In C. Martínez U. Rivas & L. Villegas-Forero (eds.), Truth in Perspective edited by C. Martínez, U. Rivas, L. Villegas-Forero, Ashgate Publishing Limited, Aldershot, England (1998) 113-135. ASHGATE. pp. 113-135 (1998)
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Information-theoretic approaches to formal logic analyse the "common intuitive" concept of propositional implication (or argumental validity) in terms of information content of propositions and sets of propositions: one given proposition implies a second if the former contains all of the information contained by the latter; an argument is valid if the conclusion contains no information beyond that of the premise-set. This paper locates information-theoretic approaches historically, philosophically and pragmatically. Advantages and disadvantages are identified by examining such approaches in themselves and by contrasting them with standard transformation-theoretic approaches. Transformation-theoretic approaches analyse validity (and thus implication) in terms of transformations that map one argument onto another: a given argument is valid if no transformation carries it onto an argument with all true premises and false conclusion. Model-theoretic, set-theoretic, and substitution-theoretic approaches, which dominate current literature, can be construed as transformation-theoretic, as can the so-called possible-worlds approaches. Ontic and epistemic presuppositions of both types of approaches are considered. Attention is given to the question of whether our historically cumulative experience applying logic is better explained from a purely information-theoretic perspective or from a purely transformation-theoretic perspective or whether apparent conflicts between the two types of approaches need to be reconciled in order to forge a new type of approach that recognizes their basic complementarity.
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