Friday, 10 January 2020

Forthcoming in Thought: The Accident of Logical Constants

View Table of Contents for Thought: A Journal of Philosophy volume 8 issue 4

The Accident of Logical Constants

Work on the nature and scope of formal logic has focused unduly on the distinction between logical and extra-logical vocabulary; which argument forms a logical theory countenances depends not only on its stock of logical terms, but also on its range of grammatical categories and modes of composition. Furthermore, there is a sense in which logical terms are unnecessary. Alexandra Zinke has recently pointed out that propositional logic can be done without logical terms. By defining a logical-term-free language with the full expressive power of first-order logic with identity, I show that this is true of logic more generally. Furthermore, having, in a logical theory, non-trivial valid forms that do not involve logical terms is not merely a technical possibility. As the case of adverbs shows, issues about the range of argument forms logic should countenance can quite naturally arise in such a way that they do not turn on whether we countenance certain terms as logical.

Pre-print available at PhilPapers

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