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Book on the metaphysics of logic.

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You are on page 1of 276

renowned contributors, this volume explores the key issues, debates,

and questions in the metaphysics of logic. The book is structured in

three parts, looking rst at the main positions in the nature of logic,

such as realism, pluralism, relativism, objectivity, nihilism, conceptualism, and conventionalism, then focusing on historical topics such as

the medieval Aristotelian view of logic, the problem of universals, and

Bolzanos logical realism. The nal section tackles specic issues such

as glutty theories, contradiction, the metaphysical conception of

logical truth, and the possible revision of logic. The volume will

provide readers with a rich and wide-ranging survey, a valuable digest

of the many views in this area, and a long overdue investigation of

logics relationship to us and the world. It will be of interest to a wide

range of scholars and students of philosophy, logic, and mathematics.

p e n e l o p e r u s h is Honorary Associate with the School of

Philosophy and Online Lecturer for Student Learning at the University of Tasmania. She has published articles in journals including

Logic and Logical Philosophy, Review of Symbolic Logic, South African

Journal of Philosophy, Studia Philosophica Estonica, and Logique et

Analyse. She is also the author of The Paradoxes of Mathematical,

Logical, and Scientic Realism (forthcoming).

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edi t ed by

PENELOPE RUSH

University of Tasmania

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Cambridge University Press is part of the University of Cambridge.

It furthers the Universitys mission by disseminating knowledge in the pursuit of

education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence.

www.cambridge.org

Information on this title: www.cambridge.org/9781107039643

Cambridge University Press 2014

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception

and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,

no reproduction of any part may take place without the written

permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2014

Printed in the United Kingdom by Clays, St Ives plc

A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication data

The metaphysics of logic / edited by Penelope Rush, University of Tasmania.

pages cm

Includes bibliographical references and index.

isbn 978-1-107-03964-3 (Hardback)

1. Logic. 2. Metaphysics. I. Rush, Penelope, 1972 editor.

bc50.m44 2014

160dc23 2014021604

isbn 978-1-107-03964-3 Hardback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of

URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication,

and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain,

accurate or appropriate.

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unstinting encouragement,

and to Annwen and Callum never give up.

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Contents

List of contributors

page ix

Introduction

Penelope Rush

part i

11

1 Logical realism

13

Penelope Rush

32

Jody Azzouni

49

Stewart Shapiro

72

Solomon Feferman

93

Penelope Maddy

Logical nihilism

109

Curtis Franks

128

Mark Steiner

part ii

Paul Thom

vii

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145

147

Contents

viii

160

Gyula Klima

178

Ermanno Bencivenga

11

189

Sandra Lapointe

part iii

specific issues

12 Revising logic

209

211

Graham Priest

224

233

Tuomas E. Tahko

References

Index

249

264

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Contributors

jc beall, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the UCONN Logic

Group, University of Connecticut, and Professorial Fellow at the

Northern Institute of Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen.

ermanno bencivenga, Professor of Philosophy and the Humanities,

University of California, Irvine.

solomon feferman, Professor of Mathematics and Philosophy,

Emeritus, and Patrick Suppes Professor of Humanities and Sciences,

Emeritus, Stanford University.

curtis franks, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy,

University of Notre Dame.

michael hughes, Department of Philosophy and UCONN Logic

Group, University of Connecticut.

gyula klima, Professor, Department of Philosophy, Fordham University,

New York.

sandra lapointe, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy,

McMaster University.

penelope maddy, Distinguished Professor, Department of Logic and

Philosophy of Science, University of California, Irvine.

graham priest, Distinguished Professor, Graduate Center, CUNY,

and Boyce Gibson Professor Emeritus, University of Melbourne.

penelope rush, Honorary Associate, School of Philosophy, University

of Tasmania.

ix

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List of contributors

State University.

mark steiner, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, the Hebrew University

of Jerusalem.

tuomas e. tahko, Finnish Academy Research Fellow, Department of

Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies, University of Helsinki.

paul thom, Honorary Visiting Professor, Department of Philosophy,

The University of Sydney.

ross vandegrift, Department of Philosophy and UCONN Logic

Group, University of Connecticut.

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Introduction

Penelope Rush

This book is a collection of new essays around the broad central theme of

the nature of logic, or the question: what is logic? It is a book about logic

and philosophy equally. What makes it unusual as a book about logic is

that its central focus is on metaphysical rather than epistemological or

methodological concerns.

By comparison, the question of the metaphysical status of mathematics

and mathematical objects has a long history. The foci of discussions in the

philosophy of mathematics vary greatly but one typical theme is that of

situating the question in the context of wider metaphysical questions:

comparing the metaphysics of mathematical reality with the metaphysics

of physical reality, for example. This theme includes investigations into: on

exactly which particulars the two compare; how (if ) they relate to one

another; and whether and how we can know anything about either of

them. Other typical discussions in the eld focus on what mathematical

formalisms mean; what they are about; where and why they apply; and

whether or not there is an independent mathematical realm. A variety of

possible positions regarding all of these sorts of questions (and many more)

are available for consideration in the literature on the philosophy of

mathematics, along with examinations of the specic problems and attractions of each possibility.

But there is as yet little comparable literature on the metaphysics of

logic. Thus the aim of this book is to address questions about the

metaphysical status of logic and logical objects analogous to those that

have been asked about the metaphysical status of mathematical objects

(or reality). Logic, as a formal endeavour has recently extended far

beyond Freges initial vision, describing an apparently ever more complex realm of interconnected formal structures. In this sense, it may

seem that logic is becoming more and more like mathematics. On the

other hand, there are (also apparently ever more) sophisticated logics

1

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Penelope Rush

describing empirical human structures: everything from natural language and reason, to knowledge and belief.

That there are metaphysical problems (and what they might be) for the

former structures analogous to those in the philosophy of mathematics is

relatively easily grasped. But there are also a multitude of metaphysical

questions we can ask regarding the status of logics of natural language and

thought. And, at the intersection of these (where one and the same logical

structure is apparently both formal and mathematical as well as applicable

to natural language and human reason), the number and complexity of

metaphysical problems expands far beyond the thus far relatively small set

of issues already broached in the philosophy of logic.

As just one example of the sorts of problems deserving a great deal more

attention, consider the relationship between mathematics and logic.

Questions we might ask here include: whether mathematics and logic

describe the same or similar in-kind realities and relatedly, whether there

is a line one can denitively draw between where mathematics stops and

logic starts. Then we could also ask exactly what sort of relationship this is:

is it one of application (of the latter to the former) or is it more complex

than this?

Another central problem for the metaphysics of logic is that of pinning

down exactly what it is that logic is supposed to range over. Logic has been

conceived of in a wide variety of ways: e.g. as an abstraction of natural

language; as the laws of thought; and as normative for human reason. But,

what is the thought whose structure logic describes; how natural is the

natural language from which logic is abstracted?; and to what extent does

the formal system actually capture the way humans ought to reason?

As touched on above, a key metaphysical issue is how to account for the

apparent double role applying to both formal mathematical and natural

reasoning structures that (at least the main) formal logical systems play.

This apparent duality lines up along the two central, indeed canonical

applications of logic: to mathematics and to human reason, (and/or human

thought, and/or human language). In many ways, the rst application

suggests that logic may be objective or at least as objective as mathematics, in the sense that, as Stewart Shapiro puts it (in this volume) we might

say something is objective if it is part of the fabric of reality. This in turn

might suggest an apparent human-independence of logic. The second

application, though, might suggest a certain subjectivity or intersubjectivity; and so in turn an apparent human-dependence of logic,

insofar as a logic of reason may appear dependent on actual human

thought or concepts in some essential way.

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Introduction

Both the apparent objectivity and the apparent subjectivity of logic need

to be accounted for, but there are numerous stances one might take within

this dichotomy, including a conception of objectivity that is nonetheless

human-dependent. In Chapter 4, Solomon Feferman reviews one such

example in his non-realist philosophy of mathematics, wherein the

objects of mathematics exist only as mental conceptions [and] . . .

the objectivity of mathematics lies in its stability and coherence under

repeated communication. Others of the various positions one might take

up within this broad-brush conceptual eld are admirably explored in both

Stewart Shapiros and Graham Priests chapters, though from quite dierent stand points: Shapiro explores the nuances and possibilities in conceptions of objectivity, relativity, and pluralism for logic, whereas Priest looks

at these issues through the specic lens aorded by the question whether or

not logic can be revised.

There are, then, a variety of possible metaphysical perspectives we can

take on logic that, particularly now, deserve articulation and exploration.

These include nominalism; naturalism; structuralism; conceptual

structuralism; nihilism; realism; and anti-(or non-)realism, as well as

positions attempting to steer a path between the latter two. The following

essays cover all these positions and more, as defended by some of the

foremost thinkers in the eld.

The rst part of the book covers some of the main philosophical

positions one might adopt when considering the metaphysical nature of

logic. This section covers everything from an extreme realism wherein logic

may be supposed to be completely independent of humanity, to various

accounts and various degrees in which logic is supposed to be in some way

human-dependent (e.g. conceptualism and conventionalism).

In the rst chapter I explore the feasibility of the notion that logic is

about a structure or structures existing independently of humans and

human activity. The (typically realist) notion of independence itself

is scrutinised and the chapter gives some reasons to believe that there is

nothing in principle standing in the way of attributing such independence

to logic. So any benets of such a realism are as much within the reach of

the philosopher of logic as the philosopher of mathematics.

In the second chapter, Jody Azzouni explores whether logic can be

conceived of in accordance with nominalism: a philosophy which might

be taken to represent the extreme opposite of realism. Azzouni argues the

case for logical conventionalism, the view that logical truths are true by

convention. For Azzouni, logic is a tool which we both impose by convention on our own reasoning practices, and occasionally also to evaluate

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Penelope Rush

them. But Azzouni shows that although there seems to be a close relationship between conventionality and subjectivity, logics being conventional

does not rule out its also applying to the world.

Stewart Shapiro, in the third chapter, argues the case for logical relativism or pluralism: the view that there is nothing illegitimate in structures

invoking logics other than classical logic. Shapiro defends a particular sort

of relativism whereby dierent mathematical structures have dierent

logics, giving rise to logical pluralism conceived of as [the] view that

dierent accounts of the subject are equally correct, or equally good, or

equally legitimate, or perhaps even (equally) true.

Shapiros chapter looks in some depth at the relationship between

mathematics and logic, identied above as a central problem for our

theme. But in particular, it investigates the extent to which logic can

be thought of as objective, given the foregoing philosophy. He oers a

thorough, precise, and immensely valuable analysis of the central concepts,

and claries exactly what is and is not at stake in this particular debate.

In the fourth chapter, Solomon Feferman examines a variety of logical

non-realism called conceptual structuralism. Feferman shares with Shapiro

a focus on the relationship between mathematics and logic, extending the

case for conceptual structuralism in the philosophy of mathematics to logic

via a deliberation on the nature and role of logic in mathematics. He draws

a careful picture of logic as an intermediary between philosophy and

mathematics, and gives a compelling argument for the notion that logic,

as (he argues) does mathematics, deals with truth in a given conception.

According to Fefermans account, truth in full is applicable only to

denite conceptions. On this picture, when we speak of truth in a

conception, that truth may be partial. Thus classical logic can be conceptualised as the logic of denite concepts and totalities, but may itself be

justied on the basis of a semi-intuitionist logic that is sensitive to

distinctions that one might adopt between what is denite and what is

not. Feferman shows how allowing that dierent judgements may be

made as to what are clear/denite concepts, aords the conceptual

structuralist a straightforward, sensible and clear understanding of the role

and nature of logic.

Penelope Maddy, in the fth chapter, oers a determinedly secondphilosophical account of the nature of logic, presenting another admirably

clear and sensible account, focusing in this case on the question why logic

is true and its inferences reliable. Second Philosophy is a close cousin of

naturalism as well as a form of logical realism and involves persistently

bringing our philosophical theorising back down to earth.

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Introduction

simply pursues ordinary science. Thus Maddy investigates the question

from this ordinary perspective, beginning with a consideration of rudimentary logic, and gradually building up (via idealisations) to classical

logic. On this account, logic turns out to be true and reliable in our actual

(ordinary, middle-sized) world partly because that actual world shares the

formal structure of logic (or at least rudimentary logic). Maddy gives an

extensive account of some of the ways we might come to know of this

structure, presenting recent research in cognitive science that supports

the notion that we are wired to detect just such a structure. She then

oers the (tentative) conclusion that classical logic (as opposed to any nonclassical logic) is best suited to describe the physical world we live in,

despite the fact that classical logics idealisations of rudimentary logic are

best described as useful falsications.

In the nal two chapters of the rst part, Curtis Franks questions the

assumption underpinning any metaphysics of logic at all: namely that

there is a logical subject matter unaected by shifts in human interest

and knowledge; and Mark Steiner unpicks Wittgensteins idea that The

rules of logical inference are rules of the language game.

Steiner points out that for Wittgenstein There is nothing akin to

intuition, Seeing and the like in following or producing a logical

argument. Instead we [only] have regularities induced by linguistic

training. So, Steiner argues, supposing that logic is grounded by anything

other than the regularities that ground rule following (say by some objective fact according to which its rules are determined), is engaging in a kind

of covert Platonism.

Steiner identies the key dierence (for Wittgenstein) between mathematics and logic as the areas their respective rules govern: whereas both

mathematical and logical rules govern linguistic practices, (only) mathematical rules also govern non-linguistic practices. Interestingly, while

Steiner argues that the line between mathematics and logic is thus more

substantial than many may think, Franks argues that the line between

maths and logic is illusory, based on a need to dierentiate the patterns of

reasoning we have come to associate with logic from other patterns of

reasoning, which itself is grounded on nothing more than a baseless

psychological or metaphysical preconception.

Franks argues that logicians deal not with truth but with the relationships among phenomena and ideas and agrees with Steiner that looking

for any further ontological ground is misconceived (note, though, that

Steiner himself does not commit himself to the views he attributes to

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Penelope Rush

Wittgensteins favour). As something of a side note, it is interesting to

compare Sandra Lapointes discussion of Bolzanos notion of denition

(in Part II) to that which Franks presents on behalf of Socrates. Lapointe

argues that, for Bolzano, there is more to a denition than merely xing its

extension, whereas Franks argues that Socrates was right to prioritise the

xing of an extension rst before enquiring after the nature or essence of a

thing. Steiners discussion of the Wittgensteinian distinction between

explanation and description is also relevant here. This debate touches on

another important subtheme running throughout the book: the nature and

role of intentional and extensional motivations of logical systems; and the

related tension (admirably illustrated by Franks discussion of the development of set theory) between appeals to form/formal considerations and

appeals to our intuitions.

Both Steiners Wittgenstein and Franks agree that the image of logic as a

kind of super-physics needs to be challenged, even eliminated; but each

takes a dierent approach to just how this might be achieved, with Franks

arguing for logical nihilism, and Steiner going to pains to show how, for

Wittgenstein, the rules of logic ought to be conceived as akin to those of

grammar and as nothing more than this.

The next part of the book gives an historical overview of past investigations into the nature of logic as well as giving insights into specic

authors of historical import for our particular theme.

In the rst chapter of this section Paul Thom discusses the thoughts of

Aristotle and the tradition following him on logic. Thom focuses particularly on what sort of thing, metaphysically speaking, the objects of logic

might be. He traces a gradual shift (in Kilwardbys work) from a conception of logic as about only linguistic phenomena, through a conception

wherein logic is also understood as also being about reason, to the

inclusion of the natures of things as a possible foundation of logic.

Kilwardby considers a view whereby the principal objects of logic: stateables, are not some thing at all (at least not in themselves), insofar as they

do not belong to any of Aristotles categories. Kilwardby opposes this view

on the basis of a sophisticated and complex argument to the eect that

there may be objects of logic that are human dependent but also external

to ourselves, and can be considered both things of and things about nature

itself. These insights are clearly relevant to the modern questions we ask

about the metaphysics of logic and resonate strongly with the themes

explored in the rst part. The range of possibilities considered oer a

fascinating and fruitful look into the historical precedents of the questions

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Introduction

about logic still open today: e.g. Thom notes that for Aristotle, the types of

things that can belong to the categories are outside the mind or soul,

and so Kilwardbys analysis clearly relates to our modern question as to the

possible independence and objectivity of logic. The complexity of that

question is brought to the fore in Kilwardbys detailed consideration of

the various aspects under which stateables can be considered, and

according to which they may be assigned to dierent categories.

Thoms chapter goes on to oer a framework for understanding later

thinkers and traditions in logic, some of which (e.g. Bolzano in Lapointes

chapter) are also discussed in this part. His concluding section ably

demonstrates that understanding the history of our questions casts useful

light on the modern debate.

Gyula Klima also discusses strategies for dealing with the two way pull

on logic from its apparent abstraction from human reason and from its

apparent groundedness in the physical world. Klima focuses on the scholastics, comparing the semantic strategies of realists and nominalists

around Ockhams time. One of these was to characterise logic as the study

of second intentions concepts of concepts. Klima points out that when

logic is conceived of in this way, the core-ontology of real mindindependent entities could in principle have been exactly the same for

realists as for Ockhamist nominalists; therefore, what makes the

dierence between them is not so much their ontologies as their dierent

conceptions of concepts, grounding their dierent semantics.

Klima argues that extreme degrees of ontological and semantic diversity

and uniformity mark out either end of a range of possible positions

concerning the relationship between semantics and metaphysics, [from]

extreme realism to thoroughgoing nominalism and points out how the

conceptualisation of the sorts of things semantic values might be varies

according to where a given position sits within this framework. His chapter

illuminates the metaphysical requirements of dierent historical

approaches to semantics and the way in which the various possible metaphysical commitments we make come about via competing intuitions

regarding diversity: whether we locate diversity in the way things are or

in the way we speak of or conceptualise them.

In the next chapter, Ermanno Bencivenga picks up a thought Thom

touches on in his closing paragraph namely that our modern conception

of logic appears to have lost touch with the relevant ways in which actual

human reason can go wrong other than by not being valid. Oering a

Kantian view, Bencivenga suggests we adjust our conception of logic to

that of almost any structure we impose on language and experience, just so

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Penelope Rush

meaning. In this way almost all of philosophy is logic, but not all of what

we commonly call logic makes the grade. For Bencivenga, logic should

focus on meaning: on the way language constructs our world. From this

perspective, the relationship of logic to reason is just one of many connections between the world we create and the internal structure of any given

logic. For example, while appeals to reason may motivate logics claims, so

too do appeals to ethos and pathos.

Sandra Lapointe looks at the sorts of motivations and reasons we might

have for adopting a realist philosophy of logic, pointing out that these

reasons may not themselves be logical and developing a framework within

which dierent instances of logical realism can be compared. Lapointe

examines Bolzanos philosophy in particular and shows how his realism

may best be thought of as instrumental rather than inherent: adopted in

order to make sense of certain aspects of logic rather than as a result of any

deep metaphysical conviction.

Lapointes chapter shows how Bolzanos works cast light on a wide array

of issues falling under our theme, from his evocative analogy between the

truths of logic and the spaces of geometry to his critique of Aristotles

criteria for validity. Lapointes discussion of the latter is worth drawing

attention to as it deals with the topic mentioned earlier of the tension

between external and intensional; and formal and non-formal motivations

for logical systems. Lapointe compares the results of Bolzanos motivations

with those of Aristotle for the denition of logical consequence and in so

doing, identies some central considerations to help further our understanding of this topic.

The nal part of the book deals with the specic issues of the possible

revision of logic, the presence of contradiction, and the metaphysical

conception of logical truth.

Graham Priests chapter deals with the question of the revisability of

logic and in so doing also oers a useful overview of much of what is

discussed in earlier sections and indeed throughout this book. Priest

outlines three senses of the term logic and asks of each whether it can

be revised, revised rationally, and (if so) how.

In some ways, Priests paper dovetails with Shapiros discussion of the

possible criteria used to judge the acceptability of a theory, and draws a

conclusion similar to that of Shapiros liberal Hilbertian: i.e. [that]

There is no metaphysical, formal, or mathematical hoop that a proposed

theory must jump through. There are only pragmatic criteria of interest

and usefulness which, for Priest, are judged against the requirements of

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Introduction

And like Shapiros, Priests chapter is an immensely valuable overview of

the key concepts informing any metaphysics of logic.

In the next chapter, Jc Beall, Michael Hughes, and Ross Vandegrift look

at dierent repercussions of dierent attitudes toward glutty predicates

predicates which in virtue of their meaning or the properties they

express . . . [are] both true and false. Their chapter shows how our various

theories and attitudes about such predicates may motivate dierent formal

systems. The formal systems in question here are Priests well-known

LP and the lesser-known LA advanced by Asenjo and Tamburino. The

upshot of the discussion is that the latter will suit someone metaphysically

commited to all predicates being essentially classical or glutty and

the former someone for whom all predicates [are] potentially classical

or glutty.

Thus, Beall et al. draw out some interesting consequences of the

relationships between our intuitions and theories regarding the metaphysical, the material, and the formal aspects of logic. They highlight both the

potential ramications of the role we aord our metaphysical commitments and the ramications of the particular type of commitments they

might be. So while Beall et al. look in particular at a variety of metaphysical

theories about contradiction, and the impact of these on two formal

systems, their discussion also gives some general pointers to the way in

which our metaphysical beliefs impact on other central factors in logic:

crucially including the creation of the formal systems themselves and the

evaluation of their dierences.

Tuomas Tahko nishes the book by examining a specic realist metaphysical perspective and suggesting it as another approach we might take

to understand logic, especially to interpret logical truth. His case study

oers an interpretation of paraconsistency which contrasts nicely with that

oered in the penultimate chapter. Tahkos approach is to judge logical

laws according to whether or not they count as genuine ways the actual

world is or could be. From this perspective, he argues, exceptions to the

law of non-contradiction now appear more as descriptions of features of

our language than of reality. Thus he argues that the realist intuition

grounding logic in how the world is (or could be) gives us good reason

to preserve the LNC. Tahkos metaphysical interpretation of logical truth

also oers an interesting perspective on logical pluralism. From Tahkos

metaphysical perspective, pluralism may be understood as about subsets of

possible worlds representing genuine possible congurations of the actual

world. Tahkos chapter is a meticulous investigation into the links, both

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10

Penelope Rush

already in place and that (from this perspective) ought to be, between an

interesting set of metaphysical intuitions and those laws of logic we take to

be true.

In all, this book ranges over a vast terrain covering much of the ways in

which our beliefs about the role and nature of logic and of the structures it

describes both impact and depend on a wide array of metaphysical positions. The work touches on and freshly illuminates almost every corner of

the modern debate about logic; from pluralism and paraconsistency to

reason and realism.

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chapter 1

Logical realism

Penelope Rush

1. The problem

Logic might chart the rules of the world itself; the rules of rational human

thought; or both. The rst of these possible roles suggests strong similarities

between logic and mathematics: in accordance with this possibility, both logic

and mathematics might be understood as applicable to a world (either the

physical world or an abstract world) independent of our human thought processes.

Such a conception is often associated with mathematical and logical realism.

This realist conception of logic raises many questions, among which

I want to pinpoint only one: how logic can at once be independent of

human cognition in the way that mathematics might be; and relevant to

that cognition. The relevance of logic to cognition or, at the very least,

the human ability to think logically seems indubitable. So any understanding of the metaphysical nature of logic will need also to allow for a

clear relationship between logic and thought.1

The broad aim of this chapter is to show that we can take logical

structures to be akin to independent, real, mathematical structures; and

that doing so does not rule out their relevance and accessibility to human

cognition, even to the possibility of cognition itself.

Suppose that logical realism involves the belief that logical facts are

independent of anything human:2 that the facts would have been as they

1

Two things: note I do not claim we can or ought to show that logic underpins, describes, or arises

from cognition. In fact I think the relationship between thought and logic is almost exactly analogous

to that between thought and mathematics (see Rush (2012)), and I disagree with the idea that there is

any especially signicant connection between logic and thought beyond this. Two: while this chapter

deals with the notion of independence per se, it investigates this from the perspective of applying

that notion especially to logic. That is, my main aim here is to indicate one way in which the realist

conception of an independent logical realm might be considered a viable philosophical position but

one primary way I hope to do this is by showing how attributing independence to logic need be no

more problematic than attributing independence to anything else (e.g. by arguing that the realist

problem applies across any type of reality which is supposed to be independent).

See Lapointes characterisation as IND in this volume.

13

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Penelope Rush

existed at all. A sturdy sort of objectivity seems guaranteed by this stance.

Janet Folina captures this neatly:

[If logical facts exist independently of the knowers of logic], there is a clear

dierence, or gap, between what the facts are and what we take them to be.

(Folina 1994: 204)3

appealing.4

There is, though, a well-known objection to the idea that we can

coherently posit the independence of facts (including logical facts) from

their human knowers (and human knowledge).

Wilfrid Sellars formulated a version of this objection in 1956. Sellars

argued that in order to preserve both the idea that there is something

independent of ourselves and epistemological processes, and the idea that

we can access this something (e.g. know truths about it), we seem to have

either to undermine the independent status of that thing (by attributing to

it apparently human-dependent features) or to render utterly mysterious

the way in which any knowledge-conferring relationship might arise from

that access.

Sellars idea is that we cannot suppose that we encounter reality as it is

independently of us, unless we suppose something like a moment of

unmediated access. But, there can be no relevant relationship between

independent reality and us (e.g. we can make no justicatory or foundational use of such a moment) unless that unmediated encounter can be

taken up within our own knowledge.

The obvious move is simply to say that this initial encounter is available

to knowledge. But this move undermines itself by casting what was

independent as part of what is known: i.e. it attributes an already

in-principle knowability to a supposed fully independent reality (for more

on Sellars argument, see Fumerton (2010), and Sellars (1962)).

The broadly applicable Sellarisan objection bears comparison to Benacerraf s (1973) objection to mathematical realism, which extends, at least to

a degree, to logical realism.5 Benacerraf argued that even our best theory of

3

Folina was talking about mathematical realism, but the sort of logical realism I want to examine here

is directly analogous to mathematical realism in this respect.

Lapointe (this volume) explores a variety of reasons that may play a role in holding some version of

logical realism, so I wont go into these in depth here.

For more on the possible entities a logical realist might posit (e.g. meanings/propositions), see

Lapointe (this volume). Regardless of which entities are selected and where these are situated on the

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long as that reality was conceived of in the usual mathematical realist way:

as abstract, acausal, and atemporal. Part of the problem, as Benacerraf saw

it, was that the stu being posited as independently real is not suciently

like any stu that we can know, and if it were, it would not be the sort of

thing intended by the mathematical realist in the rst place.

Sellars objection can be understood as a generalisation of Benacerraf s:

common to both is the idea that the fully independent reality posited by

the realist is not the type of thing we can know, or if it is, then it is not the

type of thing the realist says it is.

Thus, even were the mathematical or logical realist to adjust his conception of mathematical or logical reality by ruling out one or all of its

abstractness, atemporality, or acausality, the problem induced by its complete independence of humans and human consciousness would remain.

Recall, the realist idea of independence I am interested in here is one

which posits an in-principle or always possible separation between what

independently is and what we as humans grasp. The basic idea is that were

there no humans to experience or be conscious of it, logic would still be as

it is. So it seems that being the type of thing which is experienced or

known can be no part of what it (essentially) is.6

The problem can be expressed this way: how can independent reality be

part of human consciousness and experience if our human consciousness

and experience of it can be no part of independent reality? A putative

solution, then, might show how independent reality could play a role in

human consciousness, but such a solution would need also to arm the

necessary condition that being the object of our consciousness is no

(essential) part of independent reality itself.

This notion of independence, then, is not only the most problematic

feature of any logical realism, it may be outright contradictory:

A realist . . . is basically someone who claims to think that which is where

there is no thought. . . . he speaks of thinking a world in itself and

independent of thought. But in saying this, does he not precisely speak of

a world to which thought is given, and thus of a world dependent on our

relation-to-the-world? (Meillassoux 2011: 1)

abstractphysical scale of possible entities, just so long as the realist also posits IND (Lapointe, this

volume), theyll encounter some version of Benacerraf s or Sellars problem.

For more on the nuances of independence available to the realist, see Jenkins (2005) I take

essential independence to follow from modal independence, and I take modal independence as

characteristic of the sort of realism I want to explore.

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called transcendence) in various ways, one of which is as follows:

[the problem is] how cognition can reach that which is transcendent . . .

[i.e.] the correlation between cognition as mental process, its referent and

what objectively is . . . [is] the source of the deepest and most dicult

problems. Taken collectively, they are the problem of the possibility of

cognition. (Husserl 1964: 1015)

central theme of how we can sensibly (and relevantly) conceptualise

the role that a reality independent of human consciousness could play

in the realm of that consciousness.

Husserls characterisation of the problem already gives a clue as to his

overall approach: rather than view the problem as bridging a gap of the sort

Folina describes, Husserl suggests we view it as the possibility of

cognition.

I hope to show how Husserls approach potentially enables us to take

independent reality in both of the ways sitting either side of the gap: i.e.

both as what is and as what is not the end point of a reasonable epistemology. That is, I hope to use his approach to see how we might accommodate

the idea that what is cognised, and what must (on a realist account) remain

irreducibly external (or, in principle, separable) to what is cognised can

be one and the same thing, or (perhaps) more accurately, a dual thing.7

At rst glance, this might seem simply to concede the contradiction

Meillassoux graphically outlines. I want to take a second glance illustrating

how such a concession need be neither simple nor impotent but rather

oer a way to conceptualise the elements underpinning the realist notion

of independent reality and so begin, if not to resolve, then to make some

sense of its intractability. That is, there are ways in which the Husserlian

perspective can motivate us to nd reasons and avenues by which we might

begin to accommodate the independent reality the realist posits, even as

potentially contradictory rather than to take its inherent instability as

reason enough to brush it o as impossible and therefore irrelevant. These

ways all intersect at the possibility opened in the phenomenological

7

As will become clear, I have a very particular notion of duality in mind here i.e. a (contradictory)

duality of object: one that is also two rather than a duality of an objects role, or aspect, or

components, etc: one that has two aspects/dimensions/components, etc.

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claimed by Husserl himself ); namely that the realist predicament is itself

an essential ingredient for the possibility of cognition.8

All of the above ways of rendering the realist problem of independence

(barring his own) i.e. as an intractable and apparently unbridgeable

dichotomy between reality and our knowledge of it Husserl characterised

as a product of the natural, scientic attitude, which he saw as pervasive

all of philosophy (again, barring his own, e.g. Husserl 1964: 1819).

By contrast, phenomenology oers a picture of entangled cognition

wherein independent reality is inextricable from cognition itself. This sort

of picture takes the rst step toward accommodating both sides of the

divide insofar as it introduces the idea that our internal perspective itself

irreducibly incorporates the possibility, even the necessity, of there being

something outside that perspective.

To be clear, I reiterate that this is my own interpretation of Husserl and

my own exploration of the possibilities his work suggests to me. I do not

attribute these possibilities to Husserl. As I understand him, for Husserl,

experience is always experience of and so cannot begin to be dened

without allowing (at least) a place or a role for something external toward

which it is directed at the outset. For me, the promising bit is this: that this

something is both somehow outside or external to (constituting) experience and within it (being constituted) at the same time.

It is by examining and enlarging on this promising bit that I hope to

explore one way in which phenomenology (potentially) oers a role for the

realist predicament itself as the (contradictory) structure of our relationship

to independent reality. I hope to sketch how accepting the predicament in

this way might enable us to make sense of reality, cognition, and experience within a realist framework to see the realists predicament as a

complex and interesting structure that these elements share, as opposed to

an impossible riddle or a problem in need of a solution.

In what follows, Ill briey unpack just a couple of aspects of Husserls

account in order to show how we might use them to begin to open and

explore this possibility, specically regarding the idea of a realistically

imagined independent logical structure.9

8

Caveat: Id like to argue that the predicament can play this role just so far as the basic idea of an

independent reality existing at all can. It is the latter that I see the framework in Husserls ideas as

able to directly establish.

Or, again, to illustrate how conceiving logic as an independent objective structure akin to

mathematics need not be considered an especially problematic instance of the general idea of

independent reality itself, once that idea is eectively defended.

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3.1 The Platonic nature of logic

Husserl had a very broad concept of logic that embraces our usual modern

idea of logic as well as something he called pure logic, which we can

loosely characterise as something like the fundamental forms of experience. For Husserl, logic as formal systems (and so too modern logic;

incorporating classical, modal, and all the usual non-classical structures), is

to be accounted for in much the same way as is mathematics: by its

relationship to these fundamental forms. This relationship is roughly that

which holds between practice and theory pure logic is the purely

theoretical structure (or, perhaps, structures I dont think it matters

much here) that accounts for logic as practised.

For Husserl, the fundamental forms of pure logic are an in-eliminable

part of experience: i.e. experience encompasses direct apprehension of

these inferential relationships. The apprehended structures are abstract

and platonic; discovered, rather than constructed. Theory, empirical

observation, and experience are in this sense fallible: they may or may

not get it right and reveal the actual independent structure of logic.

In Husserls words:

As numbers . . . do not arise and pass away with acts of counting, and as,

therefore, the innite number-series presents an objectively xed totality of

general objects . . . so the matter also stands with the ideal, pure-logical

units, the concepts, propositions, and truths in short, the signications

dealt with in logic . . . form an ideally closed totality of general objects to

which being thought and expressed is accidental. (1981: 149)

Thus both logic and mathematics, for Husserl, have a pure, abstract,

theoretical, denite, and axiomatic foundation. Further, Husserl

believed that:

one cannot describe the given phenomena like the natural number series or

the species of the tone series if one regards them as objectivities in any other

words than with which Plato described his ideas: as eternal, self-identical,

untemporal, unspatial, unchanging, immutable. (Hartimo 2010a: 115118,

italics mine)

they are characterised by Husserl, should encounter the realist problem

of independence neither are the sort of thing we can simply take

as part of human cognition; i.e. not without also accommodating

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either mathematics or logic independently is.

3.2

Inextricability

is that consciousness is not separable from consciousness of an object

intentionality is built into the structure of consciousness and experience

itself.

The leading idea is consciousness as consciousness of: the very denition

of experience and consciousness as involving already what it is directed

toward, or what it is conscious of. Of course, this idea is also what a great

deal of the controversy in Husserlian scholarship centres on. One reason

for the controversy, I think, is the ambiguity in the prima facie simple idea

of an object (or realm, or reality) as an object of anything (including, for

example, consciousness, intention, act, or perception). Even on the most

subjectivist reading, the notion is ambiguous between the idea of objects in

experience, and as experienceable. This ambiguity interplays in obvious

ways with the tension underpinning the realists problem: that between the

object as given to an epistemological human-dependent process, and the

object as independent. In turn (as weve seen) this ambiguity itself centres

on a distinction between internal (what we take the facts to be), and

external (what the facts are).

I suggest that the urge to disambiguate Husserl on this point should be

resisted,10 since to disambiguate here would be to miss a large part of the

potential of phenomenology. Indeed, Husserl himself seems at times to

deliberately preserve ambiguity here (though whether he meant to or not is

tangential to the point). For example:

First fundamental statements: the cogito as consciousness of something . . .

each object meant indicates presumptively its system. The essential relatedness of the ego to a manifold of meant objects thus designates an essential

structure of its entire and possible intentionality. (Husserl 1981: 7980)

On the one hand it has to do with cognitions as appearances, presentations,

acts of consciousness in which this or that object is presented, is an act of

consciousness, passively or actively. On the other hand, the phenomenology of cognition has to do with these objects as presenting themselves in

this manner. (Husserl 1964: 1012)

10

Thanks to Curtis Franks for help with the expression of this point.

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In the above quotes, both the presenting objects and the manner in

which they present give cognition its essential structure. It seems that

Husserl resists resolving the ambiguity in these phrases one way or

the other.

Husserls phenomenology of cognition is accomplished through a

prior conceptual step called the phenomenological reduction. This

reduction is related to Descartes method of doubt (e.g. in Husserl

1964: 23. A useful elaboration can be found in Teiszen 2010: 80). Teiszen

argues that for Husserl the crucial thing about the phenomenological

reduction was what remains even after we attempt, in Cartesian fashion,

to doubt everything. Teiszen makes the point that if we take a (certain,

phenomenologically mediated) transcendental perspective, we can uncover

in what remains (after Cartesian doubt) a lot more than an I who is

thinking. In particular, we can uncover direct apprehension of the ideal

objects of logic and mathematics (Teiszen 2010: 9) whose pure forms

extend far further than what Descartes ended up allowing as directly

knowable, and further than the knowable allowed for in Kants

philosophy.

Just as there is with what to make of the consciousness as consciousness

of idea, so too there is much controversy surrounding exactly what the

phenomenological reduction is and involves. To say that there is disagreement here among Husserl scholars is something of an understatement.

Indeed: there seem[s] to be as many phenomenologies as phenomenologists (Hintikka 2010: 91).

But the clarication of exactly what Husserl may have meant is not

relevant to my purpose here, which is to see if there are ideas we can draw

from Husserl that might help a realist philosopher of logic.

I pause to note, though, that Teiszens interpretation of the reduction as

a suspension or bracketing of the (natural) world and everything in it

(Teiszen 2010: 9) is standard; and the ideal objects recovered in Teiszens

consequent transcendental idealism (including their constituted mindindependence) are also standard for an established tradition of Husserl

scholarship (adhered to by Fllesdal, among others). But these ideal

objects are very far from the realist mind-independent realm that I want

to imagine has a place here (to hammer this point home, see Teiszen

2010: 18).

Again, it is the (possibly resolute) ambiguity in Husserls account

that allows for my alternate reading of phenomenology. Another case

in point: the description on essential lines of the nature of

consciousness . . . leads us back to the corresponding description

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of the object consciously known (Husserl 1983: 359). The phrase: the

object consciously known is ambiguous. It can be read dierently

depending on each terms specic interpretation and on which terms

are emphasized: e.g. the consciously known can be read as the object as

we know it (i.e. a strictly constituted internal object); or as the

object that is known. It is the latter interpretation that opens the

possibility of an external element in the basic ingredients of the nature

of consciousness.

To reiterate: the interesting thing about Husserl for my purpose is

that in his ideas we can discern a (at least potential) role for an

independent objective other, while nonetheless focusing on experience

and consciousness: my thought is that if we can argue that intending

reality as it appears (i.e. in the case of the realist conception of logic: as

objective and independent) is itself constitutive of cognition and even

of the possibility of cognition itself; then we can see a way in which

objective independent reality is (complete with its attendant predicament) already there, structuring the essential nature of consciousness

and experience.

For me, the phenomenological reduction, or ruling out of all that can

be doubted, and the subsequent re-discovery of the world (ultimately)

demonstrates an important way that reality, in all of the ways it seems to

us to be (including being independent of us), in fact cannot be ruled

out. Thus, we can see in the basic elements of the phenomenological

analysis how objective, independent reality enters the picture as objective,

and independent not only as an object of consciousness, but as constituting consciousness itself. This is the case even if (or, as Husserl would

have it, especially if ) we try to focus only on pure experience or pure

consciousness.

Ill mention a couple of other perspectives that gesture in a similar

direction to my own before moving on.

From Levinas we get:

the fact that the in itself of the object can be represented and, in knowledge,

seized, that is, in the end become subjective, would strictly speaking be

problematic . . . This problem is resolved before hand with the idea of

the intentionality of consciousness, since the presence of the subject

to transcendent things is the very denition of consciousness. (1998: 114,

italics mine) [and]

the world is not only constituted but also constituting. The subject is no

longer pure subject; the object no longer pure object. The phenomenon

is at once revealed and what reveals, being and access to being. (1998: 118)

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Once we get our heads around the idea that the presence of the subject to

transcendent things denes consciousness,11 it is not a huge leap to see how

this initial subjective/transcendent relationship (even if its just one of

mutual presence) can incorporate the entire problematic outlined above:

i.e. that the SellarsMeillassoux contradiction is built in just so far as it

describes that relationship. Recall that Husserl equates that problematic

with the problem of the possibility of cognition (p. 16 above): it should

now be apparent how his equation can be understood as a means by

which to understand (rather than resolve or dissolve) the natural,

scientic perspective, complete with its consequent dilemma. That is,

Husserls point:

The problem of the possibility of cognition is the traditional realist dilemma

supplants the traditional dilemma. Rather, it may be interpreted thus: the

traditional dilemma denes (in some way or other) the problem of the

possibility of cognition.

Hintikka is another who seems to suggest that the contradictory relationship between the subject and external reality is a part of Husserls

(along with Aristotles) philosophy. He asks:

Is . . . the object that we intend by means of a noema12 out there in the real

objective world? Or must we . . . say that the object inexists in the act?

Aristotle [and Husserl] would not have entertained such questions. For him

[/them] in thinking (intending?) X, the form of X is fully actualised both in

the external object and in the soul. If we express ourselves in the phenomenological jargon, this shows the sense in which the (formal) object of an act

exists both in the reality and in the act. (2010: 96)

Husserl himself advocates) does not automatically eliminate or supplant

the traditional, natural characterisation of the relationship, and so nor

does it eliminate the problem as it arises for that natural characterisation.

I suggest that the phenomenological perspective is best understood as a

re-conceptualisation of the same relationship that is characterised and

11

12

Note that this need not go the other way: we can retain the phenomenological insight without the

inverse claim that the object itself depends on, or even is (either necessarily or always) present to,

consciousness.

Husserls name for something akin to Fregean sense, but also apparently akin to (though more negrained than) Fregean reference (for some interesting details on these subtleties, see Haddock 2010).

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directly with its key concepts (rather than as wholly re-interpreting,

removing, or supplanting those concepts).

4. Overow

I want now to discuss the idea of the pregnant concept of evidence

(Husserl 1964: 46). Husserl says:

If we say: this phenomenon of judgement underlies this or that phenomenon of imagination. This perceptual phenomenon contains this or that

aspect, colour, content, etc., and even if, just for the sake of argument, we

make these assertions in the most exact conformity with the givenness of

the cogitation, then the logical forms which we employ, and which are

reected in the linguistic expressions themselves, already go beyond the

mere cogitations. A something more is involved which does not at all

consist of a mere agglomeration of new cogitationes. (1964: 401)

Elsewhere, he notes:

The epistemological pregnant sense of self-evidence . . . gives to an intention, e.g., the intention of judgement, the absolute fullness of content, the

fullness of the object itself. The object is not merely meant, but in the

strictest sense given. (Husserl 1970: 765)

The point I want to draw attention to is that Husserl takes both logical and

physical/perceptual objects as the sort of thing that in one sense or

another overow, or go beyond what is given to cogitation.

The word object must . . . be taken in a very broad sense. It denotes not

only physical things, but also, as we have seen, animals, and likewise

persons, events, actions, processes and changes, and sides, aspects and

appearances of such entities. There are also abstract objects . . . (Fllesdal,

in Fllesdal and Bell 1994: 135)

logical forms is not treated in any especially problematic way, all of what is

given to experience can be explained in much the same fashion: sensuous

intuition means givenness of simple objects. Categorical intuition . . . means

givenness of categorical formations, such as states of aairs, logical connectives,

and essences (Hartimo 2010b: 117). The structure underpinning logic the

form and structure of experience is constituted and given in experience. It is

seen13 analogously to the way physical objects are seen by perception.

13

knowledge (Hintikka 2010: 94).

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make here, genuine categorical intuition, overows what is given to the act

of perception or comprehension itself. For this reason it is capable of being

veridical, and is opposed to Hyletic data, which is not.14

This is because genuine perception and intuition involve noema that are

both conceptual and objectual.15 It is because each noema is objectual that

our conceptual grasp can never fully contain the whole noema: i.e. that this

grasp is always pregnant. Note that Husserl does not commit to there

being two noemata for each act of perception or comprehension, but

neither does he commit to the idea that the conceptual and the objectual

are simply two aspects of the one noema.16 Rather, his claims regarding

objectual (or, to anticipate whats to come: non-conceptual) phenomena

and conceptual phenomena are in tension with one another.

In every noema, Husserl says:

A fully dependable object is marked o . . . we acquire a denite system of

predicates either form or material, determined in the positive form or left

indeterminate and these predicates in their modied conceptual sense

determine the content of a core identity. (Husserl 1983: 364, italics mine)

It is within this core identity we nd that which gives the noema its

pregnant sense of self evidence; that which makes what is given to

cognition overow cognition and any (e.g. formal) agglomeration of

new cognitiones. Other terms Husserl uses for this core identity include:

the object; the objective unity; the self-same; the determinable

14

15

16

Shim (2005) nicely characterizes hyletic data as the sensual stu of experience. He gives the

following helpful example of the process of precisication to contrast memory or fantasy with

genuine perception: In remembering the house I used to live in, I can precisify an image of a red

house in my head. The shape, the color and other physical details of that house must be lled in by

hyletic data. Now lets say I used to live in a blue house and not a red house. There is, however, no

veridical import to the precisications of my memory until confronted by the corrective

perception . . . there is no sense in talking about the veridical import in the precisications of [the

memory or] fantasy (pp. 219220). In the latter cases, we may mistake merely hyletic data for nonconceptual (or objectual) phenomena (p. 220). An analogous situation might be said (by a logical

realist) to occur for logical intuition when we encounter counter examples or engage directly with

the meaning of logical operators in these situations we can see a genuine role for veridical input

capable of correcting or precisifying our intuition. On the other hand, perhaps analogously to what

occurs in a fantasy or hallucination, we may mistake the mere manipulation of symbols for genuine

(veridical) comprehension.

Shim gives a sophisticated argument for the idea that what provides perceptual noemata with

overow is that they have both conceptual and non-conceptual content. My idea is similar, but,

as will be elaborated shortly, the duality I want to consider should not be rendered as (noncontradictory) aspects of one and the same object, but rather as a contradictory object; whereas

I think that Shim means the duality he proposes to be interpreted in the former sense.

Thanks to Graham Priest for pressing this point.

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predicates; the determinable which lies concealed in every nucleus and

is consciously grasped as self-identical; the object pole of intention; and,

best of all: that which the predicates are inconceivable without and yet

distinguishable from. This is conceptually located in a similar variety of

ways, including as: set alongside [the noema]; not separable from it;

belonging to it; disconnected from it; and detached but not separable

[from it] (all quotations, 1983: 365367). I simply note here that some of

these characterisations are contradictory. What I hope to indicate, in what

follows, is that this is as it should be.

To review and sum up:

The main points I get from Husserl are these: that independent abstract

reality is no more dicult to accommodate than is independent physical

reality; that conceptualising logical structures as similar to platonic mathematical structures does not preclude conceptualising either as immediately apprehendable objects of cognition; and thus that the idea of

independent reality as (genuinely, problematically) independent nds a

place in phenomenology.

5. McDowell

It is useful to compare what has so far been drawn from Husserl to a

specic interpretation of McDowell.

Neta and Pritchard in their (2007) article make a point that helps situate

Husserls programme: they argue that one way to understand attempts

(specically McDowells, but their ideas extend to Husserls) to reach

beyond our inner world to an external realm is precisely by close examination of the assumptions we bring to the Cartesian evil genius thought

experiment. The argument they present demonstrates links between a

particular (perhaps natural) way of conceiving the distinction between

inner and outer, and the commonly held assumption that:

(R): The only facts that S can know by reection alone are facts that would

also obtain in Ss recently envatted duplicate. (p. 383)

Neta and Pritchard argue that McDowell rejects R on the basis that there is

something about our actual, embodied experience of the world that cannot

be replicated by stimulus, no matter how sophisticated, experienced by a

brain in a vat (compare this with Husserls dierentiation between genuine

pregnant perception and hyletic/sensuous data). The clue as to how

McDowell rejects (R) and to uncovering the similarities between his and

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McDowell, experience of (the world) is experience as (humans in the

world). The idea is that if indeed that is what we are talking about, then

when we talk of experience in the world, we cannot, as it were, slice o

the part that is us experiencing from the part that is being experienced.

Neta and Pritchard outline McDowells position as follows:

McDowell (1998a) allows . . . that ones empirical reason for believing a

certain external world proposition, p, might be that one sees that p is the

case. Seeing that is factive, however, in that seeing that p entails p. However,

McDowell also holds that such factive reasons can be nevertheless reectively accessible to the agent indeed, he demands . . . that they be accessible

for they must be able to serve as the agents reasons. (p. 384, italics original)

the knowers space of reasons. But her satisfactory standing in the space

of reasons in which p is so, involves seeing that p, which entails p itself.

McDowells factive reasons are subtle things with clear similarities to

Hintikkas characterisation of the Aristotelian/Husserlian object of an act:

they are knowable by reection alone, but also entail objective external

states. I remember my then seven-year-old son once saying I think the

trees have faces, and thinking that this is a nice way of explaining some of

the ideas in McDowells Mind and World (1994), which I take as an

attempt to argue that what is external and objectively so is nonetheless

also accessible available to us as conceptual content.

But I think that the McDowellian/Husserlian sort of manoeuvre can

only work if what is experienced genuinely is the realists independent

reality (at least as much as it is accessible content). To the extent that

any account re-casts or re-denes that independence, it is hard to see

how the specically realist problem (which both McDowell and Husserl

identify in the natural attitude) is the problem their accounts actually

address.

Put another way, if an account implicates the external in our human

(reective) experience simply by at (or by initial (re)design), then it

becomes dicult to see how such an account can help us understand the

problem that inspired it in the rst place: i.e. the problem of the realists

conception of independence as independence from human experience.

McDowells and Husserls solution are of a kind, both answer the sceptic

along the following general lines: you cant take away reference to external

reality (as in the sceptical scenario) just because what we experience has

external reality somehow written into it. But if a positions inwritten

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strictly, internal, then that position oers no essential insight into the

dichotomy and the problem with which we began.

6. Eectively defending ~R

The important word in the preceding paragraph is somehow. Expanding

on the somehow, we can nd a sense in which neither McDowell nor

Husserl escapes or resolves the traditional, natural dilemma. Or rather, to

the extent that they can be said to, their solutions do not address this

original dilemma. Conversely, I want to suggest it is just to the extent that

they dont escape the dilemma that they may (via expansion on the

somehow) be taken as having oered a sort of solution wherein what

was unintelligible from the traditional/natural perspective, is made at least

a little intelligible. That is, their sort of insight might be taken as oering a

perspective from which the contradiction inherent in speaking of a reality

independent of humans altogether need not automatically undermine the

possibility of a relationship between the two.

To see this, we need to start by outlining the ways in which both

positions clearly [challenge] the traditional epistemological picture that

has (R) at its core.

Neta and Pritchard outline McDowells challenge to R this way:

McDowells acceptance of reectively accessible factive reasons . . . entails

that the facts that one can know by reection are not restricted to the

inner in this way, and can instead, as it were, reach right out to the

external world, to the outer. One has reective access to facts that would

not obtain of ones recently envatted duplicate, on McDowells picture. If

this is correct, it suggests that the popular epistemological distinction

between inner and outer which derives from (R) should be rejected,

or at least our understanding of it should be radically revised. (p. 386)

complex view of the original Cartesian experiment. To accept ~R, we need

reasons to suppose that the thought experiment of doubting everything is

not simply or not only constructible along lines drawn from our natural

understanding of the outer/inner distinction. Husserl oers the broad

reason that consciousness per se is not possible if we try to imagine such

a thing, we nd a sense in which independent reality got there before us:

consciousness itself incorporates potentialities that, in turn, cannot be

reduced to wholly subjective or internal phenomena.

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either wholly internally or wholly externally rests on believing R. Believing

R then, is very like holding fast to the possibility that in principle what is

given to cognition and what cognition intends, can always be untangled.

For Husserl, only a radically impoverished view of envattedness can deliver

the sceptical conclusion: a closer, careful look at cognition in general,

apart from any existential assumptions either of the empirical ego or of a

real world (Husserl 1981: 60) returns the world in all of its modes of

givenness (Husserl 1981: 59), as constituted and constituting that cognition. So I think it is reasonable to take Husserl similarly to McDowell on

the question of envattedness: i.e. to take Husserl as committed to there

being a dierence between envatted and non-envatted states.

But I want to take issue with Neta and Pritchards claim that: Once (R)

is rejected . . . these two aspects [internal and external] of the view are no

longer in conict (Neta and Pritchard 2007: 38b). And, for the same

reasons, I take issue with similar claims Husserl makes regarding phenomenology e.g.: In . . . phenomenology . . . the old traditional ambiguous

antitheses of the philosophical standpoint are resolved (Husserl 1981: 34).

A genuine resolution of the traditional antithesis could come about only

via an explicit defence of ~R in the original (traditional) terms in which

R itself was conceptualised. In short, a resolution of the problem generated by the original dichotomy must directly address that dichotomy as a

genuine dichotomy.

There are various ways ~R and an alternative conceptualisation of the

internal/external dichotomy might be defended, but only some of these

ways can be said to address and so potentially resolve, the original realist

dilemma. For example, ~R itself, or a set of key reasons oered to

believe ~R, might be used as a sort of rst principle, or established by at;

then again, an approach might give a bunch of positive reasons or arguments for ~R (independent of the original reasons for R) in order to

convince us that ~R (along with any attendant, independent positive

reasons oered for ~R) ought to replace or provide an alternative perspective to the traditional perspective. But neither of these cases can be said to

resolve the original problem. They might be said to replace that problem,

perhaps; or to render it irrelevant in the face of a potentially more

compelling scenario, but not to resolve that problem.

Any potential resolution would need to directly challenge the original

traditional antithesis itself, which cannot be done except by explicitly

engaging with that antithesis on its own terms (for a more detailed defence

of these ideas, see Rush 2005). That is, an explicit argument against

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defend one of the following claims: an internal phenomenon is also notinternal (i.e. that a phenomenon able to act as internal in the R thought

experiment is also one able to act as not-internal in the thought experiment); an external phenomenon is also not-external (taking internal

phenomena as not-external); or, for each case, there is no straightforward

either/or dichotomy (i.e. it is not the case that such phenomena are either

external or not-external, or internal or not-internal). That is, in R, the

concepts external and internal are explicitly (intended as) subject to both

the law of excluded middle (LEM): ~A v A; and the law of non-contradiction (LNC): ~(~A & A).17

So accounts that rest on or incorporate ~R in some way must also

directly challenge the applicability of these classical laws to the internal/

external dichotomy. One such challenge might argue that the point of ~R

is that it gives us reason to doubt that the LEM should hold here. The

relationship between the phenomenological and natural perspectives

might then be seen as analogous to the relationship between the intuitionist rendering of the continuum as viscous and the classical rendering of the

continuum as discrete. From the intuitionists perspective, the continuum

has characteristics it does not have from the classical perspective. To see the

former, we need to allow the LEM to fail, in particular, for 8x8y((x<y) v

(x=y) v (x>y)). In much the same way, we could argue that to see the more

complex characteristics of our human experience in the world, we need to

allow the LEM to fail for 8x(Ix v ~Ix) (where I is internal) and/or for 8x

(Ex v ~Ex) (where E is external). (For more on the intuitionists

continuum, see Posy 2005, especially pp. 345348.)

Note that this means that the most eective defence of ~R challenges

the universal applicability of the laws of (classical) logic. So knowledge of

(external, independent) logical truths is guaranteed only by an explicit,

rather drastic instance of the corrigibility of that knowledge. Thus, the

knowledge of logic that survives the phenomenological reduction is corrigible knowledge but this is perhaps what we should expect, given the

independence of logical truth: its fundamental role in cognition does not

and cannot guarantee the infallibility of our own intuition.

17

That is, I think arguments for the claim that Husserls and McDowells accounts do not

hypostatise ultimately fail (for examples of such arguments, see Hartimo 2010b, and Putnam

2003, particularly p. 178). Or, to the extent that they succeed, the accounts themselves are rendered

largely irrelevant to the philosophical problem I am addressing here.

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Penelope Rush

external and dependent, internal phenomena, we have an explicit exception to the LNC: there are occasions where each type of phenomenon

both is and is not that type (for more on this idea see Rush 2005 and

Priest 2009).

Either way, these challenges undermine the notion that the LEM and/or

the LNC apply to internal and external phenomena. My own opinion is

that it makes more sense, for an account wishing to engage with the

philosophical problem, to mount the latter challenge i.e. to argue that

the LNC does not apply here, (given that it could be argued that LEM

denes the terms of the original thought experiment, R) but the main

point is that only an explicit argument against (or recognising an implicit

rejection of ) either or both of these classical rules can make such accounts

as Husserls and McDowells relevant to the original natural problem.

And I do think that Husserl was interested in addressing the original

natural problem,18 but in a particular way:

ones rst awakening to the relatedness of the world to consciousness [i.e.

the philosophical problem] gives no understanding of how the varied life of

consciousness, . . . manages in its immanence that something which manifests itself can present itself as something existing in itself, and not only as

something meant but as something authenticated in concordant experience.

(1981: 28) [and]

We will begin with a clarication of the true transcendental problem, which

in the initial obscure unsteadiness of its sense makes one so very prone . . .

to shunt it o to a side track. (1981: 27)

within the constituted object itself, insofar as it is also given as

independent. That this duality is a genuine counterexample either to the

18

Shim, Teiszen, and others see the duality (which Shim renders as conceptual/non-conceptual) as

residing strictly in the phenomenological attitude, and so Shim (2005) argues that the

phenomenological solution cannot neatly slot into a natural answer to scepticism. But I think

phenomenology is relevant to the natural answer to scepticism exactly insofar as it provides this

explicit way of dierentiating being in the (real) world from envattedness. This dierentiation

disrupts a neat holistic story, and so its lesson, carried through to science and the natural attitude, is

perhaps not a categorical mistake (Shim 2005: 225), but an alert as to the deciencies of a

philosophy that disallows any perspective other than its own. What we know from the

phenomenological attitude might resist reduction to naturalist/scientic knowledge, but it

nonetheless can oer an insight into the items with which the scientic/philosophical attitude is

concerned: e.g. reality, experience, and knowledge. It is exactly what makes the phenomenological

perspective both tempt and frustrate . . . the very philosophical desire it should have satised

(Shim 2005: 225), that can make it relevant to that desire, and can potentially stop a too quick,

neat, sealed holist answer from gaining complete purchase.

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recall the contradictions in his various accounts of the location of pure x

listed earlier.

And it is just where it seems able to incorporate the rejection of the

LNC for internal and external reality that phenomenology holds the most

promise. On the other hand the preservation of the LNC in this case calls

for resolution one way or the other and so renders an account open to

being interpreted as wholly internal or wholly external, which I contend,

would drastically impoverish it as an account of human experience. As it

stands though, its own internal inconsistencies bear witness to the richness

of the very idea of phenomenology: of the inescapable, paradoxical, yet

entirely natural thought that our human experience is irreducibly constituted by the notion (itself inherently either incomplete or inconsistent)

that we might know reality and logic as it independently is.19

19

Thanks to Graham Priest, Curtis Franks, Tuomas Tahko, Sandra Lapointe, and Jody Azzouni for

helpful feedback on earlier drafts.

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chapter 2

Jody Azzouni

1. Introduction

Our logical practices, it seems, already exhibit truth by convention.

A visible part of contemporary research in logic is the exploration of

nonclassical logical systems. Such systems have stipulated mathematical

properties, and many are studied deeply enough to see how mathematics

analysis in particular and even (some) empirical science, is recongured

within their nonclassical connes.1 What also contributes to the appearance of truth by convention with respect to logic is that it seems possible

although unlikely that at some time in the future our current logic of

choice will be replaced by one of these alternatives. If this happens, why

shouldnt the result be the dethroning of one set of logical conventions for

another? One set of logical principles, it seems, is currently conventionally

true; another set could be adopted later.

Quine, nevertheless, is widely regarded as having refuted the possibility

of logic being true by convention. Some see this refutation as the basis for

his later widely publicized views about the empirical nature of logic.

Logical principles being empirical, in turn, invites a further claim that

logical principles are empirically true (or false) because they reect well (or

badly) aspects of the metaphysical structure of the world. Just as the truth

or falsity of the ordinary empirical statement There is a table in Miner

Hall 221B at Tufts University on July 3, 2012, reects well or badly how a

part of the world is, so too, the Principle of Bivalence is true or false because

it reects correctly (or badly) the worlds structure. Ill describe this

additional metaphysical claim one that Im not attributing to Quine

(by the way) as taking logical principles to have representational content.

Most philosophers think logical principles being conventional is

1

The families of intuitionistic and paraconsistent logics are the most extensively studied in this respect.

There is a massive literature in both these specialities.

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I undermine the supposed opposition of these doctrines in what follows.

That still leaves open the question whether logical principles do have

representational content; but I also undermine this suggestion. That may

seem a lot to do in under eight thousand words. Luckily for me (and for

you too), most of the important work is already done, and I can cite it

rather than have to build my entire case from scratch.

2. Quines dilemma

Its really really sad that almost no one notices that Quines refutation of

the conventionality of logic is a dilemma. The famous Lewis Carroll

innite regress assails only one horn of this dilemma, the horn that

presupposes that the innitely many needed conventions are all explicit.

Quine (1936b: 105) writes, indicating the other horn:

It may still be held that the conventions [of logic] are observed from the

start, and that logic and mathematics thereby become conventional. It may

be held that we can adopt conventions through behavior, without rst

announcing them in words; and that we can return and formulate our

conventions verbally afterwards, if we choose, when a full language is at our

disposal. It may be held that the verbal formulation of conventions is no

more a prerequisite of the adoption of conventions than the writing of a

grammar is a prerequisite of speech; that explicit exposition of conventions

is merely one of many important uses of a completed language. So conceived, the conventions no longer involve us in vicious regress. Inference

from general conventions is no longer demanded initially, but remains to

the subsequent sophisticated stage where we frame general statements of the

conventions and show how various specic conventional truths, used all

along, t into the general conventions as thus formulated.

Quine agrees that this seems to describe our actual practices with many

conventions, but he complains that (Quine 1936b: 105106):

it is not clear wherein an adoption of the conventions, antecedently to their

formulation, consists; such behavior is dicult to distinguish from that in

which conventions are disregarded . . . In dropping the attributes of deliberateness and explicitness from the notion of linguistic conventions we risk

depriving the latter of any explanatory force and reducing it to an idle label.

2

Ted Sider, a contemporary proponent of the claim that logical idioms have representational content,

represents the positions as opposed in just this way; he (Sider 2011: 97) diagnoses the doctrine of

logical conventionalism as supporting the view that logical expressions do not describe features of

the world, but rather are mere conventional devices.

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Jody Azzouni

We may wonder what one adds to the bare statement that the truths of

logic and mathematics are a priori, or to the still barer behavoristic statement that they are rmly accepted, when he characterizes them as true by

convention in such a sense.

of logic but against tacit conventions of any sort. One challenge is

concerned with making sense of when specic behaviors are in accord

with the proposed tacit conventions and when theyre not. One problem, that is, is this: if the conventions are explicit, we know what the

conventions are because theyve been stated explicitly and the

behavior can be directly measured against them to determine deviations.

But tacit conventions must be inferred from that very behavior, so the

challenge goes, and therefore a lot of unprincipled play becomes possible

because various conventions may be posited, these conventions diering

in how far the practitionerss behavior is taken to deviate from them.

A second issue Quine raises is with the label convention; he wants to

know whats distinctive about tacit conventions that makes them stand

apart from the simple behavioristic attribution that the population

rmly accepts them.

So Quines two objections come apart neatly. There is, rst, a challenge

to the idea that a set of rules can be attributed to a population in the

absence of explicit indications like a set of ocial conventions. Even if this

rst challenge can be circumvented, the second worry is why the set of

rules so attributed to a population should be called conventions.3

If we concede the requirement of explicitness to Quine, were forced to

something like the Lewis account of convention:4

A regularity R, in action or in action and belief, is a convention in a

population P if and only if, within P, the following six conditions hold:

(1) Almost everyone conforms to R.

(2) Almost everyone believes that the others conform to R.

(3) This belief that the others conform to R gives almost everyone a good

and decisive reason to conform to R himself.

(4) There is a general preference for general conformity to R rather than

slightly-less-than-general conformity in particular, rather than conformity by all but anyone.

3

4

See (Quine 1970b) for a reiteration of the rst challenge with respect to linguistic rules.

See (Lewis 1969: 78) but I draw this characterization from (Burge 1975: 3233).

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(5) There is at least one alternative R 0 to R such that the belief that the

others conformed to R 0 would give almost everyone a good and

decisive practical or epistemic reason to conform to R 0 likewise; such

that there is a general preference for general conformity to R 0 rather

than slightly-less-than-general conformity to R 0 ; and such that there

is normally no way of conforming to R and R 0 both.

(6) (1)(5) are matters of common knowledge.

There are many problems with this approach indeed, its no exaggeration

to describe condition (6) as yielding the result that there are almost no

conventions in any human population anywhere. But can Quines challenges be met? Are tacit conventions cogent?

Since Quines challenges are directed towards tacit conventions of any sort,

lets look at what appears to be a less-complicated case: purportedly tacit

linguistic conventions. Linguistic conventionality seem less complicated

than logical conventionality if only because the intuitions that seem to

accompany logical principles (ones about necessity, ones about aprioricity)

arent present in the linguisitic case. As Burge (1975: 32) writes, Language,

we all agree, is conventional. By this we mean partly that some linguistic

practices are arbitrary: except for historical accident, they could have been

otherwise to roughly the same purpose. He adds, which linguistic and

other social practices are arbitrary in this sense is a matter of dispute. Ill

shortly show that this matters to the empirical question whether language is

conventional (and in what ways) the thing Burge tells us we all agree

about.

But rst, notice something important that Burge is explicit about

(although he doesnt dwell on it): there are psychological mechanisms that

enable these regularities. Burge (1975: 35) writes, the stability of conventions is safeguarded not only by enlightened self-interest, but by inertia,

superstition, and ignorance. He makes this point rapidly, and in passing,

because hes instead intent on undercutting the explicitness assumption for

conventions: Insofar as these latter play a role, they prevent the arbitrariness of conventional practices from being represented in the beliefs and

preferences of the participants.

Lets focus on the important word inertia. This is an allusion to an

ultimately neurophysiological mechanism of imitation. The point is

made quite explicit some years later by Millikan when she characterizes

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Crucial to the idea (Millikan 1998: 2) is that these [conventional] patterns

proliferate . . . due partly to weight of precedent, rather than due, for

example, to their intrinsically superior capacity to perform certain functions. That is (Millikan 1998: 3), had the model(s) been dierent . . . the

copy would have diered accordingly.

Some may be worried about this characterization of conventional patterns.5 As I understand the characterization, for it to work we need to

sharply distinguish between the patterns being conventional because they

are proliferating partly due to the weight of precedent, and the patterns

instead only being thought to be conventional because theyre thought to

involve arbitrariness in our choice of a course of action. On the one hand,

we can simply be wrong thinking that arbitrariness is involved when it

isnt. On the other hand, there can be arbitrariness without our realizing

it: there are other model-options we dont know about, which, were they

in place, would have been imitated instead.

Consider the venerable practice of rubbing two sticks together to start a

re.6 A tribal population may simply fail to realize that banging rocks

together will work instead. Their practice of rubbing sticks to start a re is

conventional despite their failing to realize this. Imagine, however, that

they live where there are no such rocks, and where, presumably, there are

available no other ways to start a re. Then the practice isnt conventional.

Suppose (after many moons) the tribe migrates to an area where suitable

rocks are located. Because of a change of location, a practice that wasnt

conventional has become conventional. (More generally, technological

development can induce conventionality because it creates practical alternatives that werent there before.) There is a lot of work to do here (much

of it empirical) detailing more fully the notion of genuine practical

alternatives what sort of background factors should be seen as relevant

and which not but the need for hard empirical work isnt problematical

for this characterization of tacit convention.

Another worry. Many people believe (and some believe correctly) that

some of their practices P are optimal. They engage (imitate) those practices

(so they believe) precisely because they think these are optimal practices

and not because of the weight of precedent. Conventional or not

conventional? Well, beliefs about optimality arent relevant; only the

5

Epstein (2006), for example, is worried. My thanks to him for conversations (and email exchanges)

about this topic that have inuenced the rest of this section.

I draw this example from (Epstein 2006: 4).

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population is relevant. Suppose alternative suboptimal practices would

not have spread through the population, if instead they were the models,

precisely because their suboptimality would have extinguished the practices (or the population engaging in them). Then P isnt conventional.

Otherwise it is. Superior optimality, of course, can be why a practice

triumphs over alternatives. Its an empirical question in what ways the

optimality of a practice relates to its popularity, but Im betting that

superior optimality rarely counts for why a practice P spreads through a

population.7 If a practice has enough optimality over other options to

make its superior optimality ecacious in its spread, then it isnt conventional. On the other hand, some superior optimality clearly isnt enough to

erase conventionality. Therefore: How much superior optimality is

required to erase conventionality is an empirical question, turning in part

on how much damage a suboptimal practice will inict on its population,

how fast this will happen, how fast this will be noticed, and so on. These

empirical complications, although of interest, dont make the notion of

tacit convention problematical.

One point in the previous paragraph must be stressed further because

I seem to be denitively breaking with earlier philosophers on conventionality on just this point. This is that roughly equivalent optimality is invariably built into the characterization of conventionality: the alternative

practices that render a practice conventional are ones that are reasonably

equivalent in their optimality this is built into Lewis approach by

condition (3), that others conforming to such alternatives would give

people good and decisive reasons for engaging in them as well this is

false if the alternative practices are suboptimal enough. It seems built into

Millikans approach at least when conventional patterns serve functions

because alternatives should serve functions about as well (Millikan

2005: 56).

Unfortunately, as Keynes is rumored to have pointed out in a related

context, in the long run were all dead. Anthropology reveals that seriously

suboptimal practices are quite stable in human populations (and, to be

7

Is it conventional that we cook some of our food and dont eat everything raw? I think it is. Is the

alternative suboptimal? There is controversy about this, but I think it is: I think this is why the

alternative eventually died out among our progenitors (after thousands of years, that is). On the other

hand, some of the reasons for why the alternative died out (the greater likelihood of food poisoning,

the inadvertent thriving of parasites in ones meal, etc.) have been presumably eliminated by

technical developments in food processing. So the practice of eating all food raw neednt be as

suboptimal as it once was.

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honest, a cold hard look at our own practices reveals exactly the same

thing). Evolution takes a really long view of things even the extinction of

a population because it engages in a suboptimal practice may occur so

slowly that the conventional xation of that practice can occur for many

generations, at least.8 How suboptimal a practice can be (in relation to

alternatives) is completely empirical, of course, and turns very much on the

details of the practices involved (and the background context they occur in);

but optimality comparisons should play only a moderate role in an evaluation of what alternative candidates there are to a practice, and therefore in

an evaluation of whether that practice is conventional and in what ways.

(This will matter to the eventual discussion of the conventionality of logic:

that alternative logics are suboptimal in various ways wont bar them from

playing a role in making conventional the logic weve adopted.)

One last additional point about conventionality that Ive just touched

on in the last sentence. This is that it isnt so much entire practices that

are conventional, but aspects of them that are. Minor variations in a

practice are always possible, minor variations that we dont normally treat

as rendering the practice conventional because we dont normally treat

those variations as rendering the practice a dierent one. There are many

variations in how sticks can be rubbed together, for example. How we

describe a practice or label it (how we individuate it) will invite our

recognition of these variations as inducing conventionality or not. Its

conventional to rub two sticks together in such and such a way, but not

conventional (say) to rub two sticks together instead of doing something

else that doesnt involve sticks at all (in a context, say, where there are no

rocks). How we individuate practices correspondingly infects how and in

what ways we recognize a practice to be conventional; but this is hardly an

issue restricted to the notion of tacit convention, or a reason to think the

notion has problems.

More than a serviceable notion of tacit convention is needed to respond to

Quine. Recall his worry about evidence, that in dropping the attributes of

8

A nice example, probably, is the arrangement of the lettered keys on computer keyboards. No doubt

the contemporary distribution of letters is suboptimal compared to alternatives; its clearly an inertial

result of the earlier arrangement of the keys on typewriters which was probably also suboptimal in

its time and relative to its context at that time. Im not suggesting, of course, that keyboard

conventions are contributing to a future extinction event although I have no doubt that a

number of conventions that we currently use are doing precisely that.

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risk depriving the latter of any explanatory force and reducing it to an idle

label. As it turns out, and this is an empirical discovery, for conventional

patterns to even be possible for a human population requires neurophysiological capacities and tendencies in those humans. These are currently

being intensively studied, and preliminary results reveal how human

children have a capacity to imitate thats largely not shared with other

animals.9 The recently discovered mirror-neuron system is crucial to this

capacity (but is hardly the whole story). My point in alluding to this

empirical literature is to indicate how a systematic response to Quines

challenges has emerged: Not only is a decent characterization of tacit

conventionality as noted above now in place, but an explanation of

the capacity for imitation that underwrites tacit conventions in this sense

(and one that goes far beyond sheer behavioral facts about rm acceptance) is also emerging due to intensive scientic study.10

Of course, Millikan (and Burge) seem to largely assume that language is

conventional in the appropriately tacit sense. But this (on their own

views) should be an entirely empirical question patently so now that the

neurophysiological mechanisms of imitation are being discovered. Its an

empirical question, for one thing, whether these mechanisms (mirror

neurons, etc.) are involved in language acquisition more specically,

its an empirical question how theyre involved in language acquisition.

Imagine (instead) that something like Chomskys principles and parameters model is at work in language acquisition.11 Then the picture is this:

the child starts language-acquisition with a massive prexed cognitive

language-structure which is multiply triggered to a nal state by specic

things the child hears. Imagine (whats surely false, but will make the

principle of the point clear) that there are (say) only three thousand and

seventeen human languages that are possible, so that the child has only to

hear a relatively small number of specic utterances for that childs

9

10

11

See the introduction to (Hurley and Chater 2005a&b) for an overview of work as of that date. See

the various articles in the volumes for details. The rst sentence of the introduction (Hurley and

Chater 2005a: 1) begins, dramatically enough, with this sentence: Imitation is often thought of as a

low-level, cognitively undemanding, even childish form of behavior, but recent work across a variety

of sciences argues that imitation is a rare ability that is fundamentally linked to characteristically

human forms of intelligence, in particular to language, culture, and the ability to understand other

minds. Its important to stress how recent these discoveries are only within the last couple of

decades.

One almost shocking development is that the study of these mechanisms is successfully taking place

at the neurophysiological level, and not at some more idealized (abstract) level as is the case with

most language studies to date, specically those of syntax.

See, e.g., (Chomsky and Lasnik 1995).

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if it helps itself to the neurophysiological imitation mechanisms to enable

the child to imitate the initial triggers, may leave very little of actual

language as conventional simply because the childs nal-state competence

would leave practically nothing for the child to subsequently learn.12

To respond to Quine, notice, whats needed are both subpersonal

mechanisms that allow alternative imitations (on the part of a population)

as well as feasible alternative practices made available by the contextual

background a population of humans is in. Without appropriate subpersonal imitation mechanisms (as opposed to say, subpersonal mechanisms of

the parameter/principles type), the apparent alternatives dont render the

current practice conventional because members of the population are

actually incapable of imitating those alternatives. But if the feasible alternative practices are absent from the contextual background then the

practice is rendered nonconventional because of this alone.

Ive just nished suggesting that the notion of tacit convention may

(empirically) nd almost no foothold in language, despite the appearance

of massive contingency, because the mechanisms of imitation crucial

to tacit convention may play only a minimal role in language acquisition.13 This is an empirical question, unresolved at the moment. But

what about logic?

Despite the subject matter of logic (in some sense) being so ancient, the

actual principles of logic dont become explicit until the very end of

the nineteenth century. I now attempt to show that possibly unlike

12

13

See (Chomsky 2003), specically page 313. See (Millikan 2003), specically pages 3738. This

empirical question is the nub of their disagreement, as Millikan realizes (Millikan 2003: 37): If

[the childs language faculty] reaches a steady state, that will be only if it runs out of local

conventions to learn. I dont nd convincing Millikans arguments against the empirical

possibility of a (virtually nal) steady-state for the language faculty: They seem to turn only on

the sheer impression that theres always more language conventions for adults to acquire. But given

that the empirical question is about what actual subpersonal mechanisms are involved in language

acquisition and also in the use of the language by adults who have acquired a language, its hard to

see why sheer impressions of conventionality deserve any weight at all.

One can always introduce the appearance of massive ocial conventionality by individuating the

language practices nely enough e.g., minor sound-variations in the statistical norms of utterances

determining the individuation of utterance practices (recall the last paragraph of Section 3); but Im

assuming this trivial vindication of the conventionality of language isnt what either Burge or

Millikan have in mind when they presume it as evident that natural language is full of

conventionality.

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genuine place in the characterization of logic.

There are at least three (at times competing) historical characterizations

of logic. The absence, until relatively recently, of explicit logical principles

enables the insight that these models of logic are, strictly speaking, general

theories of the basis of human logical capacities, and not a priori characterizations of what logic must be. The earliest model, arguably, is the

substitution one. Syllogistic reasoning especially, but also contemporary

reconstruals of logic in terms of schemata, invites the thought that logical

principles require an antecedent segregation of logical idioms. Logical

truths are then characterized as all the sentences generated by the systematic substitution of nonlogical vocabulary for nonlogical vocabulary within

what can be characterized as a recursive set of logical schemata or argument

forms. Such a characterization also allows the view that logical principles

can be recognized by their general applicability to any subject area: logical

principles are formal, as its sometimes put, or topic neutral.14

A second model is the content-containment one. Here a notion of

content is hypothesized, and the central notion of logic consequence

(or implication) is characterized in terms of content-containment: the

content of an implication Im is contained in the content of the statements

Im is an implication of. An intensional version of this model is clearly at

work in Kants notion of analytic truth, and in notions of a number

of earlier thinkers as well. An extremely popular contemporary version of

the content-containment approach externalizes the notion of content of a

statement taking it to be the possible situations, models, or worlds in

which a statement is true. A deductive (intensional) construal of content

understands the content of a statement to be all its deductive

consequences.

Yet a third model emerged only in the middle of the last century: what

Ill call the rule-governed model of logical inference. This is that logical

deduction is to be characterized in terms of a set of rules according to

which logical proofs must be constructed. Part of the reason this model

emerged so late for logic is that it required the extension of mathematical

axiomatic methods to logic, something achieved denitively only by

Frege.15

14

15

See (Sher 2001) for discussion and for citations of earlier proponents of this approach to logic.

Although the axiomatic model anciently arose via Euclidean geometry, its striking that it wasnt

generally recognized when Euclidean geometry was translated entirely to a language-based

format how gappy those rules were. An early view was that a nonethymematic mathematical

proof was one without missing steps or gaps. But this view, based as it was on a picture of a

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must be adequate to mathematical proof. For mathematical proof right

from its beginning exhibited puzzling epistemic properties: We seemed

to know that the conclusion of a mathematical proof had to be true if the

premises were: this was one important ground of the impression of the

necessity of mathematical results. This phenomenon seemed to demand

a logical construal, at least in terms of one of the underlying models of logic

Ive just given: content-preservation. Substitution criteria seem irrelevant

to mathematical proof, and so did explicit rules, since the practice of

mathematical proof apart from isolated occurrences until the twentieth

century occurred largely in the absence of explicit rules but instead in

terms of the perceived semantic connections between specialized (explicitly

designed) mathematical concepts.16

Lets grant the suggestion that what logic is has nally stabilized (as of the

middle of the last century). The standard view is that an advantage of rstorder logic over alternative logics is that all three models of logic can be

applied to it and arguably, all three models converge as equivalent in the

rst-order context. The equivalence of the rule-governed model and

the substitution model is established by the existence of equivalent characterizations of rst-order logical truths in terms either of sentence-axioms

or in terms of axiom-schemata. The equivalence of these characterizations

in turn with the content-containment model is enabled by Gdels completeness theorem, subject to the model-theoretic characterization of the

content-containment model via models (in a background set theory).

This sophisticated theoretical package of rst-order classical logic isnt

reected in the psychological capacities of the humans who adhere (collectively) to this model of reasoning. In saying this, Im not alluding to the rich

and developing literature on human irrationality17; Im pointing out, rather,

that as we become more sophisticated in our study of the neurophysiological

16

17

conceptual relationship between the steps in a mathematical proof, remained purely metaphorical

(or, at best, promissory) until the notion of algorithm in the context of articial languages emerged

at the hands of Turing, Church, and others in the twentieth century.

See (Azzouni 2005: 1819). It should be noted that this dramatic aspect of informal-rigorous

mathematical proof is still with us despite the presence of formal systems that are apparently fully

adequate to contemporary mathematics. That is, informal-rigorous mathematical proof continues to

operate largely by conceptual implication supplemented, of course, with substantial

computational bits.

Nicely popularized by one of the major researchers in the area: See (Kahneman 2011).

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basis for our capacities for mathematics, and for reasoning generally, there is

no echo in our neuropsychological capacities to reason, and to prove, of the

semantic/syntactic apparatus the contemporary view of logic (and even its

competitors) provides.18 That apparatus is an all-purpose topic-neutral piece

of algorithmic machinery; how we actually reason, by contrast, involves

quite topic-specic, narrowly applied, highly componentalized, mental tools.

This means that the role of formal logic can only be a normative one; it has

emerged as a reasoning tool that we ocially impose on our ordinary

reasoning practices and that we (at times) can use to evaluate that reasoning.19

The foregoing, if right, makes the conventionality of logic quite plausible even if its an optimal logic, compared to competitors.20 The foregoing, if right, also makes plausible the emergence of classical logic as

explicitly conventional in the twentieth century; and it makes plausible its

role as tacitly conventional (at least in mathematical reasoning) for earlier

centuries before sets of rules for logic became explicit. I turn now to

discussing some of the reasons philosophers have for denying logic such a

conventional status. The rst kind of objection Ill consider turns on how

the notion of truth is used in the characterization of validity; next Ill

evaluate certain arguments that have been oered for why logical principles

have a (metaphysical) representational role.

We philosophers are all pretty familiar with the apparent truism the

apparent explanatory clich, the apparently essential characterization of

18

19

20

See (Carey 2009), especially chapter 4 also see (Dehaene 1997) for good introductions to this

remarkable and important empirical literature.

Ive argued that this role of formal logic has emerged in the course of the twentieth century; it rst

occurred in mathematics but has spread throughout the sciences in large part because of the

mathematization of those sciences. See (Azzouni 2013), chapter 9, as well as (Azzouni 2005) and

(Azzouni 2008a) for discussion. I should stress that there are several psychological and historical

contingencies that seem involved in why the tacit employment of logical consequence in

mathematical practice turned out to be in the neighborhood of a rst-order and classical one: one

of those, I suggest (Azzouni 2005), is the psychological impression (on a case-by-case basis) that the

introduction and elimination rules for the logical idioms (and, or, not, etc.) are contentpreserving, an impression that isnt sustained for even quite short inference patterns, such as modus

ponens or syllogism.

Some philosophers argue that classical rst-order logic isnt optimal because of its representational

drawbacks: proponents of higher-order logics (e.g., Shapiro), on the one hand, think that it cant

represent mathematical concepts such as nite, proponents of one or another paraconsistent

approach (e.g., Priest) think it cant represent certain global concepts, e.g., all sentences. Although

Ive weighed in on these debates, they dont matter for the issue of whether logic is conventional

precisely because its been established in Section 3 of this chapter that suboptimality in relation to

competitors doesnt bar a practice from nevertheless being an alternative candidate.

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deductive reasoning preserving truth: If the premises are true then the

conclusion is true (must be true) as well. Many philosophers have taken

truth-preservation to be a characterization of classical logical principles. If

the notion of truth, in turn, is a correspondence notion, then it would

seem to follow that classical logic is semantically rooted in metaphysics, in

whats true about the world. And, it might be thought that what follows

from this is that logic cannot be conventional. This argument-strategy fails

for a large number of reasons; for current purposes, Ill focus on only three

of its failures. The rst is that a characterization of deduction as truthpreserving fails to single out any particular set of logical rules it fails to

even require that a set of logical principles be consistent! The second is

that, in any case, even if a characterization of logic in terms of truthpreservation singled out only classical logic (and not its alternatives), that

wouldnt rule out the conventionality of classical logic: suboptimality of

alternatives is no bar to their rendering a practice conventional. The last

reason is that truth, in any case, is too frail an idiom to root logic

semantically in the world. This is because it functions perfectly adequately

in discourses that bear no relationship to what exists.

The rst claim is easy to prove. Relevant is that the truth idiom is

governed by Tarski biconditionals: given a sentence S and a name of that

sentence S, S is true i S. Also relevant is that this condition cant be

supplemented by adding conditions to either wing of the Tarski biconditionals that arent equivalent to the wings themselves.21 But these points

are sucient to make the truth idiom logically promiscuous: its compatible

with any logical principles whatsoever. Let R be any set of logical principles.

And supplement R with the following inference schema T: S TS ,

and TS S. If the original set of rules is syntactically consistent (as, e.g.,

Priors tonk isnt), then so is the supplemented version. That R is truthpreserving follows trivially, regardless of whether R is consistent or

not: If U V according to R, then, using T, we can show: U V i

TU TV holds in [R, T].

Notice that a characterization of a choice of logic being legislatedtrue is licensed by the foregoing: Start by choosing ones logic, and then

supplement that choice with the T-schema. The resulting logic has been

legislated-true. It might be thought that more substantial uses of the

truth idiom, in semantics and in model theory, cant be executed in the

context of a nonclassical logic. But this isnt true either. In particular,

21

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a model theory characterized metalogically using intuitionistic connectives in the metalanguage is homophonic to classical model

theory.22

The second point has already been established: Imagine (contrary to

what has just been shown) that a population adopts a suboptimal set of

logical principles ones strictly weaker than ours. (Intuitionist principles,

for example.) Then one possible result would be a failure to know all sorts

of things, both empirically and in pure mathematics, that we proponents

of classical logic know. Lets say that this is suboptimal;23 but this is hardly

fatal. And so the conventionality of logic isnt threatened by the presumed

suboptimality of other candidates.

Lastly, a number of philosophers have thought that the Tarski biconditionals all by themselves characterize truth as a correspondence notion.

There are many reasons to think they are wrong about this. Among them is

the fact that if a consistent practice of using nonreferring terms, such as

Hercules or Mickey Mouse is established, such a practice remains

consistent if its augmented with the T schema. Regardless of whether

the truth idiom functions as a correspondence notion for certain discourses, it wont function that way in this discourse. That shows that talk

of truth has to be supplemented somehow to give it metaphysical traction.

All by itself, it doesnt do that job.

The point generalizes, of course. In trying to determine whether logic is

conventional, some philosophers focus on specic statements like Either it

is raining or it is not raining, and worry about whether this statement is

about the world or not; more dramatically, some philosophers worry about

whether the supposed conventionality of logic yields the result that we

legislate the truth of a statement like this.24

But this misses the point. The claim that logic is conventional is

orthogonal to the question of whether logical truths have content

(worldly or otherwise), or (equivalently?) whether they are or arent about

the world. No doubt some philosophers have thought these claims

linked especially philosophers (like the paradigmatic positivists inuenced by Wittgensteinian Tractarian views) who are driven by epistemic

22

23

24

Two issues drive my choice of the qualication-phrase: lets say. First, mathematical possibilities

are richer in the intuitionist context than they are in the classical context that could easily count

against the supposed suboptimality of intuitionistic mathematics. Second, there are a lot of results

that show that the apparent restrictions of intuitionist mathematics and constructivist

mathematics, more generally in applied mathematics can be circumvented.

See (Sider 2011: 203204).

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whether particular logical truths are or arent about the world, but instead

whether our current set of logical principles lives in a space of viable

candidate alternatives. In addition, the claim that logical principles (or

truth) are about the world isnt to be established by ruling out such

worldly content on the part of statements like Either it is raining or it

is not raining, but by ruling in such worldly content on the part of

statements like Either unicorns have one horn or unicorns dont have

one horn.

Id like to close out this section with a couple of remarks about the

curious project of trying to nd individual representational contents for

logical idioms, such as disjunction, conjunction, and so on.25 One

extremely natural way to try going about this is to give such notions

content on an individual basis via introduction and elimination rules.

We then understand the content of and (&) to be characterized

by the rules, for all sentences U and V: U & V U, U & V

V, U, V U & V, and so on (familiarily) for the other idioms. An

evident danger with this approach is that the holistic nature of logical

content emerges clearly when its recognized, for example, that

intuitionistic logic can be characterized by exactly the same introduction and elimination rules, with the one exception of negation. That

logical truths not involving negation are nevertheless aected is an easy

theorem.26

We can instead attempt to capture the individualized contents of the

connectives semantically, via truth tables for example. The problem

here is that truth tables are simply descriptions of truth conditions in

neatly tabular form: e.g., A or B is true i (A is true and B is not true) or

(A is false and B is true) or (A is true and B is true). As noted earlier in

this section, such an approach simply amounts to a characterization of

logical principles (in a metalanguage) using those very same logical

principles plus the T-schema. The holism problem therefore is still with

us. The appearance that we are semantically characterizing logical idioms

on an individual basis, that is, is still the same illusion that we experience

when we approach the project directly by attempting to characterize the

content of logical idioms individually, using natural deduction principles

(for example).

25

26

Although the discussion is murky (or perhaps just metaphorical), this seems to be part of the project

undertaken by (Sider 2011), when he speaks of joint-carving logical notions, e.g., on page 97.

See (Kleene 1971), for lots of explicitly indicated examples.

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against logical conventionalism

Much of the argument Ive oered here has involved technical details that

have been deliberately kept o-stage. That was a necessity because technical

details in a paper restricted to eight thousand words must largely be kept in

the background for purely spatial reasons: to describe these technical details

in even terse self-contained detail would expand the paper greatly e.g.,

details about the role of the truth idiom in metalanguages when characterizing a set of logical principles, or details about how the consequence

relation is holistically aected by how individual logical idioms synergistically interact. But an important warning is in order. Discussion of these

issues specically, the issue of the conventionality of logic often takes

place at an informal level that masks the fact that relevant technical points

are being overlooked. Ill close with an illustration.

Sider (2011: 104) argues against the idea that logical principles can be

legislated-true, that in particular, the statement Either it is raining or it is

not raining, can be legislated-true. Here is the argument:

(i)

(ii)

(iii)

(iii)

I cannot legislate-true It is not raining

If I cannot legislate-true j, nor can I legislate-true , then I cannot

legislate-true the disjunction j or .

is obviously the key premise. Sider writes (2011: 104),

In defense of iii): a disjunction states simply that one or the other of its

disjuncts holds; to legislate-true a disjunction one would need to legislatetrue one of its disjuncts. . . . It is open, of course, for the defender of truth

by convention to supply a notion of legislating-true on which the arguments premises are false. The challenge, though, is that the premises seem

correct given an intuitive understanding of legislate-true.

One of the oldest (but still quite popular) ways of begging the question

against proponents of alternative logics (as well as a popular way of begging

the question against logical conventionalism) is to implicitly adopt a lofty

metalanguage stance, and then use the very words that are under contention against the opponent. That doing this is so intuitive evidently

contributes to the continued popularity of the fallacy.

Some readers may be tempted to deny that this is a fallacy. They may

want to speak as Walker (1999: 20) does:

Anyone who refuses to rely on modus ponens, or on the law of noncontradiction, cannot be argued with. If they insist on their refusal there

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is therefore nothing to be done about it, but for the same reason there is no

need to take them seriously.27

modus ponens as a law of logic, this doesnt mean that opponent wont be

able engage in a debate using specic inferences that fall under classical modus

ponens. This is because all it means to deny modus ponens as a logical

principle is to claim that it has exceptions. That can nevertheless leave

enormous common ground for debate that is, for arguments that both

debaters take to be sound.28

Even if the reader who has gotten this far in the paper isnt (or isnt

fully) convinced by the details of the intricate philosophical argument on

oer (both onstage and o ), I can at least hope the following take-away

message is convincing: This is that the issue of whether or not logic is

conventional is a subtle and intricate (and interesting) philosophical

question that cant be successfully adjudicated by merely supercially

rehearsing Quines old arguments against truth by convention, and

supplementing that rehearsal with a semantic argument for the representational content of logic that blatantly presupposes the very logical idioms

under dispute. Also pertinent (or so I would have thought) is a discussion

of the philosophical literature on tacit conventionality that has emerged

subsequent to Quine, including the relevant empirical results. I also think

(and have tried to illustrate) that needed as well is a moderately deep

discussion of whether and in what ways the attribution of representational contents to logical idioms does or doesnt contradict the supposed

conventionality of logic.

27

28

See (Lewis 2005), where a similar refusal on similar grounds to debate the law of non-contradiction

is expressed; see (van Inwagen 1981) for the same maneuver directed towards substitutional

quantication. As I said: its a popular maneuver with many illustrious practitioners.

Metalogical debates, in particular, are ones where proponents can easily debate one another on

common ground, as many clearly do in the philosophical literature. See (Azzouni and Armour-Garb

2005) for details.

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chapter 3

Stewart Shapiro

logic (e.g., Shapiro 2014). The main thesis is that there are dierent logics

for dierent mathematical structures or, to put it otherwise, there is

nothing illegitimate about structures that invoke non-classical logics, and

are rendered inconsistent if excluded middle is imposed. The purpose of

this chapter is to explore the consequences of this view concerning a core

metaphysical issue concerning logic, the extent to which logic is objective.

In the philosophical literature, terms like relativism and pluralism

are used in a variety of ways, and at least some of the discussion and debate

on the issues appears to be bogged down because the participants do not

use the terms the same way. One group of philosophers uses the word

relativism for what another group calls contextualism. So, in order to

avoid getting lost in cross-purposes, we need a brief preliminary concerning terminology.

The central sense of relativism about a given subject matter is given

by what Crispin Wright (2008) calls folk-relativism. The slogan is: There is

no such thing as simply being . If is relative, in this sense, then in order

to get a truth-value for a statement in the form a is , one must implicitly

or explicitly indicate something else. A major discovery of the early twentieth

century is that simultaneity and length are relative, in this sense. To get a

truth-value for a is simultaneous with b, one needs to indicate a frame of

reference. Arguably, so-called predicates of personal taste, such as tasty and

fun are also folk-relative, at least in some uses. To get a truth-value for p is

tasty, one must indicate a judge, a taster, a standard, or something like that.

This folk notion of relativism seems to be the one treated in Chris

Swoyers 2003 article in the Stanford Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Swoyer suggests that discussions of relativism, and relativistic proposals,

focus on instances of a general relativistic schema:

GRS Y is relative to X :

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Stewart Shapiro

species what one is talking about, the dependent variable Y, and then

what that is alleged to be relative to, the independent variable X. So,

according to special relativity, the dependent variable is for simultaneity

and other temporal or geometric notions like occurs before, and phrases

like has the same length as. The independent variable is for a reference

frame. For predicates of personal taste, the independent variable is for a

given taste notion and the dependent variable is for a judge or a standard

(depending on the details of the proposal).

The main thesis of Beall and Restall (2006) is an instance of folkrelativism concerning logical validity. They begin with what they call the

Generalised Tarski Thesis (p. 29):

An argument is validx if and only if, in every casex in which the premises are

true, so is the conclusion.

For Beall and Restall, the variable x ranges over types of cases. Classical logic

results from the Generalized Tarski Thesis if cases are Tarskian models;

intuitionistic logic results if cases are constructions, or stages in constructions (i.e., nodes in Kripke structures); and various relevant and paraconsistent logics result if cases are situations. So Beall and Restall take logical

consequence to be relative to a kind of case, and the General Relativistic

Schema is apt. For them, the law of excluded middle is valid relative to

Tarskian models, invalid relative to construction stages (Kripke models).

Beall and Restall call their view pluralism, eschewing the term

relativism:

we are not relativists about logical consequence, or about logic as such. We

do not take logical consequence to be relative to languages, communities of

inquiry, contexts, or anything else. (p. 88, emphasis in original)

It seems that Beall and Restall take relativism about a given subject matter

to be a restriction of what we here call folk relativism to those cases in

which the independent variable ranges over languages, communities of

inquiry, or contexts (or something like one of those). Of course, those are

the sorts of things that debates concerning, say, morality, knowledge, and

modality typically turn on. Here, we do not put any restrictions on the sort

of variable that the independent variable can range over. However, there

is no need to dispute terminology. To keep things as clear as possible, I will

usually refer to folk-relativism in the present, quasi-technical sense.1

1

John A. Burgess (2010) also attributes a kind of (folk) relativism to Beall and Restall: For pluralism

to be true, one logic must be determinately preferable to another for one clear purpose while

determinately inferior to it for another. If so, why then isnt the notion of consequence simply

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logic. The dependent variable Y is for validity or logical consequence, and

the independent variable X ranges over mathematical theories or, equivalently, structures or types of structures. The claim is that dierent theories/

structures have dierent logics.

Once it is agreed that a given word or phrase is relative, in the foregoing,

folk sense, then one might want a detailed semantic account that explains

this. Are we going to be contextualists, saying that the content of the term

shifts in dierent contexts? Or some sort of full-blown assessment-sensitive

relativist (aka MacFarlane (2005), (2009), (2014))? Questions of meaning,

our present focus, thus come to the fore, and will be broached below. But,

as construed here, folk-relativism, by itself, has no ramications concerning semantics.

Briey, pluralism about a given subject, such as truth, logic, ethics, or

etiquette, is the view that dierent accounts of the subject are equally

correct, or equally good, or equally legitimate, or perhaps even (equally)

true (if that makes sense). Arguably, folk-relativism, as the term is used

here, usually gives rise to a variety of pluralism, as that term is used here.

All we need is that some instances of the independent variable in the

(GRS) correspond to correct, or good, versions of the dependent variable.

Dene monism or logical monism to be the opposite of logical

relativism/pluralism. The monist holds that there is such a thing as

simply being valid full stop. The slogan of the monist is that there is

One True Logic.

1. Relativity to structure

Since the end of the nineteenth century, there has been a trend in

mathematics that any consistent axiomatization characterizes a structure, one at least potentially worthy of mathematical study. A key

element in the development of that trend was the publication of David

Hilberts Grundlagen der Geometrie (1899). In that book, Hilbert provided (relative) consistency proofs for his axiomatization, as well as a

number of independence proofs, showing that various combinations of

axioms are consistent. In a brief, but much-studied correspondence,

Gottlob Frege claimed that there is no need to worry about the

purpose relative (p. 521). Burgess adds, [p]erhaps pluralism is relativism but relativism of such a

harmless kind that to use that word to promote it would dramatise the position too much. The

present label folk-relativism is similarly meant to cut down on dramatic eect.

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Stewart Shapiro

consistency of the axioms of geometry, since the axioms are all true

(presumably of space).2 Hilbert replied:

As long as I have been thinking, writing and lecturing on these things,

I have been saying the exact reverse: if the arbitrarily given axioms do not

contradict each other with all their consequences, then they are true and the

things dened by them exist. This is for me the criterion of truth and

existence.

It seems clear, at least by now, that this Hilbertian approach applies, at

least approximately, to much of mathematics, if not all of it. Consistency,

or some mathematical explication thereof, like satisability in set theory, is

the only formal criterion for legitimacy for existence if you will. Of

course, one can legitimately dismiss a proposed area of mathematical study

as uninteresting, or unfruitful, or inelegant, but if it is consistent, or

satisable, then there is no further metaphysical, formal, or mathematical

hoop the proposed theory must jump through before being legitimate

mathematics.

But what of consistency? The crucial observation is that consistency is a

matter of logic. In a sense, consistency is (folk) relative to logic: a given

theory may be consistent with respect to one logic, and inconsistent with

respect to another.

There are a number of interesting and, I think, fruitful theories that

invoke intuitionistic logic, and are rendered inconsistent if excluded

middle is added. Ill briey present one such here, smooth innitesimal

analysis, a sub-theory of its richer cousin, KockLawveres synthetic dierential geometry (see, for example, John Bell 1998). This is a fascinating

theory of innitesimals, but very dierent from the standard Robinsonstyle non-standard analysis (which makes heavy use of classical logic).

Smooth innitesimal analysis is also very dierent from intuitionistic

analysis, both in the mathematics and in the philosophical underpinnings.

In the spirit of the Hilbertian perspective, Bell presents the theory

axiomatically, albeit informally. Begin with the axioms for a eld, and

consider the collection of nilsquares, numbers n such that n2 = 0.

Of course, in both classical and intuitionistic analysis, it is easy to

show that 0 is the only nilsquare: if n2 = 0, then n = 0. But not here.

Among the new axioms to be added, the most interesting is the principle

2

The correspondence is published in Frege (1976) and translated in Frege (1980). The passage here is

in a letter from Hilbert to Frege, dated December 29, 1899.

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Its interesting consequence is this:

Let f be a function and x a number. Then there is a unique number d such

that for any nilsquare , f (x ) = f x d .

nilsquares constitute an innitesimal region that can have an orientation,

but is too short to be bent.3

It follows from the principle of micro-aneness that 0 is not the only

nilsquare:

:82 0 ! 0:

Otherwise, the value d would not be unique, for any function. Recall,

however, that in any eld, every element distinct from zero has a multiplicative inverse. It is easy to see that a nilsquare cannot have a multiplicative inverse, and so no nilsquare is distinct from zero. In other words, there

are no nilsquares other than 0:

!

"

8 2 0 ! :: 0 , which is just

"

!

8 2 0 ! : 6 0 :

So, to repeat, zero is not the only nilsquare and no nilsquare is distinct

from zero. Of course, all of this would lead to a contradiction if we also

had (8x)(x = 0_x 6 0), and so smooth innitesimal analysis is inconsistent with classical logic. Indeed, :(8x)(x = 0_x 6 0) is a theorem of

the theory (but, since the logic is intuitionist, it does not follow that

(9x):(x = 0_x 6 0)).

Smooth innitesimal analysis is an elegant theory of innitesimals,

showing that at least some of the prejudice against them can be traced to

the use of classical logic Robinsons non-standard analysis notwithstanding. Bell shows how smooth innitesimal analysis captures a number of

intuitions about continuity, many of which are violated in the classical

theory of the reals (and also in non-standard analysis). Some of these

intuitions have been articulated, and maintained throughout the history

of philosophy and science, but have been dropped in the main contemporary account of continuity, due to Cantor and Dedekind. To take one

3

It follows from the principle of micro-aneness that every function is dierentiable everywhere on its

domain, and that the derivative is itself dierentiable, etc. The slogan is that all functions are smooth.

It is perhaps misleading to call the nilsquares a region or an interval, as they have no length.

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followed Aristotle in holding that a continuous substance, such as a line

segment, cannot be divided cleanly into two parts, with nothing created or

left over. Continua have a sort of unity, or stickiness, or viscosity. This

intuition is maintained in smooth innitesimal analysis (and also in

intuitionistic analysis), but not, of course, in classical analysis, which views

a continuous substance as a set of points, which can be divided, cleanly,

anywhere.

Smooth innitesimal analysis is an interesting eld with the look and

feel of mathematics. It has attracted the attention of mainstream mathematicians, people whose credentials cannot be questioned. One would think

that those folks would recognize their subject when they see it. The theory

also seems to be useful in articulating and developing at least some

conceptions of the continuum. So one would think smooth innitesimal

analysis should count as mathematics, despite its reliance on intuitionistic

logic (see also Hellman 2006).

One reaction to this is to maintain monism, but to insist that

intuitionistic logic, or something even weaker, is the One True Logic.

Classical theories can be accommodated by adding excluded middle as a

(non-logical axiom) when it is needed or wanted. The viability of this

would depend on there being no theories that invoke a logic dierent

from those two. Admittedly, I know of no examples that are as compelling (at least to me) as the ones that invoke intuitionistic logic. For

example, I do not know of any interesting mathematical theories that

are consistent with a quantum logic, but become inconsistent if the

distributive principle is added. Nevertheless, it does not seem wise to

legislate for future generations, telling them what logic they must use, at

least not without a compelling argument that only such and such a logic

gives rise to legitimate structures. One hard lesson we have learned from

history is that it is dangerous to try to provide a priori, armchair

arguments concerning what the future of science and mathematics

must be.

If a set of sentences entails a contradiction in classical, or intuitionistic,

logic, then for every sentence , entails . In other words, in classical

and intuitionistic logic, any inconsistent theory is trivial. A logic is called

paraconsistent if it does not sanction the ill-named inference of ex falso

quodlibet. Typical relevance logics are paraconsistent, but there are paraconsistent logics that fail the strictures of relevance. The main observation

here is that with paraconsistent logics, there are inconsistent, but nontrivial theories.

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change the Hilbertian slogan from consistency implies existence to

something like non-triviality implies existence. To transpose the themes,

on this view, non-triviality is the only formal criterion for mathematical

legitimacy. One might dismiss a proposed area of mathematical study as

uninteresting, or unfruitful, or inelegant, but if it is non-trivial, then there

is no further metaphysical, formal, or mathematical hoop the proposed

theory must jump through.

To carry this a small step further, a trivial theory can be dismissed on the

pragmatic ground that it is uninteresting and unfruitful (and, indeed, trivial).

So the liberal Hilbertian, who countenances paraconsistent logics, might

hold that there are no criteria for mathematical legitimacy. There is no

metaphysical, formal, or mathematical hoop that a proposed theory must

jump through. There are only pragmatic criteria of interest and usefulness.

So are there any interesting and/or fruitful inconsistent mathematical

theories, invoking paraconsistent logics of course? There is indeed an industry of developing and studying such theories.4 It is claimed that such theories

may even have applications, perhaps in computer science and psychology.

I will not comment here on the viability of this project, nor on how

interesting and fruitful the systems may be, nor on their supposed applications. I do wonder, however, what sort of argument one might give to dismiss

them out of hand, in advance of seeing what sort of fruit they may bear.

The issues are complex (see Shapiro 2014). For the purposes of this

chapter, I propose to simply adopt a Hilbertian perspective either the

original version where consistency is the only formal, mathematical

requirement on legitimate theories, or the liberal orientation where there

are no formal requirements on legitimacy at all. And let us assume that at

least some non-classical theories are legitimate, without specifying which

ones those are. I propose to explore the ramications for what I take to be a

longstanding intuition that logic is objective. One would think logic has to

be objective, if anything is, since just about any attempt to get at the world,

as it is, will depend on, and invoke, logic.

2. What is objectivity?

Intuitively, a stretch of discourse is objective if the propositions (or

sentences) in it are true or false independent of human judgment,

4

See, for example, da Costa (1974), Mortensen (1995), (2010), Priest (2006), Brady (2006), Berto

(2007), and the papers in Batens et al. (2000). Weber (2009) is an overview of the enterprise.

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preferences, and the like. Many of the folk-relative predicates are characteristic of paradigm cases of non-objective discourses. Whether something

is tasty, it seems, depends on the judge or standard in play at the time. So

taste is not objective (or so it seems). Whether something is rude depends

on the ambient location, culture, or the like. So etiquette is folk-relative

and, it seems, not objective. Etiquette may not be subjective, in the sense

that it is not a matter of what an individual thinks, feels, or judges, but,

presumably, it is not objective either. It is not independent of human

judgment, preferences, and the like.

One would be inclined to think that simultaneity and length are

objective, even though both are folk-relative, given relativity. As is the

case with much in philosophy (and everywhere else), it depends on what

one means by objective. We are told that whether two events are

simultaneous, and whether two rods are of the same length, depends on

the perspective of the observer. Does that undermine at least some of the

objectivity? But, vagueness and such aside, time and length do not seem to

depend on anyones judgment or feelings, or preferences. A given observer

can be wrong about whether events are simultaneous, even for events

relative to her own reference frame.

One might say that a folk-relative predicate P is objective if, for each

value n of the independent variable, the predicate P-relative-to-n does not

depend on anyones judgment or feelings. For example, if a given subject

can be wrong about P-relative-to-n, then the relevant predicate is objective.

However, even an established member of a given community can be wrong

about what is rude in that community. But one would not think that

etiquette is objective, even when restricted to a given community.

Clearly, to get any further on our issue, we do have to better articulate

what objectivity is, at least for present purposes. Again, objectivity is tied to

independence from human judgment, preferences, and the like. There is a

trend to think of objectivity in straightforward metaphysical terms. It must

be admitted that this has something going for it. The idea is that something, say a concept, is objective if it is part of the fabric of reality. The

metaphor is that the concept cuts nature at its joints, it is fundamental.

Theodore Sider (2011) provides a detailed articulation of a view like this,

but the details do not matter much here.

Presumably, taste and etiquette are not fundamental; tastiness and

rudeness do not cut nature at its joints (whatever that means). Does logic,

or, in particular, logical validity cut nature at its joints? It is hard to say,

without getting beyond the metaphor. What are the joints of reality?

Does it have such joints? How does logic track them?

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One might argue that there can be at most one logic that is objective, in

this metaphysical sense. Sider does argue that at least parts of logic are

fundamental. As it happens, the logic he discusses is classical, but, so far as

I know, there is no argument supporting that choice of logic. It might be

compatible with his overall program that, say, parts of intuitionistic logic

or a relevant logic are fundamental instead. But perhaps two distinct logics

cannot both be fundamental. Contraposing, if the present folk-relativism

about logic is correct, then logic is not objective, in the foregoing

metaphysical sense.

For what it is worth, I would not like to tie objectivity to such deep

metaphysical matters as Sider-style fundamentality. First, things that are

not so fundamental can still be objective. Intuitively, the fact that the

Miami Heat won the NBA title in 2012 is objective (like it or not), but (I

presume) it is hardly fundamental. One can call a proposition objective if it

somehow supervenes on fundamental matters, but that requires one to

accept a contentious metaphysical framework, and to articulate the relevant notion of supervenience.

More important, perhaps, several competing philosophical traditions

have it that there simply is no way to sharply separate the human and

the world contributions to our theorizing. Protagoras supposedly said

that man is the measure of all things. On some versions of idealism, not to

mention some postmodern views, the world itself has a human character.

The world itself is shaped by our judgments, observations, etc. Perhaps

such views are too extreme to take seriously. A less extreme position is

Kants doctrine that the ding an sich is inaccessible to human inquiry. We

approach the world through our own categories, concepts, and intuitions.

We cannot get beyond those, to the world as it is, independently of said

categories, concepts, and intuitions.

On the contemporary scene, a widely held view, championed by

W. V. O. Quine, Hilary Putnam, Donald Davidson, and John Burgess,

has it that, to use a crude phrase, there simply is no Gods eye view to be

had, no perspective from which we can compare our theories of the world

to the world itself, to gure out which are the human parts of our

successful theories and which are the world parts (see, for example,

Burgess and Rosen 1997). On such views, the world, of course, is not of

our making, but any way we have of describing the world is in human

terms. As Friedrich Waismann once put it:

What rebels in us . . . is the feeling that the fact is there objectively no

matter in which way we render it. I perceive something that exists and put

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Stewart Shapiro

it into words. From this, it seems to follow that something exists independent of, and prior to language; language merely serves the end of

communication. What we are liable to overlook here is the way we see a

fact i.e., what we emphasize and what we disregard is our work.

(Waismann 1945: 146)

This KantQuine orientation may suggest that there simply is no objectivity to be had, or at least no objectivity that we can detect. Perhaps

objectivity is a awed property, going the way of phlogiston and caloric, or

witchcraft. If this is right, then there simply is no answering the question of

this paper folk-relativism or no folk-relativism. Logic is not objective,

since nothing is. Despite having sympathy with the Kant Quine orientation, I would resist this rather pessimistic conclusion. There may not be

such a thing as complete objectivity whatever that would be but it still

seems that there is an interesting and important notion of objectivity to

be claried and deployed. There seems to be an important dierence a

dierence in kind between statements like the atmosphere contains

nitrogen and statements like the Yankees are disgusting. The distinction

may be vague and even context dependent, but it is still a distinction, and,

I think, an important one. Our question concerns whether the present

folk-relative logic falls on one side or the other of this divide (or perhaps on

or near its borderline).

Crispin Wrights Truth and objectivity (1992) contains an account of

objectivity that is more comprehensive than any other that I know of,

providing a wealth of detailed insight into the underlying concepts. Wright

does not approach the matter through metaphysical inquiry into the fabric

of reality, wondering whether the world contains things like moral properties, funniness, or numbers. He focuses instead on the nature of various

discourses, and the role that these play in our overall intellectual and

social lives.

As Wright sees things, objectivity is not a univocal notion. There are

dierent notions or axes of objectivity, and a given chunk of discourse can

exhibit some of these and not others. The axes are labeled epistemic

constraint, cognitive command, the Euthyphro contrast, and the

width of cosmological role. In a previous paper, (Shapiro 2000), I argue

that logic easily passes all of the tests. The conclusion is (or was) that, on

each of the axes, either logic is objective (if anything is) or matters of logic,

such as validity and consistency, lie outside the very framework of objectivity and non-objectivity, since most of the tests presuppose logic. That is,

to gure out whether a given stretch of discourse is objective, on this or

that axis, one must do some logical reasoning or gure out what is

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of logic. The main target of Shapiro (2000) was Michael Resniks (1996),

(1997) non-cognitivist account of logical consequence, a sort of Blackburn

(1984)-style projectivism, which would make logic non-objective at least

on the intuitive conception of objectivity. According to Resnik, to call an

argument valid, or to call a theory consistent, is to manifest a certain

attitude toward the theory.5

The present relativism/pluralism was not on the agenda then. The plan

here is to return to the matter of objectivity with the present folkrelativism concerning logic in focus. Sometimes we will concentrate on

general logical matters, such as validity and consistency, as such, and

sometimes we will deal with particular instances of the folk-relativism,

such as classical validity, intuitionistic consistency, and the like. We will

limit the discussion to Wrights axes of epistemic constraint and cognitive

command.

3. Epistemic constraint

Epistemic constraint is an articulation of Michael Dummetts (1991a)

notion of anti-realism. According to one of Wrights formulations, a

discourse is epistemically constrained if, for each sentence P in the

discourse,

P $ P may be known: p: 75

unknowable truths.6

It seems to follow from the very meaning of the word objective that if

epistemic constraint fails for a given area of discourse if there are

propositions in that area whose truth cannot become known then

that discourse can only have a realist, objective interpretation. As

Wright puts it:

To conceive that our understanding of statements in a certain discourse is

xed . . . by assigning them conditions of potentially evidence-transcendent

5

It is perhaps ironic (or at least interesting) that Resnik argues against pluralism and relativism about

logic. He claims that there ought to be but one logic; the logic he favors is classical.

Actually, if the background logic is intuitionistic, there is a dierence between the absence of

unknowable truths and the truth of the biconditional: P $ P may be known. That dierence

does seem to bear on Wrights argument that if epistemic constraint fails in the sense that there are,

or could be, unknowable propositions in that area then the discourse is objective, but we will not

pursue this further here.

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truth is to grant that, if the world co-operates, the truth or falsity of any

such statement may be settled beyond our ken. So . . . we are forced to

recognise a distinction between the kind of state of aairs which makes such

a statement acceptable, in light of whatever standards inform our practice of

the discourse to which it belongs, and what makes it actually true. The

truth of such a statement is bestowed on it independently of any standard

we do or can apply . . . Realism in Dummetts sense is thus one way of

laying the essential groundwork for the idea that our thought aspires to

reect a reality whose character is entirely independent of us and our

cognitive operations. (p. 4)

objective, and that is the end of the story. The other axes of objectivity

cognitive command, cosmological role, and the Euthyphro contrast are

then irrelevant; they do not track a sense of objectivity (if the axis can be

applied at all). Or so Wright argues.

So what of logic? Are there, or could there be, unknowable truths

concerning logical consequence, consistency, and the like? The present

folk-relativism concerning logic pushes that question in a certain direction.

Consider a given argument, or argument form , and let P be a statement

that is valid. Could something like P be an unknowable truth?

Not as it stands, but that is because, absent context, P is not a truth

(or a falsehood) at all. According to the present folk-relativism, in order

to get a truth-value for P, one must specify something else, such as a

particular mathematical theory, a structure, or perhaps just a logic. We

have to ask separately whether is valid in classical logic, in intuitionistic

logic, in various relevant logics, etc. So it seems to me that in order to

ask whether logic is epistemically constrained, we have to consider

statements of validity and the like with the logic made explicit. We must

consider statements in the form, is valid in logic L, where L is one of

the logics that can go in for the dependent variable in the general

relativistic scheme.

To push the analogy, consider, again, relativity. Let p and q be two

events. Say that p is a runner in baseball leaving third base, and q is an

outelder catching a y ball. Consider the statement S that p occurred

before q (which an umpire sometimes has to adjudicate). According to

relativity, we cannot get a truth-value for S without specifying a frame of

reference. So, a fortiori, we cannot even ask if there is an unknowable truth

for a statement about what happened before what without indicating a

reference frame. If a reference frame is specied (implicitly or explicitly),

then, it seems, there can be unknowable truths in this area. For example, it

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may be unknowable whether the runner left base before the ball was

caught, from the perspective of the home plate umpire. For example, it

may be too dark or no human can see distinctions that ne, or whatever.

So matters of temporal order, from a given reference frame, are not

epistemically constrained. And, intuitively, matters of temporal order are

objective, vagueness aside.

The point here is that with folk-relative discourses, we can only ask

about epistemic constraint for statements that have the relevant parameters

fully specied, at least implicitly. So the central question is whether there

can be unknowable truths concerning whether the argument (form) is

valid in a given logic L?

In eect, this matter was dealt with in my earlier paper (Shapiro 2000),

and also in Shapiro (2007), which concerns mathematics. Classical logic

was in focus then, but to some extent, the argument generalizes. Whether

there are unknowable truths in this area depends on what one means by

unknowable. If we do not idealize on the knowers, then of course there

can be unknowable truths. Suppose that our argument is an instance of

&-elimination in which the premise and conclusion each have, say, 10100

characters. Then is valid in, say, classical logic, but no one can

know that, since no one can live long enough to check that is an instance

of &-elimination.

So, to give epistemic constraint a chance of being fullled, we have to

idealize on the knowers. One sort of idealization is familiar. We assume

that our knowing subjects have unlimited (but still nite) time, attention

span, and materials at their disposal, and that they do not make any simple

computation errors. These idealizations are common throughout mathematics, and we take them to be conceptually unproblematic (and thus we

set aside issues concerning rule-following, as in, say Kripke (1982)). Then,

if L is classical rst-order logic, or intuitionistic logic, or most of the

relevant logics, and is an arbitrary argument form (with nitely many

premises and conclusions), then a statement that is valid in logic L is true

if and only if that fact is knowable (by one of our ideal agents). That is

because each of those logics has an eective and complete deductive

system.

Things are not so clear if the logic in question is classical second-order

logic, since its consequence relation is not eectively enumerable. Nor are

things so clear for statements that a given argument is not valid in one of

the aforementioned logics. Invalidity is not recursively enumerable, and so

checking invalidity is not a matter of running an algorithm. So if we are to

insist that all matters of logic are epistemically constrained, once the logic

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membership in non-recursive sets.

Things get vexed here. It is not at all clear what the relevant modality is

for the key phrase knowable. Moreover, as noted, the issues are essentially the same as with monism concerning logic. So I propose to just take

it as given, for the sake of argument, that the relevant discourse is

epistemically constrained, in at least some relevant sense, so that we can

move on to another of Wrights axes of objectivity.

4. Cognitive command

Assume that a given area of discourse serves to describe mind-independent

features of a mind-independent world. In other words, assume that the

discourse in question is objective, in an intuitive, or pre-theoretic sense.

Suppose now that two people disagree about something in that area. It

follows that at least one of them has misrepresented reality, and so something went wrong in his or her appraisal of the matter. Suppose, for

example, that two people are arguing whether there are seven, as opposed

to eight, spruce trees in a given yard. Assuming that there is no vagueness

concerning what counts as a spruce tree and no indeterminacy concerning

the boundaries of the yard, or whether each tree is in the yard or not, it

follows that at least one of the disputants has made a mistake: either she

did not look carefully enough, her eyesight was faulty, she did not know

what a spruce tree is, she misidentied a tree, she counted wrong, or

something else along those lines. The very fact that there is a disagreement

suggests that one of the disputants has what may be called a cognitive

shortcoming (even if it is not always easy to gure out which one of them it

is that has the cognitive shortcoming).

In contrast, two people can disagree over the cuteness of a given baby or

the humor in a given story without either of them having a cognitive

shortcoming. One of them may have a warped or otherwise faulty sense of

taste or humor, or perhaps no sense of taste or humor, but there need be

nothing wrong with his cognitive faculties. He can perceive, reason, and

count as well as anybody.

The present axis of objectivity turns on this distinction, on whether

there can be blameless disagreement:

A discourse exhibits Cognitive Command if and only if it is a priori that

dierences of opinion arising within it can be satisfactorily explained only

in terms of divergent input, that is, the disputants working on the basis of

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unsuitable conditions (resulting in inattention or distraction and so in

inferential error, or oversight of data, and so on), or malfunction (for

example, prejudicial assessment of data . . . or dogma, or failings in other

categories . . . (Wright 1992: 92)

(vagueness and indeterminacy aside) and it fails for discourse about the

cuteness of babies and the humor of stories.

Later in the book, Wright (1992: 144) adds some qualications to the

formulation of cognitive command, meant to deal with matters like

vagueness. A discourse exerts cognitive command if and only if

It is a priori that dierences of opinion formulated within the discourse,

unless excusable as a result of vagueness in a disputed statement, or in the

standards of acceptability, or variation in personal evidence thresholds, so to

speak, will involve something which may properly be described as a cognitive shortcoming.

So what of logic, again assuming the correctness of the foregoing folkrelativism? Let be a given argument form, and consider two folks who

disagree or seem to disagree whether is valid. One says it is and the

other says it is not. Our question breaks into two, depending on whether

we x the logic. For our rst type of case, let be an instance of excluded

middle or double-negation elimination, and consider the dispute

between advocates of classical logic and advocates of intuitionistic logic.

The inference is valid in classical logic, invalid in intuitionistic logic. For

the other sort of case, we x the logic and ponder disputes concerning that

logic. We imagine two folks who disagree or seem to disagree whether

is valid in L, where L is, say, a particular relevant logic.

We start with the second sort of case, disagreements that concern a xed

logic. I would think that there is room for blameless disagreement concerning how a given argument, formulated in natural language, should be

rendered in a formal language. However, such issues would take us too far

aeld, broaching matters of the determinacy of meaning, the slippage

between logical terms and their natural language counterparts, and the

intentions of the arguer. It is not so clear whether a disagreement in how

to render a natural language argument is excusable as a result of

vagueness . . . or in the standards of acceptability, or variation in personal

evidence thresholds or the like.

So let us set such matters aside, and just assume that our target

argument is fully formalized. One of our characters says that is valid

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in the given logic L and the other says that is invalid in that logic L.

Do we know (a priori) that at least one of them has a cognitive

shortcoming?

Suppose that the logic L is either dened in terms of a deductive system

or that there is a completeness theorem for it. So L can be classical rstorder logic, intuitionistic logic, or one of the various relevant and paraconsistent logics that are given axiomatically. So our disputants dier on

whether there is a deduction whose undischarged premises are among the

premises of and whose last line is the conclusion of . So, up to

Churchs thesis, our disputants dier over a 1-sentence in arithmetic,

one in the form (9n), where is a recursive predicate. So our question

concerning cognitive command for this logic L reduces to whether cognitive command holds for these simple arithmetic sentences. I would think

that cognitive command does hold here. One of our disputants has made

(what amounts to) a simple arithmetic error, and that surely counts as a

cognitive shortcoming. But I will rest content with the reduction. Cognitive command holds in this case if and only if it holds for 91-sentences (or,

equivalently, 1-sentences).

Now suppose that our xed logic L is not complete. Say it is secondorder logic, with standard, model-theoretic semantics. In that case, the

question at hand reduces to set theory. Suppose, for example, that our

target argument has no premises and that its conclusion is, in eect, the

continuum hypothesis (see Shapiro 1991: 105). So is valid if and only if

the continuum hypothesis is true. So, in eect, our disputants dier over

the truth of the continuum hypothesis. Is that dispute cognitively blameworthy? Surely, that would take us too far aeld (but see Shapiro 2000,

2007, 2011, 2012), and we will leave this case with the reduction.

Let us briey consider the analogues of our question concerning

cognitive command with our other examples of folk-relative predicates.

Suppose that two judges dier on whether a certain event a occurred

before another event b from the same frame of reference (putting aside the

fact that this discourse is not epistemically constrained). Assume, for

example, that the two judges are in the same reference frame. Then,

unless the disagreement is excusable as a result of vagueness . . . or in the

standards of acceptability, or variation in personal evidence thresholds,

at least one of them exhibits a cognitive shortcoming. She did not look

carefully enough, or did not time the events properly, or forgot something. So cognitive command holds, and, of course, matters of temporal

order from a xed frame of reference are intuitively objective. The same

goes for matters of length.

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Now consider two folks who disagree over whether a given food is tasty

for one and the same subject. Suppose, for example, that Tom and Dick

dier over whether licorice is tasty to Harry. To keep things simple,

assume that neither Tom nor Dick is Harry. Toms and Dicks judgments

would presumably be based on what Harry has told them and their

observations of his reactions when eating licorice. We should assume that

Tom and Dick have exactly the same body of such evidence (since

otherwise one of them has the cognitive shortcoming of lacking relevant

evidence). And we should set aside matters of vagueness . . . standards of

acceptability, [and] variation in personal evidence thresholds. Tom and

Dick may have come to opposite conclusions because they weighed certain

pronouncements or reactions dierently. In this case, perhaps, neither of

them has a cognitive shortcoming each is cognitively blameless. If so,

cognitive command fails.7 I take it that talk about taste in general

concerning what is tasty (simpliciter) is a paradigm of a non-objective

discourse, but I am not sure whether discourse about Harrys taste is

objective, intuitively speaking. Maybe we have a borderline case.

Returning to matters logical, Ive saved the hardest sort of situation for

last. That is on prima facie disagreements when the logic is not held xed.

To focus on a specic example, let be an instance of the law of

excluded middle (with no premises). Let h be a classicist who says that

is valid and let b be an intuitionist who insists that is not valid. Is

this a disagreement that is (cognitively) blameless? If so, then cognitive

command fails here, and this aspect of logic falls on the non-objective

side of this particular axis (assuming that cognitive command tracks a sort

of objectivity).

According to the foregoing folk-relativism, h and b are both right. Each

has spoken a truth, and so presumably there is nothing to fault either of

them. So each is (cognitively) blameless, at least concerning this particular

matter. The only question remaining is whether they disagree. Here we

encounter a matter that is treated extensively in the philosophical literature, and I must report that the issues are particularly vexed. There does

not seem to be much in the way of consensus as to what makes for a

disagreement. John MacFarlane (2014), for example, articulates several

7

A referee for Shapiro (2012) suggested that the failure of cognitive command does not distinguish

cases which are not objective from those in which evidence is scant. The situation sketched above,

with Tom and Dick, is not that dierent (in the relevant respect) from cases in science where

available evidence must be evaluated holistically say in cosmology. Two scientists might both be in

reective equilibrium, having assigned slightly dierent weights to various pieces of evidence.

Cognitive command might fail there, too, despite science being a paradigm case of objectivity.

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a more intuitive level, as far as possible.

One thesis, perhaps, is that a necessary condition on disagreement is

that the parties in question cannot both be correct. If so, and continuing to

assume our folk-relativism concerning logic, we have that h and b do not

disagree. A fortiori, we do not have a case of blameless disagreement. We

can still maintain that cognitive command holds when the logic is held

xed, as above, and so logic passes this test for objectivity.

The thesis that in a disagreement both parties cannot be correct is

controversial. It is sometimes taken as a criterion of being non-objective

that parties can disagree and both be correct (see, for example, Barker

2013). Suppose that Harry announces that licorice is tasty, and Jill

responds, no it is not; licorice is disgusting. That looks like a disagreement; Jill uses the language of disagreement, apparently denying Harrys

assertion. And yet, one might say, both are correct. Or at least one might

say that both are correct.

To make any progress here, we have to get beyond the loose characterization of folk-relativism and address matters of semantics. Ill briey

sketch the framework proposed by John MacFarlane (2005), (2009),

(2014) for interpreting expressions in a folk-relative discourse. The terms

used by other philosophers and linguists can usually be translated into this

framework, though sometimes with a bit of loss.

Indexical contextualism about a given term is the view that the content

expressed by the term is dierent in dierent contexts of use. The clearest

instances are the so-called pure indexicals, words like I and now. The

content expressed by the sentence I am hungry, when uttered by me on a

given day, is dierent from the content expressed by the same sentence,

uttered by my wife at the same time. Intuitively, the rst one says that I am

hungry (then) and the second says that she is hungry (then). Clearly, these

are dierent propositions; they dont say the same thing about the world

not to mention that one might be true and the other false.

Although very little is without controversy in this branch of philosophy

of language, words like enemy, left, right, ready, and local seem

apt for indexical contextualist treatments.8 Suppose, for example, that Jill,

sitting at a table says that the salt is on the left while, at the same time,

Jack, who is sitting opposite her, says that the salt is not on the left (since it

is on the right). Intuitively, Jack and Jill do not disagree with each other,

and the propositions they express are not contradictories. The reason is

8

Of course, this is not to say that these terms are like the standard indexicals in every manner.

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that the content of the word left is dierent in the two contexts. In the

rst, it means something like to the left from Jills perspective and in

the second it means to the left from Jacks perspective. And they can

both be correct intuitively one of them is correct just in case the

other is.

Non-indexical contextualism, about a given term, is the view that its

content does not vary from one context of use to another, but the extension

can so vary according to a parameter determined by the context of

utterance.9 Suppose, for example, that a graduate student sincerely says

that a local roller coaster is fun, and her Professor replies No, that roller

coaster is not fun, it is lame. According to a non-indexical contextualism

about fun (and lame), each of them utters a proposition that is the

contradictory of that uttered by the other so they genuinely disagree. Yet,

assuming both are accurately reporting their own tastes, each has uttered a

truth, in his or her own context. For the graduate student, at the time,

the roller coaster is fun, since it is fun-for-the-graduate-student. For the

professor, the roller coaster is not fun, since it is not fun-for-the-professor.

Indeed, it is lame-for-the-professor.

Finally, assessment-sensitive relativism, sometimes called relativism

proper, about a term agrees with the non-indexical contextualist that

the content of the term does not vary from one context of use to another,

and so, in the above scenario, the relativist holds that the graduate student

and the professor each express a proposition contradictory to one expressed

by the other. However, for the assessment-sensitive relativist, the term gets

its extension from a context of assessment. Suppose, for example, that a third

person, a Dean, overhears the exchange between the graduate student and

professor and, assume that the roller coaster is not fun-for-the-Dean.

Then, from the context of the Deans assessment, the student uttered a

false proposition and the professor uttered a true one. And, from the

graduate students context of assessment, the Professor uttered a false

proposition, and from the Professors context of assessment, the student

uttered a false proposition.

According to MacFarlane, the dierence between non-indexical

contextualism and assessment-sensitive relativism is made manifest by

the phenomenon of retraction. That dierence does not matter here, and

we can lump non-indexical contextualism and assessment-sensitive

9

Nearly all terms have dierent extensions in dierent possible worlds. That is not the sort of

contextual variation envisioned here. For terms subject to non-indexical contextualism, the

relevant contextual parameter is for a judge, a time, a place, etc.

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between our logicians h and b, then they do not disagree, and so cognitive

command is saved. If we opt for a non-indexical contextualist or an

assessment-sensitive interpretation, we do have a disagreement in the

sense that each of them accepts a content that is the contradictory of that

accepted by the other. As above, the disagreement is blameless (since both

are correct), and so cognitive command fails.

Recall that h says that our (fully formalized) argument is valid and b

says that is not valid. Recall that is an instance of excluded middle

_:, with no premises. There are two places to look here, but both

deliver the same range of verdicts.

We can ask rst about the content of the argument . Do h and b mean

the same thing by the disjunction _ and by negation :? We thus

broach the longstanding question of whether the classicist and the intuitionist (or, indeed, advocates of any rival logics) are talking past

each other.

Michael Dummett (1991a: 17) argues that the disagreement is merely

verbal:

The intuitionists held, and continue to hold, that certain methods of

reasoning actually employed by classical mathematicians in proving theorems are invalid: the premisses do not justify the conclusion. The immediate eect of a challenge to fundamental accustomed modes of reasoning is

perplexity: on what basis can we argue the matter, if we are not in

agreement about what constitutes a valid argument? In any case how can

such a basic principle of rational thought be rationally put in doubt?

The aront to which the challenge gives rise is quickly allayed by a resolve

to take no notice. The challenger must mean something dierent by the

logical constants; so he is not really challenging the laws that we have always

accepted and may therefore continue to accept.

can assign to the connectives, but we can set that aside here (as inconsistent

with the foregoing folk-relativism).

From a very dierent perspective, W. V. O. Quine (1986: 81) also holds

that the various connectives change their content in the dierent logical

theories. Concerning the debate over paraconsistent logics, he wrote:

My view of this dialogue is that neither party knows what he is talking

about. They think they are talking about negation, !, not; but surely

the notation ceased to be recognizable as negation when they took to

regarding some conjunctions in the form p.!p as true, and stopped

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deviant logicians predicament: when he tries to deny the doctrine he only

changes the subject.

In logic, there are no morals. Everyone is at liberty to build his own logic, i.e.

his own form of language, as he wishes. All that is required of him is that, if

he wishes to discuss it, he must state his methods clearly, and give syntactical rules instead of philosophical arguments.

Again, the key idea is that each logic is tied to a specic language.

Presumably, the meaning of the logical terms diers in the dierent

languages.

So the DummettQuineCarnap perspective has it that we have a kind

of indexical contextualism here. The logical terms themselves have dierent contents for our characters h and b. Using a subscript-C to indicate a

classical connective and a subscript-I for the corresponding intuitionistic

connective, we have that h holds that _C:C is valid, while b holds that

_I:I is invalid. This is the same sort of situation as with Jack and Jill

and the salt. There is no disagreement between h and b unless it be over

whether the other has a coherent meaning at all. If they are suciently

open-minded, h and b might agree that _C:C is valid and that _I:I

is invalid. So we do not have a failure of cognitive command.

The DummettQuineCarnap perspective is not shared by all. Beall

and Restall (2006), for example, insist that their pluralism concerns

the notion of validity for a single language, with a single batch of

logical terms. So there is not, for example, a separate _C and _I.

There is just _. Restall (2002: 432) puts the dierence with Dummett

QuineCarnap well:

If accepting dierent logics commits one to accepting dierent languages

for those logics, then my pluralism is primarily one of languages (which

come with their logics in tow) instead of logics. To put it graphically, as a

pluralist, I wish to say that

A, :A C B, but A, :AR B

A and :A together, classically entail B, but A and :A together do not

relevantly entail B. On the other hand, Carnap wishes to say that

A, :C A B, but A, :R AB

A together with its classical negation entails B, but A together with its

relevant negation need not entail B.

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connectives (and quantiers). Either there is no folk-relativism at all for the

connectives each has a single, uniform content or we have a nonindexical contextualism or an assessment-sensitive view.

Recall that h says that is valid and b says that is invalid. On the

option considered now, championed by Beall and Restall, we have that h

and b mean the same thing by . What about valid? Does that have the

same content in the two pronouncements?

Recall Beall and Restalls (2006: 29) Generalised Tarski Thesis:

An argument is validx if and only if, in every casex in which the premises are

true, so is the conclusion.

I presume that Beall and Restall did not intend to make a claim about the

semantics of an established term of philosophical English. However, the

presence of the subscript x in the statement of the thesis might indicate that

the word valid has a sort of elided constituent, a slot where a logic can be

lled in. This suggests a sort of indexical contextualism about the word valid.

The same idea is suggested by the use of subscripts in the above passage from

Restall [2002], when he is using his own voice. He says that, for him:

A, :A C B, but A, :A R B:

suggests a kind of contextualism.

So, on the Beall and Restall view as on the opposing Dummett

QuineCarnap view our logicians h and b do not have a genuine

disagreement. They are in the analogous situation as Jack and Jill with

the salt. Beall and Restall insist that h and b give the same content to the

argument , but not to valid. For h, it is classically valid, C, and for

b it is intuitionistically valid, I. So, once again, we do not have a

failure of cognitive command.

To get cognitive command to fail, we have to assume that our logicians

h and b assign the same content to the terms in the argument and we

have to assume that they assign the same content to the word valid.

Given that has the same content, valid must be folk-relative (since

both h and b are correct). The options for that term are thus non-indexical

contextualism and assessment-sensitive relativism. I do not know of

anyone who explicitly defends that combination of views, and I wont

consider how plausible it is (but see Shapiro 2014).

To summarize and conclude, Wrights criterion of epistemic constraint

concerns the possibility of unknowable truths. Given the present

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somehow indicates a particular logic. If a particular logic is so indicated,

then it depends on how much idealization goes into the notion of

knowable.

If we x a particular logic, then either cognitive command holds

trivially, or, at worst, the question is reduced to one concerning mathematics which is, I would think, almost a paradigm case of objectivity. If

we do not x a particular logic, and consider statements of validity

simpliciter, then the question of cognitive command depends on some

delicate, and controversial semantic theses concerning both the logical

terminology and the word valid.

Prima facie, it might seem strange that matters of cognitive command,

and indirectly, matters of objectivity, should turn on semantics. After all,

we are concerned with validity and not with the meanings of words, like

or, not, and, indeed valid. However, the notion of cognitive command depends on the notion of disagreement and, as we saw, that does

turn on notions of meaning.

Recall the KantQuine thesis articulated above, that there is no way to

sharply separate the human and the world contributions to our theorizing (perhaps with some emphasis on sharply). So we might expect

some tough, borderline cases of objectivity. Add to the mix some widely

held, but controversial views that meaning is not always determinate,

involving open-texture, and the like (e.g., Waismann 1945, Quine 1960,

Wilson 2006). Then perhaps the connection between objectivity and

semantics is not so surprising.

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chapter 4

Solomon Feferman

three perspectives

Logic is integral to mathematics and, to the extent that that is the case, a

philosophy of logic should be integral to a philosophy of mathematics. In

this, as you shall see, I am guided throughout by the simple view that what

logic is to provide is all those forms of reasoning that lead invariably from

truths to truths. The problematic part of this is how we take the notion of

truth to be given. My concerns here are almost entirely with the nature and

role of logic in mathematics. In order to examine that we need to consider

three perspectives: that of the working mathematician, that of the mathematical logician, and that of the philosopher of mathematics.

The aim of the mathematician working in the mainstream is to establish

truths about mathematical concepts by means of proofs as the principal

instrument. We have to look to practice to see what is accepted as a

mathematical concept and what is accepted as a proof; neither is determined formally. As to concepts, among specic ones the integer and real

number systems are taken for granted, and among general ones, notions of

nite and innite sequence, set and function are ubiquitous; all else is

successively explained in terms of basic ones such as these. As to proofs,

even though current standards of rigor require closely reasoned arguments,

most mathematicians make no explicit reference to the role of logic in

them, and few of them have studied logic in any systematic way. When

mathematicians consider axioms, instead it is for specic kinds of structures: groups, rings, elds, linear spaces, topological spaces, metric spaces,

Hilbert spaces, categories, etc., etc. Principles of a foundational character

are rarely mentioned, if at all, except on occasion for proof by

contradiction and proof by induction. The least upper bound principle

on bounded sequences or sets of real numbers is routinely applied without

mention. Some notice is paid to applications of the Axiom of Choice. To a

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semi-constructivists who reject one or another of commonly accepted

principles, but even for them the developments are largely informal with

little explicit attention to logic. And, except for some far outliers, what

they do is still recognizable as mathematics to the mathematician in the

mainstream.

Turning now to the logicians perspective, one major aim is to model

mathematical practice ranging from the local to the global in order to

draw conclusions about its potentialities and limits. In this respect, then,

mathematical logicians have their own practice; here I shall sketch it and

only later take up the question how well it meets that aim. In brief:

Concepts are tied down within formal languages and proofs within formal

systems, while truth, be it for the mainstream or for the outliers, is

explained in semantic terms. Some familiar formal systems for the mainstream are Peano Arithmetic (PA), Second-Order Arithmetic (PA2), and

ZermeloFraenkel set theory (ZF); Heyting Arithmetic (HA) is an

example of a formal system for the margin. In their intended or standard

interpretations, PA and HA deal specically with the natural numbers, PA2

deals with the natural numbers and arbitrary sets of natural numbers, while

ZF deals with the sets in the cumulative hierarchy. Considering syntax

only, in each case the well-formed formulas of each of these systems are

generated from its atomic formulas (corresponding to the basic concepts

involved) by closing under some or all of the logical operations of

negation, conjunction, disjunction, implication, universal and existential

quantication.

The case of PA2 requires an aside; in that system the quantiers are

applied to both the rst-order and second-order variables. But we must be

careful to distinguish the logic of quantication over the second-order

variables as it is applied formally within PA2 from its role in second-order

logic under the so-called standard interpretation. In order to distinguish

systematically between the two, I shall refer to the former as syntactic or

formal second-order logic and the latter as semantic or interpreted second-order

logic. In its pure form over any domain for the rst-order variables,

semantic second-order logic takes the domain of the second-order variables

to be the supposed totality of arbitrary subsets of that domain; in its

applied form, the domain of rst-order variables has some specied interpretation. As an applied second-order formal system, PA2 may equally well

be considered to be a two-sorted rst-order theory; the only thing that

acknowledges its intended second-order interpretation is the inclusion of

the so-called Comprehension Axiom Scheme: that consists of all formulas

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Solomon Feferman

language of PA2 in which X does not occur as a free variable. Construing

things in that way, the formal logic of all of the above-mentioned systems

may be taken to be rst-order.

Now, it is a remarkable fact that all the formal systems that have been set

up to model mathematical practice are in eect based on rst-order logic,

more specically its classical system for mainstream mathematics and its

intuitionistic system for constructive mathematics. (While there are formal

systems that have been proposed involving extensions of rst-order logic

by, for example, modal operators, the purpose of such has been philosophical. These operators are not used by mathematicians as basic or dened

mathematical concepts or to reason about them.) One can say more about

why this is so than that it happens to be so; that is addressed below.

The third perspective to consider on the nature and role of logic in

mathematics is that of the philosopher of mathematics. Here there are

a multitude of positions to consider; the principal ones are logicism (and

neo-logicism), platonic realism, constructivism, formalism, nitism, predicativism, naturalism, and structuralism.1 Roughly speaking, in all of these

except for constructivism, nitism, and formalism, classical rst-order logic

is either implicitly taken for granted or explicitly accepted. In constructivism

(of the three exceptions) the logic is intuitionistic, i.e. it diers from the

classical one by the exclusion of the Law of Excluded Middle (LEM).

According to formalism, any logic may be chosen for a formal system. In

nitism, the logic is restricted to quantier-free formulas for decidable

predicates; hence it is a fragment of both classical and intuitionistic logic.

At the other extreme, classical second-order logic is accepted in set-theoretic

realism, and that underlies both scientic and mathematical naturalism; it is

also embraced in in re structuralism. Modal structuralism, on the other

hand, expands that via modal logic. The accord with mathematical practice

is perhaps greatest with mathematical naturalism, which simply takes practice to be the given to which philosophical methodology must respond. But

the structuralist philosophies take the most prominent conceptual feature of

modern mathematics as their point of departure.

2. Conceptual structuralism

This is an ontologically non-realist philosophy of mathematics that I have

long advanced; my main concern here is to elaborate the nature and role of

1

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logic within it. I have summarized this philosophy in Feferman (2009) via

the following ten theses.2

1. The basic objects of mathematical thought exist only as mental

conceptions, though the source of these conceptions lies in everyday

experience in manifold ways, in the processes of counting, ordering,

matching, combining, separating, and locating in space and time.

2. Theoretical mathematics has its source in the recognition that these

processes are independent of the materials or objects to which they

are applied and that they are potentially endlessly repeatable.

3. The basic conceptions of mathematics are of certain kinds of relatively simple ideal-world pictures that are not of objects in isolation

but of structures, i.e. coherently conceived groups of objects interconnected by a few simple relations and operations. They are communicated and understood prior to any axiomatics, indeed prior to

any systematic logical development.

4. Some signicant features of these structures are elicited directly from

the world-pictures that describe them, while other features may be

less certain. Mathematics needs little to get started and, once started,

a little bit goes a long way.

5. Basic conceptions dier in their degree of clarity or deniteness. One

may speak of what is true in a given conception, but that notion of

truth may be partial. Truth in full is applicable only to completely

denite conceptions.

6. What is clear in a given conception is time dependent, both for the

individual and historically.

7. Pure (theoretical) mathematics is a body of thought developed

systematically by successive renement and reective expansion of

basic structural conceptions.

8. The general ideas of order, succession, collection, relation, rule, and

operation are pre-mathematical; some implicit understanding of

them is necessary to the understanding of mathematics.

9. The general idea of property is pre-logical; some implicit understanding of that and of the logical particles is also a prerequisite to the

understanding of mathematics. The reasoning of mathematics is in

principle logical, but in practice relies to a considerable extent on

various forms of intuition in order to arrive at understanding and

conviction.

2

This section is largely taken from Feferman (2009), with a slight rewording of theses 5 and 10.

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under repeated communication, critical scrutiny, and expansion

by many individuals often working independently of each other.

Incoherent concepts, or ones that fail to withstand critical examination or lead to conicting conclusions are eventually ltered out

from mathematics. The objectivity of mathematics is a special case of

intersubjective objectivity that is ubiquitous in social reality.

These theses are illustrated in Feferman (2009) by the conception of the

structure of the positive integers on the one hand and by several conceptions of the continuum on the other. Since our main purpose here is to

elaborate the nature and role of logic in such structural conceptions, it is

easiest to review here what I wrote there, except that I shall limit myself to

the set-theoretical conception of the continuum in the latter case.

The most primitive mathematical conception is that of the positive

integer sequence as represented by the tallies: |, ||, |||, . . . From the

structural point of view, our conception is that of a structure (N, 1,

Sc, <), where N is generated from the initial unit 1 by closure under the

successor operation Sc, and m < n if m precedes n in the generation

procedure. Certain facts about this structure (if one formulates them

explicitly at all), are evident: that < is a total ordering of N for which

1 is the least element, and that m < n implies Sc(m) < Sc(n). Reecting on

a given structure may lead us to elaborate it by adjoining further relations

and operations and to expand basic principles accordingly. For example, in

the case of N, thinking of concatenation of tallies immediately leads us to

the operation of addition, m n, and that leads us to m " n as m added

to itself n times. The basic properties of the and " operations such as

commutativity, associativity, distributivity, and cancellation are initially

recognized only implicitly. We may then go on to introduce more distinctively mathematical notions such as the relations of divisibility and

congruence and the property of being a prime number. In this language, a

wealth of interesting mathematical statements can already be formulated

and investigated as to their truth or falsity, for example, that there are

innitely many twin prime numbers, that there are no odd perfect

numbers, Goldbachs conjecture, and so on.

The conception of the structure (N, 1, Sc, <, , ") is so intuitively

clear that (again implicitly, at least) there is no question in the minds of

mathematicians as to the denite meaning of such statements and the

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establish them in one way or the other. (For example, it is an open

problem whether Goldbachs conjecture is true.) In other words, realism

in truth values is accepted for statements about this structure, and the

application of classical logic in reasoning about such statements is automatically legitimized. Despite the subjective source of the positive integer structure in the collective human understanding, it lies in the domain

of objective concepts and there is no reason to restrict oneself to intuitionistic logic on subjectivist grounds. Further reection on the structure of

positive integers with the aim to simplify calculations and algebraic operations and laws leads directly to its extension to the structure of natural

numbers (N, 0, Sc, <, , "), and then the usual structures for the integers

Z and the rational numbers Q. The latter are relatively rened conceptions,

not basic ones, but we are no less clear in our dealings with them than for

the basic conceptions of N.

At a further stage of reection we may recognize the least number

principle for the natural numbers, namely if P(n) is any well-dened

property of members of N and there is some n such that P(n) holds then

there is a least such n. More advanced reection leads to general principles

of proof by induction and denition by recursion on N. Furthermore, the

general scheme of induction,

P0 ^ 8nPn ! PScn& ! 8nPn,

property P of natural numbers that one meets in the process of doing

mathematics, no matter what the subject matter and what the notions used

in the formulation of P. The question What is a denite property?

requires in each instance the mathematicians judgment. For example, the

property, n is an odd perfect number, is denite, while n is a feasibly

computable number is not, nor is n is the number of grains of sand

in a heap.

Turning now to the continuum, in Feferman (2009) I isolated several

conceptions of it ranging from the straight line in Euclidean geometry

through the system of real numbers to the set of all subsets of the natural

numbers. The reason that these are all commonly referred to as the

continuum is that they have the same cardinal number; however, that

ignores essential conceptual dierences. For our purposes here, it is sucient to concentrate on the last of these concepts. The general idea of set or

collection of objects is of course ancient, but it only emerged as an object

of mathematical study at the hands of Georg Cantor in the 1870s. Given

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independently of how membership in X may be dened, we write S(D) for

the conception of the totality of all subsets X of D. Then the continuum in

the set-theoretical sense is simply that of the set S(N) of all subsets of N.

This may be regarded as a two-sorted structure, (N, S(N), 2), where 2 is

the relation of membership of natural numbers to sets of natural numbers.

Two principles are evident for this conception, using letters X , Y to

range over S(N) and n to range over N.

I.

II.

Extensionality 8X 8 Y [8n(n 2 X $ n 2Y ) ! X = Y ]

Comprehension For any denite property P(n) of members of N,

9 X 8nn 2 X $ Pn$:

all in the description of S(N) as comprising all subsets of N. According to

the usual set-theoretical view, S(N) is a denite totality, so that quantication over it is well-determined and may be used to express denite

properties P. But again that requires on the face of it a realist ontology

and in that respect goes beyond conceptual structuralism. So if we do not

subscribe to that, we may want to treat S(N) as indenite in the sense that

it is open-ended. Of course this is not to deny that we recognize many

properties P as denite such as to begin with all those given by rstorder formulas in the language of the structure (N, 0, Sc, <, , &) (i.e.

those that are ordinarily referred to as the arithmetical properties); thence

any sets dened by such properties are recognized to belong to S(N).

Incidentally, even from this perspective one can establish categoricity of

the Extensionality and Comprehension principles for the structure

(N, S(N), 2) relative to N in a straightforward way as follows. Suppose

given another structure (N, S 0 (N), 20 ), satisfying the principles I and II,

using set variables X 0 and Y 0 ranging over S 0 (N). Given an X in S(N), let

P(n) be the denite property, n 2 X. Using Comprehension for the

structure (N, S 0 (N), 20 ), one obtains existence of an X 0 such that for all

n in N, n 2 X i n 2 X 0 ; then X 0 is unique by Extensionality. This gives a

11 map of S(N) into S 0 (N) preserving N and the membership relation; it is

seen to be an onto map by reversing the argument. This is to be compared

with the standard set-theoretical view of categoricity results as exemplied,

for example, in Shapiro (1997) and Isaacson (2011). According to that view,

the subject matter of mathematics is structures, and the mre structures of

mathematics such as the natural numbers, the continuum (in one of its

various guises), and suitable initial segments of the cumulative hierarchy of

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sets are characterized by axioms in full second-order logic; that is, any two

structures satisfying the same such axioms are isomorphic.3 On that

account, the proofs of categoricity in one way or another then

appeal prima facie to the presumed totality of arbitrary subsets of any

given set.4

Even if the deniteness of S(N) is open to question as above, we can

certainly conceive of a world in which S(N) is a denite totality and

quantication over it is well-determined; in that ideal world, one may

take for the property P in the above Comprehension Principle any formula

of full second-order logic over the language of arithmetic. Then a number

of theorems can be drawn as consequences in the corresponding system

PA2, including purely arithmetical theorems. Since the truth denition for

arithmetic can be expressed within PA2 and transnite induction can be

proved in it for very large recursive well-orderings, PA2 goes in strength far

beyond PA even when that is enlarged by the successive adjunction of

consistency statements transnitely iterated over such well-orderings.

What condence are we to have in the resulting purely arithmetical

theorems? There is hardly any reason to doubt the consistency of PA2

itself, even though by Gdels second incompleteness theorem, we cannot

prove it by means that can be reduced to PA2. Indeed, the ideal world

picture of (N, S(N), 2) that we have been countenancing would surely lead

us to say more, since in it the natural numbers are taken in their standard

conception. On this account, any arithmetical statement that we can prove

in PA2 ought simply to be accepted as true. But given that the assumption

of S(N) as a denite totality is a purely hypothetical and philosophically

problematic one, the best we can rightly say is that in that picture,

everything proved of the natural numbers is true.

3

Those who subscribe to this set-theoretical view of the categoricity results may dier on whether

the existence of the structures in question follows from their uniqueness up to isomorphism.

Shapiro (1997), for example, is careful to note repeatedly that it does not, while Isaacson (2011)

apparently asserts that it does (cf., e.g., Isaacson 2011, p. 3). In any case, it is of course not a logical

consequence.

In general, proofs of categoricity within formal systems of second-order logic can be analyzed to see

just what parts of the usual impredicative comprehension axiom scheme are needed for them. In the

case of the natural number structure, however, it may be shown that there is no essential dependence

at all, in contrast to standard proofs. Namely, Simpson and Yokoyama (2012) demonstrate the

categoricity of the natural numbers (as axiomatized with the induction axiom in second-order form)

within the very weak subsystem WKL0 of PA2 that is known to be conservative over PRA (Primitive

Recursive Arithmetic). By comparison, it is sketched in Feferman (2013) how to establish categoricity

of the natural numbers in its open-ended schematic formulation in a simpler way that is also

conservative over PRA. For an informal discussion of the categoricity of initial segments of the

cumulative hierarchy of sets in the spirit of open-ended axiom systems, see D. Martin (2001, sec. 3).

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Incidentally, all of this and more comes into question when we move

one type level up to the structure (N, S(N), S(S(N)), 21, 22) in which

Cantors continuum hypothesis may be formulated. A more extensive

discussion of the conception of that structure and the question of its

deniteness in connection with the continuum problem is given in

Feferman (2011). We shall also see below how taking N and S(N) to be

denite but S(S(N)) to be open-ended can be treated in suitable formal

systems.

Logic, as I armed at the outset, is supposed to provide us with all those

forms of reasoning that lead invariably from truths to truths, i.e. it is given

by an essential combination of inferential and semantical notions. But

from the point of view of conceptual structuralism, the classical notion of

truth in a structure need not be applicable unless we are dealing with a

conception (such as that of the structure of natural numbers) for which the

basic domains are denite totalities and the basic notions are denite

operations, predicates, and relations. It is clear that at least the classical

rst-order predicate calculus should be admitted both on semantical and

inferential grounds, since we have Gdels completeness theorem to provide us with a complete inferential system. But why not more? For example,

model-theorists have introduced generalized quantiers such as the cardinality quantiers (Qx)P(x) expressing that there are at least individuals x

satisfying the property P, where is any innite cardinal; one could

certainly consider adjoining those to the rst-order formalism. A much

more general class of quantiers dened by set-theoretical means was

introduced by Lindstrm (1966); each of those can be used to extend

rst-order logic with a model-theoretic semantics for arbitrary rst-order

domains. But for which such extensions do we have a completeness

theorem like that of Gdels for rst-order logic? It is well known that

no such theorem is possible for the quantier (Qx)P(x) which expresses

that there are innitely many x such that P(x). For, using that quantier

and thence its dual (there are just nitely many x such that P(x)) we can

characterize the structure of natural numbers up to isomorphism, so all the

truths of that structure are valid sentences in the logic. But the set of such

truths is not eectively enumerable, indeed far from it, so it is not given by

an eectively specied formal system of reasoning.

Surprisingly, Keisler (1970) obtained a completeness theorem for the

quantier (Qx)P(x) when is any uncountable cardinal; as it happens,

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that has the same set of valid formulas as for the case that is the rst

uncountable cardinal. In view of the leap over the case = , one may

suspect that the requirement that the set of valid formulas be given by

some eective set of axioms and rules of inference is not sucient to

express completeness in the usual intended sense. We need to say something more about how such axioms and rules of inference ought specically to be complete for a given quantier. The key is given by Gentzens

(1935) system of natural deduction NK (or sequent calculus LK) where

each connective and quantier in the classical rst-order predicate calculus

is specied by Introduction and Elimination rules for that operation only.

Moreover, for each pair of such rules, any two connectives or quantiers

satisfying them are equivalent, i.e. they implicitly determine the operator

in question. So a strengthened condition on a proposed addition by a

generalized quantier Q to our rst-order language is that it be given by

axioms and rules of inference for which there is at most one operator

satisfying them. That was the proposal of Zucker (1978) in which he gave a

theorem to the eect that any such quantier is denable in the rst-order

predicate calculus. In particular, that would apply to the Lindstrm

quantiers. However, there were some defects in Zuckers statement of

his theorem and its proof; I have given a corrected version of both in

Feferman (to appear). To summarize: we have fully satisfactory semantic

and inferential criteria for a logic to deal with structures whose domains are

rst-order and that are completely denite in the sense described above,

and these limit us to the standard rst-order classical logic.

Let us turn now to conceptions of structures with second-order or

higher-order domains, such as (N, S(N), 2, . . .) where the ellipsis indicates

that this augments an arithmetical structure on N such as (N, 0, Sc, <, , ").

Again, if S(N) is considered as a denite totality, the classical notion of

truth is applicable and the semantics of second-order logic must be

accepted. But as is well known there is no complete inferential system

that accompanies that, since again the arithmetical structure is categorically

axiomatized in this semantics and in consequence the set of its truths is not

eectively enumerable. In any case, as I have argued above, S(N) ought not

to be considered as a denite totality; to claim otherwise, is to accept the

problematic realist ontology of set theory. As Quine famously put it,

second-order logic is set theory in sheeps clothing. Boolos (1975, 1984)

tried to get around this via a reduction of second-order logic to a nominalistic system of plural quantication. This was incisively critiqued by

Resnik in his article Second-order logic still wild: Boolos is involved in a

circle: he uses second-order quantication to explain English plural

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quantication and uses this, in turn, to explain second-order quantication (Resnik 1988, p. 83).

Though the Lindstrm quantiers are restricted to apply to rst-order

structures and thus bind only individual variables they may well be dened

using higher-order notions in an essential way, in particular those needed

for the cardinality quantiers. Another example where the syntax is rstorder on the face of it but the semantics is decidedly second-order is IF

(Independence Friendly) logic, due to Hintikka (1996). This uses formulas in whose prenex form the existentially quantied individual variables are declared to depend on a subset of the universally quantied

individual variables that precede it in the prex list. Explanation of the

semantics of this requires the use of quantied function variables; over any

given rst-order structure (D, . . .) those variables are interpreted to range

over functions of various arities with arguments and values in D. Indeed,

Vnnen (2001, p. 519) has proved that the general question of validity of

IF sentences is recursively isomorphic to that for validity in full secondorder logic. Thus, as with the Lindstrm quantiers, the formal syntax can

be deceptive. See Feferman (2006) for an extended critique of IF logic.

Now let us turn to the question which logic is appropriate to structural

conceptions that are taken to lack some aspect of deniteness. Ohand,

one might expect the answer in that case to be intuitionistic logic, but the

matter is more delicate. The problem is that there is not one clear-cut

semantics for it; among others that have been considered, one has the

so-called BHK interpretation, Kripke semantics, topological semantics,

sheaf models, etc., etc. Of these, the rst is the most principled one with

respect to the basic ideas of constructivity; it is that that leads one directly to

intuitionistic logic but it does not determine it via a precise completeness

result. By contrast, as we shall see, not only does Kripke semantics take care

of the latter but it relates more closely to the question of dealing with

conceptions of structures involving possibly indenite notions and

domains. For the details concerning both of these I refer to Troelstra and

van Dalen (1988), a comprehensive exposition of constructivism in mathematics that includes treatments of the great variety of semantics and proof

theory that have been developed for intuitionistic systems.

The BHK (BrouwerHeytingKolmogoro ) constructive explanation

of the connectives and quantiers is described in Troelstra and van Dalen

(1988, p. 9). It uses the informal notions of construction and constructive

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conditions are provided on what it is for a construction to be a proof of

C, in terms of proofs of its immediate sub-statements. Namely, a proof

of A ^ B is a proof of A and a proof of B; a proof of A _ B is a proof of A or

a proof of B; a proof of A ! B is a construction that transforms any proof

of A into a proof of B; and a proof of :A is a construction that transforms

any proof of A into a proof of a contradiction , i.e. is a proof of A ! .

In the case of the quantiers, where the variables range over a given

domain D, a proof of (8x)A(x) is a construction that transforms any d in

D into a proof of A(d); nally, a proof of (9x)A(x) is given by a d in D and a

proof of A(d). (D must be a constructively meaningful domain, so that it

makes sense to exhibit each individual element of D and for constructions

to be applicable to elements of D.)

A statement A of the rst-order predicate calculus is constructively valid

according to the BHK interpretation if there is a proof of A, independently

of the interpretation of the domain D and the interpretation of the

predicate symbols of A in D. The axioms of intuitionistic logic in any of

its usual formulations are readily recognized to be constructively valid and

the rules of inference preserve constructive validity. But since there are no

precise notions of proof and construction at work here, we cannot state a

completeness result for the BHK interpretation. Instead, the literature uses

weak counterexamples to show why it is plausible on that account that a

given classically valid form of statement is not constructively valid. Thus,

for example, to show that A _ :A is not constructively valid as a general

principle one argues that otherwise one would have a general method for

obtaining for any given statement A, either a proof of A or a proof that

turns any hypothetical proof of A into a contradiction. But if we had such

a universal method, we could apply it to any particular statement A that

has not yet been settled, such as the twin prime conjecture, to determine

its truth or falsity. Similarly, the method of weak counterexamples is used

informally to argue against the constructive validity of many other such

schemes, for example ::A ! A, though the converse is recognized to be

valid.5

Let us turn now to Kripke semantics for the language of rst-order

predicate logic (Troelstra and van Dalen 1988, Ch. 2.52.6). A Kripke

model is a quadruple (K, !, D, v), where (i) (K, !) is a non-empty

5

Various methods of realizability, initially introduced by Kleene in 1945, can be used to give precise

independence results for such schemes, but are still not complete for intuitionistic logic. Cf. Troelstra

and van Dalen (1988, Ch. 4.4).

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partially ordered set, (ii) D is a function that assigns to each k in K a nonempty set D(k) such that if k ! k 0 then D(k) " D(k 0 ), and (iii) v is a

function into f0, 1g at each k in K, each n-ary relation symbol R in the

language and n-ary sequence of elements of D(k), such that if k ! k 0 and

d1,. . .,dn 2 D(k) and v(k, R(d1,. . .,dn)) = 1 then v(k 0 , R(d1,. . .,dn)) = 1. One

motivating idea for this is that the elements of K represent stages of

knowledge, and that k ! k 0 holds if everything known in stage k is known

in stage k 0 . Also, v(k, R(d1,. . .,dn)) = 1 means that R(d1,. . .,dn) has been

recognized to be true at stage k; once recognized, it stays true. The domain

D(k) is the part of a potential domain that has been surveyed by stage k;

the domains may increase indenitely as k increases or may well bifurcate

in a branching investigation so that one cannot speak of a nal domain

in that case.

The valuation function v is extended to a function v(k, A(d1,. . .,dn)) into

f0, 1g for each formula A(x1,. . .,xn) with n free variables and assignment

(d1,. . .,dn) to its variables in D(k); this is done in such a way that if k ! k 0

and d1,. . .,dn 2 D(k) and v(k, A(d1,. . .,dn)) = 1 then v(k 0 , A(d1,. . .,dn)) = 1.

The clauses for conjunction, disjunction, and existential quantication are

just like those for ordinary satisfaction at k in D(k). The other clauses are

(ignoring parameters): v(k, A ! B) = 1 i for all k 0 # k, v(k 0 , A) = 1 implies

v(k 0 , B) = 1; v(k, ) = 0; and v(k, 8x A(x)) = 1 i for all k 0 # k and d in

D(k), v(k 0 , A(d)) = 1. As above, we identify :A with A ! ; thus v(k, :A) = 1

i for all k 0 # k, v(k 0 , A) = 0. We say that k forces A if v(k, A) = 1; i.e. A is

recognized to be true at stage k no matter what may turn out to be known

at later stages. A formula A(x1,. . .,xn) is said to be valid in a model (K, !,

D, v) if for every k in K and assignment (d1,. . .,dn) to its free variables in

D(k), v(k, A(d1,. . .,dn)) = 1. Then the completeness theorem for this

semantics is that a formula A is valid in all Kripke models i it is provable

in the rst-order intuitionistic predicate calculus. We shall see in the next

section how Kripke models can be generalized to take into account

dierences as to deniteness of basic relations and domains.

Satisfying as this completeness theorem may be, there remains the

question whether one might not add connectives or quantiers to those

of intuitionistic logic while retaining some form of its semantics. Though

intuitionistic logic is part of classical logic, the semantical and inferential

criterion above for classical logic doesnt apply because of the dierences in

the semantical notions. But just as for the classical case, on the inferential

side each of the connectives and quantiers of the intuitionistic rst-order

predicate calculus is uniquely identied via Introduction and Elimination

rules in Gentzens natural deduction system NJ. Even more, Gentzen rst

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formulated the idea that the meaning of each of the above operations is

given by its characteristic inferences. Actually, Gentzen claimed more: he

wrote that the [Introduction rules] represent, as it were, the denitions

of the symbols concerned (Gentzen 1969, p. 80). Prawitz supported this

by means of his Inversion Principle (Prawitz 1965, p. 33): namely, it follows

from the normalization theorem for NJ that each Elimination rule for a

given operation can be recovered from the appropriate one of its Introduction rules when that is the last step in a normal derivation. Without

subscribing at all to this proposed reduction of semantics to inferential

roles, we may ask whether any further operators may be added via suitable

Introduction rules. The answer to that in the negative was provided by the

work of Zucker and Tragesser (1978) in terms of the adequacy of what they

call inferential logic, i.e. of the logic of operators that can simply be marked

out by Introduction rules. As they show, every such operator is dened in

terms of the connectives and quantiers of the intuitionistic rst-order

predicate calculus. To be more precise, this is shown for Introduction rules

in the usual sense in the case of possible propositional operators, while in

the general case of possible operators on propositions and predicates now

in accord with the BHK interpretation proof parameters and constructions on them are incorporated in the Introduction rules, but those

are eventually suppressed.6

open-ended structures

An immediate generalization of Kripke structures is to allow many-sorted

domains, possibly innite in number. Let I be a collection of sorts. Then

the denition of Kripke structure is modied to have each of K, !, and

D indexed by I, and the valuation function modied to accord with the

dierent sorts. Thus we deal with n-tuples k = (k1,. . .,kn) where km is of

specied sort im; the ! relation then holds between such n-tuples if it

holds term-wise. Of course the basic predicates come with specied arities

to show what sorts of objects they relate, and the variables in the rst-order

language over these predicates are always of a specied sort. Then the

denition of the valuation function on arbitrary formulas for a manysorted structure (K, I, !, D, v) proceeds in the same way as above. Now an

6

Incidentally, as Zucker and Tragesser show (p. 506), not every propositional operator given by

simple Introduction rules has an associated Elimination rule; a counterexample is provided by

(A ! B) _ C.

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R(d1,. . .,dn)) whenever k ! k 0 . A domain Di is denite if Di(k) = Di(k 0 )

for all k and k 0 in Ki, otherwise indenite or open-ended. While the

formulas valid in the structure obey intuitionistic logic in general, one

may apply classical logic systematically to formulas involving denite

relations as long as the quantied variables involved range only over

denite domains.

This is illustrated by reasoning about the ordinary two-sorted structure (N, S(N), 2, . . .) where (N, . . .) is conceived of as denite with

denite relations, while S(N) is conceived of as open-ended. To treat

this as a two-sorted Kripke structure, take I = f0, 1g where N is of sort

0 and S(N) is of sort 1. We may as well take K0 to consist of a single

element, while K1 could be indexed by all collections k of subsets of

N, ordered by inclusion. Now the membership relation is denite

because sets are taken to be denite objects, i.e. if X is in both the

collections k and k 0 then n 2 X holds in the same way whether

evaluated in k or in k 0 . So classical logic applies to all formulas A that

contain no bound set variables, though they may contain free set

variables, i.e. A is what is usually called a predicative formula. But

when dealing with formulas in general, only intuitionistic logic is

justied on this picture. This leads us to the consideration of semiintuitionistic (or semi-constructive) theories in general, i.e. theories in

which the basic underlying logic is intuitionistic, but classical logic is

taken to apply to a class of formulas distinguished by containing

denite predicates and quantied variables ranging over denite

domains. A number of such theories have been treated in the paper

Feferman (2010), corresponding to dierent structural notions in which

certain domains are taken to be denite and others indenite. They fall

into three basic groups: (i) predicative theories, (ii) theories of countable

(tree) ordinals, and (iii) theories of sets. The general pattern is that in

each case one has a semi-intuitionistic version of a corresponding

classical system, and they are shown to be proof-theoretically equivalent

and to coincide on the classical part. Moreover, the same holds when

the semi-intuitionistic system is augmented by various principles such

as the Axiom of Choice (AC) that would make the corresponding

classical system much stronger. It is not possible here to explain the

results in adequate detail, so only some of the ideas behind the formulations of the systems involved are sketched. The reader who prefers to

avoid even the technicalities that remain can easily skim (or even skip)

the rest of this section.

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Here the language of arithmetic is extended by variables for function(al)s

in all nite types; following Gdel (1958, 1972) in his so-called Dialectica

interpretation, we also add primitive recursive functionals in all nite

types. In many-sorted intuitionistic logic, the system obtained is denoted

HA. In the process of obtaining reduction to a quantier-free system,

Gdel showed that this system is of the same strength as Peano Arithmetic,

PA; in fact the same holds for HA AC. Now the latter is turned into a

semi-intuitionistic system by adding the Law of Excluded Middle for all

arithmetical formulas. For the proof-theoretical work on that, it proves to

be more convenient to add the least-number operator and an axiom ()

that says that when the operator is applied to a function f : N ! N for

which there exists an n with f(n) = 0, it yields the least such n. Under this

axiom, all arithmetical formulas become equivalent to quantier-free (QF)

formulas, for which the LEM then holds. Thus one is led to consider

HA AC (), which turns out to be proof-theoretically equivalent to

PA QF-AC (), and both are equivalent to ramied analysis through

all ordinals less than Cantors ordinal 0. If one adds the Bar Rule for

arithmetical orderings in both the semi-intuitionistic and the classical

systems, we obtain systems of proof-theoretical strength full predicative

analysis, i.e. ramied analysis up to the least impredicative ordinal 0. (The

Bar Rule on an ordering allows us to infer transnite induction w.r.t.

arbitrary formulas from well-foundedness of the ordering.) On the other

hand, if in the basic system we restrict the primitive recursive functionals

to those with values in N and restrict induction to QF formulas, we obtain

a semi-intuitionistic system Res-HA AC () that turns out to be of

exactly PA in strength.

6.2 Semi-intuitionistic theories of countable tree ordinals

By countable tree ordinals one means the members of the open-ended

collection O of countably branching well-founded trees. Add a sort for

the members of O to the preceding systems; extend the higher type

variables accordingly; add the operator of supremum that joins a sequence

of trees f: N ! O into a single tree sup( f ) in O; add the inverse operator

that takes each sup( f ) in O and n in N and produces f (n); and, nally, add

operators for transnite recursion on O. The resulting system is denoted

SOO in intuitionistic logic and COO in classical logic; then SOO () is a

semi-intuitionistic system intermediate between these two. The main

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result in this case is that the following are of the same proof-theoretical

strength: SOO AC (), COO QF-AC (), and ID1, the theory of

arbitrary arithmetical inductive denitions. It is known that the latter

has the same proof-theoretical strength in intuitionistic logic as in

classical logic.

6.3

standard classical view of which leads us to the system ZFC, i.e. ZF AC.

However, if we identify denite totalities with sets then by Russells

paradox, the universe V of all sets must be considered to be an openended indenite totality if we are to avoid contradiction. But in the

Separation Axiom scheme for ZF, 8a9b8x[x 2 b $ x 2 a ^ A(x)], one

allows the formula A to contain bound variables that range without

restriction over V, and hence in general do not represent denite properties; the same criticism applies to the formulas A(x, y) in the Replacement

Axiom scheme. By a 0 formula is meant one in which all quantied

variables are restricted, i.e. take the form 8y(y 2 x ! . . .) or 9y(y 2 x

^ . . .), written respectively (8y 2 x)(. . .) and (9y 2 x)(. . .). The system KP

of KripkePlatek set theory in classical logic has, like ZF, the axioms of

extensionality, ordered pair, union, innity, and the scheme of transnite

induction on the membership relation. In place of the Separation Axiom

scheme it takes 0-Separation, i.e. the Separation Axiom scheme restricted

to 0 formulas. And in place of the Replacement Axiom scheme, it takes

what is called 0-Collection, i.e. the scheme that for each 0 formula

A, (8x 2 a)9yA(x, y) ! 9b(8x 2 a)(9y 2 b)A(x, y). This implies the

Replacement Axiom scheme for 0 formulas. It is known that the system

KP is of the same strength as ID1.

The system IKP is taken to be the same as KP but restricted to

intuitionistic logic. It turns out that we can strengthen it considerably by

adding a bounded form ACS of the Axiom of Choice, namely (8x 2 a)9yA

(x, y) ! 9f [Fun( f ) ^ (8x 2 a)A(x, f (x))], where Fun( f ) expresses that

the set f is a function in the set-theoretical sense, and where now A is an

arbitrary formula of the language of set theory. Under the assumption ACS

we can infer Collection for arbitrary formulas and hence Replacement for

arbitrary formulas. Finally, since sets are considered to be denite totalities,

we obtain a semi-intuitionistic system from IKP by adjoining the law of

excluded middle for 0 formulas. The main result of Feferman (2010) is

that the semi-intuitionistic system IKP ACS 0-LEM is of the same

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intuitionistic forms. Moreover, if we add the Power Set Axiom (Pow) we

obtain a system that is of strength between that of KP Pow and that of

KP Pow (V = L).7,8

It is natural in the context of semi-intuitionistic theories T to say that a

sentence A in the language of T is denite (relative to T) if T proves LEM

for A, i.e. A _ :A. A question in set theory that has caused considerable

discussion in recent years is whether Cantors continuum hypothesis CH is

a denite mathematical problem. One formulation of it is that every subset

of S(N) is either countable or in 1-1 correspondence with S(N). Of course,

that is denite in the theory IKP Pow 0-LEM, because quantication over subsets of S(N) is bounded once we have existence of S(S(N))

[i.e., S(S())] by the Power Set Axiom. That suggests as I did in

Feferman (2011) considering the weaker system T = IKP Pow(N)

ACS 0-LEM, where Pow(N) simply asserts the existence of S(N) as a

set. I conjectured there that CH is not denite relative to that system.9 Of

course, that would not show that CH is not a denite mathematical

problem, but it might be considered as an interesting bit of evidence in

support of that.

One criterion for a philosophy of mathematics that is often heard is that it

should accord with mathematical practice. Its very hard to know just what

that means since there are so many dimensions along which practice can be

viewed. One particular interpretation of the criterion is that philosophers

have no business telling mathematicians what does or doesnt exist. Famously, David Lewis wrote:

Im moved to laughter at the thought of how presumptuous it would be to

reject mathematics for philosophical reasons. How would you like the job of

telling the mathematicians that they must change their ways, and abjure

countless errors, now that philosophy has discovered that there are no classes?

(Lewis 1991, p. 59)10

7

9

10

There is a considerable literature on semi-intuitionistic theories of sets including the power set

axiom going back to the early 1970s. See Feferman (2010, sec. 7.2) for references to the relevant

work of Poszgay, Tharp, Friedman, and Wolf.

Mathias (2001) proved that KP Pow (V = L) proves the consistency of KP Pow, so the usual

argument for the relative consistency of (V = L) doesnt work.

Michael Rathjen (2014) has recently veried this conjecture.

Curiously, this quote is from Lewis book, Parts of Classes, which oers a revisionary theory of classes

that diers from the usual mathematical conception of such.

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granted that mathematicians have settled problematic individual questions

of existence like zero, negative numbers, imaginary numbers, innitesimals, points at innity, probability of subsets of [0, 1], etc., etc., using

purely mathematical criteria in the course of the development of their

subject. The existence of some of these has been established by reduction

to objects whose existence is unquestioned, some by qualied acceptance,

and some not at all. But what the philosopher is concerned with is, rather,

to explain in what metaphysical sense, if any, mathematical objects exist, in

a way that cannot even be discussed within ordinary mathematical parlance. Lewis could equally well have laughed at the idea that some general

principles accepted in the mathematical mainstream such as the Law of

Excluded Middle or the Axiom of Choice would be dismissed as false (or

unjustied) for philosophical reasons. But again, the use of truth in

ordinary mathematical parlance is deationary and the reasons for

accepting such and such principles as true has either been made without

question or for mathematical reasons in the course of the development of

the subject. The philosopher, by contrast, is concerned to explain in what

sense the notion of truth is applicable to mathematical statements, in a way

that cannot be considered in ordinary mathematical parlance. Whether the

mathematician should pay attention to either of these aims of the philosopher is another matter.

Conceptual structuralism addresses the question of existence and truth

in mathematics in a way that accords with both the historical development

of the subject and each individuals intellectual development. It crucially

identies mathematical concepts as being embedded in a social matrix that

has given rise, among other things, to social institutions and games; like

them, mathematics allows substantial intersubjective agreement, and like

them, its concepts are understood without assuming reication.11 What

makes mathematics unique compared to institutions and games is its

endless fecundity and remarkable elaboration of some basic numerical

and geometrical structural conceptions. To begin with, mathematical

objects exist only as conceived to be elements of such basic structures.

The direct apprehension of these leads one to speak of truth in a structure

in a way that may be accepted uncritically when the structure is such as the

integers but may be put into question when the conception of the structure

is less denite as in the case of the geometrical plane or the continuum, and

11

For an interesting social institutional account of mathematics see Cole (2013); this diers from

conceptual structuralism in some essential respects while agreeing with it in others.

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should be put into question when it comes to the universe of sets. One

criticism of conceptual structuralism that has been made is that its not

clear/denite what mathematical concepts are clear/denite, and making

that a feature of the philosophy brings essentially subjective elements into

play.12 Actually, conceptual structuralism by itself, as presented in the

theses 110, takes no specic position in that respect and recognizes that

dierent judgments (such as mine) may be made. Once such are considered, however, logic has much to tell us in its role as an intermediary

between philosophy and mathematics. As shown in the preceding section,

one can obtain denitive results about formal models of dierent standpoints as to what is denite and what is not. Moreover, the results can be

summarized as telling us that to a signicant extent, the unlimited (de

facto) application of classical logic in mainstream mathematics i.e., the

logic of denite concepts and totalities may be justied on the basis of

a more rened mixed logic that is sensitive to distinctions that one might

adopt between what is denite and what is not.13 In other words, once

more they show that, at least to that extent, you can have your cake and

eat it too.

There are other dimensions of mathematical practice that reward metamathematical study motivated by the philosophy of conceptual

structuralism. One, in particular, that I have emphasized over the years

is the open-ended nature of certain principles such as that of induction for

the integers and comprehension for sets. This accords with the fact that in

the development of mathematics what concepts are recognized to be

denite evolve with time. Thus one cannot x in advance all applications

of these open-ended schematic principles by restriction to those instances

denable in one or another formal language, as is currently done in the

study of formal systems. This leads instead to the consideration of logical

models of practice from a novel point of view that yet is susceptible to

metamathematical study. One such is via the notion of the unfolding of

open-ended schematic axiom systems, that is used to tell us everything that

ought to be accepted if one has accepted given notions and principles.

Thus far, denitive results about the unfolding notion have been obtained

by Feferman and Strahm (2000, 2010) for schematic systems of non-nitist

and nitist arithmetic, resp., and by Buchholtz (2013) for arithmetical

12

13

In particular, this criticism has been voiced by Peter Koellner in his comments on Feferman (2011);

cf. http://logic.harvard.edu/EFI_Feferman_comments.pdf.

These kinds of logical results can also be used to throw substantive light on philosophical discussions

as to the problem of quantication over everything (or over all ordinals, or all sets) such as are found

in Rayo and Uzquiano (2006).

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it can be used to elaborate Gdels program for new axioms in set theory

and in particular to draw a sharper line between which such axioms ought

to be accepted on intrinsic grounds and those to be argued for on extrinsic

grounds.

AC K N O W L E D G E M E N T S

Grigori Mints, Penelope Rush, Stewart Shapiro, and Johan van Benthem

for their helpful comments on a draft of this essay.

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Penelope Maddy

type Ive never seen. (I drew it blindfolded from a bin lled with just these

two types of objects.) Its not a dime. (I can tell by the feel of it.) Then,

obviously, it must be a foreign coin! But what makes this so?

Its common to take this query as standing in for more general questions

about logic what makes logical inference reliable? what is the ground of

logical truth? and common, also, to regard these questions as properly

philosophical, to be answered by appeal to distinctively philosophical

theories of abstracta, possible worlds, concepts, meanings, and the like.

What Id like to do here is step back from this hard-won wisdom and try to

address the simple question afresh, without presumptions about what

constitutes logic or even philosophy. The thought is to treat inquiries

about reliability of the coin inference and others like it as perfectly ordinary

questions, in search of perfectly ordinary answers, and to see where this

innocent approach may lead.

To clarify what I have in mind here, let me introduce an unassuming

inquirer called the Second Philosopher, interested in all aspects of the

world and our place in it.1 She begins her investigations with everyday

perceptions, gradually develops more sophisticated approaches to observation and experimentation that expand her understanding and sometimes

serve to correct her initial beliefs; eventually she begins to form and test

hypotheses, and to engage in mature theory-formation and conrmation;

along the way, she nds the need for, and pursues, rst arithmetic and

geometry, then analysis and even pure mathematics;2 and in all this, she

often pauses to reect on the methods shes using, to assess their

1

The Second Philosopher is introduced in (Maddy 2007), and her views on logic detailed in Part III of

that book. The discussion here reworks and condenses the presentation there (see also (Maddy to

appear)).

For more on the Second Philosophers approach to mathematics, see (Maddy 2011).

93

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eectiveness and improve them as she goes. When I propose to treat the

question of the reliability of the coin inference as an ordinary question,

I have in mind to examine it from the Second Philosophers point of view.

She holds no prior convictions about the nature of the question; she sees it

simply as another of her straightforward questions about the world and her

investigations of it.

The rst thing shes likely to notice is that neither the reliability of the

coin inference nor the truth of the corresponding ifthen statement3

depends on any details of the physical composition of the item in her

hand or the particular properties that characterize dimes as opposed to

other coins. She quickly discerns that whats relevant is entirely independent of all but the most general structural features of the situation: an object

with one or the other of two properties that lacks one must have the other.

In her characteristic way, she goes on to systematize this observation for

any object a and any properties, P and Q, if Qa-or-Pa and not-Qa, then

Pa and from there to develop a broader theory of forms that yield such

highly general forms of truth and reliable inference. In this way, shes led

to consider any situation that consists of objects that enjoy or fail to enjoy

various properties, that stand and dont stand in various relations; she

explores conjunctions and disjunctions of these, and their failures as well;

she appreciates that one situation involving these objects and their interrelations can depend on another; and eventually, following Frege, she

happens on the notion that a property or relation can hold for at least

one object, or even universally suppose she dubs this sort of thing a

formal structure.4

Given her understanding of the real-world situations shes out to

describe in these very general, formal terms, she sees no reason to suppose

that every object has precise boundaries is this particular loose hair part

of the cat or not? or that every property (or relation) must determinately

hold or fail to hold of each object (or objects) is this growing tadpole now

a frog or not? She appreciates that borderline cases are common and fully

determinate properties (or relations) rare. Thinking along these lines, shes

led to something like a Kleene or Lukakasiewicz three-valued system: for a

given object (or objects), a property (or relation) might hold, fail, or be

indeterminate; not-(. . .) obtains if (. . .) fails and is otherwise indeterminate; (. . .)-and-(__) obtains if both (. . .) and (__) obtain, fails if one of

them fails, and is otherwise indeterminate; and so on through the obvious

3

4

In (Maddy 2007) and (Maddy to appear), this is called KF-structure, named for Kant and Frege.

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clauses for (. . .)-or-(__), (there is an x, . . .x. . .) and (for all x, . . .x. . .).

A formal structure of this sort validates many of the familiar inference

patterns for example, the introduction and elimination rules for not,

and, or, for all, and there exists; the DeMorgan equivalences; and the

distributive laws but the gaps produce failures of the laws of excluded

middle and non-contradiction (if p is indeterminate, so are p-or-not-p and

not-( p-and-not-p).5 The subtleties of the Second Philosophers dependency relation undercut many of the familiar equivalences: not-(the rose is

red)-or-2 2 = 4, but 2 2 doesnt equal 4 because the rose is red.

Fortunately, modus ponens survives: when both (q depends on p) and

p obtain, q cant fail or be indeterminate. Suppose the Second Philosopher

now codies these features of her formal structures into a collection of

inference patterns; coining a new term, she calls this rudimentary logic

(though without any preconceptions about the term logic). She takes

herself to have shown that this rudimentary logic is satised in any

situation with formal structure.

This is a considerable advance, but it remains abstract: whats been

shown is that rudimentary logic is reliable, assuming the presence of formal

structure. Common sense clearly suggests that our actual world does

contain objects with properties, standing in relations, with dependencies,

but the Second Philosopher has learned from experience that common

sense is fallible and she routinely subjects its deliverances to careful

scrutiny. What she nds in this case is, for example, that the region of

space occupied by what we take to be an ordinary physical object like the

coin does dier markedly from its surroundings: it contains a more dense

and tightly organized collection of molecules; the atoms in those molecules

are of dierent elements; the contents of that collection are bound together

by various forces that tend to keep it moving as a group; other forces make

the region relatively impenetrable; and so on. Similarly, she conrms that

objects have properties, stand in relations, and that situations involving

them exhibit dependencies.

Now it must be admitted that there are those who would disagree, who

would question the existence of ordinary objects, beginning with

Eddington and his famous two tables:

One of them is familiar to me from my earliest years. . . . It has extention; it

is comparatively permanent; it is coloured; above all it is substantial. By

5

Here, briey, the distinction between logical truths and valid inferences matters, because the gaps

undermine all of the former. Inferences often survive because gaps are ruled out when the premises

are taken to obtain.

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substantial I do not mean merely that it does not collapse when I lean upon

it; I mean that it is constituted of substance. (Eddington 1928: ix)

Table No. 2 is my scientic table. . . . It . . . is mostly emptiness. Sparsely

scattered in that emptiness are numerous electric charges rushing about

with great speed; but their combined bulk amounts to less than a billionth

of the bulk of the table itself. Notwithstanding its strange construction it

turns out to be an entirely ecient table. It supports my writing paper as

satisfactorily as table No. 1; for when I lay the paper on it the little electric

particles with their headlong speed keep on hitting the underside, so that

the paper is maintained in shuttlecock fashion at a nearly steady level. If

I lean upon this table I shall not go through; or, to be strictly accurate, the

chance of my scientic elbow going through my scientic table is so

excessively small that it can be neglected in practical life. (Eddington

1928: x)

understood as putting poetically what she would put more prosaically:

science has taught us some surprising things about the table, its properties

and behaviors.

But this isnt what Eddington believes:

Modern physics has by delicate test and remorseless logic assured me that

my second scientic table is the only one which is really there. (Eddington

1928: xii)

The Second Philosopher naturally wonders why this should be so, why the

so-called scientic table isnt just a more accurate and complete description of the ordinary table.6 In fact, it turns out that substance in

Eddingtons description of table No. 1 is a loaded term:

It [is] the intrinsic nature of substance to occupy space to the exclusion of

other substance. (Eddington 1928: xii)

There is a vast dierence between my scientic table with its substance (if

any) thinly scattered in specks in a region mostly empty and the table of

everyday conception which we regard as the type of solid reality . . . It

makes all the dierence in the world whether the paper before me is poised

as it were on a swarm of ies . . . or whether it is supported because there is

substance below it. (Eddington 1928: xixii)

continuous matter is essential to table No. 1, that one couldnt come to

6

Some writers reject the ordinary table on the grounds that its boundaries would be inexact. As weve

seen, the Second Philosopher is happy to accept this sort of worldly vagueness.

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realize that its supporting the paper or resisting my elbow arise very

dierently than I might have at rst imagined that one couldnt come

to realize this, that is, without also coming to realize that there is no such

thing as table No. 1. But why should this be so? Why should our initial

conceptualization be binding in this way? For that matter, is it even clear

that our initial conceptualization includes any account at all of how and

why the table supports paper or resists elbows? The Second Philosopher

sees no reason to retract her belief in ordinary macro-objects.7

So lets grant the Second Philosopher her claim that formal structure

as she understands it does turn up in our actual world. This means not

only that rudimentary logic applies in such cases, but that it does so

regardless of the physical details of the objects composition, the precise

nature of the properties and relations, any particular facts of spatiotemporal location, and so on. This observation might serve as the rst step

on a path toward the familiar idea, noted earlier, that questions like

these are peculiarly philosophical: the thought would be that if the

correctness of rudimentary logic doesnt depend on any of the physical

details of the situation, if it holds for any objects, any properties and

relations, etc., then it must be quite dierent in character from our

ordinary information about the world; indeed, if none of the physical

details matter, if these truths hold no matter what the particular contingencies happen to be, then perhaps theyre true necessarily, in any

possible world at all and if thats right, then nothing particular to

our ordinary, contingent world can be whats making them true.

By a series of steps like these, one might make ones way to the idea

that logical truths reect the facts, not about our world, but about a

platonic world of propositions, or a crystalline structure that our

world enjoys necessarily, or an abstract realm of meanings or concepts,

or some such distinctively philosophical subject matter. Many such

7

Eddingtons two tables may call to mind Sellars challenge to reconcile the scientic image with the

manifest image. In fact, the manifest image includes much more than Eddingtons table No. 1 it is

the framework in terms of which, to use an existentialist turn of phrase, man rst encountered

himself (Sellars 1962: 6) but Sellars does come close to our concerns when he denies that manifest

objects are identical with systems of imperceptible particles (Sellars 1962: 26). He illustrates with the

case of the pink ice cube: the manifest ice cube presents itself to us as something which is pink

through and through, as a pink continuum, all the regions of which, however small, are pink (Sellars

1962: 26), and of course the scientic ice cube isnt at all like this. Here Sellars seems to think, with

Eddington, that science isnt in a position to tell us surprising things about what it is for the ice cube

to be (look) pink; he seems to agree with Eddington that some apparent features of the manifest ice

cube cant be sacriced without losing the manifest ice cube itself. Indeed the essential features they

cling to are similar: a kind of substantial continuity or homogeneity. The Second Philosopher

remains unmoved.

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options spring up in the wake of this line of thought, but ordinary facts,

ordinary information about our ordinary world has been left behind,

and ordinary inquiry along with it weve entered the realm of philosophy proper.

But suppose our Second Philosopher doesnt set foot on this path.

Suppose she simply notices that nothing about the chemical makeup of

the coin is relevant, that nothing about where the coin is located is

relevant, that only the formal structure matters to the reliability of the

rudimentary logic shes isolated. From here she simply continues her

inquiries, turning to other pursuits in geology, astronomy, linguistics,

and so on. At some point in all this, she encounters cathode rays and

black body radiation, begins to theorize about discrete packets of energy,

uses the quantum hypothesis to explain the photo-electric eect, and

eventually goes on to the full development of quantum mechanics. And

now shes in for some surprises: the objects of the micro-world seem to

move from one place to another without following continuous trajectories;

a situation with two similar particles A and B apparently isnt dierent

from a situation with A and B switched; an object has some position and

some momentum, but it cant have a particular position and a particular

momentum at the same time; there are dependencies between situations

that violate all ordinary thinking about dependencies.8 Do the objects,

properties, relations, and dependencies of the quantum-mechanical

micro-world enjoy the formal structure that underlies rudimentary logic?

The Second Philosopher might well wonder, and sure enough, her doubts

are soon realized. In a case analogous to, but simpler than position and

momentum, she nds an electron a with vertical spin up or vertical spin

down, and horizontal spin right or horizontal spin left (Ua or Da) and

(Ra or La) but for which the four obvious conjunctions (Ua and Ra) or

(Ua and La) or (Da and Ra) or (Da and La) all fail. This distributive law

of rudimentary logic doesnt obtain!

Were now forced to recognize that those very general features the

Second Philosopher isolated in her formal structures actually have some

bite. Though it wasnt made explicit, an object in a formal structure was

assumed to be an individual, fundamentally distinct from all others; having

a property like location, for example was assumed to involve having a

particular (though perhaps imprecise) property a particular location, not

just some location or other. These features were so obvious as to go

unremarked until the anomalies of quantum mechanics came along to

8

For more on these quantum anomalies, with references, see (Maddy 2007, III.4).

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demonstrate so vividly that they can in fact fail.9 Those of us who ventured

down that path the Second Philosopher didnt take were tempted to think

that her formal structure is to be found in every possible world, but it turns

out it isnt present even in every quarter of our own contingent world!10

Rudimentary logic isnt necessary after all; its correctness is contingent on

the very general, but still not universal, features isolated in the Second

Philosophers formal structure.

Weve focused so far on the metaphysics what makes these inferences

reliable, these truths true? but theres also the epistemology how do we

come to know these things? If we followed the philosophers path and

succeeded in dismissing the vicissitudes of contingent world as irrelevant

well before the subsequent shocks dealt the Second Philosopher by quantum mechanics, then we might continue our reasoning along these lines: if

logic is necessary, true in all possible worlds, if the details of our contingent

world are beside the point, then how could coming to know its truths

require us to attend to our experience of this world?11 Again a range of

options ourish here, from straightforward theories of a priori knowledge

9

10

11

In yet another twist in the tradition of Eddington and Sellars, Ladyman and Ross (2007) begin from

this observation that the micro-world doesnt seem to consist of individual objects then go on to

classify the ordinary table, along with the botanists giant redwoods and the physical chemists

molecules, as human constructs imposed for epistemological book-keeping (p. 240) on an entirely

objectless world. I suspect that this disagreement with the Second Philosopher traces at least in part

to diering pictures of how naturalistic metaphysics is to be done. The Second Philosophers

metaphysics naturalized simply pursues ordinary science and ends up agreeing with the folk, the

botanist and the chemist that there are tables, trees and atoms, that trees are roughly constituted by

biological items like cells, cells by chemical items like molecules, molecules by atoms, and so on. She

doesnt yet know, and may never know, how to extend this program into the objectless microworld, but she has good reason to continue trying, and even if she fails, she doesnt see that this

alone should undermine our belief in the objects of our ordinary world. In contrast, the naturalized

metaphysics of Ladyman and Ross is the work of naturalistic philosophical under-labourers

(p. 242), designed to show how two or more specic scientic hypotheses, at least one of which

is drawn from fundamental physics, jointly explain more than the sum of what is explained by the

two hypotheses taken separately (Ladyman and Ross 2007: 37) and its this project that delivers

the surprising result that ordinary objects are constructed by us. From their perspective, the Second

Philosopher metaphysics naturalized is just more science: the botanist and the physical chemist

make no contribution to ontology; metaphysics only begins when their hypotheses are unied with

fundamental physics. From the Second Philosophers perspective, theres no reason to suppose that

ordinary objects are human projections or to insist that assessments of what there is must involve

unication with fundamental physics. Indeed, from her perspective, given our current state of

understanding (see below), quantum mechanics is perhaps the last place we should look for

ontological guidance!

This incidentally removes another sort of skeptical challenge to the Second Philosophers belief in

ordinary macro-objects, namely, the charge that an inquiry starting with objects with properties,

etc., will inevitably uncover objects with properties.

An inference from necessary to a priori is less automatic in our post-Kripkean age, when many

philosophers recognize a posteriori necessities, but logical truth seems a poor candidate for this sort

of thing. In any case, what Im tracing here are tempting paths, not conclusive arguments.

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cant itself be conrmed. But lets return to the Second Philosophers more

nave inquiries, still well clear of the philosophers path, and ask how she

answers the simple question: how do we come to know that rudimentary

logical inference is reliable?

In general, the Second Philosophers epistemological investigations take

the form of asking how human beings as described in biology, physiology, psychology, linguistics, and so on come to have reliable beliefs

about the world as described in physics, chemistry, botany, astronomy,

and so on.12 Work in psychology, cognitive science, and the like is primary

here, but the Second Philosophers focus is somewhat broader; not only

does she study how people come to form beliefs about the world, she also

takes it upon herself to match these beliefs up with what her other

inquiries have told her about how the world actually is, and to assess

which types of belief-forming processes, in which circumstances, are reliable. Though her epistemology is naturalized that is, it takes place

roughly within science its also normative.

In the case of rudimentary logic, the Second Philosophers focus is on

formal structure: her other studies of the world have revealed the existence

of many objects, with properties, standing in relations, with dependencies,

and she now asks how we come to be aware of these worldly features. Here

she recapitulates the work of an impressive research community in contemporary cognitive science.13 The modern study of our perception of

individual objects reaches back at least to the 1930s, when Piaget used

experiments based on manual search behavior14 to argue that a child

reaches the adult conception of a permanent, external object by a series

of stages ending at about age 2. Conicting but inconclusive indications

from visual tracking suggested that even younger children might have the

object concept, but it wasnt until the 1980s that a new experimental

paradigm emerged for testing this possibility: habituation and preferential

looking. In such an experiment, the infants are shown the same event over

and over until they lose interest, as indicated by their decreased looking

time (habituation); theyre then shown one or another of two test displays,

one that makes sense on the adult understanding of an object, the other

12

13

14

This is reminiscent of many of Quines descriptions of his epistemology naturalized, but Quine

also tends to fall back on more traditional philosophical formulations, asking how we manage to

infer our theory of the external world from sensory data (see Maddy 2007, I.6; for more).

I can only give the smallest sampling of this work here. For more, with references, see (Maddy 2007,

III.5).

E.g., does the child lift a cloth to nd a desirable object shes seen hidden there?

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the adult, the inconsistent display should draw a longer gaze (preferential

looking).

So, for example, suppose a metal screen is attached to a long hinge that

extends from left to right on a stage; the screen can lie at toward the

viewer on the stage surface, and it can pivot through 180 arc to lie at

away from the viewer. The infant is habituated to seeing the screen move

through this range of motion. Then the screen is positioned toward

the infant, a box is placed behind it, and the screen is rotated backwards.

The consistent display shows the screen stopping when it comes to rest

on the now-hidden box; the inconsistent display shows it moving as before

and coming to rest on the stage surface away from the viewer. If the infant

thinks the box continues to exist even when its hidden by the screen, and

that the space it occupies cant be penetrated by the screen, then the

inconsistent display should draw the longest gaze. (Notice that the inconsistent display is exactly the one the infant has been habituated to, so its

very inconsistency would be suciently novel to overcome the habituation.) In this early use of the new paradigm, this is exactly what was

observed in infants around ve months of age.

Obviously this is only the beginning of the story. For example, does the

infant understand the box as an individual object, as a unit, or just as an

obstacle to the screen? Experiments of similar design soon indicated that

infants as young as four months perceive a unit when presented with a

bounded and connected batch of stu that moves together. Now imagine

a display with two panels separated by a small space. An object appears

from stage left, travels behind one screen, after which an object emerges

from behind the second screen, and vanishes stage right. One group of

four-month-olds is habituated to seeing an object appear in the gap

between the screens, as if it moved continuously throughout; another

group is habituated to seeing an object disappear behind the rst screen

and an object emerge from behind the second screen without anything

appearing in the gap. The test displays are then without panels, showing

either one or two objects. The result was that the infants habituated with

the apparently continuous motion looked longer at the two-object test

display than the infants habituated with the scene where no object was

seen in the gap. It seems an object is regarded as an individual if its motion

is continuous.

Of course theres much more to this work than can be summarized here,

but the current leading hypothesis is that these very young infants conceptualize individual units in these terms: they dont think that such a unit

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can be in two places at once or that separate units can occupy the same

space, and they expect them to travel in continuous trajectories. In the

words of Elizabeth Spelke, a pioneer in this eld, the infants objects are

complete, connected, solid bodies that persist over occlusion and maintain

their identity through time (Spelke 2000: 1233):

Putting together the ndings from studies of perception of object boundaries and studies of perception of object identity, young infants appear to

organize visual arrays into bodies that move cohesively (preserving their

internal connectedness and their external boundaries), that move together

with other objects if and only if the objects come into contact, and that

move on paths that are connected over space and time. Cohesion, contact,

and continuity are highly reliable properties of inanimate, material objects:

objects are more likely to move on paths that are connected than they are to

move at constant speeds, for example; and they are more likely to maintain

their connectedness over motion than they are to maintain a rigid shape.

Infants perception appears to accord with the most reliable constraints on

objects. (Spelke et al. 1995: 319320)

with habituation/preferential-looking and closely related designs, partly for

other reasons,15 these conclusions cant be taken as irrevocably established,

but then the fallibility of ongoing science is an occupational hazard for

the Second Philosopher. Lets take the early emergence of a modest

human ability to detect (some of ) the worlds individual objects as a

tentative datum.

As for properties and relations, the infants sensitivity to these plays a

role in the habituation/preferential-looking studies mentioned earlier:

habituating to green objects then preferentially looking at red ones must

involve noticing those colors, likewise the spatial relations of objects and

the screens. Whats surprising is that object properties arent initially used

to individuate them. Ten-month-old infants watched as a toy duck

emerged from the left side of a single screen, followed by a ball emerging

from the right side of the screen; one of the two test displays then showed

the duck and the ball, the other just the duck and no signicant

dierence between their reactions was found! The same experiment run

15

E.g., Hateld (2003) argues that the ndings of Spelke and her collaborators only establish that

young infants perceive bounded trackable volumes not individual material objects. Of course,

Spelke (e.g., in Spelke et al. (1995), cited by Hateld) does allow that the infants object concept

continues to develop in early childhood, so there is room here for clarication of levels or degrees of

object perception. A question like this would prompt the Second Philosopher to get down to sorting

things out, but Im not so idealized an inquirer and leave these further investigations to others.

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expected: the test display with the duck alone drew greater attention.

On reection these results arent so bewildering. While infants begin

with simple but highly reliable spatiotemporal constraints on object identity (as Spelke notes), property distinctions require more judicious application: a red ball can turn blue and still be the same object; a human can

change clothes and still be the same person. Some experience and learning

must be needed for the child to realize that ducks dont generally turn into

balls, and considerably more to reach the full adult concept:

We are inclined to judge that a car persists when its transmission is replaced,

but would be less inclined to judge that a dog persists if its central nervous

system were replaced. . . . Because we know that dogs but not cars have

behavioral and mental capacities supported by certain internal structures, we

consider certain transformations of dogs to be more radical than other,

supercially similar transformations of cars. (Spelke et al. 1995: 302303)

With this in mind, its less surprising that the beginnings of the childs

identication of objects by their properties comes a couple of months later

than their identication by the more straightforward spatiotemporal

means, and perhaps even that this new development apparently coincides

with the acquisition of their rst words property nouns like ball and

duck!

So as not to belabor this fascinating developmental work, let me just

note that similar studies have shown that young infants detect conjunctions and disjunctions of object properties, the failure of properties or

relations, simple billiard-ball style causal dependencies, and so on. Its also

notable that many of these abilities found in young infants are also present,

for example, in primates and birds. This suggests an evolutionary origin,

and clearly the advantages conferred by the ability to track objects spatiotemporally, to perceive their properties and relations, to notice dependencies, would have been as useful on the savanna as they are in modern life.

All this leaves the Second Philosopher with two well-supported hypotheses: the ability to detect (at least some of ) the formal structure present in

the world comes to humans at a very early age, perhaps largely due to our

evolutionary inheritance; whether by genetic endowment, normal maturation, or early experience, the primitive cognitive mechanisms underlying

this ability are as they are primarily because humans (and their ancestors)

interact almost exclusively with aspects of the world that display this

formal structure. From here its a short step to the suggestion that the

presence of these primitive cognitive mechanisms, all tuned to formal

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us as so obvious. Assuming that the Second Philosopher has this right

that the formal structure is often present, that we are congured to detect

it, and that this accounts for our rudimentary logical beliefs then a

suciently externalist epistemologist might count this as a case of a priori

knowledge. An epistemologist of more internalist leanings might hold that

the sort of a posteriori inquiry undertaken here would be required to

support actual knowledge of rudimentary logic. The Second Philosopher

isnt condent that this disagreement has a determinate solution, isnt

condent that the debate is backed by anything more substantial than

the various handy uses of know, so shes content to oer a fuller version

of the story sketched here, and to leave the decision about knowledge

to others.

Notice, incidentally, that if this is right, if the Second Philosophers

formal structure is so deeply involved in our most fundamental cognitive

mechanisms, this explains why its so dicult for us to come up with a

viable interpretation of quantum mechanics, where formal structure goes

awry. But this observation raises another question: if formal structure and

hence rudimentary logic are missing in the micro-world, and if these are

so fundamental to our thought and reasoning, how do we manage to

carry out our study of quantum mechanics? Some suggest that we should

adopt a special logic for quantum mechanics,16 but the question posed

here is how we manage to do quantum mechanics now, apparently using

our ordinary logic. I think the answer is fairly simple: what we actually

have in quantum mechanics isnt a theory of particles with properties, in

relations, with dependencies, but a mathematical model, an abstract

Hilbert space with state vectors.17 This bit of mathematics displays all

the necessary formal structure it consists of objects with properties, in

relations, with (logical) dependencies so our familiar logic is entirely

reliable there.18 The deep problem for the interpretation of quantum

16

17

18

As noted above (footnote 9), Ladyman and Ross (2007) argue on grounds similar to the Second

Philosophers that the micro-world doesnt consist of objects. Given her account of how our

cognition and our logic work, the Second Philosopher would predict that these authors should

encounter some diculty when it comes to describing the subject matter of quantum mechanics,

and in fact, what they say on that score is consistent with the line taken here: it is possible that

dividing a domain up into objects is the only way we can think about it (Ladyman and Ross (2007:

155); we can only represent [the non-objectual structures of the micro-world] in terms of

mathematical relationships (Ladyman and Ross 2007: 299).

In fact, the mathematical world is in some ways more amenable to our logical ways (see footnote

19 below).

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well, to gure out what worldly features its tracking, but in the mathematics itself, our natural ways of thinking and reasoning are on impeccable footing.

Now for all its advertised virtues reliability in a wide variety of worldly

settings, harmony with our most fundamental cognitive mechanisms

rudimentary logic is in fact a rather unwieldy instrument in actual use.

Weve seen, for example, that the presence of indeterminacies eliminates

the law of excluded middle, the principle of non-contradiction, and indeed

all logical truths. An inference rule as central as reductio ad absurdum can

be seen to fail: that (q-and-not-q) follows from p only tells us that p is

either false or indeterminate. And the substantive requirements on

dependency relations undercut most of our usual manipulations with the

conditional. Though hes speaking of a full Kleene system, with a truthfunctional conditional, I think Fefermans assessment applies to rudimentary logic as well: nothing like sustained ordinary reasoning can be carried

on (Feferman 1984: 95).

Under the circumstances, a stronger, more exible logic is obviously to

be desired. The Second Philosopher has seen this sort of thing many times:

she has a theoretical description of a given range of situations, but that

description is awkward or unworkable in various ways. To take one

example, she can give a complete molecular description of water owing

in a pipe, but alas all practical calculation is impossible. In hope of making

progress, she introduces a deliberate falsication treating the water as a

continuous substance that allows her to use the stronger and more

exible mathematics of continuum mechanics. She has reason to think

this might work, because there should be a size-scale with volumes large

enough to include enough molecules to have relatively stable temperature,

energy, density, etc., but not so large as to include wide local variations in

properties like these. This line of thought suggests that her deliberate

falsication might be both powerful enough to deliver concrete solutions

and benign enough to do so without introducing distortions that would

undercut its eectiveness for real engineering decisions. She tests it out,

and happily it does work! This is what we call an idealization, indeed a

successful idealization for many purposes. (It would obviously be unacceptably distorting if we were interested in explaining the waters behavior

under electrolysis.) In similar ways, we ignore friction when its eects are

small enough to be swamped by the phenomenon were out to describe; we

treat slightly irregular objects as perfectly geometrical when this does no

harm; and so on.

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looks for ways to simplify and streamline her theoretical account of

formal structure, that is, her rudimentary logic, in ways that make it

more exible, more workable, and to do so without seriously undermining its reliability. To this end, she makes two key idealizations, introduces

two falsifying assumptions that there is no indeterminacy, that any

particular combination of objects and properties or relations either holds

or fails; and that dependencies behave as material conditionals19 and at

a stroke, she transforms her crude rudimentary theory into our modern

classical logic. There can be no doubt that full classical logic is an

extraordinarily sophisticated and powerful instrument; the only open

question is whether or not the required idealizations are benign. And

as in the other examples, this judgment can be expected to vary from

case to case.

This is where some of the so-called deviant logics come in. Proponents

of one or another of the various logics of vagueness, for example, may insist

that indeterminacy is a real phenomenon,20 may condemn the lamentable

tendency . . . to pretend that language is precise (J. A. Burgess 1990: 434).

On the rst point, the Second Philosopher agrees indeterminacy is real

but she views the classical logicians pretending otherwise as no dierent in

principle than the engineers pretending that water is a continuous uid;

what determines the acceptability of either pretense isnt the obvious fact

that it is a pretense, but whether or not it is benecial and benign in the

situation at hand. Most logics of vagueness begin from a picture not unlike

the Second Philosophers, in which, for example a property can hold of an

object, fail to hold, or be indeterminate for that object; theres also the

problem of higher-order indeterminacy, that is, of borderline cases

between holding and being indeterminate, between being indeterminate

and failing. So far, I think its fair to say that there is no smooth and

perspicuous logic of vagueness, no such logic that escapes Fefermans

critique. It is, of course, true that classical logic can lead us astray in

contexts with indeterminacy this is the point of the sorites paradox

but at least for now the Second Philosophers advice is simply to apply

19

20

Though these idealizations involve falsication in her description of the physical world, they are

satised in the world of classical mathematics: excluded middle holds and the dependencies are

logical. For more on the ontology of mathematics, see (Maddy 2011).

There is serious disagreement between various writers over the source of the indeterminacy: is it

purely linguistic or does the world itself include borderline cases and fuzzy objects? Here the Second

Philosopher sides with the latter, but this shouldnt aect the brief discussion here, despite the

formulation in the quotation in the next clause above.

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classical logic with care,21 as one should any idealization, rather than switch

to a less viable logic.22

Advocates of various conditional logics protest the Second Philosophers

other bold idealization: replacement of real dependencies with the simple

material conditional. There are many proposals for a more substantial

conditional, far too many to consider here (even if my slender expertise

allowed it), but perhaps the conditional of relevance logic can be used as one

representative example. The motivation here speaks directly to the falsication in question: the antecedent of a conditional should be relevant to the

consequent.23 To return to our earlier example, the redness of this rose isnt

relevant to the fact that 2 2 = 4, despite the truth of the corresponding

material conditional (if the rose is red, then 2 2 = 4). Of course, as before,

the Second Philosopher fully appreciates that the material conditional is a

falsication, that the rose inference is an anomaly, but the pertinent

questions are whether or not the falsication is benecial and benign, and

whether or not the relevance logician has something better to oer. Again

I think that for now, we do best to employ our classical logic with care.

So we see that some deviant logics depart from the Second Philosophers

classical logic by rejecting her idealizations,24 and that our assessment then

depends on the extent to which the falsications introduced are benecial and

benign, and on the systematic merits of the proposed alternative. But not all

deviant logics t this prole; some concern not just the idealizations of classical

logic, but the fundamentals of rudimentary logic itself. Examples include

intuitionistic logic which rejects double negation elimination quantum

21

22

23

24

Sorensen (2012) credits this approach to H. G. Wells: Every species is vague, every term goes cloudy

at its edges, and so in my way of thinking, relentless logic is only another name for a stupidity for a

sort of intellectual pigheadedness. If you push a philosophical or metaphysical enquiry through a

series of valid syllogisms never committing any generally recognized fallacy you nevertheless

leave behind you at each step a certain rubbing and marginal loss of objective truth and you get

deections that are dicult to trace, at each phase in the process (Wells 1908: 11).

Williamson (1994) also advocates retaining classical logic, but his reason is quite dierent: because

there is no real vagueness, because apparent borderline cases really just illustrate our ignorance of

where the true borderline lies. This strikes many, including me, as obviously false.

Relevance logicians are particularly unhappy with what they call explosion, the classical oddity that

anything follows from a contradiction. For related reasons, full relevance logic rejects even some

rudimentary logical inferences not involving the conditional, like disjunctive syllogism, but I leave

this aside here. (For a bit more, see Maddy 2007: 292, footnote 24.)

Some other deviant logics respond to idealizations of language rather than the worldly features of

rudimentary logic: e.g., free logicians counsel us to reject the falsifying assumption that all naming

expressions refer. Here, too, our assessment depends on the eectiveness of the idealization and the

viability of the alternative. In practical terms, leaving aside the various technical studies in the theory

of free logics, Im not sure using a free logic is readily distinguishable from being careful about the

use of existential quantier introduction in the context of classical logic. In any case, our concern

here is with worldly idealizations, not linguistic ones.

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logic which rejects the distributive laws and dialetheism which holds

that there are true contradictions. Given the connection of rudimentary logic

with the Second Philosophers formal structure, the challenge for each of

these is to understand what the world is like without this formal structure,

what the world is like that this alternative would be its logic.25 Of the three,

intuitionistic logic comes equipped with the most developed metaphysical

picture, but its suited to describing the world of constructive mathematics,

not the physical world.26 Quantum logic at rst set out to characterize the

non-formal-structure of the micro-world, but in practice it has not succeeded

in doing so;27 the problem of interpreting quantum mechanics remains

open. And dialetheism faces perhaps the highest odds: as far as I know, its

defenders have focused for the most part on the narrower goal of locating a

compelling example of a true contradiction in the world, perhaps so far

without conspicuous success.28 The Second Philosopher tentatively concludes that rudimentary logic currently has no viable rivals as the logic of

the world, and that classical logic likewise stands above its rivals as an

appropriate idealization of rudimentary logic for everyday use.

In sum, then, the Second Philosophers answer, an ordinary answer to

the question of why that coin must be foreign, is that the coin and its

properties display formal structure and the inference in question is reliable

in all such situations. This answer doesnt deliver on the usual philosophical expectations: the reliability of the inference is contingent, our knowledge of it is only minimally a priori at best. The account itself results from

plain empirical inquiry, which may lead some to insist that it isnt

philosophy at all. Perhaps not. Then again, if the original question

why is this inference reliable? counts as philosophical and its not clear

how else to classify it then the answer, too, would seem to have some

claim to that honoric. But the Second Philosopher doesnt care much

about labels. After all, even Second Philosophy and Second Philosopher

arent her terms but mine, used to describe her and her behavior. In any

case, philosophy or not, I hope the Second Philosophers investigations do

tell us something about the nature of that inference about the coin.29

25

26

27

29

Our interest here is in the logic of the world, not the logic that best models something else, as, e.g.,

paraconsistent logic (a variety of relevance logic) might serve to model belief systems (see Maddy

2007: 293296).

See the discussion of Creator Worlds in (Maddy 2007: 231233, 296) and (Maddy to appear, II).

28

See (Maddy 2007: 276279, 296).

See (Maddy 2007: 296297).

My thanks to Patricia Marino for helpful comments on an earlier draft and to Penelope Rush for

editorial improvements.

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chapter 6

Logical nihilism

Curtis Franks

1. Introduction

The idea that there may be more than one correct logic has recently

attracted considerable interest. This cannot be explained by the mere fact

that several distinct logical systems have their scientic uses, for no one

denies that the logic of classical mathematics diers from the logics of

rational decision, of resource conscious database theory, and of eective

problem solving. Those known as logical monists maintain that the

panoply of logical systems applicable in their various domains says nothing

against their basic tenet that a single relation of logical consequence is

either violated by or manifest in each such system. Logical pluralists do

not counter this by pointing again at the numerous logical systems, for

they agree that for all their interest many of these indeed fail to trace any

relation of logical consequence. They claim, instead, that no one logical

consequence relation is privileged over all others, that several such relations

abound.

Interesting as this debate may be, I intend to draw into question the

point on which monists and pluralists appear to agree and on which their

entire discussion pivots: the idea that one thing a logical investigation

might do is adhere to a relation of consequence that is out there in the

world, legislating norms of rational inference, or persisting some other

wise independently of our logical investigations themselves. My opinion is

that xing our sights on such a relation saddles logic with a burden that it

cannot comfortably bear, and that logic, in the vigor and profundity that

it displays nowadays, does and ought to command our interest precisely

because of its disregard for norms of correctness.

I shall not argue for the thesis that there are no correct logics. Although

I do nd attempts from our history to paint a convincing picture of a

relation of logical consequence that attains among propositions (or sentences, or whatever) dubious, I should not know how to cast general doubt

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on the very idea of such a relation. By drawing this point into question

I mean only to invite reection about what work the notion of a correct

logic is supposed to be doing, why the debate about the number of logical

consequence relations is supposed to matter to a logician, and whether the

actual details of logic as it has developed might be dicult to appreciate if

our attention is overburdened by questions about the correctness of logical

principles. Rather than issue any argumentative blows, I propose merely to

lead the reader around a bit until his or her taste for a correct logic sours.

Surely the most notorious bone of contention in the discussion of logical

correctness is the law of excluded middle, f _ :f. Is this law logically

valid, so that we know that its instances, Shakespeare either wrote all

those plays or he didnt, Either the continuum hypothesis is true or it is

not true, Hes either bald or he isnt, etc., each are true in advance of

any further information about the world?

One hardly needs to mention that hundreds of spirited disavowals and

defenses of lem have been issued in the last century. Many of these have

even been authored by expert logicians. But let us turn our backs to these

ideological matters and consider briey some of what we have learned

about lem quite independently of any question about its correctness.

The simplest setting for this is the propositional calculus.1 The intuitionistic propositional calculus (IPC) diers from the classical propositional calculus (CPC) precisely in its rejection of lem. For a concrete

and standard formalization of IPC one may take a typical Hilbert-style

axiomatization of CPC and erase the single axiom for double negation

elimination, ::f f, leaving the rules of inference as before.

In fact, one of the rst things observed about lem is its equivalence with

dne, which is most easily seen in the setting of natural deduction. Standard

natural deduction presentations of CPC have a rule allowing one to infer

any formula f from the single premise ::f. It is easy to derive in such a

system the formula f _ :f. It is similarly easy to show that if we modify

1

I emphasize that this really is a matter of perspicuity. One should not think that the phenomena

described below are artifacts of peculiar features of propositional logic. They are nearly all

consequences of decisions about lem that are invariant across a wide spectrum of logics. Consider:

the structural subsumption of lem applies also to the predicate calculus; the admissible propositional

rules of Heyting Arithmetic (and of Heyting Arithmetic with Markovs principle) are exactly those of

IPC (Visser 1999); the disjunction property holds for Heyting Arithmetic (Kleene 1945) and for

intuitionistic ZermeloFraenkel set theory (Myhill 1973).

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this calculus by disallowing dne but now introduce a new rule that allows

one to write down any instance of lem in any context, f will be derivable

in all contexts in which ::f is derivable.

In (193435), Gentzen observed to his own surprise2 that the sequent

calculus presentation of CPC admits an even more elegant modication

into a presentation of IPC than the one just described. One simply

disallows multiple-clause succedents and leaves the calculus otherwise

unchanged. Thus lem and with it the entire distinction between

intuitionistic and classical logic is subsumed into the background structure

of the logical calculus. All the inference rules governing the logical particles

(^, _, , :) and all the explicit rules of structural reasoning (identity, cut,

weakening, exchange, and contraction) are invariant under this transformation. Thus it appears that a duly chosen logical calculus allows a precise

analysis of what had been thought of as a radical disagreement about the

nature of logic. When classicists and intuitionists are seen to admit

precisely the same inference rules, their disagreement appears in some

ways quite minor, if more global than rst suspected.

Exactly how minor, on closer inspection, is the dierence between these

supercially similar calculi CPC and IPC? Not very. Even before

Gentzens profound analysis, Gdel (1932) observed that IPC satised

the disjunction property: formulas such as f _ are provable only if

either f or is as well. At rst sight this might appear to be no more than

a restatement of the intuitionists rejection of lem. After all, that rejection

was motivated by the idea that instances of lem are un-warranted when

neither of their disjuncts can be independently established. But, one might

think, if any disjunction is warranted in the absence of independent

verication of one of its disjuncts, those like f _ :f are, so rejecting

lem should lead to something like the disjunction property. This reasoning

strikes me as worthy of further elaboration and attention, but it should be

unconvincing as it stands. For one thing, the formal rejection of lem only

bars one from helping oneself to its instances whenever one wishes. The

gap between this modest restriction and the inability ever to infer any

disjunction of the form f _ :f at all, unless from a record of that

inference one could eectively construct a proof either of f or of :f, is

a broad one. More, there are innitely many formulas f unprovable in

2

Gentzen described the fact that lem prescribes uses of logical particles other than those given by their

introduction and elimination rules as troublesome. The way that in the sequent calculus the logical

rules are quarantined from the distinction between classical and intuitionistic logic he called

seemingly magical. He wrote, I myself was completely surprised by this property . . . when rst

formulating that calculus (Gentzen 1938: 259).

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Examples like :p _ ::p may well fuel suspicions that even in the shadow

of global distrust of lem, some disjunctions f _ are more plausible

than any instance of lem even in the absence of resources sucient to

derive f or .

Thus the disjunction property is a non-trivial consequence of the

invalidity of lem. In fact, this situation exemplies a recurring phenomenon in logic, wherein from the assumption of a special case of some

general hypothesis, that hypothesis follows in its full generality. This often

happens even when, as in the present case, the general phenomenon does

not appear, even in hindsight, to be a logical consequence of its instance

in any absolute sense. The disjunction property has further consequences

of its own, however, to which we can protably turn.

In the approach to semantics known as inferentialism, the meaning of a

logical particle should be identied with the conditions under which one is

justied in reasoning ones way to a statement governed by that particle.

From this point of view, which is given expression already in some of

Gentzens remarks, and owing to the separation in sequent calculus of lem

from the logical rules, the meanings of the familiar logical particles might

be said not to dier in intuitionistic and classical logic.

However, the disjunction property gives rise to an alternative interpretation of the logical particles of IPC in which each theorem refers back to

the notion of provability in IPC itself. For if f _ is provable only if one

of f and is as well, then a candidate and interesting reading of the

sentence IPC f _ is Either IPC f or IPC . Expanding on this

idea, one might suggest that the provability of a conjunction means

that each of its conjunctions is provable, that the provability of a conditional, f , means that given a proof of f one can construct a proof

of , and that the provability of :f means that a contradiction can be

proved in the event that a proof of f is produced.

As we shall see shortly, this so far informal interpretation of

intuitionistic logic is riddled with ambiguities. All the same, some

reection should bring home the idea that some disambiguation of this

reading is a possible way to understand the theorems of IPC. When one

compares the situation with CPC, where conditional truth comes so

cheap and the disjunction property fails badly, one can only conclude

that the dierence between these calculi is in some sense great after all,

greater even than the debate over the validity of lem alone rst suggests.

When one then recalls the earlier observation that these calculi can be

presented so that their formal dierences are slight and their rules

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so subtle a change in form is striking.

If we are to take seriously the idea that theorems of IPC refer back to

IPC provability, then some care must be taken in making this interpretation precise. For if the provability of a conditional, f , means that

IPC in the event that IPC f, then one should expect IPC f in

every situation in which the set of theorems of IPC is closed under the rule

from f, infer . However, the disjunction property implies that these

expectations will not be met.

To see this, consider the KreiselPutnam rule, From :f ( _ ),

infer (:f ) _ (:f ). The only derivations of :f ( _ ) in

natural deduction are proofs whose last inferences are instances of -elim

(modus ponens), ^-elim, dne, or -intro. It is easy to see that a proof

ending in -elim or ^-elim cannot be the only way to prove this formula,

that in fact any such proof can be normalized into a proof of the same

formula whose last inference is an instance of one of the other two rules. If,

further, we consider the prospects of this formula being a theorem of IPC,

then dne is no longer a rule, and we may conclude that any proof

necessarily contains a subproof of _ from the assumption :f (to

allow for -intro). What might this subproof look like? Once more, dne is

not an option, so again by insisting that the proof is normalized (so that it

doesnt end needlessly and awkwardly with -elim or ^-elim) we ensure

that its last step is an instance of _-elim. But this means that an initial

segment of this subproof is a derivation in IPC either of or of from the

assumption :f (it is here that the disjunction property rears its head), and

in each case it is clear how to build a proof of (:f ) _ (:f ).

Putting this all together, we see that whenever :f ( _ ) is a theorem

of IPC, so too is (:f ) _ (:f ).

When a logical systems theorems are closed under a rule of inference,

we say that the rule is admissible for that logic. The above argument

established that the KreiselPutnam rule is admissible for IPC. One

might expect that the rule is also derivable, that IPC (:f ( _ ))

((:f ) _ (:f )). However, it is not (Harrop 1960). This

situation is dis-analogous to that of classical logic, where all admissible

rules are derivable so that the distinction between admissibility and

derivability vanishes. In the parlance, we say that CPC is structurally

complete but that IPC is not.

In fact much of the logical complexity of IPC can be understood as a

residue of its structural incompleteness. For the space of intuitionistically

valid formulas is far more easily navigated than the space of its admissible

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there is no nite basis of rules that generates them all (Rybakov 1997).

What ought one make of the structural incompleteness of IPC? One

thing that can denitely be said is that reading the expression f as

There is a procedure for transforming a proof of f into a proof of is

problematic for both the classicist and the intuitionist, but for dierent

reasons. This reading is wrong for the classicist, because the idea of

procedurality simply does not enter into the conditions of classical

validity. By contrast, procedures of proof transformation are central for

the intuitionist. However, we now know that there are procedures for

transforming a IPC-proof of f into a IPC-proof of in cases where f

is not a theorem of IPC. So at best one could say that IPC is incomplete

with respect to this semantics, and more plausibly one should say that this

reading of IPC f is erroneous.

Thus we see a sense in which the phenomenon of structural completeness is related to a sort of semantic completeness: a structurally incomplete

logic will be incomplete with respect to the most naive procedural reading

of its connectives. It also happens that structural completeness bears a

precise relation to the phenomenon of Post-completeness, the situation in

which any addition made to the set of theorems of some logic will trivialize

the logic by making all formulas in its signature provable. To state this

relationship, we refer to a notion of saturation. For a logical calculus

L whose formulas form the set S, let Sb(X ) be the set of substitution

instances of formulas in X ! S and let CnL(X ) be the set of formulas f

such that X L f. L is saturated if for every X ! S CnL(X ) = CnL(Sb(X ))

for every X ! S. By a (1973) theorem of Tokarz, a Post-complete calculus is

structurally complete if, and only if, it is saturated.

For these and perhaps other reasons many authors have felt that the

presence of non-derivable, admissible rules is a deciency of systems like

IPC. The very term structural incompleteness suggests that something is

missing from IPC because correct inferences about provability in this logic

are not represented as theorems in IPC. Rybakov (1997), for example,

suggests that there is a sense in which a derivation inside a [structurally

incomplete] logical system corresponds to conscious reasoning [and] a

derivation using [its] admissible rules corresponds to subconscious

reasoning. He faults such systems for having rules that are valid in

reality yet invalid from the viewpoint of the deductive system itself

(1011). Structurally complete systems, by contrast, are self contained in

the sense that they have the very desirable property of being conscious of

all the rules that are reliable tools for discovering their own theorems (476).

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It seems to me that this attitude derives from wanting to preserve the naive

procedural understanding of the logical connectives. The situation ought

rather, I counter, lead one to appreciate the subtlety of procedurality

exhibited in intuitionism. For the logical lesson to be learned is that

in the absence of lem the context of inference takes on a new role. Thus

f means that given any background of assumptions from which f is

provable, a proof of f can be transformed into a proof of under those

same assumptions, and this understanding does not reduce, as it does with

logics insensitive to context, to the idea that any proof of f can be

transformed into a proof of . This irreducibility strikes me as a very

desirable property for many purposes. I should like to know more about

the conditions that lead to it.

From this point of view, it is natural to ask whether there are logics that,

unlike classical logic, admit a constructive interpretation but, like classical

logic, are not sensitive in this way to context. Perhaps the constructive

nature of IPC derives from its context-sensitivity. Surprisingly, Jankovs

logic, IPC:f _ : :f, appears to undermine any hope of establishing a

connection between these phenomena. Consider the Medvedev lattice of

degrees of solvability. The setting is Baire space (the set of functions

from to ) and the problem of producing an element of a given subset of

this space. By convention, such subsets are called mass problems, and their

elements are called solutions. One says that one mass problem reduces to

another if there is an eective procedure for transforming solutions of the

second into solutions of the rst. If one denes the lattice

of degrees of

reducibility of mass problems, it happens that under a very natural

corresponds to the set of theorems

valuation, the set of identities of

of Jankovs logic, so that the theory of mass problems provides a

constructive interpretation of this logic.3 However, Jankovs logic is structurally complete (Prucnal 1976). Thus one sees that the so-called weak law

of excluded middle preserves the context insensitivity of CPC despite,

standing in the place of full lem, allowing for a procedural semantics.

In my graduate student years, several of my friends and I were thinking

about bounded arithmetic because of its connections with complexity

theory and because the special diculty of representing within these

theories their own consistency statements shed much light on the ne

details of arithmetization. We had a running gag, which is that formal

theories like PA are awfully weak, because with them one cant draw very

many distinctions. The implicit punchline, of course, is that the bulk of

3

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the distinctions one can draw in theories of bounded arithmetic are among

statements that are in fact equivalent. Lacking the resources to spot these

equivalences is no strength!

Something perfectly analogous happens in the case of substructural

logics. There are theorems of CPC that are unprovable in IPC, but not

vice versa, so the latter logic is strictly weaker. Moreover, CPC proves all

sorts of implications and equivalences that IPC misses. But if we stop

believing for a moment, as the discipline of logic demands we do, and ask

about the ne structure of inter-dependencies among the formulas of

propositional logic, IPC delivers vastly more information. Consider just

propositional functions of a single variable p. In CPC there are exactly

four equivalence classes of such formulas: those inter-derivable with p, :p,

p _ :p, and p ^ :p. In IPC the equivalence classes of these same formulas

exhibit a complicated pattern of implications, forming the innite Rieger

Nishimura lattice.

One thought one may have is that IPC should be considered an expansion of CPC: every classical tautology can be discovered with IPC via the

negative translation of Gdel (1933) and Gentzen, so with IPC one gets all

the classical tautologies and a whole lot more. (Gdel at times suggested

something like this attitude.) But, of course, neither the negative translation nor the very idea of a classical tautology arises within intuitionistic

logic. The thought that I encourage instead is this: The logician is loath to

choose between classical and intuitionistic logic because the phenomena of

greatest interest are the relationships between these logical systems. Who

would have guessed that the rejection of a single logical principle would

generate so much complexity an r.e. set of admissible rules with no nite

basis, an innite lattice of inter-derivability classes?

The intuitionist and the classicist have very ne systems. Perhaps with

them one gains some purchase on the norms of right reasoning or the

modal structure of reality. The logician claims no such insight but

observes that one can hold xed the rules of the logical particles and, by

merely tweaking the calculus between single conclusion and multi conclusion, watch structural completeness come in and out of view. The same

switch, he or she knows, dresses the logical connectives up in a constructive, context-sensitive interpretation in one position and divests them of

this interpretation in the other. These connections between sequent

calculus, constructive proof transformation, structural completeness, and

lem are xtures from our logical knowledge store, but they cannot

seriously be thought of as a network of consequences in some allegedly

correct logic.

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If I have conveyed my attitude successfully, then I will have inspired the

following objection:

You speak about an unwillingness to embrace any one or select few logical

systems because of an interest in understanding all such systems and how

their various properties relate to one another. But by making logical systems

into objects of investigation, you inhabit an ambient space in which you

conduct this investigation. It is legitimate to ask which logic is appropriate

in this space. What is your metalogic?

not share. I hope the explanation functions to aid the reader in seeing these

as misconceptions. If it does, then logical nihilism will be understood.

If we agree that as logicians we are interested, not in factual truth, but in

the relationships among phenomena and ideas, then the point of view we

must hasten to adopt should be the one that assists us in detecting and

understanding these relationships. Which relationships? Presumably, it has

been suggested, those that accurately pick out grounds and consequences,

those that answer the question What rests on what? But why stop here?

What sort of purpose is served by simultaneously disregarding factual states

of aairs and pledging allegiance to factual relations of ground and consequence? I have an intuitive sense of what a fact is; I have no such sense of

ontological grounding. Nor have I seen any reason to expect that the study

of logic can foster such a sense in me.

More appropriate seems to be a disregard for privileged relationships

similar to our disregard for truth. Suppose that we are interested in

detecting and understanding whatever relationships we can nd. Then

we might wish not to be wedded to any point of view. We might, instead,

try on a few hats until some interesting patterns appear where before there

seemed to have been only disorder. We might nd that one hat helps time

and again, but we will be well-advised not to forget that we are wearing it.

For if we never take it o, then we risk forever overlooking logical

relationships of considerable interest. Worse, we risk coming to think

of the relationships we can detect as in the world, preconditions of

thought, or some such thing.

Allow me to illustrate this point with an example. At least since Aristotle

it was expected that great complexity could be uncovered by a proper

analysis of the quantiers that occur in natural language. Notably, quantiers allow us to reason in succinct strokes about innite collections. About

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with consistency proofs, and he devised an intricate calculus with transnite axioms which allows proof gures involving quantiers to be

transformed (in principle) into gures without them. Hilberts idea was

that reasoning about this transformation (which by its nature requires

being attentive to constructibility) would expose the quantiers as innocuous parts of our mathematical language and also make perspicuous their

complexity.4

Hilbert conducted this investigation in the shadow of a great ideological

quarrel about the validity of various logical and mathematical principles. In

one quarter were dour skeptics who distrusted not only lem but other

forms of innitary reasoning. Chief among them was Kronecker, against

whom Hilbert (1922: 199201) railed because he despised . . . everything

that did not seem to him to be an integer. Less famously, but perhaps

more importantly, he faulted Kronecker also because it was far from his

practice to think further about what he did accept, about the integer

itself. In a similar vein, Hilbert observed that Poincar was from the start

convinced of the impossibility of a proof of the axioms of arithmetic

because of his belief that mathematical induction is a property of the

mind. Thus Hilbert viewed these gures as short-sighted, not only in

their rejection of mathematical techniques that he wished to defend, but

also in their belief that the manifest validity of a principle precludes any

hope of our analyzing it. Both attitudes, he cautioned, block the path to

analysis.5

After only a decade of partial successes, it was discovered that the sort of

consistency proofs Hilbert envisioned are not available. Specically, Gdel

(1931) demonstrated that no proof of the consistency of a reasonably strong

and consistent mathematical system could be carried out within that same

system. Typically it is the recursion needed to verify that the proof

transformation algorithm halts that cannot be so represented. This situation raises the question whether proving with such principles that a

system is consistent is not obscurum per obscurius.

In (1936) Gentzen made these circumstances much more precise by

providing a perspicuous proof of the consistency of PA. Gentzens proof is

carried out in the relatively weak theory PRA together with the relatively

strong principle of transnite induction up to the ordinal

4

5

For more on Hilberts view, see Professor Shapiros contribution to this volume.

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...n

0 sup 1 2

n<

induction through 0 is unprovable in PA. All of this is well known.

Most people familiar with the history of logic are aware that Gentzen

proved also that transnite induction to any ordinal beneath 0, any

...n

ordinal 1 2 for n N, is in fact provable in PA. But Gentzen pressed

even further. One can consider fragments of PA dened by restricting the

induction scheme to formulas with a maximum quantier complexity (call

these the theorys class of inductive formulas). Gentzen showed in (1943)

that the height of the least ordinal sucient for a proof of the consistency

of such a fragment corresponds with the quantier complexity of that

theorys class of inductive formulas, and that transnite induction to any

smaller ordinal is provable in the fragment. So the number of quantiers

over which mathematical induction is permitted equals the number of

exponentials needed to express the ordinal that measures the theorys

consistency strength. One quantier equals one exponential. Thus the

theory of constructive proof transformations has turned up a precise

mathematical analysis of the complexity of natural language quantiers, a

remarkable realization of Hilberts original ambition.

Why has so little attention been given to this result? The discussion of

Gentzens work has been dominated by debate about whether or not the

proof of PAs consistency can really shore up our condence in this theory.

To anyone who has witnessed a talk about ordinal analysis sabotaged by

this debate, the scene will be familiar: someone reminds us that the proof

uses a principle that extends the resources of PA. Someone else defends the

principle despite this fact and points out that in every other way the proof

is extremely elementary compared to the full strength of PA. Because the

two theories PA and PRAti06 are in this basic way incomparable, the

jury is out as to the gains made by reducing the consistency of one to that

of the other. From the point of view of logic, however, this is all a

distraction from what Gentzen actually achieved: he showed that the

question of the consistency even of elementary theories can be formulated

as a precise problem, and he showed that the solution to this problem

requires new perspectives and techniques and carries with it unexpected

insights about logical complexity. If philosophers did not harbor skepticism about PA, then they would likely not be interested in Gentzens result

6

The theory of primitive recursive arithmetic extended with a principle of transnite induction to 0.

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one way or the other. Their disinterest in the analogous results about

fragments of PA is just evidence that they harbor no skepticism about these

theories. We recognize Gentzens analysis of rst-order quantiers as one

of the deepest results in the history of logic as soon as, and no sooner than,

we stop believing.

I now wish to respond more directly to the objection that opened this

section. Of course it is true that in the study of logical systems one must

engage in reasoning of some sort or another. This reasoning can possibly

be described by one or a few select logical systems. But why should anyone

assume that this amount of reasoning is anything more than ways of

thinking that have become habitual for us because of their proven utility?

Further, why should anyone assume that there is any commonality among

the principles of inference we deploy at this level over and above the fact

that we do so deploy them?

To expand on the rst of these points, it may be helpful to draw an

analogy between rudimentary logic and set theory. Often it is thought that

decisions about which principles should govern the mathematical theory of

sets should be made by appealing to our intuitions about the set concept

and even about the cumulative hierarchy of sets. Doubtless such appeals

have gured centrally in the development of set theory. But the history of

the subject suggests that a complete inversion of this dynamic has also been

at play. Kanamori (2012: 1) explains:

[L]ike other elds of mathematics, [set theorys] vitality and progress have

depended on a steadily growing core of mathematical proofs and methods,

problems and results . . . from the beginning set theory actually developed

through a progression of mathematical moves, whatever and sometimes in

spite of what has been claimed on its behalf.

justications of, for example, the replacement axiom, Kanamori contends

that set theory in fact evolved primarily by absorption of successful

techniques, like transnite induction, devised to answer mathematical

questions. It was von Neumanns formal incorporation of this method

into set theory, as necessitated by his proofs, that brought in Replacement

(33). In similar fashion, the power set existence assumption, which originally had many detractors, was not nally embraced in the wake of any

argument or philosophical insight. It merely happened that iterated

cardinal exponentiation gured prominently in Kurepas proofs in innitary combinatorics, so that shedding deeper concerns the power set

operation became further domesticated (46). The upshot? Set theory is

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pivotal problems actually shaped the basic concepts and forged axiomatizations, these transmuting the very notion of set (1).

The point is not that we have no reliable intuitions about the set

concept, nor even that they should play no role in the development of

formal set theory. The point is that those intuitions have evolved partly in

response to our need to make sense of routinely counter-intuitive scientic

discoveries. If our intuitions have been at least partially, perhaps largely,

shaped by developments in logic, then the fact that we appeal to them on

occasion in order to rene our denitions and techniques or in order to

choose new axioms seems to lose its signicance. Rather than develop a

theory of sets that unpacks the fundamental truths we intuit, we have

developed an intuition about sets that makes sense of mathematically

interesting relations we have discovered.

I need not argue that rudimentary logic has taken shape in a similar

fashion rst because Professor Maddy has been persuasive on this same

point in her contribution to this volume and second because it does not

really matter for my purposes whether, in the end, this is true. I am

content simply to reveal the picture that holds us captive when we begin

to think about logic. For the objection we solicited was that if our modern

science of logic thrives on an unprejudiced consideration of the full gamut

of properties exhibited by logical systems and the relations among them, so

that issues of correctness do not arise, then it has only smuggled those

issues in through the back door, in the metalogic that makes the science

possible. But it is a preconception that science is made possible by

ahistorical norms of right reasoning. Once one considers the possibility

that logic may be studied with patterns of thought adapted to what we

learn along the way, it becomes hard to understand what special status the

rudimentary principles we nd ourselves reexively appealing to are supposed to have.

This brings us to the second of the points above, the idea that the

principles that have found their way into our basic toolkit must presumably have some features in common that led them there. Even if these

principles have been adopted over the course of time, the idea goes, there

must be some reason for their being adopted instead of other principles.

Perhaps this reason can be repackaged as an explanation of their being the

true logical principles.

In response to this suggestion, I wish only to expose the presupposition

driving it. Whoever said that there must be some property of logical

validity that some principles of inference enjoy and others do not? If we

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knew in advance of all evidence that some such property attains, then it

might be reasonable to look for it in whatever classes of inference rules we

happen to nd collected together. But we have no such foreknowledge

and, in fact, the evidence suggests that the arrangement of our toolkit is a

highly contingent matter. Are we not better o shedding this vestigial

belief that among all the intricate and interesting consequence relations out

there, some have a special normative status? Can we not get by with the

understanding that principles of inference with a rather wide range of

applicability dier from those suited only to specic inference tasks only in

having a wider range of applicability? Had this been the understanding

that our culture inherited, would anything we have learned from studying

logic lead us to question it?

At the end of Platos Phaedrus, Socrates explains that prior to investigating the essence of a thing, it is important to devise an extensionally

adequate denition of that thing so that we will be in agreement about

what we are investigating. This attitude seems right to me, and it seems to

me that the familiar debates about, for example, where logic leaves o and

mathematics begins violate this principle unabashedly. Suppose it were

clear to everyone that some but not all patterns of reasoning are inescapable and furthermore that it were easy to tell which these are. Then we

would have good reason to label this logic in distinction to patterns of

reasoning that we all recognize as the province of some special science or

particular application. It would be reasonable to wonder what accounts for

the privileged role that these principles play in our lives. As things stand,

however, many of us seem instead to assume that there simply must be

patterns of reasoning that dier in kind from others. Typically, our minds

are already made up about the psychological or metaphysical circumstances

that underwrite this dierence. This is what Wittgenstein stressed with his

observation that the crystalline purity of logic was not the result of an

investigation, that instead it was a requirement (Wittgenstein 1953:

107). Driven by this assumption, we thrash about looking for some

extensional denition that we can hang our ready-made distinction on.

These denitions are simply unconvincing on their own. They can satisfy

only people who cannot tolerate the thought that there is no line to

be drawn.

When Gentzen began his study of logic, he parted ways with his

predecessors7 by not rst dening logical validity and then seeking out

logical principles that accord with that denition. He simply observed that

7

There are historical precedents for Gentzens attitude: Aristotle, Condillac, Mill.

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logic he said only that it comprises the types of inference that are

continually used in all parts of mathematics (193435: 68). This homely

denition set Gentzen on a task of empirically tallying the techniques used

in mathematical proofs, ignoring those that are unique to geometry,

arithmetic, and other specic branches of mathematics.8 Of course such

a survey is by no means guaranteed to be exhaustively executable, and it

was Gentzens good fortune that his subject matter happens to exhibit few

instances.

One should not, however, write o his success as purely a matter of

luck. Gentzen devised an ingenious argument to the eect that his tally

was in fact exhaustive. This involved constructing an innovative type of

logical calculus that is at once formal and patterned on the informal

reasoning recorded in mathematical proofs. This scheme enabled him to

do more than construct a serial tally of proof techniques, because the

inference types identiable with it are extremely few and systematically

arranged so that one can be sure that none have been overlooked. After all,

if there are any inference types that went unnoticed, then for that very

reason they fail to meet the criterion of ubiquity in mathematical practice

that Gentzen imposed.

This empirical completeness proof bears little semblance to familiar

conceptions of logical completeness and is interesting for this reason.

I mention it now only to draw attention to the fact that while Gentzens

denition of predicate logic does pick out a well-dened body of inferences,9 he did not concoct the denition in the service of a preconceived

notion of logical validity. He did not, for example, rst stipulate a semantic

notion of logical consequence based on his own intuitions and then ask

whether his calculi adequately capture this notion. Gentzen simply proposed that the intuitions guiding mathematicians in their research would

be worth isolating and studying, and he therefore modeled a logical

calculus on the inferences mathematicians actually make.10

Of course mathematicians also deploy proof techniques that are less

universal, and the only observable dierence between these and the ones

that meet Gentzens criterion of ubiquity is their relative infrequency.

Mathematicians do not report a feeling that arithmetical reasoning is less

8

9

10

This is explicit in (Gentzen 193435) and even more vividly depicted in section 4 of (Gentzen 1936).

Actually Gentzen vacillated over the inclusion of the principle of mathematical induction,

ultimately deciding against it.

For details of this conception of completeness, see section 3 of (Franks 2010).

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valid or valid in some other way than general reasoning, and even if they

did, we should be inclined to ignore these reports if they did not reect in

mathematical practice. For these reasons Gentzen could never bring himself to describe the distinction between inference rules that appear in the

predicate calculus and those that belong specically to arithmetic as a

distinction between the logical and the non-logical. He only thought that

he had designated a logical system, one that by design encodes some of the

inferences he was bound to make when reasoning about it but whose

logical interest derives solely from what that reasoning brings to light.

Contrast this with one of the more famous attempts to demarcate the

logical: Quines defense of rst-order quantication theory. Second-order

quantication, branching quantiers, higher set theory, and such can each

be dissociated from logic for failing to have sound and complete proof

systems, for violating the compactness and basic cardinality theorems, and

other niceties. There is even a (1969) theorem, due to Lindstrm, to the

eect that any logic stronger than rst-order quantication theory will fail

to exhibit either compactness or the downward LwenheimSkolem theorem. Second-order logic, Quine concluded, is just mathematics in

sheeps clothing because by using second-order quantiers one is already

committed to non-trivial cardinality claims (Quine 1986: 66).

How true will these remarks ring to someone who doesnt know in

advance that they are expected to distinguish logical and mathematical

reasoning? Quines consolation is telling: We can still condone the more

extravagant reaches of set theory, he writes, as a study merely of logical

relations among hypotheses (Quine 1991: 243). I should have thought that

this accolade, especially in light of the intricate sorts of logical relations that

set-theoretical principles bear to one another and that set theory bears to

other systems of hypotheses, would be used rather to enshrine a discipline

squarely within the province of logic. For if we never suspected that among

the plenitude of logical relations are a privileged few that capture the true

inter-dependencies of propositions, what else would we mean by logic

than just the sort of study Quine described?

As to the properties that characterize rst-order quantication theory, it

should now go without saying that from our perspective Lindstrms

theorem, far from declaring certain formal investigations extra-logical,

exemplies logic. So too do results of Henkin (1949) and others to the

eect that second-order quantication theory and rst-order axiomatic set

theory each are complete with respect to validity over non-standard

models. For a nal example, I can think of none better than the recent

result of Fan Yang that Vnnens system of dependence logic (with

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branching quantiers), extended with intuitionistic implication (the context sensitive and constructive operator that results from the denial of lem),

is equivalent to full second-order quantication theory (Yang 2013).

Wittgenstein (108) expected his readers to recoil from the suggestion

that we shed our preconceived ideas by turning our whole examination

around. Rather than impose our intuitions about logic on our investigations by asking which principles are truly logical, let us rst ask if a close

look at the various inference principles we are familiar with suggests that

some stand apart from others. If some do, then let us determine what it is

that sets them apart. But the question he puts in our mouths But in that

case doesnt logic altogether disappear? suggests that we know deep

down that our empirical investigation is bound to come up empty. Various

criteria will allow us to demarcate dierent systems of inference rules to

study, but when none of these indicate more than a formal or happenstance association we will nd ourselves hard pressed to explain why any

one of them demarcates the logical.

I am more optimistic than Wittgenstein. The conclusion that I expect

my reader to draw from the absence of any clear demarcation of the logical

is not that there is no such thing as logic. Let us agree instead that no one

part of what logicians study, contingent and evolving as this subject matter

is, should be idolized at the expense of everything else. Logic outstrips our

preconceptions both in its range and in its depth.

4. Conclusion

Traditional debates about the scope and nature of logic do not do justice to

the details of its maturation. In asking whether certain inferential practices

are properly logical or more aptly viewed as part of the special sciences, for

example, we ignore how modern logic has been shaped by developments in

extra-logical culture. Similarly, questions about whether logic principally

traces the structure of discursive thought or the structure of an impersonal

world presuppose a logical subject matter unaected by shifts in human

interest and knowledge.

I mean, by saying this, not just to suggest that the principles of

rudimentary logic are contingent, not dierent in kind from principles

that we use only some of the time or very rarely and only for specic tasks.

I do urge this attitude. But the caution against mistaking our default,

multi-purpose habits of reasoning for something monumental is only

preparation for a second, more valuable reaction. One should warm up

to the trend of identifying logic with the specialized scientic study of the

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relationships among various systems and their properties. This is, after all,

how logicians use the word. Our preference to ignore questions about a

logics correctness stems not only from an interest in exploring the properties of possible logical systems in full generality but also from an appreciation, fostered by the study of logic, that no one such system can have all

the properties that might be useful and interesting.

In closing, let me re-emphasize that the idea of a true logic, one that

traces the actual inter-dependencies among propositions, is unscathed by

all I have said. Part of the diculty in questioning that idea is that it is a

moving target: argue against it, you feel it again in that very argument;

close the door, it will try the window. But this very circumstance only

underlines the fact that the idea is a presupposition, nothing that

emerges from any discovery made in the study of logic. For the same

reason that we can marshal no evidence against it, we see that if we can

manage to forget it our future discoveries will not reveal to us that we

have erred.

This realization, coupled with the observation that a xation on the true

logical relationships out there hinders the advancement of logic, certainly

recommends nihilism on practical grounds. The question that remains is

whether we are capable of sustaining a point of view with no direct

argumentative support.

The proper antidote to our reexive tendencies will surely extend an

analysis of modern logic and include a rehearsal of the subjects history.

I cannot oer that here.11 I can only mention that logic as a discipline has

evolved often in deance of preconceived notions of what the true logical

relations are. Logic has been repeatedly reconceived, not as a fallout from

our better acquaintance with its allegedly eternal nature, but in response to

the changing social space in which we reason. There is reason neither to

expect nor to hope that logic will not be continually reconceived. Such

reconceptions have been and likely will again be fundamental, so that what

makes the moniker logic apt across these diverse conceptions is not an

invariable essence.

In these pages I have indicated instead logics modern contours, highlighting the fact that the deepest observations logic has to oer come with

no ties to preconceptions about its essence. The richness of logic comes

into view only when we stop looking for such an essence and focus instead

on the accumulation of applications and conceptual changes that have

11

For the details of the evolution of one central concept that of logical completeness in the past

two centuries, see (Franks 2013).

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the best practical antidote to the view of it that we have inherited.

In his Logic of 1780, Condillac wrote: People would like to have had

philosophers presiding over the formation of languages, believing that

languages would have been better made. It would, then, have required

other philosophers than the ones we know (2378). Our interest in a

better made language is an interest in a language that traces a pre-existing

logical structure. Like Condillac, Wittgenstein warned that presupposing

such a structure fosters dismissive attitudes about the languages we have:

When we believe that we must nd that order, must nd the ideal, in our

actual language, we become dissatised with what are ordinarily called

propositions, words, signs (105). When we stop believing for a

moment, as the discipline of logic demands we do, the structures we nd

immanent in our several, actual languages command our interest more

than anything we could have devised in the service of our ideal.

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chapter 7

of mathematical logic

Mark Steiner

(Wittgenstein 2009), RFM = Remarks on the foundations of mathematics

(Wittgenstein 1978), LFM = Wittgensteins lectures on the foundations of

mathematics, Cambridge, 1939 (Wittgenstein 1976), PG = Philosophical

grammar (Wittgenstein and Rhees 1974).)

By the end of the 1930s, Wittgensteins thought on mathematics had

undergone a major, if often undetected, change.1 The change had to do

with the relationship between arithmetic, including elementary number

theory and geometry,2 and empirical regularities, including behavioral

regularities that are induced by training. During the rst part of the

decade, Wittgenstein continued to regard mathematical theorems as akin

to grammatical rules. As such, there was no need to seek a general theory of

mathematical applicability, as Frege did.3 The applications, he repeated,

take care of themselves. (E.g. PG, III, 15: 308.) After all, grammatical

rules have no applications outside grammar itself, being norms, not

descriptions of nonlinguistic objects or processes. This does not imply,

to be sure, that the environment in which language operates has no eect

on which rules we use in language to describe the environment. In a

1939 lecture at Cambridge (LFM XX: 194) Wittgenstein remarked there

is, in all the languages we know, a word for all but not for all but one.

1

2

In this chapter, for the most part, I will not address the complicated question of to what extent

Wittgensteins ideas were intended to describe advanced mathematics, and to what extent he actually

succeeded in describing advanced mathematics. Hence, we will focus upon arithmetic and

elementary number theory, and Euclidean geometry.

As Dummett points out (Dummett 1991b), for arithmetic, Freges theory of application involved (a)

rendering all arithmetic statements in second-order logic, universally quantied, where the predicate

letters range over concepts. Then to apply an arithmetic proposition, all one needs to do is to

perform universal instantiation, replacing each predicate variable with a constant predicate that

expresses a particular concept. To apply arithmetic to empirical situations, for example, all we

need to do is instantiate empirical predicates for the universally quantied second-order variables.

Note that mathematical applicability is in this account the same thing as logical applicability.

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He certainly meant to say that this is true because in our world it is most

convenient to have a universal quantier, not because logic is itself empirical.

I believe that this part of what he says there, though not all of it, can be

attributed to him well before 1939.4 Even in 1939, Wittgenstein told the class:

To say A reality corresponds to 2 2 = 4 is like saying A reality

corresponds to two. It is like saying a reality corresponds to a rule, which

would come to saying: It is a useful rule, most useful we couldnt do

without it for a thousand reasons, not just one.5 (LFM: 249)

Such a view of mathematics places it on a par with the rules of logic. Both are

grammatical rules, the dierence being which vocabulary the rules govern.

This is not to say, with Frege and Russell, that mathematics is logic. The

rules of logic are used to prove mathematical theorems, to be sure, but this

does not make mathematics into logic: logic is used in every discourse.

During the period 19367, Wittgenstein began to study in earnest the

concept of rule-following which was to loom so large in his Philosophical

investigations. The connection between rules and regularities (Regelmigkeit)

becomes manifest to those who study his notebooks.

Rules are norms which evaluate what happens or what is done by people;

regularities are what happen most of the time, or what people do most of

the time when they are trained the same way. Rules label the deviations

from these regularities mistakes, abnormalities, perturbations6 (in

4

This is enormously important: this is the sort of fact which characterizes our logic. All but one

seems to us a complex idea all, thats a simple idea. But we can imagine a tribe where all but

one is the primitive idea. And this sort of thing would entirely change their outlook on logic.

This further idea, expressed, as I say, in 1939, I would not want to attribute to Wittgenstein in the

early 1930s (which is what I am discussing here) and I will discuss it below, in the context of (what

I will call) his revolution of 1937. It is reminiscent of Nelson Goodmans relativism concerning

natural kinds (grue).

The idea that the relationship between the empirical world and mathematical propositions is that the

former makes the latter useful is not replaced in 1939, but augmented by a much deeper connection

between mathematical propositions and empirical reality, which we will discuss later.

I dont mean to say that the mathematical technique of perturbation theory is normative. I bring

the subject of perturbations in because Wittgenstein himself does:

Suppose we observed that all stars move in circles. Then All stars move in circles is an

experiential proposition, a proposition of physics Suppose we later nd out they are not

quite circles. We might say then, All stars move in circles with deviations or All stars move

in circles with small deviations. (LFM IV: 43)

If it is a calculation we adopt it as a calculation that is, we make a rule out of it. We make

the description of it the description of a norm we say, This is what we are going to

compare things with. It gives us a method of describing experiments, by saying that they

deviate from this by so much. (LFM X: 99)

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Mark Steiner

physics) and the like. There are a number of possible explanations of the

utility of stigmatizing deviations in this way, at least in the areas of language,

logic, and mathematics.7 Society has an interest in rendering certain practices as uniform as possible, and adding negative and positive incentives

may do the trick.8 This account is plausible in the areas of language and

mathematics, which is our topic here.

The so-called rule-following paradox, as Wittgenstein himself labels it

in PI, is (and is intended to be) a paradox only for academic philosophers.

I9 use this term to refer to those who take the goal of philosophy to

explain10 human practices like rule-following i.e., almost all philosophers

besides Wittgenstein. The explanations emerge from diverse philosophies,

from mentalism to physicalism, but all agree that there must be some fact

about a person, beyond the regularities of his behavior, in virtue of which

we can say he is following a specic rule at a specic time and not another.

The explanation that follows here follows that of Saul Kripke, though,

as will become clear, it diers from his in some crucial details.11 Kripke

attributes a skeptical argument concerning rule-following to Wittgenstein, and has drawn much criticism on this account. I agree with Kripke

that Wittgenstein did construct a skeptical argument, but I hold that the

argument is supposed to be valid only for academic philosophy, as distinct

from Wittgensteins own philosophy.

7

Wittgenstein never attempted to found an account of ethics on this basis there are regularities in

the way people treat one another, and moral norms arise from stigmatizing deviational behavior

and it is an interesting question why.

When someone whom I am afraid of orders me to continue the series, I act quickly, with perfect

certainty, and the lack of reasons does not trouble me. (PI: 212) I believe that this passage reects

actual occurrences in Wittgensteins life. After the publication of the Tractatus, Wittgenstein left

academics and went into school teaching. Ray Monk (Monk 1991, pages 195196, 232233) reports

that Wittgenstein used to inict corporal punishment on his pupils if he thought they were not

applying themselves to the arithmetic lessons he was giving them. Not enough has been said about

the connection between the rule-following arguments in Philosophical investigations and

Wittgensteins short-lived experience as a schoolteacher, which came to an end, when one of his

pupils lost consciousness as a result of being struck by Wittgenstein.

Wittgenstein himself referred to academic philosophy in a letter, but not in his published or (so

far as I know) unpublished works. Felix Mhlhlzer draws my attention to the following passage

from Zettel, 299:

We say: If you really follow the rule in multiplying, it MUST come out the same. Now,

when this is merely the slightly hysterical style of university talk, we have no need to be

particularly interested. . .

10

11

Wittgenstein condemns this kind of philosophy in one of the most famous passages in Philosophical

investigations: We must do away with explanation and description must take its place.

(Philosophical investigations, 109; in the 4th edition this is translated: All explanation must

disappear. . .)

Cf. (Kripke 1982).

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Since it turns out that there is no such fact which can serve as an

explanatory criterion for rule-following, academic philosophers are faced

with a paradox since it now follows that there is no such thing as rulefollowing at all.12 This could be considered a skeptical argument, though an

ad hominem one.13

Let us now examine the arguments Kripke brings to support the

contention (on behalf of Wittgenstein) that there is no fact in virtue of

which somebody is following a rule. Kripke adduces two arguments

for this, of which only one is actually in Wittgenstein. This is the

normative argument: to ascribe rule-following to someone is to assert

that someone is acting according to a norm, i.e. following the rule

correctly as we say. The gap between is and ought then implies

that no fact or state of the person at time t could be identied with

following the rule at t. The situation is dierent in other cases of

explanation and reduction in science.14 Disposition terms (e.g. solubility) can in principle be reduced to state descriptions of a substance,

which actually replace the disposition term. This is the so-called place

holder theory of dispositional terms. Given the normative nature of

rule-following, i.e. its social nature, it applies to what interests society:

behavior. Thus it cannot be reduced to, or identied with, but only

correlated with, an underlying state description either of the mind or of

the brain; that is Wittgensteins argument.

Kripke has another argument, the so-called innity argument,

according to which any state of the brain,15 for example, is necessarily

nite; while rule-following commits the trainee to innitely many

12

13

14

15

The case is formally similar to Freges foundation of arithmetic upon logic. When Russells

paradox showed that Freges logic is inconsistent, Frege overreacted by saying arithmetic

totters.

Kripke compares Wittgensteins skeptical argument to that of David Hume, and the comparison

is just, but not in the way that Kripke imagines: both Wittgenstein and Hume use skeptical

arguments to dispose of various kinds of academic philosophy, without themselves being skeptics.

As I have argued in the text above, Humes skeptical argument disposes of necessary connections

between events, which are used in rationalist explanations of causal reasoning. It is a skeptical

argument only for them, because they hold that, without the necessary connections there is no

causal reasoning at all. See here (Steiner 2009: 26 ).

I am here oering my own opinions, not those of Wittgenstein. In fact, I am not at all sure that

Wittgenstein distinguished clearly between dispositions in science and abilities in humans, since in

Philosophical investigations, 193194, he claims that academic philosophers make the same kind of

mistakes in discussing the abilities of humans with dispositions of machines. See also Philosophical

investigations, 182, where he compares to t (said of bodies in holes) and to be able, to

understand, said of humans.

As my colleague Oron Shagrir has cogently argued, Kripke seems to be thinking of a brain state as

the physical realization of a nite digital computer.

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applications of the rule as in the rule add two. Not only is this

argument not in Wittgenstein, it couldnt be, as I will argue below.16

The rule-following paradox is, then, a paradox only for academic

philosophy. For Wittgenstein himself there is no paradox to begin with.

For paradox to loom, our ordinary discourse about some topic must be

seen to lead to catastrophe. For example, Zenos paradoxes began with

ordinary conceptions of motion and showed that they lead to inconsistency, or to the conclusion that no motion is possible. Wittgensteins

account of rule-following involves the claim that all rules are supervenient

upon regularities. In the case of the rule add 2 which surfaces in

Philosophical investigations how do we know that our trainee is following

this rule if he manages to go 2, 4, 6, 8, . . ., 1000 or another rule which

says that after 1000 one starts adding 4? We dont know, but our

experience, both as students AND as teachers, is that almost all who

produce this series go on the same17 way: to 1,002 and not to 1,004.

(The claim is not that we reect upon these regularities that would be

a misinterpretation but that the regularities make our practice in this

regard possible and coherent.) This regularity allows us to attribute the rule

add two (the rule which is hardened from just this regularity) with

great condence to our trainee, and to call his response erroneous or

perhaps provocative if he says next 1,004. (We may lter out frivolous

responses by warning the trainee that he will be severely sanctioned if he

doesnt give the right answer.) Wittgenstein expressed this idea quite

clearly in 1939:

Because in innumerable cases it is enough to give a picture or a section of

the use, we are justied in using this as a criterion of understanding, not

making further tests, etc. (LFM I: 21)

seems to regard as a criterion that our trainee is following the rule 2, if he

16

17

In fairness, however, I must add that my own presentation of Wittgensteins normative argument

that there is no fact in virtue of which somebody is following a rule, also improves the argument

somewhat. The distinction I draw between disposition terms which are in principle reducible to

state descriptions and rule-following ascriptions which are not is not in Wittgenstein. On the

contrary, Wittgenstein tends to see rule-following as precisely a disposition, but denies that

disposition terms are reducible to underlying state descriptions. Since I think Wittgenstein is

mistaken here, not only about the issue itself, but also about how to make his own argument

(a malady which many philosophers are prone to), I have made the necessary adjustments. Kripkes

innity argument, on the other hand, is one which in fact contradicts basic Wittgensteinian

insights and has no place even in an improved Wittgensteinian corpus.

I will deal below, page 133, with the objection that there is no objective meaning to the same and

hence that the claim is circular.

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goes on to give the same responses that we would give, i.e. agreement

with society. On the contrary, society is itself predicated on empirical

regularities of its members. The criterion, then, is simply that our trainee

has successfully followed the rule 2 up to now. It is true that without

behavioral regularity upon training, this criterion would have no point.

But to apply the everyday criterion, one does not have to reect on this

regularity, or even know about it.

Wittgenstein argues in Philosophical investigations that the notion of a

rule and that of regularity are picked up simultaneously as a result of our

common training, so that there is no circularity in saying that a rule is

founded on regularity even though detecting a regularity requires an ability

of ours to follow rules. The same training teaches the concept of the

same. For this reason our previous statement that People trained the

same act the same is not susceptible to skeptical doubt.18

In the passages of Philosophical investigations we are discussing, though

not necessarily in RFM, Wittgenstein is employing a very simple concept

of applying a rule. We may understand Wittgenstein as saying that

applying a rule is simply following it (correctly). Since rules are grounded

in regularities, it is the ability to continue the series by doing what almost

everybody does when placed in the same situation, which grounds the

ability to apply the rule. In principle, there is no dierence between rules

of logic and grammatical rules. The hardness of the logical must is a kind

of projective superstition, much as the superstition that Hume thought he

had exposed in the idea there is necessary connection between causes and

their eects. It is similar to the superstition of thinking that when one is

reading he is having a characteristic experience of being inuenced or

being guided by the text. (PI, 170.)

Since rules are norms, there is no equivalence between saying that

somebody is following a rule and saying that his behavior falls under the

underlying regularity. Saying that somebody is following a rule is simply

evaluating his behavior, not describing it even though the evaluation

results from observing his previous behavior and responding to it in light

of our own training in following rules, and the regularities that are

instilled by that training. In other words, we can describe the criteria

that a teacher is using to evaluate the students behavior as successfully

following a rule, even though the teacher may not be aware of these

criteria. In fact one of the purposes of Wittgensteins analysis in

18

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view of philosophy as being purely descriptive.

To the question How does the rule follower himself know that he is

following a rule Wittgenstein answers that the exclamation Now I can go

on is often not a description at all, certainly not of his own mental state,19

though Wittgenstein does not deny that there are such states. It is certainly

no form of self-knowledge, and given what Wittgenstein says in On

certainty (1974), the conviction on the part of the rule follower who

exclaims Now I can go on actually rules out knowledge.20

In summation, logic consists of rules governing the use of logical

expressions like and, or, if. . .then, everything, etc. As Wittgenstein himself put it, even in the 1940s, The rules of logical inference are

rules of the language-game. (RFM, VII: 401) There is nothing akin to

intuition, seeing, and the like in following or producing a logical

argument. Instead we have regularities induced by linguistic training,

which in hindsight are interpreted, or misinterpreted, by us as some kind

of determination. Deviation from this regularity is labeled by society as

incorrect reasoning. Wittgensteins aim is to demystify logic and logical

necessity, just as Humes aim was to demystify causation by eliminating

the alleged necessary connection between events. The image of logic as a

kind of super-physics is what needs to be debunked. Philosophical investigations contains a number of references to this mystication of logic:

89. With these considerations we nd ourselves facing the problem: In what

way is logic something sublime?

For logic seemed to have a peculiar depth, a universal signicance.

Logic lay, it seemed, at the foundation of all the sciences.

97. Thinking is surrounded by a nimbus. Its essence, logic, presents an

order: namely, the a priori order of the world; that is, the order of possibilities, which the world and thinking must have in common.

108. . . .The preconception of crystalline purity [in logic] can only be

removed by turning our whole inquiry around. (One might say: the inquiry

must be turned around, but on the pivot of our real need.)

Concerning the law of contradiction (actually the law of noncontradiction) he stated:

19

20

PI, 151. I understand the Private Language Argument of Wittgenstein as saying that what is

called referring to our mental states is more like expressing them than naming them.

Can one say Where there is no doubt there is no knowledge either?

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Let us go back to the law of contradiction. We saw last time that there is a

great temptation to regard the truth of the law of contradiction as something which follows from the meaning of negation and of logical product

and so on. Here the same point arises again. (LFM: 211).

since logic itself is the criterion of what follows.21 The term follows from

the meaning, is incoherent, since meaning is tied to use, and it does not

make sense to speak of following from use. The temptation of which

Wittgenstein speaks here, is the attraction of the academic philosopher (and

the early Wittgenstein, of course) to a covert Platonism. Wittgensteins own

demystied view is that logical laws are a special case of rules that are based

on regularities of speakers of language i.e. rules of grammar. As in the

general case of rule following, in which the rules are grounded in regularities,

and nothing more, so are logical laws the application of training in rules to

new cases.

In another lecture, Wittgenstein said:

If we give a word one particular partial use, then we are inclined to go on

using it in one particular way and not in another. Not could be explained

by saying such things as Theres not a penny here or saying to a child

Must not have sugar (preventing him). We havent said everything but we

have laid down part of the practice. Once this is done, we are inclined

when we go on to adopt one step and not another for example, double

negation being equivalent to armation. (LFM: 242243)

We can say, then, that logical laws arise in a two step process. First, the

child is trained in the use of words like not. The training induces a

regularity in this use, a regularity which society reinforces as correct

usage. Within this regularity, however, there arises a subregularity, when

the rules for using not are to be applied to special cases like double

negation. Most trainees nd themselves using double negation as they

would armation. This regularity is then put in the archives as a law

of logic.

Something similar happens in arithmetic, according to Wittgenstein. In

applying the rules for division to 1/7, most procient students nd themselves repeating the sequence 0.142857142857. . .22 In fact, most procient

students in dividing m by n always get a nite decimal or a repeating

decimal. This subregularity is then converted into a rule in itself, a law or

21

22

This is a point that Quine also made during the very same period. See (Quine 1936a), reprinted in

(Quine 1976).

See LFM, p. 123.

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with Wittgensteins arguments in PI (186.) that rule-following is

grounded, and grounded only, in the actual behavioral regularities of

individuals and group. The covert Platonist wishes to say more: that, for

example, there is an objective fact of the matter by which the theorem

about repeating decimals is determined, in some further perhaps

metaphysical sense by the rules for division, once they are accepted.

The search for a fact like that, however, Wittgenstein has argued, collapses

into paradox.

It would be an error, however, to conclude that the only dierence

between arithmetic and logic is that they control dierent vocabularies:

that arithmetic controls numerical terms and logic controls sentential

connectives and quantiers. The year 1937 saw a revolution in Wittgensteins view of arithmetic, and mathematics in general: arithmetic propositions remained rules as always it was the nature of the rules that

changed. Mathematical rules were to govern nonlinguistic practices as well

as linguistic ones.

Arithmetic propositions, in Wittgensteins post-1937 thought, are rules

that govern our practice of counting. Geometrical propositions are

rules that govern our practice of measuring.23 Not only does the application no longer take care of itself, it is the very heart of the mathematical

proposition. The canonical application is now precisely the regularity of

counting or measuring which is hardened into a rule. The applications of

arithmetic and geometry are outside mathematics; they are empirical

applications. The applications of logic remain, as before, within logic: an

application of modus ponens, for example, is simply an inference of the

form If A, then B; A; therefore B. To see the dierence between these

two kinds of applications, consider an example Wittgenstein loves to use:

the game of chess. When we apply the rules of chess, we are only playing

chess. The rules can apply to innitely many chess sets, which are

unlimited in their physical composition and also shapes. However,

although chess is essentially a war game between two kingdoms, there

are no applications of chess outside the game itself, even to war itself. The

more abstract theory of games, which is real mathematics, does have such

external applications.

Wittgenstein even ventured the idea in 1939 that set theory is not

mathematics at all, because it has only imaginary applications. In the

23

This is not Wittgensteins only interpretation of geometry: see (Mhlhlzer 2001) for another one.

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of a mathematical concept, is determined by the application.24

In this scheme, proofs bring the mathematician to convert regularities to

rules. Wittgenstein came up with the idea that they do so by being

schematic pictures of these nonmathematical regularities, something like

owcharts in computer science or schematic diagrams in electronics:

You might say that the relation between a proof and an experiment is that

the proof is a picture of the experiment, and is as good as the experiment.

(LFM, VII: 73)

that determine whether previous rules have been followed. (Since, by

Wittgensteins rule-following considerations, there is no fact by which

the previous rule has been followed, the idea as such does not harbor

any contradiction. For Wittgenstein, the rule-following paradox is

not only not a paradox, but it bolsters his account of mathematics.)

Consider again the theorem that:

1/7 = 0.142857142857 and so on ad innitum (a repeating decimal)

One might think that the innite expansion of 1/7 is determined25 from

the beginning by the rules for division that are learned in school (or were

once learned in school). But the rules cannot outstrip the regularities that

are their basis, and the regularities, being regularities of human beings

cannot go on forever, and in fact, at some nite point, the regularities will

peter out: the deviation will increase to the extent that no rule could be

founded on human practice.

Mathematics to the rescue of mathematics: the theorem gives a schematic picture of doing the division. Using a pigeonhole principle it is

clear that the algorithm will run out of remainders, and thus that the

24

Wittgenstein asserts:

It is the use outside mathematics, and so the meaning of the signs, that makes the sign-game

into mathematics. (RFM, V: 2)

Here we have the extreme anti-formalist statement that the applications of mathematics give

meaning to its language.

In case the message has been missed, Wittgenstein relays it again at once:

What does it mean to obtain a new concept of the surface of a sphere? How is it then a concept

of the surface of a sphere? Only insofar as it can be applied to real spheres. (RFM, V: 4)

25

and some of them he might regard here as innocuous. See PI, 189. I thank Felix Mhlhlzer for this

reference. Compare also LFM, p. 28.

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rst remainder, 3, will recur, and thus that the whole cycle will start again.

This induces the mathematician and the rest of us to label as wrong any

calculation which does not lead to a repeating decimal; it overrules the

nave use of the school rules. This kind of proof is characteristic of

mathematics:

It is just the same with 1:7 = 0.142857142. . . You say, This must give

so-and-so.

Suppose it doesnt.

Suppose what doesnt?

Here I am adopting a new criterion for seeing whether I divide this

properly and that is what is marked by the word must. But it is a

criterion which I need not have adopted. For just as bricks measured with

all exactness might give a curve (space is curved), so 1 : 7 = 0. . . . looked

through with all exactness might give something else. But it hardly ever does

[my italics i.e., we have noticed an empirical regularity]. And now Ive

made up a new criterion for the correctness of the division. And I have

made it up because it has always worked. If dierent people got dierent

things, Id have adopted something dierent. (LFM XIII: 129)

calculations with very large numbers as simple applications of the rules

for the operations which we learned on small numbers:

We extend our ideas from calculations with small numbers to ones with

large numbers in the same kind of way as we imagine that, if the distance

from here to the sun could be measured with a footrule, then we should get

the very result that, as it is, we get in a quite dierent way. That is to say, we

are inclined to take the measurement of length with a footrule as a model

even for the measurement of the distance between two stars. (RFM,

Part III: 147)

ambivalent attitude towards nitism:26

If one were to justify a nitist position in mathematics, one should say just

that in mathematics innite does not mean anything huge. To say

Theres nothing innite is in a sense nonsensical and ridiculous. But it

does make sense to say we are not talking of anything huge here. (LFM: 255)

26

By nitism Wittgenstein always means what is now called strict nitism, according to which it

is incorrect or false to assert There are innitely many natural numbers.

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We now can see where Kripke went wrong in attributing the innity

argument to Wittgenstein. The argument was supposed to defeat the idea

that following a rule is identiable with some (perhaps dispositional)

state of the brain. When we say that somebody is following the rule 2

or even plus, we are saying that he is committed to innitely many

(correct) responses to the question, What is . . . 2? But the brain, being

nite, cannot produce innitely many answers to questions of this kind.

Kripke discusses a number of possible responses to this argument and nds

fault with them all. He does not realize, however, that the major premise of

his argument is in direct conict with a basic feature of Wittgensteins

account of arithmetic: the idea that adopting an algorithm like plus

determines in some physical, mental, or metaphysical way ones response

to innitely many exercises is nothing but covert Platonism, in many ways

worse than the Platonism of objects.

These reections reect on the application of logic to arithmetic. By the

application of logic to arithmetic I mean simply the substitution of

arithmetic propositions in the variables (or schematic letters, if you prefer)

of logical rules or truths. Consider the law of the excluded middle, a law

of the Propositional Calculus, p_ " p. An application of this would

be: Either the Goldbach conjecture is true or its negation is true. The

Goldbach conjecture states that every even number greater than 2 is the

sum of two primes (e.g. 8 = 5 3). The conjecture has been shown to hold

for very large numbers, and there are corollaries of the conjecture which

have been proved. But no proof of the full conjecture has been given,

though most mathematicians are persuaded that it is true. (There are

pseudo-probabilistic arguments for this, based on the fact that as the

numbers get larger, the probability that a given number can be partitioned into two primes rises monotonically, since the number of the

partitions themselves rises.)

The intuitionists hold that it is a form of metaphysics to assert the law

of excluded middle for such a case. To assert it here is to presuppose that

the natural numbers form a closed totality, or what Aristotle called an

actual innite, so that we can say that either there is, or is not, a

counterexample to the Goldbach conjecture in this closed totality. If we

think of the natural numbers through the metaphor of becoming,

rather than being, then the present absence of a proof or of a refutation of the Goldbach conjecture means only that the truth of the

conjecture is not determined, and the law of the excluded middle cannot

be asserted. As an invalid rule of inference, it is thus banished from

classical mathematics.

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Wittgenstein agrees entirely with the Intuitionist critique of the law of

excluded middle. For the Goldbach conjecture to be true in the sense of

classical mathematics, we have to say that the operations of arithmetic

determine in advance that every even number, no matter how large, can be

partitioned into two primes. Wittgenstein agrees that this is not mathematics, but metaphysics: a statement like this cannot be grounded on the

behavioral regularities inculcated in grade school. A statement true of all

the natural numbers can be based only upon a theorem which lays down

a new norm (on the basis of a proof ) which labels any deviation from

the Goldbach conjecture a mistake. Hence, Wittgenstein agrees with the

Intuitionists that one cannot regard the law of excluded middle for the

Goldbach conjecture as a theorem of mathematics. It cannot be regarded

as the hardening of a regularity.

How, then, are we to square this with Wittgensteins explicit disavowal

of Intuitionism (Intuitionism is all bosh, he said, entirely (LFM

XXIV: 237))?

There are two explanations available. The rst has to do with the

connection of Intuitionism with . . . intuition. Brouwer writes as if the

numbers themselves are mental constructions, and the law of excluded

middle does not apply to mental constructions, which can never produce a

closed totality. Wittgenstein is an implacable opponent of the concept of

mathematical intuition he believes, among other things, that it has no

explanatory value, and hence its only rationale fails. From this point of

view, Intuitionism is a form of mentalism, the other side of the coin from

Platonism. Both are unacceptable foundations of mathematics.

It should be noted, however, that Michael Dummett (Dummett 1975)

championed a non-metaphysical version of Intuitionism, one which has

little or nothing to do with mathematical intuition. According to this point

of view, which is presumably heavily inuenced by Wittgensteins

thought, truth in general is associated with assertibility. And since

mathematical propositions are asssertible only when provable, Dummett

thinks,27 one cannot assert an instance of the law of excluded middle at

time t unless we can show at t that one of the two alternatives can be

proved. Thus a proof of the following form is invalid at t, despite the

acceptance of it by almost all mathematicians:

27

I actually deny this, and have given examples of mathematical propositions that were assertible even

when there was no proof of them in (Steiner 1975). But I will take for granted that Wittgenstein

agrees with Dummett on this point, an agreement that has a solid basis in the corpus.

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If the Goldbach conjecture is false, then T

Therefore, T.

Intuitionist attack on the law of excluded middle means: to revise mathematics on the basis of a philosophical argument. Wittgenstein is quite

explicit on this point in one of the most famous passages of Philosophical

investigations: no mathematical discovery is relevant to philosophy, and no

philosophical argument can revise accepted mathematical practice. Philosophy describes practice; and the only reason we need philosophy is that

we have a strong tendency to misdescribe it (i.e., practice).

We now seem to have reached an impasse: Wittgenstein upholds the

behavioral/empirical basis of the mathematical propositions, or rules. At

the same time he refuses to revise mathematical practice on the basis of

Dummetts arguments, themselves based on Wittgensteinian ideas!

The resolution of this paradox is based on another Wittgensteinian

idea: that mathematics is a motley28 of proofs. The idea that mathematical theorems are hardenings of regularities was never meant to be a

characterization of the essence of mathematics. The philosopher who

emphasized so strongly the idea that the referents of certain terms (and

really all terms) are related only by a family resemblance did not become

an essentialist suddenly when he studied mathematics.

And in fact, Wittgenstein told the students in his 1939 Lectures at

Cambridge that the law of excluded middle in the innite case (i.e. either

all natural numbers have property P or not all natural numbers have

property P) should be regarded as a postulate and was used as such in

mathematics. Presumably the postulate should be judged by its usefulness

in mathematics, though Wittgenstein, ironically, rejected the most celebrated attempt (Hilbert 1983) to justify the law of excluded middle

namely, by showing without using the law of excluded middle that the

law of excluded middle does not lead to contradiction, when applied to

innitary statements: Either all numbers have property P, or there is a

number that does not have property P.

A consistency proof can be compared to theorems to the eect that, in

chess, a forced checkmate is not possible from a certain position. And the

attempt to nd one is associated with David Hilberts programmatic On

28

Mhlhlzer protests this translation, which has become entrenched in the philosophical

Wittgenstein discourse, and insists that the right phrase is multi-colored.

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been refuted by Gdels second theorem which states that arithmetic

cannot prove its own consistency even if the law of excluded middle is

used, to say nothing of the kind of combinatorial, metamathematical,

proof Hilbert had in mind. At the risk of digressing, I would now like to

discuss in a little more detail why a consistency proof for Wittgenstein is

not what we are seeking in showing the usefulness of the law of excluded

middle.

Wittgensteins rejection of Hilberts program had nothing to do with

Gdels theorem, which he in any case regarded with suspicion. On the

contrary, he regarded Gdels theorems as part and parcel of what was

wrong with the program to begin with the concept of metamathematics. Nor did he regard the search for consistency proofs for mathematics as having anything to do with showing the usefulness of the

postulate of the law of excluded middle as he saw it.

Wittgensteins discussion of contradictions and consistency is of a piece

with his theory of rule-following in general.

How do we get convinced of the law of contradiction? In this way: We

learn a certain practice, a technique of language; and then we are all inclined

to do away with this form on which we do not naturally act in any way,

unless this particular form is explained afresh to us. (LFM: 206)

This simply means that given a certain training, if I give you a contradiction

(which I need not notice myself ) you dont know what to do. This means

that if I give you orders I must do my best to avoid contradictions; though it

may be that what I wanted was to puzzle you or to make you lose time or

something of that sort.

practice into a rule.

From this it follows that the concept of a hidden contradiction does not

have a clear meaning.

There is always time to deal with a contradiction when we get to it. When

we get to it, shouldnt we simply say, This is no use and we wont draw

any conclusions from it? (LFM: 209)

Cambridge in 1939) remarked that the problem could arise in the applications of logic and mathematics.

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The real harm will not come in unless there is an application, in which case

a bridge may fall down or something of that sort. (LFM: 211)

The question is: Why should they be afraid of contradictions inside

mathematics? Turing says, Because something may go wrong with the

application. But nothing need go wrong. And if something does go

wrong if the bridge breaks down then your mistake was of the kind

of using a wrong natural law. (LFM: 217)

For as long as an actual inconsistency does not turn up, Wittgenstein held,

we need not worry that the bridges will fall down. Like any other

mathematical proposition, inconsistency is either a rule, or nothing. As

long as it is not a rule, i.e. a proven theorem, physical applications go on as

before.

But lets look at this a little closer. Wittgenstein discusses whether a

bridge could fall down because somebody divided by zero. This is certainly

possible; consider the equation x2 = x. 93 percent of precalculus students at

City College of the City University of New York, in a recent test, divided

by x and got the (only) answer x = 1.29 Not knowing about the solution

x = 0 could, in some scenarios, indeed cause a bridge to fall down. Much

more sophisticated cases could be constructed in which somebody does

not know he is dividing by zero.

Is this a case, however, of an inconsistency of a formal system, or is it

just a simple mistake in informal mathematics? One could imagine a case of

teaching students an axiomatic number theory in which cancellation of

zero is possible, in other words an inconsistent system. The students might

not even notice that ac = bc ! a = b yields 1 = 2 if we allow c to be zero,

because they have little cause to divide by zero. But it is hard to think of an

actual case in which a hidden contradiction in a formal axiomatic system

caused bridges to fall down.

A good example of this quandary is the theory of quantum electrodynamics (QED), pioneered by, among others, Schwinger and Feynman.30 The

calculations aorded by this theory are remarkably accurate, but nobody

knows how to base the calculations in a consistent axiomatic mathematical

system. In fact, there are mathematical physicists who think it cannot be

done. One reason is as follows. In calculating the probability of events in

29

30

I am grateful to Barry Simon and Shmuel Elitzur who helped me with the details.

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integrals. To renormalize these integrals, which are intended to be (Feynman 1985) functions of the basic constants of physics, we change the rules:

instead of theoretical values like e, the charge of the electron, we substitute

the observed value of the electronic charge, a value derived from experiment,

not theory. But now we have a new problem. While the new rules work very

well for observed values at the low scales of energy with which we are

familiar, as the energies get higher the observed electronic charge becomes

larger and larger, so that even the new rules are not valid. In fact, mathematical physicists think that this charge may become innite at some nite high

energy, so that QED is not dened at all as a universal theory of light and

matter.31

For Wittgenstein, this would just show what he was claiming all the

time: that the ideal of a formal system does not t the reality of mathematical physics.32 This would be a perfect example of The disastrous invasion

of mathematics by logic. (RFM, V: 281) It is also plausible that the

inconsistency which appears in the innite integrals has its source in the

physics, not the mathematics, exactly as Wittgenstein says. But, further,

the physicists managed to eliminate the troublesome integrals, albeit by

tweaking the rules for calculations in QED by using, as we said, not the

naked magnitudes that appear in the Hamiltonian of the system, such

as e, but the dressed magnitudes as measured in the laboratory. This

artice works, and no physicist worries that a possible inconsistency (which

is suspected though not proved) could somehow spoil the calculations we

make at familiar energies.

Coming back to the law of excluded middle, we see that the problem is

not that it has no formalist justication in terms of a combinatorial

consistency proof. It is rather that the law of excluded middle cannot be

regarded as a hardened regularity in cases in which we are applying it to a

putative innite totality. But precisely because of this, there is no direct

comparison possible between empirical observations and mathematical

theorems in this type of proof. That is what Wittgenstein means by a

postulate. The justication of such a postulate would be, in Quines

pithy words, where rational, pragmatic.33 It would seem that Wittgenstein, in accommodating classical mathematics and rejecting the intuitionist revisionism, ends up where Quine began: in holism.34

31

32

34

33

Tim Chow made this point on the FOM list, on August 15, 2013.

(Quine 1953: 46).

I am grateful to Felix Mhlhlzer and Penny Rush for their helpful comments.

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Paul Thom

when arguments are valid; logic is thus about arguments. On another

account logic tells us which propositions are (unconditionally) necessary; logic is thus about propositions (Smith 2012). Less familiar than

either of these accounts is the Aristotelian tradition of thinking about

logic. Aristotelians have standardly thought of logic as being about

terms, as well as propositions and arguments. Let us call propositions

and arguments, and whatever else logic has been supposed to be

about, the objects of logic. The general question that interests me is:

What are the metaphysical types to which the objects of logic belong?

More specically, I will look at the way this question has been

addressed in the Aristotelian tradition. I will not be dealing with

answers to our question proposed by Platonists or with the Stoic

concept of lekta.

I use the expression the Aristotelian tradition to cover the writings of

Aristotle himself as well as those over time who have broadly sympathised

with his views. The latter include the ancient Greek commentators, a

multitude of medieval logicians writing in Arabic or Latin, and a smaller

number of later thinkers (notably Bernard Bolzano). But my main focus

will be on just one of these, the thirteenth-century philosophical logician

Robert Kilwardby (d. 1279). Kilwardby dealt with our question at some

length, and his discussion is also useful in that it considers several views

other than his own. Let us begin with Aristotles own ideas on our

question.

1. Aristotle

There is not much in Aristotles own writings that bears directly on our

question. Four passages are noteworthy.

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Statements and beliefs, on the other hand, themselves remain completely

unchangeable in every way; it is because the actual thing changes that the

contrary comes to belong to them. For the statement that somebody is

sitting remains the same; it is because of a change in the actual thing that it

comes to be true at one time and false at another. Similarly with beliefs.

Hence at least the way in which it is able to receive contraries through a

change in itself would be distinctive of substance, even if we were to grant

that beliefs and statements are able to receive contraries. However, this is

not true. For it is not because they themselves receive anything that

statements and beliefs are said to be able to receive contraries, but because

of what has happened to something else. For it is because the actual thing

exists or does not exist that the statement is said to be true or false, not

because it is able itself to receive contraries. No statement, in fact, or belief

is changed at all by anything. So, since nothing happens in them, they are

not able to receive contraries. (Aristotle 1963: 4a5)

Here Aristotle leaves two positions open: either statements do not change

truth-value at all, or else any change in their truth-value is due to a change

in something external to them, namely the things which the statements

are about.

Second, in the De Interpretatione we nd Aristotle apparently proposing

a general semantic theory according to which the meaning of spoken and

written utterances is to be found in the existence of mental items that

somehow correspond to them:

Now spoken sounds are symbols of aections in the soul, and written marks

symbols of spoken sounds. . . . Just as some thoughts in the soul are neither

true nor false while some are necessarily one or the other, so also with

spoken sounds. For falsity and truth have to do with combination and

separation. (Aristotle 1963: 16a2)

Here, the meaning of spoken and written language is derived from aections in the soul, and truth and falsity are seen as residing primarily in the

combination or separation of mental items.

Third, there is a remark in the Posterior Analytics which, again, seems to

point to the soul as the locus of truth and demonstration.

By contrast, it is always possible to nd fault with external arguments (i.e.

spoken or written ones): For demonstration is not addressed to external

argument but to argument in the soul since deduction is not either. For

one can always object to external argument, but not always to internal

argument. (Aristotle 1994: 76b23)

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149

and falsity in the soul rather than in external reality:

But since that which is in the sense of being true, or is not in the sense of

being false, depends on combination and separation, and truth and falsehood together are concerned with the apportionment of a contradiction (for

truth has the armation in the case of what is compounded and the

negation in the case of what is divided, while falsity has the contradictory

of this apportionment it is another question, how it happens that we

think things together or apart; by together and apart I mean thinking

them so that there is no succession in the thoughts but they become a

unity ; for falsity and truth are not in things it is not as if the good were

true, and the bad were in itself false but in thought; while with regard to

simple things and essences falsity and truth do not exist even in thought):

we must consider later what has to be discussed with regard to that which is

or is not in this sense; but since the combination and the separation are in

thought and not in the things. (Aristotle 1993: 1027b30)

statements, as the bearers of truth and falsity, are in the soul and are

either unchanging or any change in them is due to a change in

something else;

2. the meaning of written and spoken language is to be explained by

reference to what goes on in our minds;

3. truth and falsity belong in the rst instance to combinations and

separations that occur in our minds.

1.

These are scattered remarks. Aristotle doesnt show how they could be

combined in a coherent theory of terms, propositions and arguments. We

do not nd such a theory in Aristotle; we nd only some materials that

seem to have the potential for theoretical development.

An interpreter of Aristotle, faced with this situation, might try to

develop a theory in one of two ways. One option would be to enlist

elements drawn from Aristotles metaphysics or his account of scientic

knowledge. Another would be to import non-Aristotelian ideas. We will

see that both approaches were used by later Aristotelians in their eorts to

esh out Aristotles sketchy remarks.

One obvious place to look for theoretical help in this enterprise is the

Philosophers division of all beings into the ten categories (substances,

quantities, relatives, qualities etc). From the standpoint of the theory of the

categories, our question becomes: Do the objects of logic belong to any of

the Aristotelian categories, and if they do, to which category or categories

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thinkers in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

2. Robert Kilwardby

The thirteenth-century English philosopher and churchman Robert

Kilwardby commented extensively on Aristotles logic, as well as composing a treatise On the origin of the sciences and a set of questions on the four

books of Peter Lombards Sentences. Over the course of his career he

showed a continuing interest in the nature of the objects of logic, and

indeed the nature of logic itself.

In his early question-commentary on the Prior Analytics Kilwardby takes

the view that logic is one of the language-related sciences along with

grammar and rhetoric. In the works rst sentence he adopts Boethiuss

characterisation of logic as an art of discoursing (Kilwardby 1516: 2ra).1 He

goes on to consider the meaning of the words proposition [propositio,

Aristotles protasis] and syllogism [syllogismus] as they occur in Boethiuss

translation of Aristotles text, distinguishing propositions from statements

[enuntiationes]. A statement is put forward on its own account, a proposition on account of the conclusion it is intended to support. A statement

expresses what is in the speakers soul, and accordingly is dened as that

which is either true or false since truth and falsity reside in the soul

(Kilwardby 1516: 4rb).2 In his other writings Kilwardby will generally

preserve this distinction, reserving the term proposition for the premise

of an argument.

He asks whether a syllogism should be dened as a kind of process,

rather than a kind of discourse (following Aristotles denition). He agrees

that there is a sense in which a syllogism is a mental process, but says that

this is a metaphorical sense (Kilwardby 1516: 4vb).3 And it must indeed be

regarded as a transferred usage for someone whose starting-points are

Aristotles usage of syllogism to mean a kind of discourse and Boethiuss

characterisation of logic as a science of language.

In his later work On the rise of the sciences logic is no longer characterised

purely as a linguistic science, and the syllogism is no longer a purely

linguistic phenomenon. Logic is there presented under two guises. It is a

science of reason as well as being a language-related science:

1

2

3

Kilwardby, Notule libri Priorum Lectio 2 dubium 5.

Robert Kilwardby, Notule libri Priorum Lectio 4 dubium 1.

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reason as they occur in reason alone, since in that case it would not properly

be called a science of discourse, but because it teaches the method of

reasoning that applies not only within the mind but also in discourse,

and because it considers the things belonging to reason as the reasons

why things set forth in discourse can be reasoned about by the mind. . . ..

It is, therefore, a ratiocinative science, or science of reason, because it

teaches one how to use the process of reasoning systematically, and a science

of discourse because it teaches one how to put it into discourse systematically. (Kilwardby 1988: 265)

words, it cannot be right to dismiss as merely metaphorical a conception of

the syllogism as a mental process.

He raises the issue of the basis or foundation of logic, declaring that

there are three dierent kinds of basis on which a body of scientic

knowledge can be founded. The science might be based on things that

actually exist. Or it might be based on potentialities, even when they are

unactualised. Finally, a science might be based not on potentialities but on

aptitudes of things. These are incomplete potentialities, such as the aptitude for sight which exists even in a blind eye. Now, even though speech

passes away as soon as it is uttered, something remains, namely certain

natural principles wherein potentialities or aptitudes reside. Because of

these, speech contains enough on which to found a science, even when

no-one is speaking (Kilwardby 1976: 429).

Later in On the rise of the sciences he adds that an art of reasoning has a

sucient foundation in the natures of things through which they are

susceptible to a rational account. Among these natures he mentions

antecedents, consequents, incompatibles, universality, particularity,

middles, extremes, gure and mood (Kilwardby 1976: 463).

This interest in the foundations of the art of logic is even more

evident in a late theological work, Kilwardbys questions on Peter

Lombards four books of the Sentences. Question 90 on Book One of

the Sentences contains a detailed exposition of the metaphysical status of

the objects of logic. It seems that Kilwardby himself attached some

importance to this exposition, for in the alphabetic index which he

compiled of the matters covered in his questions, he refers on four

occasions to question 90 on Book One.4 It is therefore worth examining

his exposition in detail.

4

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Here is his question:

which namely are in the human reason and are brought about by reason

things such as propositions, syllogisms and the like, and all manner of

complex and incomplex things insofar as they concern reason. And the rst

question about these is whether they are something, in such a way that they

are things in one or more of the categories. (Kilwardby 1986: 1, q.90: 1)

what he calls stateables (enuntiabilia). This is no doubt partly because of

the distinction he had made earlier between propositions and statements;

but this doesnt explain why he talks about stateables rather than statements. Christopher Martin takes the expression enuntiabile in earlier

authors to refer to a statements content rather than to the statement itself

(C. Martin 2001: 79). But I will argue later that there is reason for

doubting that this is Kilwardbys meaning.

Concerning the nature of the objects of logic, Kilwardby mentions a

view according to which stateables cannot be assigned to any of the

Aristotelian categories. Among the arguments he mentions in favour of

this view, two rest on Aristotelian texts. First, there is the chapter of the

Categories where the ten categories are presented as a classication of

things said without any complexity; stateables on the other hand, if they

are things at all, are things possessing complexity. The second Aristotelian

text is the one we noted above from Metaphysics book 6. Here, says

Kilwardby, the ten categories are presented as being truly outside the mind

or soul, whereas composition and division are said to belong to cognition,

not to external things (Kilwardby 1986: 1, q.90: 57).

Views denying categorial status to stateables or similar quasi-entities were

not uncommon in the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. Peter Abelard,

for one, in using the word dictum to refer to a that-clause, or an accusative and

innite construction in Latin, thought that the question of what sort of things

these dicta are simply does not arise: they are not things at all (King 2010).5

5

King 2010: Abelard describes this as signifying what the sentence says, calling what is said by the

sentence its dictum (plural dicta). To the modern philosophical ear, Abelards dicta might sound like

propositions, abstract entities that are the timeless bearers of truth and falsity. But Abelard will have

nothing to do with any such entities. He declares repeatedly and emphatically that despite being

more than and dierent from the sentences that express them, dicta have no ontological standing

whatsoever. In the short space of a single paragraph he says that they are no real things at all and

twice calls them absolutely nothing. They underwrite sentences, but they arent real things. For

although a sentence says something, there is not some thing that it says. The semantic job of

sentences is to say something, which is not to be confused with naming or denoting some thing. It is

instead a matter of proposing how things are, provided this is not given a realist reading.

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Again, the twelfth-century Ars Burana denies that enuntiabilia belong to any

of the Aristotelian categories.They exist, but belong to a category of their own

(Ars Burana, 208).6

But Kilwardby doesnt have these versions in mind when he refers to the

view that the stateables are not to be found in any Aristotelian category.

Rather, he is thinking of the version of the view advanced by the English

theologian Alexander of Hales (Hales 19511957: 1 d.39 n.1). Alexander held

that the ontological type to which a statement belongs depends on whether

the statement expresses an essential or an accidental predication. In the

former case the statement is nothing other than its subject, and thus

belongs to the same Aristotelian category as its subject. Thus the statement

Fido is a dog is a substance, and is the very same substance as Fido. In the

case of accidental predications, the statement can be reduced to the

Aristotelian categories in one of two ways: either it reduces to the category

in which its accidental predicate is located, or partly to that category and

partly to the category of the subject. Thus Fido is white turns out either

to be a quality (and then it is the quality of whiteness) or partly a quality

and partly a substance (and then it is partly Fido and partly whiteness)

(Kilwardby 1986: 1 q.90: 70).

In opposition to this view, Kilwardby holds that compositions, stateables and the other objects of logic can be assigned to the Aristotelian

categories in their own right without having to be reduced to the categories

to which their subjects and predicates belong. His view involves a complex

reduction to the Aristotelian categories.

Every thing, he declares, is either divine or human. The products of

nature he includes among the divine, along with things that issue from

God by himself. Human things, in his parlance, do not include what issues

from humans solely in virtue of their existence as natural beings, but only

what comes about through human activity in the form of industry or skill.

He classes the objects of logic, not among divine things, but among

human things in this narrow sense (Kilwardby 1986: 1 q.90: 102).

Among such things he distinguishes those that are internal to a human

and those that are external. The former include actions of combining,

dividing or reasoning, as well as the corresponding acts which he calls

6

Anon 1967: If you ask what kind of thing it is, whether it is a substance or an accident, it must be

said that the sayable [enuntiabile], like the predicable, is neither substance nor accident nor any kind

of other category. For it has its own mode of existence [suum enim habet modum per se existendi]. And

it is said to be extracategorial, not, of course, in that it is not of any category, but in that it is not of

any of the ten categories identied by Aristotle. Such is the case with this category, which can be

called the category of the sayable [praedicamentum enuntiabile].

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combinations, divisions, reasonings etc. The human things that are external include utterances, the making of works and the works made (e.g. the

making of a house, and the house that is made). This distinction between

what is internal to the human and what is external appears to rest on a

distinction between doing and making. While making can be considered

as a kind of doing, it can also be distinguished from other kinds of doing

insofar as it involves the production of something, or at least a process

aimed at the production of something. Thus when we mentally combine

or separate concepts, or when we reason in our heads, we do not thereby

produce anything external to ourselves: we have done something but we

havent made anything. But when we utter something, or build a house,

we do produce something external, we make something. If this is what

Kilwardby means, then the acts which he distinguishes from actions, and

which he also considers to be internal, cannot be products of those actions.

Being purely internal, they have no product. It is clear that the relation

between acts and actions should be similar to the relation between works

and the making of works. But works stand to the making of works in more

than one relation. The relation of product to process is one such relation,

but it is of no use to us here because doings which are not makings have no

products. There is, however, another relation connecting works to their

making: the relation of completion. All actions, in principle, have completions; and it is these completions, I believe, that Kilwardby refers to as acts

or things-done. Thus the human things that are the objects of logic include

completed acts of stating and reasoning, as well as the actions that have

those acts as their completions. According to Kilwardby, all of these are

things of reason. They are secondarily in a category, because they are

founded on things of nature in one of two ways. In the case of makings

and actions of reason, they are founded on things of nature in the sense

that the latter constitute their subject matter. In the case of things-done or

made by reason and art, they are founded on things of nature in the sense

that they are certain relations or accidental conditions of things of nature.

Kilwardby takes both of these senses to indicate that the things of reason

and art have things of nature as their subjects; and he means here the

metaphysical subject that underlies these things of reason and of art. Thus,

while it is the things of nature that are primarily and of themselves in the

categories, the things of reason and art can be assigned to the categories in

a secondary sense, via the things of nature that are their metaphysical

subjects (Kilwardby 1986: 1 q.90: 111).

Stateables and arguments, whether completed or incomplete, may exist

in writing, in speech or merely in thought; and Kilwardby applies the

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he says, is a string of characters whose order is in accordance with the rules

of some art (he has in mind the arts of grammar and logic), and which has

the purpose of communicating knowledge of something through visual

perception. The characters are, let us say, written in ink; and their

metaphysical subject is then the primary substances which these blobs of

ink constitute. The written argument or the stateable is not these blobs of

ink; it is constituted by certain relations and accidental features of the ink.

Entities satisfying this complex description can be considered under more

than one aspect; and accordingly they will belong to dierent categories,

depending on the aspect under which they are considered. Considered as

signs they belong to the category of relatives. Considered as an ordering of

characters they could be assigned to the category of location or the category

Where. Considered as exhibiting a certain syntactic form they can be

assigned to the fourth species of quality. In all these ways the relations or

properties which constitute the rational entity in question are accidental

features of the underlying subject: it is not essential to the ink that it be a

sign, nor is it essential to the characters that they be so ordered as to make

propositions.

Similar treatments can be given of spoken and mental statements and

arguments. Whether spoken or merely thought, these are signs and thus

belong to the category of relatives. As spoken they are qualities. As thought

they are dispositions of the mind either states or passions and qualities.

Equally, the basic mental components which are combined or separated

Aristotles passions of the soul, and Kilwardbys intentiones or concepts

can be considered either as qualities residing in the soul, or as relatives

insofar as they are signs of external things (Kilwardby 1986: 1 q.90: 163).

In sum, Kilwardby holds that stateables and the other objects of logic

have the following features:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Some of them are spoken, some written, some mental.

They are things of reason.

They are grounded in things of nature.

Considered as signs, they t into the category of relatives.

picture. Whatever Kilwardby means by this word, it is evident that stateables must satisfy the above ve conditions. They must also satisfy the

terms in which question 90 was framed: they have to be in the human

reason and are brought about by reason. Given these things, it is

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contents, in the modern sense of eternal abstract objects. If he meant

stateables to be the contents of statements, he would have to have meant it

in a sense that complies with the above constraints. Now, it might be

proposed that a suitable notion of content can be devised, according to

which contents exist only when the things of which they are the contents

also exist. Such a notion, it might be argued, complies with the above

constraints. Alternatively, using the Aristotelian notion of potentiality, we

could say that a stateable is just a potential statement. The second of these

approaches, unlike the rst, allows for the possibility that some stateables

are not (yet) actually stated.

How well does Kilwardbys account of logic and its objects t the sketch

given by Aristotle? Aristotle envisaged two possible answers to the question

whether statements are immutable. His rst suggestion (that they are entirely

immutable) does not gure in Kilwardbys account. The objects of logic, on

his account, are human things and thus subject to change. And if stateables are

potential statements then they change when their potentiality is actualised.

However, Aristotles alternative suggestion, that statements might be

such that any change in them is really a change in other things, is

consistent with Kilwardbys account. Mental compositions, considered as

signs, are relative to that of which they are signs. Moreover, theirs is a

special kind of relativity a kind that gives rise to Cambridge change. I can

change from being on your left to being on your right simply because you

walk around to my other side while I remain stationary; and similarly the

stateable that Socrates is sitting can change from being false to being true

simply because Socrates sits down.

The mentalistic semantics sketched in the De interpretatione is also

consistent with Kilwardbys account of the objects of logic, as is his

account of composition and separation as located in the mind.

But only the second of the ve points listed above is found explicitly in

Aristotle. Kilwardbys specic conception of logic as an art an art that

deals with human things which are grounded in things of nature is not to

be found in Aristotle. It is Kilwardbys way of turning Aristotles sketchy

account into a theory of the objects of logic.

Notwithstanding its departures from Aristotles own remarks on the

nature of the objects of logic, Kilwardbys account is wholly Aristotelian in

its motivation. But the Aristotelian ideas on which he draws do not belong

in logic itself; they belong in natural philosophy and metaphysics. His

account is thus, to use the terminology of Sandra Lapointe (this volume),

an external one.

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3. Later thinkers

Jakob Schmutz argues that scholastic ideas were transmitted to the early

modern period along two paths. The rst of these paths, which he calls the

idealistic main road, took the subject-matter of logic to be the activity of

the mind. The second path, the realistic by-pass, took logic to deal with

independent objects and structures (Schmutz 2012: 249). We have seen a

version of the rst path in the writings of Kilwardby. Kilwardby was a

moderate realist. But other versions of this path can be found in nominalists like William Ockham, for whom the objects of logic are individual

written, spoken, or mental tokens.7 Walter Burley, who opposed Ockhams views in most matters, appears to be working within the second

path: for him, propositions are either complexes depending on mental acts

of composition and separation, or intentional complexes existing in the

mind, or complexes existing outside the mind, which are signied by those

mental complexes. These extra-mental propositions [propositiones in re] are

the causes of truth of mental propositions (Cesalli 2007: 234).

The second path is taken up in the nineteenth century by Bernard

Bolzano then by Frege. Bolzano believed in propositions in themselves

(Stze an sich), and held that it is the job of logicians to describe these

entities and their properties (Lapointe, this volume). He outlines his

notion of a proposition as follows:

One will gather what I mean by proposition as soon as I remark that I do

not call a proposition in itself or an objective proposition that which the

grammarians call a proposition, namely, the linguistic expression, but rather

simply the meaning of this expression, which must be exactly one of the

two, true or false; and that accordingly I attribute existence to the grasping

of a proposition, to thought propositions as well as to the judgments made

in the mind of a thinking being (existence, namely, in the mind of the one

who thinks this proposition and who makes the judgment); but the mere

proposition in itself (or the objective proposition) I count among the kinds

of things that do not have any existence whatsoever, and never can attain

existence. (Bolzano 2004: 40)

The objects of logic, on Bolzanos view, are not human things and are not

grounded in the things of nature. As Rusnock and George say, It should

be possible, [Bolzano] thought, to characterize propositions, ideas, inferences, and the axiomatic organization of sciences without reference to a

thinking subject (Rusnock and George 2004: 177).

7

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Paul Thom

For Bolzano, propositions are not human things, they do not exist in the

mind or in language or in any way at all, and they are objective not relative.

His view is designed to pare down our conception of the objects of logic to

a bare minimum so that propositions are understood simply as that which

is true or false, and arguments are understood as congurations of

propositions.

4. Concluding remarks

In his essay in the present volume Graham Priest asks whether logic can be

revised, whether this can be done rationally, and if so how. And he

distinguishes logic as something that is taught, logic as something that is

used, and logic as the correct norms of reasoning (Priest, this volume).

I would like to add a few comments on Priests questions.

The history of logic contains plenty of examples of logicians proposing

to revise what hitherto had been accepted as the correct norms of

reasoning. Some of the great logicians Abelard and Ockham along with

the well-known greats of the nineteenth century saw themselves as not

just revising but reforming logic. Sometimes these reforms are motivated

by a sense that accepted logics are erroneous or in other ways inadequate to

accepted ideals of what logic should be. And sometimes what motivates a

reforming logician is a new vision of what logic should be. I think that the

major reformers of the nineteenth century had this sort of motivation.

Looking at the traditional logic of their day, which was a watered-down

version of medieval logic, usually along the lines of Schmutzs idealist

road, they worked with a vision of logic as an objective science. We benet

today from the fruits of that vision. But it can be salutary occasionally at

least to look back to the dierent aims of the idealist logicians of the high

Middle Ages.

The reason why Kilwardby and other idealist medieval logicians conceived of the objects of logic as human things is to be found in the aims

which they thought logic should have. In treating logic as an art, they were

committed to thinking that it should teach us how to construct good

denitions, divisions and arguments. So the objects of logic had to include

human activities of dening, dividing and arguing.

Everyone agrees that an argument is faulty if it allows the conclusion to

be false while the premises are true; and accordingly any good logical

theory has to include among its norms that one should not argue from

truths to a falsehood. Faults and norms go together.

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a variety of faults besides invalidity. Kilwardby is expressing a commonly

held view when he says that Aristotle identies two of these faults in his

denition of the syllogism: rst when he species that the conclusion must

be other than the premises, second when he requires that the conclusion

follow from the premises that are explicitly stated. According to Kilwardby,

the rst of these specications rules out begging the question, and the

second excludes the fallacy of stating as a reason what is not a reason [non

causa ut causa] (Kilwardby 1516: 4vb).8

In order to see why begging the question, and failing to state explicitly

what premises on which the conclusion relies, are faults in reasoning, one

has to look at what the point of reasoning is. Many of the medievals

believed that it is the function [opus] of the activity of reasoning to make

something known by proving it:

the function of the syllogism is to prove and make known. (Kilwardby

1516, 12rb)9

proving it, then it is faulty in the way that a functional object is faulty

when it is incapable of performing its function. And if a form of reasoning

is not suitable for making anything known, then it is faulty. Kilwardbys

idea here is that forms of reasoning which are intrinsically questionbegging, or which include redundant material, cannot perform the function that belongs to reasoning:

And it is to be said that there isnt always a demonstration when the

conclusion follows of necessity, but there has to be proof of the conclusion

and it has to be made known, and further it is required that the premises are

apt to prove the conclusion and to make it known. But this is lacking when

the question is begged. (Kilwardby 1516: 72vb)10

logic has made enormous gains in comprehension and rigour. But it has

lost its connection with a conception of reasoning as an activity whose

point in human aairs makes it subject to other faults than invalidity.

8

9

10

Kilwardby, Notule libri Priorum Lectio 11 dubium 3.

Kilwardby, Notile libri Priorum Lectio 67 dubium 3.

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chapter 9

the subject matter of logic

Gyula Klima

and the problem of universals

It might seem that the problem of universals should have little to do with

the issue of the subject matter of logic. After all, in (formal) logic we deal

with the deductive validity of arguments based on their formal structure,

whereas the problem of universals, at least in one of its possible formulations, is the question of what corresponds to the universal terms of our

language, which constitute precisely the material part of arguments, the

part we disregard or abstract from in formal logic. However, upon a closer

look, there is a certain connection. On the semantic conception of validity

(which is also the intuitive motivation for syntactic rules of inference in

deductive systems), a formally valid argument has to be truth-preserving,

i.e., the truth of the premises has to guarantee the truth of the conclusion.

In a formal semantic system, this notion of truth-preservation is spelled

out in terms of the idea of compositionality, namely, the idea that the

semantic values of complex expressions are a function of the semantic

values of their components. Given this idea of compositionality and the

range of all possible evaluations of the components of the propositions

constituting an argument, the semantic notion of validity can be spelled

out by saying that an argument is valid just in case there is no possible

evaluation of the primitive components of its propositions that would,

based on the composition of these components, render the premises true

and the conclusion false. Obviously, this notion of validity presupposes

that we have a pretty clear idea of what the range of all possible semantic

values of the primitive components in question are and how those determine the truth and falsity of propositions based on their compositional

structure. But then, when we deal with predicate logic, some of those

possible semantic values are precisely the correlates of our universal terms,

the bone of contention in the problem of universals.

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So, in the end, the semantic notions of truth and logical validity in

predicate logic, being dependent on what the correlates of our universal

terms are, demand at least a certain semantic clarication of the issue of

universals. Contemporary conventional wisdom that we can glean from

ordinary logic textbooks would tell us that those correlates are sets, the

extensions or denotations of common terms. (See, e.g., Hurley 2008:

8284) And if we press the issue of what sets are, then we are told that they

are possibly completely arbitrary collections of just any sorts of things, yet

somehow they are abstract entities. Clearly, ordinary logic text books can

just stop there. After all, they are not supposed to go into the metaphysical

problems of abstract entities: qua logic texts, they are just supposed to

provide some validity-checking machinery, and need not worry about the

possible ontological qualms of metaphysicians these machineries involve,

just like elementary math texts, as such, need not worry about the

ontological status of mathematical entities when they concern themselves only with providing reliable methods of calculation or construction.

This sort of attitude of the logician toward the metaphysical issues raised

by his subject is almost as old as the subject itself, as is testied by

Porphyrys famously raising the fundamental questions concerning universals just in order to set them aside as pertaining to deeper enquiries, but

not to logic. (Spade 1994: 1) And of course it is one of the famous ironies of

the history of ideas that it was precisely on account of these questions that

medieval logicians got so much involved in these deeper enquiries that

John of Salisbury in his Metalogicon (John of Salisbury 2009: 111116) had

to complain about how his contemporaries endless debates over these

issues confuse, rather than instruct, their students of introductory logic.

But despite the pedagogical validity of Johns objection to this practice,

one cannot really blame those logicians who get involved in these issues;

after all, as we shall see, the answers to Porphyrys questions determine to a

large extent the construction of logical semantics in general, and thus the

understanding of the relationship between the subject matters of logic and

metaphysics in particular.

Apparently, the primary issue concerning universals is ontological: are

there universal entities? After all, nobody in their right mind would doubt

whether we have universal words, i.e., words that on account of their

meaning apply to a multitude, indeed, to a potential innity of entities.

However, the question then is: how come we can have such universal

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terms at all? Platos realist answer, namely, that the dierence between

universal and singular terms hinges on the ontological dierence between

the kinds of entities these terms primarily name, rests on a relatively

simplistic understanding of the semantic relations of these terms: i.e. the

notion that their meaning consists in naming these dierent kinds of

entities in the same way. In fact, generalizing on this idea we might say

that on a realist conception semantic dierences are accounted for in terms

of the ontological dierences of the semantic values of syntactical items of

dierent categories, and not in terms of the dierences in the semantic

functions of these items themselves: on this approach, in realism we can

have semantic uniformity at the expense of ontological diversity.

By contrast, those medieval thinkers who were convinced by Aristotles

and Boethiuss arguments against platonic universals (by John of Salisburys time practically everybody (Klima 2013a: n. 27)) would account for

the semantic diversity of singular and common terms not on the basis of

the ontological dierences of the kinds of entities these terms denote, but

rather in terms of how they denote the same kind of entities, namely,

individuals, the only kind of real entities there are. Thus, on this understanding of the Aristotelian view, we can have ontological uniformity on the

basis of semantic diversity. As we shall see, the two formulae just italicized

can be regarded as the two extremes of a whole range of possible positions

concerning the relationship between semantics and metaphysics, ranging

from extreme realism to thoroughgoing nominalism. Indeed, let me call

the theoretical extreme of extreme realism the position that holds that all

semantic dierences are ontological dierences: dierent items in semantically dierent syntactical categories dier in what kinds of entities their

semantic values are and not in what kinds of semantic functions relate

them to their semantic values. By contrast, on the other theoretical

extreme we have the position of extreme nominalism, which would hold

that all dierent items in semantically dierent syntactical categories dier

only in the kinds of semantic functions that relate them to their semantic

values, but all those semantic values are ontologically of the same kind, the

same, single kind of entities (or just the one single entity) there is. But in

order to see how actual historical positions can be arranged on this

theoretical scale, we should get into some further details concerning each

extreme.

On the platonic view, as we could see, the semantic relation between

common and singular terms and their semantic values would be of the

same kind: namely, denoting a single entity. What would make the

dierence would be just the further ontological relation of the entity

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exemplar. It is only on account of this ontological relation that we can

use these terms to denote secondarily the singulars imitating or participating in their exemplar, but what the terms truly and primarily denote is the

exemplar itself. So, on this platonic understanding, the semantic function

of universal terms would be the same as that of singular terms, namely,

denoting a single entity, just like the representative function of a portrait is

to represent a single individual. However, just as the portrait of a monarch

can stand for a whole nation and thus can identify someone as a member

of that nation (say, in a passport), so the name of the universal can stand

for a whole kind and thus identify any individual participating in it as a

member of that kind.

On the Aristotelian view, on the other hand, universal terms are

universal precisely because they apply to a multitude of singular entities,

the same singular entities we can denote by their proper names, but

dierently, namely, in a universal fashion, in abstraction from their individual dierences. So, on this conception, what accounts for universality is

abstraction, a mental activity, the activity of the Aristotelian agent intellect

(nous poietikos, intellectus agens), which by this activity produces the rst

universal representations, the so-called intelligible species out of the singular

representations of sensible singulars stored in sensory memory, the socalled phantasms. The intelligible species, however, although they are

universally representing mental acts, generally were not regarded as the

universals Porphyry meant to consider in his work. An intelligible species

on this conception is rather an acquired disposition enabling the receptive

intellect (nous pathetikos, intellectus possibilis) to form a universal concept in

actual use. For example, once I acquire the intelligible species of circles,

that enables me to form actual thoughts about circles in general, but that

does not mean that I am thinking of circles all the time. Thus, in

possession of the intelligible species my mind still needs to form time

and again another mental act, the so-called formal concept, to form an

actual thought, as when I actually think that all circles touch a straight line

in one point. However, this mental act is still not the universal. It is a

universally representing singular act of a singular human mind; so, my

universal concept of circles is not the same item as your universal concept

of circles, even if those concepts are exactly alike in their representational

content, just like my dance moves I perform with my body are not the

same items you perform with yours, even if we are making exactly the same

kinds of moves, say, in a chorus line. What is the universal in the intended

sense is the common representational content of both your concept and

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despite the individual dierences of the mental acts whereby we have it,

just like we can be said to make the same dance moves, despite the

individual dierences of our bodies whereby we make them. Therefore,

this commonly intended object, the universal representational content of

both of our individual mental acts, was rightly called by later scholastic

thinkers the objective concept or intention, both because it is the universal

representation of the ultimately intended objects, namely, all singulars of

the same kind from some of which the intelligible species giving rise to this

concept was abstracted in the rst place, and because it is the common

objective content of the formal concepts of all those individual human

minds that are capable of thinking this objective concept at all.

Now, even if this notion of a universal (as the objective representational

content of individual mental acts representing a natural kind of singulars in

an abstract fashion) may seem to be rather contrived from a contemporary

perspective, it should be clear that the conception that treats universals as

objective concepts, the universality of which is the result of the intellectual

activity of abstraction, does not allow in its core ontology the sort of

abstract objects Plato entertained. On this view, the intellect can form

universal objects of thought, but those objects of thought are not objects or

things absolutely speaking. Since they are the results of a mental activity,

they are ontologically posterior to that activity. (Although Scotus and his

followers would insist that among individuals of a certain kind there is a

certain less-than-numerical unity that is ontologically prior even to this

activity, and even Aquinas would admit a certain formal unity among

individuals of the same kind prior to any activity of the intellect (Klima

2013a: n. 39)). As Averroes was often quoted by medieval authors: intellectus facit universalitatem in rebus it is the understanding that generates

universality among things.

3. Scholastic conceptualisms

To see this issue in a little more detail, we should see exactly how the pieces

of the theory presented so far t together in this tradition of medieval logic,

which I like to call via antiqua semantics, in contrast to a radically

dierent medieval logical tradition that emerged from the works of William Ockham, John Buridan, and their fellow nominalists, which I refer to

as via moderna logic (Klima 2011a, 2013a). As we shall see, both of these

approaches to logical semantics are basically variations on what may still be

called conceptualism; however, they are based on radically dierent

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conceptions of what concepts are and how they are related to their

objects, and accordingly give rise to very dierent constructions of logical

semantics.

The easiest way to make this contrast is through the analysis of an

example. Take one of the staples of scholastic lore: Every man is an

animal. This is an armative, universal categorical proposition (in the

medieval sense of proposition, meaning sentence-token), both terms of

which are common or universal terms, joined by a copula and determined

by a universal sign of quantity (a universal quantier, as we would say). On

the common via antiqua analysis, the subject and predicate terms of this

proposition, its categorematic terms, have their semantic property of

signifying human and animal natures, respectively, on account of being

subordinated to the respective concepts our minds abstracted from their

individuating conditions in the humans and animals we have been exposed

to. Thus, although whatever it is on account of which I am a man (i.e., a

human being, regardless of gender) is a numerically distinct item from

whatever it is on account of which you are a man, the concept we

abstracted from humans we have been exposed to in forming our concept

of man abstracts from any individual dierences (individuating conditions). This is precisely the reason why this concept will represent not

only the humans we have been exposed to, but any past, present, future

and merely possible humans, that is to say, whatever it is that did, does,

will or can satisfy the condition of being human, whatever this condition

is, and whatever means we have (or dont have) for verifying the satisfaction of this condition (which would be a question of epistemology and not

of semantics). Accordingly, the corresponding term (man in English or

homo in Latin) can stand for any of these individuals in a proposition.

Indeed, this is what it does in this proposition: it stands or (to use the

Anglicized form of the scholastic technical term commonly used in the

secondary literature) supposits for all human beings that presently exist.

(For an overview of scholastic theories of properties of terms, including

supposition, see Read 2011) The reason why this term supposits only for

presently existing humans is the present tense of the copula, which restricts

the supposition (reference) of the term to present individuals that actually

satisfy the condition of its signication, namely, those individuals that

actually have human nature signied in general by this term. By contrast,

with dierent tenses or modalities, or when construed with verbs and their

derivatives that signify acts of the cognitive soul (i.e., sensitive or intellective, as opposed to the purely vegetative, soul) that are capable of targeting

objects beyond the presently existing ones (such as memory, imagination,

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extended, or ampliated, to use the Anglicized form of the scholastic term,

to past, future, or merely possible humans. (Klima 2001a, 2014) Since

medieval philosophers did not equate ontological commitment with quantication la Quine, they did not nd any special ontological diculty in

talking about non-existent objects, that is, objects of our cognitive

faculties beyond the objects directly perceived in our present environment.

In fact, even the ontologically most squeamish nominalists would not

hesitate to quantify over mere possibilia, simply because the exibility of

their theory of quantication and reference, namely, the theory of supposition coupled with the theory of ampliation, allowed them to contend that

these mere objects of thought (and of other cognitive acts) are simply

nothing, and so to inquire into their nature and ontology would be just a

wild goose chase, amounting to nothing. (Cf. Klima 2014, 2009: c. 10.)

The nominalists, however, did have a bone (or two) to pick with via

antiqua semanticists on other aspects of their theory. In the rst place,

and perhaps most fundamentally, the medieval realists (practically anybody before Ockham), even if they did not buy into Platos stratied

ontology of universals vs. singulars, and had a much more sophisticated

semantic theory than the uniform naming relation between dierent

kinds of words and correspondingly dierent kinds of things, they did

preserve some sort of semantic uniformity at the expense of some sort of

ontological diversity.

As we have seen, the signication of common terms, based on the idea

of words being subordinated to concepts to inherit their natural semantic

features, coupled with the Aristotelian theory of abstraction, led to a

peculiar theory of predication within this framework, often referred to in

the literature as the inherence theory of predication. The theory is simple

enough: the predication x is F is true, just in case the F-ness of x actually

exists, or equivalently, just in case F-ness, the form or property signied by

the predicate F in the individual x actually inheres in x. The problems start

when we consider all sorts of substitution instances of F. For then we start

realizing that, apparently, by the lights of via antiqua semantics, as

Ockham put it a column is to the right by to-the-rightness, God is

creating by creation, is good by goodness, just by justice, mighty by might,

an accident inheres by inherence, a subject is subjected by subjection, the

apt is apt by aptitude, a chimera is nothing by nothingness, someone blind

is blind by blindness, a body is mobile by mobility, and so on for other,

innumerable cases (Ockham 1974: I, 51). In short, to the nominalists,

starting with Ockham, it appeared that their realist opponents (in the case

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metaphysical problems where there shouldnt be any, simply on account of

a misconception of semantics, because their conception would multiply

beings according to the multiplicity of terms (Ockham 1974: I, 51).

To be sure, the realists did make a number of metaphysical distinctions between the types and modes of being depending on the substitution

instances of F to avoid apparent metaphysical absurdities (such as a thing

undergoing change without losing or acquiring a property, action at a

distance, non-beings undergoing change, etc. cf. Klima 1999), but for

Ockham and his ilk, that is precisely the problem: to maintain a certain

type of semantic uniformity, the realists introduce ontological diversity

where there shouldnt be any, since the dierence is not in the things

signied by our dierent terms, but in the dierent concepts signifying the

same things in dierent ways (Klima 2011a).

To illustrate the sort of semantic uniformity and the requisite ontological diversity in the via antiqua approach to semantics, let us briey

return to the via antiqua analysis of the meaning and conditions of truth of

Every man is an animal. The two categorematic terms both have the same

type of signicative function, namely, signifying the individualized natures

of individuals represented by their corresponding concepts in an abstract,

universal fashion. The subject term, in turn, has the function of standing

for those individuals that actually have this nature at the time connoted by

the tense of the copula, whereas the predicate has the function of attributing the nature it signies to the individuals thus picked out.

And since the universal sign in front of the subject indicates that the

truth of the entire proposition requires that all these individuals have the

nature signied by the predicate in actuality at the time connoted by

the copula, the propositional complex, variously called dictum, enuntiabile,

or complexe signicabile, resulting from the combination of subject and

predicate by the copula as further determined by the universal sign, will be

actual just in case all individuals supposited for by the subject actually have

the nature signied by the predicate. As can be seen, the via antiqua

analysis of this single proposition apparently requires an extremely complex, multilayered ontology; however, the payo in the end is the simple,

uniform semantic criterion of truth originally proposed by Aristotle: a

proposition is true just in case what it signies exists. But it is instructive

to take a closer look at the ontological status of the items required by this

analysis.

In the rst place, the analysis requires the existence of some ordinary

primary substances, namely, humans. However, for something to count as

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rational animals, their existence also requires the existence of their

rationality and animality. Furthermore, on this conception, if something

exists in actuality, its existence also has to be in actuality, and it is this

actual existence that is supposed to be signied by the copula. But the

copula also co-signies the union of what is signied by the predicate and

by the subject, thereby indicating that the existence of the thing signied

by the predicate is also the existence (whether substantial or accidental

existence, but in the case of the proposition at hand, it is the substantial

existence) of the thing supposited for by the subject, which is actual at the

time connoted by the tense of the copula.

Now, these are just the real, mind-independently existing items required

for the truth of this proposition. However, as we could see, these items can

be picked out by the relevant syntactical items from reality only on account

of these syntactical items being subordinated to their respective concepts

that renders them meaningful in the rst place. So, on this analysis,

all propositions require a further ontological layer, as it were, the layer

of concepts.

But, as we could see, concepts come in two necessarily connected sorts,

namely, formal and objective concepts. The formal concepts are real,

inherent, individualized qualities of the individual minds that form them.

The objective concepts, on the other hand, are the direct objects of these

individual mental acts, some of which represent extra-mental individuals in

a universal manner, but without representing the sorts of universal things

imagined by Plato. Thus, these objective concepts form another ontological layer, the layer of beings of reason, which in the strict sense are mere

objects of thought (the representational contents of formal concepts), but

with a more or less remote foundation in reality (as opposed to mere

gments). In the case of universal concepts, this foundation in reality

consists in the individualized natures of the things from which these

objective concepts derive in the process of abstraction and concept formation (through the generation of intelligible species).

But the objective concepts do not occur to the mind in isolation. They

enter into the composition of complex thoughts, which are formed by

means of syncategorematic concepts, such as the copula, which, as we

could see, besides its syncategorematic function of joining the concepts of

subject and predicate also has the categorematic function of signifying the

existence of what is signied by the predicate in the relevant supposita

(referents) of the subject, the relevant supposita being determined by the

syncategorematic concept of the sign of quantity, in the present case the

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another being of reason with a foundation in reality. (Klima 2011b, 2012)

Indeed, the obtaining of this complex is conditioned both on the side of

the mind forming it and on the side of the things serving as its foundation.

For the state of aairs (dictum, enuntiabile, etc.) that every man is an

animal actually obtains just in case there are humans and each of them

actually has its animality. But then, providing the rules of composition for

all types of thought, based on the syntactical structure of the proposition

expressing it, one can provide the uniform Aristotelian criterion of truth

for all types of propositions, and based on that, the uniform criterion for

the formal validity of an inference or consequence. In fact, since in this

framework truth is dened in terms of the content of propositions, a

stronger entailment relation is also denable, in terms of the more negrained notion of content-containment, as was proposed by some authors

in this tradition (Martin 2010, 2012; Read 2010; for comparison, an

interesting contemporary development of the idea of entailment based

on content- or meaning-containment can be found, for instance, in Brady

and Rush 2009). However, as we could see, this could be obtained only in

terms of the multi-layered ontology that provoked Ockhams and his

fellow-nominalists charges.

Nevertheless, we should also emphasize that Ockhams and his followers charges were not entirely justied, and, accordingly, the ultimate

dierence between late-medieval realists and nominalists did not lie simply

in their dierent ontologies or simply in their dierent semantics that

allowed them to handle their ontological problems in rather dierent ways,

but rather in their dierent conceptions of concepts underlying even their

semantic dierences.

The Ockhamist charge of multiplying entities with the multiplicity of

terms was unjustied for several reasons. In the rst place, even realists

had at their disposal at least two dierent kinds of strategies to reduce the

ontological commitment of their semantics: (1) the identication of the

semantic values of terms belonging to dierent categories, and (2) attributing a reduced form of existence to some of the semantic values of some

terms in some categories.

The rst strategy could rely already on the authority of Aristotle, who in

his Physics identied action and passion with the same motion, but several

original considerations allowed scholastic thinkers to identify relations

with their foundations (i.e., with entities in the absolute categories of

substance, quantity and quality), and in general entities in the remaining

six categories with those in the rst three.

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The second strategy, as we could already see, was based on the idea that

the minds dierent ways of conceiving of mind-independent entities of

external reality produces certain mind-dependent, intentional objects, the

objective concepts, the information contents of our mental acts, by means of

which we variously conceive ultimately those mind-independent objects

that satisfy the criteria of applicability set by these objective concepts, or

intentions. This is precisely why in this tradition the subject matter of logic

was generally characterized as the study of second intentions, that is, of

concepts of concepts (such as the concepts of subject, predicate, proposition, negation, or the ultimately targeted notion of valid consequence).

So, the core-ontology of real mind-independent entities could in principle

have been exactly the same for these realists as for Ockhamist

nominalists.

In fact, both late-medieval realists and nominalists were conceptualists, but based on a rather dierent conception of concepts and their role in

logic, semantics, and epistemology. In this connection, it is informative to

compare Ockhams earlier, ctum-theory of universals with that of the via

antiqua conception discussed so far. For the important dierence between

the two is that even if Ockhams cta are ontologically on the same footing

as the objective concepts of the realists (they are beings of reason), and they

would be best characterized in the same way, namely, as the objective

information content of individual mental acts, they do not have the same

role in Ockhams theory.

In fact, as prompted by the arguments of his confrere, Walter Chatton,

Ockham came to realize that cta did not play any signicant role in his

logic at all, and so, grabbing his famous razor, he painlessly cut them out

from his ontology. The reason why Ockham could do so is that for him

the universality of universal representations (whether cta or universally

representing mental acts) consists merely in their indierent representation

of a number of individuals (in the case of a natural kind, all past, present,

future, and merely possible individuals of the same kind). However, this

indierent representation is due not to some abstracted condition of having

a certain nature that individuals of a given kind satisfy, but, as a matter of

brute fact, to the indierence of the causal impact of one individual or

another of the same natural kind on the human mind.

Accordingly, for Ockham, there is no question whether there is a real

distinction between the nature of an individual represented by a universal

concept and the individual itself (as this emerged as a metaphysical

question in the via antiqua), because what these concepts indierently

represent are just the individuals themselves. Therefore, for him, the

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supposita of the terms subordinated to these concepts are not the individuals that actually have these natures relative to the time connoted by the

copula (as was conceived in the via antiqua), but simply the individuals

represented by the concept that are actual at that time. As a result, terms in

the predicate position do not signify inherent natures either, so Ockham

and his followers endorse the identity-theory of predication, as opposed to

the inherence-theory. According to the identity-theory, an armative predication is true, just in case the terms of the proposition supposit for the

same thing or things. But this is obviously not a general denition

of truth. In order to achieve a truth-denition on this approach, one

should provide similar satisfaction clauses for all logically dierent

proposition-types, such as negatives, universals, particulars, not to mention

the propositional complexes, such as conjunctions, disjunctions, etc.

(Klima 2009: c. 10).

As can be seen, on this nominalist approach, just as terms do not gure

into the calculation of truth-values with their intensions, but their extensions, so too, the truth of propositions themselves is not determined in

terms of their intension or signication, but solely by the extensions (sets of

supposita) of their categorematic terms. Accordingly, nominalist semantics

as such has no use for enuntiabilia or complexe signicabilia, as is brilliantly

illustrated by the logic of John Buridan.

On Buridans theory, propositional signication is simply the set of all

signicata (and connotata) of a propositions categorematic terms, which of

course yields a very coarse-grained conception of propositional signication. In fact, on this conception, contradictory propositions must signify

the same, although dierently, on account of the concept of negation

included in the one, but not in the other of the contradictory pair of

propositions (Klima 2009: c. 9). However, Buridan does not have to care

much. On his account, truth is not a function of signication, so, two

propositions of the same signication can have opposite truth-values.

Thus, when he needs a more ne-grained semantics of propositional

signication (as in intentional contexts) he can always refer to the diversity

of the corresponding propositions on the mental level, where, of course, in

line with his nominalist ontology, the mental propositions in question are

just inherent qualities, individual acts of individual human minds, just as

are the concepts entering into their semantic make-up (Klima 2009: c. 8).

So, nominalist semantics can aord to be based on an entirely homogeneous, parsimonious ontology (containing only two or three distinct

categories of entities, namely, substances, quantities sometimes identied

with substances or qualities, as by Ockham and qualities). However, this

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parsimonious homogeneity is achieved at the expense of massive semantic diversity, assigning some of these entities various, distinctive semantic

functions, especially on the mental level. However these semantic functions are always dened in terms of the extensions of these mental items,

the formal concepts inherent in individual human minds, to the exclusion

of items in the ontological limbo of the objective concepts of the

older model.

Still, even the nominalist version of scholastic conceptualism could

maintain that logic is the study of second intentions without lapsing into

subjectivism, conventionalism, or skepticism, let alone psychologism features

that in a modern context are so often associated with conceptualism. Well,

how come? Actually, answering this question will allow us to draw some

general conclusions concerning both major versions of scholastic conceptualism sketched out here, and some general lessons we can learn from

these scholastic theories concerning the subject matter of logic and

metaphysics.

In the rst place, it should be quite obvious that the objective concepts of

the via antiqua conception are objective not only in the medieval sense, i.e.,

in the sense that they are the objects of individual mental acts inherent in

individual human minds as their individualized forms (the formal concepts), but also in the modern sense of being intersubjectively accessible

and the same for all. For an objective concept is the common, abstract

information content of any formal concept that carries this information,

and any formal concept that does not carry the same information is just

not a formal concept of the same objective concept. Thus, in this framework it simply cannot happen that you and I have dierent concepts of the

same kind of entities as such, or the same concept of entities of dierent

kinds. If I have the concept of H2O and you have the concept of XYZ,

then we are just not talking about the same thing, no matter that we use

the same word in our miraculously matching English idioms of Putnams

Twin Earth scenario. (Putnam 2000: 422) Since I use the term water as

subordinated to my concept and you use it as subordinated to yours, we

use our words equivocally, no matter how phenomenally similar the two

kinds of things are, and how similarly we would describe their phenomenal

properties. Therefore, if I say This is water pointing to a glass of H2O and

you say, pointing to the same, No, that is not water, we actually do not

contradict each other, although, of course, it can take a while until we

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gure out just why. But that is an issue of epistemology, not semantics. As

far as meaning is concerned, on this conception you can have the same

concept as I do only if our individual mental acts latch onto the same kind

of objects in the same way, carrying exactly the same information. To be

sure, one of us may have a better understanding of the nature of the thing

or things thus conceived, on account of being more aware of the relationships among this concept and others, picking out the same nature dierently, on account of other, more specic or more generic information, as

when one of us knows the genuine quidditative denition of the kind of

thing in question. But regardless of whether either of us has this denition

in mind or knows what it would be, we can be said to have a concept of

this kind of thing as such, only if we managed to form the objective

concept of its essence, which must be the same for both of us, or we just

do not have this concept at all (Cf. Aquinas 2000: Sententia Metaphysicae,

lib. 9. l. 11. n. 13.).

From this it should also be clear that these objective concepts are nonconventionally objective. For what determines the information content of

our abstracted, simple concepts is what kinds of things they are abstracted

from, that is to say, the nature or essence of those things themselves. To be

sure, we can construct complex concepts out of these simple ones as we

wish and agree to express them by words we wish (ad placitum, as the

scholastics said), but whether the concept we both abstracted from samples

of H2O will apply to all and only samples of that kind of thing (even if we

cannot infallibly identify all such samples in all possible scenarios) is clearly

not a matter of our wishes.

Finally, even if our psychological mechanisms require that when we

form these simple concepts and their combinations our minds work with

their own individual, subjective mental acts, their formal concepts; the

logical relations among these mental acts are not a matter of the causal or

other psychological relations among them, but a matter of the relations of

their objective semantic contents, the relations among their objective

concepts. So, no wonder scholastic thinkers working in this tradition

would identify the subject matter of logic as those second intentions or

objective concepts of our objective concepts that express precisely these

objective conceptual relations. (Schmidt 1966; Natalis 2008)

Therefore, it should also be clear that the laws of logic in this framework

are supposed to be fundamentally dierent from the laws of psychology.

For while the former are the laws of the logical relations among objective

concepts, the latter are the laws of the causal relations among formal

concepts. Thus, whereas logic can be normative, prescribing the laws of

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Gyula Klima

and perhaps explaining those psychological mechanisms that can, for

instance, make us prone to certain types of logical errors.

But similar observations can be made about the nominalist approach,

although with some interesting, and from a modern perspective, especially

instructive modications. As for the issue of objectivity, the nominalist

authors, after Ockham had dropped his cta as being ontologically bothersome and theoretically unnecessary, still insisted on our simple mental

concepts being externally determined and not just subjectively made up by

us, grounding this belief in the generally reliable natural mechanisms of

sense perception and universal concept formation (Panaccio 2004; Klima

2009: c. 4).

So, for the nominalists there are no longer quasi-entities in mere

objective being: our concepts are anchored in extramental reality through

the objective (in the modern sense, meaning mind-independent) laws of

natural causality. However, there is a slight, but very signicant shift in the

way nominalists conceived of this anchoring, as opposed to their realist

counterparts. For realists, what did the anchoring was a certain formal

unity, the sameness of the information content that was encoded in the

mental acts carrying this information and that was realized in the very

nature of the things these concepts represented to the subjects having

them. This conception of formal unity provided a much stronger

anchoring for the via antiqua conception than what is available in the

nominalist via moderna.

The via antiqua conception, as we could see, builds the identity of the

nature of the represented objects into the identity-conditions of a concept

itself, hence tying the identity of its objects by logical necessity to the

identity of the concept in question. By contrast, the via moderna conception ties the identity of the concept by mere natural, causal necessity to the

identity of its objects. In a medieval theological context, however, this

dierence amounts to the dierence of what could and could not be done

by divine absolute power. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that

anticipations of Descartes famous Demon argument crop up precisely in

this context, once the nominalist conception opened up at least the logical

possibility of a cognitive subjects having exactly the same concepts planted

in his mind by a deceptive God without the mediation of these concepts

adequate objects; i.e., the subject having exactly the same phenomenal

consciousness, regardless of whether any items of it are veridical, faithful

representations of reality or not (Klima and Hall 2011; Karger

forthcoming).

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on the conventionality of spoken and written languages than their realist

counterparts; however, they equally strongly emphasized the nonconventional, natural character of the language of thought or mental

language, based on the xed laws of nature. So, even for the nominalists,

our simple concepts, anchored in natural kinds by causality, are not made

up by us at will in the way the words we express them by are.

Nevertheless, as we could see, the nominalist conception still allows for

the possibility of supernatural skepticism, providing a whole range of

dierent reactions to this possibility, but perhaps most typically oering a

reliabilist solution, dismissing the overblown certainty-criteria of the

skeptic in terms of dierent sorts of reliability-criteria for our various

cognitive powers and mechanisms utilized dierently in dierent cognitive

scenarios (Aristotle providing again a good authority by his remark that

one should not expect mathematical certainty in all elds of inquiry)

(Klima 2009: c. 12). In any case, in deductive logic, nominalists still

required the same, highest form of certainty as in mathematics.

For despite their conception of concepts as being simply individualized

mental acts tied to their objects by mere natural necessity, the nominalists

did not take logic to collapse into psychology. Perhaps, the best illustration

of this fact comes from Adam Wodehams thought experiment concerning the presumed perfect telepathy of human minds uncorrupted by

original sin (of which now we have no actual example) and of good angels

(the ones that did not fall with Lucifer). These minds, according to

Wodeham, are perfectly capable of intuiting each others thoughts, however, this would still not amount to communication, because they would

not be able, simply on account of this intuition, to decode the contents of

those thoughts (pretty much like brain scans can give us some information

about some sort of brain activity, but not about what that activity is

about). Accordingly, based on these observations, these minds could come

up with a natural science describing the regularities of these mental

activities, but that science would tell us nothing about the content,

let alone the validity of the thought processes couched by these activities,

which would be the concern of a dierent science, namely, logic. (Karger

2001: 2956)

So, what conclusions can we draw for ourselves from this however

sketchy, general comparison of the two main scholastic approaches to

the problem of universals and the subject matter of logic?

The traditionally recognized alternative answers to the problem of

universals come in many shades and colors. But especially in their

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Gyula Klima

their dierent ontologies, but rather by their dierent conceptions of

concepts, determining dierent kinds of constructions of logical semantic

theories.

These dierent theories can be arranged on a theoretical scale, ranging

from extreme realism to extreme nominalism, meaning maximal semantic

uniformity along with maximal ontological diversity on the realist end

(every linguistic item has the same type of semantic function, say, naming

some entity, while these items dier semantically on the basis of what type

of entity they name), and maximal ontological uniformity with maximal

semantic diversity on the nominalist end (having just one ontological type

of entities, while all semantic dierences consist in the dierent semantic

functions of some of these entities of the same ontological type). Even if,

perhaps, no actual historical theory can be placed on either extreme

(although, if Parmenides had had one, it would have probably been close

to the extreme nominalist end, whereas if Plato had had an articulated

semantic theory, then it might have been close to the extreme realist end,

as probably so would be Wittgensteins caricature of Augustines theory),

the actual, well-articulated theories can better be understood as variously

removed from either extreme on account of various elements of variety

introduced either on the side of ontology, by multiplying the semantically

relevant distinct categories of entities, or on the side of semantics, by

multiplying the dierent types of semantic relations that map the syntactical categories of language onto the ontological categories distinguished by

the theory.

In the scholastic theories discussed here, these dierent types of

semantic relations were understood in terms of how our dierent kinds

of concepts relate our words to things in our ontology. Here, in the via

antiqua framework things can be understood rather loosely for any

object or quasi-object of our thought, whereas in the via moderna

framework, they would be restricted to really existing entities in the

category of substance and quality (or for Buridan and his followers also

in the category of quantity). It is very telling, however, that the core

ontology (i.e., the categories of real entities to the exclusion of beings of

reason) of the via antiqua framework could be just as parsimonious as

the nominalist core ontology was (as is illustrated, for instance, by the

ontology of the late-scholastic Domingo Soto). Furthermore, even the via

moderna framework could have in principle reduced its ontology to one

homogeneous category, had it not been for certain theological worries

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widely taken to have been refuted by Aristotle.

Finally, in view of the foregoing comparative analysis of how both

medieval viae would avoid, in their own ways, contemporary worries about

conceptualism in general, we can conclude that such comparisons can be

especially useful for rening our understanding of the implications of the

various theories that can be arranged on the theoretical scale set up in this

chapter. Such renements in the end will allow us to overcome certain

modern theoretical reexes (nominalism entails skepticism, conceptualism

leads to psychologism, etc.) by shining a new light on the historical origins

of these reexes themselves.

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meaningful discourse: a theory of how discourse acquires the meaning it

does. Traditionally, logics have investigated the behavior of syncategorematic words like and, which contribute to the meanings of their contexts

while having no meaning in isolation, and hence have studied the contrast,

say, between and as it occurs in sentences like

(1) They are married and have a child

(2) They got married and had a child.

But there is no reason why they should not also study the relation, say,

between (1) and

(3) They are married and have a pet;

in particular, why they should not inquire into whether (1) and (3) are

interchangeable. A logic that studied the contrast between (1) and (2) would

be (among other things) a logic of and (a theory of the meaningful use of

and); a logic that studied the relation between (1) and (3) would be

(among other things) a logic of child (and of pet). Nothing other than

greater generality, and attendant lesser detail, is gained by concentrating on

logics of conjunctions, adverbs, and pronouns; and at no level of generality

does it make any sense to grace a word (or maybe a diacritical sign, like a

parenthesis) with the label logical constant. If you ever get sidetracked

into a Quinean fatuous search for the nonexistent Eldorado of pure

logic, I recommend a refreshing immersion into Buridans subtle, perceptive study of the innite nuances of signication and supposition.1

But, if there is no specic ontological realm for logic, there denitely are

ontological questions pertaining to it. Two questions, primarily: Do logical

laws (the laws bringing out the meaningful behavior of various words) have

1

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an objective status? And, if so, how do they acquire it? No answers to such

questions can be attempted without a substantive view of what objectivity,

and an ontology, are. Since this is not the place to defend my Kantian,

transcendental-idealist position on the matter, I will simply state it before

moving on.2 (Though I must note that, here, the matter dealt with is not

innocent: an ontology is a logic of being, hence what ontological status a

logic has is not independent of what logic it is.)

A transcendental philosophy as described and practiced by Kant is itself

a logic. It is not intended to decide such factual questions as whether there

is a God or humans are free, but to address semantical issues like what the

meaning of God or freedom is. The reason why the formidable epithet

transcendental is attached to it is precisely the misunderstanding

I alluded to above: if you think that logic only deals with (some) conjunctions, adverbs, and pronouns, then you are forced to qualify this narrow

concern as general logic and to conjure up some other name for the full

line of business.

Within the semantical space where the (transcendental) logical enterprise is located, one can take dierent words as primitives and establish a

network of semantical relations and dependencies based on those primitives and involving other words, each time resulting in (the beginning of ) a

dierent transcendental philosophy/logic; as more such structure is

exposed, the meanings of the words involved will become correspondingly

better established and clearer. If we want, we can even talk about concepts: clusters of largely interchangeable words resonating with a common

theme, not necessarily spoken but suggestively intimated by the resonance.

A transcendental realism (TR) is a transcendental philosophy/logic

that takes a cluster of largely interchangeable words including object,

substance, thing, and existence as primitives, and then turns to

the (hopeless) task of dening words like experience or knowledge

on that basis. A transcendental idealism (TI) my chosen course is a

transcendental philosophy/logic that takes its cue from a dierent

cluster including experience, representation, and consciousness,

and then moves to dening object and existence. Not surprisingly,

a TI has a lot more to say about objectivity what makes an object an

object than a TR: of primitives we will forever be dumb and, though

occasionally that incapacity is depicted as mystical depth, the bottom

line is that no interesting account of what primitives mean is forthcoming. In a TI, however, objectivity belongs to a derived cluster; hence its

2

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one we need to work out now.

Representations (or experiences, or consciousness) are always of something: their so-called intentional objects, which despite their name are not

objects yet, indeed never will be. And neither representations nor their

intentional objects can be objective in isolation: they can only be objective to the extent that they are categorially connected that they are

mutually consistent; that there are relations of mutual determination

among them; that there is a denite fact of the matter of how many of

them there are, hence how they are identical with, or distinct from, one

another. The graduality signaled by the locution to the extent that

would only be redeemed at the limit: by a system of representations to

which nothing further could be added and where each member were fully

determined to be what it is by its relations with all others. Within that

system (suddenly, as soon as completeness were reached), all representations would be objective and all their intentional objects would be

objects, period: existent objects. The limit cannot be experienced, in

the strongest sense of cannot: it would be contradictory (antinomical)

to suppose otherwise, hence all intentional objects will forever stay that

way remain appearances. But this conclusion is only going to worry

those who reduce a TI to a series of empirical claims about what takes

place (or can take place) in a mind. As none of that is implied here, for

what is in question is rather the semantics of objectivity, we have all we

could ask for: a regulative idea that orients our everyday, always fallible

vicissitudes, signaling the direction in which we are likely to nd more

objectivity and the standards we must enforce to maximize it (coherence,

agreement, inclusiveness, mathematical structure), inevitably staying clear

of such a complete realization of the idea as would make ( per impossibile)

the whole project fall apart.

What the system of representations envisioned at the limit would

represent is (as one might expect) a system of objects to which nothing

further could be added and where each member were fully determined to

be what it is by its relations with all others. I call (and Kant calls) this

system a world. No one ever experiences a world, though most everyone

(everyone but severely disturbed people) ordinarily presumes herself to be

experiencing part of one, and sometimes goes through the catastrophe of

seeing what she took to be part of a world explode into incoherence and

disconnectedness. When such unfortunate events take place, we try hard

to blame them on contingent occurrences (on misreadings of data) while

keeping faith with the semantical laws that organize our logic. What I saw

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in the corner was not an elephant; it was an armchair; but the meanings of

elephant and armchair are not disrupted by this mishap. And yet, it is

not always that easy; for, what about the semantical necessity, until circa

1905, that a wave is not a particle? And about the logical clash that ensued

when we were forced to deny that necessity: a clash whose logical character

would be missed by more parochial characterizations of logic? If, on the

other hand, you want to insist on a parochial characterization and attribute

that clash to the empirical realm, I urge you to consider what happened a

few years earlier, when the very logic of sets blew up in peoples face. As

very unfortunate happenings of this kind can never nally be ruled out,

logics align themselves with worlds, in the following way:

A logic cannot be a theory of meaningless discourse (of alogos). But any

word we use can only be meaningful if our whole discourse is meaningful:

if all words we use belong in an ideal complete dictionary that sets

consistent, connected relations among them once again, it is an all-ornothing aair. Only a logic associated with this kind of dictionary would

be objective in the sense of possibly describing a world of objects (would be

a real, not an apparent, logic), independently of the data that gave empirical content to its entries. As no such dictionary can ever be at hand, we are

never in possession of a logic but only of something we presume to be a

fragment of one, and which is always at risk of dissolving into the stu

dreams are made of. A logic (like a world) is worse than a territory

constantly under threat of being conquered by enemies: it is constantly

under threat of vanishing into thin air.

That being the case, a major consequence follows, of a sign opposite to

the Quinean puritanism mentioned earlier. Just as, in the absence of a

complete system of representations or a complete world, we are to maximize the consistency, connectedness, and inclusiveness of what systems of

representations or of intentional objects we do have, in the absence of a

logic we are to maximize our closeness to one, walking away from the

depopulated citadels of the propositional and the predicate calculi toward a

ner and ner appreciation of the logical distinctions between crowd

and mob, or magenta and scarlet. In a true Kantian vein,

completeness will be not actual but set as a task, so logic will graduate

from a tenseless doctrine into a concrete practice ready to uncover semantical treasures under any rock, and carry semantical threads around any

corners. The routine of jotting down a few axioms, formally interpreting

them by translating them into the stock language of set theory, and

vindicating them by proving a completeness theorem will be shunned

in favor of the completeness that really matters: the one that is never

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across a larger and larger eld.

The two most obvious examples of this search for an objective logic, in

our tradition, come from Aristotle and Hegel3 or, I should say, from

Hegel and from Aristotle as interpreted by Hegel. For the ocial story

about Aristotle is that logic for him is an organon, a neutral tool to be

prexed to research proper, indeed to be done with exhaustively before

embarking in any research. If that were true, Aristotles would no more be

a logic than quantication theory or S4 are: it would be an abstract,

uninformative, and ultimately irrelevant repertory of (logical) platitudes.

But, fortunately, such is not the case (as Hegel points out): every segment

of Aristotles philosophy (and science) deepens and widens his logical

analysis4 his logic as analysis, his analytic logic. Whether he is talking

about the challenge sea-anemones bring to the logical distinction between

animals and plants, or he is illuminating through a careful examination of

courage or friendship the relation between focal and extended/analogical

meanings, Aristotle is reshaping his dictionary (including what it is to be a

dictionary) every step of the way.

So this is Hegels Aristotle I am talking about. It is also Kants.

Aristotles text could be used as a prime example of a commitment to a

TR. But one can also see it as a major avenue that is open to us when we,

within a TI, get to the point of spelling out categorial connectedness; more

precisely, when we spell out the part that has to do with counting objects,

hence identifying and distinguishing them. If we go with Aristotle there

(with the Aristotle that maintains a not-entirely-comfortable presence

inside Kant) then the issue is simple: as soon as we face a contradiction

between two representations, or their intentional objects, a distinction

must be made there must be at least two things. The Aristotelian world

is structured by contraries: by what cannot be true together and invokes a

splitting. If waves can cause interference phenomena and particles cannot,

then waves are not particles, and for a denition of light we have only two

choices: we can either have particles or waves but not both, or give up on

3

4

For a systematic account of the contrast between Aristotelian and Hegelian logic, see my 2000.

See the following passages from Hegels 1995: in his metaphysics, physics, psychology, etc., Aristotle

has not formed conclusions, but thought the concept in and for itself (p. 217; translation modied);

it must not be thought that it is in accordance with . . . syllogisms that Aristotle has thought. If

Aristotle did so, he would not be the speculative philosopher that we have recognized him to be

(p. 223); Like the whole of Aristotles philosophy, his logic really requires recasting, so that all his

determinations should be brought into a necessary systematic whole (p. 223). While he thus

acknowledged the comprehensive character of Aristotles logic, however, Hegel did not see it as an

alternative to his own, as I do, but rather as a step toward the latter.

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both and think of something else entirely. That Kants criteria of objective

identity be spatiotemporal shows him committed to this Aristotelian route:

one and the same thing cannot be at two dierent locations at the same

time. But, when it comes to the semantics of regulative ideas, including the

ones that determine the criteria of objectivity, his inclination seems to be

proto-Hegelian, witness his derivation of positive from negative freedom, or of reciprocal action from simultaneity.5

With Hegel, on the other hand, contradiction is not a threat: it is an

opportunity. When the semantics of a word faces a bifurcation between

contradictory options, its fate is to take both, and its job is to evolve in

such a way that both options be present in a dialectical overcoming of their

contrast. Light is both particles and waves: the two are complementary

descriptions of one and the same complex reality, indeed belong to the

very substance of that reality, which is nourished (adds to its concreteness, Hegel would say) by their antagonism. Therefore the world that no

one will ever experience but of which everyone takes herself to be experiencing a portion is a monistic one: as not even contradictions can divide,

no two things are radically divided; all divisions are but chapters of one

story. And the very unfortunate events that might bring this logic to a crisis

will not be the surfacing of contradictions, as is the case with its analytic

counterpart. It will rather be the confronting of occurrences (the Holocaust, say) that simply cannot be integrated within one and the same

comprehending, rationalizing, spiritual narrative.

I said that these are the two most obvious examples of the search for a

logic. There are countless, less obvious, others; except that they are not to

be found where one would be most likely to look for them. As I pointed

out already, individual calculi cannot be regarded as logics, unless they are

part of an ambitious program that extends over a substantial area of

experience, indeed potentially all of it. But, whereas most of what falls

under the academic discipline of logic does not qualify as logic for me, a lot

of traditional philosophy does. Transcendental philosophy is not a new

way of doing philosophy initiated by Kant: it is a new way of looking at

what philosophy has always done, without much awareness and hence

with considerable self-deception. Of course pre-Kantian, and many postKantian, philosophers typically took themselves to be establishing factual

claims like the existence of God or human freedom, but the way they did

5

For the former, see Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, in Kant 1996, p. 94: The preceding

denition of freedom is negative and therefore unfruitful for insight into its essence; but there ows

from it a positive concept of freedom. . .. For the latter, see my 1987, p. 149.

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prove that the existence of God or human freedom were more than facts

that they were necessities. Therefore, it was not facts about God or

freedom they were directly addressing: it was the meanings of God and

of freedom, and facts only insofar as they were inescapable consequences

of what those meanings were. Virtually every one of them was doing,

largely unbeknowst to himself, transcendental philosophy, which is to say:

(transcendental) logic. The logic of the State and of justice, if they were

Plato or Hobbes; the logic of art, if they were Plotinus or Schiller; the logic

of economic exchanges, if they were Ricardo or Marx. Far from being just

an organon of philosophy, logic constitutes the very body of it: all philosophical theses, arguments, and theories are but logical matters pages of

an ideal dictionary by which we try to make sense of experience. And, as

I showed earlier with Aristotle, most of these theses, arguments, and

theories, though often grown on TR soil, can be put to protable use in

developing a TI, specically in dening objectivity for various TI philosophies/logics.

If each logic (within a TI framework) develops its own denition of

objectivity, one important feature of logic as ordinarily understood turns

out to be mistaken and one more way emerges in which traditional

philosophers were deluded about their own work. The feature I refer to is

that logic, one often believes, allows us to conclusively refute an opponent

by proving him conceptually confused, or to conclusively establish our

position by proving it sustained by necessary argument; which is just what

philosophers traditionally took themselves to be doing when they oered

the apodeictic demonstrations I mentioned. Here too it might help to get

to our point by a digression through Kant, this time through Kants ethics.

(In what follows, for the sake of simplicity, I will adopt an analytic,

Aristotelian perspective, hence speak of inferences, that only have currency

within an analytic framework. Hegelian, dialectical logic has other conversational and confrontational modes which explains the repeated failure of

attempts at coming up with a dialectical theory of inference. But mutatis

mutandis what I say could be extended to the Hegelian camp.)

According to Kant, ethics is rationality,6 and never mind at the moment

that rationality, like objectivity, cannot be denitively established. Suppose

we pronounce an ethical judgment that, on as solid grounds as we can

manage, stigmatizes a certain behavior as immoral. Assuming the grounds

to be as solid as they appear, this is a case of reason itself speaking, and one

6

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would imagine that, when reason speaks, everyone will stop and listen.

Not so: behavior occurs in empirical reality, Kant thinks, subject to

empirical laws, so only empirical factors like temperament, education, or

emotions can have motivating force there. Reason has none. One can only

hope (if one takes reasons side) that those empirical factors will promote

what reason would want to see done; that moral feeling, say, will ally itself

with rational judgment and make the agent move the right way in this

case, take his distance from the stigmatized behavior. If the agent decides

otherwise, there is nothing reason can do. It can call the agent irrational,

even deny him the status of an agent; but the (non?)agent need not be

impressed by any of this. In fact, he can appropriate words like reason

and rational and provide them with his own semantics; and there will be

no forcing him to recognize that as an error. Reason (whatever that is) is

playing its own game and, however consistent and connected the game

might be, one can always, simply, opt out of it.

Same thing here. Every transcendental philosophy/logic sets out its own

game, to be played by its own set of rules. Now suppose that, by the rules

current in a particular game, I prove that, than which nothing greater can

be thought, necessarily to exist. If I am a believer, I rejoice in thus seeing

my faith conrmed and I generously broadcast my proof to all others, so

that they can see the light also. And I am puzzled when many of those

others, instead of coming to a harmonious, reasonable agreement with me,

use their disbelief as the premise of a modus tollens and start looking for

what is wrong with my proof. Eventually they might focus on something

I took to be included in the semantics of greater: that existing, say, is

greater than not existing. And they might deny it: adopt an alternative

account of greater. What can I do then? Clearly, they are playing a

dierent game; and, no matter how loud I protest, there is no convincing

them that my game is the one they should be playing. This last judgment is

internal to my game, and of course from that internal perspective it looks

irrefutable. From the outside, it just looks like something else one

could say.

In and by itself (more about this qualication shortly), logic has no

persuasive force. Despite the metaphors of constraint that are invariably

brought up in its wake, it can constrain no one. If anything, the practice of

logic (as opposed to the often deceptive theory of it) has a liberating eect.

You felt constrained to making a certain inferential step (say, from something being necessary to its being necessarily so); but, when you bring

logical acuity and attention to bear upon it, you realize that it was a matter

of habit, that you can dislodge yourself from that straightjacket and make

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the step not a forced but an optional one that you are free to go either

way, you have a choice in the matter that you had missed at rst. Think of

the story long told about Girolamo Saccheri:7 of how he wanted to rm

up, once and for all, the necessity of Euclids fth postulate (to withdraw

the option of having it, or not having it, as an independent assumption)

and ended up unwittingly freeing thought from Euclidean fetters.

What, then, is the use of a logic? How is the search for its objectivity

ever going to pay o? Its value judgments, I said, are internal to the game

the logic is playing; it is only from within that game that certain principles

appear secure, certain inferential steps apodeictical, certain objections

untenable. So it is only internally that a logic, in and by itself, has a use.

The development of my transcendental philosophy/logic will be like the

development of an organism: a realization of its own potential and a

functional interaction of all its components. Repeatedly, I will come upon

theoretical options, and the game I am playing (I decided to play,

I committed myself to playing) will sometimes determine my choice of

one of them, in which case I will naturally accept that choice, and

sometimes not, in which case I will reect on what else I want to add to

the rules of the game in order to have it cover more ground, to make it

more delicately responsive to the rugged terrain on which I must travel.

And the places I get to by traveling on that terrain will retroact on my

initial commitments: I will regard those commitments as conrmed to the

extent that I approve of my destination; I will correct them to the extent

that I nd it unwelcome. There will even be surprises along the way:

locations I never thought I would reach but my rules irresistibly take me

to, either to be more powerfully reassured that I am on the right track, or

more anxiously aware that I must be doing (assuming) something wrong.

A logic is a self-organizing structure, self-enclosed and self-referential,

that provides the bare scaolding of a world and, if given enough data,

even a large part of its actual construction. (So, as anticipated earlier, a

logic includes its own ontology.) Luigi Pirandello called it a corrosive,

infernal little machine8 because from any imagined variation in the

existing circumstances it could engineer, one step after the other, the

most horrid outcomes; and he considered it something to be afraid of.

For me, the fear at issue here is the one that always accompanies freedom.

7

A Jesuit priest and professor of mathematics at Pavia, who published in 1733 Euclides ab omni naevo

vindicatus, a presumed reductio proof of Euclids fth postulate from his other assumptions, long

regarded as the rst (unintended) development of a non-Euclidean geometry.

Pirandello 1990, pp. 11081109.

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revealing of our powers: of the creative process by which we shape our

world and hence of the responsibility that follows from it. Decades of

existentialist thought (starting with Kant!) have made it clear that none of

that is taken lightly, or should be.

In the Rhetoric, Aristotle discusses three means of persuasion: ethos (an

appeal to the speakers character, intended to suggest authority and cause

respect), pathos (an appeal to the publics emotions), and logos (an appeal to

reasoning and argument). On the face of it, this taxonomy would seem to

contradict my (and Kants) claim that reason has no motivational force,

indeed it might look like the premise of an edifying call to exercising

personal and emotional restraint and letting the austere business of logos

take control of public exchanges and safely guide the community to

perfectly reasonable outcomes. In light of what I said so far, this attitude

would be delusional: if in fact a speaker were to convince an interlocutor to

switch to her side by the use of logical argument, it would only be by

cleverly hiding the optional character of her principles and the controversial nature of her inferential steps, and that itself would happen, most

likely, because of the competence, hence the authority, the interlocutor

attributes to her, hence ultimately because of her implicit use of ethos, her

implicit appeal to her superior ability (and honesty) in dealing with these

matters.9 Rhetoric acionados are fond of making some such point, and of

collapsing logos into a fraudulent mannerism, which will succeed (when it

does) by couching in impressive, authoritarian pseudorational garb subjective (and often repressive) opinions and policies. This extreme, unwarranted stance issues from a gut reaction to the equally extreme, and equally

unwarranted, claim that logic, in and by itself, can persuade anyone; and

we have now prepared the ground for a more plausible and balanced

posture and for nally explaining what I have meant by the qualication

in and by itself.

When creationists say that evolution is only a theory, they are saying

something clearly, even trivially, true; and their opponents angry retorts

that evolution is a fact are only signs of bad faith. But that evolution (and

creation as well) be a theory is the beginning of a story, not the end of one,

as some theories are better than others along a signicant list of parameters:

they are more detailed, more discriminating, more resourceful, more

ingenious. And, when compared with creation, evolution is all that. One

can imagine that, at the limit of becoming more and more detailed,

9

Also, crucially, because of her interlocutors deference to her authority. See the following footnote.

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of a world; as that is one more limit that cannot be reached, we will make

do with what approximations we can reach, and develop theories that

weave a ner and ner texture of a presumed reality. Then we will throw

our theories onto the marketplace of ideas and defend them as best we can,

hoping that others will buy them. Some theories (creationism, for

example) will have a clear advantage in terms of pathos: they will line up

the support of strong feelings the fear of death, the already mentioned

fear of freedom. Others will have more modest, though no less genuine

emotions on their side: intellectual curiosity, the fascination of complex

solutions, the aesthetic satisfaction of seeing things fall into place. And they

will stir such emotions more, the more detailed, discriminating, resourceful, and ingenious they are, that is: the more reason structures them

internally the reason that is forever asking pointed questions and

expecting relevant answers, the reason Socrates taught us how to use.10

A logic is a highly ambitious theory: one that attempts to construct a

universal language. In and by itself, this theory will be found persuasive only

by those who are already committed to the particular view it expresses and

articulates. But, the more the view is articulated, the more material it includes

and makes t in a well-organized, thoroughly sensible structure, the more it

will look to others like the groundwork for a majestic cathedral, and the more

they might nd it attractive. Despite the attraction, they might never leave

the hovels they are used to, since those give them more comfort and

reassurance; still, however slim a chance logos has of winning over fear, by

eliciting the waner passions germane to itself, this is a chance, that in happy

(safe, relaxed, sociable) circumstances might well come to fruition. Forcefully

asserting our axioms and proudly marching to the tune of our proofs will

never get us but a reputation for arrogance; patiently working out a thing of

beauty and making it a paradigm (an example, that is) of internal richness

and consistency might make a few others want to play with us. Not because

they have to; but because that internal richness and consistency the logos

that internally paces it might make them feel that it would be fun to do.

And so they might, if perhaps only for a while, come to inhabit our world.

10

Similar points could be made about ethos. The character and competence of a speaker, in and by

themselves, will have no power to persuade an audience unless the latter feels respect for them. So, as

appropriate to a discussion of persuasion that is, of how an audience can be manipulated , it is

always pathos (the emotions the speaker is able to instigate in the audience) that works if anything

does; and the real distinction is among the emotions that are in play. Both logos and ethos will only

be successful if the speaker can raise the emotions akin to them, and if these emotions, under the

circumstances, prevail over conicting ones.

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1. Framework

The term logical realism, as it is commonly understood, picks out a

family of views that are committed to at least two theses.1 The rst, let

us call it (LF), is that there are logical facts. Here (LF) is construed in

the widest possible sense to include any theory that assumes that there is a

fact of the matter when it comes to the truth-value of claims about logic. (LF)

can thus be cashed out in more or less robust terms. Take for instance the

putatively true claim that modus ponens is a valid principle of inference.

The realist may be committed to there being something whatever this

turns out to imply that makes the claim that modus ponens is valid true.

Or she may understand the idea that the validity of modus ponens is a fact

to mean merely that the corresponding claim is true. Both interpretations

of (LF), and every other one in between, raise a number of questions that

go beyond the scope of the present chapter. (For instance: what is truth?

What is it for a fact to make true a truth?) What is relevant here is the

following: whatever she understands logical facts to be, what makes the

adherent to (LF) a realist about logic is a further assumption (IND), that

logical facts are independent of our cognitive and linguistic make-up and

practices; they are independent of our minds and languages. In this sense,

for the logical realist the truth or falsity of logical claims is objective.

History oers a number of theoretical alternatives to logical realism.

Whats common to nihilism, pragmatism and pluralism,2 for instance, is

the fact that they deny (LF). By contrast, the proponents of naturalism

(of which there are many variants, including logical psychologism) and

My thanks to Matt Carlson, Nicholas F. Stang, Penny Rush, David Sanson, Ben Caplan and Peter

Hanks, Julie Brumberg and Teresa Kouric for their input on previous versions of this chapter.

1

This characterization of logical realism draws on Resniks 2000: 181.

2

I revert to the denition of pluralism given by Stewart Shapiro in the chapter included in this

collection.

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John Stuart Mill need not disagree with the idea that there is a fact of the

matter as to whether or not Modus ponens is valid is true. Rather, he

might be denying that the truth of this claim can be established independently of psychological knowledge and therefore independently of certain

facts concerning our mind. Likewise, the conventionalist may assume that

there are determinate facts concerning our (linguistic) practices that determine whether, for instance, the claim that modus ponens is valid ought to

count as true or false. What logical psychologism and conventionalism

share is the fact that they reject (IND).

As Ive characterized it so far, logical realism is compatible with certain

kinds of relativism. In the chapter included in this volume, Shapiro

describes the view he calls logical folk-relativism. While one who holds

this view assumes (i) that the truth-value of y is a consequence of x, for

instance, varies from one logical framework to another; she also admits (ii)

that there is a fact of the matter as to whether y is a consequence of x in a

given framework (i.e., LF); and (iii) that this fact is objective (i.e., IND).

For the purpose of this chapter, I will use logical realism in a narrower

sense that does not include relativism of this sort; the type of logical

realism I will be discussing below is monistic.

The ontological questions that underlie logical realism e.g. what kinds

of facts, if any, ground the truth or falsity of logical claims? are to be

strictly separated from the types of concerns that arise when explaining

how we come to know the truth of a claim about logic. The distinction

between questions about the epistemology of logic and questions about its

metaphysics is important, among other reasons, for assessing the consistency of some theories. Take Edmund Husserl, for instance. At least in the

rst edition of the Logical Investigations (19001901), he adopts a form of

logical realism of the more robust kind. What makes claims about, say,

validity, true according to the Logical Investigations are certain features of

abstract entities that exist independently of us: Bedeutungen. Nonetheless, Husserl believed that the only way to know the truth-value of logical

claims is to engage in certain (admittedly rather esoteric types of ) psychological analyses. Whatever its other merits, Husserls theory is not

inconsistent. The ontological position according to which there are

mind-independent logical facts need not be at odds with the epistemological position according to which we can only discover the truths of logic

through an investigation of the mind. More generally, logical realists, while

they hold that a claim about logic, if it is true, is true independently of

what we believe or do, may also believe that the recognition of the

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mind works and/or reect upon our cognitive abilities, psychological

dispositions, linguistic conventions or other uses and practices. The alternative would presumably be to assume that we come to recognize the

truths of logic through some sort of immediate logical grasp. And while

this cannot be excluded a priori, it is an assumption that might seem

dubious to anyone who has ever taught introductory logic to college

students.3

Logical realism raises a number of interesting metaontological questions.

Consider two simple toy semantic theories. Let us assume that the content

of both theories is dened as the set of true instances of:

(1) s means p

where s is taken to stand for a sentence of natural language and p for the

meaning of this sentence, say the proposition that p. To the extent that

one holds that at least some instances of (1) are true, both theories commit

one to there being sentences and, more controversially, to there being

propositions. What makes the two theories dierent theories may be a

variety of things: they may diverge on which instances of (1) are true, they

may rest on dierent accounts of what a sentence is, or have dierent views

on what propositions consist of (e.g. structured entities, sets of possible

worlds). Or they may agree on all this and still not be identical.

When it comes to comparing types of logical realism, dierences that

reside in the metatheory, and in particular in the kinds of grounds that

underlie commitment to the existence of proposition-like entities, can be

especially enlightening. I want to take the notion of ground in a broad,

intuitive sense: Agent As belief that x is a ground for her belief that y if her

holding x to be true has explanatory value when it comes to accounting for

As belief that y. The notion of explanation used here is to include the case

in which y follows from x (in a sense of follows to be specied) as well as a

range of other cases I will discuss below. Whats peculiar about all these

cases is the fact that the relation between y and x is to be construed in

epistemic terms. As I use the terms ground and explain here, whether y

objectively follows from x is not ultimately what matters when it comes

3

The theory of eidetic variation and Wesensschau Husserl eventually committed to is an instance

of this kind of epistemology, and this explains in good part why, in many circles, his theories

eventually fell into disrepute. Gdel adopted a similar view, and one directly inspired by Husserl.

(Cf. Kennedy 2012.) The idea that the realist might be bound to adopt an epistemology seems to be a

common objection to the doctrine as a whole. In her chapter in this volume Penny Rush argues for

the potential of phenomenology as regards this problem.

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that x. It is sucient in order for As belief that x to have explanatory value

(to be a ground) in the relevant sense when it comes to accounting for As

belief that y that A eectively believes that y is a consequence of x. This

qualication is important if we are to account for the fact that grounds that

are unclear, implausible or otherwise mistaken nonetheless have explanatory value when it comes to understanding an agents motivation for

certain claims. If it makes sense to say that A holds the belief that y because

A holds the belief that x then As belief that x and the corresponding

claim is a ground for As belief that y.

There are at least two kinds of ground to adhere to (LF) and (IND) and,

accordingly, two main types of realism in logic. The proponent of logical

realism may have external grounds to assume that there are putative

logical facts, even if these grounds are implicit, unconvincing or otherwise

awed. In the context of logical realism, what I mean by external

grounds are grounds that arise out of a concern that is not itself for

logic. While it might be dicult to dene precisely what counts as a logical

concern, the idea that some concerns pertain to logic while others dont is

uncontroversial enough. On the contemporary understanding the denition of validity and logical consequence belongs to logic construed

widely enough to include semantics. The investigation of what is involved

in perception and cognition, what moral principle(s) we should abide by

and what there is in the world, by contrast, do not.

The (more or less well dened) boundaries between the various philosophical subdisciplines are not hermetic and indeed are often such that the

grounds we have to hold a belief in one, are eectively driven by another.

For instance, theres nothing that forbids that a logical realists grounds to

commit to (LF) and (IND) be external to the extent that they are driven by

metaphysical concerns i.e. concern for what there is in the world in addition

to rocks and chairs (assuming that there are such things). But this sort of

metaphysical realism in logic is uncommon if it exists at all and the

kinds of grounds that underlie realist commitments, when they are external,

are typically not metaphysical. The realists grounds for positing mind and

language-independent logical facts, when they are external, are typically

driven by other aspects of her philosophical theory altogether.

One may be a logical realist on epistemological grounds, for instance.

Take Leibnizs arguments that truths exist eternally in the mind of God,4

4

But it will be further asked what the ground is for this connection, since there is a reality in it which

does not mislead. The reply is that it is grounded in the linking together of ideas. In response to this

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and that God displays (some of ) these truths to us.5 The former commits

Leibniz to truths that are independent of human minds (and language).

And taken together, these two assumptions explain how human knowledge

is possible on Leibnizs view. Leibnizs primary concern in introducing

propositio is not for what there is, but for how we acquire knowledge.

Leibnizs grounds to commit to the existence of proposition-like entities

are thus (in part) that the supposition of such entities and the further

assumption that a benevolent God exists! is required to provide a

coherent theory of knowledge. Similarly, Poppers grounds for thinking

that there is objective knowledge in (Popper 1968) for instance

whatever their merit, is that this allegedly explains certain features of the

sciences, such as the relatively autonomous character of scientic theories

and problems. Whether they are epistemological or otherwise, as long as

the logical realists grounds for believing in the existence of logical facts are

not themselves logical, I will call the kind of realism she adopts external or

extra-semantic.

Ones grounds to subscribe to (LF) and (IND) and to the idea that there

are proposition-like entities, in particular, need not be external. What

often underlies ones commitment to logical facts may correspond to

(implicit) theoretical desiderata or aims. Desiderata and aims are types of

grounds in the relevant sense: they have explanatory value when it comes

to accounting for the ontological commitments that come with a logical

theory. Let us call the kind of logical realism that would underlie such a

theory internal. Historically, many instances of realism in logic have been

internal. The exact nature of the grounds that underlie the internal realists

commitment to logical facts vary. It may be that the logician desires to see

certain intuitions satised or certain epistemic purposes fullled by the

logical theory. Why precisely these intuitions and purposes ought to be

satised by the theory is bound to be a matter of contention, but theres a

case to be made to the eect that they pervade logic and its philosophy.6

What I call intuitions here correspond to certain claims that seem

more certain, more epistemically salient or otherwise accessible to the

5

6

it will be asked where these ideas would be if there were no mind, and what would then become of

the real foundation of this certainty of eternal truths. This question brings us at last to the ultimate

foundation of truth, namely to that Supreme and Universal Mind who cannot fail to exist and whose

understanding is indeed the domain of eternal truths. . .That is where I nd the pattern for the ideas

and truths which are engraved in our souls. IV.xi.447 (my emphasis added).

IV.v.397. I wish to thank Chloe Armstrong for an informative discussion concerning this point.

The exact nature of the distinction between intuitions and purposes would benet from a closer

investigation, but this would go beyond the scope of the present chapter.

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agent (though there might not be a fact of the matter as to whether they

really are). The logical realist may be convinced, for instance, that truth,

whatever it is, is immutable, in the sense that it cannot be changed or

destroyed and she wont regard the theory as adequate unless the immutability of truth is a consequence of it. Since she is also likely to hold the

belief that individual sentence- and thought-tokens do not persist indenitely (for they dont) and thus cannot be the fundamental bearers of truth

(and falsity), she might deem it necessary to introduce ontologically robust

abstract entities, precisely in order to satisfy this intuition. If that is the

case, then As (desire to satisfy this) intuition has explanatory value when it

comes to accounting for her commitment to proposition-like entities:

there is a denite sense in which A believes that there are propositions

because she believes that truth is immutable.

Quantifying over meanings may also serve certain more or less clandestine purposes within the theory. The logical realist may, for instance, be

guided by the fact that systematically including instances of (1), above, in a

semantic theory (surreptitiously) introduces a paraphrastic procedure

that can be used to clarify natural language sentences or make them

more exact.7 If ones motive, be it explicitly or not, in introducing the

semantic operator means and in quantifying over propositions are the

(stealthy) epistemic gains that come from translations of this type, ones

grounds to commit to propositions are subservient to the semantic theory

and the type of realism they embrace is internal.

Admittedly, in certain cases, it could be unclear whether ones grounds

are internal or external. Take the case in which As belief that there are

logical facts is the consequence of certain assumptions concerning

the relation between language and the world. A may believe that there

are objective logical facts because A believes (TM):

(TM) The truth of a claim implies its correspondence to something that

makes it true (or the existence of a truth-making relation), whatever this

turns out to be.

Assuming that some claims about logic are true, (TM) implies the existence of entities that full this truth-making role in logic. Commitment to

(TM) explains the commitment to logical facts. Indeed, (TM) epitomizes

7

See (Lepore and Ludwig 2006). They write: The assignment of entities to expressions, which was to

be the key to a theory of meaning, turns out to have been merely a way of matching object-language

expressions with metalanguage expressions thought of as used (in referring to their own meaning), so

that we are given an object-language expression and a matched metalanguage expression we

understand, in a context which ensures that they are synonymous (Lepore and Ludwig 2006: 31).

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was meant to put into question.8 But is (TM) an external ground to

subscribe to logical facts? After all (TM) is a claim that belongs to the

metaphysics of logic and one could argue that logic does include its own

metaphysics. This raises a question what is the scope of logic/semantics

which I am inclined to answer liberally but which I leave open for now.

It is sucient for our purposes that this question has an answer in principle

even if it is a dicult one.

Bolzanos Theory of Science (1837) presents the rst explicit and methodical

espousal of internal logical realism. It also contains a formidable number of

theoretical innovations. They include (i) the rst account of the distinction

between sense (Sinn, Bedeutung) and reference (or objectuality:

Gegenstndlichkeit), (ii) denitions of analyticity and consequence, i.e.

deducibility (Ableitbarkeit) based on a new substitutional procedure that

anticipates Quines and Tarskis, respectively, and (iii) an account of mathematical knowledge that excludes, contra Kant, recourse to extraconceptual

inferential steps and that is rooted in one of the earliest systematic reections

on the nature of deductive knowledge. (i)(iii) all assume the existence of

mind- and language-independent entities Bolzano calls propositions and

ideas in themselves (Stze an sich). Take (i) for instance. Appeal to propositions in themselves in this context serves Bolzanos antipsychologism in

logic: according to Bolzano, the sense (Sinn) of a sentence the proposition

it expresses is to be distinguished from the mental act in which it is

grasped. Just like what is the case in Frege, a sentence has the semantic

properties it has (e.g. truth) on Bolzanos account derivatively, by virtue of

its relation to mind-independent entities: the primary bearers of semantic

properties are the propositions that constitute their Sinne.

Bolzanos version of logical realism is among the more robust. It yields a

unique form of semantic descriptivism: there are objective,9 immutable10

entities, propositions (for short), that bear certain properties and relations, which it is the task of logicians to describe. The rst two books of the

Theory of Science (together they make up the Theory of Propositions and

8

10

9

On this, see (Mulligan, Simons and Smith 1984: 289).

Cf. (Bolzano 1837, 21: 84).

Cf. (Bolzano 1837, 125: 7). That truth is immutable that is true is not a relativized predicate is

thus an intuition Bolzanos theory seeks to satisfy and one of the grounds that motivates his

commitment to logical realism.

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include reference to propositions and representations general characteristics, properties, relations (among themselves, to objects) and

internal constitution. Bolzano even devotes entire sections of the book

to the analysis of claims in which such properties and relations are ascribed

to representations and propositions.11 As Bolzano sees it, truths of logic

including denitions of such notions as meaning, analyticity and apriority

amount to descriptions in which (often multifaceted) properties or relations

are ascribed to propositions in themselves, their parts or classes thereof.

Bolzanos descriptive approach to logic is both original and noteworthy.

Nonetheless it comes with an explicit commitment to the existence of

certain kinds of non-natural entities which, because it is explicit and

indeed unequivocal, is perhaps somewhat perplexing: one could be left

with the impression that Bolzanos ontology of logic is a more direct target

for standard naturalistic objections than some other varieties of logical

realism.12 There are at least two grounds why this impression is misleading.

First, to the extent that ontological commitments cannot be measured on a

scale and that all logical realists subscribe to (LF) and (IND), all variants of

realism are equally ontologically candid from a naturalistic standpoint.

There is in principle nothing more ontologically damning about Bolzanos

semantic descriptivism than about the kind of realism Frege will eventually

put forward in (1918).

Second, while ontological commitments do not come in degrees,

metatheoretical considerations are not irrelevant and some kinds of

grounds for positing non-natural entities may be more palatable to the

naturalist than others. The naturalistic criticism of logical realism is typically

motivated by a concern for metaphysical economy (Is it consistent to

postulate entities that do not exist in the causal realm?) or by related

epistemological reservations (What does it mean to grasp or cognize or

be epistemically related to something that does not exist causally?). For this

reason, one who has independent (external) metaphysical or epistemological

grounds to subscribe to (LF) and (IND) is a more direct target for naturalistic

criticism. But Bolzanos commitment to the existence of non-natural

entities, while it is uncompromising, is also clearly motivated by the kind

of internal grounds that makes him least susceptible to the naturalistic

concern.

11

12

There are other types of objection to realism. Rush (in this volume) for instance discusses Sellars

objection. I wont be discussing this point.

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As Bolzano sees it, the main reason for positing propositions is their

usefulness for certain theoretical purposes, in particular for the purpose

of reaching satisfactory denition of logical notions (understood broadly):

The usefulness of the distinction [between propositions in themselves and

thought propositions] manifests itself in tens of places and in the most

surprising way in that it allows the author to determine objectively a

number of concepts that had not been explained before or that were

explained incorrectly. For instance, the concept of experience, a priori,

possibility, necessity, contingency, probability, etc. (1839: 128)

to have bearing outside of logic. As Bolzano sees it, logicians should be

allowed to appeal to entities that may reveal themselves to be inconsistent

with paradigmatic metaphysical and/or epistemological theories:

Thus, to give another example, the logician must have the same right to

speak of truths in themselves as the geometrician who speaks of spaces in

themselves (i.e., of mere possibilities of certain locations) without thinking

of them as lled with matter, although it is perhaps possible to give

metaphysical reasons why there is no, and cannot be any, empty space.

(1837, 25: 11314)

the fact that, while he argues that he needs to posit what he calls propositions to arrive at satisfactory denitions, and while he assumes that the

bearers of the logical properties and relations he denes in fact bear this

name: Bolzanian denitions of logical notions are in principle compatible

with a number of dierent ontologies. This idea it amounts to claiming

that logic is topic neutral emerges from a series of remarks Bolzano

makes in a text he published some years after the Theory of Science, the

Wissenschaftslehre (Logik) und Religionswissenschaft in einer beurtheilenden

Uebersicht (1841) whose (failed) purpose was to arouse the publics interest

for Bolzanos theories. Bolzano writes:

Everything the author asserts of propositions in themselves in the rst

section with the exception of what he says at 122, namely that they

dont exist holds of thought propositions; likewise, in the second section,

the Dierences amongst propositions as regards their internal properties

are all such that whoever admits of thought propositions can also admit

of them. (Bolzano 1841: 50)13

13

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But now the question arises whether someone who rejects the concept of

propositions in themselves and accepts only that [for instance] of thought

propositions could nonetheless admit of a connection amongst the latter

more or less like the one Bolzano describes as objective. And this, we think,

should be answered in the armative. (Bolzano 1841: 68)

On the face of it, the kind of semantic descriptivism Bolzano adopts seems

incompatible with the claim that someone who rejects the notion of

proposition could still admit his denitions of logical notions. Indeed such

statement contradicts what Phonsk, Bolzanos close collaborator, seems

to have assumed in the New Anti-Kant, namely that:

All will be lost if they cannot grant us this concept [of a proposition], if they

keep representing truths in terms of certain thoughts, appearances in the

mind of a thinking being . . . (Phonsk 1850: 5)

notions are topic neutral is at best a rhetorical concession made in order

to win a reluctant public. The problem with this exegetical line is not that

it is implausible. The problem is that it does not do justice to the

coherence of Bolzanos views. Notwithstanding what Phonsk assumes

(more on this below), and even granting that Bolzano as an internal logical

realist has less of an axe to grind when it comes to defending the existence

of propositions, it remains that the claim that denitions of logical notions

are topic neutral is not a mere rhetorical ploy. For Bolzano has the

theoretical resources to make sense of this idea systematically. This is what

I argue in Section 3. Nonetheless, if part of Bolzanos point is that the value

of a logical theory does not reside in the nature of the entities that bear the

properties it denes, but in the properties and relations they are meant to

epitomize and that he would be willing to revise some of his ontological

commitment as long as some other aspects of his theory are preserved, the

onus is on him to show that his theory does present an advantage over that

of his predecessors and contemporaries. Section 4 is dedicated to arguing

that it does.

Bolzano claims that everything he asserts of propositions in themselves,

with the exception of their being non-actual, in the rst and second

section of the second volume of the Theory of Science what Bolzano calls

general characteristics and dierences that arise from their internal

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such propositions are grasped.14 These characteristics and dierences

include the following:

(i)

(ii)

For all x, if x is a proposition, then x can be viewed as part of

another proposition, even a mere idea (124)

(iii) For all x, if x is a proposition, then x is either true or false (for always

and everywhere) (125)

(iv) For all x, if x is a proposition, then x is of the form A has b

(127128)

(v) For all x, if x is a proposition, then the extension of x is identical

with the extension of the subject-representation of x (130)

(vi) For all x, if x is a proposition, then x is either simple or complex

(132)

(vii) For all x, if x is a proposition, then x is either conceptual or

intuitional (133)

and so on. What is relevant here is the following observation: while

(i)(vii) take the form of descriptive statements, it is more accurate to

think of Bolzano as resorting to what he calls denition on the basis of use

or context (1837, 668: 547), that is, implicit denitions. The idea is that

in (i)(vii), proposition designates a primitive (simple) concept (i)(vii)

dene implicitly.15 Bolzano was aware from very early on of the benet of

this procedure when it comes to dening primitive notions. Though

Bolzanos paradigmatic examples come from mathematics, the procedure

applies across the board, including in logic. It consists in:

stating many propositions in which the concept that needs to be understood occurs in dierent combinations and which is designated by the word

that is associated to it. By comparing these propositions, the reader himself

will abstract exactly the concept designated by the unknown word. Thus for

14

15

The same holds for what he describes as the objective connections between propositions,

including formal properties. More on this in the next section.

That proposition is a simple concept is something Bolzano suggests at (1837, 128: 8) when he

writes: From the mere fact that representations are the components of propositions we cannot infer

that the concept of a representation must be simpler than that of a proposition. On the contrary,

there is a lot to say for the idea that this mark which I use in 48 merely as an explanation of the

concept of a representation is the actual denition of the latter. At (1837, 48: 216) Bolzano had

written: Anything that can be part of a proposition in itself, without being itself a proposition,

I wish to call a [representation] in itself. This will be the quickest and easiest way of conveying my

meaning to those who have understood what I mean by a proposition in itself .

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example, every one can grasp which concept is designated by the word point

on the basis of the following propositions: the point is the simple object in

space, it is the limit of the line without being part of the line, it is extended

neither lengthwise nor according to width, nor according to depth, etc. As

is well known, this is the means through which we all learn the rst

signications of our mother tongue. (1810, II, 8: 5455)

implicit denitions. Implicit denitions (including (i)(vii)) dene

propositions as much as necessary for the purpose of Bolzanos logic. In

(i)(vii), proposition occurs only as the name of what is in eect being

dened and, in this light, part of Bolzanos point is that substituting

thought (proposition) for proposition (in itself ) in (i)(vii) has no

bearing on the nature and structure of the properties and relations

involved. Indeed, Bolzano has nothing to object to someone who would

claim that the bearer of the properties involved in (i)(vii) have further

properties, e.g. the property of being types of mental processes, as long as

she admits that mental processes have the properties involved in (i)(vii).

There is at least one other reason to take Bolzanos suggestion that his

denitions are topic neutral seriously. Bolzano (1841, 68) claims that

objective connections need not be predicated of propositions, that

properties such as validity (147), analyticity (148), compatibility (154)

and deducibility (155) formal properties could equally well be

recognized by one who admits only thoughts. By a formal property,

Bolzano means a property that is dened for entire genera of propositions, on the basis of the substitutional procedure.16 Beyond what Ive

argued above, I want to show that Bolzanos denitions of what counts as

formal properties are topic neutral in the relevent sense.

Formal properties are not properties of individual propositions but properties of what Bolzano calls forms, i.e. schematic expressions.17 Bolzano

makes copious use of schematic expressions or their equivalent18 when it

16

17

18

Cf. Bolzano (1837, 12: 51) where he explains (my emphasis): The clearest denitions say hardly

more than that we consider the form of propositions and ideas when we keep an eye only on what

they have in common with many others, that is, when we speak of entire species or genera of the

latter. . . . one calls a species or genus of proposition formal if in order to determine it one only needs to

specify certain parts that appear in these ideas or propositions while the rest of the parts which one calls the

stu or matter remain arbitrary.

Cf. (Bolzano 1837, 9: 42f ).

Bolzano often speaks of propositions containing variable representations and he does not always

revert to schemata to indicate variability. If [Caius] is taken to be variable in [Caius who has

mortality, has humanity], the latter can in principle be designated by the schematic expression

X who has humanity, has mortality; and [Caius is Caius] by A is A.

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comes dening formal notions. Take for instance Bolzanos claims that there

are logically analytic or tautological propositions. Bolzano writes:

The following are some very general examples of analytic propositions

which are also true: A is A, An A which is a B is an A, An A which

is a B is a B, Every object is either B or non-B, etc. Propositions of the

rst kind, i.e., propositions cast in the form A is A or A has (the

attribute) a are commonly called identical or tautological propositions.

(Bolzano 1837, 148: 84)

individual propositions, yet his examples A is A, An A which is a B is

an A, An A which is a B is a B, Every object is either B or non-B,

etc. are not examples of individual propositions at all. If we follow what

Bolzano says in the Theory of Science, A is A does not stand for any

proposition in particular. On Bolzanos account schematic expressions of

the kind A is A represent classes of propositions that are dened through a

substitutional procedure. To say that a proposition falls under a certain

form is to say that it belongs to a certain substitution class designated by

this schematic expression.19 A is A represents the class of all propositions

in themselves that correspond to the substitution instances of A is A. If

we use [and] to form designations for individual propositions (and their

parts), we nd among the propositions designated by the substitution

instances of A is A the following:

[Caius is Caius]

[Redness is Redness]

[1 is 1]

and so on.

It is certainly not incongruous for Bolzano to claim that A is A the

schematic expression is logically analytic. Indeed, it would seem that one

need understand what it means for a proposition to belong to such a class

or to fall under such a form in order to understand how it itself can be

said to be analytic. The proposition: [Caius is Caius], for instance, falls

under the form A is A: A is A is a determinate connection of words or

signs through which the class to which [Caius is Caius] belongs can be

represented.20 To say that the individual proposition [Caius is Caius] is

19

20

In one of his numerous historical digressions, Bolzano notes that the Latin word forma . . . was in

fact used as equivalent to the word species, i.e. the word class (Bolzano 1837, 81: 391).

See (Bolzano 1837, 81: 393).

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class that can be represented by a determinate type of schematic expressions, namely one all of whose substitution instances designate propositions that have the same truth value.

Whats interesting here is the fact that, on this interpretation, Bolzano is

ultimately committed to the following view of logical analyticity:

(LA) x is logically analytic if x belongs to a class that can be represented by a

schematic expression in which only logical terms occur essentially.

terms of a proposition in itself. And as we have seen, once the logical work

is done, Bolzano would not be disconcerted by such a move since someone who rejects the concept of propositions in themselves and accepts only

that [for instance] of thought propositions could nonetheless admit of a

connection amongst the latter more or less like the one Bolzano describes

as objective (Bolzano 1841: 68).

4. Bolzanos logic

Internal grounds to adhere to logical facts or in Bolzanos case to fully

edged semantic entities are typically certain desiderata or aims the

theory is meant to full. In Bolzanos case, one of the main purposes in

introducing propositions in themselves is to achieve precise and satisfactory denitions. By way of consequence, on Bolzanos own account

the success of the endeavour depends on whether his commitment to

propositions allows him to deliver a good theory of logic, or at least

one that is preferable to its rivals. To a large extent, Bolzano succeeds. It

is not only that the Theory of Science is furnished with rich and

remarkably well-articulated distinctions and theoretical innovations

but also that he set out to redene the very nature of a logical investigation in a way that is largely consistent with well-established contemporary endeavours.

As Bolzano sees it, at its core, the purpose of logic is to tell us what it

means for something to follow from something else, i.e. what it means for

an inference to be valid or for a claim to be the consequence of some other

claim(s). As an explanation of what it means for a truth to follow from

others, Bolzanos views on deducibility (Ableitbarkeit) are comparatively

close to the ones that have become standard following Tarski in the

twentieth century. Bolzano denes deducibility in the following terms:

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A, B, C, D, . . . with respect to variable parts i, j, . . . if every collection of

representations whose substitution for i, j, . . . makes all of A, B, C, D, . . .

true, also makes all of M, N, O, . . . true. Occasionally, since it is customary, I shall say that propositions M, N, O, . . . follow, or can be inferred or

derived, from A, B, C, D, . . . Propositions A, B, C, D, . . . I shall call the

premises, M, N, O, . . . the conclusions. (1837, 155: 114)

semantic machinery on which it rests is noteworthy enough. On Bolzanos

account:21

The propositions T, T0 , T00 . . . are ableitbar from S, S0 , S00 with respect to

representations i, j, . . . if and only if:

(i)

(ii)

S00 , . . . and T, T0 , T00 , . . .

whenever i, j, . . . are varied so as to yield true variants of S, S0 , S00 . . .,

the corresponding variants of T, T0 , T00 , . . . are also true.

To logicians and philosophers of logic today, the idea that the aim of logic

is to dene validity via the elaboration of a theory of logical consequence is

unremarkable. Pointing to the similarities (and dissimilarities) between

Bolzanos denition of deducibility and Tarskis denition of logical

consequence has become commonplace in the literature.22 This goes to

show that at least some of the desiderata and aims that underlie Bolzanos

logic rest on the kind of intuitions that have proven to be enduring. This

should be emphasized for at least two reasons. First, when he published the

Theory of Science in 1837, Bolzanos views on deducibility were perfectly

anachronistic. For one thing, by the end of the eighteenth century it had

become usual for philosophers to think of logic as invested in the study of

reason through an investigation of thought and to conceive of such an

investigation to involve the study of mind-dependent operations and

products. Though the methodologies underlying these investigations

varied widely contrast Lockes empirical approach in the Essay on Human

Understanding with Kants transcendental philosophy they largely contributed to either discredit formal logic as a discipline23 or, at best, to

convey the opinion that it could not be improved on.24 In this light,

Bolzanos eorts toward a new logic based on an objective doctrine of

21

22

23

24

For a more detailed discussion of Bolzanos theory of deducibility, see (Lapointe 2011: 7290).

See, for instance, (van Benthem 1985; George 1986; Siebel 2002; Lapointe 2011).

See (George 2003: 99s).

See Kants famous claim that logic is closed and complete (1781: Bviii).

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inferences in themselves constitutes an important break from his immediate modern predecessors.

Second, while Bolzano reaches back to Aristotle, his approach to the

denition of validity also marks an important departure from Aristotle and

most of his (early) traditional scholastic commentators.25 Aristotle introduces the notion of a good deduction (i.e. syllogism) in the Prior

Analytics. He writes:

A deduction (syllogismos) is speech (logos) in which, certain things having

been supposed, something dierent from those supposed results of necessity

because of their being so. (Prior Analytics I.2, 24b1820)

Let us call this the intuitive Aristotelian notion of validity. Contemporary attempts at a denition of logical consequence one may think of

Tarski-type model-theoretic denitions in particular are generally understood to account for the intuitive Aristotelian notion of validity. The same

holds for Bolzanos. What makes Bolzanos account historically distinctive

is the assumption that a good denition of the intuitive Aristotelian notion

of validity needs the support of a semantic theory. In this, his denitional

strategy ought to be contrasted with that of much of the Aristotelian

tradition itself. Aristotle and his early medieval successors are mostly

known for their understanding of validity as epitomized in traditional

syllogistic theories. But traditional syllogistic denitions of validity are

not concerned with providing a semantic account of validity.26 The

standard and paradigmatic methodology behind traditional syllogistic

theories of valid inference, and the one that is best known, is two-pronged.

It rst consists in making a list of all possible forms of arguments (syllogisms) and then in identifying those forms whose instances eectively full

the intuitive Aristotelian denition of validity. In order to determine

whether a particular inference is valid, one is thus required to determine

whether it instantiates one of the forms identied as valid.

There are at least three problems, from Bolzanos perspective, with this

approach. First, traditional syllogistic denitions of validity suppose that

there is a nite (and implausibly small) number of possible forms of

inference. Bolzano is right. If we follow the teachings of the Schoolmen,

25

26

Here I am not concerned with comparing the Bolzanian and Aristotelian conception of the object of

logic (see Thom, this volume, for such a discussion) but their views on validity.

Here, I exclude from what I call syllogistic tradition the theories of consequentia that emerged in

the fourteenth century those we nd in Occam and Buridan, for instance. The latter were

attempts to generalize syllogistic and aimed at providing a new insight into the intuitive Aristotelian

notion based on semantic considerations. On this topic, see (Novaes 2012). Something similar holds

for Abelard. I am grateful to Julie Brumberg-Chaumont for this precision.

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assumptions concerning the number of sentences involved in an argument three! and the form of such sentences. In particular, classical

syllogistic theory assumes (i) that only categorical sentences (i.e. sentences

of the form subject-copula-predicate) are involved in arguments, (ii) that

there are four variants of such forms (a, e, i, o) and (iii) that any given

inference contains at most three dierent terms subject, middle term and

predicate which yields four possible syllogistic gures. Second, (i)(iii)

mark out a syntax whose expressive resources are too limited to account for

the richness of actual inferential practices. Hence, it cannot adequately

model (even some of the most basic forms of ) inference. For instance, it

cannot model disjunctive and hypothetical syllogisms that require separate

theories (at least if understood in its original sense, i.e. as a propositional

logic). This is tributary to a third more general problem, namely the fact

that traditional syllogistic denitions of validity are bound to a given

syntax (namely the one dened by (i)(iii) above). But as is obvious from

the relevant passage in Aristotle the intuitive notion of validity is not

bound to any particular syntax it is a semantic denition.27

Bolzano was aware of these three related problems. He writes:

Aristotle began with such a broad denition of the word syllogism that one

is astonished that he could have subsequently restricted the concept of this

kind of inference so severely. He writes (in Anal Pr. I, 1) syllogism is a

discourse in which, certain things being stated, something other than what is

stated follows of necessity from their being so. This denition obviously ts

every inference, not only with two, but also with three and more premises,

and not only simple inferences but complex ones as well. (1837, 262: 535)

As Bolzano sees it, one need not suppose that the number of (valid) forms

of inferences is nite or that it is linked to a determinate syntax, for

instance that it can only be dened for inferences that have only two

categorical premises.28

Moreover, the three above problems concerning traditional syllogistic

treatments of validity are linked to a fourth more general one. There are

various ways of xing the extension of a concept, not all of which amount

to denition. The mere fact of knowing which inferential forms satisfy the

27

28

This is even more obvious when one reads the beginning of the second book of the Prior

Analytics, which was devoted to the relationship between premises and conclusion as regards

their truth-value.

See (Phonsk 1850: 115f ). Some passages of the Prior Analytics suggest that Aristotle was aware of

the problem. See for instance (Prior Analyics I, 32). But Aristotle himself did not provide a

systematic account of what it is for an inference that is not a syllogism to result of necessity.

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amount to having a denition of this notion. On Bolzanos account, my

merely knowing what falls in the extension of a concept say the class of

all putatively valid syllogistic inferential forms does not amount to my

having a denition (Erklrung) of that concept. Denition is a conceptual

exercise: one that requires us to identify the components of a concept as

well as the way in which they are connected. As Bolzano sees it, the theory

of deducibility and the proposed denition above is what allows us to grasp

the concept of validity.

More importantly perhaps though this might go beyond Bolzanos

criticism it seems that a good denition of validity is one that is epistemically fruitful in the following sense: a good denition of validity is one on the

basis of which one can ascertain systematically for any newly encountered

inference, whether or not it is valid. But the traditional syllogistic denition

of validity is not epistemically fruitful. There is no obvious reason to think

that one could decide whether an as yet unknown argument form is valid

when presented with it in any other way than by reverting to the intuitive

notion. By contrast, Bolzanos denition is epistemically fruitful: equipped

with Bolzanos denition, one can in principle determine for any new

argument whether or not it instantiates the property in question.

5. Conclusion

In light of what precedes, Bolzanos internal realism is vindicated: Bolzanos

positing of propositions in themselves allows him to articulate a theory of

deducibility that could do what the syllogistic theories of his predecessors

could not: provide us with a general semantic theory of validity. Nonetheless,

as those acquainted with recent scholarship know, there are problems with

Bolzanian deducibility. (See, e.g. Siebel 2002.) For one, despite Bolzanos

claim to the contrary, his denition of deducibility fails to capture what is

usually taken to be the modal insight that underlies the intuitive Aristotelian

notion of validity, namely the idea that the conclusion of a good argument

results of necessity. Consequently, it overgenerates. Bolzanian deducibility

systematically includes inferences that are merely materially valid. I say

systematically because if it is the case that all As are Bs, then X is B is

invariably deducible from X is A. For instance, on Bolzanos account:

X is no taller than three metres

is deducible from:

X is a man

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with respect to X. This failure may strike as the result of a misunderstanding (coupled with contentious exegetical choices). Bolzano interprets the

relevant passage of the Prior Analytics in the following terms:

Since there can be no doubt that Aristotle assumed that the relation of

deducibility can also hold between false propositions, the results of necessity

can hardly be interpreted in any other way than this: that the conclusion

becomes true whenever the premises are true. Now it is obvious that we

cannot say of one and the same collection of propositions that one of them

becomes true whenever the others are true, unless we envisage some of their

parts as variable. For propositions none of whose parts change are not

sometimes true and sometimes false; they are always one or the other.

Hence when it was said of certain propositions that one of them becomes

true as soon as the others do, the actual reference was not to these propositions themselves, but to a relation which holds between the innitely many

propositions which can be generated from them, if certain of their representations are replaced by arbitrarily chosen other representations. The

desired formulation was this: as soon as the exchange of certain representations makes the premises true, the conclusion must also become true. (1837,

155: 129)

results of necessity, in this context, means the same as preserves truth from

premises to conclusion. Whatever the explanation for this confusion is

Bolzano does have a systematic account of necessity and one may wonder why

he did not revert to it to interpret Aristotle on this occasion it is unfortunate.

Nonetheless one should not conclude from the fact that Bolzanos denition

of deducibility fails to grasp the modal insight that underlies the intuitive

notion of validity that he achieved little toward a theory of logical consequence or that he missed the point entirely. This would not do justice to

Bolzanos accomplishment, both historical and philosophical. For one thing,

while Bolzanos own use of the substitutional method fails to do so, other

philosophers have put a wager on a substitutional procedure of the type

Bolzano was rst to introduce for the purpose of providing a satisfactory

account of logical consequence. Tarskian-type model-theoretic approaches

for instance can be seen as an extension of Bolzanos theory.

Few would deny that Bolzanos views on deductive knowledge were

overall largely preferable to those of his predecessors and contemporaries.

In particular, it is important to stress the fact that Bolzano did have views

on epistemic modality though unfortunately, there is no place for a

discussion of the latter here.29 At the very least, it ought to be mentioned

29

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geometry, Bolzano was rst to propose an account of epistemic necessity

that rests on (i) the idea that truth by virtue of meaning can be dened

systematically (in a deductive system) and that (ii) a priori knowledge is

accordingly always deductive. Regardless of the execution, (i) and (ii) are

both manifestly valuable philosophical insights that deserve the attention

of historians and philosophers alike. For one thing, one committed to (i)

and (ii) cannot appeal to subjective justicatory devices such as certitude

or evidence to warrant the truth of a priori claims. And, again, many

even today would consider this to be an important lesson. Whats relevant

here is the fact that to the extent that Bolzanos views on a priori

knowledge and deductive systems are parts and pieces of his theory of

propositions in themselves, they are inseparable from his commitment to

mind-independent logical facts. What this means is that logical realism also

informs his views on a priori knowledge and nourishes insights that many

of his successors, realist or not, will share.

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part iii

Specic Issues

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chapter 12

Revising logic

Graham Priest

1. Whats at issue

Much ink has been spilled over the last few decades in disputes between

advocates of classical logic that is, the logic invented by Frege and

Russell, and polished by Hilbert and others and advocates of nonclassical logics such as intuitionist and paraconsistent logics. One move

that is commonly made in such debates is that logic cannot be revised.

When the move is made, it is typically by defenders of classical logic.

Possession, for them, is ten tenths of the law.

The point of this chapter is not to enter into substantive debates about

which logic is correct though relevant methodological issues will transpire in due course. The point is to examine the question of whether logic

can be revised.1 (And let me make it clear at the start that I am talking

about deductive logic. I think that matters concerning non-deductive logic

are much the same, but that is an issue for another occasion.) Three

questions, then, will concern us:

Can logic be revised?

If so, can this be done rationally?

If so, how is this done?

Unfortunately, debates about the answers to these questions are often

vitiated by a failure to observe that the word logic is ambiguous. Only

confusion results from running the senses of the word together. Once the

appropriate disambiguations are made, some of the answers to our questions are obvious; some are not. It pays, for a start, to be clear about which

are which.

1

Thanks go to Hartry Field for many enjoyable and illuminating discussions on the matter. We taught

a course on the topic together in New York in the Fall of 2012. Many of my views were claried in the

process.

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I will call:

Logica docens

Logica utens

Logica ens

What each of these is will require further discussion and clarication. But

as a rst cut, we may characterise them as follows.

Logica docens (the logic that is taught) is what logicians claim about

logic. It is what one nds in logic texts used for teaching. Logica utens (the

logic which is used) is how people actually reason. The rst two phrases are

familiar from medieval logic. The third, logica ens (logic itself ) is not. (I

have had to make the phrase up.) This is what is actually valid: what really

follows from what.

Of course, there are important connections between these senses of

logic, as we will see in due course. But the three are distinct, both

intensionally and extensionally, as again we will see.

I will proceed by discussing each of these senses of logic, and asking

each of our three target questions about them. We have, then a nine-part

investigation.

2. Logica docens

2.1

Can it be revised?

Let us start with logica docens. The discussion of this will form the longest

part of the essay, since it informs the discussion with respect to the other

two parts. The question of whether the logica docens can be revised is,

however, the easiest to deal with. It can be revised because it has been

revised.

The history of logic in the West has three great periods.2 The rst was in

Ancient Greece, when logic was founded by Aristotle, the Megarians, and

the Stoics. The second was in the new universities of Medieval Europe,

such as Oxford and Paris, where Ockham, Scotus, and Buridan ourished.

The third starts in the late nineteenth century, with the rise of mathematical logic, and shows no signs yet of ending. Between these three periods

were periods of, at best, mainly maintaining what was known, and at worst

forgetting it. Much of Greek logic was forgotten in Europe, but fortunately

2

The history of logic in the East has its own story to tell, but that will not be our concern here.

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preserved by the great Arabic scholars such as Al Farabi and Ibn Rushd.

Most of medieval logic was simply wiped out by the rise of the Enlightenment, and the consequent obliteration of Scholasticism. It is only in

the twentieth century that we have started to rediscover what was lost

in this period.

At any rate, one needs only a passing acquaintance with logic texts in the

history of Western logic to see that the logica docens was quite dierent in

the various periods. The dierences between the contents of Aristotles

Analytics, Paul of Venices Logica Magna, the Port Royale Logic, or the

Art of Thinking, Kants Jsche Logik, and Hilbert and Ackermanns

Principles of Mathematial Logic would strike even the most casual observer.

It is sometimes suggested that, periods of oblivion aside, the development of logic was cumulative. That is: something once accepted, was never

rejected. Like the corresponding view in science, this is just plain false. Let

me give a couple of examples.

One of the syllogisms that was, according to Aristotle, valid, was given

the name Darapti by the Medievals, and is as follows:

All As are Bs

All As are C s

Some Bs are C s

As anyone who has taken a rst course on modern rst-order logic will

know, this inference is now taken to be invalid.3

For another example: Classical logic is not paraconsistent; that is, the

following inference (Explosion) is valid for all A and B: A, :A B. It is

frequently assumed that this has always been taken to be valid. It has not.

Aristotle was quite clear that, in syllogisms, contradictions may or may not

entail a conclusion. Thus, consider the syllogism:

No As are Bs

Some Bs are As

All As are As

There are usually three distinct terms in a syllogism. The above has only

two. But Aristotle is also quite explicit that two terms of a syllogism may be

the same.

So when did Explosion enter the history of Western logic? Matters are

conjectural, but the best bet is that it entered with the ideas of the twelfth3

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included Adam of Balsaha and William of Soissans, who may well have

developed the argument to Explosion using extensional connectives and

the Disjunctive Syllogism. After that, the validity of Explosion was

debated. But it certainly did not become entrenched in Western logic till

the rise of classical logic.4

2.2

Logica docens, then, has been revised, and not in a cumulative fashion. The

next question is whether revision can be rational.

Arguably, not all the changes in the history of logic were rational (or

perhaps better: occurred for reasons that were internal to the subject).

Thus, logic fell into oblivion in the early Middle Ages in Western Christendom because the institutions for the transmission of philosophical texts

collapsed. And later Medieval logic was written o on the coat-tails of the

rejection of Scholasticism during the Enlightenment.5

However, many changes that did arise were the result of novel ideas,

reason, argument, debate. These are the things of which rational change

are made. This should be pretty obvious with respect to the only change

that most logicians are now familiar with: the rise of mathematical logic.

In the mid nineteenth century, text book logic (traditional logic) was

a highly degenerate form of medieval logic: essentially, Aristotelian

syllogistic with a few medieval accretions, such as immediate inferences like modus ponens. But this was a period in which high standards

of rigour in mathematics were developing. Mathematicians such as

Weierstrass and Dedekind were setting the theory of numbers on a

rm footing. And when it came to examining the reasoning required in

the process, notably by Frege, it became clear that traditional logic did

not seem to be up to the job. Hence Frege invented a logic that did

much better: classical logic. The extra power of this logic made it much

preferable rationally; and within 50 years it had replaced traditional

logic as the received logica docens.

I will come back to this in the next section. For the present, let us move

on to our third question.

4

5

For references and further discussion on all these matters, see (Priest 2007: sec. 2).

Actually, my knowledge of the history of these periods is pretty sketchy; but I think that these claims

are essentially correct.

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Logic as theory

preferable to another, and so may replace it? To answer this question, we

need to draw some new distinctions.

Let us start with geometry. There are many pure geometries: Euclidean

geometry, elliptical geometry, hyperbolic geometry, and so on. And as

pieces of pure mathematics, all are equally good. They all have axiom

systems, model theories; each species a perfectly ne class of mathematical structures. Rivalry between them can arise only when they are applied

in some way. Then we may dispute which is the correct geometry for a

particular application, such as mensurating the surface of the earth. Each

applied geometry becomes, in eect, a theory of the way in which the

subject of the application behaves.

Geometry had what one might call a canonical application: the

spatiotemporal structure of the physical cosmos. Indeed this application

was coeval with the rise of Euclidean geometry. It was only the rise of nonEuclidean geometries which brought home the conceptual distinction

between a pure and an applied geometry. And nowadays the standard

scientic view is that Euclidean geometry is not the correct geometry for

the canonical application.

So much, I think, is relatively uncontestable. But exactly the same

picture holds with respect to logic. There are many pure logics: classical

logic, intuitionist logic, various paraconsistent logics, and so on. And as

pieces of pure mathematics, all are equally good. They all have systems of

proof, model theories, algebraicisations. Each is a perfectly good mathematical structure. But pure logics are applied for many purposes: to

simplify electrical circuits (classical propositional logic), to parse grammatical structures (the Lambeck calculus), and it is only when dierent logics

are taken to be applied for a particular domain that the question of which

is right arises. Just as with geometries, each applied logic provides, in eect,

a theory about how the domain of application behaves.

And just as with geometries, pure logics have a canonical application:

(deductive) reasoning. A logic with its canonical application delivers an

account of ordinary reasoning. One should note that ordinary reasoning,

even in science and mathematics, is not carried out in a formal language,

but in the vernacular; no doubt the vernacular augmented by many

technical terms, but the vernacular none the less. (No one reasons la

Principia Mathematica.) And so applied, dierent pure logics may give

dierent verdicts concerning an inference. If it is not the case that it is not

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the case that there is an innitude of numbers, does it follow that there

is an innitude of numbers? Classical logic says yes; intuitionist logic

says no.6

In other words, a pure logic with its canonical application is a theory of

the validity of ordinary arguments: what follows (deductively) from what.

How to frame such a theory is not at all obvious. Many approaches have

been proposed and explored. One approach is to take validity to be

constituted modally, by necessary truth-preservation (suitably understood). Another is to dene validity in terms of probabilistic constraints

on rational belief. Perhaps the most common approach at present is to take

a valid inference to be one which obtains in virtue of the meanings of (at

least some of ) the words employed in it. This strategy has itself two ways

in which it can be implemented. One takes these meanings to be spelled

out in terms of truth conditions, giving us a model-theoretic account of

validity; the other takes these meanings to be spelled out in inferential

terms, giving us a proof-theoretic account of validity.

It is clear that a theory of validity is no small undertaking. It requires an

account of many other notions, such as negation and quantication.

Moreover, depending on the theory in question, it will require an articulation of other important notions, such as truth, meaning, probability. No

wonder it is hard to come up with plausible such theories!

At any rate, it is crucial to distinguish between logic as a theory (logic

docens, with its canonical application), and what it is a theory of (logica

ens). In the same way we must clearly distinguish between dynamics as a

theory (e.g., Newtonian dynamics) and dynamics as what this is a theory of

(e.g., the dynamics of the Earth). This is enough to dispose of the Quinean

charge (still all too frequently heard): change of logic means change of

subject.7 If one changes ones theory of dynamics, one can still be

reasoning about the same thing: the way the Earth moves.

2.4 What is the mechanism of rational revision?

With this substantial prolegomenon over, we can now address the question

of the mechanism of rational change of logica docens. As we have seen, a

pure logic with its canonical appication is essentially a theory of validity

and its multitude of cognate notions. How do we determine which theory

is better? By the standard criteria of rational theory choice.

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else, we choose the theory which best meets those criteria which determine

a good theory. Principal amongst these is adequacy to the data for which

the theory is meant to account. In the present case, these are those

particular inferences that strike us as correct or incorrect. This does not

mean that a theory which is good in other respects cannot overturn

aberrant data. As is well recognised in the philosophy of science, all things

are fallible: both theory and data.

Adequacy to the data is only one criterion, however. Others that are

frequently invoked are: simplicity, non-(ad hocness), unifying power,

fruitfulness. What exactly these criteria are, and why they should be

respected, are important questions, which we do not need to go into here.

One should note, however, that whatever they are, they are not all

guaranteed to come down on the same side of the issue. Thus (the

standard story goes), Copernican and Ptolemaic astronomy were about

equal in terms of adequacy to the data; the Copernican system was simpler

(since it eschewed the equant); but the Ptolemaic system cohered with the

accepted (Aristotelian) dynamics. (The Copernican system could handle

the motion of the Earth only in an ad hoc fashion.) In the end, the theory

most rational to accept, if there is one, is the one that comes out best on

balance. How to understand this is not, of course, obvious. But we do not

need to pursue details here.8

I observe that this procedure does not prejudice the question of logical

monism vs logical pluralism. If there is one true logic ones best appraisal

of what this is is determined in the way I have indicated. If there are

dierent logics for dierent topics, each of these is determined in the same

way. Whether one single logic is better than many, is a meta-issue, and is

itself to be determined by similar considerations of rational theory-choice.

Let me nish this discussion by returning, by way of illustration, to the

replacement of traditional logic by mathematical logic in the early years of

the twentieth century. In the nineteenth century, much new data had

turned up: specically, the microscope had been turned on mathematical

reasoning, showing all sorts of inferences that did not t into traditional

logic. Mathematical logic was much more adequate to this data. This is not

to say that enterprising logicians could not try to stretch traditional logic to

account for these inferences. But mathematical logic scored high on many

of the other theoretical criteria: simplicity, unifying power, and so on. It

was clearly the much better theory.

8

Matters are spelled out in detail on (Priest 2006a: ch. 8), and especially, (Priest to appear).

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A word of warning: it would be wrong to infer that classical logic did not

have its problems. It had its own ad hoc hypotheses (to deal with the

material conditional, for example). It had areas where it seemed to perform

badly (for example, in dealing with vague language). And why should one

expect a logic that arose from the analysis of mathematical reasoning to be

applicable to all areas of reasoning? It was just these things which left the

door open for the development of non-classical logics. That, however, is

also a topic for another occasion.9 We have seen, at least in outline, what

the mechanism of rational change for a logica docens is.

3. Logica utens

What is this?

3.1

So much for the discussion of logica docens. Let us now turn to the next

disambiguation. Before we address our three questions, however, there is

an important preliminary issue to be addressed. What exactly is logica

utens?

I said that it is the way that people actually reason. This may make it

sound like a matter of descriptive cognitive psychology; but it is not this,

for the simple reason that we know that people often reason invalidly. Set

aside slips due to tiredness, inebriation, or whatever. We know that people

actually reason wrongly in systematic ways.10

To take just one very well established example: the Wason Card Test.

There is a pack of cards. Each card has a letter on one side and a positive

integer on the other. Four cards are laid out on the table so that a subject

can see the following:

A

The subject is then given the following conditional concerning the displayed situation: If there is an A on one side of the card, there is an even

number on the other. They are then asked which cards should be turned

over (and only those) to check this hypothesis. The correct answer is:

A and 3. But a majority of people (even those who have done a rst course

in logic!) tend to give one of the wrong answers: A, or A and 4.

Exactly what is going on here has occasioned an enormous literature,

which we do not need to go into. The experiment, and ones like it, show

that people can reason wrongly systematically. Of course, people are able

9

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But how to draw a principled distinction between correcting a standard

performance error, and revising an actual practice is not at all obvious.

Fortunately, we do not need to go into this here. I point these facts out

only to bring home the point that logica utens is not a descriptive notion; it

is a normative one. A logica utens is constituted by the norms of an

inferential practice. Subjects in the Wason Card Test can see, when it is

pointed out to them, that they have violated appropriate norms. How to

understand the normativity involved here is a particularly hard question,

which, fortunately, we also do not need to pursue. We have sucient

understanding to turn to the rst of our three questions. Can a logica utens

be revised?

3.2 Can it be revised?

Clearly, dierent reasoning practices come with dierent sets of norms.

Thus, the norms that govern reasoning in classical mathematics are dierent from those that govern reasoning in intuitionist mathematics. I was

trained as a classical mathematician, and have no diculty in reasoning in

this way. But I have also studied intuitionist logic, and can reason (more

falteringly) in this way too. Clearly, then, it is possible to move from one

logica utens to another. I can reason like a classical mathematician on

Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and like a intuitionist on Tuesdays,

Thursdays, and Saturdays. (And on Sundays ip a coin.) So practices

can be changed.

At this point one might wonder about the nature of inference sketched

in Wittgensteins Philosophical Investigations. According to this, correct

reasoning is simply how we feel compelled to go on after suitable training.

If such is the case, then how can one change? The answer is that we must

take the suitable training seriously. I can follow my training as a classical

logician some days, and my training as an intuitionist on others just as

I can follow my training in cricket on some days, and my training in

baseball on others.

3.3

complete relativist about inferential practices, the answer must be yes:

some practices are better than others. And to move from one that is less

good to one that is more good for principled reasons is clearly rational.

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swallow. For we use reasoning to establish what is true, and what is not,

about many things. A relativism about these practices therefore entails a

relativism about truth. And such a relativism is problematic. To take an

extreme example: suppose that reasoning in one way, we establish that the

theory of evolution is correct, but that reasoning in another way, we

establish that creationism is true and the theory of evolution false. Something, surely, must be wrong with one of these forms of reasoning.11

3.4

The answer to that is easy. We determine what the best theory of reasoning

is (the best docens), and simply bring our practice (utens) into line with

that. How else could one be rational about the matter?

4. Logica ens

4.1

Can it be revised?

logica ens. These are the facts of what follows from what or better, to

avoid any problems with talk of facts: the truths of the form that so and so

follows from that such and such. Can these be revised? The matter is

sensitive for a number of reasons.

As we have seen, our logica docens, with its canonical application, is a

theory about what claims of this form are true. Now, if one changes ones

theory of dynamics, the dynamics of the Earth do not themselves change.

Such realism about the physical world is simply common sense. But logic

is not a natural science. It is a social science, and concerns human practices

and cognition. When a theory changes in the social sciences, the object of

the science may change as well. One has to look only at economics to see

this. When free-market economics became dominant in the capitalist

world in the 1980s, so did the way that the then deregulated economy

functioned. So, in the social sciences one is not automatically entitled to

the view that a change of theory does not entail a change of object.

11

It is quite compatible with this point that sometimes truth may be internal to a practice for

example, within classical and intuitionist pure mathematics. See (Priest 2013).

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But the object of a social scientic theory may not change when the

theory does, for all that. (Many basic laws of psychology are, presumably,

hard-wired in us by evolution.) Whether the truth of validity-claims can

change will depend on what, exactly, constitutes validity. Let me illustrate.

Suppose that one held a divine command theory of validity: something is

valid just if God says so. Then, God being constant and immutable, what

is valid could not change. On the other hand, suppose that one were to

subscribe to the dentist endorsement view of validity: what is valid is

what 90 per cent of dentists endorse. Clearly, that can change.

These theories are, of course, rather silly. But they make the point: the

truth of validity-claims may or may not change, depending on what

validity actually is. An adequate answer to our question would therefore

require us to settle the issue of what validity is, that is, to determine the

best theory of validity. That is far too big an issue to take on here.12

I shall restrict myself in what follows to some remarks concerning the

model-theoretic and proof-theoretic accounts of validity. According to

the rst, an inference is valid i every model of the premises is a model

of the conclusion. But a model is a structured set, that is, an abstract

object, the premises form a set, another abstract object, and the premises

and conclusions themselves are normally taken to be sentence types, also

abstract objects. According to the second, an inference is valid if there is a

proof structure (sequence or tree), at every point of which there is a

sentence related to the others in certain ways. But a proof structure is an

abstract object, as, again, are the sentences.

In other words, validity, on these accounts, is a realtionship between

abstract objects. As usual, we may take these all to be sets. If this is so,

then, at least if one is a standard platonist about these things, the truth of

claims about validity cannot change.13 Claims about mathematical objects

are not signicantly tensed: if ever true true, always true.

4.2 Can meanings change?

That is not an end of the matter, though. The propositions about validity

may not change their truth values. But we express these in language. It

might be held that the words involved may change their meanings and,

moreover, do this in such a way that the truth values of the sentences

12

13

I have said what I think about the matter in (Priest 2006a: ch. 11).

Certain kinds of constructivists may, of course, hold that the truth about numbers and other

mathematical entities may change for example, as the result of our acquiring new proofs.

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involved may change. If this is the case, then the sentences expressing

validity claims can change their truth values.

Can meanings change in such a way as to aect truth value? Of course

they can. When Nietzsche wrote The Gay Science, it was a reference to the

art of being a troubadour. Nowadays, one could hear it only as concerning

a study of a certain sexual preference. In modern parlance, Nietzsche did

not write a book about (the) gay science.

Now, could there be such change of meaning in the case we are

concerned with? Arguably, yes. In both a proof-theoretic and a modeltheoretic account of validity, part of the machinery is taken as giving an

account of meanings notably, of the logical connectives (introduction or

elimination rules, truth conditions). If we change our theory, then our

understanding of these meanings will change. This does not mean that the

meanings of the vernacular words corresponding to their formal counterparts changes. You can change your view about the meaning of a word,

without the word changing its meaning. However, if one revises ones

theory, and then brings ones practice into line with it, in the way which

we noted may happen, then the usage of the relevant words is liable to

change. So, then, will their meanings assuming that meaning supervenes

on use (and some version of this view must surely be right). So the

sentences used to express the validity claims, and maybe even which

propositions the language is able to express, can change.14

It might be thought that this makes such a change a somewhat trivial

matter. Suppose we have some logical constant, c, which has dierent truth

or proof conditions according to two dierent theories. Can we not just

use two words, c1 and c2, which correspond to these two dierent senses?

Perhaps we can sometimes; but certainly not always: for meanings can

interact. Let me illustrate. Suppose that our logic is intuitionist. Then

Peirces law, ((A ! B) ! A) ! A, is not logically valid. But suppose that

we now decide to add a new negation sign to the language, which behaves

as does classical negation. Then Peirces law becomes provable. The

extension is not conservative. Another case: given many relevant logics,

the rules for classical negation can be added conservatively, as can the

natural introduction and elimination rules for a truth predicate. But the

14

A pertinent question at this point is whether the meaning of follows deductively from or however

this is expressed can itself change. Perhaps it can; and if it does, this adds a whole new dimension

of complexity to our investigation. However, I see no evidence that the meaning of the phrase (as

opposed to our theories of what follows from what) has changed over the course of Western

philosophy. So I ignore this extra complexity here.

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triviality. Meanings, then, are not always separable.15

4.3

this happen rationally, and if so, how? The answers to these questions are

implicit in the preceding discussion. Suppose we change our logica docens

to a rationally preferable one. Suppose that we then change our logica utens

rationally to bring it in line with this. Then the meanings of our logical

constants, and so the language used to express the facts of validity, may

also change. And the whole process is rational.

5. Conclusion

Let me end by summarising the main conclusions we have reached, and

making a nal observation.

A logica docens may be revised rationally, and this happens by the

standard mechanism of rational theory choice. A logica utens may be

changed by bringing it into line with a logica docens; and if the docens is

chosen rationally, so is the utens. The answer to the question of whether or

not the logica ens may change depends on ones best answer to the question

of what validity is. However, under the model- or proof-theoretic accounts

of validity, the answer appears to be: no. This does not mean, however,

that the sentences used to express these facts may not change. And a

rational change of logica utens may occasion such a change.

Now the observation. The rational logica utens depends on the rational

logica docens. The true logica docens depends on the facts of validity. And

assuming a model- or proof-theoretic account of meaning, the language

available to express these may depend on the logica utens. It is clear that we

have a circle. If one were a foundationalist of some kind, one might see this

circle as vicious: there is no privileged point where one can ground the

entire enterprise, and from which one can build up everything else.

However, I take it that all knowledge, about logic, as much as anything

else, is situated.16 We are not, and could never be, tabulae rasae. We can

start only from where we are. Rational revision of all kinds then has to

proceed by an incremental and possibly (Hegel notwithstanding) neverending process.

15

16

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chapter 13

Jc Beall, Michael Hughes, and Ross Vandegrift

1. Introduction

There are a variety of reasons why we would want a paraconsistent

account of logic, that is, an account of logic where an inconsistent

theory does not have every sentence as a consequence. One relatively

standard motivation is epistemic in nature.1 There is a high probability

that we will come to hold inconsistent beliefs or inconsistent theories

and we would like some account of how to reason from an inconsistent

theory without everything crashing. Another motivation, rooted in the

philosophy of logic or language, is that we want a proper account of

entailment or relevant implication, where there is a natural sense in

which inconsistent claims do not (relevantly) entail arbitrary propositions where not every claim follows from arbitrary inconsistency.2

A third motivation, the one which will occupy our attention here, is

metaphysical or semantic. One might, for various reasons, endorse that

there are true contradictions, or as they are sometimes called, truthvalue gluts true sentences of the form ^ : , claims which are both

true and false. We shall say that a glut theorist is one who endorses

glutty theories theories that are negation-inconsistent with the full

knowledge that they are glutty.

There are dierent kinds of metaphysical commitments that can lead

one to be a glut theorist. One route towards glut theory arises from

views about particular predicates of a language or the properties that

those predicates express. Along these lines, a familiar route towards glut

theory holds that certain predicates like is true, is a member of , or

exemplies are essentially inconsistent: they cannot be (properly)

1

For work in this tradition, see Rescher and Manor (1970); Schotch et al. (2009); Schotch and

Jennings (1980).

For work in this tradition, see Anderson and Belnap (1975); Anderson et al. (1992); Dunn and Restall

(2002); Mares (2004); Slaney (2004).

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predicates are both true and false. Such essentially glutty predicates

everywhere glutty with respect to something if glutty anywhere with

respect to anything are antinomic, as we shall say. Of course, one need

not hold that a predicate is essentially inconsistent to think that it can

give rise to gluts: there may be only contingently glutty predicates. For

some predicates, whether they are properly interpreted consistently

or inconsistently may depend on facts about the world. Priest, for

example, has suggested that predicates like is legal and has the right

to vote are of this sort; see Priest (2006b). Acceptance of either sort of

(essentially or contingently) inconsistent predicates is sucient for

being a glut theorist though not necessary.

Another path one might take towards being a glut theorist is inevitable

ignorance about the exact source of gluttiness. One might think that our

best and true theory of the world will inevitably be inconsistent, even

though we might, for all we know, remain ignorant of the source of the

inevitable inconsistency. Indeed, one might have reason to be agnostic

about the source of gluttiness: one is convinced that our best theory of the

world (including truth, exemplication, sets, computability, modality,

whatever) will be inconsistent, though also convinced that we will never

be in good position to pinpoint the exact source of the inconsistency.

Agnosticism about the particular predicates responsible for gluttiness

remains an option for the glut theorist.

The question that arises is: how do our metaphysical commitments

inform our choice of logic? We cannot ask this question without attending

to the dierence between formal and material consequence. Briey, a logic

takes a material approach to consequence when it builds in facts about the

meaning of predicates, the properties they express, or the objects those

predicates are about. A logic takes a formal approach to consequence when

it abstracts away from all of these concerns. There are various ways a logic

could be said to build in such facts, and one of our aims below is to

explore these in the context of metaphysical commitments to gluts. We

carry out our discussion via a comparison of two paraconsistent logics,

namely, the logic of paradox (LP) and the logic of antinomies (LA). The

former is well-known in philosophy, discussed explicitly and widely by

Priest (1979, 2006b);3 the latter is a closely related but far less familiar and

3

LP is the gap-free extension of FDE, the logic of tautological entailments; it is the dual of the familiar

glut-free extension of FDE called strong Kleene or K3. See Dunn (1966, 1976), Anderson and

Belnap (1975), and Anderson et al. (1992).

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Asenjo and Tamburino (1975).4

Below, we consider various philosophical motivations that could explain

the logical dierences between LA and LP. We shall argue that LA reects

a fairly distinctive set of metaphysical and philosophical commitments,

whereas LP, like any formal logic, is compatible with a broad set of

metaphysical and philosophical commitments. We illustrate these

points below.

The discussion is structured as follows. 23 present the target logics in

terms of familiar model theory. 4 discusses the main logical dierences in

terms of dierences in philosophical focus and metaphysical commitment.

5 closes by discussing the issue of detachment.

The logic of antinomies (LA) begins with a standard rst-order syntax. The

logical vocabulary is _, :, 8. Constants c0, c1, . . . and variables x0, x1, . . .

are the only terms. The set of predicate symbols is the union of

two disjoint sets of standard predicate symbols: = fA0, A1, . . .g and

= fB0, B1, . . .g. (Intuitively, contains the essentially classical predicates and the essentially non-classical, essentially glutty predicates.) The

standard recursive treatment denes the set of sentences.5

An LA interpretation I consists of a non-empty domain D, a denotation

function d, and a variable assignment v, such that:

for any variable x, v(x) 2 D,

for any predicate P, d(P) = P, P", where P [ P" = D.

The only dierence from the standard LP treatment appears here, in the

form of a restriction that captures the distinction between the antinomic

(i.e., essentially glutty) and essentially classical predicates:

4

For purposes of accommodating glutty theories, the propositional logic LP was rst advanced in

Asenjo (1966) under the name calculus of antinomies; it was later advanced, for the same purpose,

under the name logic of paradox by Priest (1979), who also gave the rst-order logic under the same

name (viz., LP). What we are calling LA is the rst-order (conditional-free) logic advanced by

Asenjo and Tamburino (1975), which was intended by them to be a rst-order extension of Asenjos

basic propositional logic. Due to what we call the LA Predicate Restriction (see page 227) LA isnt a

simple rst-order extension of Asenjos propositional LP as will be apparent below (see 4).

For simplicity, we focus entirely on unary predicates. Both LA and LP cover predicates of any arity,

but focusing only on the unary case suces for our purposes.

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"

if P is in , then the intersection P \ P" must be empty;

if P is in , then the intersection P \ P must be non-empty.

As above, the Ais are the essentially classical predicates, while the Bis are

those which are antinomic.6

||v is the semantic value of a sentence with respect to a variable

assignment v, which is dened in the standard recursive fashion. (We leave

the relevant interpretation implicit, as it will always be obvious.) For atomics:

8

0 if I t 2

= P and I t 2 P "

>

<

= P"

jPtjv 1 if I t 2 P and I t 2

>

1

:

otherwise:

2

1. | _ |v = maxf||v ||vg.

2. |:|v = 1 " ||v.

3. |x|v = minf||v0 : v0 is an x-variant of vg.

Conjunction and existential quantication can be dened from these in

the normal way.

LA consequence LA is dened as preservation of designated value,

where the designated values are 1 and 21 . Thus, LA holds (i.e.,

implies/entails according to LA) if and only if no LA interpretation

designates everything in and fails to designate .

We obtain the logic LP simply by dropping the LA predicate restriction,

but leaving all else the same. Thus, for purposes of semantics or model

theory of LP, theres no dierence between -predicates and -predicates:

theyre all treated the same.

4. Contrast: LA and LP

We begin with formal contrast. While both logics are paraconsistent (just

let jjv 21 and jjv = 0, for at least some formulae and ), there are

some obvious but noteworthy formal dierences between the logics LA

6

The presentation in Asenjo and Tamburino (1975) is rather dierent; but we present their account in

a way that aords clear comparison with LP.

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object of which every predicate is both true and false whereas LA does

not. Indeed, LA but not LP validates explosion for certain

contradictions; for example, for any Ai in and any ,

Ai t ^ :Ai t LA :

ponens):

Ai t, Ai t LA

restricted version of detachment is available; see Beall et al. (2013a).

As a nal and nicely illustrative example, LA validates some existential

claims that go beyond those involved in classical logic (e.g., 9x( _ :),

etc.), whereas LP does not. To see this, note that, for any Bi in , the

following is a theorem of LA:

9xB i x:

Since any predicate Bi in must have at least some object in the intersection of its extension and anti-extension, it follows that something is in its

extension.

4.1 Metaphysics, formal and material consequence

How are we to understand the logical dierences between LA and LP? For

a rst pass, they might be naturally understood as arising from dierent

notions of consequence: namely, material and formal consequence. The

distinction may not be perfectly precise, but it is familiar enough.7

Material consequence relies on the matter or content of claims, while

formal consequence abstracts away from such content. Example: there is

no possibility in which Max is a cat is true but Max is an animal is not

true; the former entails the latter if we hold the meaning the matter, the

content of the actual claims xed. But the given entailment fails if we

abstract away from matter (content), and concentrate just on the standard

rst-order form: Cm does not entail Am.

The notion of formal consequence delivers conclusions based on logical

form alone. Material consequence essentially requires use of the content of

the claims or the meaning of things like predicates that appear in them.

7

See Read (1994, Ch. 2) wherein Read provides a defense of material consequence as logical

consequence, and also for further references.

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a material consequence relation of a language arising from certain metaphysical commitments. It is clear that the logic reects an assumption that

certain predicates are essentially classical, and other predicates are essentially glutty antinomic, as we have said. On this interpretation, the

incorporation of essentially classical predicates reects a metaphysical

commitment that gluts cannot arise absolutely anywhere. Similarly, the

semantic restriction on the Bi predicates reects a metaphysical commitment that certain predicates, in virtue of their meaning, or the properties

they express, must give rise to gluts: there is bound to be at least some

object of which Bi is both true and false. Beall (2009) gives such a view:

inconsistency unavoidably arises in the presence of semantic predicates like

is true. The typical semantic paradoxes like the liar require an inconsistent

interpretation of the truth predicate, but this is compatible with the

commitment to the essential classicality of all predicates in the truth-free

fragment of the language.

But what if you wanted to give the formal consequence relation of a

language that is motivated by Asenjo and Tamburinos metaphysical

commitments? LP, we suggest, provides the formal consequence relation

of such a language abstracting from the matter or content to mere form.

LAs predicate restriction is not a purely formal matter: that a predicate is

either antinomic or essentially classical depends on its meaning. If we

ignore content, and focus just on purely formal features of sentences,

LAs predicate restriction falls away as unmotivated. And thats precisely

what happens in LP: if we abstract away to pure form then the content of

predicates doesnt matter.

We observe that one might be concerned with material consequence,

and yet still be motivated to adopt LP rather than LA. Suppose that all

predicates are on par with respect to (in-) consistency: each might be glutty

with respect to something or not glutty at all. If one held this commitment, then LAs predicate restriction is inappropriate, or at least unmotivated. Indeed, even one predicate which is either contingently consistent

or contingently inconsistent arrests the motivation for LAs predicate

restriction. And one might think that ordinary cases of such predicates

are not hard to nd. Priest (2006b, Ch. 13), for example, discusses such

cases arising from considerations of the law. Suppose that we had laws that

all citizens have a right to vote and no felons have a right to vote. It is then a

contingent matter whether or not there are any gluts about rights to vote;

it depends on whether anyone commits any felonies, and whether or not

anything is classied as a felony. And you might hold a view wherein all

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predicates are like that: potentially glutty, one and all, but none antinomic none essentially glutty.

There is another metaphysical route to LP. We might not start with any

commitments about the nature of any predicates, their meaning, the

properties they express, and whether or not they are essentially inconsistent. One might start with the commitment that ones theory is both true

and inconsistent, while remaining agnostic about where to locate the

origins of the inconsistency. There is no reason to think that this position

excludes a material approach to consequence. Its just that such a view

lacks any particular metaphysical commitments that would motivate a

restriction on predicates like the LA predicate restriction.

Of course, from the material point of view, LA and LP far from exhaust

the possibilities. So far weve mentioned fairly strong, all-or-nothing

approaches. On a material approach to consequence, the proponent of

LA is committed to all predicates being essentially classical or glutty, while

the proponent of LP is committed to all predicates being potentially

classical or glutty. Mixed approaches are available. These are achieved by

adding obvious combinations to the LA predicate restriction for

example, some antinomic, some essentially classical, some neither, etc.

We leave these to the reader for exploration.

We turn (briey) to an issue peculiar to the logics under discussion:

detachment or modus ponens.

5. Detachment

A salient problem for LP is that there is no detachable (no modus-ponenssatisfying) conditional denable in the logic (Beall et al. (2013)); and thus,

historically, LP has been viewed as unacceptably weak for just that reason.

A lesson one might try to draw from the above observations is that LP can

be improved by shifting focus to the material notion of consequence. But

this is not quite right. Though one fragment of LA diers from LP in that

it satises detachment, LA is like LP in that detachment doesnt hold

generally: arguments from and to have counterexamples.

On this score, Asenjo and Tamburino (1975), along with Priest (1979,

2006b), have a solution in mind. The remedy is to add logical resources to

the base framework to overcome such non-detachment.8 But the remedy

8

Until very recently, Beall (2013), all LP-based glut theorists focused their eorts on the given task:

adding logical resources to the base LP framework to overcome its non-detachment. Whether this is

the appropriate response to the non-detachment of LP is something we leave open here.

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indicate.

Asenjo and Tamburino dene a conditional ! that detaches (i.e., and

! jointly imply ). The conditional is intended to serve the ultimate

purpose of the logic, namely, to accommodate paradoxes in non-trivial

theories (e.g., theories of nave sets), and is dened thus:

8

>

>

0

>

<

j ! jv 1

>

>

>

:2

1

n1 o

if jjv 0 and jjv 2

,1

2 o

n

1

1

if jjv and jjv 2

,1

2

2

otherwise

In particular, dening LA! as above (no interpretation designates the

premise set without designating the conclusion), we have:

, ! LA! :

The trouble, however, comes from Currys paradox. Focusing on the settheoretic version (though the truth-theoretic version is the same), Meyer

et al. (1979) showed that, assuming standard structural rules (which are in

place in LP and LA! and many other logics under discussion), if a

conditional detaches and also satises absorption in the form

! ! !

then the given conditional is not suitable for underwriting nave foundational principles. In particular, in the set-theory case, consider the set

c fx : x 2 x ! g

virtually all other) paraconsistent set theories.9 By unrestricted comprehension (using the new conditional, which is brought in for just that job),

where $ is dened from ! and ^ as per usual, we have

c 2 c $ c 2 c ! :

But, now, since the AsenjoTamburino arrow satises the given absorption rule, we quickly get

c2c!

9

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and so

c 2 c:

The upshot is that while LA may well be sucient for standard rstorder connectives, the remedy for non-detachment (viz., moving to LA!)

is not viable: it leads to absurdity.10 Other LP-based theorists, notably

Priest (1980) and subsequently Beall (2009), have responded to the nondetachability of LP by invoking intensional or worlds or otherwise nonvalue-functional approaches to suitable (detachable) conditionals. We

leave the fate of these approaches for future debate.11

6. Closing remarks

Philosophy, over the last decade, has seen increasing interest in paraconsistent approaches to familiar paradox. One of the most popular

approaches is also one of the best known: namely, the LP-based approach

championed by Priest. Our aim in this chapter has been twofold: namely,

to highlight an important predecessor of LP, namely, the LA-based

approach championed rst by Asenjo and Tamburino, and to highlight

the salient dierences in the logics. Weve argued that the dierences in

logic reect a dierence in both background philosophy of logic and

background metaphysics. LA is motivated by a material approach to logical

consequence combined with a metaphysical position involving antinomic

predicates, while LP is compatible with both a formal and material

approach to consequence and can be combined with a large host of

metaphysical commitments (including few such commitments at all).12

10

11

12

We note that Asenjo himself noticed this, though he left the above details implicit. We have not

belabored the details here, but it is important to have the problem explicitly sketched.

We note, however, that Beall has recently rejected the program of nding detachable conditionals

for LP, and instead defends the viability of a fully non-detachable approach (Beall (2013)), but we

leave this for other discussion.

We note that Priests ultimate rejection of LP in favor of his non-monotonic LPm (elsewhere called

MiLP) reects a move back in the direction of the original AsenjoTamburino approach, where

one has restricted detachment and the like, though the latter logic (viz., LA) is monotonic. We

leave further comparison for future debate. For some background discussion, see Priest (2006,

Ch. 16) and Beall (2012) for discussion.

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chapter 14

Tuomas E. Tahko

The notion of logical truth has a wide variety of dierent uses, hence it is not

surprising that it can be interpreted in dierent ways. In this chapter I will

focus on one of them what I call the metaphysical interpretation. A more

precise formulation of this interpretation will be put forward in what follows,

but I wish to say something about my motivation rst. Part of my interest

concerns the origin or ground of logic and logical truth, i.e., whether logic is

grounded in how the world is or how we (or our minds) see the world.1

However, this is not my topic here. Rather, I will assume that logic is grounded

in how the world is a type of realism about logic and examine the status of

logical truth from the point of view of logical realism. The upshot is an

interpretation of logical truth that is of special interest to metaphysicians.2

My starting point is the apparent dierence between what we might call

absolute truth and truth in a model, following Davidson (1973). The notion

of absolute truth is familiar from Tarskis T-schema: Snow is white is true

if and only if snow is white in the world and absolutely. Instead of being

a property of sentences as absolute truth appears to be, truth in a model,

that is relative truth, is evaluated in terms of the relation between sentences

and models.3 Davidson suggested that philosophy of language should

be interested in absolute truth exactly because relative truth does not yield

T-schemas, but I am not concerned with this proposal here.4

1

For a recent discussion on this topic, see Sher (2011), who examines the idea that logic is grounded

either in the mind or in the world, and defends that it is grounded in both hence logic has a dual

nature. See also the opening chapter of this volume.

See Chateaubriand Filho (2001, 2005) for a version of the metaphysical interpretation of logical truth

partly similar to mine.

Models are to be interpreted in a wide sense: they may for instance be interpretations, possible

worlds, or valuations. We will return to this ambiguity concerning model below.

I should mention that I will omit discussion of Carnap and Quine on logical truth, as their debate is

not directly relevant for my purposes. However, see Shapiro (2000) for an interesting discussion of

Quine on logical truth.

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Tuomas E. Tahko

truth in all models. One can be a realist or an anti-realist about the models,

hence about logical truth. But there are choices to be made even if one is

realist about the models, as the models can be understood interpretationally

or representationally, along the lines suggested by John Etchemendy (1990).

We will discuss the dierence between these views in the next section, but

ultimately none of these alternatives are expressive of the metaphysical

interpretation of logical truth. Instead, we need a way to express absolute

truth, which is not possible without spelling out the correspondence intuition, to be discussed in a moment.

Given the topic of this chapter, one might expect that Michael

Dummetts view would be discussed, or at least used as a foil, but

I prefer not to dwell on Dummett. The primary reason for this is that

Dummetts methodology is entirely opposite to the one that I use. Here is

a summary of Dummetts method:

My contention is that all these metaphysical issues [questions about truth,

time etc.] turn on questions about the correct meaning-theory for our

language. We must not try to resolve the metaphysical questions rst, and

then construct a meaning-theory in the light of the answers. We should

investigate how our language actually functions, and how we can construct

a workable systematic description of how it functions; the answers to those

questions will then determine the answers to the metaphysical ones.

(Dummett 1991a: 338)

view, Dummetts methodology is obviously not going to do the trick. In

my view, there is a bona de discipline of metaphysics and I am interested

in nding a use for logical truth within that discipline. I doubt there is

enough initial common ground to fruitfully engage with Dummett.

Let me briey return to Davidson and Tarski before proceeding. When

considering the distinction between absolute and relative truth, an initial

point of interest is absolute truths characterization by the T-schema. One

question that emerges is the connection between the T-schema and

metaphysics. A likely approach is to explicate this connection in terms of

correspondence. However, at least according to one reading, Tarski (1944)

considered truth understood as a semantic concept to be independent of

any considerations regarding what sentences actually describe, that is,

independent of issues concerning correspondence with the world. Indeed,

the T-schema is now rarely considered to play a crucial role in correspondence theories of truth, despite the appearance of a correspondence relation

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between sentences and the world.5 Yet, Tarskis (1944: 342343) initial

considerations on the meaning of the term true explicitly take into

account an Aristotelian conception of truth, where correspondence with

the world is central. Davidson (1973: 70) as well seems to have some

sympathy for the idea that an absolute theory of truth is, in some sense,

a correspondence theory of truth, although he insists that the entities that

would act as truthmakers here are nothing like facts or states of aairs, but

sequences (which make true open sentences).

I will not aim to settle the status of the correspondence theory here, but

it will be necessary to discuss it in some more detail. I suggest adopting an

understanding of the correspondence relation which is neutral in terms of

our theory of truth. It is this type of weak correspondence intuition that

I believe central to the metaphysical interpretation of logical truth. But it

should be stressed that the correspondence intuition itself is not necessarily

expressive of realism (Daly 2005: 9697). For instance, Chris Dalys

suggested denition of the intuition is simply that a proposition is true if

and only if things are as the proposition says they are. Daly explains the

neutrality of (his version of ) the correspondence intuition as follows:6

Consider the coherence theorist. He may consistently say If <p> is true, it

has a truthmaker. <p> corresponds to a state of aairs, namely the state of

aairs which consists of a relation of coherence holding between <p> and

the other members of a maximal set of propositions. Consider the pragmatist. He may consistently say, If <p> is true, it has a truthmaker. <p>

corresponds to a state of aairs, namely the state of aairs of <p>s having

the property of being useful to believe. It is controversial whether there

exist states of aairs. Let that pass. My point here is that the coherence

theory and the pragmatic theory are each compatible with the admission of

states of aairs. Furthermore, each of these theories is compatible with the

admission of states of aairs standing in a correspondence relation to truths.

(Daly 2005: 97)

not want to rule out the possibility of dierent approaches to truth, despite

assuming realism in the present context. A central appeal of the correspondence intuition is, I suggest, its wide applicability. However, a slightly

5

Furthermore, the idea that the T-schema or the correspondence theory are somehow expressive of

realism has been forcefully disputed. See for instance Morris (2005) for a case against the connection

between realism and correspondence; in fact Morris argues that correspondence theorists should be

idealists. See also Gmez-Torrente (2009) for a discussion about Tarskis ideas on logical

consequence as well as on Etchemendys critique of Tarskis model-theoretic account.

The angled brackets describe a proposition, following Horwich (1998).

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Tuomas E. Tahko

(2004), who interprets Aristotle as an early proponent of the correspondence theory. Crivelli denes correspondence-as-isomorphism as follows: a

theory of truth is a correspondence theory of truth just in case it takes the

truth of a belief, or assertion, to consist in its being isomorphic with reality

(Crivelli 2004: 23).7 This type of view, which Crivelli ascribes to Aristotle,

is expressive of the correspondence intuition, but avoids mention of

propositions, or indeed states of aairs.8 Hence, we may dene the

correspondence intuition as follows:

(CI) A belief, or an assertion, is true if and only if its content is isomorphic

with reality.

what it is useful to believe, as the pragmatist would have it, so neutrality is

preserved. If we accept that CI is neutral in terms of dierent theories of

truth, then we can characterize the issue at hand as follows. There is an

apparent and important dierence between truth understood along the

lines of CI, and truth understood as a relation between sentences and

models. I take this to be at the core of Davidsons original puzzle concerning absolute and relative truth. We ought to inquire into these two senses

of truth before we give a full account of logical truth. This is exactly what

I propose to do, arguing that the metaphysical interpretation of logical

truth must respect CI.

Tarski and the model-theoretic approach may have made it possible

to talk about logical truth in a manner seemingly independent of

metaphysical considerations, but important questions about the metaphysical status of logical truth and the interpretation of models remain.

One thing that makes this problem topical is the recent interest in

logical pluralism, or pluralism about logical truth (e.g., Beall and Restall

2006). In the second section I will assess the metaphysical status of the

notion of logical truth with regard to the two senses of truth familiar

from Davidson. The third section takes up the issue of interpreting

logical truth in terms of possible worlds and contains a case study of the

7

Crivelli also denes a stricter sense of correspondence, which can be found in Aristotle. But

sometimes Aristotles view on truth is also considered as a precursor to deationism about truth,

so we shouldnt put too much weight on the historical case. For a more historically inclined

discussion, see Paul Thoms chapter in this volume.

Admittedly, once we explicate isomorphism, reference to propositions, states of aairs or something

of the sort could easily re-emerge. This shouldnt worry us too much, because it is likely that we want

a structured mapping from something to reality. The reason to opt for isomorphism here is merely to

keep the door open for ones preferred (structured) ontology.

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take place in the fourth section, before the concluding remarks.

Can we reconcile the two senses of truth familiar from Davidson, the

absolute and the relative? As Etchemendy (1990: 13) notes, the obvious way

to attempt this would be in terms of generalization: if absolute truth is a

monadic predicate of the form x is true, then it may be helpful to analyze

it in terms of a relational predicate of the form x is true in y, for instance

x is a brother could be analyzed by rst analyzing x is a brother of y, thus

using the generalized concept of brotherhood. However, this does not

apply to truth: [C]learly the monadic concept of truth, the concept we

ordinarily employ, is no generalization of any of the various relational

concepts. A sentence can be true in some model, yet not be true; a

sentence can be true, yet not be true in all models (1990: 14). Accordingly,

generalization will not help in reconciling the two senses of truth.

Another alternative that Etchemendy considers is to interpret absolute

truth as a specication of truth in a model, namely, absolute truth could be

considered equivalent to truth in the right model, the model that corresponds with the world. This maintains the correspondence intuition

expressed by CI above, but note that correspondence with the world

already suggests a realist theory of truth, so the neutrality of the formulation is in question.9

However, there are good reasons to think that the notion of model is

not entirely appropriate when discussing absolute truth, as it is closely

associated with relative truth. Hence, interesting as Etchemendys characterization may be, it is unlikely to result in a metaphysical account of logical

truth. Still, Etchemendys account may help pinpoint the issue; consider

the following passage:

Once we have specied the class of models, our denition of truth in a

model is guided by straightforward semantic intuitions, intuitions about the

inuence of the world on truth values of sentences in our language. Our

criterion here is simple: a sentence is to be true in a model if and only if it

would have been true had the model been accurate that is, had the world

actually been as depicted by that model. (Etchemendy 1990: 24)

9

Note that the question concerning which model is right is not, strictly speaking, a question for the

logician. For instance, as Burgess (1990: 82) notes, it is the metaphysicians task to determine the

correct modal logic, as this depends on our understanding of (metaphysical) modality. In contrast,

the question about the right sense of logical validity remains in the realm of logic.

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Tuomas E. Tahko

be the case that the model could have been true. How do we interpret the

modality in eect here? If we understand it as saying that it must be the

case that the world could have turned out to be like the model depicts,

then this supports the case for a metaphysical interpretation of logical

truth, for it introduces as a requirement for the notion of model that it is

a possible representation of the world. This representational approach, or

representational semantics can be contrasted with interpretational

semantics, which Etchemendy discusses later on:

[I]n an interpretational semantics, our class of models is determined by the

chosen satisfaction domains; our denition of truth in a model is a simple

variant of satisfaction. (Etchemendy 1990: 50)

semantics is of the interpretational kind, although his interpretation of

Tarski can certainly be questioned (e.g. Gmez-Torrente 1999). But I do

not wish to enter the debate about Tarski or interpretational semantics.

According to Etchemendy, in the representational approach models must

represent genuinely possible congurations of the world, and I am

interested in the correct understanding of these possible congurations

(cf. Etchemendy 1990: 60). However, instead of developing Etchemendys

representational account, I will propose a pre-theoretic account of absolute

truth, which aligns nicely with Etchemendys analysis. The biggest complication is the interpretation of the modal content in Etchemendys picture;

we will need to return to this issue later (in the next section).

What I propose to draw from Etchemendy is that once we have specied

the class of genuinely possible congurations, we can dene relative truth

according to Etchemendys suggestion. In this regard, my analysis will not

follow that of Etchemendys, as the case for absolute truth will come before

Etchemendys account. Etchemendys representational approach notwithstanding, the notion of model is not ideal for this task, as it is strongly

reminiscent of relative truth.10

Instead of models, I propose to resort to talk of possible worlds. What

I have in mind is interpreting possible worlds as metaphysical possibilities.

10

It has been suggested to me (by Penny Rush) that relative truth may be problematic because of its

underlying metaphysical commitment to relativism, rather than not being up to the job of giving a

metaphysical interpretation of logical truth at all. This may indeed be the case. I have attempted to

preserve ontological neutrality while at the same time making it clear that I am presently only

interested in putting forward a realist interpretation of logical truth. But I will set this issue aside for

now, whether or not it is possible to combine relative truth and realism.

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This is, of course, somewhat controversial, but as we will see, there are

reasons to think that only metaphysical modality is tting for the task. In

any case, more needs to be said about how the space of metaphysical

possibilities is restricted. We will return to this in the next section.

We are now in the position to dene a provisional sense of logical truth

which I propose to call metaphysical:

(ML) A sentence is logically true if and only if it is true in every genuinely

possible conguration of the world.

world. But it does preserve CI and it provides us via the possible worlds

jargon a metaphysician friendly interface to the notion of logical truth.

It is time to see if we can actually work with that interface.

of the law of non-contradiction

The puzzle can now be expressed in the following form: What sort of

criteria can be established to evaluate whether a given possible world is a

genuinely possible conguration of the world, i.e., could have turned out

to correspond with the actual world? Let me approach the problem with a

case study. Take, arguably, one of the most fundamental laws of logic, the

law of non-contradiction (LNC). When I say that the law of noncontradiction is true in the metaphysical sense, I mean that LNC is true

in the sense of absolute truth, i.e., it is a genuine constraint on the structure

of reality. The metaphysical formulation of LNC takes a form familiar

from Aristotle (Metaphysics 1005b1920), although my proposed formulation is somewhat weaker, dened as follows:

(LNC) The same attribute cannot at the same time belong and not belong

to the same subject in the same respect and in the same domain.

The above formulation diers from Aristotles only with regard to the

qualication regarding the same domain here the domain is the set of

genuinely possible congurations of the world. How do we know whether

LNC is true in this sense? I have previously argued (Tahko 2009) that we

do have a good case for the truth of LNC in the metaphysical sense the

primary opponent here is Graham Priest (e.g., 2005, 2006b).11 I will not

11

See also Berto (2008) for an attempt to formulate a (metaphysical) version of LNC which even the

dialetheist must accept. Bertos idea, to which I am sympathetic, is that LNC may be understood as

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repeat my arguments here, but it may be noted that this is not strictly a

question for logic. For instance, Priests most celebrated arguments in favor

of true contradictions (in the metaphysical sense) concern the nature of

change and specically motion, the paradoxical nature of which is supposedly demonstrated by Zenos well-known paradoxes. Although these

paradoxes can quite easily be tackled by mathematical means, the relevant

question is whether change indeed is paraconsistent.12 The answer to this

question requires both metaphysical and empirical inquiry. I will return to

this point briey below, but rst I wish to say something about the

methodology of logical-cum-metaphysical inquiry.

In terms of ML, demonstrating the falsity of LNC would rst require a

genuinely possible conguration of the world where LNC fails. That is, it

is not enough that we have a model where LNC is not true, such as

paraconsistent logic, but we would also need to have some good reasons to

think that the world could have been arranged in such a way that the

implications of the metaphysical interpretation of LNC do not follow. This

point deserves to be emphasized, for it would be much easier to show that

a paraconsistent model can be useful in modelling certain phenomena, or

interpreted in such a way that it is compatible with all the empirical data.

But what is required here is that LNC, fully interpreted in the metaphysical

sense, can be shown to fail.

Note that we may also ask whether LNC is necessary, i.e., are there any

possible worlds in which LNC does not hold even if we did have a good

case for its truth in the actual world? In fact, this is the question we should

begin with, since if LNC is necessary, then it could not fail in the actual

world either. However, it is not clear how we could settle this question

conclusively, given that we are dealing with the metaphysical interpretation of LNC. Moreover, I do think that there could (in an epistemic

sense) be possible worlds in which LNC fails, and hence I take the debate

about LNC seriously. Yet, I am uncertain about whether such a paraconsistent possible world is in fact a genuinely possible conguration, as I will

go on to explain.13 In any case, if a possible world in which LNC is not true

12

13

a principle regarding structured exclusion relations (between properties, states of aairs, etc.), and

the world is determinate insofar as it conforms to this principle.

For discussion regarding Zenos paradoxes, see for instance Sainsbury (2009: Ch. 1).

It is worth pointing out here that in my proposed construal, the distinction between absolute truth

and truth in a model is not quite so striking for dialetheists. The idea, which I owe to Francesco

Berto, is that the world cannot be a model, because it contains everything, and theres no domain of

everything, on pain of Cantors paradox. The result is that something can be a logical truth in the

sense of being true in all models, without being true in the absolute sense, for the world is not a

model. My proposed treatment of this issue proceeds by understanding absolute truth in terms of

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This should be relatively uncontroversial, but I should nally say something more about genuine possibility.

As was mentioned in the previous section, there are reasons to understand genuine possibility in terms of metaphysical possibility, as only

metaphysical modality could secure the correspondence between a possible

world and the structure of reality this is also what CI requires. The

relevant modal space must consist of all possible congurations of the

world and only them. Logical modality cannot do the job because it is not

suciently restrictive. This can be demonstrated with any traditional

example of a metaphysical, a posteriori necessity, such as gold being the

element with atomic number 79. Assuming that it is indeed metaphysically

necessary that gold is the element with atomic number 79, we must be able

to accommodate the fact that gold failing to be the element with atomic

number 79 is nevertheless logically possible. But since we are interested in

genuinely possible congurations of the world, we ought to rule out

metaphysically impossible worlds, such as the world in which gold fails

to be the element with atomic number 79. The upshot is that if we accept

the familiar story about metaphysical a posteriori necessities of this type,

then there are necessary constraints for the structure of reality which logical

necessity does not capture.14

The only other viable alternative in addition to metaphysical and logical

modality is conceptual modality, i.e., necessity in virtue of the denitions of

concepts. Nomological modality is already too restrictive, as we sometimes

need to consider congurations of the world that are nomologically impossible but at least may be genuinely possible (e.g., superluminal travel).

However, conceptual modality is too liberal, quite like logical modality, as

it also accommodates congurations of the world which are not genuinely

possible, such as violations of the familiar examples of metaphysical a posteriori necessities. If we accept these examples, then neither denitions of

concepts nor laws of logic rule out things like gold failing to be the element

with atomic number 79. Accordingly, if one accepts that there are metaphysical necessities that are not also conceptually and logically necessary something that most metaphysicians would accept the only available

interpretation of genuine possibility is in terms of metaphysical possibility.

14

metaphysical modality, but the dialetheist could, in principle, endorse paraconsistent set theory and

posit that absolute truth is just truth in the world-model the model whose domain is the world.

I should add that cashing out these constraints is, I think, a much more complicated aair than the

traditional KripkePutnam approach to metaphysical a posteriori necessities suggests.

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do a better job in capturing the relevant sense of logical truth. This type

of understanding has been proposed by Scott Shalkowski, who suggests

that logical necessities might be explained as those propositions true in

virtue of the natures of every situation or every object and property, thus

preserving the idea that logic is the most general science (Shalkowski

2004: 79). On the face of it, this suggestion respects the criteria for

genuine possibility. According to this approach, logical modality concerns the most general (metaphysical) truths, such as the law of noncontradiction when it is considered as a metaphysical principle (as in

Tahko 2009). In this view, logical relations reect the relations of

individuals, properties, and states of aairs rather than mere logical

concepts. Indeed, this understanding eectively equates metaphysical

and logical modality. The idea is that the purpose of logic is to describe

the structure of reality and so it is the most general science. As

Shalkowski (2004: 81) notes, denying the truth of LNC would, in terms

of this understanding, amount to a genuine metaphysical attitude

instead of, say, the fairly trivial point that a model in which the law

does not hold can be constructed.

Do we have any means to settle the status of LNC in the suggested

sense? A simple appeal to its universal applicability may not do the trick,

but the burden of proof is arguably on those who would deny LNC.

One might even attempt to distill a more general formula from this:

logical principles which are presumably reached by a priori means

are prima facie metaphysically necessary principles. They may be challenged and sometimes falsied even by empirical means, but merely the

fact that we can formulate models in which they do not hold is not

enough to challenge their truth; it will also have to be demonstrated that

there are possible worlds which constitute genuinely possible congurations of the world. However, this approach seems biased towards

historically prior logical principles, the ones that were formulated rst.

It is not implausible that the reason why they were formulated rst is

because they are indeed the best candidates for metaphysically necessary

principles: for Aristotle, the law of non-contradiction is the most certain

of all principles (Metaphysics 1005b22). But this is admittedly quite

speculative we ought to be allowed to question even the rst

principles.

It would certainly be enough to challenge the metaphysical necessity of

LNC, or other logical principles, if empirical evidence to the eect that the

principle is not true of every situation or every object and property would

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be found.15 This is what Priest has attempted to show with the case of

change and Zenos paradoxes, but I remain unconvinced. As I have argued

(Tahko 2009), Priests examples can all be accounted for in terms of

semantic rather than metaphysical dialetheism a distinction developed

by Edwin Mares (2004). The idea is that there may be indeterminacy in

semantics, but this does not imply that there is indeterminacy in the world.

Only the latter type of indeterminacy would corroborate the existence of a

genuinely possible paraconsistent conguration of the world. Since I have

not seen a convincing case to the eect that such a conguration is

genuinely possible, I take it that LNC is a good candidate for a metaphysically necessary principle. If I am right, this means that a paraconsistent

possible world could not have turned out to accurately represent the actual

world. The fact that there are paraconsistent models has no direct bearing

on this question. I do not claim to have settled the status of LNC once and

for all, but I think that a strong empirical case for the truth of LNC can be

made, on the basis of the necessary constraints for the forming of a stable

macrophysical world, i.e., the emergence of stable macrophysical objects.

I have developed the preceding line of thought before with regard to the

Pauli Exclusion Principle (PEP) (Tahko 2012), and electric charge (Tahko

2009). For instance, as PEP states, it is impossible for two electrons (or

other fermions) in a closed system to occupy the same quantum state at the

same time. This is an important constraint, as it is responsible for keeping

atoms from collapsing. It is sometimes said that PEP is responsible for the

space-occupying behavior of matter electrons must occupy successively

higher orbitals to prevent a shared quantum state, hence not all electrons

can collapse to the lowest orbital. Here we have a principle which captures

a crucial constraint for any genuinely possible conguration of the world

that contains macroscopic objects. Whether or not there are genuinely

possible congurations that do not conform to PEP is an open question,

but it seems unlikely that such a conguration could include stable

macroscopic objects.

Consider the form of PEP: it states that two objects of a certain kind

cannot have the same property (quantum state) in the same respect (in a

closed system) at the same time. Compare this with Aristotles formulation

of LNC: the same attribute cannot at the same time belong and not

belong to the same subject in the same respect (Metaphysics 1005b1920).

LNC is of course a much more general criterion than PEP it concerns

15

I have in mind concrete objects in the rst place; see Estrada-Gonzlez (2013) for a case to the eect

that there are abstracta which violate LNC in this sense.

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one thing rather than things of a certain kind but its underlying role is

evident: if any fermion were able to both be and not be in a certain

quantum state at the same time, then PEP would be violated and macroscopic objects would collapse. If LNC is needed to undergird PEP, then we

have a strong case in favor of the metaphysical interpretation of LNC in

worlds that contain macrophysical objects, given the necessity of PEP for

the forming of macrophysical objects. This is of course not sucient to

establish the metaphysical necessity of either principle, but it is an interesting result in its own regard.

Now that we have a rough idea about the metaphysical interpretation of

logical truth, we can consider the implications of this interpretation in

a wider context. Here I would like to focus on the topic of logical

pluralism, which has lately received an increasing amount of attention.

Perhaps the most inuential form of logical pluralism derives from

pluralism about logical consequence, i.e., the view that there are models

in which the logical consequence relation is dierent, and irreconcilably

so. Beall and Restall have formulated and defended this type of

pluralism:

Given the logical consequence relation dened on the class of casesx, the

logicalx truths are those that are true in all casesx. If you like, they are the

sentences that are x-consequences of the empty set of premises. The logicalx

truths are those whose truth is yielded by the class of casesx alone. Since we

are pluralists about classes of cases, we are pluralists about logical truth.

(Beall and Restall 2006: 100)

If this is indeed what pluralism about logical truth amounts to, then it

appears that anyone who accepts multiple classes of cases is a pluralist

about logical truth. But what does being true in a case mean? On the face

of it, one might think that it means exactly the same as being true in a

model, that is, we are talking about a type of relative truth familiar from

Davidson. This would imply that anyone who accepts multiple classes of

models will also be a pluralist about logical truth. Pluralism about logical

truth would then mean only that there are multiple models, and we can

talk about logical truth separately in each one of these models. But this

would be a rather uninteresting sense of logical pluralism, at least from the

point of view of the metaphysical interpretation of logical truth. However,

as Hartry Field has recently pointed out, this cannot be what Beall and

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Restall have in mind. Moreover, Field suggests two reasons why modeltheoretic accounts are irrelevant to logical pluralism:

One of these reasons is that by varying the denition of model, this

approach denes a large family of notions, classically valid, intuitionistically valid, and so on; one neednt accept the logic to accept the notion of

validity. A classical logician and an intuitionist can agree on the modeltheoretic denitions of classical validity and of intuitionist validity; what

they disagree on is the question of which one coincides with genuine

validity. For this question to be intelligible, they must have a handle on

the idea of genuine validity independent of the model-theoretic denition.

Of course, a pluralist will contest the idea of a single notion of genuine

validity, and perhaps contend that the classical logician and the intuitionist

shouldnt be arguing. But logical pluralism is certainly not an entirely trivial

thesis, whereas it would be trivial to point out that by varying the denition

of model one can get classical validity, intuitionist validity, and a whole

variety of other such notions. (Field 2009: 348)

[I]f we were to understand cases as models, then there would be no case

corresponding to the actual world. There is no obvious reason why a

sentence couldnt be true in all models and yet not true in the real world.

This connects up with the previous point: the intuitionist regards instances

of excluded middle as true in all classical models, while doubting that they

are true in the real world. (Field 2009: 348; italics original)

Field goes on to suggest that Beall and Restall must have meant that there

is an implicit requirement for interpreting truth in a case, namely, that

truth in all cases implies truth. Field then argues that this will not produce

an interesting sort of logical pluralism as the pluralist notion of logical

consequence suggested by Beall and Restall does not capture the normal

meaning of logical consequence. But it should be noted that Beall and

Restall (2006: 36 .) do say something about the matter. Specically, they

suggest that on one reading of case (the TM account), Tarskian models

are to be understood as cases. Another reading (the NTP or necessary truthpreservation account) takes possible worlds to be cases. Beall and Restall

(2006: 40) add that the existence of a possible world that invalidates an

argument entails the existence of an actual (abstract) model that invalidates

the argument.

So, it is not clear that Fields critique is accurate, as Beall and Restall do

suggest that there is a case that corresponds with the actual world on the

TM account it is a Tarskian model and on the NTP account it is a possible

world. The latter is of immediate interest to us, given that the metaphysical

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interpretation of logical truth also makes use of the possible worlds jargon.

Yet, Beall and Restall do not provide an interpretation of possible worlds,

so it is not quite clear what the connection, if any, between the NTP

account and the metaphysical interpretation of logical truth is.

Connecting all this with the analysis provided in the previous section,

one might suggest that classes of cases are sets of metaphysically possible

worlds, distinguished in terms of logical truths that are true in each set of

possible worlds. Only one possible world is actual, but the logical truths

that are true in the actual world will also be true in all worlds which are in

the same set of possible worlds, i.e., these worlds may dier in other

regards, but they are close to the actual world in the sense that all the

logical truths are shared.

Accordingly, pluralists about logical truth, in the metaphysical sense,

hold that there are distinct sets of possible worlds in which dierent logical

truths hold. The metaphysical interpretation of logical truth can accommodate this sense of logical pluralism, provided that possible worlds are

interpreted appropriately this also enables us to preserve CI.16 However,

accommodating pluralism in the metaphysical interpretation of logical

truth does require a revision in our original denition (ML), which dened

a sentence as logically true if and only if it is true in every genuinely

possible conguration of the world. Since in this view of logical pluralism

there can be proper subsets of genuinely possible congurations with

dierent laws of logic, we must revise ML as follows:

(ML-P) A sentence is logically true if and only if it is true in every possible

world of a given subset of possible worlds representing genuinely possible

congurations of the world.

ML-P can of course also accommodate the situation where the laws of

logic are the same across all subsets of genuinely possible congurations,

i.e., logical monism in that case the relevant subset of possible worlds

would not be a proper subset of the genuinely possible congurations.

An alternative formulation of ML-P is possible, dismissing subsets

altogether. We could understand logical pluralism by giving dierent

interpretations to genuinely possible congurations.17 This formulation

16

17

Why is interpreting logical truth on the basis of metaphysical possibility the only way to preserve

CI? Because weve seen that only by restricting our attention to metaphysically possible worlds can

we preserve a sense of correspondence between logical truth and genuinely possible congurations of

the world. Only metaphysically possible worlds are suciently constrained to take into account all

the governing principles such as metaphysical a posteriori necessities.

Thanks to Jesse Mulder for suggesting this type of formulation.

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(2008). Russell suggests that we can distill a sense of pluralism by understanding logical validity as the idea that in every possible situation in which

all the premises are true, the conclusion is true (2008: 594), where possibility is

ambiguous between logical, conceptual, nomological, metaphysical, or

other senses of modality, hence producing a similar ambiguity concerning

validity. A friend of the metaphysical interpretation of logical truth could

accept this idea, but only provided that we prioritize the reading where

possible situations reect metaphysical possibility, as CI is preserved only

in this reading. Nevertheless, there may still be room for a type of

pluralism concerning metaphysical possibility and hence genuinely possible congurations. Unfortunately I have no space to develop this

approach further.

It may be noted that since I have been discussing logical pluralism only

with regard to the law of non-contradiction, the resulting sense of

pluralism is limited. Given that I consider there to be strong reasons to

think that LNC holds in the actual world, we can dene a set of possible

worlds in which the law of non-contraction holds, call it WLNC. The

assumption is that WLNC includes the actual world. But since I have made

no mention of any other laws of logic that hold (in the metaphysical sense)

in WLNC, the sense in which we can talk of a logic may be questioned. In

other words, it may be wondered if the resulting sense of logical pluralism

is able to support a rich enough set of logical laws to constitute a logic.

However, I suspect that the case can be extended beyond LNC. That is, we

can extend the metaphysical interpretation to other laws of logic as well in

such a way that a subset of WLNC may be dened. This is not quite as

straightforward in other cases though.

Very briey, consider modus ponens (A ^ (A ! B)) ! B. If thought of

as a rule, it is not obvious that modus ponens can be applied to the world

in the sense that I have suggested with regard to LNC. Yet, there are clear

cases of physical phenomena that feature a modus ponens type structure.

As a rst pass, causation might be oered as a candidate of real world

modus ponens, but there are obvious complications with this suggestion,

as it depends on ones theory of causation. However, there are better

candidates. Take the simple case of an electron pair in a closed system,

where two electrons occupy the same orbital. As weve already observed,

two electrons in a closed system are governed by the Pauli Exclusion

Principle. In particular, since the electrons cannot be in the same quantum

state at the same time, we know that the only way for them to occupy the

same orbital (i.e., having the same orbital quantum numbers) is for them

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Tuomas E. Tahko

to dier in spin (i.e., to have dierent spin quantum numbers). Accordingly, when we observe electron A having spin-up, we immediately know

that any electron, B, in the same orbital as A must have spin-down.

Moreover, there can be only two electrons in the same orbital and they

must always have opposite spin.

If cases such as the one for a real world modus ponens can be found,

then we may indeed have a rich enough set of logical laws to constitute a

logic, enabling the suggested interpretation of logical pluralism. The

resulting subset could be called WLNCMP.

This hardly exhausts the debate about logical pluralism, but it appears

that there are ways, perhaps several ways, to accommodate pluralism about

logical truth within the metaphysical interpretation.

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, I have demonstrated that there is a coherent metaphysical

interpretation of logical truth, and that this interpretation has some

interesting uses, such as applications regarding logical pluralism. It has

not been my aim to establish that this interpretation of logical truth is the

correct one, but only that it is of special interest to metaphysicians. I have

assumed rather than argued for a type of realism about logic for the

purposes of this investigation, but I contend that for realists about logic,

one interesting interpretation of logical truth is the one sketched here.18

18

Thanks to audiences at the University of Tampere Research Seminar and the First Helsinki-Tartu

Workshop in Theoretical Philosophy, where earlier versions of the paper were presented. In

particular, Id like to thank Luis Estrada-Gonzlez for extensive comments. In addition,

I appreciate helpful comments from Franz Berto and Jesse Mulder. Thanks also to Penny Rush

for editorial comments. The research for this chapter was made possible by a grant from the

Academy of Finland.

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Index

analyticity, 195196, 200, 202

Aristotelian, 147, 204

categories, 149150, 152153

Aristotle, 68, 22, 54, 117, 139, 147150, 205, 207,

212213, 239, 242243

Crivelli interpretation of, 236

notion of validity, 204, 206207, See Bolzano

Axiom of Choice, 72, 86, 88, 90

Beall, Jc, 229230, 232

Beall and Restall, 245

Beall and Restalls pluralism, 50, 6970, 236,

244246, See Restall, Greg

Beall, Hughes and Vandegrift, 9

Priest and Beall, 232

bounded arithmetic, 116

Burgess, J.A., 5051, 57, 237

Carnap, R, 69, 233

Dummett-Quine-Carnap, 6970

classical validity, 59, 114, 245

cognitive command, 5860, 6263, 6566,

6871

completeness, 8083, 114, 116, 123, 180181

theorem, 42, 64, 80, 84, 181, See Gdel

Condillac, 122, 127

conditional

logic, 107

material, 106107, 218

the, 105, 107, 231

consistency, 5152, 55, 5860, 79, 115, 118119,

141142, 144, 188

constructive, 8283, 115116, 119, 125

mathematics, 74, 108

semi-constructive, 86

constructivism, 74, 82

contextualism, 49, 6667, 6970, 257

continuum, 29, 54, 64, 7680, 90,

97, 105

Continuum Hypothesis, 89, 110

134135, 137, 141143, 149, 182183, 213,

224, 228, 240

convention, 3, 33, 39, 115

Lewis account of, 3435

tacit, 34, 3638, 4041

truth by, 32, 34, 4748

conventionalism

linguistic, 35

logical. See logical conventionalism

conventions, 3335, 45, 191

explicit, 3335

logical, 3233

optimality of, 3638, 4445

tacit, 3435

correspondence, 4445, 195, 234237, 241, 246

1-1, 89

criteria for

validity, 8

criterion for

a philosophy of mathematics, 89

legitimacy, 52

mathematical legitimacy, 55

rule-following, 131

validity, 169

Darapti, 213

Davidson, D, 57, 233234, 236, 244

dialetheism, 108

metaphysical, 243

semantic, 243

disjunction property, 110113

Dummett, M, 5960, 6870, 128, 140141, 234

Eddington, A.S., 9597, 99

epistemic constraint, 5861, 70

Etchemendy, J, 234235, 237238

Explosion, 107, 213214, 228

Feferman, S, 34, 7577, 7982, 86, 8889,

9192, 105106

264

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Index

Field, H, 211, 244245

rst-order logic, 4243, 61, 64, 74, 80, 82, 213,

226

Fllesdal, D, 20, 92

formalism, 74

Frege, G, 1, 41, 94, 128, 131, 157, 195, 214

and Russell, 129, 211

correspondence with Hilbert, 5152

Fregean, 22

realism, 196

Gentzen, G, 111112, 116, 122124

meaning, 85

proof, 118120

system of natural deduction, 81, 84

geometry, 8, 52, 93, 123, 128, 136, 208

application, 136, 215

axioms, 52

Euclidean, 41, 77, 128, 215

non-Euclidean, 186, 215

Gdel, K, 87, 92, 111, 116, 118119, 142, 191

completeness theorem, 42, 80

incompleteness theorem, 79

Goldbach conjecture, 76, 139141

Hateld, G, 102

Hilbert

Hilbertian, 8

Hilbert, D, 5152, 110, 118119, 211

Hilbertian, 52, 55

Hilberts program, 142

space, 72, 104

Husserl, E, 17, 2528, 30

cognition, 22

concept of evidence, 2324

conception of logic, 1819

Husserlian, 26

logical realism, 190

phenomenological reduction, 1921

transcendence, 17

idealization, 71, 106107

classical logic, 106108, See logic, classical

of rudimentary logic, 5, See logic, rudimentary

technique of, 105106

throughout mathematics, 61

implication, 41, 73

intuitionistic, 125

incompleteness, 113114

theorem, 79, See Gdel

independence, 3, 13

conceptions of, 26

essential and modal, 15

human-, 2, 15

IF Independence Friendly, 82

265

mind-, 20, 56

of facts, 14

of logic, 7

of logical truth, 29

proofs, 51

realist, 3, 1518

results, 83

intuitionism, 115, 140

intuitionist validity, 245

intuitionistic, 69, 74, 112

analysis, 52, 54

consistency, 59

intuitionistic logic, 116

intuitionistically, 45, 70, 113

logic, 46, 50, 52, 54, 57, 6061, 6364, 74, 77,

8283, 108, 111112

predicate calculus, 8486

propositional calculus, 110

semi-, 86, 89, See logic, intuitionist

semi-intuitionism, 85

Jankovs logic, 115

Kant, 20, 41, 57, 94, 180, 183, 187, 195, 203, 208,

213

Anti-, 198

ethics, 184185

Kantian, 7, 179, 181, 183

Kant-Quine, 58, 71

KF-structure, 94

Ladyman, J, 99

Ladyman, J and Ross, D, 99, 104

language acquisition, 40, 103

law of excluded middle (LEM), 29, 50, 65, 74,

8788, 90, 139142, 144

weak, 115

law of non-contradiction (LNC), 9, 29, 48, 239,

242

Lewis Carroll regress, 33

logic

applied, 215

canonical application, 2, 215216, 220

classical, 45, 4245, 50, 5253, 77, 81, 84,

8688, 107, 111113, 115, 211, 214, 216, 218,

228

application to mathematics, 91

idealization, 106108

rise of, 214

valid in, 6061, 63

conditional, 107

content-containment model of, 42

deviant, 69, 104, 106107

intuitionist, 215216, 219

mathematical, 7273, 212, 214, 217

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Index

266

logic (cont.)

medieval, 147, 158159, 161, 164, 212214

Megarian, 212

non-classical logic, 5, 49, 211, 218

paraconsistent, 50, 5455, 64, 68, 108, 211, 215,

225, 240, See paraconsistency

Port Royale, 213

pure, 18, 178, 215216

relevance, 54, 107

rudimentary, 5, 95, 97100, 104108, 120121, 125

rule-governed model of, 4142

semi-intuitionist, 4

substitution model of, 42

traditional, 214, 217

logica docens, 212216, 218, 220, 223

logica ens, 212, 216, 220, 223

logica utens, 212, 218219, 223

logical

connectives, 23, 115116, 222

consequence, 8, 51, 5960, 79, 109110, 112,

123, 235

Beall and Restalls, 50, 244245

Bolzano, 203204, 207

in mathematical practice, 43

material approach to, 232

Reads defense of material, 228

traditional denition of, 192

conventionalism, 3, 33, 47, 190

inference, 5, 41, 93, 100, 134

pluralism, 4, 9, 217, 237, 244248

realism, 4, 8, 1315, 189192, 195197, 208, 233

schemata, 41

logical validity, 50, 56, 121123, 161, 237, 247

logicism, 74

MacFarlane, J, 51, 6567

Maddy, P, 5, 121

mathematical

objects, 1, 90, 221

proof, 42, 120, 123

realism, 14

reality, 1, 15

McDowell, J, 2530

meaning

of a mathematical proposition, 137

of all, 78

of logical operations, 24, 85

of logical particles, 112

of logical predicates, 225, 228

of logical terms, 69, 135

of proposition, 150

of spoken and written utterances, 148149

of stateable, 155

Medvedev lattice, 115

metalogical, 45

metalogical debates, 48

mirror neuron, 39

model theory, 4445, 226227

model-theoretic, 42, 64, 80, 204, 207, 235236,

238, 245

account of validity, 221223

modus ponens, 43, 48, 95, 113, 136, 189190, 214,

228, 230, 247248

monism, 51, 54, 62, 217, 246

naturalism, 34, 74, 189

necessity, 42, 159, 186, 204207, 241,

See possibility

causal, 174

epistemic, 208

follows of, 205

logical, 35, 134, 174, 241

metaphysical, 242, 244

natural, 175

semantical, 181

non-realist, 34, 74

norms of reasoning, 158

objectivity, 3, 14, 5660, 6566, 71, 174, 179180,

184, 186

axes of, 62

criteria of, 183

of logic, 7

of mathematics, 76

open-texture, 71

paraconsistency, 910, See logic, paraconsistent

Peano Arithmetic, 73, 87

Piaget, 100

Plato, 18, 122, 162, 164, 166, 168, 176, 184

platonic, 18, 25, 74, 97, 162

platonism, 5, 135, 139140

platonist, 136, 147, 221

pluralism, 9, 49, 51, 69, 189, 247, See logical:

pluralism

possibility, 70, 197, 228, 247, See necessity

genuine, 241

logical, 174

metaphysical, 241, 247

of cognition, 13, 1617, 2122

of logic, 32

Priest, G, 3, 9, 158, 225226, 229230, 232

arguments against LNC, 240, 243

principle of bivalence, 32

principles and parameters model, 39

quantum mechanics, 9899, 104, 108, 144

Quine, W.V.O.

on second-order logic, 124

substitutional procedure, 195

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Index

Quine, W.V.O., 32, 81, 100, 124, 135, 166

challenge, 3235, 3840, 48

Dummett-Quine-Carnap, 6869

holism, 144

Kant-Quine, 58, 71

Putnam and Davidson, 57

Quinean, 178, 181, 216

rationality, 168, 184

relativism, 49, 51, 129, 190, 220, 238

folk-, 4951, 5760, 63, 6566, 68, 7071, 190

logical, 49, 51

proper, 6768, 70

rule-following, 61, 129132, 137, 142

second-order logic, 61, 64, 73, 79, 81, 128

classical, 74

full, 79, 82

Quine on, 81, 124

semantics, 81

Sellars, W, 22, 97, 99, 196

objection, 1415

set theory, 6, 64, 81, 88, 92, 124, 136, 181, 231

background, 42

development of, 120121

Kripke-Platek, 88

paraconsistent, 241

satisability in, 52

Zermelo-Fraenkel (ZF), 73

Shapiro, S, 24, 9, 43, 61, 7879, 118, 189, 233

smooth innitesimal analysis, 5254

Spelke, E, 102103

structuralism, 3, 74

conceptual, 34, 78, 80, 9091

in-re, 74

modal, 74

Tarski, A, 195, 202, 234236, 238

biconditionals, 4445

denition of logical consequence, 203

Generalised Tarski Thesis, 50, 70

T-schema, 233

267

-type, 204

Tarskian conception, 238

Tarskian model, 50, 207, 245

theory choice, 9, 216, 223

truth

absolute, 233234, 237239, 241

by convention, 32, 4748

in a model, 233

logical, 3, 9, 29, 41, 46, 95, 99, 233, 240, 242

all, 105

rst-order, 42

ground of, 93

interpretation, 233234, 248

metaphysical, 89, 233, 235239, 244247

pluralism about, 244245

Quine on, 233

realist, 238

reecting facts, 97

preservation, 44, 160, 222, 245

preserving, 44, 160

relative, 234, 236238, 244

truth tables, 46

T-schema, 44, 46, 233235

vagueness, 56, 6165

logics of, 106

real, 107

worldly, 96

Waismann, F, 57, 71

Wason Card Test, 218219

Wittgenstein, L, 5, 125, 144, 195, 219

and physics, 144

means by postulate, 144

on mathematics, 128129

on rule-following, 129132, 143

rejection of Hilberts program, 142

Steiner on, 6

Wittgensteinian, 45, 132, 141

Wright, C, 49, 5860, 6263, 70

Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory, 73

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