Bilateralist Detours: From Intuitionist to Classical Logic and Back

Nils Kürbis


There is widespread agreement that while on a Dummettian theory of meaning the justified logic is intuitionist, as its constants are governed by harmonious rules of inference, the situation is reversed on Huw Price’s bilateralist account, where meanings are specified in terms of primitive speech acts assertion and denial. In bilateral logics, the rules for classical negation are in harmony. However, as it is possible to construct an intuitionist bilateral logic with harmonious rules, there is no formal argument against intuitionism from the bilateralist perspective. Price gives an informal argument for classical negation based on a pragmatic notion of belief, characterised in terms of the di erences they make to speakers’ actions. The main part of this paper puts Price’s argument under close scrutiny by regimenting it and isolating principles Price is committed to. It is shown that Price should draw a distinction between A or ¬ A making a di erence. According to Price, if A makes a di erence to us, we treat it as decidable. This material allows the intuitionist to block Price’s argument. Abandoning classical logic also brings advantages, as within intuitionist logic there is a precise meaning to what it might mean to treat A as decidable: it is to assume A ∨ ¬A.


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