The focus of this paper are Dummett's meaning-theoretical arguments against classical logic based on consideration about the meaning of negation. Using Dummettian principles, I shall outline three such arguments, of increasing strength, and show that they are unsuccessful by giving responses to each argument on behalf of the classical logician. What is crucial is that in responding to these arguments a classicist need not challenge any of the basic assumptions of Dummett's outlook on the theory of meaning. In particular, I (...) shall grant Dummett his general bias towards verificationism, encapsulated in the slogan 'meaning is use'. The second general assumption I see no need to question is Dummett's particular breed of molecularism. Some of Dummett's assumptions will have to be given up, if classical logic is to be vindicated in his meaning-theoretical framework. A major result of this paper will be that the meaning of negation cannot be defined by rules of inference in the Dummettian framework. (shrink)
This paper presents a way of formalising definite descriptions with a binary quantifier ι, where ιx[F, G] is read as ‘The F is G’. Introduction and elimination rules for ι in a system of intuitionist negative free logic are formulated. Procedures for removing maximal formulas of the form ιx[F, G] are given, and it is shown that deductions in the system can be brought into normal form.
This paper discusses proof-theoretic semantics, the project of specifying the meanings of the logical constants in terms of rules of inference governing them. I concentrate on Michael Dummett’s and Dag Prawitz’ philosophical motivations and give precise characterisations of the crucial notions of harmony and stability, placed in the context of proving normalisation results in systems of natural deduction. I point out a problem for defining the meaning of negation in this framework and prospects for an account of the meanings of (...) modal operators in terms of rules of inference. (shrink)
Ian Rumfitt has proposed systems of bilateral logic for primitive speech acts of assertion and denial, with the purpose of ‘exploring the possibility of specifying the classically intended senses for the connectives in terms of their deductive use’ : 810f). Rumfitt formalises two systems of bilateral logic and gives two arguments for their classical nature. I assess both arguments and conclude that only one system satisfies the meaning-theoretical requirements Rumfitt imposes in his arguments. I then formalise an intuitionist system of (...) bilateral logic which also meets those requirements. Thus Rumfitt cannot claim that only classical bilateral rules of inference succeed in imparting a coherent sense onto the connectives. My system can be extended to classical logic by adding the intuitionistically unacceptable half of a structural rule Rumfitt uses to codify the relation between assertion and denial. Thus there is a clear sense in which, in the bilateral framework, the difference between classicism and intuitionism is not one of the rules of inference governing negation, but rather one of the relation between assertion and denial. (shrink)
This is a commentary on MM McCabe's "First Chop your logos... Socrates and the sophists on language, logic, and development". In her paper MM analyses Plato's Euthydemos, in which Plato tackles the problem of falsity in a way that takes into account the speaker and complements the Sophist's discussion of what is said. The dialogue looks as if it is merely a demonstration of the silly consequences of eristic combat. And so it is. But a main point of MM's paper (...) is that there is serious philosophy in the Euthydemos, too. MM argues that to counter the sophist brothers Euthydemos and Dionysodoros, Socrates points out that that there are different aspects to the verb 'to say' that run in parallel to the different aspects of the very 'to learn'. So just as there is continuity rather than ambiguity between 'to learn' and 'to understand', so there is continuity between the different aspects of saying. Thus Socrates puts forward a teleological account of both learning and meaning. Following up on some of MM's thoughts, I argue that the sophists subscribe, despite appearance, to a theory of meaning that respects serious and widely accepted philosophical theses on meaning. -/- Forthcoming in the Australasian Philosophical Review. The curator of the volume is Fiona Leigh, and the committee also has Hugh Benson and Tim Clarke. You can find MM's paper as well as the commentaries by Nicholas Denyer and Russell E. Jones and Ravi Sharma (and myself) by registering. (shrink)
Molnar argues that the problem of truthmakers for negative truths arises because we tend to accept four metaphysical principles that entail that all negative truths have positive truthmakers. This conclusion, however, already follows from only three of Molnar´s metaphysical principles. One purpose of this note is to set the record straight. I provide an alternative reading of two of Molnar´s principles on which they are all needed to derive the desired conclusion. Furthermore, according to Molnar, the four principles may be (...) inconsistent. By themselves, however, they are not. The other purpose of this note is to propose some plausible further principles that, when added to the four metaphysical theses, entail a contradiction. (shrink)
Sentences containing definite descriptions, expressions of the form ‘The F’, can be formalised using a binary quantifier ι that forms a formula out of two predicates, where ιx[F, G] is read as ‘The F is G’. This is an innovation over the usual formalisation of definite descriptions with a term forming operator. The present paper compares the two approaches. After a brief overview of the system INFι of intuitionist negative free logic extended by such a quantifier, which was presented in (...) (Kürbis 2019), INFι is first compared to a system of Tennant’s and an axiomatic treatment of a term forming ι operator within intuitionist negative free logic. Both systems are shown to be equivalent to the subsystem of INFι in which the G of ιx[F, G] is restricted to identity. INFι is then compared to an intuitionist version of a system of Lambert’s which in addition to the term forming operator has an operator for predicate abstraction for indicating scope distinctions. The two systems will be shown to be equivalent through a translation between their respective languages. Advantages of the present approach over the alternatives are indicated in the discussion. (shrink)
The fundamental assumption of Dummett’s and Prawitz’ proof-theoretic justification of deduction is that ‘if we have a valid argument for a complex statement, we can construct a valid argument for it which finishes with an application of one of the introduction rules governing its principal operator’. I argue that the assumption is flawed in this general version, but should be restricted, not to apply to arguments in general, but only to proofs. I also argue that Dummett’s and Prawitz’ project of (...) providing a logical basis for metaphysics only relies on the restricted assumption. (shrink)
In this paper, I'll present a general way of "reading off" introduction/elimination rules from elimination/introduction rules, and define notions of harmony and stability on the basis of it.
The problem of negative truth is the problem of how, if everything in the world is positive, we can speak truly about the world using negative propositions. A prominent solution is to explain negation in terms of a primitive notion of metaphysical incompatibility. I argue that if this account is correct, then minimal logic is the correct logic. The negation of a proposition A is characterised as the minimal incompatible of A composed of it and the logical constant ¬. A (...) rule based account of the meanings of logical constants that appeals to the notion of incompatibility in the introduction rule for negation ensures the existence and uniqueness of the negation of every proposition. But it endows the negation operator with no more formal properties than those it has in minimal logic. (shrink)
There is widespread agreement that while on a Dummettian theory of meaning the justified logic is intuitionist, as its constants are governed by harmonious rules of inference, the situation is reversed on Huw Price's bilateralist account, where meanings are specified in terms of primitive speech acts assertion and denial. In bilateral logics, the rules for classical negation are in harmony. However, as it is possible to construct an intuitionist bilateral logic with harmonious rules, there is no formal argument against intuitionism (...) from the bilateralist perspective. Price gives an informal argument for classical negation based on a pragmatic notion of belief, characterised in terms of the differences they make to speakers' actions. The main part of this paper puts Price's argument under close scrutiny by regimenting it and isolating principles Price is committed to. It is shown that Price should draw a distinction between A or ¬A making a difference. According to Price, if A makes a difference to us, we treat it as decidable. This material allows the intuitionist to block Price's argument. Abandoning classical logic also brings advantages, as within intuitionist logic there is a precise meaning to what it might mean to treat A as decidable: it is to assume A ∨ ¬A. (shrink)
This paper formulates a bilateral account of harmony, which is an alternative to the one proposed by Francez. It builds on an account of harmony for unilateral logic proposed by Kürbis and the observation that reading some of the rules for the connectives of bilateral logic bottom up gives the grounds and consequences of formulas with the opposite speech act. Thus the consequences of asserting a formula give grounds for denying it, namely if the opposite speech act is applied to (...) the consequences. Similarly, the consequences of denying a formula give grounds for asserting the formula. I formulate a process of inversion, which allows the determination of assertive elimination rules from assertive introduction rules, and rejective elimination rules from rejective introduction rules, and conversely. It corresponds to Francez's notion of vertical harmony. I also formulate a process of conversion, which allows the determination of rejective introduction rules from certain assertive elimination rules and conversely, and the determination for assertive introduction rules from certain rejective elimination rules and conversely. It corresponds to Francez's notion of horizontal harmony. (shrink)
This short paper has two loosely connected parts. In the first part, I discuss the difference between classical and intuitionist logic in relation to different the role of hypotheses play in each logic. Harmony is normally understood as a relation between two ways of manipulating formulas in systems of natural deduction: their introduction and elimination. I argue, however, that there is at least a third way of manipulating formulas, namely the discharge of assumption, and that the difference between classical and (...) intuitionist logic can be characterised as a difference of the conditions under which discharge is allowed. Harmony, as ordinarily understood, has nothing to say about discharge. This raises the question whether the notion of harmony can be suitably extended. This requires there to be a suitable fourth way of manipulating formulas that discharge can stand in harmony to. The question is whether there is such a notion: what might it be that stands to discharge of formulas as introduction stands to elimination? One that immediately comes to mind is the making of assumptions. I leave it as an open question for further research whether the notion of harmony can be fruitfully extended in the way suggested here. In the second part, I discuss bilateralism, which proposes a wholesale revision of what it is that is assumed and manipulated by rules of inference in deductions: rules apply to speech acts – assertions and denials – rather than propositions. I point out two problems for bilateralism. First, bilaterlists cannot, contrary to what they claim to be able to do, draw a distinction between the truth and assertibility of a proposition. Secondly, it is not clear what it means to assume an expression such as '+ A' that is supposed to stand for an assertion. Worse than that, it is plausible that making an assumption is a particular speech act, as argued by Dummett (Frege: Philosophy of Language, p.309ff). Bilaterlists accept that speech acts cannot be embedded in other speech acts. But then it is meaningless to assume + A or − A. (shrink)
This paper presents rules of inference for a binary quantifier I for the formalisation of sentences containing definite descriptions within intuitionist positive free logic. I binds one variable and forms a formula from two formulas. Ix[F, G] means ‘The F is G’. The system is shown to have desirable proof-theoretic properties: it is proved that deductions in it can be brought into normal form. The discussion is rounded up by comparisons between the approach to the formalisation of definite descriptions recommended (...) here and the more usual approach that uses a term-forming operator ι, where ιxF means ‘the F’. (shrink)
This paper considers whether incompatibilism, the view that negation is to be explained in terms of a primitive notion of incompatibility, and Fregeanism, the view that arithmetical truths are analytic according to Frege’s definition of that term in §3 of Foundations of Arithmetic, can both be upheld simultaneously. Both views are attractive on their own right, in particular for a certain empiricist mind-set. They promise to account for two philosophical puzzling phenomena: the problem of negative truth and the problem of (...) epistemic access to numbers. For an incompatibilist, proofs of numerical non-identities must appeal to primitive incompatibilities. I argue that no analytic primitive incompatibilities are forthcoming. Hence incompatibilists cannot be Fregeans. (shrink)
Centered around our knowledge of mathematical, modal, and a priori truths, this is a collection that celebrates the work of Keith Hossack, who, throughout his career, has made outstanding contributions to the theory of knowledge, metaphysics, and the philosophy of mathematics. Starting with a focus on our knowledge of abstract entities such as mathematical objects and the source of the necessity of mathematical truths, attention moves to the notion of necessity and its interaction with a priori knowledge: Is it the (...) case that a proposition is necessarily true precisely when it is known a priori? Coverage concludes by zooming out to offer new perspectives on the theory of knowledge: What is knowledge? Is knowing a relation between an agent and a fact? How can we explain rational ignorance by a theory of content? How can we know the content of our own minds, and what does it tell us about the role of a priori knowledge? Featuring chapters by colleagues and students of Hossack's, a team of contributors that includes established philosophers and up and coming academics, Knowledge, Number and Reality represents some of the most vibrant discussions taking place in analytic philosophy today. (shrink)
This paper considers a formalisation of classical logic using general introduction rules and general elimination rules. It proposes a definition of ‘maximal formula’, ‘segment’ and ‘maximal segment’ suitable to the system, and gives reduction procedures for them. It is then shown that deductions in the system convert into normal form, i.e. deductions that contain neither maximal formulas nor maximal segments, and that deductions in normal form satisfy the subformula property. Tarski’s Rule is treated as a general introduction rule for implication. (...) The general introduction rule for negation has a similar form. Maximal formulas with implication or negation as main operator require reduction procedures of a more intricate kind not present in normalisation for intuitionist logic. (shrink)
Bilateralists hold that the meanings of the connectives are determined by rules of inference for their use in deductive reasoning with asserted and denied formulas. This paper presents two bilateral connectives comparable to Prior's tonk, for which, unlike for tonk, there are reduction steps for the removal of maximal formulas arising from introducing and eliminating formulas with those connectives as main operators. Adding either of them to bilateral classical logic results in an incoherent system. One way around this problem is (...) to count formulas as maximal that are the conclusion of reductio and major premise of an elimination rule and to require their removability from deductions. The main part of the paper consists in a proof of a normalisation theorem for bilateral logic. The closing sections address philosophical concerns whether the proof provides a satisfactory solution to the problem at hand and confronts bilateralists with the dilemma that a bilateral notion of stability sits uneasily with the core bilateral thesis. (shrink)
Review of Bob Hale's "Necessary Beings: An Essay on Ontology, Modality, and the Relations Between Them". Oxford: Oxford University Press 2013, ISBN 9780199669578.
This paper considers proof-theoretic semantics for necessity within Dummett's and Prawitz's framework. Inspired by a system of Pfenning's and Davies's, the language of intuitionist logic is extended by a higher order operator which captures a notion of validity. A notion of relative necessary is defined in terms of it, which expresses a necessary connection between the assumptions and the conclusion of a deduction.
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