Joel Jordon

I am a master’s student at Concordia University studying the history of interpretations of laws of thought and their influence on the development of logic and code. This research centers on whether laws of thought are to be taken as normative or descriptive. If the laws are normative, then they are breakable and logical mistakes are possible, but if they are descriptive, then they are unbreakable and no sense is to be made of logical aliens (beings whose reasoning could follow laws different from ours). This study begins by tracing these interpretations of the laws of thought in Kant to Frege and determining how they may have influenced Frege’s logic and subsequently the logic that went into computer code.

As one of several student researchers working on philosophy and computers at Concordia’s Technoculture, Art, and Games (TAG) research lab, I am also interested in how the normative and descriptive rules that play a central role in games are shaped by code upon the above understanding, particularly in contrast to analog or social games. Moreover, I am interested in applying my research on the laws of thought and logic to develop a use of code for argument that is effective on the level of prior beliefs.



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Frege, Gottlob. The Foundations of Arithmetic. Trans. J. L. Austin. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1950 [1884].

———. The Basic Laws of Arithmetic: Exposition of the System. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1964 [1893].

———. “The Thought: A Logical Inquiry.” Mind 65, no. 259 (July 1956): 289–311.

Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason. Trans. and ed. Paul Guyer and Allen W. Wood. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998 [1781, 1787].

Kitcher, Phillip. “Frege’s Epistemology.” Philosophical Review 88, no. 2 (April 1979): 235–62.

MacBeth, Danielle. Frege’s Logic. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005.

———. Realizing Reason: A Narrative of Truth and Knowing. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

MacFarlane, John. “Frege, Kant, and the Logic in Logicism.” The Philosophical Review 111, no. 1 (January 2002): 25–65.

Nunez, Tyke. “Logical Mistakes, Logical Aliens, and the Laws of Kant’s Pure General Logic.” Mind. 2018.

———. “Kant, Frege, and the Normativity of Logic: A Reply to MacFarlane.” Forthcoming.

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Weiner, Joan. Frege in Perspective. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990.