Category Archives: jhap

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!

The Vienna Circle’s Reception of Nietzsche / Review of work on Quine

Volume 8.9 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access.

It features an article by Andreas Vrahimis entitled, “The Vienna Circle’s Reception of Nietzsche”. Here is the abstract:

Friedrich Nietzsche was among the figures from the history of nineteenth-century philosophy that, perhaps surprisingly, some of the Vienna Circle’s members had presented as one of their predecessors. While, primarily for political reasons, most Anglophone figures in the history of analytic philosophy had taken a dim view of Nietzsche, the Vienna Circle’s leader Moritz Schlick admired and praised Nietzsche, rejecting what he saw as a misinterpretation of Nietzsche as a militarist or proto-fascist. Schlick, Frank, Neurath, and Carnap were in different ways committed to the view that Nietzsche made a significant contribution to the overcoming of metaphysics. Some of these philosophers praised the intimate connection Nietzsche drew between his philosophical outlook and empirical studies in psychology and physiology. In his 1912 lectures on Nietzsche, Schlick maintained that Nietzsche overcame an initial Schopenhauerian metaphysical-artistic phase in his thinking, and subsequently remained a positivist until his last writings. Frank and Neurath made the weaker claim that Nietzsche contributed to the development of a positivistic or scientific conception of the world. Schlick and Frank took a further step in seeing the mature Nietzsche as an Enlightenment thinker.

The volume also contains a review of Sean Morris, Quine, New Foundations, and the Philosophy of Set Theory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), written by Henri Wagner.

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

Audrey Yap is the new Editor in Chief of JHAP

Audrey Yap (University of Victoria) is now Editor in Chief of the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy. Audrey works works primarily in feminist philosophy, and has written on gendered violence and epistemic injustice, though she is also a historian and philosopher of mathematics, and has published in dynamic epistemic logic. Together with Roy Cook, she is co-editing a volume on feminist philosophy and formal logic. She succeeds Marcus Rossberg (UConn), who has concluded a productive three-year term, achieving, among other things, JHAP’s acceptance by Scopus. Marcus remains on the editorial board. Many thanks to Marcus for his service.

Solving the Conjunction Problem of Russell’s Principles of Mathematics / Review of On the Genealogy of Universals

Volume 8.8 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access.

It features an article by Gregory Landini entitled, “Solving the Conjunction Problem of Russell’s Principles of Mathematics”. Here is an abstract:

The quantification theory of propositions in Russell’s Principles of Mathematics has been the subject of an intensive study and in reconstruction has been found to be complete with respect to analogs of the truths of modern quantification theory. A difficulty arises in the reconstruction, however, because it presents universally quantified exportations of five of Russell’s axioms. This paper investigates whether a formal system can be found that is more faithful to Russell’s original prose. Russell offers axioms that are universally quantified implications that have antecedent clauses that are conjunctions. The presence of conjunctions as antecedent clauses seems to doom the theory from the onset, it will be found that there is no way to prove conjunctions so that, after universal instantiation, one can detach the needed antecedent clauses. Amalgamating two of Russell’s axioms, this paper overcomes the difficulty.

The volume also contains a review of Fraser MacBride, On the Genealogy of Universals: The Metaphysical Origins of Analytic Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), written by Landon D. C. Elkind.

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

Sellars, Price, and the Myth of the Given / Review of work on Kant’s logic

Volume 8.7 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access.

It features an article by Michael R. Hicks entitled, “Sellars, Price, and the Myth of the Given”. Here is an abstract:

Wilfrid Sellars’s “Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind” (EPM) begins with an argument against sense-datum epistemology. There is some question about the validity of this attack, stemming in part from the assumption that Sellars is concerned with epistemic foundationalism. This paper recontextualizes Sellars’s argument in two ways: by showing how the argument of EPM relates to Sellars’s 1940s work, which does not concern foundationalism at all; and by considering the view of H.H. Price, Sellars’s teacher at Oxford and the only classical datum theorist to receive substantive comment in EPM. Timm Triplett has claimed that Sellars’s discussion simply begs the question against Price, but this depends on the mistaken assumption that Sellars’s concern is with foundationalism.  On the contrary, Sellars’s argument concerns the assumption that the innate capacity for sensory experience counts as “thinking in presence” in the way needed for empiricist accounts of content acquisition. Price’s distinction between noticing universals and being aware of them encapsulates the tensions empiricists face here.

The volume also contains a review of Huaping Lu-Adler, Kant and the Science of Logic (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), written by Tyke Nunez.

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

The Birth of Semantics

Volume 8.6 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access.

It features an article by Richard Kimberly Heck and Robert C. May entitled, “The Birth of Semantics”. Here is an abstract:

We attempt here to trace the evolution of Frege’s thought about truth. What most frames the way we approach the problem is a recognition that hardly any of Frege’s most familiar claims about truth appear in his earliest work. We argue that Frege’s mature views about truth emerge from a fundamental re-thinking of the nature of logic instigated, in large part, by a sustained engagement with the work of George Boole and his followers, after the publication of Begriffsschrift and the appearance of critical reviews by members of the Boolean school.

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

Davidson’s Wittgenstein

Volume 8.5 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access.

It features an article by Ali Hossein Khani entitled, “Davidson’s Wittgenstein”. Here is an abstract:

Although the later Wittgenstein appears as one of the most influential figures in Davidson’s later works on meaning, it is not, for the most part, clear how Davidson interprets and employs Wittgenstein’s ideas. In this paper, I will argue that Davidson’s later works on meaning can be seen as mainly a manifestation of his attempt to accommodate the later Wittgenstein’s basic ideas about meaning and understanding, especially the requirement of drawing the seems right/is right distinction and the way this requirement must be met. These ideas, however, are interpreted by Davidson in his own way. I will then argue that Davidson even attempts to respect Wittgenstein’s quietism, provided that we understand this view in the way Davidson does. Having argued for that, I will finally investigate whether, for Davidson at least, his more theoretical and supposedly explanatory projects, such as that of constructing a formal theory of meaning and his use of the notion of triangulation, are in conflict with this Wittgensteinian quietist view.

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

Reinventing Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong

Volume 8.4 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access.

It features an article by Michael Ridge entitled, “Reinventing Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong”. Here is an abstract:

I offer new arguments for an unorthodox reading of J. L. Mackie’s Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong, one on which Mackie does not think all substantive moral claims are false, but allows that a proper subset of them are true.  Further, those that are true should be understood in terms of a “hybrid theory”. The proposed reading is one on which Mackie is a conceptual pruner, arguing that we should prune away error-ridden moral claims but hold onto those already free of error. This reading is very different from the standard ones found in the literature. I build on recent work by Moberger and argue that this reading is better corroborated by close attention to the way in which Mackie argues at length that terms like “good” and “ought” are systematically context-sensitive, as well as by considerable additional textual evidence. This reading, however, faces an important challenge—to explain in what sense, if any, morality retains its “normativity” on the proposed reading. I argue that this challenge can be met, at least given some of Mackie’s further assumptions about the nature of rationality.

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

Russell’s Use Theory of Meaning / Review of work on Wittgenstein

Volume 8.3 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access.

It features an article by Nicholas Griffin entitled, “Russell’s Use Theory of Meaning”. Here is an abstract:

Russell is often accused of having a naive ‘Fido’–Fido theory of meaning of the sort Wittgenstein attacked at the beginning of the Philosophical Investigations. In this paper I argue that he never held such a theory though I concede that, prior to 1918, he said various things that might lead a very careless reader to suppose that he had. However, in The Analysis of Mind (1921), a book which (from the work of Garth Hallett) we know Wittgenstein studied closely, Russell put forward an account of understanding an utterance which clearly anticipates the use theory of meaning usually attributed to Wittgenstein. The paper concludes with some problems for understanding the use theory of meaning as presented by both Russell and, derivatively, Wittgenstein.

The volume also contains a review of David G. Stern, Brian Rogers, and Gabriel Citron, eds., Wittgenstein: Lectures, Cambridge 1930-1933: From the Notes of G. E. Moore (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), written by Mauro Luiz Engelmann.

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