A Pragmatic-Semiotic Defence of Bivalence

History and Philosophy of Logic 43 (2):143-157 (2022)
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Since Peirce defined the first operators for three-valued logic, it is usually assumed that he rejected the principle of bivalence. However, I argue that, because bivalence is a principle, the strategy used by Peirce to defend logical principles can be used to defend bivalence. Construing logic as the study of substitutions of equivalent representations, Peirce showed that some patterns of substitution get realized in the very act of questioning them. While I recognize that we can devise non-classical notations, I argue that, when we make claims about those notations, we inevitably get saddled with bivalent commitments. I present several simple inferences to show this. The argument that results from those examples is ‘pragmatic’, because the inevitability of the principle is revealed in use (not mention); and it is ‘semiotic’, because this revelation happens in the use of signs.

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Marc Champagne
Kwantlen Polytechnic University


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