Logical Disagreement

Dissertation, University of St. Andrews (2024)
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Abstract

While the epistemic significance of disagreement has been a popular topic in epistemology for at least a decade, little attention has been paid to logical disagreement. This monograph is meant as a remedy. The text starts with an extensive literature review of the epistemology of (peer) disagreement and sets the stage for an epistemological study of logical disagreement. The guiding thread for the rest of the work is then three distinct readings of the ambiguous term ‘logical disagreement’. Chapters 1 and 2 focus on the Ad Hoc Reading according to which logical disagreements occur when two subjects take incompatible doxastic attitudes toward a specific proposition in or about logic. Chapter 2 presents a new counterexample to the widely discussed Uniqueness Thesis. Chapters 3 and 4 focus on the Theory Choice Reading of ‘logical disagreement’. According to this interpretation, logical disagreements occur at the level of entire logical theories rather than individual entailment-claims. Chapter 4 concerns a key question from the philosophy of logic, viz., how we have epistemic justification for claims about logical consequence. In Chapters 5 and 6 we turn to the Akrasia Reading. On this reading, logical disagreements occur when there is a mismatch between the deductive strength of one’s background logic and the logical theory one prefers (officially). Chapter 6 introduces logical akrasia by analogy to epistemic akrasia and presents a novel dilemma. Chapter 7 revisits the epistemology of peer disagreement and argues that the epistemic significance of central principles from the literature are at best deflated in the context of logical disagreement. The chapter also develops a simple formal model of deep disagreement in Default Logic, relating this to our general discussion of logical disagreement. The monograph ends in an epilogue with some reflections on the potential epistemic significance of convergence in logical theorizing.

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Frederik J. Andersen
University of Copenhagen

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References found in this work

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Justification and the Truth-Connection.Clayton Littlejohn - 2012 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
The Philosophy of Philosophy.Timothy Williamson - 2007 - Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

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