Hyperlogic: A System for Talking about Logics

Proceedings for the 22nd Amsterdam Colloquium (2019)
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Sentences about logic are often used to show that certain embedding expressions, including attitude verbs, conditionals, and epistemic modals, are hyperintensional. Yet it not clear how to regiment “logic talk” in the object language so that it can be compositionally embedded under such expressions. This paper does two things. First, it argues against a standard account of logic talk, viz., the impossible worlds semantics. It is shown that this semantics does not easily extend to a language with propositional quantifiers, which are necessary for regimenting some logic talk. Second, it develops an alternative framework based on logical expressivism, which explains logic talk using shifting conventions. When combined with the standard S5π+ semantics for propositional quantifiers, this framework results in a well-behaved system that does not face the problems of the impossible worlds semantics. It can also be naturally extended with hybrid operators to regiment a broader range of logic talk, e.g., claims about what laws hold according to other logics. The resulting system, called hyperlogic, is therefore a better framework for modeling logic talk than previous accounts.

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Alexander W. Kocurek
Cornell University


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