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Abstract: Is it possible to revise logic? A number of arguments can be raised that challenge the possibility of such a revision. Some of these arguments rely on the unchanging structure of the world to support the unchanging nature of logic. Other arguments insist that changes in logic would amount to changes in the meaning of the logical constants, with the result that one is no longer considering logic, but something else altogether. Yet other arguments challenge the possibility of logic change given that the implementation of any such change requires a logic, and that logic cannot change as well. Finally, some arguments insist on the unintelligibility of change in logic, since to make sense of any such change, one needs a logic, and, once again, such a logic cannot change, otherwise the relevant understanding is not forthcoming. In this paper, I critically engage with these arguments, and find them wanting. I then consider the received conception of logic as universal, unchangeable, and necessary, and point out that such a conception faces serious difficulties. Finally, I sketch an empiricist alternative that makes room for a perfectly intelligible understanding of how logic revision is possible and can be achieved.
This talk is organised jointly by the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science and the Institute of Philosophy.