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An Illocutionary Logical Explanation of the Surprise Execution

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This paper further develops the system of illocutionary logic presented in 'Propositional logic of supposition and assertion' (Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 1997, 38, 325-349) to accommodate an 'I believe that' operator and resolve Moore's Paradox. This resolution is accomplished by providing both a truth-conditional and a commitment-based semantics. An important feature of the logical system is that the correctness of some arguments depends on who it is that makes the argument. The paper then shows that the logical system can be expanded to resolve the surprise execution paradox puzzle. The prisoner's argument showing that he can't be executed by surprise is correct but his beliefs are incoherent. The judge's beliefs (and our beliefs) about this situation are not incoherent.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, State University at Buffalo, Baldy Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260-1010, USA

Publication date: October 1, 1999

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