Consequence and Normative Guidance

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (2):306-328 (2017)
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Abstract

Logic, the tradition has it, is normative for reasoning. But is that really so? And if so, in what sense is logic normative for reasoning? As Gilbert Harman has reminded us, devising a logic and devising a theory of reasoning are two separate enterprises. Hence, logic's normative authority cannot reside in the fact that principles of logic just are norms of reasoning. Once we cease to identify the two, we are left with a gap. To bridge the gap one would need to produce what John MacFarlane has appropriately called a 'bridge principle', i.e. a general principle articulating a substantive and systematic link between logical entailment and norms of reasoning. This is Harman's skeptical challenge. In this paper, I argue that Harman's skeptical challenge can be met. I show how candidate bridge principles can be systematically generated and evaluated against a set of well-motivated desiderata. Moreover, I argue that bridge principles advanced by MacFarlane himself and others, for all their merit, fail to address the problem originally set forth by Harman and so do not meet the skeptical challenge. Finally, I develop a bridge principle that meets Harman's requirements as well as being substantive.

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Florian Steinberger
Birkbeck, University of London

Citations of this work

Solving the Problem of Logical Omniscience.Sinan Dogramaci - 2018 - Philosophical Issues 28 (1):107-128.
Ought-Contextualism and Reasoning.Darren Bradley - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2977-2999.
The Normative Autonomy of Logic.Diego Tajer - 2020 - Erkenntnis 87 (6):2661-2684.
Another way logic might be normative.J. W. Evershed - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3):5861-5881.

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References found in this work

Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.
Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.
Belief, Credence, and Norms.Lara Buchak - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (2):1-27.
Evidentialism.Richard Feldman & Earl Conee - 1985 - Philosophical Studies 48 (1):15 - 34.

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