Last week, Brian Leiter posted about possibly re-drawing the dividing lines between the specialty areas ranked in the Philosophical Gourmet Report
In a comment, Cian asks:
Philosophical Logic and Mathematical Logic. While there is a fair amount of divergence between the two rankings, I also see, for example, that NYU gets ranked at 4.5 in mathematical logic even though as far as I can see, almost everything the relevant people have written about logic is more naturally classified as philosophical logic than as mathematical logic. Is that a sign that the borderline between these two areas is too wide and fuzzy for the distinction to be worth making by the PGR?
If one thinks of mathematical logic as “formal logic motivated by mathematical concerns”—roughly, this is the conception according to which mathematical logic consists of model theory, set theory, recursion theory, and proof theory–then it is indeed puzzling why NYU gets ranked at the top of group 2 in the mathematical logic ranking, in addition to the top in the philosophical logic ranking. But one might also think of mathematical logic the way it’s defined in the AMS Mathematics Subject Classification (03). Now how do we take “philosophical logic”? But if we take the now-standard (at least in North America) definition of “philosophical logic”, then it’s that part of formal logic that paradigmatically includes: “various versions of modal, temporal, epistemic, and deontic logic; constructive logics; relevance and other sub-classical logics; many-valued logics; logics of conditionals; quantum logic; decision theory, inductive logic, logics of belief change, and formal epistemology; defeasible and nonmonotonic logics; formal philosophy of language; vagueness; and theories of truth and validity” (from editorial description of the Journal of Philosophical Logic). Almost all of that is included in MSC 03Bxx! Clearly, for the purpose of the PGR at least, it would be better to define “mathematical logic” as “formal logic, but not philosophical logic”.
I don’t know if the evaluators for the PGR “mathematical logic” and “philosophical logic” categories get instructions on the intended scope of the category. It probably also makes a big difference–bigger than in other specialty areas–if faculty with appointments in the mathematics (or computer science) departments get included in the PGR faculty lists. As the note at the bottom of the ranking says, “much work in mathematical logic goes on in Mathematics and Computer Science departments.”
Then there’s also the confusion between the definition of “philosophical logic” as “formal logic motivated by philosophy” and the older (British) use of “philosophical logic” to mean “philosophy motivated by logic” (and including philosophical study of notions such as reference, necessity, truth, analyticity, etc.) Maybe a better term for that is “philosophy of logic”. Leiter’s proposed restructuring would have a category “philosophy of language & logic” (but no philosophical logic category).
I don’t think that “philosophical logic” and “mathematical logic” should be combined in the PGR ranking. But as it currently stands–with the scope of these categories so unclear–the rankings aren’t particularly informative. I’m not sure what would be more informative, but getting clarity on the definitions would be one step. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to include “philosophy of logic” in the “philosophy of language” category, and reserve “philosophical logic” for the formal work you find in the JPL or the Review of Symbolic Logic. Maybe it wouldn’t even be a bad idea to merge mathematical logic into the philosophy of mathematics category. What do others think?