Intuition, entitlement and the epistemology of logical laws

Dialectica 58 (1):155–175 (2004)
Abstract
The essay addresses the well‐known idea that there has to be a place for intuition, thought of as a kind of non‐inferential rational insight, in the epistemology of basic logic if our knowledge of its principles is non‐empirical and is to allow of any finite, non‐circular reconstruction. It is argued that the error in this idea consists in its overlooking the possibility that there is, properly speaking, no knowledge of the validity of principles of basic logic. When certain important distinctions are observed, for instance that between recognising that Modus Ponenes is sound and recognising that it is proof against the competent discovery of basic counterexamples, the case for thinking that there is indeed no space for genuine recognition of the validity of Modus Ponens becomes increasingly impressive. It is argued however that, the impossibility of knowledge notwithstanding, we are, in an important sense, entitled to take it that Modus Ponens is sound and that this notion of entitlement can help break the trichotomy ‐ intuition, inference, experience ‐ which imprisons our ordinary thinking about logical knowledge
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