Catarina Dutilh Novaes: Logic as Social Practice | WSB #27

February 13, 2018

The practice of logic is not an eternal given. It has a history. The logical tradition, as we know it, began as debating practices in ancient Greece. Catarina Dutilh Novaes examines the implications of this historical insight and from it develops a dialogical account of logic: deductive logic is an inherently conversational and social practice, even when engaged privately. This has huge implications for any theory of what logic is and what it should be.

Dutilh Novaes also investigates the cognitive impact of formal logic. Formalisms, she argues, are best seen as cognitive tools, which aid both in calculation and in counterbalancing belief bias. But, as with logic, she doesn't view cognition as primarily an internal affair. Rather, she presents an extended view of cognition, in which cognitive processes are inseparably integrated with the external world.

Next week: David Rosenthal: Mental Qualities

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Special thanks to Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.
Click here for the full list of episodes!

Catarina Dutilh Novaes (homepage)
The Roots of Deduction (C. Dutilh Novaes, project)
Formal Languages in Logic: A Philosophical and Cognitive Analysis (C. Dutilh Novaes)
"A dialogical, multi-agent account of the normativity of logic" (C. Dutilh Novaes)
"Reasoning biases, non-monotonic logics, and belief revision" (C. Dutilh Novaes, H. Veluwenkamp)
"Conceptual genealogy for analytic philosophy" (C. Dutilh Novaes)
"What is logic?" (C. Dutilh Novaes, Aeon article)
"Cognitive Motivations for Treating Formalisms as Calculi" (C. Dutilh Novaes, YouTube vid)
"The Normativity of Logic - A Dialogical Account" (C. Dutilh Novaes, YouTube vid)
What Does It Mean to Say that Logic is Formal? (John MacFarlane)
"In what sense (if any) is logic normative for thought?" (John MacFarlane)
Change in View: Principles of Reasoning (Gilbert Harman)
"The extended mind" (Andy Clark, David Chalmers)
Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness (Peter Godfrey-Smith)

Topics discussed:

0:20 - Catarina Dutilh Novaes: chronology of work
9:30 - Dialogical account of logic (historical, cognitive, and philosophical approaches)
15:30 - Why did we forget the dialogical origins of logic? (philosophy in the mind v. in debates)
22:54 - Is logic less important than we thought?
26:10 - Normative status of deductive logic
40:49 - Genetic fallacy and genealogy
48:52 - Conversational nature of philosophy (inner dialogue and the inner skeptic)
57:55 - Incorporating empirical findings
1:00:09 - Extended cognition
1:07:00 - Debiasing - confirmation bias and making new discoveries
1:12:38 - Social epistemology of argumentation


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