An Argument for Completely General Facts / Review of work on Frege

Volume 9.7 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access:

It features an article by Landon D.C. Elkind, entitled, “An Argument for Completely General Facts: Generalized Molecular Formulas in Logical Atomism.” Here is the abstract:

In his 1918 logical atomism lectures, Russell argued that there are no molecular facts. But he posed a problem for anyone wanting to avoid molecular facts: we need truth-makers for generalizations of molecular formulas, but such truth-makers seem to be both unavoidable and to have an abominably molecular character. Call this the problem of generalized molecular formulas. I clarify the problem here by distinguishing two kinds of generalized molecular formula: incompletely generalized molecular formulas and completely generalized molecular formulas. I next argue that, if empty worlds are logically possible, then the model-theoretic and truth-functional considerations that are usually given address the problem posed by the first kind of formula, but not the problem posed by the second kind. I then show that Russell’s commitments in 1918 provide an answer to the problem of completely generalized molecular formulas: some truth-makers will be non-atomic facts that have no constituents. This shows that the neo-logical atomist goal of defending the principle of atomicity—the principle that only atomic facts are truth-makers—is not realizable.

The volume also contains a review of Gottfried Gabriel & Sven Schlotter, Frege und die kontinentalen Ursprünge der analytischen Philosophie (mentis, 2017), written by Günther Eder.

JHAP is a free, open-access, peer-reviewed journal. It is available at Submissions welcome!