A Second Generation Epistemic Logic and its General Significance

  • Jaakko Hintikka
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 322)


Epistemic logic was practiced already in the middle ages (see (56), (70)). It was thrust to the awareness of contemporary philosophers by von Wright in his An Essay on Modal Logic ((79), see chapter 4). In this paper, I will consider epistemic logic primarily in relation to its epistemological applications. Surely any satisfactory epistemic logic ought to be able to prove its mettle as an epistemo-logic, to coin a phrase. From this perspective, the half-century long career of epistemic logic presents us with something of a paradox. Epistemic logic was created by philosophers for philosophical purposes. It is one of the core areas in what is (misleadingly) known as philosophical logic. Yet its most promising philosophical suggestions were put forward relatively late, and even then they have received but lukewarm attention on the part of philosophers. These potential philosophical applications are in my judgment incomparably more interesting and significant than the technicalities of epistemic logic that routinely receive the lion’s share of attention in books and papers on epistemic logic. In typical surveys of epistemic logic (cf. (72), (74)), little attention is paid to the epistemological perspectives opened by epistemic logic.


Young Mother Epistemic Logic Deductive Logic Individual Constant Epistemological Perspective 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaakko Hintikka
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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