, Volume 194, Issue 3, pp 917–939 | Cite as

The problem of logical omniscience, the preface paradox, and doxastic commitments

  • Niels Skovgaard-Olsen


The main goal of this paper is to investigate what explanatory resources Robert Brandom’s distinction between acknowledged and consequential commitments affords in relation to the problem of logical omniscience. With this distinction the importance of the doxastic perspective under consideration for the relationship between logic and norms of reasoning is emphasized, and it becomes possible to handle a number of problematic cases discussed in the literature without thereby incurring a commitment to revisionism about logic. One such case in particular is the preface paradox, which will receive an extensive treatment. As we shall see, the problem of logical omniscience not only arises within theories based on deductive logic; but also within the recent paradigm shift in psychology of reasoning. So dealing with this problem is important not only for philosophical purposes but also from a psychological perspective.


The problem of logical omniscience Rationality Inferentialism Doxastic commitments Reasons Psychology of reasoning Brandom 



This paper profited greatly from discussions with Wolfgang Spohn, Michael De, Lars Dänzer, Eric Raidl, and the other members of a reading group on The Laws of Belief at the University of Konstanz. I would also like to thank the participants at Thomas Müller’s colloquium, Keith Stenning, Paul Piwek, the reviewers of Synthese, Hans Rott, and the audience at AISB50 for insightful discussions.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of KonstanzKonstanzGermany
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  3. 3.Freiburg, HerdernGermany

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