SSHAP 2017 Abstracts

Abstracts of papers

Roberta Ballarin (University of British Columbia)

Quine on Modality

In this paper, I analyze Quine’s stand on the modalities against the background of logical empiricism, especially Carnap’s system in Meaning and Necessity. Quine shared Carnap’s distaste for an essentialist interpretation of necessity. However, Quine claimed, Carnap’s logical/analytical reinterpretation of necessity is incompatible with quantification across the modal operators; thus, quantified modal logic remains committed to an essentialist interpretation of the modalities even if the domain of quantification is restricted to intensions. In this paper, I scrutinize Quine’s arguments against Carnap. This leads to an examination of Quine’s take on analyticity, essentialism, and their connections. I conjecture that Quine’s charge of essentialism is best understood as directed against the notion of analyticity in and of itself, independently of and prior to its interplay with the quantifiers. I conclude the paper with a short presentation of Quine’s own positive interpretation of necessity.

Aude Bandini (University of Montreal)

Hector-Neri Castañeda : on returning what one received

A striking feature of Castañeda’s autobiographical reflections is their recurrent emphasis on the strokes of luck that led a young boy from Guatemala to meet his destiny and eventually become a leading figure of the academic world in the United States. Yet they also include moving testimonies of Castañeda’s feelings of inadequacy due to his social and cultural background, not to mention his struggle to overcome his spanish accent. Both his personal achievements (including the foundation of Noûs) and fervent desire to serve, mostly in order to return what he thought was at first fortuitously given to him (especially as Dean of Latino Affairs at Indiana University), will nurture our reflection : what specific duties, if any, are philosophers from under represented minorities expected to fulfill once they made it to the ivory tower?

Patricia Blanchette (University of Notre Dame)

Frege on Identity and Reference

Frege is generally viewed as holding that a singular term t refers only if it is determinate, for each object o, whether t refers to o. This condition (the “Caesar condition”) is also widely viewed as a reasonable criterion for successful singular-term reference. It is argued here both that Frege did not hold this criterion, and that the criterion is not a plausible requirement in the setting of ordinary mathematical discourse.

Jacob Browning (New School for Social Research)
The Appeal to Common-Sense about Color in Moore and Russell

Both Russell and Moore’s common-sense account of color embraces what is called the “revelation thesis,” which holds that colors are known totally and essentially in introspection. As such, physics and physiology cannot teach us about color, but only about the causes of color. In this paper, I argue that Moore and Russell’s appeal to common-sense about color is actually based on their understanding of the science of color. I show that the dominant physiological account of color, by Hermann von Helmholtz, provided an inaccurate phenomenology of color experience. Moore and Russell’s teacher and introspective psychologist, G.F. Stout, instead recommended the position of Ewald Hering precisely because it begins with the phenomenology and develops the physiology and psychology only in light of color experience. In this light, the appeal to color through revelation is not a rejection of science, but an appeal to introspection as the ultimate standard for science. 

Matt Carlson (Wabash College)

Poincaré and Hilbert One More Time

In the early 20th century, Poincaré articulated spirited objections against the foundational projects of the formalists and logicists. Recent literature on these objections focuses on whether they are successful as directed against logicism in particular. By contrast, Poincaré’s objections to formalism are generally taken to be, at best, successful only against a naïve version of formalism. In this paper, I explicate Poincaré’s conception of circularity to argue that Poincaré’s objections to Hilbert’s program are more subtle and powerful than is commonly supposed. Finally, I argue that properly understanding Poincaré’s objections to formalism sheds new light on his objections to logicism. 

James Connelly (Trent University)

On Wittgenstein’s Transcendental Deductions

In this paper, I aim to shed light on the use of transcendental deductions, within demonstrations of aspects of Wittgenstein’s early semantics, metaphysics, and philosophy of mathematics.  I focus on two crucial assumptions deployed by Wittgenstein within these transcendental deductions, each identified in conversation with Desmond Lee in 1930-31.  I show how these crucial assumptions are deployed by Wittgenstein in the context of several transcendental deductions, which begin with extensionality as a generalized condition of sense on propositions, and which subsequently derive claims presupposed by that generalized condition of sense.   

Richard Creath (Arizona State University)

What Was Carnap Rejecting When He Rejected Metaphysics?

Albert Einstein never received the Nobel Prize for his theories of relativity, apparently in no small measure because of opposition from the French philosopher, Henri Bergson.  While hardly the origin of Carnap’s rejection of metaphysics, it is in some ways the perfect illustration of what Carnap objected to.  By contrast, Carnap did not object in the same way to Reichenbach’s assertions about what was scientifically real or to Quine’s ontological project. In this paper I consider cases such as these in order to arrive at a more nuanced picture of what Carnap was rejecting when he rejected metaphysics.  This enriched picture is squarely at odds with a widely accepted contemporary interpretation according to which Carnap is “dismissive” of the entire field of ontology and of the field of metaphysics more broadly.  I show that Carnap’s aim was to transform the field rather than to dismiss it.  What he wanted to overcome, uproot, and demolish was a specific, though widespread, approach to the field that he held to be injurious to the progress of science. 

Anthony Dardis (Hofstra University)

Carnap on Ontology: Semantics or Explanation?

Carnap’s view on ontology in ESO is a banner both neo-Quineans who hold that metaphysics is fundamentally an explanatory enterprise (Yablo 1998), and for neo-Carnapians who hold that it is fundamentally a semantic enterprise (Thomasson 2015, 2016). This paper investigates three interpretations of Carnap’s position (Quine 1951, Stroud 1984, and G.H.Bird 1995), to argue that the stronger account is neo-Quinean: metaphysics is an explanatory enterprise, not an “easy” semantic enterprise.” 

Eamon Darnell (University of Toronto) & Aaron Thomas-Bolduc (University of Calgary)

Is Hume’s Principle Analytic In Frege’s Sense?

Frege’s definition of analyticity differs from most others, and there has been little discussion of whether Hume’s Principle is analytic in that sense. We argue that it is not, based on the contrasting case of “number of” being defined in terms of numerosities. We then consider possible objections to our argument which may have broader implications for neo-logicism. 

Gary Ebbs (Indiana University)

Carnap and Quine on Ontology

Carnap argues that traditional ontological questions are meaningless. Quine rejects Carnap’s argument on the grounds that it rests on his dubious analytic-synthetic distinction. These basic facts about the Carnap-Quine debate about ontology are widely known. Unfortunately, however, several misunderstandings of the debate have taken root in the secondary literature. Symptomatic of all these misunderstandings is the claim that according to Carnap, while general ontological statements about abstract objects, such as “There are numbers,” are analytic, general ontological statements about concrete objects, such as “There are physical objects,” are not analytic, but synthetic. This claim, though superficially plausible, is mistaken—when “There are physical objects” is paraphrased in the way Carnap recommends, it is analytic. The mistake, though apparently insignificant, reveals misunderstandings both of the kinds of ontological questions that Carnap sought to classify as meaningless and of Carnap’s strategy for showing that they are meaningless. It has also led many readers to conclude that Quine, who correctly attributes to Carnap the view that “There are physical objects” is analytic, misunderstands Carnap’s views on ontology and for that reason fails to see important similarities in their views on ontology. In fact, however, Quine understands Carnap’s views on ontology as well as anyone, fully endorses the scientific spirit of Carnap’s philosophy, and develops what he takes to be a better explanation than Carnap’s of the sense in which traditional ontological questions are meaningless. 

Philip Ebert (University of Stirling)

Frege’s Definitions of Number and the Aims of Analysis

This paper has two aims: first to characterise four different solutions to the problem of analysis and show how these affect in fundamental ways an interpretation of Frege’s logicist project. Second, to offer an initial defence of an hitherto often neglected view — called the (term by term) reference preservation view of analysis — against numerous criticisms, most notably those offered by Blanchette (2012). These criticisms center on the important insight that there seems to be a certain degree of arbitrariness in Frege’s definition of number. 

Joshua Eisenthal (University of Pittsburgh)

A logical obscurity

There is unambiguous evidence that Wittgenstein had a deep and life-long appreciation of Hertz’s seminal work, “Principles of Mechanics”. In a passage that resonated deeply with Wittgenstein, Hertz gestured at contradictions in the Newtonian notion of force and remarked: ‘When these painful contradictions are removed, the question as to the nature of force will not have been answered; but our minds, no longer vexed, will cease to ask illegitimate questions.’ In my paper I explicate the significance of Hertz’s remarks by accounting for the ‘logical obscurity’ that motivated Hertz to write “Principles” in the first place. 

Landon D. C. Elkind (University of Iowa)

The Nature of Russell’s Sense-Data

Russell explicitly says sense-data are physical in his June 1914 “The Relation of Sense-Data to Physics”. What Russell held in his January 1912 The Problems of Philosophy is less clear: Russell does not explicitly say there whether sense-data are mental or physical, and the sense-data theories of 1914 and 1912 differ significantly. I argue the text and the historical record show Russell implicitly held sense-data are physical in Problems. I then discuss the development of his sense-data theory as reflected in his January 1912 – June 1913 writings, including “The Nature of Sense-Data”, his manuscripts on matter, and Theory of Knowledge. 

Mauro Engelmann (Federal University of Minas Gerais and National Research Council, Brazil)

Phenomenology in Grammar: Wittgenstein’s Explicitation-verificationism and the Vienna Circle

With the background of Wittgenstein’s comprehensive grammar in the context of Philosophical Remarks and his ties with the Vienna Circle at the time (1929-30) I aim to explain the nature of his verificationism, which I call ‘explicitation-verificationism’. The explanation explicitation-verificationism will, I hope, make clear Wittgenstein’s philosophical project at the time, which is different from the Tractatus and the Philosophical Investigations, and will shed some light on the significance of his ties with the Circle and misunderstandings underlying priority disputes between Wittgenstein and Carnap.

Vera Flocke (New York University)

The Birth of Carnap’s Internal/External Distinction

This paper discusses a crucial early application of Carnap’s internal/external distinction. I show that Carnap distinguished between the kinds of questions that in his 1950 article “Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology” he calls “internal” and “external” already in The Logical Syntax of Language (1937 [1934]), where this distinction was part of Carnap’s solution to deep problems concerning the foundations of mathematics. Carnap wanted to show that one can accept simple type theory and the impredicative definitions that it condones without committing oneself to a Platonist view with respect to the properties to which impredicative definitions refer. To make this point, Carnap argued that the decision between simple and ramified type theory amounts to a decision between alternative definitions of mathematical truth. The core of Carnap’s view thereby is that, he thought, the relevant meta-linguistic truth-definitions can be justified only by meta-metalinguistic truth-definitions. The entities to which object-language sentences refer however are inessential in this regard.

Juliet Floyd (Boston University)

Forms of Life”: Wittgenstein and Turing on the Nature of Logic

The notion of form of life (Lebensform) enters Wittgenstein’s writing only in late 1936, just when he began writing the original version Philosophical Investigations [PI]: the more “anthropological” treatment evinced in The Blue and the Brown Books is attenuated at this time, and the notion of culture (Kultur) eliminated. Moreover, the PI passages on the Theaetetus and the simplicity of the objects of logical analysis are placed into the manuscript at this time, and simplicity thematized centrally in Wittgenstein’s notes and manuscripts. Structuring the PI’s construction interms of a regressive argument, we shall assign “forms of life” a logical role. Wittgenstein’s drawing of this notion into the basis of logic and philosophy constituted a substantial step forward in his account of the notion of simplicity as it figures within logical analysis. The Tractatus held that logical simplicity is absolute; the middle Wittgenstein that it is relative; the mature Wittgenstein that it is fluid, though ubiquitous and in a certain sense absolute, even if evolving. This mature view, we argue, was partly inspired by Wittgenstein’s reading of Alan Turing’s “On computable numbers, with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem” (1936) and reinforced by discussions with Turing 1937-1939. A revisionary reading of Turing’s paper as a piece of analytic simplification resting on no theory of mind is required to make this case. An interpretation of the five occurrences of Lebensform in the PI is given in terms of this necessary logical “regression” to Lebensform as a fundamental notion, with the occurrence in PI §241 playing the role of a keystone in the arch. The regression characterizes Wittgenstein’s mature answer to the question, “What is the nature of the logical?” and gives us a new perspective on the significance of the rule-following passages in the Investigations, as well as Wittgenstein’s excursis into the foundations of mathematics 1937-1944.

Pieranna Garavaso (University of Minnesota Morris)

Can There Be Any Fregean Echoes in Russell’s Lectures on Logical Atomism?

I focus on two themes in which I see convergence and contrast between Russell’s and Frege’s views.  On the importance of logical symbolism, there is some harmony but also some divergence in the motivations behind Frege’s and Russell’s appreciation of symbols.   The second theme concerns the so called Compositionality Principle, i.e., the claim that the meaning of a complex symbol is fully determined by the meaning of its components.  Passages from Frege’s writings and Russell’s Philosophy of Logical Atomism provide evidence of harmony and dissonance.  I submit that, especially with regard to the last theme, Frege’s view is more nuanced and plausible than Russell’s. 

Warren Goldfarb (Harvard University)

Wittgenstein’s ‘Early Middle’ Philosophy of Mathematics

An examination of Wittgenstein’s explorations in the philosophy of mathematics, particularly concerning the nature of mathematical induction, in the late 1920s and early 1930s, after he abandons the “formal series” approach of the Tractatus, drawing on G. E. Moore’s detailed notes of Wittgenstein’s lectures 1930–33.

Peter Hanks (University of Minnesota)

Mont Blanc Revisited: Frege and Russell on Propositional Content

In correspondence from 1904 Frege and Russell famously disagreed about whether Mont Blanc with its snowfields is a component of the proposition that Mont Blanc is more than 4000 meters high. Here I diagnose this disagreement as a consequence of deeper differences in the way they conceived of the nature and role of propositional content. I will also show how these differences have reemerged in the contemporary debate about the metaphysics of propositions.

Michael Hicks (Miami University, Ohio)

Sellars and the Task of Philosophy

In this paper I offer a reading of Wilfrid Sellars’s “Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man” foregrounding its opening methodological reflections. The central point of the paper is to accuse the later Wittgenstein and Strawson (and if I am right Hegel) of falling foul of a version of the myth of the Given.  A structurally similar accusation, I claim, emerges at the end against a familiar sort of anti-relativistic moral theorizing.  Thus, Sellars’s conception of philosophy as having a task is a point of surprising ethico-political significance. 

David Hunter (Ryerson University)

Ryle on Intellect and Agency

Astract: How should we understand what goes on during theoretical reasoning? When a person forms a belief by reasoning her way to it from other beliefs, what are the elements of that reasoning and how are they related? In particular, is drawing a conclusion something that happens; that is, is it an event? If so, does it happen to the reasoner, or is drawing a conclusion something the reasoner herself does; that is, is it an action? If drawing a conclusion is an action, then can it be voluntary and intentional, or is it rather an essentially non-voluntary and non-intentional action? And how is drawing a conclusion related to the resulting belief? Does the act cause the belief, or is it rather, an act of causing that belief? In this paper, I survey Gilbert Ryle’s answers to these questions by considering his views on action, agency, and inference. 

Peter Hylton (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Carnap and Quine on the Status of Ontology

Carnap and Quine differ over the status of ontology. Each of them traces this disagreement to their disagreement over the existence of a distinction between analytic truths and synthetic truths. Quine backs away from his view that there is no such distinction but his views on the status of ontology do not change. This paper explores the issues raised by these facts; it argues that it is the Principle of Tolerance (which Carnap accepts and Quine rejects) that is fundamental to the disagreement over the status of ontology.

Robin Jeshion (University of Southern California)

What Good is Self-Evidence?

Frege claimed that the axioms of a foundation for arithmetic must be self-evident.  On one interpretation of Frege, self-evident propositions might not seem self-evident to us. And what is not self-evident may well seem self-evident. But then, what good is self-evidence at all? Stewart Shapiro has argued forcefully that, in fact, it has little epistemic value:  any epistemological approach to foundations ought to embrace holism and holism undermines the epistemic value of self-evidence. In this paper, I will explore what, if any, epistemic value self-evidence may have for Frege and anyone else who embraces holism. 

Jinho Kang (Seoul National University, South Korea)

Wittgenstein against Russell’s Theory of Judgment

I develop a new interpretation of Wittgenstein’s objections to Russell’s multiple relation theory of judgment by investigating them in the context of Wittgenstein’s initial attempt to develop a satisfactory account of logic. I argue that the “nonsense” objection in 1913 Notes on Logic is based on Wittgenstein’s distinctive conception of sense, according to which it is only propositions, not other complex expressions, that have senses. I also argue that Wittgenstein’s objection in a June 1913 letter that “paralyzed” Russell is different from the nonsense objection in that the former is not based on NL’s conception of sense.

Nathan Kellen (University of Connecticut)

Dummett, (Anti-)Realism and Pluralism about Truth

Michael Dummett was best known for championing the research programme that he called “anti-realism”. In this paper I argue that, while Dummett has often been interpreted as holding anti-realism as a global thesis, this needn’t be so, and that Dummett actually made serious concessions to realism in his last philosophical works. I then compare this late Dummettian view to truth pluralism, which is heavily influenced by Dummett’s work, and argue that Dummett is not only the primary influence on truth pluralism, but that his final position is in fact itself a form of truth pluralism. 

Griffin Klemick (University of Toronto)

Sellars Was a Quasi-Realist, Not an Error Theorist

  Peter Olen and Stephen Turner argue that Wilfrid Sellars endorsed an error theory of moral discourse. I argue that Sellars was instead a quasi-realist, analyzing moral discourse in noncognitivist terms (as expressions of collective intentions of a particular sort) but presenting accounts of meaning and truth on which moral statements nevertheless count as assertorically meaningful and as truth-apt. I argue that only this reading can explain Sellars’ insistence that the scientific image requires supplementation by practical language, and that the textual evidence Olen and Turner provide for the error-theoretic reading can be accommodated equally well by the quasi-realist reading. 

Teresa Kouri (The Ohio State University)

Susan Stebbing and Common Sense Metaphysics

Susan Stebbing (1985-1943) was a founder of ‘Analysis’ and had a large influence on philosophy during the early 20th century. For far too long, her work had been largely ignored. Recently, work of Michael Beaney and Siobhan Chapman, amongst others, has taken steps towards rectifying this. This paper will seek to push this agenda forward. I will discuss one aspect of Stebbing’s metaphysical system and some implications of it. Namely, I will focus on her claim that directional analysis, rather than deductive/postulational analysis, is the proper tool of metaphysics. 

Ka Ho Lam (University of Alberta)

Why ‘is at’?: Quine’s critique of the Aufbau’s radical reductionism in Two Dogmas

I examine in this paper Quine’s critique of Carnap’s Aufbau in “Two Dogmas”. I argue that although Quine is right to indicate that Carnap’s switch to “general principles” in constructing the intersubjective physical world fails to provide an adequate translation for the physical connective “is at”, he fails to demonstrate that the reductionist project flounders in principle. By disambiguating the notion of “explicit definitions” in the Aufbau, I contend that Carnap, when he retrospectively comments on Quine’s critique, equally overlooks the possibility of formulating the required “operating rules” to rescue the reductionist project of the Aufbau. 

Gregory Landini (University of Iowa)

Tractarian Logicism, Numbers, Quantification, and (perhaps) Induction

In his Tractatus, Wittgenstein maintained that arithmetic consists of equations arrived at by calculating outcomes of operations with exponents.  Ramsey wrote that he spent a lot of time developing the view but found that it has  “insuperable difficulties.” This paper shows that some implicit general rules of recursion resolve some of the difficulties. By employing the Tractarian Logicist thesis that the N-operator and the recursive operators defined by the help of numeral exponents are not different in kind, we can emulate quantification over numbers. It remains open, however, whether we can recover proof by mathematical induction.

Sandra Lapointe (McMaster University)

What Does It Really Mean To Say That Logic Is Formal?

While analytical philosophers are keen to point to alternative accounts of logical form, e.g. Bolzano’s, the standard narrative is that Kant’s doctrine of analyticity and logical form sought to grasp the same intuition as those of his analytical successors. In particular, many assume that the doctrine of logical hylomorphism, the idea that arguments have a form and a matter and that what is distinctive of logic is the fact that it concerns only the latter, can be traced back to Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. I will argue that while Kant does use the form/matter distinction for a variety of purposes in his theoretical work, and why his resorting to this distinction was original and tremendously influential, Kant’s own claim that logic concerns the form of the understanding does not track the properties we associate with analyticity today. The interpretation of Kant according to which Kant’s talk of form/matter is linked to analytic/synthetic is misguided: while Kant’s doctrine on analyticity may appear to rest on the same desiderata as post-Fregean and post-Tarskian accounts, the similarities are typically overplayed. In particular, what is interesting about Fregean and Taskian analyticity/validity is not only it’s a priori or conceptual character but its fruitfulness, a feature that is absent from Kant’s theory.

Greg Lavers (Concordia University)

Quine on the Status of Set Theory

Quine gave several arguments against set theory. Of course, he was quite reluctant to accept the `staggering existential assumptions’ of set theory, but beyond this, Quine sees a more fundamental problem with set theory. For Quine, there is only one natural conception of set, and this turns out to be inconsistent. All other axiomatizations of set theory, on Quine’s view, are mere ad hoc contrivances. This paper will explore Quine’s reasons for holding this view, and the relations of this argument to various other views Quine held. I will also argue that Quine’s argument makes assumptions about the development of set theory which are out of keeping with the history of set theory.

Matt LaVine (University of Buffalo / SUNY College at Potsdam)

Marcus, Kripke, and the Dispute over the New Theory of Reference

It has been more than twenty years since Quentin Smith gave his paper at the APA on the relative priority of Marcus and Kripke with respect to the “new theory of reference”.  While this lead to years of heated discussion which got overly-personal at times, I do not believe that the matter got to any reasonably-settled point.  In this paper, I hope to show that, while Soames is right that Kripke cannot be accused of plagiarism, there is good reason to believe that the entire discipline should be accused of discursive injustice in its treatment of Marcus’ works.

Bernie Linsky (University of Alberta)

Bertrand Russell’s Lectures on Logic: Notes by Henry Sheffer, Harry Costello and T.S. Eliot

Henry M. Sheffer attended Bertrand Russell’s lectures on symbolic logic at Cambridge University in 1910 and took extensive notes which have only recently been deciphered. At Harvard in 1914, Russell again lectured on symbolic logic and in this case we have notes by his teaching assistant, Harry T. Costello, and a student, T.S. Eliot. A study of these notes illuminates Russell’s views about logic in the period which includes Wittgenstein’s time at Cambridge as a student. The notes and later correspondence with Sheffer reveal some changes influenced by Wittgenstein, and a surprise about Russell’s role in the discovery of the “Sheffer Stroke.”

Iris Loeb (Kaj Munk College Hoofddorp)

The Role of universal language in the early work of Carnap and Tarski

It is often argued that by assuming the existence of a universal language, one prohibits oneself from conducting semantical investigations. It could thus be thought that Tarski’s stance towards a universal language in his fruitful Wahrheitsbegriff (1933) differs essentially from Carnap’s in the latter’s less successful Untersuchungen zur allgemeinen Axiomatik (1927{1929). Yet this is not the case. Rather, these two works differ in whether or not the studied fragments of the universal language are languages themselves, i.e., whether or not they are closed under derivation rules. In Carnap’s case, axiom systems are not closed under derivation rules, which enables him to adopt a substitutional concept of models. His approach, I will argue, is directly rooted in the tradition of formal axiomatics, and in this contrary to Tarski’s. In comparing these works by Carnap and Tarski, the aim of this talk will be to qualify the connection between Tarski’s approach and the tradition of formal axiomatics, which I will argue has been overemphasized in the literature.

Kirk Ludwig (Indiana University)

Lessons from Davidson’s 1969-70 Locke Lectures: A Preliminary Report

Davidson’s 1969-70 Locke Lectures, titled “The Structure of Truth”, have never been published.  Much of the material in the lectures appears, if not in exactly the same form, earlier or later, in published papers, but these lectures are unified by an overarching narrative in a way that the articles are not, and there are fresh examples, broader coverage, and detail that is absent in the papers.  It is in general less guarded, it puts things in different ways, it clarifies the published work, and it helps with the chronology of ideas.  It becomes much clearer in reading these lectures that Davidson was not engaged either in the kind of revisionary program in the theory of meaning (replacing the pursuit of a theory of meaning with pursuit of a theory of truth) or the kind of reductive program (reducing meaning to some kind of strong truth conditions) which have been prominent themes in Davidson interpretation in the last fifty years.  This paper is a preliminary report on the lessons to be learned from Davidson’s Locke Lectures about his goals and ambitions, about the interpretation of the published work, and about the internal development of his ideas on language and meaning. 

Steven Methven (Oxford University)

A Note on a Note: Ramsey, ‘Universals’ and Judgement

Between 1925 (Universals) and 1926 (Symposium on ‘Universals’) Ramsey indicates a significant change of direction in respect of his view about the forms of atomic propositions. In my paper, I explain the source of his original 1925 view, and give an account of why that view changed in 1926. This account touches on the Tractarian accounts of meaning, judgement and truth that Ramsey held at various points, and shows how he came to recognise an irreconcilable tension between them. 

Daniele Mezzadri (United Arab Emirates University)

Formality of Logic and Frege’s Begriffschrift

This paper aims to challenge a standard interpretation, according to which Frege’s view of logic is at odds with contemporary ones, because on the latter’s view logic is formal, while on Frege’s view it is not, given that logic’s subject matter is reality’s most general features. I show evidence that Frege – in his Begriffsschrift – retained the idea that logic is formal; Frege assigns logic the task of providing the ‘logical cement’ (the formal – structural – scaffolding) that ties up together the contentful concepts used in specific sciences. I finally connect this task with Frege’s oft-repeated normative role of logic.

Nikolay Milkov (University of Paderborn)

The Method  of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus: Towards a New Interpretation

Our interpretation of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus reads this work as advancing a new logical symbolism that enables one to “recognize the  formal properties [the logic] of propositions by mere inspection of  propositions themselves” (6.122). Unlike a mere optical instrument, however, the Tractarian conceptual notation stands to instruct us in better following the logic of the subject matter, and by that token it  enhances our ability to think. Upon acquiring the thinking skills that one can develop by working with this symbolism, one can “discard the  ladder,” as it were, and move on. 

Nadia Moro (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow)

Johann Friedrich Herbart’s critical realism and relevance to the development of analytical philosophy

The paper highlights inferential and relational aspects of Johann Friedrich Herbart’s (1776–1841) system of philosophy which were developed by later philosophers to open up new perspectives leading to the establishment of analytical philosophy. The paper focuses, firstly, on the domains of ontology and methodology within Herbart’s metaphysics and, secondly, on Herbart’s theories of language, which prove extremely relevant to his theory of the categories. Herbart’s critical realism is shown to culminate in a functionalist ontology, which is epistemologically grounded in an inferential methodology. Since they depend upon language, categories are for Herbart dynamic in their nature. Herbart is currently rather unknown, but he was a major philosopher not only during his lifetime, but also in the post-Kantian period. Among others, he significantly influenced Lotze, B. Riemann, Cohen, Frege, Husserl, Freud, and further thinkers who led for instance to the development of Austrian philosophy, Russian formalism, and even the establishment of the American National Herbart Society (1895−1901, which shared primarily pedagogical interests). 

Gilad Nir (University of Chicago)

The Tractarian Rejection of Rules

Wittgenstein’s Tractatus 5.132 criticizes Frege’s and Russell’s conception of inference, but the precise nature of the charge is still debated. I argue that Wittgenstein aims to reject Frege’s and Russell’s notion of rules of inference. This criticism reflects the deep transformation of the idea of logic that Wittgenstein seeks to effect in the Tractatus. What is at stake, for Wittgenstein, is the nature of the proposition, the minimal requirements for an act of understanding a proposition, and the distinction between the idea of a logical calculus and the idea of the logical form of language and thought.   

Andrew Parisi (University of Connecticut)

Geach’s Response to Ramsey

Ramsey in 1925 argued that there was only a grammatical or syntactic distinction between names and predicates but that there was no logical distinction between the two categories. In `Reference and Generality’ and `Names and Identity’ Geach offers arguments against Ramsey. I survey Geach’s arguments and cite objections to both. I then offer an argument that avoids the pitfalls of both arguments while still offering a response to Ramsey. 

Jeff Pelletier & Bernard Linsky (University of Alberta)

Verification: The Hysteron Proteron Argument

The 1934 World Congress of Philosophy (Prague), saw the phenominologist Roman Ingarden present a series of arguments against the Positivist’s account of meaning in terms of verification.  Carnap and Neurath were in the audience and contributed “Remarks”.  The argument we are interested in is contained in this quotation from Ingarden, which was introduced by an example meaningless sentence of Schlick’s and continued: “…in order to determine the nonverifiablity of the aforementioned sentence one must presuppose two things: 1. That this sentence has a sense that precludes verification, 2. that it is possible to identify this sense independently of its verification  (the possibility of which has just been denied).”  We trace the history of this objection to verification, and evaluate Positivistic responses.

Katarina Perovic (University of Iowa)

Can We be Positive about Russell’s Negative Facts?

In his The Philosophy of Logical Atomism Lectures (1918), Russell briefly discusses negative facts such as Socrates not being alive and hippopotamus not being in this room, and admits that he believes that there are (or at least that there may be) such entities. He thinks of them as being necessary as false-makers for certain positive truths and truthmakers for certain negative statements. However, Russell offers hardly any other positive argument in favor of negative facts. He argues against Demos’s 1917 defense of negative propositions and concludes that such an account cannot avoid being ultimately committed to negative facts about incompatibility between propositions. What is lacking in Russell’s discussion is a clear and careful characterization of negative facts and a positive case for postulating such entities. In my paper, I will try to provide both. 

Gurpreet Rattan (University of Toronto)

Relativism and Austere Nonsense

I argue that relativism is the view that there is a certain kind of engagement between thinkers – relativistic engagement – in which thinkers treat nonsense like sense. Arguing for this requires getting clear on notions of relativism, sense, nonsense, and treating nonsense like sense. I use ideas from Davidson, Williams, Frege, and Wittgenstein to get clear on the notions. But the view that relativism is an engagement with nonsense is new. Davidson glimpses the connection between relativism and nonsense but does not embed the account in the rational significance of a relativistic engagement. Williams sees the rational significance of relativist engagement, but does not pause to consider the underlying theory of content in terms of which these attitudes involved in relativistic engagement are to be understood. Frege supplies a theory of content to understand these attitudes, but William’s account of relativistic engagement is incoherent on the Fregean theory of content. A better account runs in terms of the attribution of nonsensical thinking, with the relevant notion of nonsensical thinking – austere nonsense – recovered from one kind of reading of Wittgenstein’s idea that the propositions of the Tractatus are nonsensical.  

Erich Reck (UC Riverside / McMaster University)

Frege, Cohen, and the Issue of Origins: An Early Parting of the Ways

With the recent increase of interest in the relationship between analytic philosophy and other philosophical traditions, several writers have addressed episodes that constitute a “parting of the ways” between them.  At the center of this talk will be an early, so far neglected example, namely a brief interaction between Gottlob Frege and Hermann Cohen in the 1880s.  This interaction consisted mainly of a review of Cohen’s 1883 book, Das Prinzip der Infinitesimal-Methode und seine Geschichte, published by Frege in 1885.  Cohen’s book became highly influential not only in Marburg Neo-Kantianism, the school he helped to found, but also in other parts of “continental” philosophy.  On what became the “analytic” side, it provoked strong criticisms, e.g., by Georg Cantor and Bertrand Russell.  Frege is critical in his review as well, but in a more muted, unusual, and interesting way, namely by pointing to a certain methodological difference.  This difference illustrate well a main divergence between analytic and continental philosophy that developed subsequently, but one with respect to which there might be a “merging of minds” again today.  The core issue is the role the history of philosophy, or attention to the “origin” of concepts, can play for systematic philosophy. 

Philip Ebert (University of Stirling) & Marcus Rossberg (University of Connecticut)

Mathematical Creation in Frege’s Grundgesetze

We discuss a passage from Grundgesetze der Arithmetik which raises doubts about Frege’s attitude towards Platonism. First, we motivate a Platonist interpretation of Frege’s mature philosophy of mathematics and outline his conception of the aims of definition. We then present the passage which prima facie raises doubts about a broadly Platonist interpretation of his logicism. We then survey and discuss readings of this passage by other interpreters. Finally, we present our own interpretation which, we argue, renders the passage compatible with a Platonist interpretation of Frege and offers an explanation of Frege’s rather uncharacteristic concessive mood in the passage. 

Georg Schiemer (University of Vienna)

Carnap’s Structuralist Thesis

Carnap’s philosophy of mathematics is usually identified with his adaption of classical logicism (e.g. Carnap 1930) and, more importantly, with his principle of tolerance first formulated in Logische Syntax der Sprache (Carnap 1934). However, recent scholarly work has shown that Carnap also made significant contributions to the theory of formal axiomatics, in particular in his unpublished manuscript Untersuchungen zur allgemeinen Axiomatik written around 1928. While the early metalogical work presented there has been investigated in detail (e.g. Awodey & Carus 2001, Reck 2007), no closer attention has so far been dedicated to the structuralist account of mathematics underlying Carnap’s “general axiomatics” project. This talk will investigate Carnap’s mathematical structuralism from the late 1920s and early 1930s. A central motivation underlying Carnap’s work on general axiomatics in the period in question was to make precise in logical terms the structural content of formal theories. Two notions investigated by him illustrate this fact. The first is the idea – first formulated in Abriss der Logistik (Carnap 1929) – that axiom systems not only implicitly define the primitive terminology of a theory. They also define “explicit concepts” (“Explizitbegriffe“) that determine the class of interpretations of the theory. Carnap, on several occasions, refers to the Explizitbegriff of a mathematical theory as an abstract structure, shared by all of its models. Roughly at the same time, in his Untersuchungen, a more refined account of the structural content of axiomatic theories is developed in terms of “model structures.” These are defined in type-theoretic logic by the use of abstraction principles. A theory therefore not only specifies a single abstract explicit concept, but it also describes a number of distinct structures corresponding to its isomorphic models. In the first part of the talk, we give a detailed presentation of Carnap’s two accounts of the structural content of mathematical theories. In particular, we consider how the two notions are interrelated and also how Carnap’s early mathematical structuralism is connected to his more general structuralist conception of scientific theories in Der Logische Aufbau der Welt (Carnap 1928). In the second, more systematic part of the talk, Carnap’s approach is reevaluated in light of the current debates on mathematical structuralism. We attempt to locate Carnap’s views on the ontological status of abstract structures within the spectrum of modern (eliminative and non-eliminative) versions of structuralism (Reck & Price 2000).

Scott Sehon (Bowdoin College)

Radical translation and the principle of charity: a problem for Quine’s naturalism?

I argue that Quine faces a dilemma concerning the principle of charity and translation. On the one hand, if Quine, like Davidson, allows for an across-the-board use of charity, then indeterminacy is greatly lessened, and Quine’s brand of skepticism concerning mind and meaning becomes unfounded. On the other hand, if he disallows use of charity, then this leads to a drastic revision of our overall home theory, one that would appear to be justified only by raising certain principles concerning sensory evidence and verification to the status of first philosophy, in violation of Quine’s naturalism. 

Sanford Shieh (Wesleyan University)

The Rejection of Idealism and the Rejection of Modality

This paper concerns the relationship between Russell’s rejection of modal distinctions and his criticism of Bradley’s idealism. I show that Russell’s position that necessary or contingent truth are not distinguishable from plain truth derives from an argument Moore formulates based on the conception of propositions he develops in criticism to Bradley’s view of judgment. I then show that Russell’s deepest criticism of Bradleyan idealism rests on discerning in the starting point of Bradley’s arguments a commitment to a modal principle of sufficient reason which collapses with the rejection of modality. 

Andrew Smith (Indiana University)

Quine’s Intuition

In the 1940s, Quine judged philosophical intuition and soundness as counting in favor of nominalism. I argue against authors who presuppose that this judgment is inconsistent with Quinean naturalism. To do so, I argue that favoring a view like nominalism which contradicts what scientists say is consistent with Quinean naturalism, that Quine’s judgment amounts to the view that nominalism is clearer than opposing views, and that this judgment stems from scientific method as Quine sees it. I then argue that Quine’s Fregean conception of set explains Quine’s approval for nominalism not only in the 1940s but also throughout his career.

Harrison Smith-Jaoudi (UC Davis)

Stratification and the historical status of Frege’s mature logic

Whether it is correct to credit Russell with the invention of type theory is left in doubt in the current literature, which does not resolve whether Frege articulates or anticipates a simple type theory before Russell’s work. I characterize current arguments for and against this claim about Frege, how Frege develops a mature stratified logic, and how this logic resembles and departs from simple type theory. I argue that current views about Frege’s relation to type theory need refinement, propose such a refinement, and explain how this should bear on our view of the historical status of Frege’s work. 

David G. Stern (University of Iowa)

Wittgenstein and Moore on Grammar

The paper explores the implications of a short paper on the concept of grammar that Moore presented in Wittgenstein’s discussion class in February 1932. Moore gave reasons for thinking that Wittgenstein was not using the expression ‘“rule of grammar”… in its ordinary sense’. After briefly considering Wittgenstein’s initial insistence that he was using the expression in its ordinary sense, the paper evaluates Wittgenstein’s much more thorough and systematic discussion of the issues raised by Moore’s critique, both in his writing during the day immediately afterwards, and in lectures at the end of the 1930s. 

Valerie Lynn Therrien (Western University)

Axiom of Choice as Paradigm Shift

Seldom has a mathematical axiom engendered the kind of criticism and controversy as did Zermelo’s 1904 Axiom of Choice (henceforth, AC). We intend to place the development of the Axiom of Choice in its proper historical context relative the period often called “the crisis in the foundations of mathematics”. To this end, we propose that the nature of the controversy surrounding AC warrants a division of the Grundlagenkrise der Mathematik into two separate horns : a) an ontological crisis related to the nature and status of mathematics itself (viz., the nature its foundation and the logical paradoxes that surrounded early attempts to logically formalize mathematics); and b) a methodological branch concerned rather with the nature of mathematical practice (viz., the nature of mathematical proofs. These two strands are inexorably intertwined and, though it is not new to suggest that the controversy surrounding AC was related either to the foundational crisis or to a polemic about the nature of mathematical demonstration, it is perhaps new to state that the question of the validity of AC not only was a central question of this period, but, furthermore, was one of its primary driver– one which led to a profound paradigm shift in the way we construe mathematical reasoning, whether it has led us down a path of embracing realism/Platonism o intuitionism/pragmatism/constructivism. 

Sander Verhaegh (Tilburg University)

Sign and Object: Quine’s Early Notes on Metaphysics, Analyticity, and Ontological Commitment

Quine’s mature ideas about metaphysics and ontology are intimately connected to his dismissal of the analytic-synthetic distinction. This raises the question of how he thought about these issues in the earliest stages of his career. In this paper, I reconstruct Quine’s early perspective on metaphysics, analyticity, and ontological commitment by examining a series of unpublished documents related to Sign and Object, a book project Quine worked on in the early 1940s. These documents, I argue, reveal how Quine gradually evolved from a Carnapian positivist into a naturalized philosopher, thereby shedding new light on both his development and his mature position.  

Kai Wehmeier (UC Irvine) and Ulrich Pardey (University of Bochum)

Frege’s Begriffsschrifft view of identity vindicated

In the Begriffsschrift, Frege held that identity statements of theform a=b signify the co-reference of the names flanking the identitysign and are thus in the first instance statements about those namesrather than the objects designated by them. It has long been held, byChurch, Furth, Dummett, White, and Heck, among others, that Frege’sofficial view is incompatible with the use to which he puts theidentity sign in his begriffsschrift derivations. Specifically, it isthought that Frege cannot make sense of bound variables occurring oneither side of the identity sign. We argue that this analysis isuncompelling. In fact, Frege’s co-reference view of identity is fullycompatible with his quantification theory. 

Seyed Mohammad Yarandi & Sadjad Abolfath (University of Californa, Santa Barbara & Tarbiat Modares University)

Intuitionism and the Linguistic Turn

Intuitionism is one of the few schools of thought, which has originated from philosophical concerns and at the same time had a significant impact on the practice of a limited group of mathematicians. However, the initial philosophical concerns have been replaced after the socalled linguistic turn by completely new reasons pro intuitionism. The linguistic turn is a term used to refer to a stage in the history of philosophy in which the role of language in the philosophical discussions has been emphasized. The aim of this article is to explain how the school of intuitionism survived this change. More precisely, we want to see how the central ideas of intuitionism were rearticulated from a linguistic perspective at the time. In this essay, we have argued that this new formulation does not make a radical break from its ancestors and is still related to the central concerns of traditional intuitionism. 

Byeong-uk Yi (University of Toronto)

Quine on Japanese classifiers and indeterminacy of reference

In “Ontological relativity”, Quine holds that Japanese cousins of English count nouns (e.g., wushi ‘cow’) have referential indeterminacy because one might equally regard them as  count nouns true of each of the individual objects belonging to a kind (e.g., cows) or as mass nouns that refer to some stuff (e.g., “the unindividuated totality of beef on the hoof”).  The reason he holds this view is that those Japanese nouns, unlike their English cousins (e.g., ‘cow’), cannot directly combine with numerals but require mediation of special expressions called (numeral) classifiers.  This paper argues against the indeterminacy thesis by showing that the Japanese cousin of ‘cow’, for example, cannot be considered a mass noun referring to some stuff.  In doing so, it examines Quine view about the mass/count distinction that underlies his thesis about Japanese nouns, and gives an account of the function of numeral classifiers. 

Tomasz Zarębski (University of Lower Silesia, Wrocław, Poland)

Sellars and Lewis on the Given and Empirical Knowledge

The presentation is intended to juxtapose the main aspect of Wilfrid Sellars’s conception of knowledge as presented in Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind with the vision of knowledge held earlier by Clarance I. Lewis. The both conceptions refer to the concept of the given: the one of Sellars’s – critically, the one of Lewis’s – approvingly. In my analysis, I put forward a reading of Lewis through Sellars that presents the former as such a proponent of givenness that avoids “the myth of the given”. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *