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The Coherence of TheismSecond Edition$
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Richard Swinburne

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198779698

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198779698.001.0001

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Conditions for Coherence

Conditions for Coherence

Logical Possibility

Chapter:
(p.11) 2 Conditions for Coherence
Source:
The Coherence of Theism
Author(s):

Richard Swinburne

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198779698.003.0002

We learn the meaning or a word or sentence by learning some of the syntactic and semantic rules for its use. A declarative sentence expresses a proposition. A proposition is logically impossible iff it entails a contradiction; it is logically necessary iff its negation entails a contradiction; it is logically possible if it is entailed by an obviously logically possible proposition. We may discover the logical modal status of a proposition, when this is not obvious, by the methods of deducing such contradictions or by the method of reflective equilibrium. Or we may infer that a proposition is logically possible by showing that, if it were logically possible, it would probably be true. Neither ‘concept empiricism’ (that is, Hume’s claim that ‘all [conceivable] ideas are derived from impressions’), nor the verification principle, can settle issues of logical status.

Keywords:   concept empiricism, Hume, logical necessity, logical possibility, meaning, reflective equilibrium, verification principle

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