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Title: Logic as modelling
Author: Coleman, Neil Edward
ISNI:       0000 0004 6056 8626
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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We are often faced with normative claims about our logical systems and practice. 'classical systems are good', 'intuitionistic logics are deviant and therefore should not be used', etc. In this thesis I aim consider the nature of these norms. I ask: what is it to be a good or bad logic? What are the norms governing logical practice? The answer I offer traces back to the work of Cook (2000) and Shapiro (2012). I argue that Logic is best understood as a discipline concerned with the construction, development and application of a particular type of scientific model: logics. Logics are models in the same way that the Hodgkin-Huxley equations are a model of action potential. They are representational tools which have the capacity to be applied to target systems in order to satisfy a range of different functions. Thus, logics are to be evaluated in the same manner as any other model. Their value will stem from their satisfaction of a representational function. One way in which we might characterise this is to talk of the modes of assessment we usually attribute to scientific models {such as representational adequacy, simplicity, elegance and so forth). Logical practice is also therefore governed by the same norms applicable to scientific modelling generally. In essence, Logic is the search for the best model for a given target and function. Noteworthy about this approach to the normative issues are the following points: firstly, it recognises a greater variety of evaluations for logic than the simple binary of 'true' and 'false' or 'correct' and 'incorrect'. Second, what we might call 'non-correspondence virtues' (such as simplicity, unity etc.) become relevant to the assessment of logics. Finally, we find that Logic becomes open to functional and subject relativisms, along with methodological pluralisms, though the degree to which such pluralisms will actually exist will depend on the particular targets and functions to which our logics are applied
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available