Work in progress by Evelyn Erickson

Bergen Logic Seminar: A pragmatic account of explanation in logic

Key-words: pragmatics of explanation, explanation in logic, anti-exceptionalism about logic


Anti-exceptionalists about logic take logic to be much like science, in that it too seeks true theories, and that theories are chosen abductively, that is, based on inference to the best explanation. These two claims of anti-exceptionalism are supported by the view of scientific realism, which is not, however much the anti-exceptionalist reckons otherwise, the uncontested doctrine of scientific methodology. One of the major critiques of such a view in science is that of Bas Van Fraassen in his ​The Scientific Image (1980), where he argues both that scientific theories do not aim at truth, and that explanation is not essential to science. The current paper proposes a theory of explanation in logic, based on Van Fraassen’s framework of why-question, which neither claims that logic is a science, nor relies on metaphysical assumptions of a validity-phenomena to account for the methodology of logic.