What the heck is logic?
: Logics-as-formalizations, a nihilistic approach

  • Aadil H Kurji

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Logic is about reasoning, or so the story goes. This thesis looks at the concept of logic, what it is, and what claims of correctness of logics amount to. The concept of logic is not a settled matter, and has not been throughout the history of it as a notion. Tools from conceptual analysis aid in this historical venture. Once the unsettledness of logic is established we see the repercussions in current debates in the philosophy of logic. Much of the battle over the ‘one true logic’ is conceptually talking past each other. The theory of logics-as-formalizations is presented as a conceptually open theory of logic which is Carnapian in flavour and grounding. Rudolf Carnap’s notions surrounding ‘external’ and ‘pseudo-questions’ about linguistic frameworks apply to formalizations, thus logics, as well. An account of what formalizations are, a more structured sub-set of modelling, is given to ground the claim that logics are formalizations. Finally, a novel account of correctness, the COFE framework, is developed which allows the notions of logical monism, pluralism and nihilism to be more precisely formulated than
they currently are in the discourse.
Date of Award24 Mar 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bristol
SupervisorJames A C Ladyman (Supervisor) & Samir Okasha (Supervisor)

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