Informal Reasoning and Logical Formalization

In S. Conrad & S. Imhof (eds.), Ding und Begriff. Ontos (2010)
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According to a prevalent view among philosophers formal logic is the philosopher’s main tool to assess the validity of arguments, i.e. the philosopher’s ars iudicandi. By drawing on a famous dispute between Russell and Strawson over the validity of a certain kind of argument – of arguments whose premises feature definite descriptions – this paper casts doubt on the accuracy of the ars iudicandi conception. Rather than settling the question whether the contentious arguments are valid or not, Russell and Strawson, upon discussing the proper logical analysis of definite descriptions, merely contrast converse informal validity assessments rendered explicit by nonequivalent logical for-malizations.

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Michael Baumgartner
Bergen University


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