Logic & Philosophy of Science Colloquium

Sherrilyn Roush
Rice University

"Knowledge of Logical Truth"

Abstract: Logical and other necessary truths present a challenge to both internalist and externalist views of knowledge, for different reasons. The internalist can’t avoid making it unrealistically difficult to know obvious logical truths, because he requires awareness of reasons. The externalist’s main problem is that the necessity of the logical truth combines with many of the usual externalist standards to make it far too easy to know a logical truth, even one of arbitrary complexity. I define an externalist account of knowledge of logical truth that avoids these problems and takes its bearings from an externalist account of knowledge of logical implication. Then, to know a logical truth (that isn’t an implication) it is enough to be responsive to the fact that the logical truth is implied by every proposition. Thus, on this view knowing a logical truth is a matter of being responsive to the special relationship that proposition has to other propositions in the language. This account implies that logical truths cannot be known by authority, and provides a neat resolution of the paradox of entailment.

Friday, April 22, 2005
SST 777
3 pm

Refreshments will be served