Skip to main content

Reassessing logical hylomorphism and the demarcation of logical constants

Abstract

The paper investigates the propriety of applying the form versus matter distinction to arguments and to logic in general. Its main point is that many of the currently pervasive views on form and matter with respect to logic rest on several substantive and even contentious assumptions which are nevertheless uncritically accepted. Indeed, many of the issues raised by the application of this distinction to arguments seem to be related to a questionable combination of different presuppositions and expectations; this holds in particular of the vexed issue of demarcating the class of logical constants. I begin with a characterization of currently widespread views on form and matter in logic, which I refer to as ‘logical hylomorphism as we know it’—LHAWKI, for short—and argue that the hylomorphism underlying LHAWKI is mereological. Next, I sketch an overview of the historical developments leading from Aristotelian, non-mereological metaphysical hylomorphism to mereological logical hylomorphism (LHAWKI). I conclude with a reassessment of the prospects for the combination of hylomorphism and logic, arguing in particular that LHAWKI is not the only and certainly not the most suitable version of logical hylomorphism. In particular, this implies that the project of demarcating the class of logical constants as a means to define the scope and nature of logic rests on highly problematic assumptions.

References

  • Alexander of Aphrodisias. (1991). On Aristotle’s prior analytics 1.1–7 (J. Barnes, S. Bobzien, K. Flannery, K. Ierodiakonou, Trans.). London: Duckworth.

  • Barnes J. (1990) Logical form and logical matter. In: Alberti A. (eds) Logica, Mente e Persona. Leo S. Olschki, Florence, pp 7–119

    Google Scholar 

  • Barnes J. (2007) Truth etc. Oxford University Press, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  • Bonnay D. (2008) Logicality and invariance. Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 14(1): 29–68

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Buridan, J. (1976). Tractatus de Consequentiis. H. Hubien (Ed.). Louvain: Publications Universitaires.

  • Buridan J. (2001) Summulae de Dialectica (G. Klima, Trans.). Yale University Press, New Haven

    Google Scholar 

  • Cohen S. M. (1992) Hylomorphism and functionalism. In: Nussbaum M. C., Rorty A. O. (eds) Essays on Aristotle’s De Anima. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 57–73

    Google Scholar 

  • Corcoran, J. (2008). Schemata. In E. Zalta (Ed.), Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/schema/.

  • Dutilh Novaes C. (2005) Buridan’s consequentia: Consequence and inference within a token-based semantics. History and Philosophy of Logic 26(4): 277–297

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ebbesen S. (1981a) Commentators and commentaries on Aristotle’s Sophistici elenchi, Vol. I (the Greek tradition). E. J. Brill, Leiden

    Google Scholar 

  • Ebbesen S. (1981b) Analyzing syllogisms or anonymus Aurelianensis III—the (presumably) earliest extant Latin commentary on the prior analytics, and its Greek model. CIMAGL 37: 1–20

    Google Scholar 

  • Etchemendy J. (1990) The concept of logical consequence. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA

    Google Scholar 

  • Etchemendy J. (2008) Reflections on consequence. In: Patterson D. (eds) New essays on Tarski and philosophy. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 263–299

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Feferman S. (1999) Logic, logics, and logicism. Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 40(1): 31–54

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gamut L. T. F. (1991) Logic, language, and meaning—Vol. 1: Introduction to logic. University of Chicago Press, Chicago

    Google Scholar 

  • Gomez-Torrente M. (2002) The problem of logical constants. Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 8: 1–37

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goodman N. (1955) Fact, fiction, and forecast. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA

    Google Scholar 

  • Johnston M. (2006) Hylomorphism. Journal of Philosophy 103(12): 652–699

    Google Scholar 

  • Koslicki K. (2006) Aristotle’s mereology and the status of forms. Journal of Philosophy 103(12): 715–736

    Google Scholar 

  • Lagerlund, H. (2004). Medieval theories of the syllogism. In E. Zalta (Ed.), Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/medieval-syllogism/.

  • MacFarlane, J. (2000), What does it mean to say that logic is formal? PhD Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. http://johnmacfarlane.net/diss.html.

  • MacFarlane, J. (2009), Logical constants. In E. Zalta (Ed.), Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logical-constants/.

  • McCarthy T. (1981) The idea of a logical constant. Journal of Philosophy 78: 499–523

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Prior, A. (Ed.). (1976). What is logic? In Papers on logic and ethics (pp. 122–129). London: Duckworth.

  • Rawls J. (1971) A theory of justice, 2nd edition 1999. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA

    Google Scholar 

  • Read S. (1995) Thinking about logic. Oxford University Press, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  • Sher G. (2008) Tarski’s thesis. In: Patterson D. (eds) New essays on Tarski and philosophy. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 300–339

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Simons, P. (Ed.). (1992). Bolzano, Tarski, and the limits of logic. In Philosophy and logic in central Europe from Bolzano to Tarski (pp. 13–40). Dordrecht: Kluwer.

  • Tarski, A. (1936/2002). On the concept of following logically. History and Philosophy of Logic, 23, 155–196.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tarski, A. (1966/1986). What are logical notions? History and Philosophy of Logic, 7, 143–154.

  • Thom P. (2007) Logic and ontology in the syllogistic of Robert Kilwardby. Brill, Leiden

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • van Benthem J. (1989) Logical constants across varying types. Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 30: 315–342

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wagner S. J. (1987) The rationalist conception of logic. Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 28: 3–35

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Warmbrod K. (1999) Logical constants. Mind 108: 503–538

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Stephen Read, Arianna Betti, Anthony Booth and Eric Schliesser for helpful comments on earlier drafts.

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Catarina Dutilh Novaes.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0), which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Dutilh Novaes, C. Reassessing logical hylomorphism and the demarcation of logical constants. Synthese 185, 387–410 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-010-9825-0

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-010-9825-0

Keywords

  • Hylomorphism
  • Demarcation of logic
  • Logical constants
  • History of logic