The Genealogy of Disjunction
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The Genealogy of Disjunction

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Description

This is a comprehensive study of the English word or, and the logical operators variously proposed to present its meaning. Although there are indisputably disjunctive uses of or in English, it is a mistake to suppose that logical disjunction represents its core meaning. Or is descended from the Anglo-Saxon word meaning second, a form which survives in such expressions as 'every other day'. Its disjunctive uses arise through metalinguistic applications of an intermediate adverbial meaning which is conjunctive rather than disjunctive in character. These conjunctive uses have puzzled philosophers and logicians, and have been discussed extensively under such headings as 'free choice permission'. This study examines the textbook myths that have clouded our understanding of how or and other 'logical' vocabulary comes to have something approaching its logical meaning in natural languages. It considers the various historical conceptions of disjunction and its place in logic from the Stoics to the present day.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 356 pages
  • 163.1 x 236.7 x 28.2mm | 821.12g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195075242
  • 9780195075243

Back cover copy

This study examines the textbook myths that have clouded our understanding of how or and other "logical" vocabulary comes to have something approaching its logical meaning in natural languages. Jennings finds that much of our understanding of the relationship between logic and natural language has been based upon mistaken assumptions about the character of or and other "logical" vocabulary of natural language, and ultimately upon mistaken beliefs about the nature of human thought and language. Jennings's approach considers the various historical conceptions of disjunction from its place in the logic of the Stoics to the present day.show more