A forgotten logical expressivist: Strawson’s philosophy of logic and its challenges

Synthese 200 (3):1-23 (2022)
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P.F. Strawson contributed to many philosophical domains, including the philosophy of language, the history of philosophy, metaphysics, moral philosophy and philosophical methodology. Most of his contributions in these areas have influenced contemporary debates, either because his views are still defended or because they are still considered worthy of detailed responses. His views on the philosophy of logic have been only rarely discussed, however. My aim in this paper is threefold. First, I provide a systematic account of Strawson’s philosophy of logic. I argue that Strawson is an important predecessor of logical expressivism, a contemporary position in the philosophy of logic most notably defended by Robert Brandom. My main focus is on Strawson’s largely-neglected 1982 paper ‘Logical Form and Logical Constants’, which contains his most mature ideas on the topic. Second, while Strawson’s position is of historical and independent philosophical interest, I argue that he leaves many points unclear. Finally, I propose several clarifications of Strawson’s position.

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