All posts by Kevin Klement

About Kevin Klement

I teach philosophy at UMass-Amherst.

Priority and Unity in Frege and Wittgenstein

Volume 6.5 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access.

It features an article by Oliver Thomas Spinney entitled “Priority and Unity in Frege and Wittgenstein”. Here is an abstract:

In the following article I intend to examine the problem of the unity of the proposition in Russell, Frege, and Wittgenstein. My chief aim will be to draw attention to the distinction between Russell’s conception of propositional constituents, on the one hand, with Frege and Wittgenstein’s on the other. My focus will be on Russell’s view of terms as independent, propositions being built up out of these building blocks, compared with Frege and Wittgenstein’s ‘top down’ approach. Furthermore, I will argue that, contra certain other commentators, Frege’s metaphor of saturation and unsaturation does not serve as a solution to the problem of unity, and that the extension of this metaphorical language to Wittgenstein is, therefore, inappropriate.

The volume also contains a review of Erik C. Banks, The Realistic Empiricism of Mach, James, and Russell: Neutral Monism Reconceived (Cambridge University Press, 2014), written by Gary Hatfield.

JHAP is a free, open-access peer reviewed journal. It is available at https://jhaponline.org/. Submissions welcome!

Why “is at”? —On Quine’s Objection to Carnap’s Aufbau in “Two Dogmas of Empiricism”

Volume 6.4 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open access.

It features an article by Ka Ho Lam entitled ‘Why “is at”? —On Quine’s Objection to Carnap’s Aufbau in “Two Dogmas of Empiricism”’. Here is an Abstract:

In “Two Dogmas”, Quine indicates that Carnap’s Aufbau fails “in principle” to reduce our knowledge of the external world to sense data. This is because in projecting the sensory material to reconstruct the physical world, Carnap gives up the use of operating rules and switches to a procedure informed by general principles. This procedure falls short of providing an eliminative translation for the connective “is at”, which is necessary for the reduction. In dissecting Quine’s objection, I argue that Quine has at best proven the claim that the use of general principles essentially fails the task of radical reductionism. However, in order to establish the conclusion that the Aufbau fails in principle, Quine needs to further vindicate two other claims. They are: first, a switch from operating rules to general principles is necessary; second, the set of general principles Carnap adopts is the best alternative. By disambiguating the notion of “explicit definition” and examining the concept of definability in the Aufbau, I explore the possibility of justifying these two claims that Quine overlooks in his objection. The result suggests that Quine’s objection stands in tension with his radical reductionist reading of the Aufbau.

The volume also contains a review of Anna Boncompagni’s Wittgenstein and Pragmatism. On Certainty in the Light of Peirce and James, written by Annalisa Coliva.

JHAP is a free, open-access peer reviewed journal. It is available at https://jhaponline.org/. Submissions welcome!

Method, Science, and Mathematics: Neo-Kantianism and Analytic Philosophy

Volume 6.3 of the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open access.

This issue is a special volume edited by Scott Edgar and Lydia Patton dedicated to Neo-Kantianism and Analytic Philosophy. The volume contains eleven substantial articles, as well as an introductory essay. Here is an abstract:

At its core, analytic philosophy concerns urgent questions about philosophy’s relation to the formal and empirical sciences, questions about philosophy’s relation to psychology and the social sciences, and ultimately questions about philosophy’s place in a broader cultural landscape. This picture of analytic philosophy shapes this collection’s focus on the history of the philosophy of mathematics, physics, and psychology. The following essays uncover, reflect on, and exemplify modes of philosophy that are engaged with these allied disciplines. They make the case that, to the extent that analytic philosophers are still concerned with philosophy’s ties to these disciplines, we would do well to pay attention to neo-Kantian views on those ties.

Table of contents

  1. Scott Edgar: Volume Introduction
  2. Gary Hatfield: Helmholtz and Philosophy: Science, Perception, and Metaphysics, with Variations on Some Fichtean Themes
  3. Liesbet De Kock: Historicizing Hermann von Helmholtz’s Psychology of Differentiation
  4. R. Brian Tracz: Helmholtz on Perceptual Properties
  5. Matthias Neuber: Perception and Coincidence in Helmholtz’s Theory of Measurement
  6. Paola Cantù: The Epistemological Question of the Applicability of Mathematics
  7. Francesca Biagioli: Articulating Space in Terms of Transformation Groups: Helmholtz and Cassirer
  8. Samantha Matherne: Cassirer’s Psychology of Relations: From the Psychology of Mathematics and Natural Science to the Psychology of Culture
  9. Janet Folina: After Non-Euclidean Geometry: Intuition, Truth and the Autonomy of Mathematics
  10. Georg Schiemer: Cassirer and the Structural Turn in Modern Geometry
  11. Thomas Ryckman: Cassirer and Dirac on the Symbolic Method in Quantum Mechanics: A Confluence of Opposites
  12. Erik C. Banks: Grete Hermann as Neo-Kantian Philosopher of Space and Time Representation

JHAP is a free, open-access peer reviewed journal. It is available at https://jhaponline.org/. Submissions welcome!

A Reconstruction of Russell’s Gray’s Elegy Argument

Volume 6.2 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) is now online, with full open access.

It features an article by Max Rosenkrantz entitled, “A Reconstruction of Russell’s Gray’s Elegy Argument”. Here is an abstract:

This paper presents a detailed exegesis of Russell’s “Gray’s Elegy Argument” (GEA). It holds that the GEA mounts a successful attack on Frege—a thesis that has been widely controverted in the literature. The point of departure for my interpretation is Russell’s charge that it is impossible to speak about Sinne, or “meanings” as Russell calls them. I argue that the charge concerns the construction of an “ideal language.” For Russell, an ideal language is an artificial schema designed to represent the truth-makers for sentences occurring in natural language. Its signs stand for the entities that are constituents of those truth-makers. Russell’s charge can thus be expressed more clearly and completely as follows: an ideal language designed to express Frege’s ontology requires signs for meanings (Sinne); however, the signs introduced for that purpose cannot be correlated with the entities they are supposed to represent. Thus, the requirement cannot be met.

JHAP is a free, open-access peer reviewed journal. It is available at https://jhaponline.org/. Submissions welcome!

Sidgwick’s Legacy? Russell and Moore on Meaning and Philosophical Inquiry

Volume 6.1 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) is now online, with full open-access.

It features an article by Sébastien Gandon entitled, “Sidgwick’s Legacy? Russell and Moore on Meaning and Philosophical Inquiry”. Here is an abstract:

James Levine has recently argued (1998, 2009, 2016) that there is a tension between Russell’s Moorean semantical framework and Russell’s Peano-inspired analytical practice. According to Levine, this discrepancy runs deep in Russell’s thought from 1900 to 1918, and underlies many of the doctrinal changes occurring during this period. In this paper, I suggest that, contrary to what Levine claims, there is no incompatibility between Moore’s theory of meaning and the idea of informative conceptual analysis. I show this by relating Moore’s view of meaning to his Sidgwick-inspired criticism of the so-called naturalistic fallacy. I maintain that Moore’s semantical framework has a methodological intent: following Sidgwick, Moore wants to block any attempt to justify ethical principles through setting ad hoc conditions on the meaning of the terms involved. Thus, far from grounding philosophical knowledge on subjective intuitions, as Levine suggests, Moore’s framework would provide us with the means to make room for a discursive and dialectic conception of philosophical inquiry.

JHAP is a free, open-access peer reviewed journal. It is available at https://jhaponline.org/. Submissions welcome!

Frege on Multiple Analyses and the Essential Articulatedness of Thought

Volume 5.10 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) is now online, with full open access.

It features an article entitled “Frege on Multiple Analyses and the Essential Articulatedness of Thought” by Silver Bronzo. Here is an abstract:

Frege appears to hold both (a) that thoughts are internally articulated, in a way that mirrors the semantic articulation of the sentences that express them, and (b) that the same thought can be analyzed in different ways, none of which has to be more fundamental than the others. Commentators have often taken these theses to be mutually incompatible and have tended to polarize into two camps, each of which attributes to Frege one of the theses, but maintains that he is only apparently committed to the other. This paper argues (i) that there are good exegetical and philosophical reasons for reconciling the two theses; (ii) that this reconciliation can be achieved by rejecting an assumption shared by the two opposite camps of the exegetical debate, i.e., the assumption that essential articulatedness implies unique articulation; and finally (iii), that this crucial assumption can be resisted by appreciating Frege’s anti-atomistic and ‘organic’ conception of the internal complexity of thoughts.

JHAP is a free, open-access peer reviewed journal. It is available at https://jhaponline.org/. Submissions welcome!

Semantic Non-factualism in Kripke’s Wittgenstein

Volume 5.9 of the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy is now online, with full open-access.

It features an article entitled “Semantic Non-factualism in Kripke’s Wittgenstein” by Daniel Boyd. Here is an abstract:

Kripke’s Wittgenstein is standardly understood as a non-factualist about meaning ascription. Non-factualism about meaning ascription is the idea that sentences like “Joe means addition by ‘plus’” are not used to state facts about the world. Byrne and Kusch have argued that Kripke’s Wittgenstein is not a non-factualist about meaning ascription. They are aware that their interpretation is non-standard, but cite arguments from Boghossian and Wright to support their view. Boghossian argues that non-factualism about meaning ascription is incompatible with a deflationary theory of truth. Wright argues that non-factualism about meaning ascription is incoherent. To support the standard interpretation, I’ll respond to each argument in turn. To the degree that my responses are successful, Byrne and Kusch have an unmotivated interpretation of Kripke’s Wittgenstein. Wilson provides a factualist interpretation that is not based on Boghossian and Wright’s arguments. Miller argues for a non-factualist interpretation against Wilson, but I’ll show that Miller’s interpretation faces a dilemma. Miller’s argument cannot be maintained if a coherent interpretation of the skeptical solution is to be provided. I’ll show how this dilemma can be avoided and provide an independent argument against Wilson so that a non-factualist interpretation of the skeptical solution can be maintained.

JHAP is a free, open-access peer reviewed journal. It is available at https://jhaponline.org/. Submissions welcome!

The Logical Significance of Assertion: Frege on the Essence of Logic

Volume 5.8 of the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy is now online, with full open-access.

It features an article by Walter Pedriali entitled, “The Logical Significance of Assertion: Frege on the Essence of Logic”. Here is an abstract:

Assertion plays a crucial dual role in Frege’s conception of logic, a formal and a transcendental one. A recurrent complaint is that Frege’s inclusion of the judgement-stroke (the formal counterpart of assertion) in the Begriffsschrift is either in tension with his anti-psychologism or wholly superfluous. Assertion, the objection goes, is at best of merely psychological significance. In this paper, I defend Frege against the objection by giving reasons for recognising the central logical significance of assertion in both its formal and its transcendental role.

JHAP is a free, open-access peer reviewed journal. It is available at https://jhaponline.org/. Submissions welcome!

Russell and Bradley: Revisiting the Creation Narrative of Analytic Philosophy

Volume 5.7 of the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy is now online, with full open access.

It features an article by Samuel Lebens entitled, “Russell and Bradley: Revisiting the Creation Narrative of Analytic Philosophy”. Here is an abstract:

According to Stewart Candlish, Russell and Moore had misunderstood F. H. Bradley’s monism. According to Jonathan Schaffer, they had misunderstood monism more generally. A key thread of the creation narrative of analytic philosophy, according to which Russell and Moore successfully undermined monism to give rise to a new movement is, therefore, in doubt. In this paper, I defend the standard narrative against those who seek to revise it.

The issue also features a review of Greg Frost-Arnold’s Carnap, Tarski and Quine at Harvard: Conversations on Logic, Mathematics and Science, written by Henri Wagner.

JHAP is a free, open-access peer reviewed journal. It is available at https://jhaponline.org/. Submissions welcome!

The Propositional Logic of Frege’s Grundgesetze / Reply to Hunter on Anscombe and Davidson on Practical Knowledge

Volume 5.6 of the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy is now online, with full open access.

It features an article by Eric D. Berg and Roy T. Cook entitled, “The Propositional Logic of Frege’s Grundgesetze: Semantics and Expressiveness”. Here is an abstract:

In this paper we compare the propositional logic of Frege’s Grundgesetze der Arithmetik to modern propositional systems, and show that Frege does not have a separable propositional logic, definable in terms of primitives of Grundgesetze, that corresponds to modern formulations of the logic of “not”, “and”, “or”, and “if…then…”. Along the way we prove a number of novel results about the system of propositional logic found in Grundgesetze, and the broader system obtained by including identity. In particular, we show that the propositional connectives that are definable in terms of Frege’s horizontal, negation, and conditional are exactly the connectives that fuse with the horizontal, and we show that the logical operators that are definable in terms of the horizontal, negation, the conditional, and identity are exactly the operators that are invariant with respect to permutations on the domain that leave the truth-values fixed. We conclude with some general observations regarding how Frege understood his logic, and how this understanding differs from modern views.

The volume also contains a discussion piece by Olav Gjelsvik entitled “Anscombe and Davidson on Practical Knowledge. A Reply to Hunter”. Abstract:

David Hunter has recently argued (in this journal) that Donald Davidson and Elizabeth Anscombe were in basic agreement about practical knowledge. In this reply, it is my contention that Hunter’s fascinating claim may not be satisfactorily warranted. To throw light on why, a more careful consideration of the role of the notion of practical knowledge in Anscombe’s approach to intentional action is undertaken. The result indicates a possible need to distinguish between what is called ‘practical knowledge’ and ‘(non-observational) knowledge of what one is doing’, and shows that Hunter’s claim concerning the closeness of Anscombe to Davidson only has plausibility for knowledge of what one is doing. Contrary to an interesting suggestion by Hunter, the paper argues that it is hard to see how Davidson’s position can benefit substantially from making use of the notion of knowledge of what one is doing.

JHAP is a free, open-access peer reviewed journal. It is available at https://jhaponline.org/. Submissions welcome!