Verbal Disputes in Logic: Against minimalism for logical connectives

Ole Thomassen Hjortland


Quine’s famous meaning-variance thesis has it that when a classical and a nonclassical logician argue about a logical law, say, the law of excluded middle, the apparent disagreement is a ‘mere verbal dispute’. Here we explore a popular response to the meaning-variance thesis, minimalism for logical connectives, as developed for example by Hilary Putnam, Susan Haack, and more recently Francesco Paoli. We use a new variant of Quine’s argument — a meta-Quinean argument — to show that the minimalist’s position is ultimately untenable. We then outline an alternative response to the meaning-variance thesis along structuralist lines.


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