Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Graham Priest

Committee Members

Heinrich Wansing

Kit Fine

Subject Categories

Logic and Foundations | Logic and Foundations of Mathematics | Other Computer Sciences


philosophical logic, relevant logic, containment logic


The analogy between inference and mereological containment goes at least back to Aristotle, whose discussion in the Prior Analytics motivates the validity of the syllogism by way of talk of parts and wholes. On this picture, the application of syllogistic is merely the analysis of concepts, a term that presupposes—through the root ἀνά + λύω —a mereological background.

In the 1930s, such considerations led William T. Parry to attempt to codify this notion of logical containment in his system of analytic implication AI. Parry’s original system AI was later expanded to the system PAI. The hallmark of Parry’s systems—and of what may be thought of as containment logics or Parry systems in general—is a strong relevance property called the ‘Proscriptive Principle’ (PP) described by Parry as the thesis that:

No formula with analytic implication as main relation holds universally if it has a free variable occurring in the consequent but not the antecedent.

This type of proscription is on its face justified, as the presence of a novel parameter in the consequent corresponds to the introduction of new subject matter. The plausibility of the thesis that the content of a statement is related to its subject matter thus appears also to support the validity of the formal principle.

Primarily due to the perception that Parry’s formal systems were intended to accurately model Kant’s notion of an analytic judgment, Parry’s deductive systems—and the suitability of the Proscriptive Principle in general—were met with severe criticism. While Anderson and Belnap argued that Parry’s criterion failed to account for a number of prima facie analytic judgments, others—such as Sylvan and Brady—argued that the utility of the criterion was impeded by its reliance on a ‘syntactical’ device.

But these arguments are restricted to Parry’s work qua exegesis of Kant and fail to take into account the breadth of applications in which the Proscriptive Principle emerges. It is the goal of the present work to explore themes related to deductive systems satisfying one form of the Proscriptive Principle or other, with a special emphasis placed on the rehabilitation of their study to some degree. The structure of the dissertation is as follows:

  • In Chapter 2, we identify and develop the relationship between Parry-type deductive systems and the field of ‘logics of nonsense.’ Of particular importance is Dmitri Bochvar’s ‘internal’ nonsense logic Σ0, and we observe that two ⊢-Parry subsystems of Σ0 (Harry Deutsch’s Sfde and Frederick Johnson’s RC) can be considered to be the products of particular ‘strategies’ of eliminating problematic inferences from Bochvar’s system.
  • The material of Chapter 3 considers Kit Fine’s program of state space semantics in the context of Parry logics. Recently, Fine—who had already provided the first intuitive semantics for Parry’s PAI—has offered a formal model of truthmaking (and falsemaking) that provides one of the first natural semantics for Richard B. Angell’s logic of analytic containment AC, itself a ⊢-Parry system. After discussing the relationship between state space semantics and nonsense, we observe that Fabrice Correia’s weaker framework—introduced as a semantics for a containment logic weaker than AC—tacitly endorses an implausible feature of allowing hypernonsensical statements. By modelling Correia’s containment logic within the stronger setting of Fine’s semantics, we are able to retain Correia’s intuitions about factual equivalence without such a commitment. As a further application, we observe that Fine’s setting can resolve some ambiguities in Greg Restall’s own truthmaker semantics.
  • In Chapter 4, we consider interpretations of disjunction that accord with the characteristic failure of Addition in which the evaluation of a disjunction A ∨ B requires not only the truth of one disjunct, but also that both disjuncts satisfy some further property. In the setting of computation, such an analysis requires the existence of some procedure tasked with ensuring the satisfaction of this property by both disjuncts. This observation leads to a computational analysis of the relationship between Parry logics and logics of nonsense in which the semantic category of ‘nonsense’ is associated with catastrophic faults in computer programs. In this spirit, we examine semantics for several ⊢-Parry logics in terms of the successful execution of certain types of programs and the consequences of extending this analysis to dynamic logic and constructive logic.
  • Chapter 5 considers these faults in the particular case in which Nuel Belnap’s ‘artificial reasoner’ is unable to retrieve the value assigned to a variable. This leads not only to a natural interpretation of Graham Priest’s semantics for the ⊢-Parry system Sfde but also a novel, many-valued semantics for Angell’s AC, completeness of which is proven by establishing a correspondence with Correia’s semantics for AC. These many-valued semantics have the additional benefit of allowing us to apply the material in Chapter 2 to the case of AC to define intensional extensions of AC in the spirit of Parry’s PAI.
  • One particular instance of the type of disjunction central to Chapter 4 is Melvin Fitting’s cut-down disjunction. Chapter 6 examines cut-down operations in more detail and provides bilattice and trilattice semantics for the ⊢-Parry systems Sfde and AC in the style of Ofer Arieli and Arnon Avron’s logical bilattices. The elegant connection between these systems and logical multilattices supports the fundamentality and naturalness of these logics and, additionally, allows us to extend epistemic interpretation of bilattices in the tradition of artificial intelligence to these systems.
  • Finally, the correspondence between the present many-valued semantics for AC and those of Correia is revisited in Chapter 7. The technique that plays an essential role in Chapter 4 is used to characterize a wide class of first-degree calculi intermediate between AC and classical logic in Correia’s setting. This correspondence allows the correction of an incorrect characterization of classical logic given by Correia and leads to the question of how to characterize hybrid systems extending Angell’s AC. Finally, we consider whether this correspondence aids in providing an interpretation to Correia’s first semantics for AC.


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.