I propose that a logical formalization of a natural language text (especially an argument) may be regarded as adequate if the following three groups of beliefs can be integrated into a wide reflective equilibrium: (1) our initial, spontaneous beliefs about the structure and logical quality of the text; (2) our beliefs about its structure and logical quality as reflected in the proposed formalization, and (3) our background beliefs about the original text’s author, his thought and other contextually relevant factors. Unlike a good part of the literature, I stress the indispensable role of initial beliefs in achieving such a wide reflective equilibrium. In the final sections I show that my approach does not succumb to undue subjectivism or the mere perpetuation of prejudice. The examples I use to illustrate my claims are chiefly taken from Anselm’s Proslogion 2–3 and the various attempts to formalize these texts.
History of Philosophy and Logical Analysis – Brill
Published: Apr 5, 2014