Posts Tagged ‘formal philosophy’

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For those who may not be aware of it yet, The Reasoner is wonderful, interdisciplinary, monthly publication devoted to matters that fall largely within the sphere of formal logic and research on reasoning.  Because the focus is so often on formal methods this may not seem, at first, to be the kind of thing that most argumentation theorists naturally would be inclined to look at, but I find it often contains vignettes, short articles, and interviews that ofter serious food for thought to those with interests in informal logic, argumentation, and critical thinking.

A case in point is the most recent issue (vol. 5 no. 11), which contains a fascinating interview with mathematical logician Wilfrid Hodges and a sharp little essay attacking the distinction between critical and creative thinking by A. Minh Nguyen. (Readers of this blog may recall similar ruminations offered in this post from April of 2010).  To whet your appetite, here’s a quote from the Hodges interview:

I have no patience at all with the view of Kant, followed by Frege and some modern writers, that logic studies how we ought to think and psychology studies how we do think. A logician can tell you that if you reason by rule X, then you will sometimes find yourself deducing false conclusions from true premises. It does follow that if you want never to deduce false conclusions from true premises, you ought not to use rule X. So for example you ought not to use rule X in a research paper in pure mathematics. But in real life, where time and memory are often limited and premises are often dubious in one way or another, rule X might be for practical purposes exactly what you need. One of the major achievements of logic of the last fifty years is to start taking seriously the constraints under which we reason, and the different aims that we can have in our reasoning. This expansion of logic gives many openings for collaboration between logicians and cognitivists [i.e. cognitive scientists].

The interview moves from considerations like this one to a discussion of the relationship between logic and cognitive science, and includes an interesting discussion of the logic of the medieval Arab philosopher Ibn Sina.

The Reasoner is an open access publication. Its present and past issues as well are all downloadable in .pdf format free of charge.

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