How to Reason Sensibly Yet Naturally from Inconsistencies

Part of the Origins book series (ORIN, volume 2)


This paper concerns problem solving in inconsistent contexts. It is usually taken for granted that inconsistencies are false, and I shall not challenge this view here.’ Resolving some inconsistency may constitute the very problem one tries to solve. Alternatively, one may realize that one is (and for some time will be) unable to resolve an inconsistency within some domain, but nevertheless aim at solving another problem within that domain. In cases like this, one faces two difficulties. The first is to distinguish between inferences that are sensible and those that are not. The second is to determine when a solution to the problem is acceptable. For a decision on the latter difficulty, mere derivability (by some appropriate logic) is not sufficient. It should also be plausible that the solution will remain derivable after the inconsistencies are resolved.


Heat Engine Consistent Improvement Paraconsistent Logic Problematic Consequence Adaptive Logic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Batens, D. (1986), Dialectical Dynamics within Formal Logics. Logique et Analyse 114, 161–173.Google Scholar
  2. Batens, D. (1989), Dynamic Dialectical Logics. In Paraconsistent Logic. Essays on the Inconsistent, G. Priest, R. Routley and J. Norman (eds.), München: Philosophica Verlag, 1989, pp. 187–217.Google Scholar
  3. Batens, D. (1999) Inconsistency-adaptive Logics. In Logic at Work. Essays Dedicated to the Memory of Helena Rasiowa, Ewa Orłowska (ed.), Heidelberg, New York: Physica Verlag (Springer), 1999, pp. 445–472.Google Scholar
  4. Batens, D. (2000), A Survey of Inconsistency-adaptive Logics. In Batens et al. (2000), pp. 49–73.Google Scholar
  5. Batens, D., C. Mortensen, G. Priest, and J. P. Van Bendegem (eds.) (2000), Frontiers of Paraconsistent Logic. Baldock: Research Studies Press.Google Scholar
  6. Brown, B. (1990), How to be Realistic about Inconsistency in Science. Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 21, 281–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Clark, P. (1976), Atomism versus Thermodynamics. In Method and appraisal in the physical sciences. The critical background to modern science, 1800–1905, C. Howson (ed.), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 41–105 .CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clausius, R. (1850) Ueber die bewegende Kraft der Wärme und die Gesetze, welche sich daraus für die Wärmelehre selbst ableiten lassen. Reprinted in Ueber die bewegende Kraft der Wärme und die Gesetze, welche sich daraus für die Wärmelehre selbst ableiten lassen, M. Planck (ed.), Leipzig: Verlag von Wilhelm Engelmann, 1898, pp. 1–52.Google Scholar
  9. Clausius, R. (1863) Ueber einen Grundsatz der mechanischen Wärmetheorie. Reprinted and translated in Théorie mécanique de la chaleur par R. Clausius. F. Folie (ed.), Paris: Librairie scientifique, industrielle et agricole, 1868, pp. 311–335.Google Scholar
  10. Mach, E. (1896), Die Principien der Wärmelehre. Leipzig: Verlag von Johann Ambrosius Barth.Google Scholar
  11. Meheus, J. (1993), Adaptive Logic in Scientific Discovery: The Case of Clausius. Logique et Analyse 143–144, 359–391, appeared 1996.Google Scholar
  12. Meheus, J. (1999), Clausius’ Discovery of the First Two Laws of Thermodynamics. A Paradigm of Reasoning from Inconsistencies. Philosophica 63, 89–117.Google Scholar
  13. Meheus, J. (2000), An Extremely Rich Paraconsistent Logic and the Adaptive Logic based on It. In Batens et al. (2000), pp. 189–201.Google Scholar
  14. Meheus, J. (200+a), Inconsistencies in Scientific Discovery. Clausius’ Remarkable Derivation of Carnot’s Theorem. In Acta of the XXth International Congress of History of Science, G. Van Paemel et al. (eds.), Brepols, in print.Google Scholar
  15. Meheus, J. (200+b), On the Acceptance of Problem Solutions Derived from Inconsistent Constraints. Logic and Logical Philosophy, in print.Google Scholar
  16. Nickles, T. (1980), Can Scientific Constraints be violated Rationally? In Scientific Discovery, Logic, and Rationality. T. Nickles (ed.), Dordrecht: Reidel, 1980, pp. 285–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Norton, J. D. (1992), A Paradox in Newtonian Cosmology. PSA 1992, vol. 2, pp. 412–420.Google Scholar
  18. Psillos, S. (1994), A Philosophical Study of the Transition from the Caloric Theory of Heat to Thermodynamics: Resisting the Pessimistic Meta-Induction. Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 25, 159–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Rescher, N. and R. Manor (1970) On Inference from Inconsistent Premises. Theory and Decision 1, 179–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Schotch, P. K. and R. E. Jennings (1980), Inference and Necessity. Journal of Philosophical Logic 9, 327–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Smith, J. (1988), Inconsistency and Scientific Reasoning Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 19, 429–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Logic and Philosophy of ScienceGhent UniversityBelgium

Personalised recommendations