Logical Predictivism


Motivated by weaknesses with traditional accounts of logical epistemology, considerable attention has been paid recently to the view, known as anti-exceptionalism about logic (AEL), that the subject matter and epistemology of logic may not be so different from that of the recognised sciences. One of the most prevalent claims made by advocates of AEL is that theory choice within logic is significantly similar to that within the sciences. This connection with scientific methodology highlights a considerable challenge for the anti-exceptionalist, as two uncontentious claims about scientific theories are that they attempt to explain a target phenomenon and (at least partially) prove their worth through successful predictions. Thus, if this methodological AEL is to be viable, the anti-exceptionalist will need a reasonable account of what phenomena logics are attempting to explain, how they can explain, and in what sense they can be said to issue predictions. This paper makes sense of the anti-exceptionalist proposal with a new account of logical theory choice, logical predictivism, according to which logics are engaged in both a process of prediction and explanation.


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We are grateful to audiences at the IUSS Pavia, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the CUNY Graduate Center, UCONN, and the University of Bergen for their feedback on earlier versions of this work, particularly Jc Beall, Filippo Ferrari, Ulf Hlobil, Graham Priest, Marcus Rossberg, Gillian Russell, Gil Sagi, Andrea Sereni, Maria Paola Sforza, Lionel Shapiro, Stewart Shapiro, Roy Sorensen, and Jack Woods. We would also like to thank our colleagues at the University of Bergen for their comments on a draft of this paper, particularly Pål Antonsen, Sorin Bangu, Michael Baumgartner, Evelyn Erickson, Tore Øgaard, and Sindre Søderstrøm. Finally, we would like to thank an anonymous referee for their extremely useful comments on a previous version of this paper. Research for this paper was supported by both a Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant (agreement no.: 797507), under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, and a Research Council of Norway (RCN) FRIPRO grant (no: 251218).


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Martin, B., Hjortland, O. Logical Predictivism. J Philos Logic (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10992-020-09566-5

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  • Anti-Exceptionalism about logic
  • Logical methodology
  • Theory choice
  • Logical abductivism
  • Explanation
  • Prediction