Intuitions in logic: a moderate proposal

Diego Tajer


Intuitions play a significant role in debates about logic. In this paper, I analyze how legitimate is that practice. In the first part of the paper, I distinguish between theoretical and pretheoretical intuitions, and argue that some pretheoretical intuitions are not to be taken into account in logic. Particularly, our pretheoretical intuitions about the concept of validity are not of much importance, since we don’t have a uniform or clear concept of validity in the natural language to be elucidated. Nevertheless, I argue that, since logical connectives are more homogeneously used in our ordinary speech, we can appeal to pretheoretical intuitions to establish their meaning in a logical theory. In the second part of the paper, I consider and reply to four objections to this moderate proposal. Two of them try to show that, if this position is adopted, then the pretheoretical intuitions about the connectives are completely unreliable and useless. One of them argues that this mixed position is unstable: pretheoretical intuitions about the connectives are also pretheoretical intuitions about validity. The last problem is related to the definition of validity and the possibility of revising it.


intuitions; logical consequence; epistemology of logic; logical constants


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