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(Wittgenstein & Paraconsistência)

Author(s): João Marcos

Journal: Principia : an International Journal of Epistemology
ISSN 1414-4247

Volume: 14;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 135;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Wittgenstein | contradiction | philosophy of mathematics | foundations of mathematics | paraconsistency

In classical logic, a contradiction allows one to derive every other sentence of the underlying language; paraconsistent logics came relatively recently to subvert this explosive principle, by allowing for the subsistence of contradictory yet non-trivial theories. Therefore our surprise to find Wittgenstein, already at the 1930s, in comments and lectures delivered on the foundations of mathematics, as well as in other writings, counseling a certain tolerance on what concerns the presence of contradictions in a mathematical system. ‘Contradiction. Why just this spectre? This is really very suspicious.’ (Philosophical Remarks III–56) In the last decades, several authors (e.g. Arrington, Hintikka, Van Heijenoort, Wright, Wrigley) have been digging into Wittgenstein’s rather non-standard standpoint on what concerns the interpretation and import of contradiction in logic and mathematics, and many other authors (e.g. da Costa, Goldstein, Granger, Marconi) have been investigating the possibility of taking Wittgenstein seriously as one of the early forerunners of paraconsistency. While many advances have been made on the first front, the second set of investigations has led almost exclusively to negative results: no, no operational proposal about the construction of a logic in which (some) contradictions are made inoffensive can be read from Wittgenstein’s philosophical work; in fact, it appears that the most one can find there is the exhortation for mathematicians to alter their attitude with respect to contradictions and to consistency proofs. The play is done, and one looks for a resume of the opera. This paper fills that blank, as a thorough investigation of the possible relations between Wittgenstein and paraconsistency.
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