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The epistemic significance of valid inference
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
2012 (English)In: Synthese, ISSN 0039-7857, E-ISSN 1573-0964, Vol. 187, no 3, 887-898 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The traditional picture of logic takes it for granted that valid arguments have a fundamental epistemic significance, but neither model theory nor traditional proof theory dealing with formal system has been able to give an account of this significance. Since valid arguments as usually understood do not in general have any epistemic significance, the problem is to explain how and why we can nevertheless use them sometimes to acquire knowledge. It is suggested that we should distinguish between arguments and acts of inferences and that we have to reconsider the latter notion to arrive at the desired explanation. More precisely, the notions should be developed so that the following relationship holds: one gets in possession of a ground for a conclusion by inferring it from premisses for which one already has grounds, provided that the inference in question is valid. The paper proposes explications of the concepts of ground and deductively valid inference so that this relationship holds as a conceptual truth. Logical validity of inference is seen as a special case of deductive validity, but does not add anything as far as epistemic significance is concerned-it resides already in the deductively valid inferences.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 187, no 3, 887-898 p.
Keyword [en]
Logic, Epistemology, Knowledge, Ground for assertion, Valid argument, Deductive validity
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-81813DOI: 10.1007/s11229-011-9907-7ISI: 000309242100006OAI: diva2:566844


Available from: 2012-11-09 Created: 2012-11-01 Last updated: 2012-11-09Bibliographically approved

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ReferencesLink to record
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