Second-order Logic Revisited

In this paper, I shall provide a defence of second-order logic in the context of its use in the philosophy of mathematics. This shall be done by considering three problems that have been recently posed against this logic: (1) According to Resnik [1988], by adopting second-order quantifiers, we become ontologically committed to classes. (2) As opposed to what is claimed by defenders of second-order logic (such as Shapiro [1985]), the existence of non-standard models of first-order theories does not establish the inadequacy of first—order axiomatisations (Melia [1995]). (3) In contrast with Shapiro’s suggestion (in his [1985]), second-order logic does not help us to establish referential access to mathematical objects (Azzouni [1994]). As I shall argue, each of these problems can be neatly solved by the second-order theorist. As a result, a case for second-order logic can be made. The first two problems will beconsidered rather briefly in the next section. The rest of the paper is dedicate to a discussion of the third
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