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MOST OFTEN READING TEXT:

Many-worlds theory of truth
author: Alexander Boldachev,
The logical world is a set of propositions, united by common principles of establishing their truth. The many-worlds theory asserting that the truth of any proposition in any given logical world is always established by comparing it with standard propositions in this world – directly or via the procedure of transferring the truth.

CURRENT ISSUE:

Preface. Philosophy and History of Talmudic Logic

author: Andrew Schumann,
The purpose of the workshop Philosophy and History of Talmudic Logic held on October 27, 2016, in Krakow, Poland, was to examine the meaning of Talmudic hermeneutics in the contemporary epistemology and logic. One of the main features of Judaism is that Jewish religious laws are not dogmatic but based on specific legal reasoning. This reasoning was developed by the first Judaic commentators of the Bible (Tann’ayim) for inferring Judaic laws (halakah) from the Pentateuch. Our workshop was aimed to consider Judaic reasoning from the standpoint of modern philosophy: symbolic logic, rhetoric, analytic philosophy, pragmatics and so on. On the one hand, we are interested in possibilities to import into the Talmudic study modern logical methods. On the other hand, we are interested in possibilities to export from the Talmud new logical principles which are innovative to contemporary logic.

Epistemic Disagreement and ’Elu We’Elu

author: Joshua Halberstam,
A lively exchange in recent epistemology considers the problem of
epistemic disagreement between peers: disagreement between those who share
evidence and have equal cognitive abilities. Two main views have emerged
about how to proceed in such circumstances: be steadfast in maintaining one’s
own view or conciliate, and suspend or reduce one’s confidence in one’s belief.
Talmudic debates do seem to promote steadfastness, as the disputants are not
called on to conciliate purely because they confront a disagreeing peer. But
why? Third party judgments are even more problematic, for what epistemic
warrant is there for choosing between a disagreement of superiors? A common
explanation for Talmudic steadfastness is the notion ’elu w’elu divrey ’Elohim
kayim – both sides of Talmudic (or, more generally, halakhic) disputes have
‘heavenly’ legitimacy. But a closer look at this oft-quoted dictum and its
various interpretations does not, in fact, reveal such support for steadfastness.
Other explanations for Talmudic steadfastness are, therefore, required.

Developments in the Syntax and Logic of
the Talmudic Hermeneutic Kelal Uferaṭ Ukelal

author: Michael Chernick,
The purpose of this study is to show that the logical content of a
Tann’ayitic hermeneutic changed and developed as it passed into the hands of
the ’Amor’ayim, the Tann’ayim’s successors, and then into the anonymous
stratum of the Babylonian Talmud. This hermeneutic was based on a very
specific syntactical order in a biblical verse, which was formed by an initial
inclusive clause, followed by a list of specifics, and then followed by a second
inclusive clause. This hermeneutic is called in Hebrew kelal uferaṭ ukelal. In
the Tann’ayitic period the hermeneutic required that the second inclusive
clause had to be more extensive than the first one. It appears that this new
degree of extensiveness suggested that the list of specifics was not definitive of
the initial inclusive clause and that other things might be implied by the second
one. The way that the rabbinic interpreter determined what these things might
be was by seeking the common characteristics that the items in the specifics
clause shared. By the time of the late Tann’ayim and early ’Amor’ayim the
requirement for the two inclusive clauses had changed. The formal syntax of
the hermeneutic remained, but inclusive clauses had to be equal in their degree
of inclusivity. The change in logic seems to be the result of viewing a second,
more inclusive clause as a distinct element that could be disconnected from the
first inclusive clause and the specifics that follow it. If the two inclusive
clauses were, however, the same or similar, the rabbinic interpreter could argue
that they belonged to the same categories and thus formed a legitimate kelal
uferaṭ ukelal. In the final period of the Talmud’s creation neither the syntactic
nor logical requirements were any longer needed to form a kelal uferaṭ ukelal.
Two artificially constructed inclusive clauses and some specifics could appear
in almost any order within a biblical verse and be considered a kelal uferaṭ
ukelal. It appears that the desire of the rabbinic interpreters of each era to
connect their halakot to the Torah was the force behind the changes we have
described.

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