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Methodological Practice and Complementary Concepts of Logical Consequence: Tarski's Model-Theoretic Consequence and Corcoran's Information-Theoretic Consequence

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This article discusses two coextensive concepts of logical consequence that are implicit in the two fundamental logical practices of establishing validity and invalidity for premise-conclusion arguments. The premises and conclusion of an argument have information content (they 'say' something), and they have subject matter (they are 'about' something). The asymmetry between establishing validity and establishing invalidity has long been noted: validity is established through an information-processing procedure exhibiting a step-by-step deduction of the conclusion from the premise-set. Invalidity is established by exhibiting a countermodel satisfying the premises but not the conclusion. The process of establishing validity focuses on information content; the process of establishing invalidity focuses on subject matter. Corcoran's information-theoretic concept of logical consequence corresponds to the former. Tarski's model-theoretic concept of logical consequence formulated in his famous 1936 no-countermodels definition corresponds to the latter. Both are found to be indispensable for understanding the rationale of the deductive method and each complements the other. This study discusses the ontic question of the nature of logical consequence and the epistemic question of the human capabilities presupposed by practical applications of these two concepts as they make validity and invalidity accessible to human knowledge.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01445340802113531

Affiliations: Department of Logic and Moral Philosophy, University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Publication date: February 1, 2009

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