder whether conceiving is a reliable method for generating justified beliefs in possibility claims. Yablo argued[2] conceiving proposition p as possible provides evidence that p is, in fact, possible.[3] Less optimistic philosophers, such as van Inwagen,[4] claim conceiving proposition p as possible provides no evidence that p is possible. If van Inwagen is correct, philosophical arguments relying on possibility claims motivated solely by conceivability are suspect. Given how widespread such philosophical arguments seem to be, van Inwagen’s claims are worth examining in detail. 

            In Section 1 of this paper, we extract and evaluate van Inwagen’s argument for Moderate Modal Skepticism, the view that while agents have justified beliefs in some – rather commonsensical – modal claims, agents do not have justified beliefs in many other – rather philosophical – modal claims. Having outlined van Inwagen’s position, in Section 2 we note a long-standing objection to van Inwagen’s argument – that it can be generalized to undermine justified beliefs in commonsensical modal claims as well as philosophical modal claims – fails, but a related worry – that van Inwagen’s argument relies on an under-motivated distinction between basic and non-basic modal claims – does not. Two responses are offered on behalf of van Inwagen, though neither are entirely satisfying. Additionally, we note van Inwagen’s argument implausibly requires agents justified in believing a given modal claim is true in every case know the modal claim is true. Having observed costs of van Inwagen’s characterization of the relationship between conceivability and possibility, in Section 3 we examine Yablo’s well-known alternative, which does not rely on an obscure distinction between basic and non-basic modal claims, and which allows justified belief and knowledge concerning modal propositions to come apart. Since there are independent reasons to prefer Yablo’s proposal to van Inwagen’s as an appropriate analysis of the link between conceivability and possibility, and since – pace van Inwagen – Yablo’s proposal does not entail Moderate Modal Skepticism, we conclude the various philosophical arguments targeted by van Inwagen are not threatened by his skeptical thesis.

[1](Putnam, 1980)’s super-Spartans; (Putnam, 1975)’s twin-earth; (Lewis, 1980)’s pained Martians; (Jackson, 1986)’s Mary; (Chalmers, 1996)’s zombies, etc.
[2]Cp. (Chalmers, 2002); others tie modal knowledge to counterfactual reasoning (Williamson, 2007), (Kroedel, 2017).
[3](Yablo, 1993).
[4](Van Inwagen, 1999).

2018 North American Summer School in Logic, Language, and Information

NASSLLI was a blast! I got to catch up with old friends (Anastasia!), make a few new ones (Anatha! Seth!) and - among other things - enjoy Rineke Verbrugge masterfully dissect shifts in rational knowledge attributions in the Friends episode The One Where Everybody Finds Out, using Kripke models. Other highlights include debating whether logic is the right tool to characterize counterfactual attitudes over lunch with Valentin Goranko, being mesmerized by Patrick Blackburn's entertaining and persuasive case for Hybrid Logic, and enjoying Paolo Santorio and Justin Khoo explore triviality results concerning conditionals and probabilities.

Also, the Carnegie Mellon campus is beautiful.  

Aristotle's Tense Friendships

An interpretive puzzle arises from a straightforward reading of Aristotle’s analysis of friendship. Shortly after claiming friendship involves mutually reciprocated goodwill for another’s sake, Aristotle claims those involved in friendships based on use or pleasure do not bear goodwill to their friends for their own sake, but instead only for the sake of what is – respectively - advantageous or pleasant.[1] Many proposals have been offered to ease the interpretive tension.[2] In this paper, I arbitrate between two and propose a third. The Standard Reading treats goodwill for the other’s sake as a defining feature of friendship based on virtue, with use and pleasure friendships resembling this form in other ways, but involving goodwill only for the sake of what is advantageous or pleasurable. On this reading, Aristotle either misspoke in his initial presentation of what varieties of friendship require, or – perhaps more charitably – dropped the requirement that all forms of friendship involve goodwill towards another for their own sake as he refined his characterizations of the lesser forms.[3] In contrast, the Goodwill Reading[4] treats goodwill for the other’s sake as a feature of all forms of friendship discussed by Aristotle, though they are nevertheless differentiated based on their respective objects. On this reading, Aristotle’s later remarks concerning the lesser forms of friendship are perhaps meant to merely emphasize the crucial role use and pleasure play in the corresponding forms of friendship, but were not meant to undermine each form of friendship involving goodwill towards others for their own sake. Arbitrating between these two readings stands to clarify Aristotle’s intended analysis of varieties of friendship while simultaneously providing a foundation on which alternative interpretive proposals may be evaluated. 

In Section 1, we examine Aristotle’s discussion of varieties of friendship further, extracting salient details. Here too we outline and motivate the Standard Reading of Aristotle’s discussion, and note the Standard Reading appears to treat most friendships as based entirely on egoistic motivation. These observations inspire seeking an alternative. In Section 2, we contrast the Standard Reading with the Goodwill Reading, which we also outline and motivate. We then pose several objections to the latter reading. In particular, we undermine the Goodwill Reading insofar as it relies on Aristotle’s definition of friendship from the Rhetoric, and observe this reading entails various relationships Aristotle explicitly counts as friendship fail to count as friendships. Having posed trouble for the Goodwill Reading, rather than retreat to the Standard Reading, we extract lessons from the preceding discussion and gesture at a prima facie promising synthesis of these distinct readings that provides a more nuanced solution to the interpretive puzzle than its predecessors.

[1](1156a11-3; 1164b10; 1167a14).
[2]See (Nehamas, 2010) for an overview of interpretive options. See (Whiting, 1991) among others, for more detail.
[3](Pakaluk, 2005, pg. 270-1); (Nehamas, 2010, pg. 220). The characterization of the Standard Reading here is from (Cooper, 1999), and shares much in common with the first option (Nehamas, 2010, pg. 220-1) considers as a solution to the interpretive puzzle. [4](Cooper, 1999, pgs. 312-35).

Binary Relations in OWL: Generic and Specific

A General Challenge

OWL is a semantic web ontology language based on a guarded binary fragment of first-order logic (FOL). Restricting FOL to this guarded fragment provides computationally valuable properties, such as decidability. As a consequence of this restriction, however, OWL is less expressive than FOL. In particular, FOL sentences involving ternary relations cannot be straightforwardly expressed in OWL. Ternary relations, however, are a natural way to capture certain relationships among entities of a given domain during and over time. To illustrate, consider three examples from the biological domain. First, any brain is always part of the same host. That is, specific brains are permanently related to their host. Call this type of relatedness Permanent Specific Relatedness. Second, organic tissue is always composed of cells, but not necessarily the same collection of cells. That is, generic cells are permanently related to a given tissue. Call this Permanent Generic Relatedness. Lastly, certain organisms have wings at some time, but not necessarily at all times, of their development. That is, wings are temporarily related to a given organism. Call this Temporary Relatedness. In FOL, these varieties of relatedness are easily distinguishable with ternary relations (letting ‘R’ stand for a relevant ternary relation):

(1)   (x)(y)(t) [R(x,y,t)]           Permanent Specific Relatedness
(2)  (x)(t)(y) [R(x,y,t)]           Permanent Generic Relatedness
(3)  (x)(t)(y) [R(x,y,t)]            Temporary Relatedness

Not so in OWL. A well-known general challenge for any ontology represented in OWL modeling a domain in which these varieties of relatedness are considered distinct, is to differentiate (1), (2) and (3) with OWL’s limited resources.
Attempts to address the general challenge range from reification to extending the expressiveness of the logic underwriting OWL. We will not rehearse the advantages and disadvantages of these much-discussed proposals. Rather, we examine a recent attempt to address the general challenge in the context of the widely-used Basic Formal Ontology (BFO).

A Particular Challenge

BFO is a top-level, domain-neutral ontology used by biologists, among others, to provide a common starting point for the creation of domain ontologies in various areas of science. Given its wide purview, BFO is motivated to distinguish the preceding varieties of relatedness. BFO currently has two distinct formal language implementations, one employing FOL, BFO-FOL, and the other OWL, BFO-OWL. Where needed, BFO-FOL distinguishes among the varieties of relatedness with ternary relations along the lines of (1), (2), and (3). Clearly BFO-OWL must adopt a different strategy, making the general challenge salient for this implementation. The general challenge is made more difficult in this context, however, since developers adopt as a design principle that characterizations of BFO concepts in BFO-OWL be translatable into BFO-FOL. Hence, the general challenge in this context is to distinguish motivated varieties of relatedness represented in BFO-FOL with the limited resources of BFO-OWL, while ensuring there is a translation from the latter to the former. It is this particular version of the general challenge we address in what follows.
Only certain relationships among concepts in BFO are in purview of our particular challenge. Our motivating examples each plausibly concern parthood, and BFO adopts distinct primitive mereological relations among entities, one between continuant entities, and the other between occurrent entities. Roughly, continuant entities do not have temporal parts, and are disjoint from occurrent entities which do. Given the intended reading of the occurrent mereology in BFO, e.g. occurrent entities never gain or lose parts, distinguishing the preceding varieties of relatedness for the relation is unmotivated. This is reflected in BFO-FOL, where the occurrent parthood relation, named occurrentPartOf and restricted to entities of the class Occurrent, is binary and so has a straightforward translation from BFO-FOL into BFO-OWL. On the other hand, given the intended reading of the continuant mereology in BFO and observing our motivating examples are plausibly characterized as parthood among continuant entities at times, distinguishing among varieties of relatedness for this parthood relationship is desirable. In BFO-FOL, the continuant parthood relation, named continuantPartOfAt, restricts the first two entities to instances of the class Continuant and the third to instances of the class Temporal Region, a subclass of Occurrent. Since ternary, continuantPartOfAt does not have a straightforward translation from BFO-FOL to BFO-OWL. Hence, providing a translation of BFO-FOL’s characterizations of (1), (2), and (3) in BFO-OWL is within our particular challenge.

Temporally Qualified Continuant Strategy

There have been attempts to address the particular challenge. The “Graz Release” of BFO, for example, proposed an underdeveloped first pass solution - replacing ternary relations in BFO-FOL with tensed binary relations in BFO-OWL - which has since become a starting point for addressing the particular challenge. A recent proposal found here builds on the Graz recommendations introduces what advocates call temporally qualified continuants to BFO-OWL, an ontologically neutral class of computational artifacts. In more detail, advocates make the following recommendations for BFO-OWL:

(i) Universally tensed binary relation corresponding to the ternary continuantPartOfAt relation of BFO-FOL
(ii) Temporally qualified continuant individuals time-stamped with the temporal regions over which a corresponding continuant exists
(iii) Classes and Relations linking temporally qualified continuants to other BFO-OWL entities, such as temporal regions

Call this the Temporally Qualified Continuant proposal, or TQC. Each commitment deserves discussion.
Commitment to (i) stems directly from the Graz recommendation. However, where the Graz proposal advocated introducing two tensed binary relations to BFO-OWL for each ternary relation in BFO-FOL, reflecting universal and existential quantification over temporal indices, TQC adopts only the universally quantified versions. Proponents of TQC claim only universally tensed relations are needed to distinguish among varieties of relatedness in the presence of (ii) and (iii). To illustrate (i), assume for some pair of continuants, John and John’s Hand, it is the case that John’s Hand is continuant part of John for as long as John’s Hand exists. According to (i), this fact may be characterized in BFO-OWL with a universally tensed binary relation named continuantPartOf, satisfied (roughly) when the first and second entities stand in the continuant parthood relation at any temporal region at which the first entity exists.
Commitment (ii) is best introduced by example. Assume continuant John lives over 85 years. Then according to (ii), John has a corresponding temporally qualified continuant, John2000-2085, with accompanying 2000-2085 time-stamp. Additionally, John2000-2085 may have temporally qualified sub-continuants, corresponding to smaller time-stamps over which John exists. For example, John2000-2085 may have a temporally qualified continuant corresponding to JohnTuesdayFebruary22-2017, with a time-stamp smaller than and intuitively contained within John2000-2085.  Prima facie, commitment to (ii) appears to blur the BFO distinction between continuant and occurrent entities, but advocates of (ii) deny any ontological commitment. Rather, temporally qualified continuants are mere ad hoc entities designed to solve the particular challenge.
Concerning (iii), observe that formally, introducing temporally qualified continuant individuals hides complexity in a mere name, e.g. “John2000-2085” is indistinguishable from “John2000-2285”. Recovering complexity requires appealing to formal machinery, such as predicates and relations. Proponents of TQC reuse native BFO concepts to that end where possible. As above, we may introduce without much loss BFO concepts as they are characterized in BFO-FOL. For example, TQC reflects the BFO-FOL class Material Entity, restricted to certain continuant entities which have matter as parts, such as John. Instances of Material Entity bear the useful BFO-FOL hasHistory binary relation to unique instances of the BFO-FOL class History, occurrent sums of processes transpiring in the spatiotemporal region a Material Entity occupies. TQC extends BFO-FOL, however, by adopting the temporally qualified continuant class Tqc, instances of which bear the binary tqcOf relation to a corresponding instance of Material Entity. Each Tqc may be divided into instances of the novel class Phase which bear the novel phaseOf relation to the Tqc (an inverse hasPhase is defined as one would expect). Relevant histories of material entities are then bridged to phases through the binary hasOccurrentPart of BFO-FOL. Diagrammatically (borrowed from the cited paper):

&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Figure 1. Overview of TQC

                                         Figure 1. Overview of TQC

Altogether, TQC represents material entity John who lives between 2000 and 2085 as having a unique history, the sum of all processes occurring in the spatiotemporal region John occupies, which, we may say without loss of generality, has phase occurrent parts, such as John2000, John2001, John2002, etc., that are the phases of a Tqc John2000-2085, itself the tqcOf John. 

TQC Strategy Applied

Adding these commitments to BFO-OWL permits the following characterizations of varieties of relatedness involving continuant parthood (we include characterizations in BFO-FOL for comparison):

(FOL-1)     (x)(y)(t)(continuantPartOfAt(x,y,t))           
(TQC-1)  (x)(y)(continuantPartOf(x,y))    
(FOL-2)    (x)(t)(y)(hasContinuantPartAt(x,y,t))          
(TQC-2)  (x)(y)(z)(w)(u)(hasHistory(x,y) & hasOccurrentPart(y,z) & phaseOf(z,w) & hasContinuantPart(w,u))
(FOL-3)    (x)(t)(y)(hasContinuantPartAt(x,y,t))           
(TQC-3)  (x)(y)(z)(w)(u)(hasPhase(x,y) & hasOccurrentPart(y,z) & phaseOf(z,w) & continuantPartOf(w,u))

Recall, our motivating example for Permanent Specific Relatedness, reflected in BFO-FOL as (FOL-1), is every brain is always continuant part of the same host. Observe, (TQC-1) captures this relationship by appealing only to the binary tensed universal continuant parthood relation. Turning to Permanent Generic Relatedness, reflected in BFO-FOL with the inverse of continuantPartOfAt, named hasContinuantPartOfAt, as (FOL-2), our motivating example was every tissue has some cell as part at all times. Observe, with (TQC-2) this becomes every tissue has a history which has a phase as occurrent part, which is the phase of some temporally qualified continuant that has some continuant cell part at all times. Turning finally to Temporary Relatedness, reflected in BFO-FOL as (FOL-3), our motivating example was organisms having wing parts at some, but not all, portions of their development. Observe with (TQC-3) this becomes every organism has a history with a phase as occurrent part that is the phase of some temporally qualified continuant which is itself continuant part of some continuant wing.
In short, proponents of TQC claim the binary universal tensed relation is adequate for (1), and distinguish (2) and (3) in terms of whether a given temporally qualified continuant has a continuant part or is a continuant part of some relevant continuant. The TQC strategy thus appears to address one aspect of our particular challenge.

Relationship to BFO-FOL

However, our particular challenge requires an adequate characterization of varieties of relatedness in BFO-OWL be translatable into BFO-FOL. With respect to BFO-FOL, the path to (ii) can be understood as a series of relation parametrizations resulting in additions to the domain.  Roughly, to parametrize a relation is to define a lower arity relation with satisfaction conditions dependent on the higher arity relation. To illustrate, consider the sentence “John’s hand is part of John on Tuesday” characterized with the BFO-FOL continuantPartOfAt relation:

(I) continuantPartOfAt(John’s Hand, John, Tuesday)

Which, assuming standard first-order semantics, is satisfied (roughly) iff the ordered triple <John’s Hand, John, Tuesday> is a member of a subset of DxDxD, where “D” denotes the domain. This ternary expression can be parametrized by introducing a binary relation with satisfaction conditions tied to the ternary relation. Parametrizing with respect to time (and replacing ‘at’ in the name for readability) we have:

(II) continuantPartOfTuesday(John’s Hand, John)

Satisfied iff the ordered pair <John’s Hand, John> is a member of a subset of DxD. We might continue parametrizing, this time with respect to John, resulting in:

(III) continuantPartOfTuesdayJohn(John’s Hand)

Satisfied iff <John’s Hand> is a member of a subset of D. Finally, we might complete the parametrization by introducing an individual:

(IV) continuantPartOfTuesdayJohnJohn’sHand

Satisfied iff the individual is a member of D. Parametrization resulting in an individual is called total.  Otherwise, the parametrization is called partial. (II) and (III) are thus partial parametrizations, and (IV) a total parametrization.
Our choice of example was only illustrative, of course, since rather than parametrizing ternary BFO-FOL relations, TQC replaces them. Nevertheless, temporally qualified continuants may be understood as the result of parametrizing the binary existsAt relation of BFO-FOL, with the domain understood as restricted to continuants (rather than applying to all entities), and the range restricted to temporal regions (and so unchanged). For example, in BFO-FOL the sentence “John exists during 2000 and 2085” might be characterized as (where “2000-2085” names a temporal region):

(V) existsAt(John,2000-2085)

Satisfied iff <John,2000-2085> is a member of CxT, where C and T are, respectively, continuant and temporal sorts of D. Total parametrization results in the individual:

(VI) existsAtJohn2000-2085

Satisfied iff the individual is a member of D. If we assume the existsAt relation is implicit for any individual, then we can, without loss, drop this portion of the name, resulting in the familiar:

(VII) John2000-2085

More generally we might represent individuals such as “John2000-2085” with the variable notation reflecting continuants existing at temporal regions as: xt, yt, zt, with “t” subscripts reflecting temporal indices. These observations suggest some reason to think individuals postulated by the TQC strategy may be translated into BFO-FOL. 
Additionally, commitment to (i) has a clear relationship with BFO-FOL, as straightforward translations for tensed binary relations in BFO-OWL follow the pattern:

R(x,y) =def (t)(existsAt(x,t) & existsAt(y,t) & R(x,y,t))

R(x,y) =def (t)(existsAt(x,t) & existsAt(y,t) & R(x,y,t))

In light of our observations concerning (ii), we might then characterize TQC’s commitment to (i) as accepting only the first definitional pattern, replacing the existsAt conjuncts with our temporally qualified continuant notation:

            R(x,y) =def (t)(R(xt,yt,t))

Again, these observations provide some reason to think were BFO-OWL to accept (i) and (ii), the resulting implementation would be translatable into BFO-FOL.
The same cannot be said for commitment to (iii). To be sure, some proposed TQC classes and relations have apparently straightforward translations into BFO-FOL, e.g. the class Phase appears only terminologically distinct from a certain BFO-FOL class discussed below. Others, however, have neither obvious parallels in nor translations to BFO-FOL, e.g. the class Tqc, the binary relation tqcOf, etc. This is perhaps to be expected for computational artifacts, but it is a noteworthy cost that TQC commitment to (iii) appears to conflict with a major design principle adopted by BFO developers. Proponents of TQC will likely reply these computational artifacts are needed to address the particular challenge, and that the native machinery of BFO-FOL is inadequate for the job. Hence, they might continue, the cost is worth paying.
But such a response exaggerates the need for these computational artifacts. We demonstrate why in a follow-up post, where we introduce an alternative strategy with a clear translation into BFO-FOL.  

Trust Logic, Not Tortoises

Carroll's note What Achilles Said to the Tortoise holds many lessons, many of which related to putative justification - or lack of justification - for basic logical inferences. Recently, Romina Padro, pulling from coursework and discussions with Kripke, has argued one more lesson should be added to the list, namely, that under certain conditions adopting basic logical inferences is impossible. I've a few thoughts on this new lesson, in particular how it might play with the old lessons. Check it out a recent draft here!