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Knowledge of Validity

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Abstract

What accounts for how we know that certain rules of reasoning, such as reasoning by Modus Ponens, are valid? If our knowledge of validity must be based on some reasoning, then we seem to be committed to the legitimacy of rule-circular arguments for validity. This paper raises a new difficulty for the rule-circular account of our knowledge of validity. The source of the problem is that, contrary to traditional wisdom, a universal generalization cannot be inferred just on the basis of reasoning about an arbitrary object. I argue in favor of a more sophisticated constraint on reasoning by universal generalization, one which undermines a rule-circular account of our knowledge of validity.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-09-01

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