What is logical pluralism? Greg Restall, logician and Professor of Philosophy from the University of Melbourne joins me to answer this question.
When we study logic, we’re concerned with consequence or entailment: what follows from what. But what are the criteria for being “consequence”? Professor Restall says there are three: necessity, formality, and normativity. Given these criteria, he argues there is more than one relation worthy of the name “consequence”. In other words, there is more than one system of logic that correctly represents our informal grasp of necessary entailment. This is because logical rules operate differently depending on the sort of “case” they’re functioning in. Among various, Professor Restall highlights two types of cases: “possible worlds” and “situations”. The first fit classical logic, the second paraconsistent logic. Though they differ on what kinds of arguments are valid, they both correctly represent deductive reasoning. Professor Restall explains why this makes perfect sense.
Special thanks to Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.
0:20 – Introduction to Greg Restall
1:49 – What is logic about?
12:41 – The metaphysics of logic
21:20 – What is logical pluralism?
22:52 – The criteria for consequence
24:32 – Necessity
25:37 – Formality
27:17 – Normativity
33:15 – The role of cases: classical v. paraconsistent logics
39:10 – Possible worlds v.…
In this second part of my case against 100% certainty, I tackle claims to logical certainty. These include appeals to the three fundamental laws of logic: the Law of Excluded Middle, the Law of Non-Contradiction, and the Law of Identity. To call excluded middle into doubt, I discuss non-referring terms, vagueness, fuzzy logic, and Aristotle’s problem of future contingents. For contradiction, the topics are legal contradictions, the Liar paradox, and Zeno’s Arrow. To argue against certainty of the law of identity, I cover Theseus’s ship, problems with time, problems of mereology, and the universe of symmetrical spheres. I then argue that even claims like “2+2=4” and “bachelors are bachelors” can’t be fully foolproof. Finally, a quick barrage of skeptical concerns – concerns that, while they may not be enough to justify a self-defeating view like skepticism, are enough to block claims to 100% certainty.
0:20 – Quick pt. 1 recap
1:21 – Introducing claims to logical certainty
2:21 – Classical logic, syllogistic logic, and the 3 laws
5:48 – Law of Excluded Middle
6:45 – Non-referring terms: the present king of France
9:16 – Vagueness and fuzzy logic
12:11 – Future contingents
13:51 – Law of Non-Contradiction – DeMorgan’s Law
15:38 – The legal case
18:22 – Liar paradox
22:09 – Zeno’s arrow
26:45 – Law of Identity – Theseus’s ship
29:26 – Content of an instant
31:17 – Mereological – Tibbles
36:06 – Symmetrical spheres
37:47 – Do we understand identity?
“This sentence is false.” More ink has been spilled over the meaning of these four words than almost any other paradox in the history of philosophy. Why? What makes the Liar’s loopy reasoning more than just a party trick? How does the Liar challenge basic laws of logic and the meaning of truth? To understand the problems the Liar poses, we need to dive into its structure. What makes the Liar tick? Is it self-reference? What does it share with related paradoxes, like Russell’s paradox and the truth-teller paradox? What do the phenomena of “strengthened liars” and “circular liars” tell us about what’s at stake with this family of paradoxes?
0:04 – Intro
1:37 – Liar reasoning
2:40 – History of the Liar (Epimenides, Eubulides, Russell)
7:27 – Why it matters: excluded middle, non-contradiction, t-schema, self-reference
11:56 – 3 ways out
13:39 – “I am hereby lying”
14:57 – Circular liar
16:30 – Strengthened (revenge) liars
20:33 – Structure of the Liar
24:21 – Set theory disclaimer
25:57 – Russell’s paradox
28:30 – Properties
29:40 – Truth teller paradox
31:54 – Principle of uniform solution