Volume 5, 2007
Logic and Philosophy of the Sciences
Hilbert, Trivialization and Paraconsistent Logic
The origin of Paraconsistent Logic is closely related with the argument that from the assertion of two mutually contradictory statements any other statement can be deduced, which can be referred to as ex contradict!one sequitur quodlibet (ECSQ). Despite its medieval origin, only in the 1930s did it become the main reason for the unfeasibility of having contradictions in a deductive system. The purpose of this paper is to study what happened before: from Principia Mathematica to that time, when it became well established.
The main historical claims that I am going to advance are the following: the first explicit use of ECSQ as the main argument for supporting the necessity of excluding any contradiction from deductive systems is to be found in the first edition (1928) of the book Grundzüge der theoretischen Logik by Hilbert and Ackermann.
At the end, I will suggest that the aim of the 20th century usage of ECSQ was to change from the centuries long philosophical discussion about contradictions to a more "technical" one. But with Paraconsistent Logic viewed as a technical solution to this restriction, the philosophical problem revives, but now with an improved understanding of it at one's disposal.