Against Reflective Equilibrium for Logical Theorizing

Australasian Journal of Logic 16 (7):319 (2019)
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Abstract

I distinguish two ways of developing anti-exceptionalist approaches to logical revision. The first emphasizes comparing the theoretical virtuousness of developed bodies of logical theories, such as classical and intuitionistic logic. I'll call this whole theory comparison. The second attempts local repairs to problematic bits of our logical theories, such as dropping excluded middle to deal with intuitions about vagueness. I'll call this the piecemeal approach. I then briefly discuss a problem I've developed elsewhere for comparisons of logical theories. Essentially, the problem is that a pair of logics may each evaluate the alternative as superior to themselves, resulting in oscillation between logical options. The piecemeal approach offers a way out of this problem andthereby might seem a preferable to whole theory comparisons. I go on to show that reflective equilibrium, the best known piecemeal method, has deep problems of its own when applied to logic.

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Jack Woods
University of Leeds

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