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Truth, Consequence and Paradox (PH329)

Logic is the backbone of argument. Studied since the time of Aristotle, and now much mathematicised, it provides a wealth of problems demanding philosophical examination. What is it for conclusions to be logical consequences of premises? Does knowledge of logical consequence depend on knowing what the world contingently contains? Contemporary treatments of logical consequence make free play with the notion of truth.

But what is it for something to be true or false? Is truth a deep or superficial property? And what sorts of things are apt to bear that property? Worse, the notion of truth seems susceptible to paradox, via the question whether the sentence, “This sentence is false,” is true or false. The attempt to apply logic to ordinary thinking runs into further difficulties due to the natural imprecision of such thinking: a grain of sand is no heap; adding a grain can make no difference; but then elementary logic seems to reveal that there are no heaps. This module offers a non-technical introduction to these central issues in contemporary philosophy of logic.

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Module Director

Guy Longworth


CATS

This module is worth 15 CATS.