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The Universality of Logic: On the Connection between Rationality and Logical Ability

Simon J. Evnine
Mind
Vol. 110, No. 438 (Apr., 2001), pp. 335-367
Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of the Mind Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2660166
Page Count: 33
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The Universality of Logic: On the Connection between Rationality and Logical Ability
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Abstract

I argue for the thesis (UL) that there are certain logical abilities that any rational creature must have. Opposition to UL comes from naturalized epistemologists who hold that it is a purely empirical question which logical abilities a rational creature has. I provide arguments that any creatures meeting certain conditions-plausible necessary conditions on rationality-must have certain specific logical concepts and be able to use them in certain specific ways. For example, I argue that any creature able to grasp theories must have a concept of conjunction subject to the usual introduction and elimination rules. I also deal with disjunction, conditionality and negation. Finally, I put UL to work in showing how it could be used to define a notion of logical obviousness that would be well suited to certain contexts-e.g. radical translation and epistemic logic-in which a concept of obviousness is often invoked.

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