Anti-exceptionalism and the justification of basic logical principles

Synthese 200 (3):1-19 (2022)
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Anti-exceptionalism about logic is the thesis that logic is not special. In this paper, I consider, and reject, a challenge to this thesis. According to this challenge, there are basic logical principles, and part of what makes such principles basic is that they are epistemically exceptional. Thus, according to this challenge, the existence of basic logical principles provides reason to reject anti-exceptionalism about logic. I argue that this challenge fails, and that the exceptionalist positions motivated by it are thus unfounded. I make this case by disambiguating two senses of ‘basic’ and showing that, once this disambiguation is taken into account, the best reason we have for thinking that there are basic principles actually implies that those principles do not require a special epistemology. Consequently, the existence of basic logical principles provides reason to accept, rather than reject, anti-exceptionalism concerning the epistemology of logic. I conclude by explaining how an abductivist, anti-exceptionalist approach to the epistemology of logic can accommodate the notion of basic logical principles.

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Matt Carlson
Wabash College

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Warrant for nothing (and foundations for free)?Crispin Wright - 2004 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 78 (1):167–212.

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