Rethinking bivalence

Synthese 146 (3):283 - 302 (2005)
Abstract
Classical logic rests on the assumption that there are two mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive truth values. This assumption has always been surrounded by philosophical controversy. Doubts have been raised about its legitimacy, and hence about the legitimacy of classical logic. Usually, the assumption is stated in the form of a general principle, namely the principle that every proposition is either true or false. Then, the philosophical controversy is often framed in terms of the question whether every proposition is either true or false. The main purpose of the paper is to show that there is something wrong in this way of putting things. The point is that the common way of understanding the controversial assumption is misconceived, as it rests on a wrong picture of propositions. In the first part of the paper I outline this picture and I argue against it. In the second part I sketch a different picture of propositions and I suggest how this leads to conceive the issue of classical logic in different terms.
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