Extensionality and logicality

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Tarski characterized logical notions as invariant under permutations of the domain. The outcome, according to Tarski, is that our logic, which is commonly said to be a logic of extension rather than intension, is not even a logic of extension—it is a logic of cardinality (or, more accurately, of “isomorphism type”). In this paper, I make this idea precise. We look at a scale inspired by Ruth Barcan Marcus of various levels of meaning: extensions, intensions and hyperintensions. On this scale, the lower the level of meaning, the more coarse-grained and less “intensional” it is. I propose to extend this scale to accommodate a level of meaning appropriate for logic. Thus, below the level of extension, we will have a more coarse-grained level of form. I employ a semantic conception of form, adopted from Sher, where forms are features of things “in the world”. Each expression in the language embodies a form, and by the definition we give, forms will be invariant under permutations and thus Tarskian logical notions. I then define the logical terms of a language as those terms whose extension can be determined by their form. Logicality will be shown to be a lower level analogue of rigidity. Using Barcan Marcus’s principles of explicit and implicit extensionality, we are able to characterize purely logical languages as “sub-extensional”, namely, as concerned only with form, and we thus obtain a wider perspective on both logicality and extensionality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1095-1119
Number of pages25
Issue numberSUPPL 5
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer Nature B.V.


  • Barcan Marcus
  • Extensionality
  • Form
  • Logicality
  • Permutation invariance
  • Sher
  • Tarski

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • General Social Sciences


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