Old Notes

When going through some old folders the other day I found some notes for a paper which I had been working on several years ago. Its purpose was to give a quick overview of some of the ideas and theorems that connect formal language theory, model theory, automata theory and abstract algebra but written specifically for a philosophical audience. While most philosophers have a basic training in model and proof theory, automata and grammars are much less known or discussed (a notable and praiseworthy exception to this is Robert Brandom’s discussion of the Chomsky Hierarchy in chapter two of Between Saying and Doing). I still think that the tools of automata theory are at least as important for a philosophical education as the proof theoretic techniques typically covered in an introductory logic course. Particularly, I think that these different fields provide different tools for thinking about the same structures in a way that is philosophically interesting. Anyway, work on my dissertation got in the way of completing this but I thought that some of the more hand-waiving, speculative parts might be of value if launched into the aether. It was never meant for publication anyway. I intend to provide more worked examples in future drafts.  

 

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