Inferential Quantification and the ω-rule

In Antonio D’Aragona (ed.), Perspectives on Deduction (forthcoming)
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Logical inferentialism maintains that the formal rules of inference fix the meanings of the logical terms. The categoricity problem points out to the fact that the standard formalizations of classical logic do not uniquely determine the intended meanings of its logical terms, i.e., these formalizations are not categorical. This means that there are different interpretations of the logical terms that are consistent with the relation of logical derivability in a logical calculus. In the case of the quantificational logic, the categoricity problem is generated by the finite nature of the standard calculi and one direction in which it can be solved is to strengthen the deductive systems by adding infinite rules (such as the ω-rule), i.e., to construct a full formalization. Another main direction is to provide a natural semantics for the standard rules of inference, i.e., a semantics for which these rules are categorical. My aim in this paper is to analyze some recent approaches for solving the categoricity problem and to argue that a logical inferentialist should accept the infinite rules of inference for the first order quantifiers, since our use of the expressions “all” and “there is” leads us beyond the concrete and finite reasoning, and human beings do sometimes employ infinite rules of inference in their reasoning.

Author's Profile

Constantin C. Brîncuș
Institute of Philosophy and Psychology, Romanian Academy


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