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Michael Devitt's talk - THE ADOPTION PROBLEM IN LOGIC: A QUINEAN PICTURE


2 May 2016 15:00
2 May 2016 18:00
Europe/Rome

Michael Devitt (CUNY), will give a talk on THE ADOPTION PROBLEM IN LOGIC: A QUINEAN PICTURE.

Venue: sala rossa, via Azzo Gardino 23, Bologna

ABSTRACT

THE ADOPTION PROBLEM IN LOGIC: A QUINEAN PICTURE
Michael Devitt

Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s, “What the tortoise said to Achilles”, Saul Kripke and Romina Padro argue against Quine that adopting a basic logical principle cannot result in a person coming to reason in accordance with the rule specified by the principle: the rule cannot be adopted in this way. Relatedly, they claim that the scientific fertility of adopting a principle is “zero”. This paper presents a Quinean response to these claims. Taking reasoning to be a cognitive skill, this response utilizes psychological views of skills and skill learning. I argue that it is in principle possible for the adoption of any logical principle to lead to the adoption of its rule by a process of what the psychologists call “explicit learning”. Still, it may be psychologically impossible for an organism that had never inferred by UI to adopt the rule UI. And a Quinean should acknowledge that logical principles are indeed different from other propositions both, (1), in the way they affect others and, (2), the way others, and experience, affect them. Finally, my hunch is that there is no case where the acceptance of a logical principle is infertile in that it does not lead changes in our reasoning and hence scientific commitments.

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