The Logic of Conceivability (LoC) is a five-year project (2017-2021) funded by the European Research Council. It is co-hosted by St Andrews and by the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) at the University of Amsterdam.
We often wonder what would happen if this or that possibility were realised: "What if Brexit causes a recession? Will I lose my job?". "How will the electorate react if my political party lowers taxes?". Reasoning about such hypothetical scenarios is of fundamental importance to plan our future and make choices. But how do we reason when we imagine such scenarios? What is the logic of our imagination?
The orthodox logical treatment of mental states like believing, imagining, supposing, or knowing, comes from modal logic’s possible worlds semantics, which was taken up by philosophy, linguistics, and artificial intelligence. However, the approach faces major problems. For example it models heavily idealised, logically infallible reasoners. It is, thus, disconnected from the reality of human, fallible minds. LoC addresses them via the techniques of non-classical logics and non-normal worlds semantics.
The LoC group includes the principal investigator, Franz Berto, and a team of mathematical logicians, epistemologists, and psychologists of reasoning. The project outputs are all available through open access.