It is highly now intuitive that the future is open and the past is closed now—whereas it is unsettled whether there will be a fourth world war, it is settled that there was a first. Recently, it has become increasingly popular to claim that the intuitive openness of the future implies that contingent statements about the future, such as ‘There will be a sea battle tomorrow,’ are non-bivalent (neither true nor false). In this paper, we argue that the non-bivalence of (...) future contingents is at odds with our pre-theoretic intuitions about the openness of the future. These intuitions are revealed by our pragmatic judgments concerning the correctness and incorrectness of assertions of future contingents. We argue that the pragmatic data together with a plausible account of assertion shows that in many cases we take future contingents to be true (or to be false), though we take the future to be open in relevant respects. It follows that appeals to intuition to support the non-bivalence of future contingents are untenable. Intuition favours bivalence. (shrink)
This paper concerns connection between knowing or accepting a logical principle such as Modus Ponens and actions of reasoning involving it. Discussions of this connection typically mention the so-called ‘Lewis Carroll Regress’ and there is near consensus that the regress shows something important about it. Also, although the regress explicitly concerns logic, many philosophers think that it establishes a more general truth, about the structurally similar connection between epistemic or practical principles and actions involving them. This paper’s first aim is (...) to address key interpretations Carroll’s regress as clearly as possible so as to show precisely how it might be relevant to questions concerning the connection between logical knowledge and reasoning, and, more broadly, to discussions of how epistemic or practical principles may be action-guiding. Its second aim is to show that the regress fails to establish anything of substance about the connection between logical knowledge and reasoning, or any other structurally similar relation, unless substantive, contentious and typically undefended assumptions are made. The consensus is thus on shaky ground. (shrink)
I address a type of circularity threat that arises for the view that we employ general basic logical principles in deductive reasoning. This type of threat has been used to argue that whatever knowing such principles is, it cannot be a fully cognitive or propositional state, otherwise deductive reasoning would not be possible. I look at two versions of the circularity threat and answer them in a way that both challenges the view that we need to apply general logical principles (...) in deductive reasoning and defuses the threat to a cognitivist account of knowing basic logical principles. (shrink)
This paper argues that the prominent accounts of logical knowledge have the consequence that they conflict with ordinary reasoning. On these accounts knowing a logical principle, for instance, is having a disposition to infer according to it. These accounts in particular conflict with so-called ‘reasoned change in view’, where someone does not infer according to a logical principle but revise their views instead. The paper also outlines a propositional account of logical knowledge which does not conflict with ordinary reasoning.
This paper considers the problem of assigning meanings to empty natural kind terms. It does so in the context of the Twin-Earth externalist-internalist debate about whether the meanings of natural kind terms are individuated by the external physical environment of the speakers using these terms. The paper clarifies and outlines the different ways in which meanings could be assigned to empty natural kind terms. And it argues that externalists do not have the semantic resources to assign them meanings. The paper (...) ends on a sceptical note concerning the fruitfulness of using the Twin-Earth setting in debates about the semantics of empty natural kind terms. (shrink)
This paper considers the question of what knowing a logical rule consists in. I defend the view that knowing a logical rule is having propositional knowledge. Many philosophers reject this view and argue for the alternative view that knowing a logical rule is, at least at the fundamental level, having a disposition to infer according to it. To motivate this dispositionalist view, its defenders often appeal to Carroll’s regress argument in ‘What the Tortoise Said to Achilles’. I show that this (...) dispositionalist view, and the regress that supposedly motivates it, operate with the wrong picture of what is involved in knowing a logical rule. In particular I show that it gives us the wrong picture of the relation between knowing a logical rule and actions of inferring according to it, as well as of the way in which knowing a logical rule might be a priori. (shrink)
It is disputed what norm, if any, governs assertion. We address this question by looking at assertions of future contingents: statements about the future that are neither metaphysically necessary nor metaphysically impossible. Many philosophers think that future contingents are not truth apt, which together with a Truth Norm or a Knowledge Norm of assertion implies that assertions of these future contingents are systematically infelicitous. In this article, we argue that our practice of asserting future contingents is incompatible with the view (...) that they are not truth apt. We consider a range of norms of assertion and argue that the best explanation of the data is provided by the view that assertion is governed by the Knowledge Norm. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to show what sorts of logics are required by externalist and internalist accounts of the meanings of natural kind nouns. These logics give us a new perspective from which to evaluate the respective positions in the externalist-internalist debate about the meanings of such nouns. The two main claims of the paper are the following: first, that adequate logics for internalism and externalism about natural kind nouns are second-order logics; second, that an internalist second-order logic (...) is a free logic—a second order logic free of existential commitments for natural kind nouns, while an externalist second-order logic is not free of existential commitments for natural kind nouns—it is existentially committed. (shrink)
In this paper, I address a key argument in favour of logical expressivism, the view that knowing a logical principle such as Modus Ponens is not a cognitive state but a pro-attitude towards drawing certain types of conclusions from certain types of premises. The argument is that logical expressivism is the only view that can take us out of Lewis Carroll's Regress – which suggests that elementary deductive reasoning is impossible. I show that the argument does not hold scrutiny and (...) that logical cognitivism can be vindicated. In the course of the discussion, I draw substantially on a comparison with a similar argument in meta-ethics, for moral expressivism. (shrink)
Knowledge of the basic rules of logic is often thought to be distinctive, for it seems to be a case of non-inferential a priori knowledge. Many philosophers take its source to be different from those of other types of knowledge, such as knowledge of empirical facts. The most prominent account of knowledge of the basic rules of logic takes this source to be the understanding of logical expressions or concepts. On this account, what explains why such knowledge is distinctive is (...) that it is grounded in semantic or conceptual understanding. However, I show that this cannot be the correct account of knowledge of the basic rules of logic, because it is open to Gettier-style counter-examples. (shrink)
A paradigmatic case of rigidity for singular terms is that of proper names. And it would seem that a paradigmatic case of rigidity for general terms is that of natural kind terms. However, many philosophers think that rigidity cannot be extended from singular terms to general terms. The reason for this is that rigidity appears to become trivial when such terms are considered: natural kind terms come out as rigid, but so do all other general terms, and in particular all (...) descriptive general terms. This paper offers an account of rigidity for natural kind terms which does not trivialise in this way. On this account, natural kind terms are de jure obstinately rigid designators and other general terms, such as descriptive general terms, are not. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Classical logic counts sentences such as ‘Alice is identical with Alice’ as logically true. A standard objection to classical logic is that Alice’s self-identity, for instance, is not a matter of logic because the identity of particular objects is not a matter of logic. For this reason, many philosophers argue that classical logic is not the right logic, and that it should be abandoned in favour of free logic — logic free of existential commitments with respect to singular terms. In (...) most standard free logics, sentences such as ‘Alice is identical with Alice’ are not logically true. This paper argues that this objection from existential commitments is some- what superficial and that there is a deeper reason why ‘Alice is identical with Alice’ should not be considered a logical truth. Indeed, a key fundamental thought about the nature of logic is that a logical truth is true in virtue of its logical form. The fundamental problem I raise is that a sentence such as ‘Alice is identical with Alice’ appears to not even be true in virtue of its logical form. Thus this paper argues that given that such a sentence is not true in virtue of its logical form, it should not be counted as logically true. It moreover argues, on the same grounds, that even the sentences which free logicians regard as logically true shouldn’t be regarded as logically true. So in this sense free logic is no repair to classical logic. (shrink)
John MacFarlane has recently argued that his brand of truth relativism – Assessment Sensitivity – provides the best solution to the puzzle of future contingents: statements about the future that are metaphysically neither necessary nor impossible. In this paper, we show that even if we grant all of the metaphysical, semantic and pragmatic assumptions in terms of which MacFarlane sets and solves the puzzle, Assessment Sensitivity is ultimately self-refuting.
John MacFarlane has recently argued that his brand of truth relativism provides the best solution to the puzzle of future contingents: assertions about the future that express propositions that are metaphysically neither necessary nor impossible. In this paper, we show that even if we grant all of the metaphysical, semantic and pragmatic assumptions in terms of which MacFarlane sets and aims to solve the puzzle, his truth relativism is not apt to solve the problem of future contingents. We argue that (...) the theory fails to vindicate the intuition that future contingent propositions are neither true nor false, leaving the theory open to a charge of Reductio. We show that these problems cannot be answered while preserving the core tenets of truth relativism. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine Gilbert Ryle’s claim that ordinary competence with logical principles or rules is a kind of knowing how, where such knowledge is understood as a skill, a multi-track disposition. Ryle argues that his account of ordinary logical competence helps avoid Lewis Carroll’s famous regress argument (Carroll 1895), which suggests that elementary deductive reasoning might be impossible. Indeed, Carroll’s regress is the central motivation for Ryle’s account. I argue that this account is inadequate on two counts: it (...) cannot serve to articulate the way ordinary reasoners might exercise their knowledge in reasoning and it does not do much to help us avoid Carroll’s regress. I sketch an alternative view, still Rylean in spirit, that fares better on both counts. (shrink)