All posts by Kevin Klement

About Kevin Klement

I teach philosophy at UMass-Amherst.

JHAP Special Issue: Women in Early Analytic Philosophy

Volume 5.2 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published.

This volume is a special issue on Women in Early Analytic Philosophy, edited by Maria van der Schaar and Eric Schliesser.

In addition to an introduction by the editors, the volume contains these articles:

“Susan Stebbing, Incomplete Symbols and Foundherentist Meta-Ontology” by Frederique Janssen-Lauret. Abstract:

Susan Stebbing’s work on incomplete symbols and analysis was instrumental in clarifying, sharpening, and improving the project of logical constructions which was pivotal to early analytic philosophy. She dispelled use-mention confusions by restricting the term ‘incomplete symbol’ to expressions eliminable through analysis, rather than those expressions’ purported referents, and distinguished linguistic analysis from analysis of facts. In this paper I explore Stebbing’s role in analytic philosophy’s development from anti-holism, presupposing that analysis terminates in simples, to the more holist or foundherentist analytic philosophy of the later 20th century. I read Stebbing as a transitional figure who made room for more holist analytic movements, e.g., applications of incomplete symbol theory to Quinean ontological commitment. Stebbing, I argue, is part of a historical narrative which starts with the holism of Bradley, an early influence on her, to which Moore and Russell’s logical analysis was a response. They countered Bradley’s holist reservations about facts with the view that the world is built up out of individually knowable simples. Stebbing, a more subtle and sympathetic reader of the British idealists, defends analysis, but with important refinements and caveats which prepared the way for a return to foundherentism and holism within analytic philosophy.

“Maria Kokoszyńska: Between the Lvov-Warsaw School and the Vienna Circle” by Anna Brożek. Abstract:

Maria Kokoszyńska-Lutmanowa (1905–1981) was one of the most outstanding female representatives of the Lvov-Warsaw School. After achieving her PhD in philosophy under Kazimierz Twardowski’s supervision, she was Kazimierz Ajdukiewicz’s assistant. She was also influenced by Alfred Tarski whose results in semantics she analyzed and popularized. After World War II, she got the chair of logic in University of Wrocław and she organized studies in logic in this academic center. In the 1930s, Kokoszyńska kept in contact with members of the Vienna Circle and became a kind of connecting factor between Polish logicians and the Viennese group. In Poland, she presented the views of members of the Vienna Circle. In Vienna, she emphasized the results of her Polish colleagues. In the present paper, some of Kokoszyńska’s results connected with the matters discussed in the Vienna Circle are presented, namely with the problem of metaphysics, the status of logic and the idea of unity of science.

“Susanne Langer and the Woeful World of Facts” by Giulia Felappi. Abstract:

Susanne Langer is mainly known as the American philosopher who, starting from her famous Philosophy in a New Key (1942), worked in aesthetics and famously saw art as the product of the human mind’s most important, distinctive and remarkable ability, i.e., the ability to symbolise. But Langer’s later consideration of the connection between art and symbol is propagated by an early interest in the logic of symbols themselves. This rather neglected early part of Langer’s thought and her early interests and lines of reasoning, which she somehow abandoned later on to dedicate herself exclusively to the study of art, are the topic of this paper.

JHAP is available at All articles are freely available and open access. Submissions welcome!

“The Tragedy of Verbal Metaphysics” by Leon Chwistek

Volume 5.1 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published.

It features a translation by Adam Trybus and Bernard Linsky of Leon Chwistek’s “The Tragedy of Verbal Metaphysics”. Here is an abstract:

This is the first English translation of Leon Chwistek’s “Tragedia werbalnej metafizyki (Z powodu książki Dra Ingardena: Das literarische Kunstwerk),” Kwartalnik Filozoficzny, Vol. X, 1932, 46–76. Chwistek offers a scathing critique of Roman Ingarden’s Das literarische Kunstwerk (translated into English as The Literary Work of Art) and of the entire Phenomenology movement. The text also contains many hints at Chwistek’s own philosophical and formal ideas. The book that Chwistek reviews attracted wide attention and was instrumental in winning Ingarden a position as Professor of Philosophy at the University of Lwów in 1933. Chwistek’s alienation from his fellow logicians of the Lvov-Warsaw school is clear from his ridicule of Leśniewski’s project.

The volume also contains a review of Chon Tejedor, The Early Wittgenstein on Metaphysics, Natural Science, Language and Value (Routledge 2015), written by Peter Hanks.

JHAP is available at All articles are freely available and open access. Submissions welcome!

Quine and the Problem of Truth

Volume 4.10 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published.

It features an article by Joshua Schwartz entitled “Quine and the Problem of Truth”. Here is an abstract:

Widespread deflationistic readings of Quine misrepresent his view of disquotation’s significance and the truth predicate’s utility. I demonstrate this by answering a question that philosophers have not directly addressed: how does Quine understand the philosophical problem of truth? A primary thesis of this paper is that we can answer this question only by working from within Quine’s naturalistic framework. Drawing on neglected texts from Quine’s corpus, I defend the view that, for Quine, the problem of truth emerges from the development of science, in particular, from logical theorizing. I show that disquotation itself, from this Quinean point of view, is the problematic phenomenon calling for philosophical reflection. I conclude by arguing that Quine does not envisage the kind of explanatory role for disquotation taken up by contemporary deflationists, and he shows no interest in the task that animates deflationism, namely, to show that concerns with truth’s nature are fundamentally confused.

JHAP is available at Submissions welcome!

Early Forms of Metaethical Constructivism in John Dewey’s Pragmatism (JHAP)

Volume 4.9 of the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) is now online (full open access). It features an article entitled “Early Forms of Metaethical Constructivism in John Dewey’s Pragmatism”, by Pierre-Luc Dostie Proulx. Here is an abstract:

This paper demonstrates the innovative character of the approach to metaethics underlying John Dewey’s pragmatism. Dewey’s theory of evaluation is contrasted with one of the most dominant contemporary metaethical theses: constructivism. I show that the insistence placed by metaethical constructivists on the actor’s practical point of view, on the rejection of the subjective preferences model, and on a specific form of ethical antirealism and naturalism echoes some of the most crucial claims made by Dewey. This argumentation leads to my main hypothesis: an analysis of Dewey’s conception of evaluation allows us to highlight the groundbreaking character of its metaethical approach—an approach that will be characterized as fairly constructivist.

JHAP is available at: Submissions welcome.

Rawls on Kantian Constructivism

Volume 4.8 of the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) is now online. It features an article entitled “Rawls on Kantian Constructivism”, by Nathaniel Jezzi. Here is an abstract:

John Rawls’s 1980 Dewey Lectures are widely acknowledged to represent the locus classicus for contemporary discussions of moral constructivism. Nevertheless, few published works have engaged with the significant interpretive challenges one finds in these lectures, and those that have fail to offer a satisfactory reading of the view that Rawls presents there or the place the lectures occupy in the development of Rawls’s thinking. Indeed, there is a surprising lack of consensus about how best to interpret the constructivism of these lectures. In this paper, I argue that the constructivism presented in the Dewey Lectures is best understood as involving the view that moral truth is correspondence with procedurally-determined, stance-dependent facts. Employing Rawls’s discussion of rational intuitionism as a foil, I defend this reading against textual discrepancies from within the lectures, as well as those one finds across Rawls’s other works. In addition to settling interpretive disputes, I draw out the ways in which this understanding of Kantian constructivism fits within the broader comparative project in ‘moral theory’ that Rawls inherits from Sidgwick.

The volume also features a review of Erich Reck., ed. The Historical Turn in Analytic Philosophy, by Sean Morris.

JHAP is available at: Submissions welcome.

The Substance Argument of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus

Volume 4.7 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published.

It features an article by Michael Morris entitled “The Substance Argument of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus”. Here is an abstract:

In Morris (2008) I presented in outline a new interpretation of the famous ‘substance argument’ in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (Wittgenstein 1922). The account I presented there gave a distinctive view of Wittgenstein’s main concerns in the argument, but did not explain in detail how the argument works: how its steps are to be found in the text, and how it concludes. I remain convinced that the interpretation I proposed correctly identifies the main concerns which lie behind the argument. I return to the argument here in order to elaborate in fuller detail the relation between those concerns and the actual course of the text.

JHAP is available at Submissions welcome!

Geach and Ascriptivism: Beside the Point / Getting off the Inwagen: A Critique of Quinean Metaontology

Volume 4.6 of the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published.

The essays published in this volume were selected as the co-recipients of the 2014 JHAP Essay Prize.

The first paper is “Geach and Ascriptivism: Beside the Point”, by Luís Duarte d’Almeida. Here is an abstract:

This paper discusses the first incarnation of what came to be known as the “Frege-Geach” point. The point was made by Peter Geach in his 1960 essay “Ascriptivism”, and developed in “Assertion”, a 1965 piece. Geach’s articles launch a wholesale attack on theories of non-descriptive performances advanced by “some Oxford philosophers” whom he accuses of ignoring “the distinction between calling a thing ‘P’ and predicating ‘P’ of a thing”. One view that Geach specifically targets is H. L. A. Hart’s claim (in the 1949 essay “The Ascription of Responsibility and Rights”) that sentences of the form “X φ-ed” are not primarily descriptive but ascriptive of responsibility for actions. Hart explicitly accepted Geach’s criticism, and disowned his essay. I argue that he was wrong to do so. Perhaps the essay was worth retracting, but not because of Geach’s objections. I begin by restating and refining Geach’s arguments, in order to bring out the flaw he claimed to have detected in the “pattern of philosophising” that he took Hart’s essay to exemplify. I go on to argue that Geach’s original point poses no obstacle either to non-descriptivism in general, or to Hart’s sui generis non-descriptivist claim in particular.

The second is “Getting off the Inwagen: A Critique of Quinean Metaontology”, by Karl Egerton. Abstract:

Much contemporary ontological inquiry takes place within the so-called ‘Quinean tradition’ but, given that some aspects of Quine’s project have been widely abandoned even by those who consider themselves Quineans, it is unclear what this amounts to. Fortunately recent work in metaontology has produced two relevant results here: a clearer characterisation of the metaontology uniting the aforementioned Quineans, most notably undertaken by Peter van Inwagen, and a raft of criticisms of that metaontology. In this paper I critique van Inwagen’s Quinean metaontology, finding that certain challenges, supplemented by pressure to reflect more closely Quine’s work, should drive Quineans to adopt a stronger metaontology incorporating more of Quine’s radical views. I conclude that while van Inwagen’s Quineanism is problematic there are prospects for a viable, more wholeheartedly Quinean, metaontology.

JHAP is available at Submissions welcome.

Responses to Uebel on American Pragmatism and the Vienna Circle

Volume 4.5 of the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) is now online. This issue contains discussions in response to Thomas Uebel’s article “American Pragmatism and the Vienna Circle: The Early Years” published in volume 3.3 (2015) of JHAP.

Was James Psychologistic?
Alexander Klein

Abstract: As Thomas Uebel has recently argued, some early logical positivists saw American pragmatism as a kindred form of scientific philosophy. They associated pragmatism with William James, whom they rightly saw as allied with Ernst Mach. But what apparently blocked sympathetic positivists from pursuing commonalities with American pragmatism was the concern that James advocated some form of psychologism, a view they thought could not do justice to the a priori. This paper argues that positivists were wrong to read James as offering a psychologistic account of the a priori. They had encountered James by reading Pragmatism as translated by the unabashedly psychologistic Wilhelm Jerusalem. But in more technical works, James had actually developed a form of conventionalism that anticipated the so-called “relativized” a priori positivists themselves would independently develop. While positivists arrived at conventionalism largely through reflection on the exact sciences, though, James’s account of the a priori grew from his reflections on the biological evolution of cognition, particularly in the context of his Darwin-inspired critique of Herbert Spencer.

The Subterranean Influence of Pragmatism on the Vienna Circle: Peirce, Ramsey, Wittgenstein
Cheryl Misak

Abstract: An underappreciated fact in the history of analytic philosophy is that American pragmatism had an early and strong influence on the Vienna Circle. The path of that influence goes from Charles Peirce to Frank Ramsey to Ludwig Wittgenstein to Moritz Schlick. That path is traced in this paper, and along the way some standard understandings of Ramsey and Wittgenstein, especially, are radically altered.

Pragmatisms and Logical Empiricisms: Response to Misak and Klein
Thomas Uebel

Abstract: This paper responds to the generous comments by Alexander Klein and Cheryl Misak on my “American Pragmatism and the Vienna Circle: The Early Years”. First, besides offering some clarification of my original thesis, I argue that Jerusalem was not liable to the anti-Spencerian criticisms by James that Klein adduces in the course of defending James against the charge of psychologism. Then I investigate the impact of Wittgenstein’s Ramsey-derived pragmatism, importantly foregrounded by Misak, on the Vienna Circle and argue that it was mainly limited to Schlick but not recognized as pragmatist, also leaving unaffected the impact of James’s pragmatism on Frank, Hahn and Neurath specified in my original paper. That said, Klein’s and Misak’s comments add significantly to our understanding of long-neglected transatlantic philosophical connections in the early twentieth century.

JHAP is available at: Submissions welcome.

A. N. Prior on Austin’s ‘Sense and Sensibilia’

Volume 4.4 of the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy is now online. It features an article entitled "A. N. Prior on Austin's Sense and Sensibilia", edited by Chrissy van Hulst and Max Cresswell. Here is an abstract:

In the early 1960s A. N. Prior was commissioned to write a review of J. L. Austin’s Sense and Sensibilia. The review was never published. The present article presents a transcription of the review from the material available in the Virtual Lab For Prior Studies maintained at Aalborg University, together with an edited version of the transcription of a longer commentary on Sense and Sensibilia from which the review was condensed.

JHAP is available at: Submissions welcome.

Wittgenstein and His Literary Executors / Reviews of Works on Wittgenstein and on Stout

Volume 4.3 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy is now online. It features an article by Christian Erbacher entitled “Wittgenstein and His Literary Executors”.

It also contains a review of Mauro Engelmann’s Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Development, by Alois Pichler, and a review of Maria van der Schaar’s G. F. Stout and the Psychological Origins of Analytic Philosophy by Consuelo Preti.

Here is an abstract of Erbacher’s article:

Rush Rhees, Georg Henrik von Wright and Elizabeth Anscombe are well known as the literary executors who made Ludwig Wittgenstein’s later philosophy available to all interested readers. Their editions of Wittgenstein’s writings have become an integral part of the modern philosophical canon. However, surprisingly little is known about the circumstances and reasons that made Wittgenstein choose them to edit and publish his papers. This essay sheds light on these questions by presenting the story of their personal relationships—relationships that, on the one hand, gave Rhees, von Wright and Anscombe distinct insights into Wittgenstein’s philosophizing; and, on the other hand, let Wittgenstein assume that these three former students, and later colleagues and friends, were the most capable of preparing his work for publication. Using hitherto unpublished archival material as well as information from published recollections, the essay sketches the development of the personal and philosophical bonds from which the literary heirs’ distinct ways of handling Wittgenstein’s unpublished writings grew in later years.

JHAP is available at: Submissions welcome.