ArgLab • Colloquium

Danielle Macbeth on “Thinking Beyond Logic”

ArgLab Research Colloquium

It is natural to think that logic and its laws are a presupposition of all critically reflective inquiry, and hence that the laws of logic are transparent to reason. And if they are, then we do not discover the laws of logic over the course of history but only come to notice them, each of us for ourselves, that we could not be wrong about the laws of logic. It also would seem to follow that we could not be wrong to think that that fact—that the laws of logic are transparent to reason—is also transparent to reason. And yet, I do think that we are wrong to think that the laws of logic are transparent to reason, and so wrong to think that that fact is transparent to reason. But how could this be? And if it is, how could it be shown? Not empirically: logic is a priori. And not by deductive, that is, logical argument: that would be to beg the question at issue. Our task is and must be to look beyond logic—though not, we will see, beyond all rationally reflective criticism—to how we might think about our (fallible and historically conditioned) knowledge of the laws of logic.

Danielle Macbeth (Haverford College, USA)

To join the session on Zoom, please get in touch with Maria Grazia Rossi at for the details.

This event is part of the ArgLab Research Colloquium organised by Maria Grazia Rossi, Giulia Terzian and Gloria Andrada at the Laboratory of Argumentation, Cognition and Language of the NOVA Institute of Philosophy. For any inquiries, please contact Maria GraziaGiulia, or Gloria.

Event supported by the Foundation for Science and Technology (Fundação para a Ciência e para a Tecnologia) of the Portuguese Ministry of Education and Science under the project UIDB/00183/2020.