, Volume 190, Issue 14, pp 2897-2924
Date: 27 Apr 2012

Criteria for logical formalization

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Abstract

The article addresses two closely related questions: What are the criteria of adequacy of logical formalization of natural language arguments, and what gives logic the authority to decide which arguments are good and which are bad? Our point of departure is the criticism of the conception of logical formalization put forth, in a recent paper, by M. Baumgartner and T. Lampert. We argue that their account of formalization as a kind of semantic analysis brings about more problems than it solves. We also argue that the criteria of adequate formalization need not be based on truth conditions associated with logical formulas; in our view, they are better based on structural (inferential) grounds. We then put forward our own version of the criteria. The upshot of the discussion that follows is that the quest for an adequate formalization in a suitable logical language is best conceived of as the search for a Goodmanian reflective equilibrium.