What is the appropriate notion of truth for sentences whose meanings are understood in epistemic terms such as proof or ground for an assertion? It seems that the truth of such sentences has to be identified with the existence of proofs or grounds, and the main issue is whether this existence is to be understood in a temporal sense as meaning that we have actually found a proof or a ground, or if it could be taken in an abstract, tenseless (...) sense. Would the latter alternative amount to realism with respect to proofs or grounds in a way that would be contrary to the supposedly anti-realistic standpoint underlying the epistemic understanding of linguistic expressions? Before discussing this question, I shall consider reasons for construing linguistic meaning epistemically and relations between such reasons and reasons for taking an anti-realist point of view towards the discourse in question. (shrink)
The traditional picture of logic takes it for granted that "valid arguments have a fundamental epistemic significance", but neither model theory nor traditional proof theory dealing with formal system has been able to give an account of this significance. Since valid arguments as usually understood do not in general have any epistemic significance, the problem is to explain how and why we can nevertheless use them sometimes to acquire knowledge. It is suggested that we should distinguish between arguments and acts (...) of inferences and that we have to reconsider the latter notion to arrive at the desired explanation. More precisely, the notions should be developed so that the following relationship holds: one gets in possession of a ground for a conclusion by inferring it from premisses for which one already has grounds, provided that the inference in question is valid. The paper proposes explications of the concepts of ground and deductively valid inference so that this relationship holds as a conceptual truth. Logical validity of inference is seen as a special case of deductive validity, but does not add anything as far as epistemic significance is concerned—it resides already in the deductively valid inferences. (shrink)
According to a main idea of Gentzen the meanings of the logical constants are reflected by the introduction rules in his system of natural deduction. This idea is here understood as saying roughly that a closed argument ending with an introduction is valid provided that its immediate subarguments are valid and that other closed arguments are justified to the extent that they can be brought to introduction form. One main part of the paper is devoted to the exact development of (...) this notion. Another main part of the paper is concerned with a modification of this notion as it occurs in Michael Dummett’s book The Logical Basis of Metaphysics. The two notions are compared and there is a discussion of how they fare as a foundation for a theory of meaning. It is noted that Dummett’s notion has a simpler structure, but it is argued that it is less appropriate for the foundation of a theory of meaning, because the possession of a valid argument for a sentence in Dummett’s sense is not enough to be warranted to assert the sentence. (shrink)
The theme of these notes is the relation between verificationism and Quine's approach to philosophy of language. The main thesis is that a tenable theory of meaning along verificationist lines must distinguish between canonical and indirect verification and that this distinction is related to observable features of language use. It is argued that a theory of meaning along such lines is not vulnerable to Quine's arguments against verificationism, and suggested that, on the whole, a verificationism of this kind is compatible (...) with Quine's basic approach to philosophy of language. (shrink)
This volume examines the notion of an analytic proof as a natural deduction, suggesting that the proof's value may be understood as its normal form--a concept with significant implications to proof-theoretic semantics.