This accessible essay treats knowledge and belief in a usable and applicable way. Many of its basic ideas have been developed recently in Corcoran-Hamid 2014: Investigating knowledge and opinion. The Road to Universal Logic. Vol. I. Arthur Buchsbaum and Arnold Koslow, Editors. Springer. Pp. 95-126. http://www.springer.com/birkhauser/mathematics/book/978-3-319-10192-7 .
In this manuscript, published here for the first time, Tarski explores the concept of logical notion. He draws on Klein's Erlanger Programm to locate the logical notions of ordinary geometry as those invariant under all transformations of space. Generalizing, he explicates the concept of logical notion of an arbitrary discipline.
The five English words—sentence, proposition, judgment, statement, and fact—are central to coherent discussion in logic. However, each is ambiguous in that logicians use each with multiple normal meanings. Several of their meanings are vague in the sense of admitting borderline cases. In the course of displaying and describing the phenomena discussed using these words, this paper juxtaposes, distinguishes, and analyzes several senses of these and related words, focusing on a constellation of recommended senses. One of the purposes of this paper (...) is to demonstrate that ordinary English properly used has the resources for intricate and philosophically sound investigation of rather deep issues in logic and philosophy of language. No mathematical, logical, or linguistic symbols are used. Meanings need to be identified and clarified before being expressed in symbols. We hope to establish that clarity is served by deferring the extensive use of formalized or logically perfect languages until a solid “informal” foundation has been established. Questions of “ontological status”—e.g., whether propositions or sentences, or for that matter characters, numbers, truth-values, or instants, are “real entities”, are “idealizations”, or are “theoretical constructs”—plays no role in this paper. As is suggested by the title, this paper is written to be read aloud. -/- I hope that reading this aloud in groups will unite people in the enjoyment of the humanistic spirit of analytic philosophy. (shrink)
Argumentations are at the heart of the deductive and the hypothetico-deductive methods, which are involved in attempts to reduce currently open problems to problems already solved. These two methods span the entire spectrum of problem-oriented reasoning from the simplest and most practical to the most complex and most theoretical, thereby uniting all objective thought whether ancient or contemporary, whether humanistic or scientific, whether normative or descriptive, whether concrete or abstract. Analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and function of argumentations are described. Perennial philosophic (...) problems, epistemic and ontic, related to argumentations are put in perspective. So much of what has been regarded as logic is seen to be involved in the study of argumentations that logic may be usefully defined as the systematic study of argumentations, which is virtually identical to the quest of objective understanding of objectivity. (shrink)
This presentation of Aristotle's natural deduction system supplements earlier presentations and gives more historical evidence. Some fine-tunings resulted from conversations with Timothy Smiley, Charles Kahn, Josiah Gould, John Kearns,John Glanvillle, and William Parry.The criticism of Aristotle's theory of propositions found at the end of this 1974 presentation was retracted in Corcoran's 2009 HPL article "Aristotle's demonstrative logic".
“Second-order Logic” in Anderson, C.A. and Zeleny, M., Eds. Logic, Meaning, and Computation: Essays in Memory of Alonzo Church. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2001. Pp. 61–76. -/- Abstract. This expository article focuses on the fundamental differences between second- order logic and first-order logic. It is written entirely in ordinary English without logical symbols. It employs second-order propositions and second-order reasoning in a natural way to illustrate the fact that second-order logic is actually a familiar part of our traditional intuitive logical framework and (...) that it is not an artificial formalism created by specialists for technical purposes. To illustrate some of the main relationships between second-order logic and first-order logic, this paper introduces basic logic, a kind of zero-order logic, which is more rudimentary than first-order and which is transcended by first-order in the same way that first-order is transcended by second-order. The heuristic effectiveness and the historical importance of second-order logic are reviewed in the context of the contemporary debate over the legitimacy of second-order logic. Rejection of second-order logic is viewed as radical: an incipient paradigm shift involving radical repudiation of a part of our scientific tradition, a tradition that is defended by classical logicians. But it is also viewed as reactionary: as being analogous to the reactionary repudiation of symbolic logic by supporters of “Aristotelian” traditional logic. But even if “genuine” logic comes to be regarded as excluding second-order reasoning, which seems less likely today than fifty years ago, its effectiveness as a heuristic instrument will remain and its importance for understanding the history of logic and mathematics will not be diminished. Second-order logic may someday be gone, but it will never be forgotten. Technical formalisms have been avoided entirely in an effort to reach a wide audience, but every effort has been made to limit the inevitable sacrifice of rigor. People who do not know second-order logic cannot understand the modern debate over its legitimacy and they are cut-off from the heuristic advantages of second-order logic. And, what may be worse, they are cut-off from an understanding of the history of logic and thus are constrained to have distorted views of the nature of the subject. As Aristotle first said, we do not understand a discipline until we have seen its development. It is a truism that a person's conceptions of what a discipline is and of what it can become are predicated on their conception of what it has been. (shrink)
Since the time of Aristotle's students, interpreters have considered Prior Analytics to be a treatise about deductive reasoning, more generally, about methods of determining the validity and invalidity of premise-conclusion arguments. People studied Prior Analytics in order to learn more about deductive reasoning and to improve their own reasoning skills. These interpreters understood Aristotle to be focusing on two epistemic processes: first, the process of establishing knowledge that a conclusion follows necessarily from a set of premises (that is, on the (...) epistemic process of extracting information implicit in explicitly given information) and, second, the process of establishing knowledge that a conclusion does not follow. Despite the overwhelming tendency to interpret the syllogistic as formal epistemology, it was not until the early 1970s that it occurred to anyone to think that Aristotle may have developed a theory of deductive reasoning with a well worked-out system of deductions comparable in rigor and precision with systems such as propositional logic or equational logic familiar from mathematical logic. When modern logicians in the 1920s and 1930s first turned their attention to the problem of understanding Aristotle's contribution to logic in modern terms, they were guided both by the Frege-Russell conception of logic as formal ontology and at the same time by a desire to protect Aristotle from possible charges of psychologism. They thought they saw Aristotle applying the informal axiomatic method to formal ontology, not as making the first steps into formal epistemology. They did not notice Aristotle's description of deductive reasoning. Ironically, the formal axiomatic method (in which one explicitly presents not merely the substantive axioms but also the deductive processes used to derive theorems from the axioms) is incipient in Aristotle's presentation. Partly in opposition to the axiomatic, ontically-oriented approach to Aristotle's logic and partly as a result of attempting to increase the degree of fit between interpretation and text, logicians in the 1970s working independently came to remarkably similar conclusions to the effect that Aristotle indeed had produced the first system of formal deductions. They concluded that Aristotle had analyzed the process of deduction and that his achievement included a semantically complete system of natural deductions including both direct and indirect deductions. Where the interpretations of the 1920s and 1930s attribute to Aristotle a system of propositions organized deductively, the interpretations of the 1970s attribute to Aristotle a system of deductions, or extended deductive discourses, organized epistemically. The logicians of the 1920s and 1930s take Aristotle to be deducing laws of logic from axiomatic origins; the logicians of the 1970s take Aristotle to be describing the process of deduction and in particular to be describing deductions themselves, both those deductions that are proofs based on axiomatic premises and those deductions that, though deductively cogent, do not establish the truth of the conclusion but only that the conclusion is implied by the premise-set. Thus, two very different and opposed interpretations had emerged, interestingly both products of modern logicians equipped with the theoretical apparatus of mathematical logic. The issue at stake between these two interpretations is the historical question of Aristotle's place in the history of logic and of his orientation in philosophy of logic. This paper affirms Aristotle's place as the founder of logic taken as formal epistemology, including the study of deductive reasoning. A by-product of this study of Aristotle's accomplishments in logic is a clarification of a distinction implicit in discourses among logicians--that between logic as formal ontology and logic as formal epistemology. (shrink)
C. I. Lewis (I883-I964) was the first major figure in history and philosophy of logic—-a field that has come to be recognized as a separate specialty after years of work by Ivor Grattan-Guinness and others (Dawson 2003, 257).Lewis was among the earliest to accept the challenges offered by this field; he was the first who had the philosophical and mathematical talent, the philosophical, logical, and historical background, and the patience and dedication to objectivity needed to excel. He was blessed with (...) many fortunate circumstances, not least of which was entering the field when mathematical logic, after only six decades of toil, had just reaped one of its most important harvests with publication of the monumental Principia Mathematica. It was a time of joyful optimism which demanded an historical account and a sober philosophical critique. Lewis was one of the first to apply to mathematical logic the Aristotelian dictum that we do not understand a living institution until we see it growing from its birth. (shrink)
Prior Analytics by the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384 – 322 BCE) and Laws of Thought by the English mathematician George Boole (1815 – 1864) are the two most important surviving original logical works from before the advent of modern logic. This article has a single goal: to compare Aristotle’s system with the system that Boole constructed over twenty-two centuries later intending to extend and perfect what Aristotle had started. This comparison merits an article itself. Accordingly, this article does not discuss (...) many other historically and philosophically important aspects of Boole’s book, e.g. his confused attempt to apply differential calculus to logic, his misguided effort to make his system of ‘class logic’ serve as a kind of ‘truth-functional logic’, his now almost forgotten foray into probability theory, or his blindness to the fact that a truth-functional combination of equations that follows from a given truth-functional combination of equations need not follow truth-functionally. One of the main conclusions is that Boole’s contribution widened logic and changed its nature to such an extent that he fully deserves to share with Aristotle the status of being a founding figure in logic. By setting forth in clear and systematic fashion the basic methods for establishing validity and for establishing invalidity, Aristotle became the founder of logic as formal epistemology. By making the first unmistakable steps toward opening logic to the study of ‘laws of thought’—tautologies and laws such as excluded middle and non-contradiction—Boole became the founder of logic as formal ontology. (shrink)
Demonstrative logic, the study of demonstration as opposed to persuasion, is the subject of Aristotle's two-volume Analytics. Many examples are geometrical. Demonstration produces knowledge (of the truth of propositions). Persuasion merely produces opinion. Aristotle presented a general truth-and-consequence conception of demonstration meant to apply to all demonstrations. According to him, a demonstration, which normally proves a conclusion not previously known to be true, is an extended argumentation beginning with premises known to be truths and containing a chain of reasoning showing (...) by deductively evident steps that its conclusion is a consequence of its premises. In particular, a demonstration is a deduction whose premises are known to be true. Aristotle's general theory of demonstration required a prior general theory of deduction presented in the Prior Analytics. His general immediate-deduction-chaining conception of deduction was meant to apply to all deductions. According to him, any deduction that is not immediately evident is an extended argumentation that involves a chaining of intermediate immediately evident steps that shows its final conclusion to follow logically from its premises. To illustrate his general theory of deduction, he presented an ingeniously simple and mathematically precise special case traditionally known as the categorical syllogistic. (shrink)
In previous articles, it has been shown that the deductive system developed by Aristotle in his "second logic" is a natural deduction system and not an axiomatic system as previously had been thought. It was also stated that Aristotle's logic is self-sufficient in two senses: First, that it presupposed no other logical concepts, not even those of propositional logic; second, that it is (strongly) complete in the sense that every valid argument expressible in the language of the system is deducible (...) by means of a formal deduction in the system. Review of the system makes the first point obvious. The purpose of the present article is to prove the second. Strong completeness is demonstrated for the Aristotelian system. (shrink)
Information-theoretic approaches to formal logic analyse the "common intuitive" concept of propositional implication (or argumental validity) in terms of information content of propositions and sets of propositions: one given proposition implies a second if the former contains all of the information contained by the latter; an argument is valid if the conclusion contains no information beyond that of the premise-set. This paper locates information-theoretic approaches historically, philosophically and pragmatically. Advantages and disadvantages are identified by examining such approaches in themselves and (...) by contrasting them with standard transformation-theoretic approaches. Transformation-theoretic approaches analyse validity (and thus implication) in terms of transformations that map one argument onto another: a given argument is valid if no transformation carries it onto an argument with all true premises and false conclusion. Model-theoretic, set-theoretic, and substitution-theoretic approaches, which dominate current literature, can be construed as transformation-theoretic, as can the so-called possible-worlds approaches. Ontic and epistemic presuppositions of both types of approaches are considered. Attention is given to the question of whether our historically cumulative experience applying logic is better explained from a purely information-theoretic perspective or from a purely transformation-theoretic perspective or whether apparent conflicts between the two types of approaches need to be reconciled in order to forge a new type of approach that recognizes their basic complementarity. (shrink)
After a short preface, the first of the three sections of this paper is devoted to historical and philosophic aspects of categoricity. The second section is a self-contained exposition, including detailed definitions, of a proof that every mathematical system whose domain is the closure of its set of distinguished individuals under its distinguished functions is categorically characterized by its induction principle together with its true atoms (atomic sentences and negations of atomic sentences). The third section deals with applications especially those (...) involving the distinction between characterizing a system and axiomatizing the truths of a system. (shrink)
The syllogistic figures and moods can be taken to be argument schemata as can the rules of the Stoic propositional logic. Sentence schemata have been used in axiomatizations of logic only since the landmark 1927 von Neumann paper [31]. Modern philosophers know the role of schemata in explications of the semantic conception of truth through Tarski’s 1933 Convention T [42]. Mathematical logicians recognize the role of schemata in first-order number theory where Peano’s second-order Induction Axiom is approximated by Herbrand’s Induction-Axiom (...) Schema [23]. Similarly, in first-order set theory, Zermelo’s second-order Separation Axiom is approximated by Fraenkel’s first-order Separation Schema [17]. In some of several closely related senses, a schema is a complex system having multiple components one of which is a template-text or scheme-template, a syntactic string composed of one or more “blanks” and also possibly significant words and/or symbols. In accordance with a side condition the template-text of a schema is used as a “template” to specify a multitude, often infinite, of linguistic expressions such as phrases, sentences, or argument-texts, called instances of the schema. The side condition is a second component. The collection of instances may but need not be regarded as a third component. The instances are almost always considered to come from a previously identified language (whether formal or natural), which is often considered to be another component. This article reviews the often-conflicting uses of the expressions ‘schema’ and ‘scheme’ in the literature of logic. It discusses the different definitions presupposed by those uses. And it examines the ontological and epistemic presuppositions circumvented or mooted by the use of schemata, as well as the ontological and epistemic presuppositions engendered by their use. In short, this paper is an introduction to the history and philosophy of schemata. (shrink)
This paper discusses the history of the confusion and controversies over whether the definition of consequence presented in the 11-page 1936 Tarski consequence-definition paper is based on a monistic fixed-universe framework?like Begriffsschrift and Principia Mathematica. Monistic fixed-universe frameworks, common in pre-WWII logic, keep the range of the individual variables fixed as the class of all individuals. The contrary alternative is that the definition is predicated on a pluralistic multiple-universe framework?like the 1931 Gödel incompleteness paper. A pluralistic multiple-universe framework recognizes multiple (...) universes of discourse serving as different ranges of the individual variables in different interpretations?as in post-WWII model theory. In the early 1960s, many logicians?mistakenly, as we show?held the ?contrary alternative? that Tarski 1936 had already adopted a Gödel-type, pluralistic, multiple-universe framework. We explain that Tarski had not yet shifted out of the monistic, Frege?Russell, fixed-universe paradigm. We further argue that between his Principia-influenced pre-WWII Warsaw period and his model-theoretic post-WWII Berkeley period, Tarski's philosophy underwent many other radical changes. (shrink)
For each positive n , two alternative axiomatizations of the theory of strings over n alphabetic characters are presented. One class of axiomatizations derives from Tarski's system of the Wahrheitsbegriff and uses the n characters and concatenation as primitives. The other class involves using n character-prefixing operators as primitives and derives from Hermes' Semiotik. All underlying logics are second order. It is shown that, for each n, the two theories are definitionally equivalent [or synonymous in the sense of deBouvere]. It (...) is further shown that each member of one class is synonymous with each member of the other class; thus that all of the theories are definitionally equivalent with each other and with Peano arithmetic. Categoricity of Peano arithmetic then implies categoricity of each of the above theories. (shrink)
Information-theoretic approaches to formal logic analyze the "common intuitive" concepts of implication, consequence, and validity in terms of information content of propositions and sets of propositions: one given proposition implies a second if the former contains all of the information contained by the latter; one given proposition is a consequence of a second if the latter contains all of the information contained by the former; an argument is valid if the conclusion contains no information beyond that of the premise-set. This (...) paper locates information-theoretic approaches historically, philosophically, and pragmatically. Advantages and disadvantages are identified by examining such approaches in themselves and by contrasting them with standard transformation-theoretic approaches. Transformation-theoretic approaches analyze validity (and thus implication) in terms of transformations that map one argument onto another: a given argument is valid if no transformation carries it onto an argument with all true premises and false conclusion. Model-theoretic, set-theoretic, and substitution-theoretic approaches, which dominate current literature, can be construed as transformation-theoretic, as can the so-called possible-worlds approaches. Ontic and epistemic presuppositions of both types of approaches are considered. Attention is given to the question of whether our historically cumulative experience applying logic is better explained from a purely information-theoretic perspective or from a purely transformation-theoretic perspective or whether apparent conflicts between the two types of approaches need to be reconciled in order to forge a new type of approach that recognizes their basic complementarity. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: In its strongest unqualified form, the principle of wholistic reference is that in any given discourse, each proposition refers to the whole universe of that discourse, regardless of how limited the referents of its non-logical or content terms. According to this principle every proposition of number theory, even an equation such as "5 + 7 = 12", refers not only to the individual numbers that it happens to mention but to the whole universe of numbers. This principle, its history, (...) and its relevance to some of Oswaldo Chateaubriand's work are discussed in my 2004 paper "The Principle of Wholistic Reference" in Essays on Chateaubriand's "Logical Forms". In Chateaubriand's réplica (reply), which is printed with my paper, he raised several important additional issues including the three I focus on in this tréplica (reply to his reply): truth-values, universes of discourse, and formal ontology. This paper is self-contained: it is not necessary to have read the above-mentioned works. The principle of wholistic reference (PWR) was first put forth by George Boole in 1847 when he espoused a monistic fixed-universe viewpoint similar to the one Frege and Russell espoused throughout their careers. Later, Boole elaborated PWR in 1854 from the pluralistic multiple-universes perspective. (shrink)
Thirteen meanings of 'implication' are described and compared. Among them are relations that have been called: logical implication, material implication,deductive implication, formal implication, enthymemic implication, and factual implication. In a given context, implication is the homogeneous two-place relation expressed by the relation verb 'implies'. For heuristic and expository reasons this article skirts many crucial issues including use-mention, the nature of the entities that imply and are implied, and the processes by which knowledge of these relations are achieved. This paper is (...) better thought of as an early stage of a dialogue than as a definitive treatise. (shrink)
Reid, Constance. Hilbert (a Biography). Reviewed by Corcoran in Philosophy of Science 39 (1972), 106–08. -/- Constance Reid was an insider of the Berkeley-Stanford logic circle. Her San Francisco home was in Ashbury Heights near the homes of logicians such as Dana Scott and John Corcoran. Her sister Julia Robinson was one of the top mathematical logicians of her generation, as was Julia’s husband Raphael Robinson for whom Robinson Arithmetic was named. Julia was a Tarski PhD and, in recognition of (...) a distinguished career, was elected President of the American Mathematics Society. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Robinson http://www.awm-math.org/noetherbrochure/Robinson82.html. (shrink)
Putnam, Hilary FPhilosophy of logic. Harper Essays in Philosophy. Harper Torchbooks, No. TB 1544. Harper & Row, Publishers, New York-London, 1971. v+76 pp. The author of this book has made highly regarded contributions to mathematics, to philosophy of logic and to philosophy of science, and in this book he brings his ideas in these three areas to bear on the traditional philosophic problem of materialism versus (objective) idealism. The book assumes that contemporary science (mathematical and physical) is largely correct as (...) far as it goes, or at least that it is rational to believe in it. The main thesis of the book is that consistent acceptance of contemporary science requires the acceptance of some sort of Platonistic idealism affirming the existence of abstract, non-temporal, non-material, non-mental entities (numbers,scientific laws, mathematical formulas, etc.). The author is thus in direct opposition to the extreme materialism which had dominated philosophy of science in the first three quarters of this century. the book can be especially recommended to the scientifically literate, general reader whose acquaintance with these areas is limited to the earlier literature of when it had been assumed that empiricistic materialism was the only philosophy compatible with a scientific outlook. To this group the book presents an eye-opening challenge fulfilling the author’s intention of “shaking up preconceptions and stimulating further discussion”. (shrink)
JUNE 2015 UPDATE: A BIBLIOGRAPHY: JOHN CORCORAN’S PUBLICATIONS ON ARISTOTLE 1972–2015 By John Corcoran -/- This presentation includes a complete bibliography of John Corcoran’s publications relevant to his research on Aristotle’s logic. Sections I, II, III, and IV list 21 articles, 44 abstracts, 3 books, and 11 reviews. It starts with two watershed articles published in 1972: the Philosophy & Phenomenological Research article from Corcoran’s Philadelphia period that antedates his Aristotle studies and the Journal of Symbolic Logic article from his (...) Buffalo period first reporting his original results; it ends with works published in 2015. A few of the items are annotated as listed or with endnotes connecting them with other work and pointing out passages that in-retrospect are seen to be misleading and in a few places erroneous. In addition, Section V, “Discussions”, is a nearly complete secondary bibliography of works describing, interpreting, extending, improving, supporting, and criticizing Corcoran’s work: 8 items published in the 1970s, 23 in the 1980s, 42 in the 1990s, 56 in the 2000s, and 69 in the current decade. The secondary bibliography is also annotated as listed or with endnotes: some simply quoting from the cited item, but several answering criticisms and identifying errors. Section VI, “Alternatives”, lists recent works on Aristotle’s logic oblivious of Corcoran’s research and, more generally, of the Lukasiewicz-initiated tradition. As is evident from Section VII, “Acknowledgements”, Corcoran’s publications benefited from consultation with other scholars, most notably Timothy Smiley, Michael Scanlan, Roberto Torretti, and Kevin Tracy. All of Corcoran’s Greek translations were done in collaboration with two or more classicists. Corcoran never published a sentence without discussing it with his colleagues and students. -/- REQUEST: Please send errors, omissions, and suggestions. I am especially interested in citations made in non-English publications. Also, let me know of passages I should comment on. (shrink)
Corcoran, John. 2005. Meanings of word: type-occurrence-token. Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 11(2005) 117. -/- Once we are aware of the various senses of ‘word’, we realize that self-referential statements use ambiguous sentences. If a statement is made using the sentence ‘this is a pronoun’, is the speaker referring to an interpreted string, a string-type, a string-occurrence, a string-token, or what? The listeners can wonder “this what?”. -/- John Corcoran, Meanings of word: type-occurrence-token Philosophy, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260-4150 E-mail: (...) corcoran@buffalo.edu The four-letter written-English expression ‘word’, which plays important roles in applications and expositions of logic and philosophy of logic, is ambiguous (multisense, or polysemic) in that it has multiple normal meanings (senses, or definitions). Several of its meanings are vague (imprecise, or indefinite) in that they admit of borderline (marginal, or fringe) cases. This paper juxtaposes, distinguishes, and analyses several senses of ‘word’ focusing on a constellation of senses analogous to constellations of senses of other expression words such as ‘expression’, ‘symbol’, ‘character’, ‘letter’, ‘term’, ‘phrase’, ‘formula’, ‘sentence’, ‘derivation’, ‘paragraph’, and ‘discourse’. Consider, e.g., the word ‘letter’. In one sense there are exactly twenty-six letters (letter-types or ideal letters) in the English alphabet and there are exactly four letters in the word ‘letter’. In another sense, there are exactly six letters (letter-repetitions or letter-occurrences) in the word-type ‘letter’. In yet another sense, every new inscription (act of writing or printing) of ‘letter’ brings into existence six new letters (letter-tokens or ink-letters) and one new word that had not previously existed. The number of letter-occurrences (occurrences of a letter-type) in a given word-type is the same as the number of letter-tokens (tokens of a letter-type) in a single token of the given word. Many logicians fail to distinguish “token” from “occurrence” and a few actually confuse the two concepts. Epistemological and ontological problems concerning word-types, word-occurrences, and word-tokens are described in philosophically neutral terms. This paper presents a theoretical framework of concepts and principles concerning logicography, including use of English in logic. The framework is applied to analytical exposition and critical evaluation of classic passages in the works of philosophers and logicians including Boole, Peirce, Frege, Russell, Tarski, Church and Quine. This paper is intended as a philosophical sequel to Corcoran et al. “String Theory”, Journal of Symbolic Logic 39(1974) 625-637. https://www.academia.edu/s/cdfa6c854e?source=link -/- . (shrink)
The logical form of a discourse—such as a proposition, a set of propositions, an argument, or an argumentation—is obtained by abstracting from the subject-matter of its content terms or by regarding the content terms as mere place-holders or blanks in a form. In a logically perfect language the logical form of a proposition, a set of propositions, an argument, or an argumentation is determined by the grammatical form of the sentence, the set of sentences, the argument-text, or the argumentation-text expressing (...) it. Two such discourse-texts are said to have the same grammatical form, in this sense, if a uniform one-one substitution of content words transforms the one exactly into the other. The sentence ‘Abe properly respects every agent who respects himself’ may be regarded as having the same grammatical form as the sentence ‘Ben generously assists every patient who assists himself’. (shrink)
We are much better equipped to let the facts reveal themselves to us instead of blinding ourselves to them or stubbornly trying to force them into preconceived molds. We no longer embarrass ourselves in front of our students, for example, by insisting that “Some Xs are Y” means the same as “Some X is Y”, and lamely adding “for purposes of logic” whenever there is pushback. Logic teaching in this century can exploit the new spirit of objectivity, humility, clarity, observationalism, (...) contextualism, and pluralism. Besides the new spirit there have been quiet developments in logic and its history and philosophy that could radically improve logic teaching. This lecture expands points which apply equally well in first, second, and third courses, i.e. in “critical thinking”, “deductive logic”, and “symbolic logic”. (shrink)
Chapin reviewed this 1972 ZEITSCHRIFT paper that proves the completeness theorem for the logic of variable-binding-term operators created by Corcoran and his student John Herring in the 1971 LOGIQUE ET ANALYSE paper in which the theorem was conjectured. This leveraging proof extends completeness of ordinary first-order logic to the extension with vbtos. Newton da Costa independently proved the same theorem about the same time using a Henkin-type proof. This 1972 paper builds on the 1971 “Notes on a Semantic Analysis of (...) Variable Binding Term Operators” (Co-author John Herring), Logique et Analyse 55, 646–57. MR0307874 (46 #6989). A variable binding term operator (vbto) is a non-logical constant, say v, which combines with a variable y and a formula F containing y free to form a term (vy:F) whose free variables are exact ly those of F, excluding y. Kalish-Montague 1964 proposed using vbtos to formalize definite descriptions “the x: x+x=2”, set abstracts {x: F}, minimization in recursive function theory “the least x: x+x>2”, etc. However, they gave no semantics for vbtos. Hatcher 1968 gave a semantics but one that has flaws described in the 1971 paper and admitted by Hatcher. In 1971 we give a correct semantic analysis of vbtos. We also give axioms for using them in deductions. And we conjecture strong completeness for the deductions with respect to the semantics. The conjecture, proved in this paper with Hatcher’s help, was proved independently about the same time by Newton da Costa. (shrink)
This essay takes logic and ethics in broad senses: logic as the science of evidence; ethics as the science justice. One of its main conclusions is that neither science can be fruitfully pursued without the virtues fostered by the other: logic is pointless without fairness and compassion; ethics is pointless without rigor and objectivity. The logician urging us to be dispassionate is in resonance and harmony with the ethicist urging us to be compassionate.
In the present article we attempt to show that Aristotle's syllogistic is an underlying logiC which includes a natural deductive system and that it isn't an axiomatic theory as had previously been thought. We construct a mathematical model which reflects certain structural aspects of Aristotle's logic. We examine the relation of the model to the system of logic envisaged in scattered parts of Prior and Posterior Analytics. Our interpretation restores Aristotle's reputation as a logician of consummate imagination and skill. Several (...) attributions of shortcomings and logical errors to Aristotle are shown to be without merit. Aristotle's logic is found to be self-sufficient in several senses: his theory of deduction is logically sound in every detail. (His indirect deductions have been criticized, but incorrectly on our account.) Aristotle's logic presupposes no other logical concepts, not even those of propositional logic. The Aristotelian system is seen to be complete in the sense that every valid argument expressible in his system admits of a deduction within his deductive system: every semantically valid argument is deducible. (shrink)
I am saying farewell after more than forty happy years of teaching logic at the University of Buffalo. But this is only a partial farewell. I will no longer be at UB to teach classroom courses or seminars. But nothing else will change. I will continue to be available for independent study. I will continue to write abstracts and articles with people who have taken courses or seminars with me. And I will continue to honor the LogicLifetimeGuarantee™, which is earned (...) by taking one of my logic courses or seminars. As you know, according to the terms of the LogicLifetimeGuarantee™, I stand behind everything I teach. If you find anything to be unsatisfactory, I am committed to fixing it. If you forget anything, I will remind you. If you have questions, I will answer them or ask more questions. And if you need more detail on any topic we discussed, I will help you to broaden and deepen your knowledge—and maybe write an abstract or article. Stay in touch. (shrink)
Alfred Tarski (1901--1983) is widely regarded as one of the two giants of twentieth-century logic and also as one of the four greatest logicians of all time (Aristotle, Frege and Gödel being the other three). Of the four, Tarski was the most prolific as a logician. The four volumes of his collected papers, which exclude most of his 19 monographs, span over 2500 pages. Aristotle's writings are comparable in volume, but most of the Aristotelian corpus is not about logic, whereas (...) virtually everything written by Tarski concerns logic more or less directly. There is no doubt that Tarski wrote more on logic than any other author; he started publishing on logic in 1921 at the age of 20 and continued until his death at the age of 82. Two of his works appeared posthumously [Hist. Philos. Logic 7 (1986), no. 2, 143--154; MR0868748 (88b:03010); Tarski and Givant, A formalization of set theory without variables, Amer. Math. Soc., Providence, RI, 1987; MR0920815 (89g:03012)]. Tarski's voluminous writings were widely scattered in numerous journals, some quite rare. It has been extremely difficult to study the development of Tarski's thought and to trace the interconnections and interdependence of his various papers. Thanks to the present collection all this has changed, and it is likely that the increased accessibility of Tarski's papers will have the effect of increasing Tarski's already enormous influence. (shrink)
This book treats ancient logic: the logic that originated in Greece by Aristotle and the Stoics, mainly in the hundred year period beginning about 350 BCE. Ancient logic was never completely ignored by modern logic from its Boolean origin in the middle 1800s: it was prominent in Boole’s writings and it was mentioned by Frege and by Hilbert. Nevertheless, the first century of mathematical logic did not take it seriously enough to study the ancient logic texts. A renaissance in ancient (...) logic studies occurred in the early 1950s with the publication of the landmark Aristotle’s Syllogistic by Jan Łukasiewicz, Oxford UP 1951, 2nd ed. 1957. Despite its title, it treats the logic of the Stoics as well as that of Aristotle. Łukasiewicz was a distinguished mathematical logician. He had created many-valued logic and the parenthesis-free prefix notation known as Polish notation. He co-authored with Alfred Tarski’s an important paper on metatheory of propositional logic and he was one of Tarski’s the three main teachers at the University of Warsaw. Łukasiewicz’s stature was just short of that of the giants: Aristotle, Boole, Frege, Tarski and Gödel. No mathematical logician of his caliber had ever before quoted the actual teachings of ancient logicians. -/- Not only did Łukasiewicz inject fresh hypotheses, new concepts, and imaginative modern perspectives into the field, his enormous prestige and that of the Warsaw School of Logic reflected on the whole field of ancient logic studies. Suddenly, this previously somewhat dormant and obscure field became active and gained in respectability and importance in the eyes of logicians, mathematicians, linguists, analytic philosophers, and historians. Next to Aristotle himself and perhaps the Stoic logician Chrysippus, Łukasiewicz is the most prominent figure in ancient logic studies. A huge literature traces its origins to Łukasiewicz. -/- This Ancient Logic and Its Modern Interpretations, is based on the 1973 Buffalo Symposium on Modernist Interpretations of Ancient Logic, the first conference devoted entirely to critical assessment of the state of ancient logic studies. (shrink)
Corcoran reviews Boute’s 2013 paper “How to calculate proofs”. -/- There are tricky aspects to classifying occurrences of variables: is an occurrence of ‘x’ free as in ‘x + 1’, is it bound as in ‘{x: x = 1}’, or is it orthographic as in ‘extra’? The trickiness is compounded failure to employ conventions to separate use of expressions from their mention. The variable occurrence is free in the term ‘x + 1’ but it is orthographic in that term’s quotes (...) name ‘‘{x: x = 1}’’. The term has no quotes, the term’s name has one set of quotes, and the name of the term’s name has two sets of quotes. The trickiness is further compounded by failure to explicitly distinguish a variable’s values from it substituents. The variable ranges over its values but its occurrences are replaced by occurrences of its substituents. In arithmetic the values are numbers not numerals but the substituents are numerals not numbers. See https://www.academia.edu/s/1eddee0c62?source=link -/- Raymond Boute tries to criticize Daniel Velleman for mistakes in this area. However, Corcoran finds mistakes in Boute’s handling of the material. The reader is invited to find mistakes in Corcoran’s handling of this tricky material. -/- The paper and the review treat other issues as well. -/- Acknowledgements: Raymond Boute, Joaquin Miller, Daniel Velleman, George Weaver, and others. (shrink)
One innovation in this paper is its identification, analysis, and description of a troubling ambiguity in the word ‘argument’. In one sense ‘argument’ denotes a premise-conclusion argument: a two-part system composed of a set of sentences—the premises—and a single sentence—the conclusion. In another sense it denotes a premise-conclusion-mediation argument—later called an argumentation: a three-part system composed of a set of sentences—the premises—a single sentence—the conclusion—and complex of sentences—the mediation. The latter is often intended to show that the conclusion follows from (...) the premises. The complementarity and interrelation of premise-conclusion arguments and premise-conclusion-mediation arguments resonate throughout the rest of the paper which articulates the conceptual structure found in logic from Aristotle to Tarski. This 1972 paper can be seen as anticipating Corcoran’s signature work: the more widely read 1989 paper, Argumentations and Logic, Argumentation 3, 17–43. MR91b:03006. The 1972 paper was translated into Portuguese. The 1989 paper was translated into Spanish, Portuguese, and Persian. (shrink)
We are much better equipped to let the facts reveal themselves to us instead of blinding ourselves to them or stubbornly trying to force them into preconceived molds. We no longer embarrass ourselves in front of our students, for example, by insisting that “Some Xs are Y” means the same as “Some X is Y”, and lamely adding “for purposes of logic” whenever there is pushback. Logic teaching in this century can exploit the new spirit of objectivity, humility, clarity, observationalism, (...) contextualism, and pluralism. Besides the new spirit there have been quiet developments in logic and its history and philosophy that could radically improve logic teaching. One rather conspicuous example is that the process of refining logical terminology has been productive. Future logic students will no longer be burdened by obscure terminology and they will be able to read, think, talk, and write about logic in a more careful and more rewarding manner. Closely related is increased use and study of variable-enhanced natural language as in “Every proposition x that implies some proposition y that is false also implies some proposition z that is true”. Another welcome development is the culmination of the slow demise of logicism. No longer is the teacher blocked from using examples from arithmetic and algebra fearing that the students had been indoctrinated into thinking that every mathematical truth was a tautology and that every mathematical falsehood was a contradiction. A fifth welcome development is the separation of laws of logic from so-called logical truths, i.e., tautologies. Now we can teach the logical independence of the laws of excluded middle and non-contradiction without fear that students had been indoctrinated into thinking that every logical law was a tautology and that every falsehood of logic was a contradiction. This separation permits the logic teacher to apply logic in the clarification of laws of logic. This lecture expands the above points, which apply equally well in first, second, and third courses, i.e. in “critical thinking”, “deductive logic”, and “symbolic logic”. (shrink)
It is one thing for a given proposition to follow or to not follow from a given set of propositions and it is quite another thing for it to be shown either that the given proposition follows or that it does not follow.* Using a formal deduction to show that a conclusion follows and using a countermodel to show that a conclusion does not follow are both traditional practices recognized by Aristotle and used down through the history of logic. These (...) practices presuppose, respectively, a criterion of validity and a criterion of invalidity each of which has been extended and refined by modern logicians: deductions are studied in formal syntax (proof theory) and coun¬termodels are studied in formal semantics (model theory). The purpose of this paper is to compare these two criteria to the corresponding criteria employed in Boole’s first logical work, The Mathematical Analysis of Logic (1847). In particular, this paper presents a detailed study of the relevant metalogical passages and an analysis of Boole’s symbolic derivations. It is well known, of course, that Boole’s logical analysis of compound terms (involving ‘not’, ‘and’, ‘or’, ‘except’, etc.) contributed to the enlargement of the class of propositions and arguments formally treatable in logic. The present study shows, in addition, that Boole made significant contributions to the study of deduc¬tive reasoning. He identified the role of logical axioms (as opposed to inference rules) in formal deductions, he conceived of the idea of an axiomatic deductive sys¬tem (which yields logical truths by itself and which yields consequences when ap¬plied to arbitrary premises). Nevertheless, surprisingly, Boole’s attempt to imple¬ment his idea of an axiomatic deductive system involved striking omissions: Boole does not use his own formal deductions to establish validity. Boole does give symbolic derivations, several of which are vitiated by “Boole’s Solutions Fallacy”: the fallacy of supposing that a solution to an equation is necessarily a logical consequence of the equation. This fallacy seems to have led Boole to confuse equational calculi (i.e., methods for gen-erating solutions) with deduction procedures (i.e., methods for generating consequences). The methodological confusion is closely related to the fact, shown in detail below, that Boole had adopted an unsound criterion of validity. It is also shown that Boole totally ignored the countermodel criterion of invalid¬ity. Careful examination of the text does not reveal with certainty a test for invalidity which was adopted by Boole. However, we have isolated a test that he seems to use in this way and we show that this test is ineffectual in the sense that it does not serve to identify invalid arguments. We go beyond the simple goal stated above. Besides comparing Boole’s earliest criteria of validity and invalidity with those traditionally (and still generally) employed, this paper also investigates the framework and details of THE MATHEMATICAL ANALYSIS OF LOGIC. (shrink)
SEMANTIC ARITHMETIC: A PREFACE John Corcoran Abstract Number theory, or pure arithmetic, concerns the natural numbers themselves, not the notation used, and in particular not the numerals. String theory, or pure syntax, concems the numerals as strings of «uninterpreted» characters without regard to the numbe~s they may be used to denote. Number theory is purely arithmetic; string theory is purely syntactical... in so far as the universe of discourse alone is considered. Semantic arithmetic is a broad subject which begins when (...) numerals are mentioned (not just used) and mentioned as names of numbers (not just as syntactic objects). Semantic arithmetic leads to many fascinating and surprising algorithms and decision procedures; it reveals in a vivid way the experiential import of mathematical propositions and the predictive power of mathematical knowledge; it provides an interesting perspective for philosophical, historical, and pedagogical studies of the growth of scientific knowledge and of the role metalinguistic discourse in scientific thought. (shrink)
This interesting and imaginative monograph is based on the author’s PhD dissertation supervised by Saul Kripke. It is dedicated to Timothy Smiley, whose interpretation of PRIOR ANALYTICS informs its approach. As suggested by its title, this short work demonstrates conclusively that Aristotle’s syllogistic is a suitable vehicle for fruitful discussion of contemporary issues in logical theory. Aristotle’s syllogistic is represented by Corcoran’s 1972 reconstruction. The review studies Lear’s treatment of Aristotle’s logic, his appreciation of the Corcoran-Smiley paradigm, and his understanding (...) of modern logical theory. In the process Corcoran and Scanlan present new, previously unpublished results. Corcoran regards this review as an important contribution to contemporary study of PRIOR ANALYTICS: both the book and the review deserve to be better known. (shrink)
This presentation includes a complete bibliography of John Corcoran’s publications relevant on Aristotle’s logic. The Sections I, II, III, and IV list respectively 23 articles, 44 abstracts, 3 books, and 11 reviews. Section I starts with two watershed articles published in 1972: the Philosophy & Phenomenological Research article—from Corcoran’s Philadelphia period that antedates his discovery of Aristotle’s natural deduction system—and the Journal of Symbolic Logic article—from his Buffalo period first reporting his original results. It ends with works published in 2015. (...) Some items are annotated as listed or with endnotes connecting them with other work and pointing out passages that, in retrospect, are seen to be misleading and in a few places erroneous. In addition, Section V, “Discussions”, is a nearly complete secondary bibliography of works describing, interpreting, extending, improving, supporting, and criticizing Corcoran’s work: 10 items published in the 1970s, 24 in the 1980s, 42 in the 1990s, 60 in the 2000s, and 70 in the current decade. The secondary bibliography is also annotated as listed or with endnotes: some simply quoting from the cited item, but several answering criticisms and identifying errors. Section VI, “Alternatives”, lists recent works on Aristotle’s logic oblivious of Corcoran’s research and, more generally in some cases, even of the Łukasiewicz-initiated tradition. As is evident from Section VII, “Acknowledgements”, Corcoran’s publications benefited from consultation with other scholars, most notably George Boger, Charles Kahn, John Mulhern, Mary Mulhern, Anthony Preus, Timothy Smiley, Michael Scanlan, Roberto Torretti, and Kevin Tracy. All of Corcoran’s Greek translations were done in collaboration with two or more classicists. Corcoran never published a sentence without discussing it with his colleagues and students. (shrink)
Formalizing Euclid’s first axiom. Bulletin of Symbolic Logic. 20 (2014) 404–5. (Coauthor: Daniel Novotný) -/- Euclid [fl. 300 BCE] divides his basic principles into what came to be called ‘postulates’ and ‘axioms’—two words that are synonyms today but which are commonly used to translate Greek words meant by Euclid as contrasting terms. -/- Euclid’s postulates are specifically geometric: they concern geometric magnitudes, shapes, figures, etc.—nothing else. The first: “to draw a line from any point to any point”; the last: the (...) parallel postulate. -/- Euclid’s axioms are general principles of magnitude: they concern geometric magnitudes and magnitudes of other kinds as well even numbers. The first is often translated “Things that equal the same thing equal one another”. -/- There are other differences that are or might become important. -/- Aristotle [fl. 350 BCE] meticulously separated his basic principles [archai, singular archê] according to subject matter: geometrical, arithmetic, astronomical, etc. However, he made no distinction that can be assimilated to Euclid’s postulate/axiom distinction. -/- Today we divide basic principles into non-logical [topic-specific] and logical [topic-neutral] but this too is not the same as Euclid’s. In this regard it is important to be cognizant of the difference between equality and identity—a distinction often crudely ignored by modern logicians. Tarski is a rare exception. The four angles of a rectangle are equal to—not identical to—one another; the size of one angle of a rectangle is identical to the size of any other of its angles. No two angles are identical to each other. -/- The sentence ‘Things that equal the same thing equal one another’ contains no occurrence of the word ‘magnitude’. This paper considers the problem of formalizing the proposition Euclid intended as a principle of magnitudes while being faithful to the logical form and to its information content. (shrink)
This review concludes that if the authors know what mathematical logic is they have not shared their knowledge with the readers. This highly praised book is replete with errors and incoherency.
1971. Discourse Grammars and the Structure of Mathematical Reasoning II: The Nature of a Correct Theory of Proof and Its Value, Journal of Structural Learning 3, #2, 1–16. REPRINTED 1976. Structural Learning II Issues and Approaches, ed. J. Scandura, Gordon & Breach Science Publishers, New York, MR56#15263. -/- This is the second of a series of three articles dealing with application of linguistics and logic to the study of mathematical reasoning, especially in the setting of a concern for improvement of (...) mathematical education. The present article presupposes the previous one. Herein we develop our ideas of the purposes of a theory of proof and the criterion of success to be applied to such theories. In addition we speculate at length concerning the specific kinds of uses to which a successful theory of proof may be put vis-a-vis improvement of various aspects of mathematical education. The final article will deal with the construction of such a theory. The 1st is the 1971. Discourse Grammars and the Structure of Mathematical Reasoning I: Mathematical Reasoning and Stratification of Language, Journal of Structural Learning 3, #1, 55–74. https://www.academia.edu/s/fb081b1886?source=link . (shrink)
An information recovery problem is the problem of constructing a proposition containing the information dropped in going from a given premise to a given conclusion that folIows. The proposition(s) to beconstructed can be required to satisfy other conditions as well, e.g. being independent of the conclusion, or being “informationally unconnected” with the conclusion, or some other condition dictated by the context. This paper discusses various types of such problems, it presents techniques and principles useful in solving them, and it develops (...) algorithmic methods for certain classes of such problems. The results are then applied to classical number theory, in particular, to questions concerning possible refinements of the 1931 Gödel Axiom Set, e.g. whether any of its axioms can be analyzed into “informational atoms”. Two propositions are “informationally unconnected” [with each other] if no informative (nontautological) consequence of one also follows from the other. A proposition is an “informational atom” if it is informative but no information can be dropped from it without rendering it uninformative (tautological). Presentation, employment, and investigation of these two new concepts are prominent features of this paper. (shrink)
This work treats the correlative concepts knowledge and opinion, in various senses. In all senses of ‘knowledge’ and ‘opinion’, a belief known to be true is knowledge; a belief not known to be true is opinion. In this sense of ‘belief’, a belief is a proposition thought to be true—perhaps, but not necessarily, known to be true. All knowledge is truth. Some but not all opinion is truth. Every proposition known to be true is believed to be true. Some but (...) not every proposition believed to be true is known to be true. Our focus is thus on propositional belief (“belief-that”): the combination of propositional knowledge (“knowledge-that”) and propositional opinion (“opinion-that”). Each of a person’s beliefs, whether knowledge or opinion, is the end result of a particular thought process that continued during a particular time interval and ended at a particular time with a conclusive act—a judgment that something is the case. This work is mainly about beliefs in substantive informative propositions—not empty tautologies. We also treat objectual knowledge (knowledge of objects in the broadest sense, or “knowledge-of”), operational knowledge (abilities and skills, “knowledge-how-to”, or “know-how”), and expert knowledge (expertise). Most points made in this work have been made by previous writers, but to the best of our knowledge, they have never before been collected into a coherent work accessible to a wide audience. -/- Key words: belief, knowledge/opinion, propositional, operational, objectual, cognition, . (shrink)
A Inseparabilidade entre Lógica e a Ética. Philósophos. 18 (2013) 245–259. Portuguese translation by Décio Krause and Pedro Merlussi: The Inseparability of Logic and Ethics, Free Inquiry, Spring 1989, 37–40. This essay takes logic and ethics in broad senses: logic as the science of evidence; ethics as the science of justice. One of its main conclusions is that neither science can be fruitfully pursued without the virtues fostered by the other: logic is pointless without fairness and compassion; ethics is pointless (...) without rigor and objectivity. The logician’s advice to be dispassionate is in resonance and harmony with the ethicist’s advice to be compassionate. (shrink)
2006. George Boole. Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2nd edition. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA. -/- George Boole (1815-1864), whose name lives among modern computer-related sciences in Boolean Algebra, Boolean Logic, Boolean Operations, and the like, is one of the most celebrated logicians of all time. Ironically, his actual writings often go unread and his actual contributions to logic are virtually unknown—despite the fact that he was one of the clearest writers in the field. Working with various students including Susan Wood and Sriram (...) Nambiar, I have written several publications trying to set the record straight—but so far to little avail. This encyclopedia entry is one more attempt to set the record straight in a way that can be appreciated by non-experts.Also see https://www.academia.edu/10161999/Booles_criteria_of_validity_and_invalidity . (shrink)
Girolamo Saccheri (1667--1733) was an Italian Jesuit priest, scholastic philosopher, and mathematician. He earned a permanent place in the history of mathematics by discovering and rigorously deducing an elaborate chain of consequences of an axiom-set for what is now known as hyperbolic (or Lobachevskian) plane geometry. Reviewer's remarks: (1) On two pages of this book Saccheri refers to his previous and equally original book Logica demonstrativa (Turin, 1697) to which 14 of the 16 pages of the editor's "Introduction" are devoted. (...) At the time of the first edition, 1920, the editor was apparently not acquainted with the secondary literature on Logica demonstrativa which continued to grow in the period preceding the second edition \ref[see D. J. Struik, in Dictionary of scientific biography, Vol. 12, 55--57, Scribner's, New York, 1975]. Of special interest in this connection is a series of three articles by A. F. Emch [Scripta Math. 3 (1935), 51--60; Zbl 10, 386; ibid. 3 (1935), 143--152; Zbl 11, 193; ibid. 3 (1935), 221--333; Zbl 12, 98]. (2) It seems curious that modern writers believe that demonstration of the "nondeducibility" of the parallel postulate vindicates Euclid whereas at first Saccheri seems to have thought that demonstration of its "deducibility" is what would vindicate Euclid. Saccheri is perfectly clear in his commitment to the ancient (and now discredited) view that it is wrong to take as an "axiom" a proposition which is not a "primal verity", which is not "known through itself". So it would seem that Saccheri should think that he was convicting Euclid of error by deducing the parallel postulate. The resolution of this confusion is that Saccheri thought that he had proved, not merely that the parallel postulate was true, but that it was a "primal verity" and, thus, that Euclid was correct in taking it as an "axiom". As implausible as this claim about Saccheri may seem, the passage on p. 237, lines 3--15, seems to admit of no other interpretation. Indeed, Emch takes it this way. (3) As has been noted by many others, Saccheri was fascinated, if not obsessed, by what may be called "reflexive indirect deductions", indirect deductions which show that a conclusion follows from given premises by a chain of reasoning beginning with the given premises augmented by the denial of the desired conclusion and ending with the conclusion itself. It is obvious, of course, that this is simply a species of ordinary indirect deduction; a conclusion follows from given premises if a contradiction is deducible from those given premises augmented by the denial of the conclusion---and it is immaterial whether the contradiction involves one of the premises, the denial of the conclusion, or even, as often happens, intermediate propositions distinct from the given premises and the denial of the conclusion. Saccheri seemed to think that a proposition proved in this way was deduced from its own denial and, thus, that its denial was self-contradictory (p. 207). Inference from this mistake to the idea that propositions proved in this way are "primal verities" would involve yet another confusion. The reviewer gratefully acknowledges extensive communication with his former doctoral students J. Gasser and M. Scanlan. ADDED 14 March 14, 2015: (1) Wikipedia reports that many of Saccheri's ideas have a precedent in the 11th Century Persian polymath Omar Khayyám's Discussion of Difficulties in Euclid, a fact ignored in most Western sources until recently. It is unclear whether Saccheri had access to this work in translation, or developed his ideas independently. (2) This book is another exemplification of the huge difference between indirect deduction and indirect reduction. Indirect deduction requires making an assumption that is inconsistent with the premises previously adopted. This means that the reasoner must perform a certain mental act of assuming a certain proposition. It case the premises are all known truths, indirect deduction—which would then be indirect proof—requires the reasoner to assume a falsehood. This fact has been noted by several prominent mathematicians including Hardy, Hilbert, and Tarski. Indirect reduction requires no new assumption. Indirect reduction is simply a transformation of an argument in one form into another argument in a different form. In an indirect reduction one proposition in the old premise set is replaced by the contradictory opposite of the old conclusion and the new conclusion becomes the contradictory opposite of the replaced premise. Roughly and schematically, P,Q/R becomes P,~R/~Q or ~R, Q/~P. Saccheri’s work involved indirect deduction not indirect reduction. (3) The distinction between indirect deduction and indirect reduction has largely slipped through the cracks, the cracks between medieval-oriented logic and modern-oriented logic. The medievalists have a heavy investment in reduction and, though they have heard of deduction, they think that deduction is a form of reduction, or vice versa, or in some cases they think that the word ‘deduction’ is the modern way of referring to reduction. The modernists have no interest in reduction, i.e. in the process of transforming one argument into another having exactly the same number of premises. Modern logicians, like Aristotle, are concerned with deducing a single proposition from a set of propositions. Some focus on deducing a single proposition from the null set—something difficult to relate to reduction. (shrink)
John Corcoran and George Boger. Aristotelian logic and Euclidean geometry. Bulletin of Symbolic Logic. 20 (2014) 131. -/- By an Aristotelian logic we mean any system of direct and indirect deductions, chains of reasoning linking conclusions to premises—complete syllogisms, to use Aristotle’s phrase—1) intended to show that their conclusions follow logically from their respective premises and 2) resembling those in Aristotle’s Prior Analytics. Such systems presuppose existence of cases where it is not obvious that the conclusion follows from the premises: (...) there must be something deductions can show. Corcoran calls a proposition that follows from given premises a hidden consequence of those premises if it is not obvious that the proposition follows from those premises. By a Euclidean geometry we mean an extended discourse beginning with basic premises—axioms, postulates, definitions—1) treating a universe of geometrical figures and 2) resembling Euclid’s Elements. There were Euclidean geometries before Euclid (fl. 300 BCE), even before Aristotle (384–322 BCE). Bochenski, Lukasiewicz, Patzig and others never new this or if they did they found it inconvenient to mention. Euclid shows no awareness of Aristotle. It is obvious today—as it should have been obvious in Euclid’s time, if anyone knew both—that Aristotle’s logic was insufficient for Euclid’s geometry: few if any geometrical theorems can be deduced from Euclid’s premises by means of Aristotle’s deductions. Aristotle’s writings don’t say whether his logic is sufficient for Euclidean geometry. But, there is not even one fully-presented example. However, Aristotle’s writings do make clear that he endorsed the goal of a sufficient system. Nevertheless, incredible as this is today, many logicians after Aristotle claimed that Aristotelian logics are sufficient for Euclidean geometries. This paper reviews and analyses such claims by Mill, Boole, De Morgan, Russell, Poincaré, and others. It also examines early contrary statements by Hintikka, Mueller, Smith, and others. Special attention is given to the argumentations pro or con and especially to their logical, epistemic, and ontological presuppositions. What methodology is necessary or sufficient to show that a given logic is adequate or inadequate to serve as the underlying logi of a given science. (shrink)
Critical thinking involves deliberate application of tests and standards to beliefs per se and to methods used to arrive at beliefs. Pedagogical license is authorization accorded to teachers permitting them to use otherwise illicit means in order to achieve pedagogical goals. Pedagogical license is thus analogous to poetic license or, more generally, to artistic license. Pedagogical license will be found to be pervasive in college teaching. This presentation suggests that critical thinking courses emphasize two topics: first, the nature and usefulness (...) of critical thinking; second, the nature and pervasiveness of pedagogical license. Awareness of pedagogical license alerts the student to the need for critical thinking. Indoctrination is done to students; education is done by students. (shrink)
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