Understanding the Logical Constants and Dispositions

The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 5:1-24 (2009)
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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.

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Corine Besson
University of Sussex

Citations of this work

Is logical knowledge dispositional?Julien Murzi & Florian Steinberger - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (S1):165-183.
Logical Form and the Limits of Thought.Manish Oza - 2020 - Dissertation, University of Toronto

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References found in this work

Aspects of the Theory of Syntax.Noam Chomsky - 1965 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
Nature's Metaphysics: Laws and Properties.Alexander Bird - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Aspects of the Theory of Syntax.Ann S. Ferebee - 1965 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 35 (1):167.
Analyticity reconsidered.Paul Artin Boghossian - 1996 - Noûs 30 (3):360-391.

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