Logical Pluralism

First published Wed Apr 17, 20131 Logical pluralism is the thesis that there is more than one correct logic. The main opposing view, logical monism, is the thesis that there is only one. In fact there are many pairs of such opposed theses—and so, many different versions of the thesis of logical pluralism— corresponding to the different ways in which one can specify more carefully what a logic is, and what it would be for one to be correct. Some of these further specifications result in versions of logical pluralism that seem relatively anodyne: if any formal system can correctly be called a ‘logic’, and to call one ‘correct’ is to say that it has a use, then it seems clear that there can be more than one correct logic given that, say, linear logic has computing applications, and intuitionistic logic is useful in constructive mathematics. In practice, philosophical attention has been focused on pluralisms that employ stricter interpretations of ‘logic’ and ‘correct’. If a correct logic is a complete and accurate specification of the relation of logical consequence on a set of truth-bearers, and in order to count as numerically different logics must disagree about whether that relation holds between the premises and conclusion of some argument, then the thesis that there could be more than one correct one will be of considerable interest to philosophers of logic, and, indeed, to anyone interested in consequence and argument more generally. Logic has close historical links to the study of reasoning and so the idea of logical pluralism can quickly bring to mind the idea that different logics might be correct for different groups of people to use in reasoning, that there might be, for example, different logics for different cultural and biological groups—an African logic, a female logic, a middle-class logic etc. But contemporary logical pluralism has its origins in mathematical and formalist treatments of consequence, especially the development of the so-called ‘deviant’ formal systems (see, e.g., Haack 1996; Priest 2008a; Burgess 2012), such as intuituionist, paraconsistent, and quantum logics in the 20th Century which many authors in this area compare to the development of alternative geometries during the 19th (Haack 1996, 27–28; Beall & Restall 2000, 489; Priest 2006, 195–196). The existence of alternative logics raises the question of which of the systems is correct, but historical discussions have usually presupposed that if one of the logics is correct, then that it is correct for all and everyone.[1] The longevity of the controversy eventually led to the questioning of one the presuppositions of the debate, namely, the assumption that there really was a single correct logic. Recent interest in logical pluralism was sparked by a series of papers by JC Beall and Greg Restall (Beall & Restall 2000, 2001; Restall 2002), which culminated in the book (Beall & Restall 2006). Their work has generated a substantial literature (Goddu 2002; Wyatt 2004; Allo 2007; van Benthem 2008; Lynch 2008; Russell 2008) and in particular Graham Priest has argued against their view and in favour of logical monism (Priest 2006; 2008b). Interest in this contemporary debate has led to a re-examination of some older views, especially the pluralism resulting from Carnap's famous tolerance for different linguistic frameworks and the work of Scottish/French logician Hugh McColl (1837–1909), who some have claimed was an early logical pluralist (Rahman, 2008). The recent upsurge of interest has also resulted in the proposal of several additional arguments for thinking there might be

Russell, Gillian, "Logical Pluralism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta  (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2013/ entries/logical-pluralism/>.


Pluralism about Logical Consequence One kind of logical pluralism is pluralism about the relation of logical consequence. Pluralism about Logical Consequence ◦ 1. Logical Pluralism via Linguistic Pluralism ◦ 2. n is not even. making the original argument valid. We can avoid these complexities in the present context. Consider the following argument: n is odd or n is even. many of which result in pluralisms which look rather different from that of Beall & Restall. by selecting a relatively straightforward example and limiting our attention to a single translation. Therefore.1 Pluralism regarding the set of Logical Constants ◦ 3. if and only if the conclusion really ‘follows from’ the premises. however.1 The Argument from Appearances ◦ 1.5 Choosing a best case? 2.4 Pluralism about Epistemic Normativity Bibliography • • • 1.more than one correct logic. which we will translate as an instance of disjunctive syllogism as follows: P∨Q ¬Q P According to at least one well-known logic—classical logic—the relation of logical consequence does indeed hold between the premises and conclusion of the translated argument.2 Pluralism about the objects of Logical Consequence ◦ 3. Further kinds of Logical Pluralism ◦ 3. n is odd. where that is the relation that holds between the premises and conclusion of an argument if and only if the argument is valid.4 A Response from Polysemy ◦ 1. Arguments are often given in a natural language and require translation into the language of a formal logic before the logic can give a verdict about the validity of the argument. This translation process is not always straightforward and there is room for debate about whether or not the translation of a particular argument is correct. But according to at least one other logic— 2 . • 1.3 Pluralism about Modelling ◦ 3.2 The Argument from Virtue ◦ 1.2 Issues for Carnap's Pluralism 3. that is.3 The Interpretation of ‘every’ in the GTT ◦ 1.1 The Principle of Tolerance ◦ 2.

29): Generalized Tarski Thesis (GTT): An argument is validx if and only if in every casex in which the premises are true. one might think. with none singled out as more correct than the others by current usage. necessity. it just seems clear that there will be several alternative ways to make it more specific. was seeing how it could even be a coherent view. 1983) or alternatively we might mean a possible situation. For example. which may in turn result in different relations of logical consequence. while its rival captures another. First the Generalised Tarski Thesis (Beall & Restall 2006.g. Pluralists do not need to hold that every conceivable precisification of the GTT defines a relation of logical consequence.1 The Argument from Appearances One argument for pluralism about logical consequence is the argument from appearances (Beall & Restall 2006.) The logical pluralist holds that in this kind of situation. they think that only relations with certain properties—e. of the sort used in the model theories for intuitionistic and paraconsistent logics. But perhaps once one considers the GTT explicitly. Beall & Restall's version of this view. 26–35). so is the conclusion. the logical pluralist judges that both are correct.[2] Hence the two logics disagree about whether the conclusion of the argument above is a logical consequence of the premises. given the presumption of logical monism in the writings of most historical logicians— presumably pluralism did not appear to be correct to them. ways. The second is that the expression ‘casex’ in the (GTT) can be made more precise in at least two. which result in different extensions for ‘valid’. and may be settled or made more precise in more than one way. 30–31). This might seem like a surprising approach. Pluralists commonly elaborate on this by maintaining that natural language expressions like ‘valid’ and ‘follows from’ are unsettled or vague. equally acceptable. How could that be? Pluralism about logical consequence is the view that there is more than one relation of logical consequence and so it might be that one of the correct logics captures one such relation. To phrase it for maximum shock value: sometimes when one logic says ‘argument A is valid’ and another says ‘argument A is not valid’.. accepts the underdetermination of ‘case’ and considers a few of the ways it can be made more precise to get different logics. but once 3 . Different choices for the interpretation of ‘case’ will result in a different precisifications of the (GTT) analysis of logical consequence. for example. is presented as the conjunction of two main theses. Other alternatives include inconsistent or incomplete interpretations. normativity and formality—are admissible (Beall & Restall 2006. both may be right. by ‘case’ we might mean a first-order interpretation of the kind Tarski uses to define classical first-order consequence (Tarski. Typically. 1. This means that they differ on which subset of the set of arguments is the set of valid arguments (even relative to some translation scheme.the paraconsistent logic LP—disjunctive syllogism is not a valid argument form. 26–35). Hence having its extension given by a precisification of the GTT is only a necessary condition on being a genuine relation of logical consequence (Beall & Restall 2006. The hardest thing about pluralism about logical consequence. Some writers have suggested that pluralism is just straightforwardly plausible—it appears to be correct—and hence ought to be believed in the absence of reasons not to believe it.

on the grounds that the word is too vague—it fails to specify a genuine meaning—or one might hold that the expression is context-sensitive: in some contexts it picks out the classical property. Contemporary philosophy of language describes models in which the correctness of the application of some ordinary language expression—such as ‘water’. But if we can conceive of several different ways things could be. though analysis of the expression ‘follows from’ might not tell us that intuitionist accounts are wrong. Consider a paradigm underspecified word like ‘heap’ and a thinker who presents themselves as a pluralist about the heap property. and none of strike us as more plausible than the others then we might rationally withhold judgement pending more evidence either way. in some the deviant.’ For example. Secondly. if view A seems like the only reasonable way a certain thing can have happened. or the gods riding their chariots across the heavens. However. Rival accounts would then have the same status as rival accounts of stars or water. For example. they might be wrong nonetheless. the classical heapists might claim that a heap is any pile of items with more than 7 members. Such alternatives have not been explored in the literature on logical pluralism and their mere possibility does not. those accounts are still wrong. such as having a certain constitution or make-up. it needn't be the case that any precisifications are correct. there might nevertheless exist an account—perhaps making use of sophisticated mathematical techniques—that exactly captures the extension of ‘follows from’. In such circumstances we might hold that the meaning of ‘follows from’ is not really underspecified. anymore than acknowledging that ‘I’ picks out different people in different contexts makes one a pluralist about oneself.we have done the work of developing it in a way which is coherent. the resulting view can strike one as quite reasonable. Though analysis of the word ‘star’ will not tell us that stars are not holes in the fabric of the night. More specifically. Similarly. the discovery of more than one reasonable precisification of it should make us pluralists. Or one might be a skeptic about heaps. But there are lots of alternatives to pluralism here. even if the meaning of the expression is underspecified. ‘elm’ or ‘star’—can turn on the presence or absence of a feature that ordinary speakers need not be able to distinguish. by itself. and second. but argue that that doesn't make one a pluralist about heaps. that given that it is unsettled. though no a priori analysis of ‘follows from’ (or ‘valid’) uncovers the single correct precisification of the (GTT). One problem with this argument is that the plausibility of a view will tend to vary with the onlooker's ability to think up reasonable alternatives. Why should ‘follows from’ not be similar? That is. that the meaning of ‘case’ is genuinely unsettled. argue against that view. it does undermine 4 . They hold that one may specify the meaning of ‘heap’ different ways within certain parameters. Perhaps an unbiased reader should feel tempted to endorse it. Beall & Restall's version of pluralism is not patently implausible. and hence pluralism is not an inevitable consequence of the underspecificity. since they are trying to import more specificity into the meaning of the word than can really be found there. But neither of these features is inevitable. one might think that anyone who interprets the English word ‘heap’ as requiring a pile of n items for any specific n is wrong. deviant heapists protest that a heap is any pile of items with more than 10 members and the heap pluralist holds that both are correct. and arrive at conflicting but equally correct definitions of ‘heap. but it does rest on a linguistic picture with two distinctive features: first. then we might shrug and accept it as our best working hypothesis.

Charity can be misplaced. Perhaps one of these interpretations seems to make our informants (both ordinary language users and the experts who have written about logic) responsible for fewer false claims. Such claims are quite difficult to assess. But an opponent might respond that interpreting ordinary speakers as uttering truths concerning logic can look rather similar to attributing true beliefs about quantum mechanics to infants. even educated speakers will fail to act as if the argument form modus tollens is correct in certain circumstances (Wason 1966. really possesses a virtue —it may depend on substantial empirical claims for which the evidence has yet to be gathered—whether or not it possesses a greater weight of virtues than rival theories (is not logical monism a simpler theory. and even once this has been done it can be difficult to decide whether the view. as Carnap did in the foreword to The Logical Syntax of Language. or of Einstein. Though the most charitable interpretation of their behaviour might be that they do not mean by ‘implies’ or ‘follows from’ what the experimenters meant by it. 1968. the version outlined above rests on some substantial claims about the meaning of ‘valid’ and ‘follows from’ and it might be argued that it is proper to invoke charity in adjudicating between this theory and rival ones for that reason: we are deciding between theories which interpret ‘valid’ and ‘follows from’ differently. Nonetheless. but one about logics and how many there are. one virtue claimed for logical pluralism is charity. 1. As psychologists have repeatedly shown using tests like the Wason selection task. Some important distinctions need to be drawn between theoretical and practical reasons to endorse pluralism. since the availability of these alternatives makes it clear that the intriguing reasonableness of pluralism is not unique.2 The Argument from Virtue A different argument for logical pluralism invokes the view's combined practical and theoretical virtues: One virtue is that the plurality of the consequence relation comes at little or no cost. that logical monism suppresses innovation in logic. no-one should think that deterministic physics is more likely to be correct because it allows a more charitable view of wrong-doers. Another is that pluralism offers a more charitable interpretation of many important (but difficult) debates in philosophical logic than is otherwise available. and simplicity a theoretical virtue too?) and finally whether or not that is a good reason to believe the view. over all. For example.the argument from appearances. But one place where charity is taken seriously as a theoretical virtue is in the assessment of theories of meaning and translation—though even here it can be misplaced. To charitably interpret them as meaning something different by ‘valid’ or ‘follows from’ misses what these 5 . but not all instances of charity are theoretically virtuous. Cosmides 1989). (Beall & Restall 2006. and that pluralism virtuously removes this suppression. 31) One might also argue. since it is not a virtue if a theory interprets infants as uttering true claims about quantum mechanics (Davidson 1984). by far the most natural understanding of what is going on here is that the subjects simply make mistakes. we will argue that pluralism does more justice to the mix of insight and perplexity found in many of the debates in logic in the last century. Logical pluralism is not itself a thesis about translation or interpretation.

one might think. Logics which are arrived at by quantifying over extra cases have a tendency to be weaker—that is. Intuitionist logicians say ‘double negation elimination is not valid’. will be the one that describes the relation of truthpreservation over all cases—where ‘all’ is construed as broadly as possible (Beall & Restall 2006. Logical pluralism would allow us to say that more than one.3 The Interpretation of ‘every’ in the GTT Another way to respond to pluralism about logical consequence is to allow that ‘case’ admits of various interpretations. then. perhaps many more than one. and fails to explain why the subjects later judge that their earlier answers were wrong. The single correct logic. Relevant logicians have written ‘disjunctive syllogism is not valid’. 1. is that quite a lot remains to be done before it will be clear which virtues are desirable and the extent to which logical pluralism possesses them to a greater degree than its rivals. For all we know. There is a tradition in logic that holds that in order for an argument to be logically valid. the only inference left in the intersection of (unrestricted) all logics might be the identity inference: From A to infer A. That identity is the only really valid 6 . but B is not? Or worse. the argument will be invalid. have been writing truths. but rather expert logicians. but a form of logical nihilism. Priest—a dialetheist—would include cases in which both a sentence and its negation are true. But logical pluralism is also uncharitable in ways that logical monism is not. but respond that it is not ordinary speakers that we should be charitable towards. We could do this is by demanding the largest possible domain for the quantifier ‘every’ in the context of the GTT. One question is whether we will be left with any useful relation of logical consequence at all. So when ‘every’ is used in defining logical consequence. and hence the result will not be logical monism.’ If logical monism is correct. making both P ∨ Q and ¬P true. and this means we can have cases where P and ¬P are true. the conclusion must be true in all cases in which the premises are true. to classify fewer arguments as valid—since the more cases we include. since it holds that the monist participants in debates over which logic is correct have been arguing based on a confusion.experiments reveal about human reasoning. the better our chances of including one in which the premises of a particular argument are true and the conclusion false. why not allow cases where A ∧ B is true. Perhaps if we construe ‘every case’ broadly enough. including those experts who have proposed apparently incompatible systems. So perhaps charity would be misplaced. but deny that those interpretations give rise to different analyses of logical consequence via the GTT. Priest 2006. 202). we might argue. If this is acceptable. it must be understood in the broadest possible way: if there are any cases at all—anywhere. we will find that there are no valid arguments left. the argument will be valid. of any kind—in which the premises are true and the conclusion is false. or something close to it: …we see no place to stop the process of generalisation and broadening of accounts of cases. but Q is false. and thus providing a counterexample to the argument form disjunctive syllogism. Classical logicians have retorted ‘double negation elimination is so valid. even though Q is not. Suppose we do take the broadest interpretation of ‘every’. The logical pluralist can agree. Classical logicians have written ‘disjunctive syllogism is valid’. at least two or more of these parties have written falsehoods. The upshot with respect to the argument from charity. and if not. and from virtue more generally. 92.

sometimes a possible world (perhaps incomplete or inconsistent) or the actual world or parts of it. It can mean a financial institution (such as HSBC). Consider: (1) Every bank needs numerate staff. (Beall & Restall 2006. 92) Priest disagrees. in which it is clear that bank-as-building is meant. an unmotivated conclusion. simply in virtue of the meaning of ∧.4 A Response from Polysemy There is more than one plausible model for the underspecificity of ‘case’ in the GTT. and ii) if there are any such schemata. for example: (2) Every bank needs numerate staff in all of its branches. 202–203) But it is relatively common for logicians to claim that the logical principles that they endorse are valid in virtue of the meanings of the connectives involved. The version of pluralism we have been considering allows different kinds of things to count as ‘cases.[3] Given this. the underspecification of ‘case’ in the GTT could be less like the indeterminacy that results from variation in the domain of quantification. (Priest 2006. any situation in which a conjunction holds. This sentence has two readings because the word ‘bank’—even once we're talking about money—has more than one meaning. For example. if any. and it is difficult to adjudicate such disputes independently of a more substantial theory of the meanings of the connectives. in which it is clear that bank-as-financial-institution is meant.’ Sometimes a case may be a mathematical structure.argument is implausible and. or the building where a such an institution offers its services (such as the bank five minutes from campus. and more like the variation that results from polysemy. The two key questions that remain for the success of this objection are i) which. The intuitionist logician denies that α ∨¬α is true in virtue of the meanings of ∨ and ¬ though other logicians will say that it is. and (3) Every bank needs numerate staff and plenty of customer parking. and one that is ostensibly a question about meaning. we think. the conjuncts hold. schemata are guaranteed to preserve truth (perhaps in virtue of meaning) in any case whatsoever.) Sometimes additional context can rule out one of the readings. are there enough of them to constitute a non-trival logic? 1. and suggests that what will stop the slide down this slippery slop is the fact that certain key consequence relations hold in virtue of the meanings of the connectives: I think it just false that all principles of inference fail in some situation. This is yet another area where the dispute over logical pluralism runs into an older dispute in the philosophy of logic. 7 .

say. And conversely. the meanings of all the other expressions in the sentences—the so-called ‘non-logical’ expressions—are determined by the interpretations. so. On the case-as-FO-Tarski model disambiguation of ‘case’. We can develop that thought is as follows. and hence has not considered every case. if we mean bank-as-building.When we were assuming that the underspecificity in the GTT resulted from underspecificity about the domain of quantification for ‘every’ there was a natural temptation to think that we would get the strictest. but it can also be used to mean first-order Tarski model. Whichever set of symbols we select as our so-called logical constants . and hence that there is only one relation of logical consequence. In the polysemy kind of case however. (or. The result is that we can allow the domain of quantification to be as large as we like. and no object of the wrong kind can count as a counterexample to the general claim. someone might argue here that there is only one appropriate disambiguation of ‘case’ in the GTT. the classical logician has considered every case. precisely because it is of the wrong kind. in effect we are simply ignoring the meanings of all non-logical expressions. since incomplete possible worlds are not cases in that sense. then no bank-as-building can serve as a counterexample to (1). negation and disjunction. similarly. then it is not obviously legitimate to complain that he has failed to take into account incomplete possible worlds. for the sake of argument. To illustrate with ‘bank’: if we mean bank-as-financial-institution. what can vary is not (just) the size of the domain of quantification but also which kind of object it is that we are making claims about. If the classical logician means first-order Tarski model by ‘case’. then no internet bank-as-financial institution can be a counterexample to sentence (3). Just as there was room for someone to argue that only a single interpretation of ‘every’ was appropriate in the GTT. Suppose that ‘case’ in the GTT were polysemous. just conjunction. but it usually simplifies things to pay attention only to particular expressions in those sentences. Perhaps ‘case’ sometimes means possible world. as we call them in the GTT ‘cases’) and since we are quantifying over all such interpretations. 1. most careful and correct answer by dealing with a completely unrestricted domain. or those expressions plus the universal quantifier and identity. So now consider what we might say about this argument: a is red thus a is colored. Normally we'd translate this into the language of first-order predicate logic as something like this: 8 .5 Choosing a best case? Suppose. that ‘case’ is polysemous. The logician's task is to capture the consequence relation on natural language sentences. no matter how unrestricted the domain of quantification—since the sentence is not making a claim about such things.

that the argument is valid. Eklund 2012). one might think. then it is never legitimate to ignore the meaning of some expression in an argument. (Carnap 1937. but there might also be a correct answer to that question. Field 2009. (Priest 2006. 2. and it is motivated both by the thought that verbal disputes are not really theoretical disputes about the domain we are describing. Cook 2010. Priest considers this view. §17) Two kinds of tolerance are expressed in this passage. All that is required of him is that. falls short of capturing logical consequence. Those might be useful because they are simple and they approximate the true account. Logical Pluralism via Linguistic Pluralism The contemporary debate over logical pluralism has lead to a revival of interest in an older form of the view advocated by the famous logical positivist. The standard move [to resist this line of thought] is to claim that the inference is. but that it appears to be valid because we confuse it with a valid enthymeme with suppressed premise ‘All red things are colored’ taken for granted. and give syntactical rules instead of philosophical arguments. If simplicity and conservativeness are of no concern. Rudolph Carnap (1937. invalid. Generalising. but since the logics they capture are not correct. given our goals. Everyone is at liberty to build his own logic. 2. he must state his methods clearly.1 The Principle of Tolerance In section 17 of The Logical Syntax of Language. Better than any ‘interpretation’ would be a complete possible world (perhaps we can argue about which things are included in ‘all possible worlds’. Carnap writes: In logic there are no morals. The more famous is Carnap's tolerance for different languages. Varzi 2002. his own language.e.Ra thus Ca That formal argument is not valid. and though he acknowledges that it is not the only view one might have. in fact. he holds that it's the right one. i. then you should not be appealing to Tarski-style interpretations in defining validity—since the whole point of such interpretations is to allow the meanings of certain expressions to vary. First-order logic which fails to treat words like ‘red’ and ‘colored’ as logical constants. but one might still want to say that the original. see also Restall 2002. 9 . if he wishes to discuss it. and by the thought that such practical matters are best left to those working in the relevant field. this is a view on which no pluralism threatens. we might think that if you are interested only in the truth about logical consequence. natural language argument is. but at best practical ones about the most useful and efficient ways to use words. as Priest does. 201) But suppose we do hold. As Carnap wrote later.) Hence many of the possible disambiguations of ‘case’ give us different false theories of validity. §17 and 1958. as he wishes.

and these help to explain why he thinks linguistic tolerance leads straight to logical tolerance.. It is this specification which gives the expressions their meanings. It might not be obvious to a modern reader why that is the case. Putnam or Kripke. But what more. Gentzen. classical or intuitionist) seem to be able to use the same language (containing ∧. or a character. Tarski. According to Carnap then. Montague. his own language” that follows immediately after that Carnap takes the two kinds of toleration to be extremely close. If that position is coherent. 221) The second kind of tolerance is a tolerance for different logics. Carnap has quite definite and explicit ideas about both meaning and logic. (Carnap 1958. there is no question of their being the wrong 10 . and so.e. The phrase “everyone is at liberty to build his own logic” suggests that no-one would be making a mistake in so doing. inexact. moreover before Tarski's “On the Concept of Logical Consequence” (Schurz. something that is naturally construed as a kind of logical pluralism. implying they were not really ‘at liberty to build their own logic. 1983)) and in an environment in which Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus was a powerful influence. or a conceptual role. (and. or share a mode of presentation. In the foreword he writes: Up to now. etc. is required? This is a question to which there are many rival answers. xv).Let us grant to those who work in any special fields of investigation the freedom to use any form of expression which seems useful to them. first to assign a meaning to the fundamental mathematico-logical symbols. Kaplan.’ That view seems at least an open possibility. and is. but tolerant in permitting linguistic forms. and then give the rules of inference for them. Lewis.) even while they suppose that one logic is right for that language. It will not be sufficient that they are using the same symbols. ¬. which seems only sensible. the procedure has usually been. and then to consider what sentences and inferences are seen to be logically correct in accordance with this meaning. whatever it may be. then this choice. But The Logical Syntax of Language was published (in German) in 1934. Perhaps the expressions must denote the same truth-function. (Carnap 1937.g. →. Since the assignment of the meaning is expressed in words. 1998. logicians who disagree about which sentential logic is correct (e. in consequence. Why could we not be tolerant of alternative languages. since they might each be using the symbols with different meanings in which case they will be using different languages. in constructing a language. The connection will only become clear when approached from the opposite direction: let any postulates and any rules of inference be chosen arbitrarily. The work in the field will sooner or later lead to the elimination of those forms which have no useful function. though whether two rival logicians are really advocating different logics for the same language can be difficult to determine. or have the same intension. before the innovations of Grice. Let us be cautious in making assertions and critical in examining them. then one side must have made a mistake after all. will determine what meaning is to be assigned to the fundamental logical symbols. first. even for the most basic logical constants. and one logic wrong. perhaps even that he thinks linguistic tolerance and logical tolerance amount to the same thing. without thereby committing ourselves to being tolerant of alternative logics? Moreover. and it seems clear from the phrase “i. beyond using the same expressions. no conclusion arrived at in this way can very well be otherwise than inexact and ambiguous. the right way to specify a language is to pick some expressions.

V. To eliminate this standpoint. On the other hand. together with the pseudo-problems and wearisome controversies with arise as a result of it. Likewise. In the words of Paul Boghossian. with their aid a logic of modality developed. The most obvious contrast here is with W. and then make our judgements based on how things turn out. Quine. The fact that no attempts have been made to venture still further from the classical forms is perhaps due to the widely held opinion that any such deviations must be justified—that is. from the form of language developed by Russell which has already become classical. we should let logicians develop languages as they like. For instance. 1953.O.rules for the expressions—everybody is at liberty to build his own logic. 1966. the new language-form must be proved to be ‘correct’ and to constitute a faithful rendering of ‘the true logic’. It seems clear that he intended his logical pluralism to be both ‘horizontal’—that is. so-called intensional sentences have been introduced and. given Quine's rejection of such “Philosophy-First” approaches in epistemology more generally. who criticised second-order logic as “set-theory in sheep's clothing” and rejected tense and modal logics on philosophical grounds (Quine 1986 (Chapter 5). 2. certain sentential forms (such as unlimited existential sentences) and rules of inference (such as the Law of Excluded Middle). and have resulted finally in a logic of probability. a number of extensions have been attempted. in effect. such as classical and intuitionist sentential logics—as well as ‘vertical’—allowing for logics for new kinds of expression. and rejects a “philosophy-first” approach. In the foreword to The Logical Syntax of Language he writes: Up to the present. Burgess 1997. to choose whatever rules he likes—and second. suggesting that rather than trying to figure out which is the best logic a priori from first principles (the ‘philosophy-first’ approach). is one of the chief tasks of this book. Such a stand-off is quite intriguing. to be tolerant about language choice is already to be tolerant about choice of logic—for languages so-conceived come with different logics already ‘built in. to allow for different logics at the same level. A first concern about the view is that while we are working within the various languages we invent. in a few points here and there. before we invented anything. such as intensional logics and second-order logic (the terminology is from Eklund 2012). 11 . 2012). Nonetheless there are several issues that someone who wanted to defend Carnap's position today would need to address. many-valued calculi analogous to the two-valued calculus of sentences have been evolved. there has been only a very slight deviation. Furthermore the passage expresses a “logic-first” approach.’ One of Carnap's reasons for accepting logical pluralism is that he saw it as making space for (what at the time was) new innovation in logic.2 Issues for Carnap's Pluralism A number of contemporary writers have been happy to endorse Carnap's approach to pluralism and Restall argues that it is less radical than his and JC Beall's version (Varzi 2002: 199. (Carnap 1937) This passage highlights several features of Carnap's logical pluralism and philosophy of logic more generally. Restall 2002). and several interesting. we could be missing the ‘correct’ rules—the ones that were out there. have been eliminated by certain authors.

’ it wasn't the case that either snow was white or it wasn't? Isn't it overwhelmingly obvious that this claim was true before such an act of meaning. waiting to be discovered: The so-called ‘real’ sentences. It also highlights the extent to which it is odd to call Carnap a logical pluralist. tonk. suggesting that he was not quite “at liberty to build his own logic” by introducing rules for his expressions. Another issue is the fact that one can generate different logics. Hence even if you have successfully chosen a language. which govern things like whether or not one is allowed multiple conclusions. and are merely formal auxiliaries. in which he provides rules for a new connective. since in a way his view is not that there is more than one correct logic. 4. §4. since. Perhaps it would be more illuminating to call Carnap a logical constructivist.465). which quickly lead to triviality. the connectives do indeed differ in meaning between advocates of the different all-purpose logics. for example. but Rutherford's theory disagrees with Thomson's despite this difference in meaning. like the Wittgenstein of the Tractatus (e.Are we really to suppose that. just as ‘electron’ differs in meaning between Thomson's theory and Rutherford's. and whether or not a premise can be used more than once in a proof. Field writes: On some readings of “differ in meaning”.26. (Restall 2000. and it no longer enjoys the popularity that it had in Carnap's time (Quine 1936. 498). prior to our stipulating a meaning for the sentence ‘Either snow is white or it isn't. xiv) Nonetheless. Yablo and Boghossian. (Field 2009) Field concludes that “the notion of difference of meaning is unhelpful in the context” and that Carnap's view of the meanings of the logical contexts is therefore hard to defend.g. (Carnap 1937. or chosen it to be expressed by one of our sentences? (Boghossian 1996) Carnap would perhaps not have taken this objection seriously. such a ‘conventionalist’ view of logical truth (and along with it. Boghossian 1996. but that there is nothing for logic to be correct about (Cook 2010. and it is unclear why we shouldn't say the same thing about alternative all-purpose logics. Another question is whether Carnap's conception of meaning is correct. with no real content. it seems that you might not yet have determined a logic. any big difference in theory generates a difference in meaning. not by varying the rules governing any particular expression. Paoli 2003) This suggests that even if the meanings of the logical expressions are governed by the rules that tell you how they can be used in proofs (as Carnap suggests) two logics can agree on those rules. whilst disagreeing on the relation of logical consequence. and that it would have been true even if no one had thought about it. Sober 2000). Sober. Yablo 1992. Quine. On such readings. But proponents of particular alternative views about the meanings of the logical constants might instead hold that they can make good sense of difference in meaning in these contexts. These days there are many alternative approaches to meaning and lively debate about them. the mathematico-logical sentences are analytic. analytic truth) has been argued against by. and that Carnap has simply endorsed the wrong theory of meaning and as a result drawn the wrong conclusions for logic. One specific issue that they might point to is associated with Prior's 1960 paper “The Runabout Inference Ticket”. constitute the core of the science. 12 .641–4. but rather by varying the more general structural rules of the logic. he does not believe that logical truths and rules are ‘out there’.

since that relation is relative to the choice of logical constants. Should = be treated as a logical constant? Tarski himself endorsed the view that any expression in the language might be taken to be logical: The division of all terms of the language discussed into logical and extra-logical … is certainly not quite arbitrary. then the following argument will be valid Fa a=b thus Fb But if the set of logical constants does not include = then it will not. since our models will now include those that assign non-reflexive relations to =. we were to include among the extra-logical signs the implication sign. 3. The Tarksi/Varzi view is controversial. resulting in different. It seems to me possible to include among the logical terms some which are usually regarded by logicians as extra-logical without running into consequences which stand in sharp contrast to ordinary usage. and these can generate counterexamples. … In the extreme case we could regard all terms of the language as logical.1 Pluralism regarding the set of Logical Constants Achille Varzi points out that one way to generate competing relations of logical consequence is to vary the set of expressions that we treat as logical constants. then our definition of the concept of consequence would lead to results which obviously contradict ordinary usage. equally correct logics. If we take = to be a logical constant. (Varzi 2002. (Tarski 1983. for example. and there is more than one equally correct set of these. If. Varzi defends it in his paper of 2002 and there is useful discussion in MacFarlane 2009. 13 . On the other hand no objective grounds are known to me which permit us to draw a sharp boundary between the two groups of terms. or the universal quantifier. 418–419) Varzi is inclined to endorse Tarski's liberalism with respect to the choice of logical constants: The relevant claim is that all (or any) terms of the language could in principle be regarded “as logical”—and I agree with that. Further kinds of Logical Pluralism Several other varieties of logical pluralism have been proposed in the recent literature. 200) The result is that on his view there is more than one correct relation of logical consequence.3.

whereas if one wants to study identity. so is the correct logic.3 Pluralism about Modelling Cook and Shapiro have suggested that the job of a formal logic is to model a natural language (Shapiro 2006. on the assumption that the sentence a=b contains two different. which validate different consequence relations). neither of which counts as correct. there could be two rival. For a given purpose.3. even though the sentence a = b is not a logical consequence of the sentence a = a. had the proposition expressed by S2 (P2) as a logical consequence.2 Pluralism about the objects of Logical Consequence Another variety of logical pluralism results if we consider that there might be different correct logics for different kinds of truth-bearer. or on (sets of) characters (as in Kaplan 1989) and ultimately on any truthbearer whatsoever. Hence the relation of logical consequence on sentences is interestingly different from that of the relation of logical consequence on propositions. Since models are simplified structures intended to exhibit some but not all of the features of the phenomenon being modelled. Russell uses various examples involving names. If one wants to study vagueness. for example. and hence that there is more than one correct logic. Then we could coherently talk of truth-preservation relations on (sets of) sentences. a = b and a = a express the same proposition. each clearly better than all the rest relative to that purpose. However one could also hold that in such circumstances there are two equally good logics. Under such circumstances Cook thinks we might want to say that both are correct. The first. rigidity. 14 . and indexicals to argue that this is not always the case. and there are at least two different.. perhaps firstorder classical logic with identity is more appropriate. since it seems possible that even relative to a specific purpose. there may be several rival models of the same language. Given the minimal assumption that the relation of logical consequence is reflexive. so that. To take just one. correct relations of logical consequence.e. yet neither of which is better than the other. less controversial kind. (Shapiro 2006) This sounds like it might support a species of logical nihilism—a view on which there is no correct logic—but Cook prefers to think of it as offering two different kinds of pluralism. a sentence S1 had a sentence S2 as a logical consequence if and only if the proposition it expressed. This would not be very exciting if those logics all turned out to determine a single ‘parallel’ consequence relation. there may be bad models—models that are clearly incorrect— and there may be good models. there is typically no question of ‘getting it exactly right’. Cook 2010). and as Shapiro writes: …with mathematical models generally. directly referential names. as is argued in (Russell 2008). holds that which logic is the correct one is relative to one's goal. Since the correct model is relative to your goal. direct reference. the correct logic might be one that allows for intermediate truth-values. incompatible logics (i. that means that proposition expressed by a = b is a logical consequence of the proposition expressed by a = a. on (sets of) propositions. each capturing different aspects of that language. But Cook wonders whether his and Shapiro's logic-as-modelling view would also support a more radical pluralism. 3. but it is unlikely that one can speak of one and only one correct model. P1. Suppose that logical consequence is indeed a matter of truth-preservation over cases.

and in particular. 2007. can be disambiguated in several correct ways. 78: 475–493. 5(6): 492–504. much less that we should think of one logic as ‘uniquely correct’ in some goal-independent sense” (Field 2009. 2001. P. A. Field holds that the goals that many of us in fact adopt—such as wanting logical truths to be necessarily true—do a lot to restrict the range of logics that are acceptable but that “it isn't obvious that there need be a uniquely best logic for a given goal. 205–221.. Field himself is an anti-realist about epistemic normativity. and G.” Canadian Journal of Philosophy (Supplementary Volume 23: Meaning and Reference). Stanmore: Hermes. J. “Logical pluralism. 26–65. –––. but this isn't as important in this context as his pluralism about this kind of normativity—something that a realist might also be able to accept.. 2nd edition. J. P. 2006. Restall. 355). R. Burgess. depending on the epistemic norms they have adopted.” Journal of Philosophical Logic. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 15 . it might be that one group ought to infer a certain conclusion from certain premises (in their own sense of ought). Logical Pluralism. And talk of correctness of epistemic norm just doesn't seem to make sense” (Field 2009. that logic has consequences for how we ought to reason. 1958. Carnap. “Defending logical pluralism. 1937. –––. and we can rate them as better or worse (relative to our epistemic goals). corresponding to the multiple epistemic ‘oughts’. Field holds that different agents or communities may employ different ‘oughts’. London: Kegan Paul. Bibliography 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Allo. Philosophical Logic (Princeton Foundations of Contemporary Philosophy). “Analyticity reconsidered. 38(6): 659–694. Semantics and Ontology.” Noûs. “Let a thousand flowers bloom: a tour of logical pluralism. 1997. Oxford: Oxford University Press. –––. Princeton: Princeton University Press.4 Pluralism about Epistemic Normativity Finally. “Quinus ab omni nævo vindicatus. whereas another ought not (in theirs). roughly. Hartry Field proposes another kind of logical pluralism (Field 2009). but there's no reason to think there's a uniquely best one. 1–22. The Logical Syntax of Language. 2012. 30(3): 360–391. pp. 356). P. Since different agents or communities may adopt different epistemic norms. 2000. like many modal operators. where this means.3. that the ‘ought’ in ‘how we ought to reason’. R. The view rests on an idea that is sometimes captured with the slogan that logic is normative.” Australasian Journal of Philosophy. Empiricism. Cook. Now suppose that the correct view about epistemic normativity is itself a pluralist one. “Logical pluralism and semantic information..” in Logical Consequence: Rival Approaches Proceedings of the 1999 Conference of the Society of Exact Philosophy. 2010. 1996. –––. Boghossian..” Philosophy Compass. Then it seems that there might also be multiple correct logics. Some groups' norms might indeed be better than others when it comes to achieving certain goals but “the upshot is a kind of normative pluralism: there are lots of possible norms.. Beall.

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