The concept of logical consequence

Philosophical Review 106 (3):365-409 (1997)

Abstract
In the first section, I consider what several logicians say informally about the notion of logical consequence. There is significant variation among these accounts, they are sometimes poorly explained, and some of them are clearly at odds with the usual technical definition. In the second section, I first argue that a certain kind of informal account—one that includes elements of necessity, generality, and apriority—is approximately correct. Next I refine this account and consider several important questions about it, including the appropriate characterization of necessity, the criterion for selecting logical constants, and the exact role of apriority. I argue, among other things, that there is no need to recognize a special logical sense of necessity and that the selection of terms to serve as logical constants is ultimately a pragmatic matter. In the third section, I consider whether the informal account I have presented and defended is adequately represented by the usual technical definition. I show that it is, and provably so, for certain limited ways of selecting logical constants. In the general case, however, there seems to be no way to be sure that the technical and informal accounts coincide.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0031-8108
DOI 10.2307/2998398
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