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Negation, anti-realism, and the denial defence

Imogen Dickie
Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition
Vol. 150, No. 2 (September 2010), pp. 161-185
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40856550
Page Count: 25
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Negation, anti-realism, and the denial defence
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Abstract

Here is one argument against realism. (1) Realists are committed to the classical rules for negation. But (2) legitimate rules of inference must conserve evidence. And (3) the classical rules for negation do not conserve evidence. So (4) realism is wrong. Most realists reject 2. But it has recently been argued that if we allow denied sentences as premisses and conclusions in inferences we will be able to reject 3. And this new argument against 3 generates a new response to the antirealist argument: keep 1 and 2, avoiding 4 by rejecting 3. My aim in this paper is to see how much work in the fight against anti-realism this new response can really do. I argue that there is a powerful objection to the response: 2 is in tension with the claim that denied sentences can be premisses and conclusions in inferences. But I show that, even given this objection, the new response has an important role to play.

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