Is Classical Logic Monotonic?

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Abstract
It is usually accepted that one of the properties of classical logic is monotonicity, which states that the validity of implication is not affected by the addition of new premises. In this piece, I will argue that this common notion is unjustified since it is motivated by a category mistake. The notion of monotonicity is primarily epistemic in character and can’t be meaningfully attributed to a system. This is acutely clear in the contrast of monotonicity with non-monotonicity, which we tend to associate with defeasible inferences, where reasoners can abandon a previous inference based on new information. So non-monotonicity is actually the reasoners’ willingness to abandon a previous inference based on new information. Therefore, it can be a property of a system only in a manner of speaking. But since non-monotonicity is the reasoners’ willingness to abandon a previous inference based on new information, monotonicity should be understood in a similar epistemic fashion, namely, as the reasoners’ willingness to maintain a previous inference after newly discovered information. By analyzing the problem from this perspective, a classical inference can be considered non-monotonic if the reasoner is willing to retract her previous conclusions based on new information.
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First archival date: 2020-08-28
Latest version: 11 (2021-01-04)
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