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RELEVANCE FOR THE CLASSICAL LOGICIAN

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 November 2018

ETHAN BRAUER*
Affiliation:
Department of Philosophy, The Ohio State University
*
*DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY 350 UNIVERSITY HALL 230 N. OVAL MALL COLUMBUS, OH 43210, USA E-mail: eebrauer@gmail.com
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Abstract

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Although much technical and philosophical attention has been given to relevance logics, the notion of relevance itself is generally left at an intuitive level. It is difficult to find in the literature an explicit account of relevance in formal reasoning. In this article I offer a formal explication of the notion of relevance in deductive logic and argue that this notion has an interesting place in the study of classical logic. The main idea is that a premise is relevant to an argument when it contributes to the validity of that argument. I then argue that the sequents which best embody this ideal of relevance are the so-called perfect sequents—that is, sequents which are valid but have no proper subsequents that are valid. Church’s theorem entails that there is no recursively axiomatizable proof-system that proves all and only the perfect sequents, so the project that emerges from studying perfection in classical logic is not one of finding a perfect subsystem of classical logic, but is rather a comparative study of classifying subsystems of classical logic according to how well they approximate the ideal of perfection.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Association for Symbolic Logic 2018 

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