Category Archives: jhap

Notions of Existence in Frege

Volume 9.8 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access:

https://jhaponline.org/jhap/issue/view/448

It features an article by Dolf Rami, entitled, “Notions of Existence in Frege.” Here is the abstract:

In this paper, I aim to present the main components of my non-standard interpretation of Frege’s views on existence to the English-speaking public (Rami 2017a, 2018, 2019a,b). First, I will outline the standard interpretation and show how to a great but not full extent the standard interpretation can be justified on the basis of Frege’s writings. Second, I show that the main error of the standard interpretation consists in the assimilation of the contents of the ordinary language expressions “exist” (“existiert”) and “there is” (“es gibt”) according to Frege. Third, I evaluate possible sources for this unfounded assimilation. After that, I outline my alternative interpretation that distinguishes in opposition to other non-standard interpretations between a substantive and a deflationary part of Frege’s complete conception of existence in analogy to Frege’s analysis of truth and negation. Fifthly, I justify my interpretation by the reconstruction of a so far overlooked master argument of Frege against the above-mentioned assimilation. In the last section, I introduce and discuss four objections against my interpretation that came to my attention.

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

An Argument for Completely General Facts / Review of work on Frege

Volume 9.7 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access:

https://jhaponline.org/jhap/issue/view/447

It features an article by Landon D.C. Elkind, entitled, “An Argument for Completely General Facts: Generalized Molecular Formulas in Logical Atomism.” Here is the abstract:

In his 1918 logical atomism lectures, Russell argued that there are no molecular facts. But he posed a problem for anyone wanting to avoid molecular facts: we need truth-makers for generalizations of molecular formulas, but such truth-makers seem to be both unavoidable and to have an abominably molecular character. Call this the problem of generalized molecular formulas. I clarify the problem here by distinguishing two kinds of generalized molecular formula: incompletely generalized molecular formulas and completely generalized molecular formulas. I next argue that, if empty worlds are logically possible, then the model-theoretic and truth-functional considerations that are usually given address the problem posed by the first kind of formula, but not the problem posed by the second kind. I then show that Russell’s commitments in 1918 provide an answer to the problem of completely generalized molecular formulas: some truth-makers will be non-atomic facts that have no constituents. This shows that the neo-logical atomist goal of defending the principle of atomicity—the principle that only atomic facts are truth-makers—is not realizable.

The volume also contains a review of Gottfried Gabriel & Sven Schlotter, Frege und die kontinentalen Ursprünge der analytischen Philosophie (mentis, 2017), written by Günther Eder.

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

Epistemic Realism in Bradley and Early Moore / Review of work on Wittgenstein

Volume 9.6 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access:

https://jhaponline.org/jhap/issue/view/446

It features an article by Francesco Pesci, entitled, “Epistemic Realism in Bradley and Early Moore”. Here is the abstract:

In this paper I attempt to show how Moore’s early emancipation from Bradley’s absolute idealism presupposes a fundamental adherence to certain theses of absolute idealism itself. In particular, I argue that the idea of an immediate epistemic access to concepts and propositions that Moore endorses in his platonic atomism (Hylton) is a reworking of a form of epistemic realism already present in Bradley. Epistemic realism is the conjunction of two theses: i) reality is independent of any constructive work of the human mind; ii) reality is immediately (non-discursively) accessible to knowledge. In this paper I first focus on Moore’s early idealist phase (1897), suggesting that it should be understood as an attempt at isolating this thesis in Bradley against Kant’s transcendental idealism. I then suggest that it is on the background of an invariant adherence to it that we should understand Moore’s later rejection of monism and idealism (1898–9) through his anti-psychologism. I hence explore how epistemic realism is at work in Moore’s platonic atomism and conclude with some remarks about the further significance of Moore’s rejection of Kant.

The volume also contains a review of José Zalabardo, Representation and Reality in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (Oxford University Press, 2015), written by Joshua Eisenthal.
JHAP is a free, open-access, peer-reviewed journal.

It is available at https://jhaponline.org/. Submissions welcome!

Frege’s Choice: The Indefinability Argument, Truth, and the Fregean Conception of Judgment / Review of Thinking and Being

Volume 9.5 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access:

https://jhaponline.org/jhap/issue/view/444

It features an article by Junyeol Kim entitled, “Frege’s Choice: The Indefinability Argument, Truth, and the Fregean Conception of Judgment”. Here is the abstract:

I develop a new reading of Frege’s argument for the indefinability of truth. I concentrate on what Frege literally says in the passage that contains the argument. This literal reading of the passage establishes that the indefinability argument is an arguably sound argument to the following conclusion: provided that the Fregean conception of judgment—which has recently been countered by Hanks—is correct and that truth is a property of truth-bearers, a vicious infinite regress is produced. Given this vicious regress, Frege chooses to reject that truth is a property of truth-bearers. Frege’s choice leads to a unique version of the Fregean conception of judgment. His unique conception of judgment can cope with Hanks’s recent criticisms against the Fregean conception.

The volume also contains a review of Irad Kimhi, Thinking and Being (Harvard University Press, 2018), written by Jean Philippe Narboux.

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

Concepts of the Psyche: Wittgenstein on Mental Phenomena

Volume 9.4 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access:

https://jhaponline.org/jhap/issue/view/435

It consists of five papers originally presented at the conference Concepts of the Psyche: Wittgenstein on Mental Phenomena that took place at Beijing Normal University, and was edited by Yi Jiang (Shanxi University) and Stefan Majetschak (University of Kassel):

“Wittgenstein on Understanding and Emotion: Grammar and Methods” by Francis Yunqing Lin: https://jhaponline.org/jhap/article/view/4682

“‘A misleading parallel’: Wittgenstein on Conceptual Confusion in Psychology and the Semantics of Psychological Concepts” by Stefan Majetschak: https://jhaponline.org/jhap/article/view/4683

“Philosophical Concepts, the Ideal of Sublimation, and the ‘Unpredictability of Human Behaviour'” by Anja Weiberg: https://jhaponline.org/jhap/article/view/4684

“Wittgenstein and Folk Psychology” by Yi Jiang: https://jhaponline.org/jhap/article/view/4685

“A Critical Discussion of the ‘Memory-Challenge’ to Interpretations of the Private Language Argument” by Zhao Fan: https://jhaponline.org/jhap/article/view/4688

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

Kripke’s Wittgenstein and Semantic Factualism


Volume 9.3 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access:

https://jhaponline.org/jhap/issue/view/427

It features an article by Miloš Šumonja, called “Kripke’s Wittgenstein and Semantic Factualism.” Here is the abstract:

Recently, two new portrayals of Kripke’s Wittgenstein (KW) have emerged. Both understand KW as targeting the Tractarian picture of semantic fact as a speaker’s mental representation of the truth-conditions of the sentences he uses. According to the factualist interpretation, KW holds that meaning ascriptions are legitimate descriptions because semantic facts are not entities that explain people’s linguistic behavior. The second, Alex Miller’s non-standard non-factualist interpretation, sees KW as claiming that because no fact can explain our linguistic behavior, meaning ascriptions express a speaker’s attitudes towards his interlocutors rather than stating what they mean. This paper advances the minimal factualist interpretation by elaborating two points: that Miller’s reading of the skeptical argument contradicts semantic non-factualism; and that KW’s view of meaning is based on a primitivist rendition of the skeptic’s insight that nothing justifies our use of language, which allows him to assert that semantic facts exist simply because we ordinarily say so.

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

Transfinite Number in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus / Review of work on Ramsey

Volume 9.2 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access.

It features an article by James Connelly entitled, “Transfinite Number in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus”. Here is the abstract:

In his highly perceptive, if underappreciated introduction to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, Russell identifies a “lacuna” within Wittgenstein’s theory of number, relating specifically to the topic of transfinite number. The goal of this paper is two-fold. The first is to show that Russell’s concerns cannot be dismissed on the grounds that they are external to the Tractarian project, deriving, perhaps, from logicist ambitions harbored by Russell but not shared by Wittgenstein. The extensibility of Wittgenstein’s theory of number to the case of transfinite cardinalities is, I shall argue, a desideratum generated by concerns intrinsic, and internal to Wittgenstein’s logical and semantic framework. Second, I aim to show that Wittgenstein’s theory of number as espoused in the Tractatus is consistent with Russell’s assessment, in that Wittgenstein meant to leave open the possibility that transfinite numbers could be generated within his system, but did not show explicitly how to construct them. To that end, I show how one could construct a transfinite number line using ingredients inherent in Wittgenstein’s system, and in accordance with his more general theories of number and of operations.

The volume also contains a review of Cheryl Misak, Frank Ramsey: A Sheer Excess of Powers (Oxford University Press, 2020), written by Matthew Simpson.

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

Rudolf Carnap and David Lewis on Metaphysics: A Question of Historical Ancestry

Volume 9.1 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access:

https://jhaponline.org/jhap/issue/view/421

It features an article by Fraser MacBride, called ” Rudolf Carnap and David Lewis on Metaphysics: A Question of Historical Ancestry.” Here is the abstract:

In an unpublished speech from 1991, David Lewis told his audience that he counted ‘the metaphysician Carnap (not to be confused with the anti-metaphysician Carnap, who is better known)’ amongst his historical ancestors. Here I provide a novel interpretation of the Aufbau that allows us to make sense of Lewis’s claim. Drawing upon Lewis’s correspondence, I argue it was the Carnap of the Aufbau whom Lewis read as a metaphysician, because Carnap’s appeal to the notion of founded relations in the Aufbau echoes Lewis’s own appeal to the metaphysics of natural properties. I further maintain that Lewis was right to read Carnap this way and that the notion of a founded relation has a legitimate claim to be both logical and metaphysical. I also argue that Carnap’s initial response to Goodman’s puzzle about ‘grue’ relies upon a metaphysics of simple properties which also prefigures Lewis’s own response to Goodman invoking natural properties.

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

Coming to America: Carnap, Reichenbach and the Great Intellectual Migration

Volume 8.11 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access.

It features a two-part article by Sander Verhaegh, called “Coming to America: Carnap, Reichenbach and the Great Intellectual Migration” with Part I on Rudolf Carnap and Part II on Hans Reichenbach. Here are the abstracts:

Part I: Rudolf Carnap.

In the years before the Second World War, Rudolf Carnap and Hans Reichenbach emigrated to the United States, escaping the quickly deteriorating political situation on the continent. Once in the U. S., the two significantly changed the American philosophical climate. This two-part paper reconstructs Carnap’s and Reichenbach’s surprisingly numerous interactions with American academics in the decades before their move in order to explain the impact of their arrival in the late 1930s. Building on archival material of several key players and institutions, I take some first steps toward answering the question why logical empiricism became so successful in the United States after the War. This first part reconstructs Carnap’s development between 1923, when he first visited New York, and 1936, when he was offered a position at the University of Chicago. I describe Carnap’s first substantive contacts with American philosophers as well as the events leading up to his decision to emigrate. In addition, I argue that some of Carnap’s work from the mid-1930s—in particular “Testability and Meaning”—can be better understood if we take into account (1) his attempts to correct the American narrative about logical positivism and (2) his increasingly desperate efforts to find a position in the United States.


Part II: Hans Reichenbach

In the late 1930s, a few years before the start of the Second World War, a small number of European philosophers of science emigrated to the United States, escaping the increasingly perilous situation on the continent. Among the first expatriates were Rudolf Carnap and Hans Reichenbach, arguably the most influential logical empiricists of their time. In this two-part paper, I reconstruct Carnap’s and Reichenbach’s surprisingly numerous interactions with American academics in the decades before their move in order to explain the impact of their arrival in the late 1930s. This second part traces Reichenbach’s development and focuses on his frequent interactions with American academics throughout the 1930s. I show that Reichenbach was quite ignorant about developments in Anglophone philosophy in the first stages of his career but became increasingly focused on the United States from the late 1920s onwards. I reconstruct Reichenbach’s efforts to find a job across the Atlantic and show that some of his English publications—most notably Experience and Prediction—were attempts to change the American narrative about logical empiricism. Whereas U. S. philosophers identified scientific philosophy with the views of the Vienna Circle, Reichenbach aimed to market his probabilistic philosophy of science as a subtler alternative.

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

Resolute Readings of Wittgenstein and Nonsense

Volume 8.10 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access.

It features an article by Joseph Ulatowski entitled, “Resolute Readings of Wittgenstein and Nonsense”. Here is the abstract:

The aim of this paper is to show that a corollary of resolute readings of Wittgenstein’s conception of nonsense cannot be sustained. First, I describe the corollary. Next, I point out the relevance to it of Wittgenstein’s discussion of family resemblance concepts. Then, I survey some typical uses of nonsense to see what they bring to an ordinary language treatment of the word “nonsense” and its relatives. I will subsequently consider the objection, on behalf of a resolute reading, that “nonsense” is a term of philosophical criticism. Finally, I conclude that resolute readings have not sufficiently accounted for how nonsense behaves in our language; they have failed to heed Wittgenstein’s warning: “don’t think, but look!”

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