Anti-exceptionalism about logic

Philosophical Studies 174 (3):631-658 (2017)
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Abstract

Logic isn’t special. Its theories are continuous with science; its method continuous with scientific method. Logic isn’t a priori, nor are its truths analytic truths. Logical theories are revisable, and if they are revised, they are revised on the same grounds as scientific theories. These are the tenets of anti-exceptionalism about logic. The position is most famously defended by Quine, but has more recent advocates in Maddy, Priest, Russell, and Williamson. Although these authors agree on many methodological issues about logic, they disagree about which logic anti-exceptionalism supports. Williamson uses an anti-exceptionalist argument to defend classical logic, while Priest claims that his anti-exceptionalism supports nonclassical logic. This paper argues that the disagreement is due to a difference in how the parties understand logical theories. Once we reject Williamson’s deflationary account of logical theories, the argument for classical logic is undercut. Instead an alternative account of logical theories is offered, on which logical pluralism is a plausible supplement to anti-exceptionalism.

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Ole Thomassen Hjortland
University of Bergen

Citations of this work

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References found in this work

Two Dogmas of Empiricism.W. Quine - 1951 - [Longmans, Green].
Modal Logic as Metaphysics.Timothy Williamson - 2013 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Two Dogmas of Empiricism.Willard V. O. Quine - 1951 - Philosophical Review 60 (1):20–43.

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