A brief note on logical constants.

Most of my logic this year has been modern rather than medieval, but a few nights ago while reading up on intuitionism for this morning’s seminar, I came across an interesting comment on Dummett’s semantic molecularism:

Dummett’s proposal is that at least some crucial parts of language can be understood independently of any other parts. This applies, first and foremost, to the logical terminology: connectives such as negation, conjunction, disjunction, and ‘if-then’, and quantifiers like ‘there is’ and ‘for all’ [Shapiro, Thinking About Mathematics, pp. 193-194, emphasis added].

What struck me is that these things, these first and foremost examples of what “can be understood independently” of anything else, are exactly those things which the medieval logicians insisted could not be understood independently of anything else.

Do philosophy long enough, and for any person who argues for φ, eventually you’ll find someone who’ll argue just as strenuously for ~φ

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