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To explain deduction
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
2018 (English)In: Truth, Meaning, Justification, and Reality: Themes from Dummett / [ed] Michael Frauchiger, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2018, p. 103-122Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The Justification of Deduction is the title of one of Michael Dummett’s essays. It names also an important theme in his writings to which he returned in the book The Logical Basis of Metaphysics. In the essay he distinguishes differ-ent levels of justification of increasing philosophical depth. At the third and deepest level, the focus is on explaining deduction rather than on justifying it. The task is to explain how deduction can be both legitimate and useful in giving us knowledge. I suggest that it can be described as essentially being the task to say what it is that gives a deduction its epistemic force. It is a fact that deduc-tion has such force, consisting in its capacity to provide grounds for assertions and thereby extend our knowledge, but it is a fact that has to be explained. What is it that gives a deduction this capacity? This task is more challenging than is usually assumed. Obviously, it is not the validity of its inferences, as this is usually understood, which gives a deduction its epistemic force. Truth condi-tional theory of meaning does not seem to have any satisfactory solution to offer, and I argue that nor have inferential theories of meaning, which take the meaning of sentences to be determined by inference rules accepted in a lan-guage. In the last part of the paper, I sketch a different approach to the problem. The main idea is here to give the concept of inference a richer content, so that to perform an inference is not only to make a speech act in which a conclusion is claimed to be supported by a number of premisses, but is in addition to operate on the grounds for the premisses with the aim of getting a ground for the con-clusion. I suggest that it is thanks to such operations that deductions provide grounds for their final conclusions. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2018. p. 103-122
Series
Launer Library of Analytical Philosophy, ISSN 2198-2155 ; 4
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
Research subject
Theoretical Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-159433DOI: 10.1515/9783110459135-007ISBN: 978-3-11-045839-8 (electronic)ISBN: 9783110458312 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-159433DiVA, id: diva2:1242848
Available from: 2018-08-29 Created: 2018-08-29 Last updated: 2023-03-08Bibliographically approved

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