Is there a reliability challenge for logic?

Philosophical Issues 28 (1):325-347 (2018)
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Abstract

There are many domains about which we think we are reliable. When there is prima facie reason to believe that there is no satisfying explanation of our reliability about a domain given our background views about the world, this generates a challenge to our reliability about the domain or to our background views. This is what is often called the reliability challenge for the domain. In previous work, I discussed the reliability challenges for logic and for deductive inference. I argued for four main claims: First, there are reliability challenges for logic and for deduction. Second, these reliability challenges cannot be answered merely by providing an explanation of how it is that we have the logical beliefs and employ the deductive rules that we do. Third, we can explain our reliability about logic by appealing to our reliability about deduction. Fourth, there is a good prospect for providing an evolutionary explanation of the reliability of our deductive reasoning. In recent years, a number of arguments have appeared in the literature that can be applied against one or more of these four theses. In this paper, I respond to some of these arguments. In particular, I discuss arguments by Paul Horwich, Jack Woods, Dan Baras, Justin Clarke-Doane, and Hartry Field.

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Joshua Schechter
Brown University

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