What Isn’t Obvious about ‘obvious’: A Data-driven Approach to Philosophy of Logic

In Andrew Aberdein & Matthew Inglis (eds.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Logic and Mathematics. London: Bloomsbury Press. pp. 201-224 (2019)
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It is often said that ‘every logical truth is obvious’ (Quine 1970: 82), that the ‘axioms and rules of logic are true in an obvious way’ (Murawski 2014: 87), or that ‘logic is a theory of the obvious’ (Sher 1999: 207). In this chapter, I set out to test empirically how the idea that logic is obvious is reflected in the scholarly work of logicians and philosophers of logic. My approach is data-driven. That is to say, I propose that systematically searching for patterns of usage in databases of scholarly works, such as JSTOR, can provide new insights into the ways in which the idea that logic is obvious is reflected in logical and philosophical practice, i.e., in the arguments that logicians and philosophers of logic actually make in their published work.

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Moti Mizrahi
Florida Institute of Technology


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