The paper presents an argument against a "metaphysical'* conception of logic according to which logic spells out a specific kind of mathematical structure that is somehow inherently related to our factual reasoning. In contrast, it is argued that it is always an empirical question as to whether a given mathematical structure really does captures a principle of reasoning. lMore generally, it is argued that it is not meaningful to replace an empirical investigation of a thing by an investigation of its (...) a priori analyzable structure without paying due attention to the question of whether it really is the structure of the thing in question.) It is proposed to elucidate the situation by distinguishing two essentially different realms with which our reason must deal: "the realm of the natural'*, constituted by the things of our empirical world, and "the realm of the formal'*, constituted by the structures that we use as "prisms'* to view, to make sense of, and to reconstruct the world. It is suggested that this vantage point may throw light on many foundational problems of logic. (shrink)
Following an historical survey of ethical perspectives, the author focuses on an emerging "market ethics" dictating economic, cultural and legal principles and practices. He is especially concerned with the subsequent loss of human and social capital, and suggests the need for reviving those vital ethical considerations, especially during this time of transition for The Czech Republic and other Eastern European nations.
In this ambitious exploration of humanity and civilizations throughout history, major historical events and processes in the history of mankind are looked at in order to understand the "currents" of history. Jaroslav Krejc analyzes the whole history of civilization and considers historical events such as feudalism and the development of science. By bringing both sociological and historical insights to this broad subject, and particular attention to different types of knowledge (such as religion and its impact state law labor and (...) ownership), the book offers insights into the future of civilization and shifting global power. (shrink)
There may be various reasons for claiming that meaning is normative, and additionally, very different senses attached to the claim. However, all such claims have faced fierce resistance from those philosophers who insist that meaning is not normative in any nontrivial sense of the word. In this paper I sketch one particular approach to meaning claiming its normativity and defend it against the anti-normativist critique: namely the approach of Brandomian inferentialism. However, my defense is not restricted to inferentialism in any (...) narrow sense for it encompasses a much broader spectrum of approaches to meaning, connected with the Wittgensteinian and especially Sellarsian view of language as an essentially rule-governed enterprise; and indeed I refrain from claiming that the version of inferentialism I present here is in every detail the version developed by Brandom. (shrink)
While according to the inferentialists, meaning is always a kind of inferential role, proponents of other approaches to semantics often doubt that actual meanings, as they see them, can be generally reduced to inferential roles. In this paper we propose a formal framework for considering the hypothesis of the.
Variations on the argument “Inferences are moves from meaningful statements to meaningful statements; hence the meanings cannot be inferential roles” are often used as knock-down argument against inferentialism. In this short paper I indicate that the argument is simply a non sequitur.
The article addresses two closely related questions: What are the criteria of adequacy of logical formalization of natural language arguments, and what gives logic the authority to decide which arguments are good and which are bad? Our point of departure is the criticism of the conception of logical formalization put forth, in a recent paper, by M. Baumgartner and T. Lampert. We argue that their account of formalization as a kind of semantic analysis brings about more problems than it solves. (...) We also argue that the criteria of adequate formalization need not be based on truth conditions associated with logical formulas; in our view, they are better based on structural (inferential) grounds. We then put forward our own version of the criteria. The upshot of the discussion that follows is that the quest for an adequate formalization in a suitable logical language is best conceived of as the search for a Goodmanian reflective equilibrium. (shrink)
What do we learn when we find out that an argument is logically incorrect? If logically incorrect means the same as not logically correct, which in turn means not having a valid logical form, it seems that we do not learn anything too useful—an argument which is logically incorrect can still be conclusive. Thus, it seems that it makes sense to fix a stronger interpretation of the term under which a logically incorrect argument is guaranteed to be wrong. In this (...) paper, we show that pinpointing this stronger sense is much trickier than one would expect; but eventually we reach an explication of the notion of logical incorrectness which we find non-trivial and viable. (shrink)
In a remarkable early paper, Wilfrid Sellars warned us that if we cease to recognize rules, we may well find ourselves walking on four feet; and it is obvious that within human communities, the phenomenon of rules is ubiquitous. Yet from the viewpoint of the sciences, rules cannot be easily accounted for. Sellars himself, during his later years, managed to put a lot of flesh on the normative bones from which he assembled the remarkable skeleton of the early paper; and (...) his followers too. However, what they say is somewhat divergent; and therefore my aim in this paper is to concentrate on the very concept of rule and analyse it in the context of the question what it is about us humans that makes us special. (shrink)
The topic of this paper is the question whether there is a logic which could be justly called the logic of inference. It may seem that at least since Prawitz, Dummett and others demonstrated the proof-theoretical prominency of intuitionistic logic, the forthcoming answer is that it is this logic that is the obvious choice for the accolade. Though there is little doubt that this choice is correct (provided that inference is construed as inherently single-conclusion and complying with the Gentzenian structural (...) rules), I do not think that the usual justification of it is satisfactory. Therefore, I will first try to clarify what exactly is meant by the question, and then sketch a conceptual framework in which it can be reasonably handled. I will introduce the concept of 'inferentially native' logical operators (those which explicate inferential properties) and I will show that the axiomatization of these operators leads to the axiomatic system of intuitionistic logic. Finally, I will discuss what modifications of this answer enter the picture when more general notions of inference are considered. (shrink)
This paper focuses on compost use in overpasses and underpasses for wild animals over roads and other similar linear structures. In this context, good quality of compost may result in faster and more resistant vegetation cover during the year. Inter alia, this can be interpreted also as reduction of damage and saving lives. There are millions of tones of plant residue produced every day worldwide. These represent prospective business for manufacturers of compost additives called “accelerators”. The opinions of the sale (...) representatives’ with regards to other alternatives of biowaste utilization and their own products were reviewed. The robust analyzes of several “accelerated” composts revealed that the quality was generally low. Only two accelerated composts were somewhat similar in quality to the blank sample that was produced according to the traditional procedure. Overlaps between the interests of decision makers on future soil fertility were weighed against the preferences on short-term profit. Possible causes that allowed the boom of these underperforming products and the possible consequences are also discussed. Conclusions regarding the ethical concerns on how to run businesses with products whose profitability depends on weaknesses in the legal system and customer unawareness are to follow. (shrink)
The perennial question – What is meaning? – receives many answers. In this paper I present and discuss inferentialism – a recent approach to semantics based on the thesis that to have ( such and such ) a meaning is to be governed by ( such and such ) a cluster of inferential rules . I point out that this thesis presupposes that looking for meaning requires seeing language as a social institution (rather than, say, a psychological reality). I also (...) indicate that this approach may be seen as a new embodiment of the old ideas of structuralism. (shrink)
The great revolutions of modern times have been analysed from various angles, but their civilizational aspects and contexts have on the whole been neglected. More specifically, the major 20th-century revolutions can be seen as particularly important cases of intercivilizational encounters. They represent different responses to the ascendant and challenging civilization of the West. The Western civilizational trajectory (or set of trajectories), based on a shift from fideism to empiricism and on multiple social dynamics fuelled by this cultural reorientation (such as (...) those of the capittalist economy and the one-nation-state), is selectively appropriated by non-Western societies which at the same time reject the less adaptable parts of the West in the name of traditional or invented alternatives. Russia, China, Turkey and Iran are analysed as variations of this recurrent pattern. At one end of the spectrum, the Russian revolution aspired to transcend Western models on the basis of a more radical interpretation of their own principles; at the other, the Iranian revolution, made up of several episodes with intervals in between, has been characterized by an exceptionally tenacious - and in some ways inventive - defence of a pre-existing civilizational identity. (shrink)
The entire development of modern logic is characterized by various forms of confrontation of what has come to be called proof theory with what has earned the label of model theory. For a long time the widely accepted view was that while model theory captures directly what logical formalisms are about, proof theory is merely our technical means of getting some incomplete grip on this; but in recent decades the situation has altered. Not only did proof theory expand into new (...) realms, generalizing the concept of proof in various directions; many philosophers also realized that meaning may be seen as primarily consisting in certain rules rather than in language-world links. However, the possibility of construing meaning as an inferential role is often seen as essentially compromised by the limits of prooftheoretical means. The aim of this paper is to sort out the cluster of problems besetting logical inferentialism by disentangling and clarifying one of them, namely determining the power of various inferential frameworks as measured by that of explicitly semantic ones. (shrink)
V knize konfrontuji běžné pojetí jazyka, podle kterého je význam záležitostí vztahu slovo-věc, se strukturalistickým pohledem, podle kterého význam nemůže existovat bez toho, aby byly výrazy určitým způsobem provázány mezi sebou. Ukazuji, že takový strukturalismus není jen věcí Ferdinanda de Saussura, ale že se vyskytuje (pod jménem holismus) i v základech (post)analytické filosofie Quina, Davidsona, Sellarse a Brandoma. Ukazuji také, že není neslučitelný s formálně-logickým přístupem k významu, jaký byl rozpracován Carnapem, Montaguem a dalšími.
Inferentialism, which I am going to present in detail in the following sections, is the view that meanings are, roughly, roles that are acquired by types of sounds and inscriptions in virtue of their being treated according to rules of our language games, roughly in the sense in which wooden pieces acquire certain roles by being treated according the rules of chess. The most important consequences are that (i) a meaning is not an object labeled (stood for, represented ...) by (...) an expression; and that (ii) meaning is normative in the sense that to say that an expression means thus and so is to say that it should be used so and so. The founding father of inferentialism is Brandom (1994; 2000). (However, nothing in this paper hinges on the fact that the version of inferentialism defended here is identical with Brandom's). This position provokes two kinds of objections. First there are general objections towards the very normativity of meaning, which do not target especially inferentialism; these I have addressed elsewhere 1. Besides this, there are objection targeted more specifically at inferentialism. Probably the most discussed specimen of such objections is the objection - repeatedly raised especially by Jerry Fodor and Ernest LePore and others - to the effect that though meanings should be compositional, the compositionality of inferential roles is unattainable. This is the kind of objection I am going to deal with here 2. (Hand in hand with this objection then go various allegations of circularity of inferentialism, which we will also discuss.) To do this, I will exploit the long-standing comparison of language to chess, as it seems particularly helpful for making the inferentialist account of language plausible3. This comparison, to be sure, has its limits beyond which it may become severely misleading; but as long as we keep them in mind, it can serve us very well. (shrink)
Tarskian model theory is almost universally understood as a formal counterpart of the preformal notion of semantics, of the “linkage between words and things”. The wide-spread opinion is that to account for the semantics of natural language is to furnish its settheoretic interpretation in a suitable model structure; as exemplified by Montague 1974.
The paper presents an argument against a "metaphysical" conception of logic according to which logic spells out a specific kind of mathematical structure that is somehow inherently related to our factual reasoning. In contrast, it is argued that it is always an empirical question as to whether a given mathematical structure really does captures a principle of reasoning. (More generally, it is argued that it is not meaningful to replace an empirical investigation of a thing by an investigation of its (...) a priori analyzable structure without paying due attention to the question of whether it really is the structure of the thing in question.) It is proposed to elucidate the situation by distinguishing two essentially different realms with which our reason must deal: "the realm of the natural", constituted by the things of our empirical world, and "the realm of the formal", constituted by the structures that we use as "prisms" to view, to make sense of, and to reconstruct the world. It is suggested that this vantage point may throw light on many foundational problems of logic. (shrink)
The followers of Wilfrid Sellars are often divided into “right” and “left” Sellarsians, according to whether they believe, in Mark Lance's words, that “linguistic roles constitutive of meaning and captured by dot quoted words are ‘normative all the way down.’” The present article anatomizes this division and argues that it is not easy to give it a nontrivial sense. In particular, the article argues that it is not really possible to construe it as a controversy related to ontology, and goes (...) on to argue that it is also not easy to construe it as one concerning the translatability of the normative idiom into the non-normative one. The conclusion is that the only coherent interpretation of this disagreement is as a disagreement about the possibility and desirability of assuming a standpoint “inside” our linguistic practices. (shrink)
Inferentialism is the conviction that to be meaningful in the distinctively human way, or to have a 'conceptual content', is to be governed by a certain kind of inferential rules. The term was coined by Robert Brandom as a label for his theory of language; however, it is also naturally applicable (and is growing increasingly common) within the philosophy of logic.
In recent years, I have published a number of papers addressing various aspect of inferentialism. These papers, I believe, do provide for a relatively multifaceted picture of (my version of) this enterprise; though still a picture that is in some respects patchy. This has made me start working on this book – it should bring my ideas of various aspects and dimensions of inferentialism to a desirable synthesis. Building the individual chapters, I usually start from taking parts of my published (...) papers as basic building blocks, putting them togethether and then trying to make them fit together with each other, and with the rest of the book, seamlessly. As a result, material from the older papers gets upgraded so that the chapters no longer contain many pieces of the papers in their original form. As inferentialism is a new and unsettled matter, I am not only putting forward some new ideas, but in some cases I also have to put together new frameworks to enable me to articulate these ideas intelligibly in the first place. I think that doing this with a reasonable outcome is not possible without some feadback. I do get some from my colleagues, but I will be grateful to anybody who would like to comment on anything presented here. (shrink)
In this paper I put forward a thesis regarding the anatomy of “cultural evolution”, in particular the way the “cultural” transmission of behavioral patterns came to piggyback, through us humans, on the transmission effected by genetic evolution. I claim that what grounds and supports this new kind of transmission is a complex behavioral “meta-pattern” that makes it possible to grasp a pattern as something that “ought to be”, i.e. that transforms the pattern into what we can call a rule. (Here (...) I draw especially on the philosophical insights of Wilfrid Sellars.) In this way I interlink empirical research done in evolution theory with some more speculative philosophical theories, thus shedding new light on the former and adding an empirical footing to the latter. (shrink)
Logic is usually considered to be the study of logical consequence â€“ of the most basic laws governing how a statementâ€™s truth depends on the truth of other statements. Some of the pioneers of modern formal logic, notably Hilbert and Carnap, assumed that the only way to get hold of the relation of consequence was to reconstruct it as a relation of inference within a formal system built upon explicit inferential rules. Even Alfred Tarski in 1930 seemed to foresee no (...) kind of consequence other than one induced by a set of inference rules: "Let A be an arbitrary set of sentences of a particular discipline. With the help of certain operations, the so-called rules of inference , new sentences are derived from the set A , called the consequences of the set A . To establish these rules of inference, and with their help to define exactly the concept of consequence, is again a task of special metadisciplines; in the usual terminology of set theory the schema of such definition can be formulated as follows: The set of all consequences of the set A is the intersection of all sets which contain the set A and are closed under the given rules of inference." (p. 63) Thereby also the concept of truth came to be reconstructed as inferability from the empty set of premises. (More precisely, this holds only for non-empirical, necessary truth; but of course logic never set itself the task of studying empirical truth.) From this viewpoint, logic came to look as the enterprise of explication of consequence in terms of inference. (shrink)
While most theoreticians of meaning in the first half of the twentieth century subscribed to a representational theory (viewing meanings as entities stood for by the expressions), the second half of the century was marked by the rise of various versions of use-theories of meaning. The roots of this ‘pragmatist turn’ are detectable in the writings of the later Wittgenstein, the Oxford speech act theorists (Austin, Grice) and the American neopragmatists (Quine, Sellars). Though it is now rather popular (and sometimes (...) even fashionable) to invoke the use-theory of meaning, it is by far not so popular to inquire what such a theory really is. In this paper we try to give at least a part of the answer, whereby we find out that the usual conception of such a theory is unsatisfactory. We propose that for an improvement we must, together with Wittgenstein and Sellars, conceive language as a (tool of a) rule-based activity, which enables us to replace the concept of disposition, usually constituting the backbone of the use-theory, by the concept of propriety. The resulting normative version of the use-theory then becomes the investigation of the rules which expressions acquire vis-`a-vis the rules of the relevant language games – especially of the rules of inference. (shrink)
Imagine a Paleolithic hunter, who has failed to hunt down anything for a couple of days and is hungry. He has an urgent desire, the desire to eat, which he is not able to fulfill – his desire is frustrated by the world. Now imagine our contemporary bank clerk, who went to work forgetting his wallet at home and is hungry too. He too is not able to fulfill his urgent desire to eat because it is frustrated by the world. (...) From the viewpoint of the two individuals the situation is very similar. However, it differs in at least one crucial respect. While the hunter cannot eat because there is no food available to him anywhere near (at least as far as he can find out), the clerk can easily find tons of food - it is enough to visit a nearest supermarket. The reason why he cannot get the food is not that it would be physically impossible, but because taking food from store's shelves without paying is forbidden. This story reminds us that many of the barriers that constrain our lives and make us find our way merely within the space delimited by them are no longer barriers in the literal sense of the word - they are no longer produced by the conspiracy of the causal laws that form our physical niche. Rather they are produced by the conspiracy of attitudes of our fellow humans - they are deliberate rules, rather than inexorable natural laws. In this way evolution is canalized not by the environment relatively independent of it, but rather by the ploy of the organisms it itself has brought into being. I think that realizing the full import of this autocatalyctic situation may lead us, on the one hand, to the appreciation of certain philosophical doctrines, pervasive especially after Kant, regarding normativity as the hallmark of the human, while, on the other hand seeing how they get enlightened by scientific doctrines regarding the development of the human race its continuities/discontinuities with its animal cousins. (shrink)
There are various approaches to truth and knowledge (in fact, cataloguing them has become something of a philosophical industry of its own); and in many cases, their explanations are taken to underlie the explanation of other crucial concepts, like language, reason etc. Especially in recent years, some of the approaches have come to be based on reducing semantics to pragmatics. An outstanding example of such a pragmatist approach is that of Bob Brandom, who bases the explication of both truth and (...) knowledge on his consideration of normative pragmatics. A less explicitly pragmatist approach to truth and knowledge was offered by Donald Davidson (who is surely not a pragmatist in the narrow sense of the word, but may be thought about as one in the wider sense proposed by Brandom, 2002, in which pragmatism means starting from the practical rather than the theoretical). In this paper I would like to point out that the discrepancy between these two approaches may be smaller than it would prima facie seem. To show this, I first turn my attention briefly to the general problem of theoretically accounting for human minds. (shrink)
The paper addresses foundational questions concerning the dynamic semantics of natural language based on dynamic logic of the Groenendijko-Stokhofian kind. Discussing a series of model calculi of increasing complexity, it shows in detail how the usual semantics of dynamic logic can be seen as emerging from the account for certain inferential patterns of natural language, namely those governing anaphora. In this way, the current ‘dynamic turn’ of logic is argued to be reasonably seen not as the product of changing the (...) focus of logic from the relation of entailment to „a structure of human cognitive action“ (van Benthem), but rather as merely another step in our long-term effort to master more and more inferential patterns. (shrink)