All posts by Kevin Klement

About Kevin Klement

I teach philosophy at UMass-Amherst.

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!

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.