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Logic naturalized

John Woods

pp. 403-432

When logic took the mathematical turn in the nineteenth century, the human reasoner dropped out of the picture, save (at most) as a highly idealized abstraction. Although much of present-day logic retains this indifference to the realities of human cognitive agency, there has of late been no want of effort to enrich the mathematical mechanisms of formal logic in hopes of achieving a tighter fit between theory and the reasoning-behaviour of the earth-bound human agent. There is in these arrangements a clearly discernible pattern. The greater the theory's interest in approximating to how humans actually think, the more complex the theory's formal mechanisms. On this view, realist approximation varies proportionally with mathematical enrichment.A contrary view is suggested here. It is argued that in the degree that heavily mathematicized scientific theories do well at the empirical checkout counter, their counterparts for theories of empirically instantiable and normatively assessable human behaviour are both empirical failures and normatively dubious (indeed preposterous).An alternative approach is suggested by a nearly 50-year old development in epistemology. It is the turning proposed in 1969 by Quine in "Epistemology naturalized". The idea that is floated here is that a like transformation of logic might hold at least some of the promise that now graces philosophical work on knowledge.Logic naturalized is an idea, not a well-worked out theoretical development. Even so, some tentative proposals are volunteered in the hope of inducing like-minded readers to consider joining the fray.

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Full citation:

Woods, J. (2016)., Logic naturalized, in J. Redmond, O. Martins & √. Fern√°ndez (eds.), Epistemology, knowledge and the impact of interaction, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 403-432.

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