3:AM: How far is your commitment to the principle of bivalence something that shapes your philosophical outlook and what are your thoughts about philosophical traditions that tend to dismiss it, such as Hegelianism?
TW: I regard classical logic, in a broad sense that includes the principle of bivalence, as the best guide we have in philosophy. That doesn’t mean that I think it crazy to challenge bivalence. Many able philosophers have argued against it in various interesting ways for various domains, including the past, the future, the infinite, and the quantum world, as well as vagueness. I don’t dismiss their arguments; I try to show in detail where they have gone wrong. I would put Hegelianism low on the order of challenges to bivalence, because Hegel was writing long before the development of modern logic, at a time when logic was in a terrible state, and so he had no idea of the resources of logic. There are profound things in Hegel, such as the master-slave dialectic in The Phenomenology of Spirit, but he was no logician. Although some contemporary advocates of non-classical logic refer to Hegel from time to time, I have never seen a powerful Hegelian critique of classical logic. [Emphasis added.]
Thursday, May 14, 2009
This interview with Williamson has been finding its way around to different blogs lately. I thought it worth posting about a section I found particularly telling. Williamson writes short introductions to some of his main philosophical work, e.g., vagueness, epistemology, methodology. As a follow up to the question about vagueness, Williamson is asked about the principle of bivalence, a fixed point in many of his philosophical arguments.