Neopragmatism About Logic

Lionel Shapiro

I’ll propose an application to logic of the “neopragmatist” program. Neopragmatists argue that inquiry into the nature of what we think and talk about can be fruitfully replaced by inquiry into the functions of concepts and expressions. Logical vocabulary can serve as a particular target for neopragmatist theorizing, but it has also been taken to pose obstacles to neopragmatist accounts more generally. I’ll argue that a neopragmatist approach to logical relations (such as logical consequence), as well as to ascriptions of content, undermines two constraints on neopragmatist accounts of logical connectives (such as “and”, “or”, and “not”). Freed from these constraints, I’ll sketch a simple version of such an account, on which logical connectives express dialectical attitudes. The resulting approach is deflationary in two ways: it’s based on deflationism about logical relations and it aims to deflate some of neopragmatists’ usual theoretical ambitions.