SOPhiA 2018

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Logic, Rationality, and the Bridge Principles
(Logic, English)

The idea that logic is normative for the reasoning process is a standard assumption in philosophy. However, this assumption is not uncontroversial; it has been famously questioned by Harman (1984; 1986), who provides four objections to argue that ``there is no clearly significant way in which logic is specially relevant to reasoning'' (1986: 20). In an unpublished paper, MacFarlane (2004) argues that the normativity of logic is best articulated via ``bridge principles'' that connect facts about logical entailment with norms for managing one's beliefs. The most recent literature on the normativity of logic (Field 2009; Field 2015; Steinberger 2017) has been focusing on how to articulate bridge principles that are in good standing against Harman's objections.

My aim in this talk is to focus on a related topic; that is, on what the source of the normativity of logic might be, and, in light of this, what the status the bridge principles is. I distinguish between two ways one can conceive of the bridge principles. The first option, which I take to be MacFarlane's, is to take the concept of logical validity as having itself a normative component. On such ground, the bridge principles emerge directly from the practice of reasoning, and elucidate the normative aspect of logical consequence. An alternative option is to take the normativity of logic to have its source in human rationality. I argue that being subject to a standard of formal coherence is constitutive of being a rational agent. Formal coherence is preserved, fundamentally, in the laws of logic. In this latter picture, the bridge principles can be taken as descriptions that articulate the more general normative requirement of logical coherence.

Chair: Stefan Forster
Time: 11:20-11:50, 14 September 2018 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.006

Elena Tassoni 
(University of Bologna, Italy)

Elena Tassoni is a PhD student in the Department of Philosophy and Communication Studies at the University of Bologna. Her research interests lie mainly in the philosophy of logic. In particular, her thesis focuses on two main topics: the normativity of logic and logical pluralism. Before starting her PhD in Bologna, she completed and M. Litt. In Logic and Metaphysics at the University of St. Andrews.

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