The Formal-Structural View of Logical Consequence: A Reply to Gila Sher

Philosophical Review 111 (2):243-258 (2002)

Abstract
In a recent discussion article in this journal, Gila Sher responds to some of my criticisms of her work on what she calls the formal-structural account of logical consequence. In the present paper I reply and attempt to advance the discussion in a constructive way. Unfortunately, Sher seems to have not fully understood my 1997. Several of the defenses she mounts in her 2001 are aimed at views I do not hold and did not advance in my 1997. Most prominent among these are her claims that I reject the formal-structural account, because it licenses “unnatural” logical constants, and that I consider the “truth-functional criterion” for connectives “a paradigm of a successful criterion of logicality”. Both of these claims are simply false, as even a moderately careful reading of my 1997 will show. Other charges she makes have some basis in fact but are inaccurate. For example, she says that I claim that FS is “neutral with regard to the apriority of logic,” and that this neutrality “renders it inconsistent”. What I actually say is that Sher’s acceptance of the neutrality in question is “inconsistent with part of the legacy of Tarski, a legacy that she finds very congenial”, not that FS itself is inconsistent. More interestingly, she misunderstands my claim about the apriority of logic, and clarification of this misunderstanding suggests two distinct ways in which logic might be held to be free of empirical influence. It is also noteworthy that Sher’s statements about the apriority of logic constitute both a change in the position she took in her 1991 and, although she seems not to realize it, an admission that she does not take issue with one of my major criticisms.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0031-8108
DOI phr2002111223
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