CFP: Anti-Exceptionalism about Logic

Submission deadline: October 31, 2020

Topic areas


Guest Editors:

Filippo Ferrari (University of Padua), Ben Martin (University of Bergen), Maria Paola Sforza Fogliani (School for Advanced Studies IUSS Pavia)

Topical Collection Description:

The historical consensus seems to be that logic is somehow special. Whereas empirical evidence is used to support theories within both the natural and social sciences, logic answers solely to a priori evidence. Further, unlike other areas of research that rely upon priori evidence, such as mathematics, logical evidence is basic. While we can assume the validity of certain inferences in order to establish truths within mathematics and test scientific theories, logicians cannot use results from mathematics or the empirical sciences without seemingly begging the question. Further, unlike theories in other domains, which are about particular objects (however general these theories are), logical theories lack such content, and thus are wholly formal. Additionally, unlike scientific theories, which describe how the world is, logical theories do not merely describe some state of affairs, such as how we do reason, but provide a normative theory, about how we ought to reason. Anti-exceptionalism about logic (AEL) is the denial of at least one of these traditionally exceptional properties of logic: that it is purely formal, has normative force, and that logical evidence is both foundational and a priori.

Our hope is that this Topical Collection advances the area of research, concentrating particularly on four important themes:

Properties of Logic.

AEL proposes that logic fails to possess a series of properties that have traditionally been taken to make logic special, such as its laws being formal and general, logical evidence being a priori and foundational, and its theories having normative force regarding how we ought to reason. This articulation of the position itself raises important questions: i) What is the relationship between these properties in the context of AEL? ii) Is it really the case that these properties have prominently been assigned to logic and – if so – how should we understand them, exactly? iii) Does one’s commitment to AEL commit one to other important positions within the philosophy of logic (e.g. logical pluralism)?

Logical Methodology.

One of the prominent claims by AEL is that the methodology of logic is similar to the methodology of the sciences. Such an account is often explained in terms of abductive criteria, where logical theories are evaluated on their basis to accommodate some relevant data, and possess certain theoretical virtues. However: i) What data is there for logical theories to accommodate? ii) What theoretical virtues are logical theories to possess? iii) Are scientific theories chosen by such abductive criteria, as AEL proposes?

Metaphysics of Logic.

Another important claim made by AEL is that the subject matter of logic is similar, in some crucial respects, to that of the sciences. How should we understand this claim? For example, is there a particular subject matter in the sciences such as that logic could share in this matter? Further, by proposing that logic has a subject matter similar to the sciences, is AEL committed to taking on an ontology of logic?


While a significant number of papers have now been written outlining AEL in different forms, little has been written on the challenges facing the position. What are the significant problems facing different versions of AEL in their rejection of these putative ‘exceptional’ properties of logic?

Instructions for submission:

In order to submit your paper to the topical collection, please log in to the Synthese Editorial Manager following this link:

Once you are logged in, you'll be asked to specify the article  type. Please select the following option: T.C.: Anti-Exceptionalism about logic (you'll find it near the end of the list). All the other steps should be standard procedure. 

The deadline for submission is

31st October 2020

For further information, please contact the guest editors using the following email address: 

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