Graduate studies at Western
Erkenntnis 53 (3):309-335 (2000)
|Abstract||This article begins by exploring a lost topic in the philosophy of science:the properties of the relations evidence confirming h confirmsh'' and, more generally, evidence confirming each ofh1, h2, ..., hm confirms at least one of h1, h2,ldots;, hn''.The Bayesian understanding of confirmation as positive evidential relevanceis employed throughout. The resulting formal system is, to say the least, oddlybehaved. Some aspects of this odd behaviour the system has in common withsome of the non-classical logics developed in the twentieth century. Oneaspect – its ``parasitism'''' on classical logic – it does not, and it is this featurethat makes the system an interesting focus for discussion of questions in thephilosophy of logic. We gain some purchase on an answer to a recently prominentquestion, namely, what is a logical system? More exactly, we ask whether satisfaction of formal constraints is sufficient for a relation to be considered a (logical) consequence relation. The question whether confirmation transfer yields a logical system is answered in the negative, despite confirmation transfer having the standard properties of a consequence relation, on the grounds that validity of sequents in the system is not determined by the meanings of the connectives that occur in formulas. Developing the system in a different direction, we find it bears on the project of ``proof-theoretic semantics'''': conferring meaning on connectives by means of introduction (and possibly elimination) rules is not an autonomous activity, rather it presupposes a prior, non-formal,notion of consequence. Some historical ramifications are alsoaddressed briefly.|
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