Bienvenidos !!!

Este blog no tiene ninguna otra finalidad que compartir y ayudar a reflexionar sobre lógica y filosofía de la lógica, filosofía de las matemáticas, de la ciencia etc.
El blog es absolutamente gratuito. Mando los artículos a quienes lo soliciten y me envíen su mail . Es importante difundir nuestras reflexiones, discusiones, investigaciones y logros en el campo de las disciplinas que nos apasionan .

Gracias por seguir el blog !!!

Claudio Conforti

sábado, 4 de junio de 2011

Béziau..13 Questions about Universal Logic - Cont- preguntas 4 a 9

4. Universal logic takes the notion of structure as a starting

point; but what is a structure, should not the notion of structure

be analyzed also from a logical viewpoint ? If so, aren’t we in the

sin of circularity ?

Here we are faced with some of the most favourite problems of logicians,

those who are fond with gossiping about Buridan’s donkey that bites

his own tails, the barber who shaves his own wife or the fool who claims not

to be a fool, and so on. I have to say that I’m hardly interested with such

problems, and here I agree with Wittgenstein when the latter suspected the

Paradox of the Liar to have absolutely no logical philosophical relevance. I

don’t intend to go any further into some Lacanian analysis, but it seems to

me that such problems are somehow infantile. Many paradoxes are nothing

but toys and those who play with them often have a mental age of six or


As it was rightly stressed by the very witty Baron of Chambourcy:

“Si les math´ematiques ne sont qu’un jeu, je pr´efere jouer a la poup´ee” (“If

mathematics is just a game, then I prefer to play with dolls”). The notion

of structure is much more than a mere toy, but that doesn’t prevent it

from being a funny thing. First and foremost, let us stress that the notion

of structure doesn’t reduce to the notion of mathematical structure and

therefore, any logicist who would reduce mathematics to logic couldn’t spell

out the concept of structure. The notion of structure largely goes beyond

the mathematical area, and Bourbaki said himself that he was influenced

by such linguists as Benveniste. During the sixties, “structuralism” was

meant as a large movement that mainly occurred in human sciences. But

structuralism as we understand it is something still larger that includes

linguistics, mathematics, psychology, and so on.

In his book entitled
Pens´ee formelle et sciences de l’homme, Granger

makes some rather interesting comments about the source of structuralism

in the wide sense. Now what concerns us are not so much historical

and sociological considerations about the development of structuralism,

but rather the issue of the ultimate view of structuralism as underlying

mathematical structuralism and universal logic.

The view is that there is no object in itself, that any object is defined

by the relations it bears with any other objects within a structure; that

is typically the analysis Saussure offers for language: nasty only makes

sense with respect to angry, nice, and so on. Moreover, any object x in

a structure can be identified with an object y in another structure if one

considers that both behave in a similar way within some similar structures.

This makes translations possible. If Quine had read Saussure, he would

have relativised his thesis about indeterminacy of language.

Contrarily to what one could expect, there is presently no general

mathematical theory of structures. Some elements can be found in Bourbaki,

universal algebra, category theory, or model theory, but nothing conclusive.

Universal logic can contribute itself to the development of a general

theory of structures in stating and solving such crucial issues as for example

identity between logical structures. When and how two mathematical

structures are identical is a problem of crucial import in the theory of structures.

The notion of isomorphism is too weak to be satisfactory. The point

is to be in position to identify structures of different sorts. In the history

of mathematics, a canonical example is identification between an idempotent

ring and a complemented distributive lattice by Marshall Stone, both

being two equivalent formulations of what is called a Boolean algebra. The

concept that helps to account for the identification as revealed by Stone

appears nowadays as a concept from model theory, namely: the notion of

expansion by definition.

Now it happens that when we try to apply such a concept to the

identity between logical structures, we are then faced with various problems

that betray its very deficiency. Thus we are led to put such a series of

questions as the following: do a structure and one of its expansion really

have one and the same domain ?

To sum up, universal logic conclusively helps to make think us about

the nature of a structure, and this is much more significant than to solve

paradoxes about donkeys or monkeys.

5. How and when does universal logic begin? Who is really

the pioneer of universal logic?

The real starting point is in the 1920’s, when Hertz on the one hand

and Tarski on the other hand make a jump into abstraction and are interested

with general theories that give rise to the study and development

of various systems. Tarski’s stance is a characteristic one: whereas

Lukasiewicz develops many-valued logic for the philosophical purpose to

solve questions about determinism, the former takes this as a tool in order

to elaborate a general theory of logic. Lindenbaum goes towards such

a trend, too, while proving several crucial theorems. In Poland, Lo´s and

Suszko pursue this line after the World War II, namely with their joint

paper “Remarks on sentential logics” in which they introduce the notion of

structural logic. While Lo´s gave up to logic and turned to economy, Suszko

pursued his works and developed with Bloom et Brown what he called “abstract

logic”. After his death, these works were pursued by Czelakowski in

Poland and by Font and Jansana in Barcelona.

One word should be said within this Polish trend about the French

logician Jean Porte, whose book entitled Recherches sur la th´eorie g´en´erale

des systemes formels was published in 1965 and contained some results from

the Polish school. Porte’s book is very interesting, because he clearly and

overtly argues for the independence of logic from the issue of mathematical

foundations, so that he rejects logic as metamathematics. On the other

hand, Porte distinguished logic from algebra, and that is not always the case

with Polish people who regrettably tend to assimilate logic with universal

algebra. Porte was a PhD student of Ren´e de Possel, one of those who

founded Bourbaki. Porte’s book didn’t have much influence unfortunately,

and this may be for several reasons: he was a forerunner, the book is

written in French and hasn’t been translated, Porte went to Africa and

stayed there many years in isolation from the community of logicians.

It is in the 1980’s that the trend of universal logic actually became

prominent. Issues about mathematical foundations were already eclipsed

in logic at that time. Logic was revived by some “practical” questions

from AI, linguistics and computer science. Many non-classical logics were

considered: non-monotonic logics, substructural logics, together with all

the conceivable variants of modal logics. General techniques of systematisation

started to be developed. Either old techniques were studied again

and reworked such as logical matrices, consequence operator (as used by

Makinson for investigating AGM theory of belief revisions as well as nonmonotonic

logics), sequent calculus (substructural logics); or new techniques

were developed such as LDS (Dov Gabbay’s Labelled Deductive


Apart from some very active and dynamic groups, like Gabbay’s in

London and van Benthem’s in Amsterdam, some works from isolated people

like Epstein, Cleave, or Koslov should also be mentioned.

6. How did you come to universal logic?

I explained this at length in a paper entitled “From paraconsistent

logic to universal logic”. So I’ll merely sum up. During the eighties, I

was studying logic in Paris and observed the rise of all these new logics.

On the one hand, I attended a logical course with Jean-Yves Girard who

presented us in a unified and comparative way classical, intuitionistic and

linear logics through the sequent calculus ; on the other hand, I attended a

course with Daniel Andler who presented us a complete list of the new logics

(default logics, and so on). I myself discovered by chance paraconsistent

logic from the Brazilian logician Newton da Costa, a very unknown logic

at that time, and I was particularly interested with it because I wanted to

know whether one could still consider as a logic one in which the principle of

contradiction does not hold. Then I was quickly convinced that one could,

and was increasingly concerned with general techniques as used to generate

this sort of logic, especially with the theory of valuation as developed by

da Costa and on which I worked with him during a first stay in Brazil,

in 1991. Then all followed in a quick and natural way: I found Porte’s

book that contained some similar ideas to mine, and this ensured me in my

own researches. Then I went to Poland, in order to get acquainted with

Polish works da Costa had told me about and Porte mentioned in his book.

During my stay in 1993 at the University of Wroc law, Poland, I decided

to employ the expression “universal logic” that would appear later in the

title of my PhD, written in 1994 and defended in 1995 in the department

of mathematics at the University of Paris 7 under the supervision of Daniel


Then the story goes on all over the world. I travelled a lot, and

the view of universal logic made its way too. The 1st World Congress of

Universal Logic took place in Montreux in Spring 2005, gathering about

200 logicians from 40 different countries. The book Logica Universalis was

launched on that occasion by Birkh¨auser.

Finally, I want to precise my own contribution: it is difficult to say

who has created the expression “universal logic” or used it for the first time,

what I did is to use it to mean “a general theory of logics”. Furthermore,

there are several ways of framing a general theory of logics and, as we just

saw it, a large trend developed around this since twenty years. I do not

see universal logic as a general theory among others but as a concept, an

expression designed to depict such a whole trend.

7. Is universal logic a new way to view logic?

Surely. The view that dominated in the beginning of the 20th century

and still dominates in some way is a hybrid view in which some rather

different influences are mixed, namely: formalism, linguistics, and logical

atomism. This can be seen as a rather monstrous, inconsistent whole.

To give just one example: the traditional distinction between syntax and

semantics. What does it really mean? Does it have a foundation? And, if

so, which one? Syntax only means the construction of a formal language for

some, and for others it also includes what is called proof theory; for others,

like Chang and Keisler, it concerns all what is recursive, in particular they

call syntax the semantics of truth tables for sentential logic.

A more reasonable thing would be to make a distinction between

model theory and proof theory, but even such a distinction is questionable

because there are a lot of intermediary theories, e.g. Beth tableaux.

The path from proof theory to model theory could be said to be a continuous

one ; when one comes out from the land of proofs and enters into the

land of models, it is difficult to know, this is an issue we’ll leave for bald

persons who like to sit on heaps of rice.

What is crucial in universal logic is that logics are considered irrespective

of the way they are generated, so that one thus makes a jump into

abstraction. And this is not surprising at all, it’s the most natural thing

you could have. Classical propositional logic can be generated in a hundred

different ways, through Hilbert systems, Gentzen systems, tableaux, two-,

three- or infinite-valued semantics. What is this object that can be defined

in so much different ways? Everybody believes in it, and nobody would

venture to claim that classical propositional logic reduces to one particular

way of constructing it.

Universal logic consequently brings an answer to this question, saying

that classical propositional logic is a logical structure in just the same way

as intuitionistic or linear logic. Hence this helps to throw some light on the

connection between various ways to generate a given logic, as well as on

the relation between different logics.

8. What are philosophical consequences of universal logic?

They are tremendous, since universal logic gives a way to bring every

logical philosophical problem into some new light. Given that the traditional

view of logic is highly obscure, so is the philosophy connected to


Let us take a canonical case, namely the famous distinction by Susan

Haack between logics as deviations from the classical one and logics as

conservative extensions from this same logic. Here is prima facie something

like a nice and easy thing to understand: for instance, the modal logic S5

is a conservative extension of classical logic since additional operators are

added that don’t alter the previous content, whereas intuitionistic logic is

a deviant logic with respect to classical logic because properties of negation

and implication are altered. However, such a nice distinction vanishes once

one sees that classical logic is definable within intuitionistic logic. Then

intuitionistic logic appears in some sense as a conservative extension of

classical logic.

The trouble with Haack’s distinction is that it doesn’t rest upon any

serious and systematic theory, but only on some ideas thrown in the air

and explained and justified with basic elementary examples. On this respect,

philosophers of logic are not so much different from other superficial

philosophers like Deleuze or Lacan. That logic is unclear itself is certainly

an excuse for them, but the task for a philosopher is to clear up confusion,

not to adorn it with nice concepts. Their behaviour is unproductive and

doesn’t bring any real understanding.

Philosophy and logic should not indeed be viewed separately. In order

to catch the difference between deviant logics and conservative extensions,

some news concepts and an entire theory are required, and universal logic

turns out to be a framework for this purpose. In order to construct such

a theory, one needs to be a philosopher, that is, to try to understand how

things are. Every good logician is a philosopher. Others are just applying

and reproducing some devices at their disposal. This equally holds for logic

and for science in general. On the other hand, any philosopher of science

who is not a scientist cannot be taken seriously; to borrow a favourite view

of Newton da Costa, it’s like a priest philosophizing about women. How to

take seriously a philosopher of logic who had never proved any theorem ?

He is a historian of logic, at the very best and, at worst, a charlatan who

talks about something he doesn’t understand.

1 comentario:

  1. Durísima la postura de Béziau... en el texto cuestiona la distincion de Susan Haack entre Logica clásica, extensiones y Lógicas no clásicas; la diferencia entre el enfoque sintáctico y el samántico: entre la teoría de modelos y la teoría de la prueba...
    Por último aplasta sin piedad a los Filósofos de la Lógica.


Gracias por dejarme tu comentario