Applied Logic without Psychologism


Logic is a celebrated representation language because of its formal generality. But there are two senses in which a logic may be considered general, one that concerns a technical ability to discriminate between different types of individuals, and another that concerns constitutive norms for reasoning as such. This essay embraces the former, permutation-invariance conception of logic and rejects the latter, Fregean conception of logic. The question of how to apply logic under this pure invariantist view is addressed, and a methodology is given. The pure invariantist view is contrasted with logical pluralism, and a methodology for applied logic is demonstrated in remarks on a variety of issues concerning non-monotonic logic and non-monotonic inference, including Charles Morgan’s impossibility results for non-monotonic logic, David Makinson’s normative constraints for non-monotonic inference, and Igor Douven and Timothy Williamson’s proposed formal constraints on rational acceptance.

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Correspondence to Gregory Wheeler.

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Wheeler, G. Applied Logic without Psychologism. Stud Logica 88, 137–156 (2008).

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  • Belief structures
  • non-monotonic logic
  • psychologism
  • pure invariantism
  • sub-System P logics