A logic is a doctrine of the logos, that is, of meaningful discourse; hence the first thing we expect from it is an account of what makes the logos meaningful — of what a meaning is. There is no single such doctrine or account: it is part of the immense richness of meaningful discourse that we can shift back and forth between several logics — several organized ways of reasoning, of providing reasons or grounds for our claims. Building on previous work on Hegel's dialectical logic, the author here identifies three distinct logics simultaneously in play in our conversations. Analytic logic structures its organization of discourse around negation, contraries, and hence arguments forcing a conclusion to follow (under threat of inconsistency) from some premises. Dialectical logic's main tool is the construction of narratives, hence the attempted incorporation of interlocutors within one's own story. The third option, here labeled gradual logic, sees sorites (which are recalcitrant anomalies for the analytic approach) as ideal cases, since the bleeding of a predicate into an alleged contrary points the way to reaching an agreement among initially conflicting parties: to them eventually coming to regard themselves as stressing different aspects of one and the same thing.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.