Understanding the Logical Constants and Dispositions

Authors
Corine Besson
University of Sussex
Abstract
Many philosophers claim that understanding a logical constant (e.g. ‘if, then’) fundamentally consists in having dispositions to infer according to the logical rules (e.g. Modus Ponens) that fix its meaning. This paper argues that such dispositionalist accounts give us the wrong picture of what understanding a logical constant consists in. The objection here is that they give an account of understanding a logical constant which is inconsistent with what seem to be adequate manifestations of such understanding. I then outline an alternative account according to which understanding a logical constant is not to be understood dispositionally, but propositionally. I argue that this account is not inconsistent with intuitively correct manifestations of understanding the logical constants.
Keywords Logical Constants  Implicit Definitions  Dispositions  Understanding Language
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Reprint years 2010
DOI 10.4148/biyclc.v5i0.279
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