[FOM] Why inclusive disjunction?
fjmd1 at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Jan 10 04:08:00 EST 2007
John Baldwin wrote:
> I am preparing to teach a course in `proof'.
> Can anyone provide a principled reason for why logicians choose to
> interpret "or" as inclusive disjunction?
> I understand that in the interpretations of statutes, the exclusive or
> is the default. So attorney's have made a different choice of
That's not my experience of the law in England and Wales (where I
practice), but I stand to be corrected (and would be very interested in
Consider the following uses of the word "or" in Part 3 of the Civil
which deals with the court's case management powers.
Note: its our drafting style to use one connective at the end of a list
as shorthand for the use of the connective between all members of the
(2) B; and
means A and B and C, marked up for readability.
The usual use of "or" is inclusive, for example, under Rule 3.4(2):
"(2) The court may strike out (GL) a statement of case if it appears to
the court –
(a) that the statement of case discloses no reasonable grounds for
bringing or defending the claim;
(b) that the statement of case is an abuse of the court’s process or is
otherwise likely to obstruct the just disposal of the proceedings; or
(c) that there has been a failure to comply with a rule, practice
direction or court order."
Any, or all of (a) to (c) will trigger the court's power.
Where an inclusive or is not desired the drafter will signal that fact,
eg under Rule 3.3(5):
"(6) An application under paragraph (5)(a) must be made –
(a) within such period as may be specified by the court; or
(b) if the court does not specify a period, not more than 7 days after
the date on which the order was served on the party making the application."
which is roughly of the form A or (not A and B).
I am not sure how much this distinction matters in practice since, as
you know, in English, conjunctions such as "and" and "or" are affected
by surrounding polarities and other contextual effects.
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