Topics in Philosophical Logic

Dissertation, Harvard (2012)
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In “Proof-Theoretic Justification of Logic”, building on work by Dummett and Prawitz, I show how to construct use-based meaning-theories for the logical constants. The assertability-conditional meaning-theory takes the meaning of the logical constants to be given by their introduction rules; the consequence-conditional meaning-theory takes the meaning of the logical constants to be given by their elimination rules. I then consider the question: given a set of introduction rules \, what are the strongest elimination rules that are validated by an assertability conditional meaning-theory based on \? I prove that the intuitionistic introduction rules are the strongest rules that are validated by the intuitionistic elimination rules. I then prove that intuitionistic logic is the strongest logic that can be given either an assertability-conditional or consequence-conditional meaning-theory. In “Grounding Grounding” I discuss the notion of grounding. My discussion revolves around the problem of iterated grounding-claims. Suppose that \ grounds \; what grounds that \ grounds that \? I argue that unless we can get a satisfactory answer to this question the notion of grounding will be useless. I discuss and reject some proposed accounts of iterated grounding claims. I then develop a new way of expressing grounding, propose an account of iterated grounding-claims and show how we can develop logics for grounding. In “Is the Vagueness Argument Valid?” I argue that the Vagueness Argument in favor of unrestricted composition isn’t valid. However, if the premisses of the argument are true and the conclusion false, mereological facts fail to supervene on non-mereological facts. I argue that this failure of supervenience is an artifact of the interplay between the necessity and determinacy operators and that it does not mean that mereological facts fail to depend on non-mereological facts. I sketch a deflationary view of ontology to establish this

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Jon Litland
University of Texas at Austin


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