Logic and Politics
Graduate School of Economic, Political and Social Sciences, State University of Milan, Italy
and Polytcehnical School of Turin, Italy
The tutorial includes a brief account of theories about the relations between logic and politics, then three lectures devoted to practical cases, illustrating the use of non-classical logics in political reasoning and public debate.
1. The relations between logic and politics: hypotheses and programs
Between politics and logics (like between politics and truth) there is traditional foreignness or even enmity. In ‘realistic’ perspective, political life is alleged to be refractory to logic and rationality, insofar as ruled by powers and interests. In normative political theory, logic is alleged to be damage more than advantage for public life, for instance because the compelling force of logical proofs may promote intolerant and context-insensitive attitudes, so it is hardly adaptable to the needs of political pluralism.
The adversaries of logic in political philosophy (see classically H. Arendt, J. Rawls, J. Habermas) generally have a fairly restricted conception of logic: they conceive it as study of classical forms as applied to mathematically-oriented ways of thinking. But this is not all what logic is and can be (like the «universal logic» enterprise is intended to show).
The tutorial is based on the idea that what is needed for politics (and political theory) is philosophical logic, in the current meaning of a series of logical inquiries concerning paradoxes, non-classical conceptions of truth and validity, and the connections between natural language and formal languages. As a matter of fact, it is not so difficult to see that political reasoning, especially in democratic perspective, is most often ruled (and should be ruled) by non-classical logics, and this can be seen in various ways, for instance:
- irreducible public conflicts usually involve under-determined or over- determined cases, so paracomplete and paraconsistent conceptions of truth may help in dealing with these sorts of conflicts;
- normative disagreements are based on conceptions of how the world is and could be, so logical awareness concerning modality – e. g. possible-worlds semantics – is highly helpful in understanding rival normative pictures of facts, saving pluralism while allowing truth-oriented confrontations;
- ‘ideology’ – in classical Marxian account – is a false system of beliefs that blocks any attempt at modifying reality to meet justice, hence logical pluralism, to say a ductile conception of validity (including classically deductive as well as Bayesian and relevant validity), provides a good antidote to ideological blindness.
The three lectures of the tutorial will deal with these three topics. Moving from the illustration of some particular cases, they will give attending people the preliminary elements for reflecting on how new acquisitions of philosophical logic may reverse the traditional judgement about the incompatibility, or enmity, or extraneousness, of logic and politics. Last but not least, they are also intended to suggest that the consideration of the real needs and occurrences of associated life can be heuristically useful for logical researches.
References (preliminary suggestions)
Arendt, H., 1999, The Human Condition. University of Chicago (1st ed. 1958)
Beall, J.C. and B. van Fraassen, 2003, Possibilities and Paradoxes. Oxford University Press
Beall, J. C. and G. Restall, 2006, Logical Pluralism. Oxford University Press
Berto, F., 2007, How to Sell a Contradiction. The Logic and Metaphysics of Inconsistency. King’s College
Burgess, J., 2009, Philosophical Logic. Princeton University Press
Cellucci, C., 2013, Rethinking Logic. Springer
Christensen, D. and J. Lackey, The Epistemology of Disagreement. New Essays. D’Agostini, F., forthcoming, Logic & Politics. A New Alliance.
Dahl, R. A., 1998, On Democracy. Yale (2000)
Garson, J. W., 2006, Modal Logic for Philosophers. Cambridge University Press
Huckfeldt, R., P. E. Johnson, J. Sprague, 2004, Political Disagreement. Cambridge
Jacquette, D., 2010, Logic and How It Gets that Way. Acumen
Petrucciani, S., 2014, Democrazia. Einaudi
Priest, G., 2010, An Introduction to Non-Classical Logics: From If to Is. Cambridge University Press (1st ed. 2001)
Read, S., 2010, Thinking About Logic. Oxford University Press (1st ed. 1994)
Williamson, T., 2013, Modal Logic as Metaphysics. Oxford University Press