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Open Access Publications from the University of California


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Group in Logic and the Methodology of Science

There are 55 publications in this collection, published between 2013 and 2023.
Working Papers (27)

The Orthologic of Epistemic Modals

Epistemic modals have peculiar logical features that are challenging to account for in a broadly classical framework. For instance, while a sentence of the form $p\wedge\Diamond\neg p$  ('$p$, but it might be that not~$p$') appears to be a contradiction, $\Diamond\neg p$ does not entail $\neg p$, which would follow in classical logic. Likewise, the classical laws of distributivity and disjunctive syllogism fail for  epistemic modals. Existing attempts to account for these facts generally either under- or over-correct. Some theories predict that $p\wedge\Diamond\neg p$, a so-called  epistemic contradiction, is a contradiction only in an etiolated sense, under a notion of entailment that does not always allow us to replace $p\wedge\Diamond\neg p$ with a contradiction; these theories underpredict the infelicity of embedded epistemic contradictions. Other theories savage classical logic, eliminating not just rules that intuitively fail, like distributivity and disjunctive syllogism,  but also rules like non-contradiction, excluded middle, De Morgan's laws, and disjunction introduction, which intuitively remain valid for epistemic modals. In this paper, we aim for a middle ground, developing a semantics and logic for epistemic modals that makes epistemic contradictions genuine contradictions and that invalidates distributivity and disjunctive syllogism but that otherwise preserves classical laws that intuitively remain valid. We start with an algebraic semantics, based on ortholattices instead of Boolean algebras, and then propose a possibility semantics, based on partial possibilities related by compatibility. Both semantics yield the same consequence relation, which we axiomatize. We then show how to lift an arbitrary possible worlds model for a non-modal language to a possibility model for a language with epistemic modals. Further, we  show that we can use this construction to lift standard possible worlds treatments of probabilities and conditionals into possibility semantics. The goal throughout is to retain what is desirable about classical logic while  accounting for the non-classicality of epistemic vocabulary.

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Faculty Publications (28)

Choice-free Stone duality

The standard topological representation of a Boolean algebra via the clopen sets of a Stone space requires a nonconstructive choice principle, equivalent to the Boolean Prime Ideal Theorem. In this paper, we describe a choice-free topological representation of Boolean algebras. This representation uses a subclass of the spectral spaces that Stone used in his representation of distributive lattices via compact open sets. It also takes advantage of Tarski’s observation that the regular open sets of any topological space form a Boolean algebra. We prove without choice principles that any Boolean algebra arises from a special spectral space X via the compact regular open sets of X; these sets may also be described as those that are both compact open in X and regular open in the upset topology of the specialization order of X, allowing one to apply to an arbitrary Boolean algebra simple reasoning about regular opens of a separative poset. Our representation is therefore a mix of Stone and Tarski, with the two connected by Vietoris: the relevant spectral spaces also arise as the hyperspace of nonempty closed sets of a Stone space endowed with the upper Vietoris topology. This connection makes clear the relation between our point-set topological approach to choice-free Stone duality, which may be called the hyperspace approach, and a point-free approach to choice-free Stone duality using Stone locales. Unlike Stone’s representation of Boolean algebras via Stone spaces, our choice-free topological representation of Boolean algebras does not show that every Boolean algebra can be represented as a field of sets; but like Stone’s representation, it provides the benefit of a topological perspective on Boolean algebras, only now without choice. In addition to representation, we establish a choice-free dual equivalence between the category of Boolean algebras with Boolean homomorphisms and a subcategory of the category of spectral spaces with spectral maps. We show how this duality can be used to prove some basic facts about Boolean algebras.

Complete Additivity and Modal Incompleteness

In this paper, we tell a story about incompleteness in modal logic. The story weaves together a paper of van Benthem [1979], “Syntactic aspects of modal incompleteness theorems,” and a longstanding open question: whether every normal modal logic can be characterized by a class of completely ad- ditive modal algebras, or as we call them, V-BAOs. Using a first-order reformulation of the property of complete additivity, we prove that the modal logic that starred in van Benthem’s paper resolves the open question in the negative. In addition, for the case of bimodal logic, we show that there is a naturally occurring logic that is incomplete with respect to V-BAOs, namely the provability logic GLB [Japaridze, 1988, Boolos, 1993]. We also show that even logics that are unsound with respect to such algebras do not have to be more complex than the classical propositional calculus. On the other hand, we observe that it is undecidable whether a syntactically defined logic is V-complete. After these results, we generalize the Blok Dichotomy [Blok, 1978] to degrees of V-incompleteness. In the end, we return to van Benthem’s theme of syntactic aspects of modal incompleteness.

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