SOPhiA 2021

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Bridging the Gap: Logic, reason and normativity
(Logic, )

We largely accept that logic has at least some normative bearing on our reasoning in a number of different ways: When deliberating, we try to avoid believing what does not follow. Arguments are deemed inferior if they contain logical errors. Additionally, people are faulted on the daily for not complying with the laws of logic. There are even entire websites dedicated to eradicating these rational blunders, brandishing the slogan ``Thou shalt not commit logical fallacies''. How does this compelling force of logic come about? Recently, John MacFarlane has introduced talk of bridge principles (henceforth ``BPs'') that connect the laws of logic, precisely the laws of logical validity, to norms for belief. It stands to reason that these BPs may illuminate the link between logic and reasoning and eventually lead to an explanation of the normative force of logic. In my talk, I set out to examine what role BPs could play in this regard. First, I will have to define what is meant by ``BP''. I will do this by elaborating on what problem BPs are supposed to solve and what form they would have to take in order to serve that function. Next, I aim at analyzing how BPs might express, mitigate or transfer the normative force of logic. For this, I have to be clear on what type of discipline logic is supposed to be: Is it merely descriptive or itself normative? Depending on this, the role of the BP might differ. Instead of committing myself to one option, I will present the consequences of either. I will conclude that, in any case, the notion of logical validity is indeed closely related to our norms for reasoning and rational discourse and that BPs serve the function of expressing that relation. However, no matter how logic is characterized as a discipline, be it inherently descriptive or normative, its normative force is grounded in the pre-existing norms of our rational practices. For this reason, I invite researchers to examine the normativity of reason as the source of the normativity of logic and, perhaps, the source of normativity tout court. BPs do not further that understanding per se. They do, however, capture aspects of it. Ultimately then, the search for the right BP could play an auxiliary role in developing a suitable theory about reasoning and rational discourse, although they can never have any inherent explanatory power in themselves.

Chair: Yannick Kohl
Time: 10:00-10:30, 11 September 2021 (Saturday)
Location: SR 1.006

Larissa Bolte 
(Universität Bonn, Germany)

Larissa Bolte is currently a master's student of philosophy at the University of Bonn and a student assistant at the Institute for Science and Ethics. She graduated from the University of Bonn with a Bachelor's degree in philosophy and psychology in 2019 having completed the Honors Program in 2019 as well. She has worked at the German Reference Centre for Ethics in the Life Sciences for more than 1,5 years as a research assistant. She has also been working as a tutor for both moral philosophy and logic at the University of Bonn and co-organizes the ``InterChair Kolloquium'', a well-established and student-run colloquium at the university's philosophy department.

Testability and Meaning deco