On Bolzano’s Alleged Explicativism

Synthese 150 (2):229-246 (2006)
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Abstract
Bolzano was the first to establish an explicit distinction between the deductive methods that allow us to recognise the certainty of a given truth and those that provide its objective ground. His conception of the relation between what we, in this paper, call "subjective consequence", i.e., the relation from epistemic reason to consequence and "objective consequence", i.e., grounding however allows for an interpretation according to which Bolzano advocates an "explicativist" conception of proof: proofs par excellence are those that reflect the objective order of grounding. In this paper, we expose the problems involved by such a conception and argue in favour of a more rigorous demarcation between the ontological and the epistemological concern in the elaboration of a theory of demonstration.
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