Radical Anti-Realism and Substructural Logics

  • Jacques Dubucs
  • Mathieu Marion
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 320)


According to the realist, the meaning of a declarative, non-indexical sentence is the condition under which it is true and the truth-condition of an undecidable sentence can obtain or fail to obtain independently of our capacity, even in principle, to recognize that it obtains or that fails to do so.1 In a series of papers, beginning with “Truth” in 1959, Michael Dummett challenged the position that the classical notion of truth-condition occupied as the central notion of a theory of meaning, and proposed that it should be replaced by the anti-realist (and intuitionistic) notion of assertability-condition. Taken together with normalization results obtained by Dag Prawitz, Dummett’s work truly opened up the anti-realist challenge at the level of proof-theoretical semantics.2 There has been since numerous rejoinders from partisans of classical logic, which were at times met with by attempts at watering down the anti-realist challenge, e.g., by arguing that anti-realism does not necessarily entail the adoption of intuitionistic logic. Only a few anti-realists, such as Crispin Wright and Neil Tennant, tried to look instead in the other direction, towards a more radical version of anti-realism which would entail deeper revisions of classical logic than those recommended by intuitionists.3 In this paper, which is largely programmatic, we shall also argue in favour of a radical anti-realism which would be a genuine alternative to the traditional anti-realism of Dummett and Prawitz. The debate about anti-realism has by now more or less run out of breath and we wish to provide it with a new lease on life, by taking into account the profound changes that took place in proof theory during the intervening years. We have in mind in particular the considerable development within Gentzen-style proof theory of non-classical, substructural logics other than intuitionistic logic, which seriously opens up the possibility that anti-realism, when properly understood, might end up justifying another logic, and the development of closer links between proof theory and computational complexity theory that has renewed interest in a radical form of anti-realism, namely strict finitism.


Classical Logic Intuitionistic Logic Linear Logic Natural Deduction Proof Theory 
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.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacques Dubucs
    • 1
  • Mathieu Marion
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut d’Histoire et de Philosophie des Sciences et des TechniquesParisFrance
  2. 2.Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Logic and MathematicsUniversité du Québec à MontréalCanada

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