Explosion and the Normativity of Logic

Mind 125 (498):385-419 (2016)
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Abstract

Logic has traditionally been construed as a normative discipline; it sets forth standards of correct reasoning. Explosion is a valid principle of classical logic. It states that an inconsistent set of propositions entails any proposition whatsoever. However, ordinary agents presumably do — occasionally, at least — have inconsistent belief sets. Yet it is false that such agents may, let alone ought to, believe any proposition they please. Therefore, our logic should not recognize explosion as a logical law. Call this the ‘normative argument against explosion’. Arguments of this type play — implicitly or explicitly — a central role in motivating paraconsistent logics. Branden Fitelson, in a throwaway remark, has conjectured that there is no plausible ‘bridge principle’ articulating the normative link between logic and reasoning capable of supporting such arguments. This paper offers a critical evaluation of Fitelson’s conjecture, and hence of normative arguments for paraconsistency and the conceptions of logic’s normative status on which they repose. It is argued that Fitelson’s conjecture turns out to be correct: normative arguments for paraconsistency probably fail.

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Author's Profile

Florian Steinberger
Birkbeck, University of London

Citations of this work

Accuracy, Coherence and Evidence.Branden Fitelson & Kenny Easwaran - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Epistemology 5:61-96.
What Counts as Evidence for a Logical Theory?Ole Thomassen Hjortland - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Logic 16 (7):250.
The Normative Status of Logic.Florian Steinberger - 2017 - Stanford Enyclopedia of Philosophy.
Rational Illogicality.J. Robert G. Williams - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (1):127-141.

View all 18 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (2):452-458.
Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.

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