The Society for the Study of the History of Philosophy 2018 Annual Meeting will be held June 19-21, 2018 at McMaster University, Canada, and is sponsored by the Faculty of Humanities, the Bertrand Russell Research Centre and the McMaster Libraries.
The program and abstracts follow below.
Registration 8am-4pm: Main Floor of the Mills Memorial Library
The Wong Classroom, and the Connections and Community Rooms are located in the Mills Memorial Library
All plenary keynotes will take place in the R.L. Wilson building (LRW 2001)
McMaster Campus Map: https://www.mcmaster.ca/welcome/campusmap.cfm
Tuesday, June 19
|Richard Creath, Arizona State University, What Was Carnap Rejecting When He Rejected Metaphysics?
|Iva Apostolova and Robert Davies, Dominican University College and University of York, Russell and Ryle on Recollection and Retrospection
|Robert DiSalle, University of Western Ontario, Carnap, Einstein, and the empirical foundations of geometry
|Katarina Perovic, University of Iowa, Metaphysics and its Pseudo-problems in Early Analytic Philosophy
|Jeremy Shipley, Volunteer State Community College, Why Russell Was not an Epistemic Structural Realist
|Teresa Kouri, Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Learning from Stebbing’s Ideals and Illusions
|Coffee Break (Department of Philosophy, University Hall 3rd floor)
|Keynote by Lydia Patton, Virginia Tech , Whose Dogmas of Empiricism? (LRW 2001)
|Lunch (Department of Philosophy, University Hall 3rd floor)
|Dena Shottenkirk, Brooklyn College, The Problem with Nelson Goodman
|Sanford Shieh, Wesleyan University, Frege on Kant’s Urteilstafel
|Yi Jiang, Beijing Normal University, Wittgenstein’s Discussion on Color
|Sander Verhaegh, Tilburg University, ‘Mental States are like Diseases’: Skinner’s influence on Quine’s Behaviorism
|Michael Hicks, Miami University, Connotation and Frege’s Semantic Dualism
|Joshua Eisenthal, University of Pittsburgh, Wittgenstein’s simple objects and Hertz’s dynamical models
|Coffee Break (Department of Philosophy, University Hall 3rd floor)
|James Pearson, Bridgewater State University, Objectivity Socialized
|Jim Hutchinson, University of California, Berkeley, Frege on Justifying Logical Axioms
|James Connelly, Trent University, Wittgenstein and Transfinite Number
Wednesday, June 20th
|Richard Lawrence, University of California, Berkeley, Frege’s epistemological understanding of objects and concepts
|Greg Frost-Arnold, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, The Ontogeny of Quine’s Ontology: The Role of Clarity in Quine’s Ontological Development
|Shelby Bertrand, University of Ottawa, Leibnizian Geometry as a Conceptual Foundation for Spacetime Relativity
|Gregory Landini, University of Iowa, Repairing Russell’s 1913 Theory of Knowledge
|Gary Ebbs, Indiana University, Bloomington, Is Quine more Carnapian than Carnap?
|Michael Kremer, University of Chicago, Margaret MacDonald and Gilbert Ryle: A Lost Philosophical Friendship
|Coffee Break (Department of Philosophy, University Hall 3rd floor)
|Keynote by Michael Beaney, King’s College London/Humboldt University Berlin, First Steps and Conceptual Creativity (LRW 2001)
|AGM – Lunch (Department of Philosophy, University Hall 3rd floor)
|Gregory Lavers, Concordia University, Carnap, Turing and the Paradox of Analysis
|Manish Oza, University of Toronto,Husserl’s theory of logic: contradiction and countersense
|Yousuf Hasan, University of Western Ontario, On the Application of Carnap’s Internal/External Distinction to the Realism/Anti-Realism Controversy
|Johannes Brandl, University of Salzburg, Brentano’s Foundationalism: Phenomenological and Analytical Perspectives
|Coffee Break (Department of Philosophy, University Hall 3rd floor)
|Min Huang, Sun Yat-sen University, China, The Rule-Following Argument and Frege’s Notion of Truth
|Erich Reck, University of California, Riverside, The Logic in Frege’s Logicism
Thursday, June 21st
|Kevin Klement, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Moore’s Unpublished Review of Russell’s The Principles of Mathematics
|Brian Land, Temple University, Species, Definition, and Intrinsic Goodness: The Role of Natural Kinds in Neo-Aristotelian Ethics
|Joan Weiner, Indiana University, Bloomington, Frege, Benacerraf, and the Beast of Reality
|Landon Elkind, University of Iowa, Computer Verification for Historians of Philosophy: A Computer-Assisted, Historically-Faithful Rewrite of Principia Mathematica
|Jamie Shaw, University of Western Ontario, The Janus-faced Nature of Popper’s Falsificationism
|Bernard Linsky, University of Alberta, Leon Chwistek on Platonism and Constructivism
|Coffee Break (Department of Philosophy, University Hall 3rd floor)
|Keynote by Nick Griffin, McMaster University, Russell’s Book on the Elements of Logic (LRW 2001)
|Lunch (Department of Philosophy, University Hall 3rd floor)
Derek Anderson, Boston University
Explaining Carnap’s Semantic Turn
This paper explores Carnap’s reason for abandoning a 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.
Iva Apostolova and Robert Davies, Dominican University College and University of York
Russell and Ryle on Recollection and Retrospection
We will compare Russell’s views on introspection and memory with Ryle’s views on recollection and retrospection. This comparison is inspired by a two-pronged belief that (i) there are common but non-trivial philosophical roots between the two thinkers that are worth uncovering and (ii) there is continuity in their respective philosophies of mind, especially where the move toward replacing introspection with recollection (memory) is concerned. In following Russell’s development in the neutral monist period and the increasing importance of the faculty of memory, we will turn to Ryle’s views which for us reinforce some of the conclusions that Russell reached. Ryle (1949) thought that the work of introspection could be explained by what he took to be the genuine capacity of retrospection. In doing so he concluded that there was no difference in kind between knowledge of one’s own mind and knowledge of the minds of others. We conclude that a preoccupation with denouncing Cartesianism may have prevented Ryle from an alternative, and arguably richer, conclusion: that the supposed asymmetries between self-knowledge and knowledge of other minds do not need to be rejected, but instead can be explained by an appropriate view of memory, something to which, we think, Russell would have been rather sympathetic.
Michael Beaney, Humboldt Universitaet Berlin / King’s College London
First Steps and Conceptual Creativity
In §308 of the Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein talks of the first step in philosophizing being “the one that altogether escapes notice … that’s just what commits us to a particular way of looking at the matter”. He is discussing here the problem of mental states and processes, but a particularly good example of such a first step is Frege’s use of function–argument analysis and the associated conception of concepts as functions, which led to almost all his characteristic doctrines, as well as certain paradoxes, such as the paradox of the concept “horse” and Russell’s paradox. And yet there is value in seeing concepts as functions: it made the development of modern logic possible. Other first steps may also seem innocent, such as Cantor’s conception of sameness of number as one–one correspondence, which enabled him to introduce—or ‘create’—the concept of a transfinite number. The conceptual creativity involved here is analogous to Frege’s reconceiving concepts as functions: in each case a relevant practice needs to be established and ‘intuitions’ crystallized, as it might be put, for the relevant conception to acquire meaning and objectivity. It is tempting to conceptualize this process as originating in some ‘Eureka!’ moment and as catching on when others can exclaim “Now I can go on!”; but all this needs careful description to avoid mythologization. In this paper I explore some of the connections between conceptual creativity and the kind of ‘first steps’ of which Wittgenstein spoke.
Johannes Brandl, University of Salzburg
Brentano’s Foundationalism: Phenomenological and Analytical Perspectives
Both Analytic Philosophy and Phenomenology have made much of Brentano’s conception of mental phenomena as object-directed intentional acts. In this talk, I want to highlight another strand in Brentano’s thinking that deserves interest from both traditions: Brentano’s foundationalism concerning empirical knowledge. Empirical knowledge, according to Brentano, rests on two forms of judgements: judgements concerning our present mental acts and judgements concerning the laws governing past and future experiences. Explaining the self-evidence of inner perception naturally leads to a phenomenological description of its intentional structure. When it comes to judgements about the laws governing past and future experiences, however, what Brentano’s program requires is a reliabilist theory of empirical justification. Candidates for such theories can be found in contemporary analytic philosophy.
James Connelly, Trent University
Wittgenstein and Transfinite Number
In his introduction to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, Russell identifies an apparent ‘lacuna’ (TLP, xxiii) within Wittgenstein’s theory of number, relating specifically to the topic of transfinite number. According to Russell, Wittgenstein’s theory ‘is only capable of dealing with finite numbers,’ and ‘(n)o logic can be considered adequate until it has been shown to be capable of dealing with transfinite numbers.’ (ibid.,) In this paper, I will argue that, consistent with Russell’s assessment, Wittgenstein’s logical theory requires transfinite numbers, and that his theory of number can generate them straightforwardly by making recourse to recursive operations and to the general form of operations.
Richard Creath, Arizona State University
What Was Carnap Rejecting When He Rejected Metaphysics?
Albert Einstein never received the Nobel Prize for his theories of relativity, apparently in no small measure because of opposition from the French philosopher, Henri Bergson. While hardly the origin of Carnap’s rejection of metaphysics, it is in some ways the perfect illustration of what Carnap objected to. By contrast, Carnap did not object in the same way to Reichenbach’s assertions about what was scientifically real or to Quine’s ontological project. In this paper I consider cases such as these in order to arrive at a more nuanced picture of what Carnap was rejecting when he rejected metaphysics. This enriched picture is squarely at odds with a widely accepted contemporary interpretation according to which Carnap is “dismissive” of the entire field of ontology and of the field of metaphysics more broadly. I show that Carnap’s aim was to transform the field rather than to dismiss it. What he wanted to overcome, uproot, and demolish was a specific, though widespread, approach to the field that he held to be injurious to the progress of science.
Robert DiSalle, University of Western Ontario
Carnap, Einstein, and the empirical foundations of geometry
Carnap’s view of the relation between a formal theory and its observational basis was intended, in part, to characterize the sense in which physical theories make genuinely synthetic claims about the empirical world. It was also intended to capture Einstein’s insights into the empirical content of space-time geometry. Einstein offered a reductive analysis of the empirical foundation of geometry, reducing geometrical measurements to observations of “point-coincidences”. This reductive argument in turn inspired Carnap’s conception of the empirical content of formal theories. This paper critically analyzes the Carnap’s account of the empirical, synthetic character of physical geometry, as distinct from the analytic character of its mathematical formalism. It outlines an alternative account, based in the history of the epistemology of geometry,” of the relation between theoretical structures and the empirical descriptions that they aim to capture.
Gary Ebbs, Indiana University, Bloomington
Is Quine more Carnapian than Carnap?
Quine once said that his criticisms of Carnap’s analytic-synthetic distinction are an expression of “the same sort of attitude, the sort of discipline that Carnap shared and that I owed, certainly, in part to Carnap’s influence: I was just being more carnapian than Carnap in being critical on this question.” To test this remark, I try to reconstruct Quine’s criticisms of Carnap’s analytic-synthetic distinction in “Two Dogmas of Empiricism,” especially section 4, so that the criticisms are rooted solely in attitudes and commitments that Quine shares with Carnap. The reconstruction I recommend reveals that Quine’s reasoning amounts to a powerful and systematic internal criticism of Carnap’s efforts to draw a boundary between analytic and synthetic statements.
Joshua Eisenthal, University of Pittsburgh
Wittgenstein’s simple objects and Hertz’s dynamical models
Among the interpretive problems concerning Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, at least two have proved particularly persistent. The first concerns the mystery surrounding Tractarian ‘simple objects’; the second concerns the influence of the physicist Heinrich Hertz. Although Hertz’s major work, Principles of Mechanics, is cited in the Tractatus, the details of Hertz’s influence on Wittgenstein remain largely unaccounted for. I show that a central aspect of these two interpretive problems can be solved together. I articulate Hertz’s influence on the Tractarian notions of analysis and simplicity, and argue that this significantly alleviates the mystery concerning Wittgenstein’s simple objects.
Landon Elkind, University of Iowa
Computer Verification for Historians of Philosophy: A Computer-Assisted, Historically-Faithful Rewrite of Principia Mathematica
An under-explored area of application of computer proof-assistants is history of philosophy: they can be leveraged in textual reconstruction, particularly in formally checking textual reconstructions of philosophical arguments. This is especially noticeable inhistory of logic, where some arguments are formal proofs. The tricky part is to rewrite philosophical arguments (proofs, in our case) in a way that is historically accurate. For the data produced by a historically-accurate computer-assisted rewrite is helpful in evaluating long-standing controversies over the interpretation of a text. Here I so-use the proof-assistant Coq in a faithfully rewrite of the propositional logic of Principia Mathematica.
Greg Frost-Arnold, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
The Ontogeny of Quine’s Ontology: The Role of Clarity in Quine’s Ontological Development
W. V. O. Quine’s philosophical views did not emerge fully formed in the 1930s. Rather, they changed over the seven decades he was philosophically active. Here, I investigate two episodes in Quine’s ontological development during the 1940s: his brief engagement with Pythagoreanism, and his conversion from nominalism to Platonism about mathematics. Although these two episodesmight seem completely distinct at first glance, I treat them together via consideration of the important role that the theoretical virtue of clarity plays in both of them. Quine’s changing views about the nature and importance of clarity, and about which particular concepts and claims are clear, help explain his ontological development. In particular, I propose a new hypothesis about the causes of Quine’s conversion from nominalism to Platonism, in which his changing attitudes toward clarity play an essential role.
Nicholas Griffin, McMaster University
Russell’s Book on the Elements of Logic
The title is a tease: Russell wrote no book on the elements of logic. Nonetheless, like many non-existent objects, it has an interesting story.
Yousuf Hasan, University of Western Ontario
On the Application of Carnap’s Internal/External Distinction to the Realism/Anti-Realism Controversy
In recent scholarship, Penelope Maddy, made an objection to Carnap’s internal/external distinction using the example of the atomic hypothesis and argued that not only the internal/external distinction was unsuccessful for talking about atoms, but that it should be dismissed altogether (2008). According to William Demopoulos, however, we can develop an understanding of the distinction that does not reduce the atomic hypothesis to a mere linguistic proposal (2011). In my talk, I will use Crispin Wright’s pluralist account of truth (1992) to propose other semantic ways that realists and instrumentalists differ from each other beyond what Demopoulos has already suggested.
Michael Hicks, Miami University
Connation and Frege’s Semantic Dualism
The tendency to characterize theories of names as either “Millian” or “Fregean” depends, it has long been known, on tendentious interpretation. The mistake goes deeper than has been thought: Millian connotation ought to be compared not to Fregean sense but to Fregean concepts. Mill’s denial of connotation to names is an attempt to articulate Frege’s distinction between concepts and objects, the semantic dualism of my title. I close by suggesting that Russell might be at fault for the trouble post-Russellian readers have had in identifying this point.
Min Huang, Sun Yat-sen University, China
The Rule-Following Argument and Frege’s Notion of Truth
This paper demonstrates the structure and purpose of Wittgenstein’s rule-following argument (RFA) through a close examination of the text of Philosophical Investigations. I argue that the RFA has a deep connection with one of Frege’s ideas about truth, which I term ‘the inertness thesis about truth’. Having established this connection, we see how Wittgenstein contrives to induce the reader to the contrast between practical and theoretical attitudes towards rules. His argument is that practical attitudes, rather than theoretical attitudes, are possible. Wittgenstein’s quietism and the notion of privacy are also addressed.
Jim Hutchinson, University of California, Berkeley
Frege on Justifying Logical Axioms
We can uncover an interesting approach to the justification of logical axioms and learn something about the origins of analytic philosophy by resolving a central outstanding interpretive puzzle about Frege: why does he insist that logical axioms are “self-evident”, and then go on to argue for them? I argue that he is pursuing the prevailing Neo-Kantian approach to justifying “self-evident” axioms, which requires us to derive axioms from a cognitive goal that is presupposed. These arguments provide justification by showing us what else must be true, if our cognitive goals can be reached.
Yi Jiang, Beijing Normal University
Wittgenstein’s Discussion on Color
The color problem had been remarked throughout Wittgenstein’s lifetime. But in different periods, he discussed colors with different purposes and rationales. The color problem came as a way to discuss the logical structure in his early work―Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, andin the middle period of his thought, colors were regarded as an illustration for the propositional expression. But the main purpose of remarks on color in his later thought was to clarify the use of color terms. In this paper I claim that Wittgenstein did not put forward any theory of colors though he had numerous remarks on color terms. His discussions on the usages of color terms constitute an important part of Wittgenstein’s later philosophy.
Kevin Klement, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Moore’s Unpublished Review of Russell’s The Principles of Mathematics
G. E. Moore was commissioned to write a review of Russell’s The Principles of Mathematics (PoM; 1903); he wrote this review in 1905, completing it by October. He was evidently unhappy with it, however, and and withdrew it from publication. However, his manuscript survives. In it, he addresses Russell’s claim to have reduced mathematics to logic, complains that Russell’s notion of material implication couldn’t always be what Russell himself meant by “implication”, and questions whether or not the notions of infinity identifed in PoM are exhaustive. This last worry is illustrated by a rival interpretation Moore gives about what is puzzling about Zeno’s paradox of Achilles and the tortoise. Perhaps the most interesting point from the review for historians of analytic philosophy is Moore’s suggestion that mathematical concepts might all be equivalent with purely logical ones, without thereby being identical to them, which arguably sheds light on the relationship between Moore’s and Russell’s (differing?) conceptions of analysis.
Griffin Klemick, University of Toronto
C. I. Lewis’ Two Pragmatisms: Empirical Meaning, the A Priori, and How They Fit Together
C. I. Lewis is remembered for defending a pragmatist theory of the a priori, but he also offered a pragmatist theory of empirical meaning that eventually overtook the former theory in significance for his thinking. In this paper I offer an interpretation of the relation between the two theories. I argue against attempting to square the two theories either by reading the pragmatic a priori along Quinean lines or by denying the epistemic significance of the given. Instead, I suggest, the pragmatic element of the a priori concerns not a priori truth itself but the selection of concepts for interpreting given experience. And I argue that this pragmatic element persists even if the given epistemically constrains our interpretation of it.
Teresa Kouri, Old Dominion University in Norfolk,
Learning from Stebbing’s Ideals and Illusions
Susan Stebbing held that analytic philosophy had a role to play in political and scientific discourse, and this can be extended to include a modern notion of social justice. In this paper, I will examine Stebbing’s Ideals and Illusions, a book she wrote towards the end of her life during the second World War as a warning about the perils of not thinking carefully and elucidating thoughts clearly. I will show how we can apply some of the lessons she draws in Ideals and Illusions to general issues in social justice. I will focus specifically on immigration.
Michael Kremer, University of Chicago
Margaret MacDonald and Gilbert Ryle: A Lost Philosophical Friendship
Recently, I uncovered evidence of a close philosophical friendship between Gilbert Ryle (1900-1976), one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century, and Margaret MacDonald (1903-1956), whose promising philosophical career was cut short by her untimely death. I will tell a minor detective story explaining this discovery, and briefly discuss its significance for understanding the work of both Ryle and MacDonald, and the neglected place of women in the history of twentieth century analytic philosophy.
Brian Land, Temple University
Species, Definition, and Intrinsic Goodness: The Role of Natural Kinds in Neo-Aristotelian Ethics
In this essay I consider the objection that species is insufficiently constitutive of an individual organism to ground a project such as is undertaken in Philippa Foot’s Natural Goodness. In response, I appeal to aspects of Aristotle’s understanding of essences to provide a way in which species might be understood as a kind of definition and defend that this notion of definition resolves the apparent problem.
Gregory Landini, University of Iowa
Repairing Russell’s 1913 Theory of Knowledge
This paper sketches the repairs in my book Completing Russell’s 1913 Theory of Knowledge (forthcoming) that salvage the acquaintance epistemology of Russell’s abandoned book Theory of Knowledge. The problems are three: direction, permutation and compositionality. Russell’s acquaintance epistemology of The Problems of Philosophy (1912) was designed to accommodate the synthetic a priori logic of Principia which, even then, is held to provide the value unique to the scientific philosophy of the original (1911-1916) logical atomism. In Theory of Knowledge, the acquaintance epistemology embraces not only acquaintance with universals but also with logical forms. This is its agony and ecstasy.
Gregory Lavers, Concordia University
Carnap, Turing and the Paradox of Analysis
In 1942 C. H. Langford published a paper in the Schilpp volume on G. E. Moore that questions the possibility of giving a successful analysis. This paper contains the first published mention of the phrase ‘paradox of analysis’. Langford argued that any analysis must be either uninformative, if the analysandum and analysans have the same meaning, or incorrect otherwise. Rudolf Carnap saw this paradox as ruling out a certain view of analyses. The condition of correctness is too strong, and an explication (his term for analyses) must introduce a new notion. This notion of an explication becomes a cornerstone of Carnap’s philosophy. In his 1937 paper Alan Turing gives an analysis of the notion of what is effectively computable. Turing’s analysis is provably equivalent to others, including Alonzo Church’s analysis which slightly predated Turing’s, and has been singled out, by Gödel for example, as being a particularly successful analysis. In fact, Turing’s analysis seems to be successful in exactly the way that the paradox of analysis appears to rule out. That is, it is largely seen as both correctly capturing the intuitive notion of effective computation, and at the same time informative. In this paper I will identify what it is about Turing’s analysis that allows him to avoid the paradox of analysis. I will also identify lessons to be drawn from this case for a Carnapian.
Richard Lawrence, University of California, Berkeley
Frege’s epistemological understanding of objects and concepts
According to one standard reading of Frege, his distinction between objects and concepts is primarily an ontological distinction. I will argue, against this reading, that Frege instead sees the concept-object distinction primarily in *epistemological* terms. Whether something counts as a concept or an object depends on *how we grasp* the thought in which it occurs. Thus, something’s being an object or a concept is not a property it has independent of us, but depends on the role it plays in our thought and cognition. This interpretation expands the possibilities for a neo-Fregean philosophy of mathematics.
Bernard Linsky, University of Alberta
Leon Chwistek on Platonism and Constructivism
Leon Chwistek’s “Constructive Theory of Types” (1924) presents a “constructivist” account of mathematics and logic that he opposed to Platonism. This anti-Platonism is evidenced as early as his “The Law of Contradiction in the Light of Recent Investigations of Bertrand Russell” (1912), translated into English by Rose Rand, but only published in 2017. It continues twenty years later in Chwistek’s review of Roman Ingarden, “The Tragedy of Verbal Metaphysics” (1932), just recently translated into English in JHAP. Kurt Goedel later identified a “constructive” strain in Whitehead and Russell’s Principia Mathematica which he also saw in Chwistek. I will argue that Chwistek’s view of “constructivism” places him with Russell in the opposition to extensionality and Platonism in logic that was dominant in the Lwow-Warsaw school, and may in part explain why he is not generally included as a member of that school.
Manish Oza, University of Toronto
Husserl’s theory of logic: contradiction and countersense
I give an account of Husserl’s theory of logic in the Logical Investigations and Formal and Transcendental Logic, focusing on changes in Husserl’s treatment of contradiction and the associated category of ‘formal countersense’. Husserl’s early view distinguishes nonsense (ill-formed combinations of senses) from countersense (well-formed but necessarily false judgments). This view faces several problems – e.g. it implies that we can judge contradictions. Husserl’s later view holds that countersense cannot be explicitly judged, and distinguishes the laws of contradiction from the laws of truth. While this solves the problems with the early view, it contains a tension that points towards idealism.
Lydia Patton, Virginia Tech
Whose Dogmas of Empiricism?
It’s become a commonplace that Carnap is the lead empiricist in Quine’s “Two Dogmas of Empiricism”. Recent work by Richard Creath, Robert Sinclair, and others stirs up this comfortable narrative, pointing to broader areas of agreement between Quine and Carnap, including Quine’s positive assessment of the Logische Syntax in his “Lectures on Carnap“, and the influence of pragmatism on both. Following a hint from a colleague, I investigate whether at least some strains of empiricism that Quine rejects in “Two Dogmas” are more appropriately ascribed to Quine’s mentor, C. I. Lewis, instead. The paper assesses the philosophical and historical consequences of reading “Two Dogmas” in this way, focusing on mid-century analyses of meaning and analyticity, and on Quine’s account of theoretical equivalence.
James Pearson, Bridgewater State University
This paper contrasts Rudolf Carnap’s and W.V. Quine’s responses to the challenge that their positions distort the social nature of inquiry. In Quine’s case, the challenge is the heart of Donald Davidson’s insistence that naturalized epistemology fails to capture the objectivity of thought. In Carnap’s, the challenge may be detected in Charles Morris’s call for semiotic rather than syntax to ground scientific philosophy. Drawing it out from Morris’s proposal requires considering a neglected influence on this neglected philosopher: his advisor George Herbert Mead’s social theory of mind. Meeting the challenge requires scientific philosophers to acknowledge as ineliminable the role others play in their investigations.
Katarina Perovic, University of Iowa
Metaphysics and its Pseudo-problems in Early Analytic Philosophy
Periods of great theoretical flourish in metaphysics have been followed by periods of self-reflection and doubt concerning both the subject-matter of metaphysics as well as its method of inquiry. I believe that contemporary metaphysics is currently in this self-reflective phase, that there are good reasons why we are here, and that indeed we ought to re-examine the way we do metaphysics today (for the sake of metaphysics and philosophy more broadly). In this paper, I engage in bottom-up analysis of certain metaphysical problems that I take to be pseudo-problems distinguishing, throughout, between three main senses of understanding a metaphysical/ philosophical “pseudo-problem”.
Erich Reck, University of California, Riverside
The Logic in Frege’s Logicism
It is widely known that Frege pursued a logicist project. But how exactly did he conceive of “logic” in this context? This is an urgent question because his conception was clearly different both from earlier ones, from Kant back to Aristotle, and from later ones, e.g., Wittgenstein’s or Tarski’s. I will approach this question from two angles: (a) by tracing the development of Frege’s logicism, from Begriffsschrift to his last writings, which involves several noteworthy shifts in the logical framework he worked with; and (b) by comparing his views on logic to those of some precursors and contemporaries, such as Lotze, Boole, Bolzano, Dedekind, and Peirce. A core question will be why Frege thought a theory of classes, or later of value-ranges, might legitimately be seen as a part of “logic”, despite the fact that it brings with it commitments about the existence of logical objects.
Jamie Shaw, University of Western Ontario
The Janus-faced Nature of Popper’s Falsificationism
The single most important feature of Popper’s views of falsification is that scientists must ‘take refutations seriously.’ This involves assuming that all theories have pre-defined refutations which would both be instantaneous, in the sense that we abandon a theory once its falsified, and decisive, in the sense that that theory will always be falsified once falsified (Popper 1935; 1963). This hallmark of Popper’s view allows him to distinguish falsificationism from conventionalism (specifically Duhem’s and Dingler’s) which deny that any refutation can unequivocally cause us to reject a theory since we can always modify auxiliary hypotheses to salvage the theory. Popper also explicitly accepts that observation statements are also intersubjectively testable. Therefore, of any purported refutation we have a choice to either accept it as a genuine refutation and abandon the theory, or scrutinize the refutation to see if it is a valid refutation. However, if one analyzes Popper’s attitude towards the Michelson-Morley experiment, his example of a crucial experiment par excellance, we see that Popper dismisses those attempts to criticize the experiment as ‘not taking falsifications seriously.’ This can also be seen in his numerous remarks about scientists who ‘blame their tools instead of the theory.’
Bertrand Shelby, University of Ottawa
Leibnizian Geometry as a Conceptual Foundation for Spacetime Relativity
In this paper, I will argue that Leibniz’s Principle of Identity of Indiscernibles (PII) provides conceptual foundations for the use of group theory in geometry, and therefore Einstein’s theory of spacetime. In Einstein’s work on spacetime relativity, the mathematics employed rely heavily on geometry, specifically, the variety developed by mathematician Felix Klein. What makes Leibniz’s PII deserving of recognition as the foundational concept for Klein’s system is the function it is inherently suited to perform in group theory, which Klein is renowned for incorporating into geometry. Group theory operates on an assumption that the salient features of any shape are those which survive spatial transformations (the collection of which is a group). Hence, the PII’s notion of indiscernibility is clearly operating in group theory: it is at work in deciding whether a transformation has preserved salient features or not. Leibniz’s discussion with Clarke, and his Analysis Situs, both offer insight about what Leibniz’s pioneering mathematical thought contributed to the ground-breaking achievements of Klein and Einstein.
Sanford Shieh, Wesleyan University
Frege on Kant’s Urteilstafel
It is becoming increasingly recognized that section 4 of Frege’s Begriffsschrift is a commentary on the Table of Judgments of section 9 of the Critique of Pure Reason. As Kant scholars such as Beatrice Longuenesse have noted, this commentary shows Frege to disagree in a number of respects with Kant’s conception of judgment. However, no attempt has been made to figure out whether Frege has reasons for his disagreement. In this talk I do two things. First, I present an account of Kant’s conception of judgment as closely tied to what he take to be logic. Second, I show that Frege’s disagreements with Kant arise out of Frege’s innovations in logic, and out of an engagement with a tension in Kant’s views, between his basic conception of judgment and his doctrine of the modalities of judgment.
Jeremy Shipley, Volunteer State Community College
Why Russell Was not an Epistemic Structural Realist
Bertrand Russell’s epistemology of science has been identified as a progenitor of structuralism in philosophy. It has not always been clear, however, how the philosophical problems in explicating contemporary structuralist programs relate to the problems of philosophy as Russell saw them. I contend that Russell has been mistakenly identified as an epistemic structural realist. The modest goal of this essay is just to clarify relationship between Russell’s program and contemporary structuralist projects. In doing so, I hope to display the motivation for a broadly Russellian project in the philosophy of mathematics and science.
Dena Shottenkirk, Brooklyn College
The Problem with Nelson Goodman
It is fair to say that Goodman’s philosophy has been somewhat neglected in the last twenty years since his death, and in particular his aesthetics. I argue in this paper that there are some legitimate reasons for this. Goodman’s aesthetics is a direct consequence of his nominalist commitments, particularly those that reject abstract objects, and I content that the role played by his particular brand of nominalism is one of the main sources of the problems in his aesthetics.
Sander Verhaegh, Tilburg University
‘Mental States are like Diseases’: Skinner’s influence on Quine’s Behaviorism
In this paper, I shed new light on Skinner’s influence on Quine’s behaviorism by examining a large set of new and previously unexamined evidence from the personal archives of Skinner and Quine. How did Quine develop his variant of behaviorism? In what ways was he influenced by Skinner? And how did he respond to Chomsky’s highly critical review of Word and Object? In this paper, I address these questions by means of a careful study of Skinner’s and Quine’s work and archives, thereby reconstructing the relation between two of the most influential scholars of the mid-twentieth century.
Joan Weiner, Indiana University, Bloomington
Frege, Benacerraf, and the Beast of Reality
In his 1973 paper, “Mathematical Truth” Paul Benacerraf argues that the demands of a unified semantic theory for mathematical and non-mathematical language require numerals to be recognized as object names and, hence, numbers as (causally inert) objects. It is a notoriously puzzling result. For, on the one hand, it seems that we know a great deal about numbers. Yet, on the other hand, it seems impossible to say how we can have knowledge of objects that are causally inert. It is widely assumed that Frege has nothing to teach us about how to deal with this puzzle. This, I shall argue, is a mistake. Benacerrraf’s account of the puzzle requires a presupposition, which I shall call “the constituents view”, that commits us to rejecting not just accepted, but unexceptionable, scientific methodologies. And, while Benacerraf assumes that the constituents view is obvious, it is not obvious to everyone. In particular, it conflicts with Frege’s context principle. If we take Frege’s views about numbers and language seriously as, I have argued elsewhere, we should, Benacerraf’s problem is not a problem at all.