pp 1–21 | Cite as

The nature of entailment: an informational approach

  • Yaroslav ShramkoEmail author
  • Heinrich Wansing
S.I.: Varieties of Entailment


In this paper we elaborate a conception of entailment based on what we call the Ackermann principle, which explicates valid entailment through a logical connection between (sets of) sentences depending on their informational content. We reconstruct Dunn’s informational semantics for entailment on the basis of Restall’s approach, with assertion and denial as two independent (primary) speech acts, by introducing the notion of a ‘position description’. We show how the machinery of position descriptions can effectively be used to define the positive and the negative information carried by sentences of a given language and to present a formalized version of the Ackermann principle as an inclusion relationship between the informational contents of the conclusions and the premises of a valid entailment. Being so interpreted, the entailment relation exhibits certain properties, including the property of transitivity (and, more generally, admissibility of the cut rule). Whereas properties such as Anderson and Belnap’s variable sharing property or Parry’s proscriptive principle are normally presented as imposing a relevance requirement on valid entailment, the suggested formalization of the Ackermann principle supports all of Gentzen’s structural rules, including weakening, a rule that is normally given up in sequent-style proof systems for relevance logics. In this way we propose an Ackermann-inspired explication of the nature of entailment as a relation between the informational contents of sentences.


Entailment relation Ackermann principle Informational content Structural inference rules 



We would like to thank two anonymous referees for their constructive criticism and useful suggestions.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyKryvyi Rih State Pedagogical UniversityKryvyi RihUkraine
  2. 2.Institute of Philosophy IRuhr University BochumBochumGermany

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