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Issues And Developments In The Philosophy Of Logic

Logic and information
Even though none of the problems listed seems to affect the interest of logical semantics, its applications are often handicapped by the nature of many of its basic concepts. One may consider, for instance, the analysis of a proposition as a function that correlates possible worlds with truth-values. An arbitrary function of this sort can be thought of (as can functions in general) as an infinite class of pairs of correlated values of an independent variable and of the function, like the coordinate pairs (x, y) of points on a graph. Although propositions are supposed to be meanings of sentences, no one can grasp such an infinite class directly when understanding a sentence; he can do so only by means of some particular algorithm, or recipe (as it were), for computing the function in question. Such particular algorithms come closer in some respects to what is actually needed in the theory of meaning than the meaning entities of the usual intensional logic.

This observation is connected with the fact that, in the usual logical semantics, no finer distinctions are utilized in semantical discussions than logical equivalence. Hence the transition from one sentence to another logically equivalent one is disregarded for the purposes of meaning concepts. This disregard would be justifiable if one of the most famous theses of Logical Positivists were true in a sufficiently strong sense, viz., that logical truths are really tautologies (such as “It is either raining or not raining”) in every interesting objective sense of the word. Many philosophers have been dissatisfied with the stronger forms of this thesis, but only recently have attempts been made to spell out the precise sense in which logical and mathematical truths are informative and not tautologous.