Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. William Demopoulos

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert DiSalle

Third Advisor

Dr. John L. Bell


This thesis contributes to the area within the philosophy of logic that concerns epistemological questions about fundamental logical laws. The state of the literature has been dominated by meaning-theoretic approaches that attempt to answer such questions in terms of conditions for understanding words or for possessing concepts, and empiricist approaches that attempt to characterize logical knowledge as a posteriori. The theoretical contribution made by my work amounts to the presentation of an alternative theory that does not appeal to the notion of rational insight, and which is not psychologistic, conventionalist, or inductivist. The theory that I propose involves a philosophical analysis of logical concepts which facilitates a transcendental argument in support of basic logical knowledge. I arrive at this theory by radically readapting methods and insights from the theories of geometry of Kant and Helmholtz, and from Frege’s logicist explanation of the basis of our knowledge of arithmetic. I argue that the meaning-theoretic approaches of Christopher Peacocke and Paul Boghossian overestimate the epistemological power of the conditions for understanding logical constants. I argue that the naturalistic approach of Penelope Maddy is psychologistic. To lay the groundwork for my own proposal 1 investigate the role of Kant’s transcendental method in his theory of geometry, and the role of the theory of analytic definitions in a reconstruction of Frege’s logicism. My own proposal posits that logical laws are analytic of logical concepts, and that logical concepts are conditions of the possibility of possessing a minimally reasonable conceptual scheme.



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