Supervaluationism, Modal Logic, and Weakly Classical Logic

Journal of Philosophical Logic 53 (2):411-61 (2024)
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Abstract

A consequence relation is strongly classical if it has all the theorems and entailments of classical logic as well as the usual meta-rules (such as Conditional Proof). A consequence relation is weakly classical if it has all the theorems and entailments of classical logic but lacks the usual meta-rules. The most familiar example of a weakly classical consequence relation comes from a simple supervaluational approach to modelling vague language. This approach is formally equivalent to an account of logical consequence according to which α1, ..., αn entails β just in case □α1, ..., □αn entails □β in the modal logic S5. This raises a natural question: If we start with a different underlying modal logic, can we generate a strongly classical logic? This paper explores this question. In particular, it discusses four related technical issues: (1) Which base modal logics generate strongly classical logics and which generate weakly classical logics? (2) Which base logics generate themselves? (3) How can we directly characterize the logic generated from a given base logic? (4) Given a logic that can be generated, which base logics generate it? The answers to these questions have philosophical interest. They can help us to determine whether there is a plausible supervaluational approach to modelling vague language that yields the usual meta-rules. They can also help us to determine the feasibility of other philosophical projects that rely on an analogous formalism, such as the project of defining logical consequence in terms of the preservation of an epistemic status.

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Joshua Schechter
Brown University

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