Thursday, December 10, 2009

PhilPapers survey: Logic

The PhilPapers survey has generated a lot of discussion lately. I took the survey myself, and thought that answering the question was a nice exercise in thinking about my own views. In some ways, my own answers surprised me more than the general outcome of the survey.

I suspect that my answers fit well with the Karenin effect. Anna Karenina's husband is the type - we are told - that easily and gladly makes judgements about things of which he knows nothing (art and literature, in particular), but who finds it much too hard to be absolute in his own field (Russian law).

The quintessential logic-question was "Logic: classical or non-classical?" An unsurprising 51,5% answered accept or leaning towards classical logic; against a 15.3% accept or leaning towards non-classical. An honest 12% admitted to being insufficiently familiar with the issue. Myself, I'm a fan of the 'Accept both' answer, thus reading the question as an inclusive or. Nothing wrong with that perhaps, but it makes one wonder what the question here really is about. Classical or non-classical logic for what? - we might see the pluralist add. 3.4% found the question too unclear to answer, and although that was a bit tempting, I suspect that if you go down that path, most questions in the survey would need similar treatment.

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