Propositions, Dispositions and Logical Knowledge

In M. Bonelli & A. Longo (eds.), Quid Est Veritas? Essays in Honour of Jonathan Barnes. Bibliopolis (2010)
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Abstract

This paper considers the question of what knowing a logical rule consists in. I defend the view that knowing a logical rule is having propositional knowledge. Many philosophers reject this view and argue for the alternative view that knowing a logical rule is, at least at the fundamental level, having a disposition to infer according to it. To motivate this dispositionalist view, its defenders often appeal to Carroll’s regress argument in ‘What the Tortoise Said to Achilles’. I show that this dispositionalist view, and the regress that supposedly motivates it, operate with the wrong picture of what is involved in knowing a logical rule. In particular I show that it gives us the wrong picture of the relation between knowing a logical rule and actions of inferring according to it, as well as of the way in which knowing a logical rule might be a priori

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Corine Besson
University of Sussex

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