MoL-2007-21: Logic, Normativity, and the A Priori

MoL-2007-21: Achourioti, Theodora (2007) Logic, Normativity, and the A Priori. [Report]

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The aim of this thesis is to explore how an informed and revised
notion of normativity reclaims the a priori character of
logic. Chapter 2 explores the notion of fallacy and draws upon
experimental results to show that there is a gap between traditional
standards of rationality and how people actually reason. Furthermore,
it argues that what people do in these experiments is nonetheless
reasonable. This leads to a redefinition of the notion of fallacy. In
the final section, the chapter introduces an idea that is fundamental
to the thesis, namely that in reasoning one must go 'beyond the
information given'. In an attempt to add further precision to the
concept of rationality, Chapter 3 distinguishes two kinds of
normativity: external normativity, which relies on norms supposed to
be already given, contrasted with internal normativity, which
considers norms that are in a sense inherent in cognitive tasks. This
topic is further developed in chapter 4, where internal normativity is
explained using the concept of constitutive norms as defined by Kant
in the first Critique. Constitutive norms are tied up with a
fundamental feature of cognition, namely that a process of synthesis
is necessary to produce coherent cognitions at all. This is the topic
of Chapter 5. In Chapter 6, logic again comes to the fore. It is
argued that logic actually embodies two kinds of norms, constitutive
and regulative norms. The first attempt to make this idea more precise
is via the proof-theoretic semantics pioneered by Dummett and
Prawitz. Very roughly speaking, one may identify the introduction
rules in natural deduction system with the constitutive norms, whereas
the elimination rules fall under the rubric of the regulative norms.
In the end, these ideas are found wanting, however, and the next
chapter proposes a much more general definition. In Chapter 8, the
focus is on reasoning tasks. It is shown that, as a result of the
preceding considerations, the relation between competence and
performance in these tasks is vastly more complex than entertained in
current psychology of reasoning. Finally, Chapter 9 returns to the
original question: in what sense is logic a priori?

Item Type: Report
Report Nr: MoL-2007-21
Series Name: Master of Logic Thesis (MoL) Series
Year: 2007
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2016 14:38
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2016 14:38

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