The Society for the Study of the History of Analytic Philosophy 2019 Annual Meeting will be held June 17-19, 2019 at Boston University. The program and abstracts follow below.
All events take place at the Rajen Kilchand Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering (KCILSE), 610 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA.
Registration 8am-4pm: outside the Auditorium, KCILSE room 101. All plenary keynote lectures will take place in the Auditorium. The remaining talks are in KCILSE rooms 106a-c.
Boston University Campus Map: www.bu.edu/maps/?id=3745
See also the conference website.
Monday, June 17th
Chair: Sanford Shieh
Chair: James Pearson
Chair: Edward Guetti
Chair: Raimundo Henriques
||Matthew Carlson, “On Judging Our Theories to be True Enough”
||Jim Hutchinson, “Frege on Science: Simplicity and Grounding”
||Landon Elkind, “Logical Atomism as Term Busting”
||Gisela Bengtsson, “The Tractatus and the Right Method of Philosophy”
||Gary Ebbs, Carnap on the relation between pure and descriptive semantics: a Carnapian reply to Quine’s criticisms in ‘Two Dogmas of Empiricism,’ section 4
||Dongwoo Kim, “On Frege’s Assimiliation of Sentences with Names”
||Jared Hanson-Park, “Russell’s Neutral Monism as the Offspring of Phenomenological Reductionism”
||Mauro Engelmann, “The Tractatus on Philosophical Problems”
||Keynote: Annalisa Coliva, “Waismann on Belief and Knowledge”
||Roundtable: Analytical Feminism
||Frege & Russell
Chair: James Pearson
Chair: Sanford Shieh
|Ryo Ito, “Frege’s Puzzle and the Early Russell’s Notion of Acquaintance”
||Mark Textor, “‘For him an error is utterly impossible’: Brentano on Mach’s Neutral Monism”
||Josh Eisenthal, “A New Role for Ontology: The Expressive Resources of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus”
||Wim Vanrie, “Elucidation and Logical Types: Frege vis-a-vis Russell”
||Ofra Rechter, “Lessons from Tait on the Kantian pedigree of Finitism”
||James Connelly, “Fixed and Infinite: On the Domain of Quantification in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus”
Chair: Gary Ebbs
|The Given & the A Priori
Chair: Mirja Hartimo
Chair: Fons Dewulf
Chair: Haggeo Cadenas
||Warren Goldfarb, “Wittgenstein’s ‘Early Middle’ Philosophy of Mathematics”
||Michael Hicks, “Acquaintance and the Myth of the Given”
||Paul Gregory, “Quine’s Naturalist Two-Step”
||Derek Anderson, “Explaining Carnap’s Semantic Turn”
||Greg Lavers, “Friedrich Waismann: From Wittgenstein’s Tafelrunde to his writings on Analyticity”
||Griffin Klemick, “The Problem with Picturing: Sellars’ Failed Quest for Transcendental Friction”
||Jason Hanschmann, “Desert Landscapes and Criteria of Identity”
||Georg Schiemer, “Semantics in Type Theory”
Student Village Tower II, 33 Harry Agannis Way, 26th floor Lounge
Tuesday, June 18th
||Roundtable: Global Analytic Philosophy
Chair: Luca Oliva
Chair: Landon Elkind
Chair: James Connelly
|David Stern, “The Availability of Wittgenstein’s Early Philosophy”
||Greg Landini, “Two Little Puzzles in Russell’s Works Resolved”
||Haggeo Cadenas, “How to Argue for Bayesianism”
||Nikolay Milkov, “The Composition of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus and the Tractarian Wars”
||Peter Hanks, “The Historical Origin of ‘Russellian’ Singular Propositions”
||Fons Dewulf, “Leo Apostel and Rudolf Carnap: The Development of Logical Empiricist Ethics”
||Keynote: Thomas Ricketts, “Inference, Notational Rigor, and Semantics in Frege”
||Annual General Meeting of SSHAP followed by
Chair: Sanford Shieh
Chair: Derek Anderson
|Philosophy of Mathematics
Chair: Juliet Floyd
|C. I. Lewis
Chair: Alessandro Moscaritolo
||Colin Johnston, “Frege, Judgement, and the Judging Subject”
||Richard Creath, “Analytic-for-L for Variable L”
||Luca Oliva, “Wittgenstein’s Quasi-Intuitionism”
||Aude Bandini, “Lost to history: C. I. Lewis and Analytical Philosophy”
||Jeremy Heis, “Frege’s Anti-Psychologism in its Historical Context”
||Sander Verhaegh, “Schlick, Bridgman, and Lewis: The American Reception of Verificationism”
||Fan Zhao, “From Definability to Computability: Turing on Hobson’s Conception of Definable Numbers”
||Timur Uçan, “Lewis and Friedman on the A Priori”
Chair: Jim Hutchinson
Chair: Paul Gregory
Chair: Enzo De Pellegrin
|Chair: Jared Hanson-Park
||Marcus Rossberg, “Grundgesetze der Arithmetik I §66”
||Claudine Verheggen, “The Continuity of Davidson’s Thought: Non-Reductionism without Quietism”
||Mathieu Marion, “Following a Rule: Waismann’s Variation”
||Alessandro Moscaritolo, “Cook Wilson, Idealism, and the Emergence of Oxford Analytic Philosophy”
||Joan Bertran-San Millan, “Frege and Peano on Axiomatization and Formalization”
||Robert Myers, “Davidson’s Meta-Normative Naturalism”
||Pieranna Garavaso, “Wittgenstein and Goodman on Skeptical Arguments: A Reappraisal”
||Matthew LaVine, “Starting Points in Philosophy and the History of Analytic Philosophy”
||Andreas Vrahimis, “The Vienna Circle’s Responses to Lebensphilosophie”
||Edward Guetti, “Logical Modernism: The Philosophical Logic of the Philosophical Investigations”
||Evelyn Brister & John Capps, “The Past and Future of Interdisciplinarity: Neurath and Incentives for Universal Science”
Wednesday, June 19 th
||Roundtable: Analytic Philosophy in China
Chair: Tammo Lossau
||Frege & others
Chair: Gisela Bengtsson
|Mirja Hartimo, “Chimera of Logicism: Husserl’s Criticism of Logicism”
||Jacob Rump, “Putting the Act First: Husserl and Frege on Psychologism and the Presentation of Mental Content”
||Konner Childers, “Husserlian Positivistic Phenomenology of Spatial Reception”
||Tyke Nunez, “Numerability, Logicism, and the Formality of Logic”
||Keynote: Sandra Lapointe, “The True Story of Formality”
||Symposium: Frege on Logic as Science
Chair: Sanford Shieh
|Chair: James Pearson
||Chair: Jason Hanschmann
Chair: Edward Guetti
||Robert May, “Logic as Science”
Joan Weiner, Comments on May
|Lory Lemke, “Frege’s Early Conception of Philosophy”
||Nathan Oseroff, “Correcting Three Popular Myths Concerning Popper’s Solution to the Problem of Demarcation”
||Enzo De Pellegrin, “Before the Blue Book”
||Melissa Rees, “Frank P. Ramsey’s Missing Theory of Demonstratives”
||Tammo Lossau, “Putting the Linguistic Method in its Place: Mackie on Conceptual Analysis”
||Shunichi Takagi, “Wittgenstein’s Transcendental Turn During the Tractatus Composition”
||Chair: Pieranna Garavaso
Chair: Juliet Floyd
Chair: Matthew Carlson
||Manuela Massa, “The Capacity to Follow Rules: Normative Language’s Semantic and Pragmatic Character”
||Raimundo Henriques, “Ornament and Nonsense”
||Paul Goldberg, “Unpacking Quine’s Commitment to ‘Unregenerate (Scientific) Realism’”
||Rheanna Trevino, “Actualism and Being: Ontological Commitments and Modal Logic”
||Lawrence S. Wang, “Wittgenstein and Carnap on Gödel’s Ontology”
||Andrew Smith, “Quine on Set Theory: Stipulation or Explanation?”
Roundtable on Analytic Philosophy in China
Analytic Philosophy in China: the Last 40 Years
From the 1980s to now, it is a marvelous phase for the study of analytic philosophy in China. Two features are marked on this phase, many introductions done to the Chinese philosophical circle and many conflicts happening between analytic philosophy and traditional Chinese philosophy. The study also can be characterized in two features, the historical research that can be called an external problem, and problem-centred research called an internal challenge. Tscha HUNG, JIANG Tianji, TU Jiliang, QIU Renzong and HONG Handing are outstanding representatives in the last generation. The later generations are represented by CHEN Bo, WANG Lu, YE Feng, YE Chuang, TANG Refeng, TANG Hao, ZHONG Lei and others. The study of the history of analytic philosophy is the main body of analytic philosophy in China, including the early analytic heroes and the latest figures. The problem-centred research in analytic philosophy became influential in Chinese philosophical circle in the last 40 years, which is also part of study of analytic philosophy in the world. This kind of research typically engages in the comparative insights on Chinese philosophy with the analytic approach.
Russell and Jin Yuelin on Facts: from the Perspective of Comparative Philosophy
This talk reviews and compares Russell’s and JIN Yuelin’s views of fact. Mainly in “The Philosophy of Logical Atomism,” Russell develops a realistic conception of fact. His core thesis is that the world contains facts, and facts are in the external world. Through logical analysis, Russell arrives at “logical atoms,” including sensible particulars, predicates and relations. Combination of logical atoms gives rise to atomic facts. By means of logical constants, atomic facts are combined into more complicate facts, such as general facts and existential facts. Russell appeals to the logical structure of language in order to expose the ontological structure of the world. Influenced by Russell and his philosophy, JIN Yuelin develops a cognitivist conception of fact. His core thesis is that facts are the given accepted and arranged by us, and that more specifically, facts are cognitive constructions we build on the basis of sensory material, so facts are both objective and subjective. JIN’s conception of fact is radically different from Russell’s, and most of its conclusions are in conflict with the latter. JIN Yuelin is thus not only a follower of Russell’s philosophy. Based on the traditions of both Chinese and Western philosophies, JIN is an original philosopher, rare in modern China, who develops a new theory of facts.
Bertrand Russell in China
Bertrand Russell gave over 60 lectures and addresses in China between October 1920 and May of 1921. Russell spoke in English, with the linguist Zhao Yuanren translating sentence by sentence into Chinese to large audiences. Journalists recorded and published the notes in several periodicals. I plan to work with Chinese graduate students at the University of Alberta and at Beijing Normal University in China to back translate these lectures to make them available to English readers for the first time. Yet I cannot read Chinese! I will explain what I can contribute to this project. While I concentrate on Russell’s academic lectures on Philosophy and Logic, he also spoke on education and politics, with a young Mao Zedong recording one. I will say something about those talks.
Analytic Philosophy: Learning from China
In recent years there has been a debate about the role of the history of analytic philosophy in the practice of analytic philosophy. On this issue I hold, along with Michael Beaney and Michael Kremer among others, that a critical part of the use, the Nutzen, of the history of analytic philosophy consists of approaching it through an attempt to free ourselves from current assumptions of philosophical progress. Only thus can we best learn from our past. I suggest that analytic philosophy can learn from Chinese philosophy and culture in a similar way. I sketch an example of how the study of Chinese language may shed light on the long-standing dispute between logicism and Kantian conceptions of arithmetic.
Abstracts of papers
Derek Anderson (Boston University)
Explaining Carnap’s Semantic Turn
This paper explores Carnap’s reason for abandoning strict syntacticism in favor of a semantic approach after encountering Tarski’s theory of truth. I argue against an explanation advanced by Coffa (1987) and others according to which Carnap’s Logical Syntax of Language implicitly contained semantic elements and that his encounter with Tarski merely revealed this fact to him.
Joshua Anderson (Virginia State University)
Why Moore is not a Particularist
In this paper I offer an understanding of G.E. Moore’s epistemology. To frame the discussion, I look to Chisholm’s essay, The Problem of the Criterion. I begin with a brief review of Chisholm’s essay and explain why it is not unreasonable for Chisholm to believe that he is following a line of reasoning that Moore might take. I then show why Chisholm is actually trying to do something quite different from what Moore was, and thus misses Moore’s actual point. I conclude that Moore is best understood as rejecting traditional epistemological concerns.
Aude Bandini (Université de Montréal)
Lost to History: CI Lewis and Analytic Philosophy
Here I wish to address the reasons (both historical and conceptual) why C. I. Lewis has usually been overlooked and his influence underestimated by mainstream history of analytic philosophy. The fact that his works have been quite recently the object of a renewed attention does certainly not result from a mere historical curiosity. I shall rather argue that some of his compelling – and heterodox – views have decisively contributed to the fruitfulness of analytic philosophy, but may also account for some of its frailty and inability to persist as a set of substantial views in the aftermaths of WWII.
Gisela Bengtsson (Uppsala University)
The Tractatus and the Right Method of Philosophy
The paper develops a view of “the right method of philosophy” in the Tractatus that brings forth the conception of “saying nothing” (6.53) as a key aspect of this method. The centrality of the notion at different levels of Wittgenstein’s investigation is demonstrated and lines of continuity to Wittgenstein’s later characterization of philosophy and philosophical propositions are discussed. The suggested approach has a different focal point than interpretations that place the conception of “nonsense” at the center and sheds light on an aspects of the book that has not been sufficiently explored.
Evelyn Brister and John Capps (Rochester Institute of Technology)
The Past and Future of Interdisciplinarity: Neurath and Incentives for Unified Science
Interdisciplinarity has been a topic of academic discussion for several decades, but interdisciplinary research still faces significant hurdles. We argue that Neurath’s anti-reductionist approach to unified science illuminates contemporary hurdles—and offers possible support—to interdisciplinary research. These hurdles are often under-appreciated because interdisciplinarity is open to multiple interpretations. Likewise, Neurath’s potential contributions are often overlooked because of misconceptions about the unity of science movement. Neurath’s work, we conclude, is not only a prime example of how to think about interdisciplinarity but also a prime example of interdisciplinarity itself.
Haggeo Cadenas (University of California San Diego)
How to Argue for Bayesianism
Here, I’ll argue that understanding formalisms as Carnapian explications provides responses to objections plaguing arguments for Bayesianism. The arguments are typically thought to be question begging and illicitly drawing epistemic norms from pragmatic ones. However, on the suggested interpretation, their premises are merely the result of explications of epistemic, pre-theoretic notions, such as “accuracy” or “credence.” The allegedly question begging premises turn out analytically true, and since the explications are about epistemic concepts, the illicit move goes away. As Carnap maintained, one is free to deny these premises, but one must replace them with axioms that are equally or more “fruitful,” or one must show that their absence is more (or at least not less) “fruitful.”
Matthew Carlson (Wabash University)
On Judging Our Theories to be True Enough
In this paper, I bring Catherine Elgin’s recent book, True Enough, into conversation with Quine’s epistemology by considering a challenge for Quine that arises from Elgin’s work. Elgin argues that in ordinary scientific practice, scientists employ models and idealizations which they judge only to be “true enough”. This conflicts with a central idea of Quine’s naturalism, namely that we should judge our current best scientific theories to be true. The way out of this conflict, I argue, is to pay close attention to Quine’s views on posits, and what it means to judge truth from within our current best theories.
Konner Childers (Rice University)
Husserlian Phenomenology of Perception: A Positivistic Solution to the Problem of Space Based on Normativity
This paper shall focus on the nineteenth and twentieth century attempts to solve the mathematical “problem of space,” namely, the issue raised by Helmholtz in dialogue with Riemann: whether the axioms of geometry pertained to visual/external space itself and if there existed an objective metric for that space. We shall show that Husserl presents a unique solution that extends Helmholtzian perceptual normativity in a way that is both positivistic and distinguished from logical empiricist and Russellian meta-mathematical models.
James Connelly (Trent University Durham)
Fixed and Infinite: On the Domain of Quantification in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus
Within the context of attempts to explicate Wittgenstein’s N operator notation, and to assess the expressive completeness, as well as consistency, of the Tractarian logical system, a number of commentators have detected an alleged ambivalence within Wittgenstein’s characterization of the size of the domain of quantification. In particular, Wittgenstein is claimed to be in some way indecisive regarding, uncertain about, or wishes to leave as an open, empirical question, the issue of whether the domain of quantification is to be construed as finite or infinite. In this paper I will argue that, as attempts to interpret Wittgenstein’s characterization of the size of the domain of objects, readings involving these sorts of claims are both unstable, and uncharitable. Moreover, ample textual evidence exists to show that Wittgenstein intends the domain of objects to be both fixed, and infinite. Like many other features of the Tractarian metaphysical framework, however, this can only be shown by, but not literally stated within, a meaningful conceptual notation.
Annalisa Coliva (University of California, Irvine)
Waismann on Belief and Knowledge
Waismann’s position with respect to belief and knowledge has been neglected for years, partly because it is contained in two incomplete, posthumously published papers—“Belief and Knowledge” and “Two Accounts of Knowing” —composed in English in the 1950’s and collected in his Philosophical Papers (1977); and partly because it is difficult to extract a clear view from the vast number of remarks he makes about the various and disparate uses we make of “belief”, “knowledge” and their cognates. This paper intends to remedy the situation, to some extent, by focusing on these neglected papers and by comparing Waismann’s position with its closer kin, namely Wittgenstein’s.
Richard Creath (Arizona State University)
Analytic-for-L for Variable L
This paper examines §4 of “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” (TDE4) and surrounding documents. I argue that TDE4 does not give an argument against analyticity that is substantively different from Quine’s arguments elsewhere. I argue further that neither Carnap’s response to TDE4 nor Quine’s rejoinder to Carnap is adequate. Overall, I give a unified picture of Quine’s challenge to analyticity, a picture that makes that challenge legitimate and also shows what it would take to meet it. I end with some reflections on how that might be done.
Enzo De Pellegrin (Unaffiliated)
Before the Blue Book: Wittgenstein’s Definition of Meaning in the 1933 Lectures at the Beginning of the so-called Yellow Book
In 1933, Ludwig Wittgenstein presented to his students a version of his famous definition of lexical meaning that some would later invoke to defend the traditional reading of the definition as it appears in §43 of his Philosophical Investigations. This paper examines the evidence for the traditional reading in the 1933 lectures. The first two sections consider exegetical and textual problems associated with the 1933 version of the definition as published and the traditional reading. The final two sections offer a reconstruction of the 1933 version from unpublished lecture notes and an interpretation in light of recent scholarly discussion.
Fons DeWulf (Ghent University)
Leo Apostel and Rudolf Carnap: The Development of Logical Empiricist Ethics in Post-War Europe
In this paper I uncover the afterlife of Rudolf Carnap’s views on ethics in Europe after the Second World War. To that end I discuss the institutional struggle of the Belgian philosopher, Leo Apostel (1925-1995), who aimed to found a politically engaged, logical empiricist inspired program at Ghent University between 1959 and 1965. Uncovering Apostel’s attempt, I claim, is interesting because it not only sheds new light on Carnap’s ethical position, but also on the reception of logical empiricist philosophy in post-war Europe
Gary Ebbs (Indiana University Bloomington)
Carnap on the relation between pure and descriptive semantics: a Carnapian reply to Quine’s criticisms in ‘Two Dogmas of Empiricism,’ section 4
In “Two Dogmas,” section 4, Quine argues that Carnapian explications of ‘analytic-in-L’ for artificial languages yield new labels for sentences of such languages, but do not by themselves explain the significance of the labels. In this paper I present a new version of what I regard as the strongest Carnapian reply to this criticism, namely, that to explain the significance of Carnapian explications of ‘analytic-in-L’ it is enough to explain how they may be empirically applied to sentences of an historically given language. A central weakness of the reply is that it does not explain the significance of the Carnapian label “meaning postulate.”
Joshua Eisenthal (University of Pittsburgh)
A New Role for Ontology: The Expressive Resources of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus
Many interpreters of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus have attributed a principal role to the introduction of “simple objects”. According to this ontologically-oriented view, the simple objects imbue the names in elementary sentences with meaning, and this in turn accounts for the sense of colloquial sentences. However, other commentators have offered a contrasting logically-orientedinterpretation, according to which simple objects do not play such a principal role. On a logically-oriented view, it is the sense of colloquial sentences that lends significance to the elementary sentences, not the other way around. A question facing a proponent of a logically-oriented interpretation, however, is what the precise role of Wittgenstein’s simple objects is supposed to be.
In this talk I claim that there is an important analogy between Wittgenstein’s introduction of simple objects in the Tractatus and Heinrich Hertz’s introduction of hidden masses in Principles of Mechanics. I argue that, in both cases, the role of these unfamiliar ontological entities can only be illuminated by recognising the particular expressive resources that they make available: just as Hertz introduces hidden masses to show that all mechanical systems fall under a single fundamental law, Wittgenstein introduces simple objects to show that all sentences with sense are instances of the general sentence-form. I argue further that this analogy between Hertz’s and Wittgenstein’s projects provides a basis for substantiating a logically-oriented construal of Tractarian simple objects.
Landon Elkind (University of Iowa)
Logical Atomism as Term-Busting
Logical atomism is typically understood as a search for logical atoms, or simple entities that are the foundation of all our empirical knowledge. I argue in this talk that logical atomism is rather, as Russell tells us, a logical view. It is best understood as a search for logical forms, not as a search for logical atoms. In the course of criticizing the standard view, I develop an alternative interpretation on which logical atomists search for logical forms through term busting. With Principia as a model, I positively characterize what term busting is. I then argue that this logical activity is central in logical atomists’ philosophical practice.
Mauro Engelmann (The Federal University of Minas Gerais)
The Tractatus on Philosophical Problems
What was Wittgenstein’s argument against traditional philosophy in the Tractatus? Why did he say that “the problems have in essentials been finally solved” (TLP, preface)? I begin by arguing that “traditional” (Hacker) and “resolute” readers (Conant and Diamond) do not answer properly these questions. Then I present the outline of a different account grounded in the ladder structure of the book and its numbering system. I exemplify my account with an overview of the “conclusion” of the Tractatus (6.1n-6.5n) and a brief analysis of the case of principles of science and ethics (TLP 6.3n and 6.4n) with the background of Russell’s The Problems of Philosophy.
Zhao Fan (University of Canterbury)
From Definability to Computability: Turing on Hobson’s Conception of Definable Numbers
In this paper, I show that part of Alan Turing’s concern in “On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem” is definability. I prove this by a close examination of a reference to a Cambridge mathematician E.W. Hobson in “On Computable Numbers.” Reflecting on König’s paradox and Richard’s paradox, Hobson proposes a dynamic view of definable numbers, where the diagonal argument is employed as a means to generate more and more definable numbers. As we will see, Turing is motivated by Hobson’s view of definable numbers to consider a similar question in ‘On Computable Numbers,’ that is, is it possible to use the diagonal argument to generate more and more computable numbers? As a result, interpreting “On Computable Numbers” in light of definability is crucial in understanding Turing’s whole approach to computability.
Pieranna Garavaso (University of Minnesota Morris)
Wittgenstein and Goodman on Skeptical Arguments: A Reappraisal
There are intriguing similarities between Ludwig Wittgenstein’s discussion of rules and private language in his Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics and Philosophical Investigations and Nelson Goodman’s new riddle of induction in his Fact, Fiction, and Forecast. I provide textual and exegetical evidence that rules and patterns play a common and crucial role in both Wittgenstein’s and Goodman’s examples and discussions. Second, I discuss Wittgenstein’s and Goodman’s approaches to the skeptical challenges and submit that there are similarities between their approaches to the skeptical threat that are tied to their pragmatic attention to human linguistic practices.
Paul Goldberg (Boston University)
Unpacking Quine’s Commitment to ‘Unregenerate (Scientific) Realism’
Quine writes that one of two chief conditions of his naturalism is “unregenerate realism” with respect to natural science. Yet several of his other claims seem to support scientific anti-realism. What then does his realism amount to? Are his commitments in tension with one another? In this essay, I attempt to resolve both of these questions. First, I unpack Quine’s concept of realism. I then consider two ways in which Quine’s views could undermine scientific realism; his naturalism, I argue, defuses both worries. I conclude by briefly gesturing toward some striking contours of a Quinean scientific realism.
Warren Goldfarb (Harvard)
Wittgenstein’s ‘Early Middle’ Philosophy of Mathematics
An exploration of Wittgenstein’s early 1930s treatments of mathematical induction. By that time he could no longer invoke the notion of “formal series” which he had used in the Tractatus as a replacement for the Frege-Russell construction of number. His sceptical take on Skolem’s “recursive mode of thought” reveals a deep puzzlement about the nature of numerical generality, which persists through the later writings.
Paul Gregory (Washington and Lee University)
Quine’s Naturalist Two-Step
Throughout his career, Quine employed a characteristic rhetorical/argumentative maneuver that I call ‘the naturalist two-step’. Employed at scales both great and small, it involves Quine bringing the philosophical discussion to a moment of extreme conceptual crisis, only to adroitly draw back and proclaim that everything is okay—despite the fact that everything has changed. Naturalism saves the day, he claims. Drawing on the many instances of its use in a half century of Quine’s writing, I argue that understanding the two-step reveals that it is not simply a rhetorical maneuver, but encapsulates the heart of Quine’s naturalism.
Edward Guetti (New School for Social Research)
Logical Modernism: The Philosophical Logic of Philosophical Investigations
Wittgenstein’s later philosophy of logic is a topic that is hard to see in part because one has to undergo something along the lines of a modernist turn in order to see how the methodology of Philosophical Investigations is one that is deeply engaged with and responsive to the traditional concerns of a decompositional formal logical method of philosophical analysis. The central claim of this paper is that one of the most central notions in Philosophical Investigations is a methodological thesis concerning the philosophy of logic, but in order to be seen in the right light this contribution must be cast in a modernist framework. I turn to Cavell to outline such a modernist frame — which pushes questions of reception or inheritance, of continuation via other means or media, and threatened with accusations of fraudulence — in order to flesh out this central claim of the paper.
Arata Hamawaki (Auburn University)
Peter Hanks (University of Minnesota)
The Historical Origin of “Russellian” Singular Propositions
A singular “Russellian” proposition is a structured proposition that contains the objects that it is about, and it is about those objects because it contains them. The aim of this paper is to chart the historical origins of this concept of a proposition. I will argue that it is the product of a conflation of two diametrically opposed theories of propositions, one due to Frege and the other to the early Russell. The contemporary notion of a singular proposition is a hybrid of these Fregean and Russellian views. In addition to explaining this conflation and raising some additional problems, I will show how the contemporary notion arose through the development of formal semantics, starting with Frege and continuing with Church, Carnap, Montague, Lewis, and ultimately Kaplan.
Jason Hanschmann (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Desert Landscapes and Criteria of Identity
In “Speaking of Objects”, Quine asserts that the lesson to draw from unresolved problems regarding an entity’s identity is that “we must tighten our ontological belts a few holes.” Consequently, he eventually champions, though ultimately rejects, an ontology of just pure sets. Now, while it is evident in Theories and Things (1981) that he no longer endorses this ontology, his reason for abandoning it is never explicitly stated. In this paper I examine Quine’s ontological commitments prior to Theories and Things. I argue that his ontology of pure sets is inconsistent with the manner by which he arrives at it.
Jared Hanson-Park (University of Miami)
Russell’s Neutral Monism as the Offspring of Phenomenological Reduction
In this paper, I argue that Russell’s neutral monism, taken together with his structural realism, constitutes a position which draws heavily on Husserlian phenomenological reduction. I briefly explain Husserl’s phenomenology, Russell’s neutral monism, and his structural realism, showing the relationships between these views. From examining these essential similarities, I argue that, even if Russell did not explicitly take his ideas from Husserl, there is a noteworthy philosophical connection between these views. In particular, I conclude that structural realism and neutral monism work together to go beyond phenomenology, but that phenomenology serves as part of the foundation for these views.
Mirja Hartimo (University to Tampere)
Chimera of Logicism: Husserl’s Criticism of Logicism
The paper elaborates on Husserl’s attitude towards logicism as expressed first in Philosophy of Arithmetic (1891) and then, in a more developed form, in Logical Investigations (1900-01). Husserl criticizes the logicist projects, and among them Frege’s approach, for offering needless and artificial definitions to the notions such as equivalence and number. Some years later Frege criticized Husserl’s approach in Philosophy of Arithmetic as psychological, thus shifting the focus of the debate away from logicism. The debate about psychologism and the development of mathematics led Husserl nevertheless to further refine his view regarding logicism. The paper argues that in this regard the division of labor between mathematics and philosophy established in Prolegomena to the Logical Investigations (1900) is central. It implies that logicism assumes wrong primitive notions and uses mathematical, instead of philosophical method, to analyze its notions. Thus, in Husserl’s view, logicism fails to provide insight to the essence of mathematics.
Jeremy Heis (University of California, Irvine)
Frege’s Anti-Psychologism in its Historical Context
What would Frege’s arguments for anti-psychologism about logic have looked like to his well-read contemporary philosophers and logicians? I argue for four conclusions. 1. Frege’s anti-psychologism was in many ways not original. 2. But after the introduction of the sense/reference distinction, Frege does stake out an original anti-psychologistic position (without completely shaking free from the views more standard among his contemporaries). 3. Surprisingly, this position does not depend on his metaphysics of senses (as objective but not actual). 4. Frege’s metaphysics of sense would have seemed naïve to some of his contemporaries.
Raimundo Henriques (University of Lisbon)
Ornament and Nonsense
This paper aims at an adequate interpretation of the analogy between ornaments and nonsensical sentences put forth by Wittgenstein in 1932. It focuses on the term which usually receives less attention—that of ornaments—by considering the writings of Adolf Loos, whose influence Wittgenstein acknowledges. I argue that both ‘ornament’ for Loos and ‘nonsense’ for the early Wittgenstein are theoretical means to achieve the normative end of promoting self-understanding.
Michael Hicks (Miami University)
Acquaintance and the Myth of the Given
In “Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind,” Wilfrid Sellars is widely understood to have discredited sense-datum epistemology. But Timm Triplett observes that Sellars suggests that acquaintance entails” propositional knowledge, which is false of Russell and Price among others. In an earlier paper (“Acquaintance and Description Again”), however, Sellars makes clearer his understanding of the significance of acquaintance. I use this to argue that Sellars’s concerns track those of his opponents and can be reconstructed without the misleading focus on propositional knowledge. This puts us in position to ask whether acquaintance is ever a non-mythical relation.
Jim Hutchinson (IU Bloomington)
Frege on Science: Simplicity and Grounding
What does Frege have in mind when he talks about “science”? Given the centrality of science to all of Frege’s philosophy, it is important to find out the answer to this question. My goal here is to better understand his view that science must aim at systems that are maximally simple, and which consist of proofs that follow relations of grounding among truths. My central point is that the simplicity requirement and the grounding requirement are very closely linked: the grounding requirement is derived from, and justified by, the simplicity requirement. The upshot is that for Frege, rather than being a route to the truth or a mere aesthetic bonus, the simplicity of scientific
systems stands at the very heart of the value of science itself.
Ryo Ito (Kyoto University)
Frege’s Puzzle and the Early Russell’s Notion of Acquaintance
This paper is an attempt to explain why in ‘On Denoting’ Russell tackles what is called the George IV Puzzle and yet leaves Frege’s Puzzle untouched. It has been customary to explain it by pointing to a certain feature of his notion of acquaintance. Plausible as it is, this standard explanation leaves two tasks to be done. In this paper I address those two tasks in view of turning it into a more satisfactory explanation.
Colin Johnston (University of Stirling)
Frege, Judgment, and the Judging Subject
“By judgment,” Frege writes, “I understand the recognition of the truth of a thought” (Grundgesetze §5). But surely a person can judge without knowing. And surely a person can judge falsely. How then is Frege’s characterization to be understood? Following leads in van der Schaar (2017) and Rödl (2017), I argue that Frege’s articulation of judgment as the recognition of the truth of a thought is an articulation of what judgment is for the one who judges. This proposal is developed to provide an understanding of truth as the goal of judgment, and also of Frege’s commitment to truth’s indefinability.
Dongwoo Kim (The Graduate Center, CUNY)
On Frege’s Assimilation of Sentences with Names
I discuss some of the issues concerning a notorious doctrine of Frege that sentences are names of truth-values. Kripke recently raised a problem that the doctrine obscures the distinction between judgeable and unjudgeable contents. The problem is discussed both inside and outside the formal context of Grundgesetze. I argue that, for Frege, a proper expression of a judgeable content is susceptible to an analysis into a concept-word and an argument-word and the concept-word must be used to attribute a property to the referent of the argument-word. In the light of this analysis, I argue that the distinction is not obscured.
Griffin Klemick (University of Toronto)
The Problem with Picturing: Sellars’ Failed Quest for Transcendental Friction
Sellars’ denial of genuine intentional relations renders it unclear how our thinking is constrained by mind-independent reality. His theory of picturing is meant to fill this gap, but I offer two arguments that it cannot. First, if our talk of objects in general is not really intentionally related to mind-independent objects, then this is also true of our talk of objects’ bearing picturing relations to our language, in which case the appeal to picturing provides no additional constraint. Second, Sellars’ deflationary analysis of causal statements precludes an adequate defense of our justification for taking statements to picture the world adequately.
Gregory Landini (University of Iowa)
Two Little Puzzles in Russell’s Works Resolved
This presentation solves two little logic puzzles that for many years have perplexed historians of Russell’s work in logic. The first is the Conjunction Problem that plagues Russell’s early logic of propositions of The Principles of Mathematics. The system there cannot enable the proof of any conjunction. The second concerns Nicod’s B. A. Dissertation on the propositional logic of Principles of Mathematica. In his Autobiography, Russell reports that Nicod wrote to him on 19 September 1923 saying: “I have proved both Perm and Assoc by help of the other three.” The dissertation seems lost. Nicod couldn’t remember what he had in mind and the result was, therefore, not included in the 1925 second edition of Principia. Answers are given.
Greg Lavers (Concordia University)
Friedrich Waismann: From Wittgenstein’s Tafelrunde to his writings on Analyticity
The publication of Quine’s “Two Dogmas” is seen as a turning point in the history of analytic philosophy. Although now less widely discussed, at the time, in addition to Quine, Friedrich Waismann was seen as a critic of analyticity. Waismann, from 1948 to 1953, wrote a series of six articles in Analysis on the subject, as part of what is taken to be a book project. The project was never completed, likely due to his discussion being overshadowed by Quine. Knowing that Waismann was strongly influenced by Wittgenstein and was an Oxford philosopher, one might have expectations of what Waismann’s view must have been: that it is just roughly what Wittgenstein would say, or that it is just a version of ordinary language philosophy. I will show that these expectations are mistaken. Waismann explicitly rejects an ordinary language understanding of analyticity, and he had a different understanding of the relationship between philosophy and science from Wittgenstein (among other differences). I will go on to show that despite the series of papers being incomplete, with reference to other of his writings, Waismann’s final position can be reconstructed. Finally, I will draw relate Waismann’s treatment of the subject to the better known debate between Carnap and Quine.
Matthew LaVine (SUNY Potsdam)
Starting Points in Philosophy and the History of Analytic Philosophy
Soames has argued that Moore’s work provides one of the two defining contributions of early analytic philosophy—“the recognition that philosophical speculation must be grounded in pre-philosophical thought” (Soames 2003, xi). This paper presents problems for Moorean common sense as a way of filling out this idea of “pre-philosophical thought” along the lines of commonly and confidently-held beliefs. Standard problems from judgment aggregation theory show that sets of such beliefs are likely to be inconsistent and standard work from sociologists, political scientists, and critical theorists show that relying on such beliefs is likely to perpetuate problematic biases and prejudices. Charles Mills’ work connecting philosophy and lived experience and Stebbing’s work on “how language is ordinarily used in human interaction” (Chapman 2013, 2) are used to solve these problems.
Lory Lemke (University of Minnesota at Morris)
Frege’s Early Conception of Philosophy
In 1879, Gottlob Frege published what is now commonly referred to as the Begriffschrift, which pioneered a new conception of logic. However, some contemporary reviews of Frege’s work were highly critical. In response, Frege wrote a series of papers in order to defend his work as well as to lay out a general philosophical framework which motivates it. This paper will begin with the preface to the Begriffsschrift and examine a variety of Frege’s early writings from 1879 to 1882 in order to outline the intertwining roles played by thought, language, and logic.
Tammo Lossau (Johns Hopkins University)
“Putting the linguistic method in its place”: Mackie on conceptual analysis
Early in his career and in critical engagement with ordinary language philosophy, John Mackie developed the roots of a methodology that would be fundamental to his thinking: Mackie argues that we need to clearly separate the conceptual analysis which determines the meaning of an ordinary term and the factual analysis which is concerned with the question what those terms correspond to. I discuss how Mackie came to develop this distinction and I show on two examples how his methodology opens the door to error theories but can also support positive claims.
Mathieu Marion (Université de Quebec à Montréal)
Following a Rule: Waismann’s Variation
In this paper co-authored with Mitsu Okada (Keio University), we propose a reconstruction of a variation by Friedrich Waismann of Wittgenstein’s rule following argument (see The Principles of Linguistic Philosophy, 1997, pp. 119-124, and “Causality”, in B. McGuinness (ed.), Friedrich Waismann: Causality and Logical Positivism, 2011, §§10-11). We contrast its basis, in language-game # 62 in Wittgenstein’s Brown Book, and Philosophical Investigations §§ 151 & 179 with Kripke’s case of the deviant pupil at §§ 143 & 185. Waismann’s variation involves what we call a ‘guessing game’, with X writing down the initial segment of a series and Y trying to guess which rule has been followed. According to Waismann’s explanations, Y can only come up with “hypotheses” that are causal, while X’s claim to have followed a given function is a reason justifying her actions, and if why-questions are then raised, this “chain of reasons” will eventually come to an end. We discuss further Waismann’s underlying distinction between reasons and causes, and then focus on parallels with Lewis Carroll’s paradox of inference in the case of “basic rule-following” (C. Wright, “Rule-Following without Reasons: Wittgenstein’s Quietism and the Constitutive Question”, Ratio, 2007, 481-502).
The Capability to Follow Rules; Normative Language’s Semantic and Pragmatic Character According to Edmund Husserl
The purpose of my contribution is to analyze normative language in its semantic and pragmatic character by evaluating the work of Edmund Husserl. What I will show is the rule and modification of the function of norms through Husserl’s use of judgement to reach the meaning of evidence and its content as truth. The connection between these three terms – evidence, truth and judgement – is shown by the function that Husserl ascribes to norms. As early as the first Logical Investigations, Husserl tries to demonstrate that logic, as “Wissenschaftlehre”, can be used to understand rules through normative discipline. Accordingly, I will argue that following a rule in the sense of norms is no longer something connected to individuality, but to intersubjectivity, by following the example of intercultural difference between individuals.
Alessandro Moscaritolo (University of Illinois-Chicago)
Cook Wilson, Idealism, and the Emergence of Oxford Analytic Philosophy
I argue that Cook Wilson is in fact one of the founding fathers of analytic philosophy (together with Frege, Moore, and Russell), for he (not Wittgenstein, not Austin) is the forgotten but true founding father of one of its strands, namely so-called ordinary language philosophy (OLP). To establish this, I show that OLP’s leading figure, J.L. Austin, is the most prominent heir to Cook Wilson’s method, doctrine, and aims – an heir who disowned his most important intellectual ancestor, and who held a different view of the role of modern logic in philosophy
Joan Bertran-San Millán (The Czech Academy of Sciences)
Frege and Peano on Axiomatization and Formalisation
It is commonplace in contemporary historical studies to distinguish two traditions in early mathematical logic: the algebra of logic tradition and the tradition pioneered by Frege. Although he never defended a logicist position, Peano is usually linked to the Fregean tradition. In this talk I shall question this association. Specifically, I shall study Frege’s and Peano’s conceptions of axiomatisation and formalisation and conclude that they developed different accounts that were, in some respects, irreconcilable.
Nikolay Milkov (University of Paderborn)
The Composition of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus and the ‘Tractarian Wars’
When Wittgenstein started writing his Tractatus in June 1915, he was convinced that he was producing a theory. Accordingly, he chose a theoretical style of expressing his thought. Wittgenstein abandoned this belief only at the end of his work of composing the Tractatus. Unfortunately, it was too late to change the architecture and the style of the book: Wittgenstein simply had no time to do that. This drawback made the Tractatus notoriously difficult to understand and was apparently the major factor that caused the so called ‘Tractarian Wars’.
Robert Myers (York University)
Davidson’s Meta-Normative Naturalism
Although Donald Davidson is best known for his account of motivating reasons, towards the end of his life he did write about normative reasons, arguing that normative properties are at once objectively prescriptive and straightforwardly causal. In the first section of the paper, I discuss Davidson’s understanding of objective prescriptivity and one important challenge that it faces. In the second section, I show how an answer to this challenge can be found in Davidson’s holism of the mental. In the final section of the paper, I take up various grounds for doubting that objectively prescriptive properties could be causal.
Tyne Nunez (Leipzig Universität)
Numerability, Logicism, and the Formality of Logic
Why does logicism—the reduction of arithmetic to analytic judgments of logic—look promising to Frege and not Kant? John MacFarlane has argued that it is because for Frege and not Kant logic studies a special class of objects: the logical connectives, the quantifiers, etc. In contrast, I argue that it is because Frege’s logic presupposes a fund of denumerable entities while Kant’s does not, and that early Wittgenstein’s conception of logic supports my view.
Luca Oliva (University of Houston)
Is Wittgenstein an intuitionist? It’s unclear whether he rejects or emends Brouwer. His logical atomism relies on correspondence, while his mathematical constructivism doesn’t. Scholars are divided. Following Russell, Wittgenstein endorses a fact-based version of correspondence. The Aristotelian truth-definition, which can be reduced to “x is true iff x corresponds to some fact”, is restricted to a subclass of truth-bearers, namely elementary propositions whose truth consists in their correspondence to atomic facts (states of affairs). On the other hand, Wittgenstein seemingly dismisses the law of excluded middle, “(x)Fx v (∃x)~Fx”. “Pv~P”, for instance, doesn’t hold for infinite sequences since it doesn’t tell whether the pattern φ (any particular arrangements of digits) occurs in the infinite expansion por not. In this paper, I examine the tension between realism and intuitionism in Wittgenstein’s philosophy, where his relying on correspondence seems to conflict with his rejection of the law of excluded middle. I shall finally accommodate the two within a single, coherent view on mathematics that might be seen as quasi-intuitionism, where mathematics is reduced to mental manipulations of signs (consistently with any degree of constructivism) that yet resist any mental dependency
Nathan Oseroff (King’s College London)
Correcting Three Popular Philosophic Myths Concerning Popper’s Solution to the Problem of Demarcation
Here are three popular philosophical myths:
(1) Falsifiability, Karl Popper’s demarcation criterion, sets out the boundaries of the natural sciences from non-science.
(2) The criterion explicitly applies solely to single universal theories.
(3) It is is his sole criterion.
I demonstrate that (1)-(3) directly contradict Popper’s writings on demarcation. In reality:
(1*) Popper’s demarcation problem is to determine if there are necessary and sufficient conditions for drawing conventional borders between what epistemic communities classify as ‘empirical’ and ‘non-empirical’.
(2*) The criterion of falsifiability explicitly only applies to large sets of statements.
(3*) Popper set forward a second criterion of demarcation that classifies individual statements as either ‘empirical’ or ‘non-empirical’ if they increase the empirical content of a theoretical system by entailing one ‘basic statement’ not entailed by the theoretical system alone.
Ofra Rechter (Tel Aviv University)
Lessons from Tait on the Kantian pedigree of Finitism
Melissa Rees (University of Toronto)
Frank P. Ramsey’s Missing Theory of Demonstratives
Ramsey’s missing theory of demonstratives can be explained in two ways. First, Russell’s considerable intellectual influence likely led Ramsey to underappreciate the role that demonstrative content plays in act-explanation; Russell certainly thought that demonstratives were eliminable from language without any loss of expressive power. Second, Ramsey likely thought he had a mechanism that ‘did the work’ one would want of a demonstrative. Ramsey presents something called a “dispositional belief function,” a formalism that is ultimately unsuccessful, thus leaving a rather large gap in his pragmatist program: an entire set of beliefs crucial to explaining human behavior.
Thomas Ricketts (University of Pittsburgh)
Inference, Notational Rigor, and Semantics in Frege
The paper opens with a discussion of Frege’s view of the task of codifying logic and of the obstacles he faces in explaining his Begriffsschrift. It then develops an interpretation of Frege’s explanations of his axioms and inference rules in The Basic Laws of Arithmetic, arguing that these explanations are not implicitly semantic. Special attention is given to the application of inference rules to Latin letter generalizations. The paper concludes by considering whether Frege’s polemic against formalist views of arithmetic in volume 2 of Basic Laws provides grounds for taking the earlier explanations of axioms and inference rules to be implicitly semantic.
Marcus Rossberg (University of Connecticut)
Grundgesetze der Arithmetik I §66
Section 66 of Frege’s Grundgesetze der Arithmetik I is located in Part II, “Proofs of the basic laws of cardinal number”. This part alternates sections entitled “Analysis” and sections entitled “Construction”. An “Analysis” section contains a typically quite succinct outline of the proof to follow in the subsequent “Construction” section, sometimes accompanied by a rough gloss of the main result or hints regarding the sense of a defined function. The “Construction” sections contain the derivation of “fundamental” laws of arithmetic (Hume’s Principle, successor, induction, etc.) from Frege’s basic laws of logic in full painstaking rigor, “without any gaps.” Uncharacteristically for a section in this part, §66 contains a meaty philosophical discussion, regarding the nature of correlations and the logicist method. Frege does not tell his reader why this discussion is inserted, nor does he name an opponent. In this talk it is argued that §66 is a direct reaction to Dedekind’s Was sind und was sollen die Zahlen?, adding evidence to the suggestion by Sundholm, Ebert and myself, and others, that Dedekind’s work had some relevance to Frege.
Jacob Rump (Creighton University)
Putting the Act First: Husserl and Frege on Psychologism and the Presentation of Mental Content
For Frege, the critique of psychologism demands isolation of objective, logical content from any consideration of the subjective-intentional act. For Husserl, as of the revisions for the second (1913) edition of the Logical Investigations, properly accounting for objective, logical content requires rather than rules out attention to the subjective intentional act. I argue that the changes in Husserl’s views on these issues in the revisions to the Logical Investigations constitute a neglected, “act-first” approach that gives explanatory priority to the intentional act over intensional content. This approach is an important precursor for recent non-propositional and non-conceptual accounts of mental content.
Georg Schiemer (University of Vienna)
Semantics in Type Theory
The talk will focus on different attempts by Carnap and Tarski to formulate the model theory for axiomatic theories within a type-theoretic framework. The aim here will be twofold: first, to show how model-theoretic concepts were formulated in their work within a type-theoretic language. Second, to analyze ways in which the domain variation underlying these notions is recast within a fully interpreted logical framework. Specifically, I discuss two methods developed at the time that allow one to simulate a model-theoretic approach in type theory, namely type relativization and type flexibilitation.
Andrew Smith (IU Bloomington)
Quine on Set Theory: Stipulation or Explication?
I explain and motivate two different readings of Quine’s acceptance of sentences of set theory with no application in empirical science. On the Stipulation Reading, Quine treats some sentences of set theory as stipulations analogous to stipulated boundaries of a vague predicate. On the Explanation Reading, Quine treats set-theoretic inquiry as an explanatory context where different, conflicting answers to its questions may be proposed. I show how the readings connect to other topics in Quine’s philosophy, such as empirical equivalence and what Quine in his work on the topic calls Donald Davidson’s “maneuver,” explication, vagueness, stipulation, linguistic convention, and empiricism.
David Stern (University of Iowa)
The Availability of Wittgenstein’s Early Philosophy
Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, first published in 1922, but composed while he was serving in the Austrian army during the first world war, has inspired an enormous, and extraordinarily diverse, philosophical literature. Indeed, so much has already been written about Wittgenstein’s early philosophy that many readers take it for granted that there is little more to learn. As we approach the centenary of its publication, I want to make the case for (1) a fresh approach to the Tractatus’ structure and genesis, and (2) the first complete translation of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus and pre-Tractatus writings.
Sebastian Sunday (Christ Church, University of Oxford)
Austin on Analysis
The paper offers a new interpretation of some of Austin’s most central methodological reflections—including the well-known passages from ‘A Plea for Excuses’ (1956) but, more importantly, also a number of lesser known ones. The interpretation of these reflections is paired with an attempt to understand Austin’s perhaps most neglected piece of writing, namely his article ‘How to Talk—Some Simple Ways’ (1953). An appreciation of Austin’s use of formal logic in ‘How to Talk’ promises an account of his philosophical method that will highlight fruitful similarities with the methods of other influential philosophers of the same period (including Carnap and Quine).
Shunichi Takagi (University College London)
Wittgenstein’s Transcendental Turn During the Tractatus Composition
By examining some sections in the 2s of the Tractatus from a philological/philosophical point of view, I shall suggest that Wittgenstein studied Kant’s Critique at least towards the end of the Tractatus composition but more likely sometime between the latter half of the second wartime notebook and the so-called Core-Prototractatus. By so doing, I shall indicate the transcendental turn Wittgenstein supposedly took in this period.
Mark Textor (King’s College London)
‘For Him an Error is Utterly Impossible’: Brentano on Mach’s Neutral Monism
Rheanna Trevino (University of Texas at San Antonio)
Actualism and Being: Ontological Commitments and Modal Logic
Within Analytic philosophy, the problems of negative existentials and intentional objects have raised great discussion among prominent philosophers, including Bertrand Russell. While Russell takes a linguistic approach to these problems, possibilists have proposed various ways of dealing with intentional objects through modal applications. This paper takes various possibilist modal solutions—including Meinongian, Lewisian, and Priestian ideas—to approach these problems through modal possibilities and ontological commitment. I aim to show that sentences containing negative existentials and intentional sentences referring to non-actual objects can be meaningful and true by creating a distinction between being and actuality which is compatible to, but distinct from, possibilism. The solution proposed here holds that all intentional objects exist somewhere, if not in the actual world then in some possible world, in which case they have being in the actual world according to this view of contextual actuality.
Timur Uçan (Bordeaux Montaigne University)
Lewis and Friedman on the A Priori
Does accounting for the intelligibility of changes of paradigms imply relativizing the a priori element in knowledge? I shall attempt to establish that Lewis and Friedman provide divergent and incompatible answers to this question by drawing on Kant’s notion of the a priori and emphasizing on aspects and dimensions of that notion which were undistinct in the First Critique.
Wim Vanrie (Ghent University)
Elucidation and Logical Types: Frege vis-à-vis Russell
On the basis of the correspondence between Frege and Russell on Frege’s conception of the function/object distinction, I argue for two related points about Fregean elucidation of the logical categories. First, that kind of elucidation should not be confused with elucidation of primitive scientific terms. What is elucidated here, is not of the order of meaning, but rather the logicalform of thought. Second, logical form is elucidated by pointing to corresponding structural features of the Begriffsschrift notation itself, as they perspicuously manifest the articulation of thought.
Sander Verhaegh (Tilburg University)
Schlick, Bridgman, and Lewis: The American reception of verificationism
After a brief sketch of the verificationisms of Bridgman and Lewis, I discuss the reception of Bridgman’s operational point of view and answer the question why his ideas played only a minor role in philosophical debates in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Next, I discuss Schlick’s review of Bridgman’s book and analyze the reception of Lewis’ pragmatist version of verificationism, showing that the latter’s work played a pivotal role in putting verification on the philosophical agenda. Finally, I reconstruct the impact of Schlick’s and Feigl’s visiting positions in the United States, the reception of their verifiability criterion of meaning, and the way in which the ensuing American discussion played a crucial role in the logical positivists’ attempts to improve their theory of meaning in the mid-1930s.
Claudine Verheggen (York University)
The Continuity of Davidson’s Thought: Non-Reductionism without Quietism
Contra most commentators on Donald Davidson, I argue that there is no significant shift from his writings on radical interpretation to those on triangulation. In particular, I argue, Davidson always advocated semantic non-reductionism, and he always took this to be compatible with a constructive account of meaning.
Andreas Vrahimis (University of Cyprus)
The Vienna Circle’s Responses to Lebensphilosophie
The history of early analytic philosophy, and especially the work of the logical positivists, has often been seen as involving antagonisms with rival schools. Though recent scholarship has interrogated the Vienna Circle’s relations with e.g. phenomenology and Neo-Kantianism, important works by some of its leading members are involved in responding to the rising tide of Lebensphilosophie. This paper will explore Neurath’s reaction against Spengler, Schlick’s musings on Nietzsche and the meaning of life, and Carnap’s configuration of the relation between Lebensphilosophie and the overcoming of metaphysics.
Emily Waddle (University of Iowa)
Was Wittgenstein a B-Theorist?
In this paper, I will explore Wittgenstein’s remarks on time in light of the A-theory/B-theory framework of the modern debate. Specifically, I will try to demonstrate that it is plausible that Wittgenstein has (at least) B-theorist leanings, and that even his apparent deflationism itself ends up amounting to something that is interestingly parallel to a B-theorist stance.
Lawrence S. Wang (McGill University)
Wittgenstein and Carnap on Godel’s Ontology
It is widely held that Wittgenstein’s criticism of the work of Gödel, especially regarding the incompleteness theorems, are founded on a fundamental mathematical misunderstanding. We situate Wittgenstein’s comment within the broader critique levelled in the Remarks on Foundations of Mathematics, and advance the view that Wittgenstein’s attention to the incompleteness proof is contiguous to his potentialist-actualist distinction for formal languages espoused in both the Tractatus and later post-tractarian period. While the Remarks comment do not invalidate the mathematical or philosophical conclusions of incompleteness, the skeptical position Wittgenstein espouses bears considerable similarity to philosophical interpretations of Skolem’s paradox, and furthermore anticipates ontological critiques of Gödel’s axiomatic set-theory.