Work in progress by Ben Martin & Ole Hjortland

Bergen Logic Seminar: Metaphysical and Epistemological Anti-Exceptionalism


Metaphysical and Epistemological Anti-Exceptionalism

Abstract: Considerable attention has been payed recently to a position known as anti-exceptionalism about logic (AEL), which attempts to downplay in some sense the exceptional nature of logic as a discipline and subject. What is not so apparent, however, is the regard in which logic is supposed to be unexceptional. While it has become common in the literature to simply define AEL as the claim that logic is continuous with the sciences, we argue here that this is a mistake for several reasons. Instead, rather than explicitly drawing a close connection between logic and the sciences, AEL is best understood as rejecting traditional properties of logic which were putatively taken to distinguish logic from the sciences. Further, it’s shown that rather than there being one anti-exceptionalist tradition requiring us to reject all of these traditional properties, as is sometimes assumed, there are in fact at least two distinct types of AEL—metaphysical and epistemological AEL—with differing motivations, which require the rejection of distinct subsets of these traditional properties. To further emphasise this point, we show that what we take to be the most detailed anti-exceptionalist account of logic’s methodology, logical predictivism, requires us to make no commitment to a form of metaphysical AEL. Neither form of AEL, therefore, necessary stand or fall together.