All posts by Kevin Klement

About Kevin Klement

I teach philosophy at UMass-Amherst.

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!

Gilbert Ryle: Intelligence, Practice, Skill

Volume 5.5 of the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) is now online. This is a special issue entitled Gilbert Ryle, Intelligence, Practice, Skill, edited by Juliet Floyd and Lydia Patton.

It contains the following four articles:

1) “Volume Introduction: Gilbert Ryle on Propositions, Propositional Attitudes, and Theoretical Knowledge” by Julia Tanney

Abstract: In the introduction to the special volume, Gilbert Ryle: Intelligence, Practice and Skill, Julia Tanney introduces the contributions of Michael Kremer, Stina Bäckström and Martin Gustafsson, and Will Small, each of which indicates concern about the appropriation of Ryle’s distinction between knowing-how and knowing-that in seminal work in contemporary epistemology. Expressing agreement with the authors that something has gone awry in these borrowings from Ryle, Tanney takes this criticism to a deeper level. She argues that the very notion of content-bearing, causally-efficacious mental states, let alone representational states of knowledge-that or knowledge-how, embodies the very presuppositions that Ryle calls into question in his rejection of classical theories of meaning and his related warning of the type-errors involved in conflating rational and mechanistic explanation. That these mental posits are presupposed, unchallenged, in today’s debates make his arguments against intellectualism particularly difficult to discern.

2) “Ryle’s ‘Intellectualist Legend’ in Historical Context” by Michael Kremer

Abstract: Gilbert Ryle’s distinction between knowledge-how and knowledge-that emerged from his criticism of the “intellectualist legend” that to do something intelligently is “to do a bit of theory and then to do a bit of practice,” and became a philosophical commonplace in the second half of the last century. In this century Jason Stanley (initially with Timothy Williamson) has attacked Ryle’s distinction, arguing that “knowing-how is a species of knowing-that,” and accusing Ryle of setting up a straw man in his critique of “intellectualism.” Examining the use of the terms “intellectualism” and “anti-intellectualism” in the first half of the 20th century, in a wide-ranging debate in the social sciences as well as in philosophy, I show that Ryle was not criticizing a straw man, but a live historical position. In the context of this controversy, Ryle’s position represents a third way between “intellectualism” and “anti-intellectualism,” an option that has largely gone missing in the 21st century discussion. This argument illustrates how history can inform the history of philosophy, and how the history of philosophy can inform contemporary philosophical inquiry.

3) “Skill, Drill, and Intelligent Performance: Ryle and Intellectualism” by Stina Bäckström and Martin Gustafsson

Abstract: In this paper, we aim to show that a study of Gilbert Ryle’s work has much to contribute to the current debate between intellectualism and anti-intellectualism with respect to skill and know-how. According to Ryle, knowing how and skill are distinctive from and do not reduce to knowing that. What is often overlooked is that for Ryle this point is connected to the idea that the distinction between skill and mere habit is a category distinction, or a distinction in form. Criticizing the reading of Ryle presented by Jason Stanley, we argue that once the formal nature of Ryle’s investigation is recognized it becomes clear that his dispositional account is not an instance of reductionist behaviorism, and that his regress argument has a broader target than Stanley appears to recognize.

4) “Ryle on the Explanatory Role of Knowledge How” by Will Small

Abstract: Contemporary discussions of knowledge how typically focus on the question whether or not knowing how to do ϕ consists in propositional knowledge, and divide the field between intellectualists (who think that it does) and anti-intellectualists (who think that it does not, and that it consists instead in the possession of the ability to ϕ). This way of framing the issue is said to derive from Gilbert Ryle. I argue that this is a misreading of Ryle, whose primary interest in discussing knowledge how was not epistemological but rather action-theoretical, whose argument against intellectualism has for this reason been misunderstood and underestimated (by Jason Stanley, among others), and whose positive view aims to chart a middle course between intellectualism and anti-intellectualism.

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

On Operator N and Wittgenstein’s Logical Philosophy

Volume 5.4 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy is now online.

It features an article by James R. Connelly entitled, “On Operator N and Wittgenstein’s Logical Philosophy”. Here is an abstract.

In this paper, I provide a new reading of Wittgenstein’s N operator, and of its significance within his early logical philosophy. I thereby aim to resolve a longstanding scholarly controversy concerning the expressive completeness of N. Within the debate between Fogelin and Geach in particular, an apparent dilemma emerged to the effect that we must either concede Fogelin’s claim that N is expressively incomplete, or reject certain fundamental tenets within Wittgenstein’s logical philosophy. Despite their various points of disagreement, however, Fogelin and Geach nevertheless share several common and problematic assumptions regarding Wittgenstein’s logical philosophy, and it is these mistaken assumptions which are the source of the dilemma. Once we recognize and correct these, and other, associated expository errors, it will become clear how to reconcile the expressive completeness of Wittgenstein’s N operator, with several commonly recognized features of, and fundamental theses within, the Tractarian logical system.

The issue also contains a review of Sebastian Sunday Grève and Jakub Mácha, eds. Wittgenstein and the Creativity of Language, written by Craig Fox.

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

Not Just Errors: A New Interpretation of Mackie’s Error Theory

Volume 5.3 of the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online.

It features an article by Victor Moberger entitled, “Not Just Errors: A New Interpretation of Mackie’s Error Theory”.

Here is an abstract:

J. L. Mackie famously argued that a commitment to non-existent objective values permeates ordinary moral thought and discourse. According to a standard interpretation, Mackie construed this commitment as a universal and indeed essential feature of moral judgments. In this paper I argue that we should rather ascribe to Mackie a form of semantic pluralism, according to which not all moral judgments involve the commitment to objective values. This interpretation not only makes better sense of what Mackie actually says, but also renders his error theory immune to a powerful objection.

The volume also contains a review of Cheryl Misak’s book, Cambridge Pragmatism: From Peirce and James to Ramsey and Wittgenstein, written by John Capps.

JHAP is a free and open-access journal. Submissions welcome at https://jhaponline.org.

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 https://jhaponline.org. 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 https://jhaponline.org. 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 https://jhaponline.org. 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: https://jhaponline.org. Submissions welcome.