Meta-inferences and Supervaluationism

Journal of Philosophical Logic 51 (6):1549-1582 (2021)
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Many classically valid meta-inferences fail in a standard supervaluationist framework. This allegedly prevents supervaluationism from offering an account of good deductive reasoning. We provide a proof system for supervaluationist logic which includes supervaluationistically acceptable versions of the classical meta-inferences. The proof system emerges naturally by thinking of truth as licensing assertion, falsity as licensing negative assertion and lack of truth-value as licensing rejection and weak assertion. Moreover, the proof system respects well-known criteria for the admissibility of inference rules. Thus, supervaluationists can provide an account of good deductive reasoning. Our proof system moreover brings to light how one can revise the standard supervaluationist framework to make room for higher-order vagueness. We prove that the resulting logic is sound and complete with respect to the consequence relation that preserves truth in a model of the non-normal modal logic _NT_. Finally, we extend our approach to a first-order setting and show that supervaluationism can treat vagueness in the same way at every order. The failure of conditional proof and other meta-inferences is a crucial ingredient in this treatment and hence should be embraced, not lamented.

Author Profiles

Luca Incurvati
University of Amsterdam
Julian J. Schlöder
University of Connecticut


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