Category Archives: News

Announcements and news from the Society, including Calls for Papers, Calls for Participation, Notices of Meetings, and Membership Updates.

Happy Birthday Bertie! Happy Birthday Carnap!

In honour of the birthdays of Rudolf Carnap and Bertrand Russell, check out these articles in JHAP:

Gilbert Ryle: Intelligence, Practice, Skill

Volume 5.5 of the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) is now online. This is a special issue entitled Gilbert Ryle, Intelligence, Practice, Skill, edited by Juliet Floyd and Lydia Patton.

It contains the following four articles:

1) “Volume Introduction: Gilbert Ryle on Propositions, Propositional Attitudes, and Theoretical Knowledge” by Julia Tanney

Abstract: In the introduction to the special volume, Gilbert Ryle: Intelligence, Practice and Skill, Julia Tanney introduces the contributions of Michael Kremer, Stina Bäckström and Martin Gustafsson, and Will Small, each of which indicates concern about the appropriation of Ryle’s distinction between knowing-how and knowing-that in seminal work in contemporary epistemology. Expressing agreement with the authors that something has gone awry in these borrowings from Ryle, Tanney takes this criticism to a deeper level. She argues that the very notion of content-bearing, causally-efficacious mental states, let alone representational states of knowledge-that or knowledge-how, embodies the very presuppositions that Ryle calls into question in his rejection of classical theories of meaning and his related warning of the type-errors involved in conflating rational and mechanistic explanation. That these mental posits are presupposed, unchallenged, in today’s debates make his arguments against intellectualism particularly difficult to discern.

2) “Ryle’s ‘Intellectualist Legend’ in Historical Context” by Michael Kremer

Abstract: Gilbert Ryle’s distinction between knowledge-how and knowledge-that emerged from his criticism of the “intellectualist legend” that to do something intelligently is “to do a bit of theory and then to do a bit of practice,” and became a philosophical commonplace in the second half of the last century. In this century Jason Stanley (initially with Timothy Williamson) has attacked Ryle’s distinction, arguing that “knowing-how is a species of knowing-that,” and accusing Ryle of setting up a straw man in his critique of “intellectualism.” Examining the use of the terms “intellectualism” and “anti-intellectualism” in the first half of the 20th century, in a wide-ranging debate in the social sciences as well as in philosophy, I show that Ryle was not criticizing a straw man, but a live historical position. In the context of this controversy, Ryle’s position represents a third way between “intellectualism” and “anti-intellectualism,” an option that has largely gone missing in the 21st century discussion. This argument illustrates how history can inform the history of philosophy, and how the history of philosophy can inform contemporary philosophical inquiry.

3) “Skill, Drill, and Intelligent Performance: Ryle and Intellectualism” by Stina Bäckström and Martin Gustafsson

Abstract: In this paper, we aim to show that a study of Gilbert Ryle’s work has much to contribute to the current debate between intellectualism and anti-intellectualism with respect to skill and know-how. According to Ryle, knowing how and skill are distinctive from and do not reduce to knowing that. What is often overlooked is that for Ryle this point is connected to the idea that the distinction between skill and mere habit is a category distinction, or a distinction in form. Criticizing the reading of Ryle presented by Jason Stanley, we argue that once the formal nature of Ryle’s investigation is recognized it becomes clear that his dispositional account is not an instance of reductionist behaviorism, and that his regress argument has a broader target than Stanley appears to recognize.

4) “Ryle on the Explanatory Role of Knowledge How” by Will Small

Abstract: Contemporary discussions of knowledge how typically focus on the question whether or not knowing how to do ϕ consists in propositional knowledge, and divide the field between intellectualists (who think that it does) and anti-intellectualists (who think that it does not, and that it consists instead in the possession of the ability to ϕ). This way of framing the issue is said to derive from Gilbert Ryle. I argue that this is a misreading of Ryle, whose primary interest in discussing knowledge how was not epistemological but rather action-theoretical, whose argument against intellectualism has for this reason been misunderstood and underestimated (by Jason Stanley, among others), and whose positive view aims to chart a middle course between intellectualism and anti-intellectualism.

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

Recommendations toward the Adoption of Best Practices and Guidelines regarding Diversity, Inclusiveness and Equity

Recommendations:

  • It is recommended that SSHAP and JHAP adopt the below practices.
  • If adopted, it is recommended that SSHAP and JHAP note their adoption of these practices online and in print materials, and that they be made available on SSHAP’s website and on JHAP’s website.
  • It is recommended that The Up Directory, Women in Philosophy, and Women in Logic be made available on SSHAP and JHAP webpages.

Good Practice Guidelines

To ensure representation of women on the executive committee, it is recommended that,

  • the President, on the advisement of the committee, should ensure, before the end of their tenure, that a reasonable number of men and women should be nominated for executive board positions.
  • if a gender balance fails to manifest, further measures should be adopted.

Conference Speakers

To ensure representation of women in conferences, it is recommended that,

  • ensure a gender balance in our three keynote invitees over a three-year period. If an invited speaker cannot attend in one year, they should be invited in the following year,
  • adopt the seminar chairing policy suggestions of the British Philosophical Association / SWIP Good Practice Scheme at future SSHAP meetings and include them in the welcome packet for all SSHAP meetings.
  • gender balance in chairing sessions and panels should be sought.
  • keynote speakers should be fully funded and advertised equally.
  • childcare provisions, if available, should be advertised to all participants in advance of the meeting.
  • childcare provisions should be sought by conference organizers.
  • gender balance in executive committee meetings should be sought.
  • where SSHAP raises funds for conferences and seminars, 1(a)-1(f) of the BPA/SWIP Good Practice recommendations should be followed.

Eva Picardi, 1948-2017

Eva Picardi, Professor Emerita at the University of Bologna, has died on April 23, 2017.  She was a central member of the community of historians of analytic philosophers, and has served on the Advisory Board of the Journal for the History of Analytic Philosophy since its inception.

Prof. Picardi received her DPhil under Michael Dummett at Oxford in 1984, and worked with Georg Henrik van Wright in 1986 and with Christian Thiel as a Humboldt Fellow in 1988/89. She is the author of Assertibility and Truth. A Study of Fregean Themes (1981), Linguaggio e analisi filosofica (1992), La chimica dei concetti (1994), Le teorie del significato (1999) and numerous articles on Frege, Peano, Russell and the philosophy of language more broadly. She has also edited and translated into Italian Frege’s Nachlaß (1981) as well as his papers from 1890-1897 (2001, with Carlo Penco).

Prof. Picardi was a founding member and past president of the Italian Society for Analytic Philosophy. Her work contributed significantly to establishing the history of analytic philosophy as a field, and to establishing analytic philosophy in Italy and on the European continent.

SSHAP and the JHAP editorial board send their condolences to Prof. Picardi’s family, friends, and colleagues.

Not Just Errors: A New Interpretation of Mackie’s Error Theory

Volume 5.3 of the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online.

It features an article by Victor Moberger entitled, “Not Just Errors: A New Interpretation of Mackie’s Error Theory”.

Here is an abstract:

J. L. Mackie famously argued that a commitment to non-existent objective values permeates ordinary moral thought and discourse. According to a standard interpretation, Mackie construed this commitment as a universal and indeed essential feature of moral judgments. In this paper I argue that we should rather ascribe to Mackie a form of semantic pluralism, according to which not all moral judgments involve the commitment to objective values. This interpretation not only makes better sense of what Mackie actually says, but also renders his error theory immune to a powerful objection.

The volume also contains a review of Cheryl Misak’s book, Cambridge Pragmatism: From Peirce and James to Ramsey and Wittgenstein, written by John Capps.

JHAP is a free and open-access journal. Submissions welcome at https://jhaponline.org.

Bertrand Russell Visiting Professor

The Department of Philosophy at McMaster University invites applications for a Visiting Professorship in Russell and the History of Early Analytic Philosophy for 2017-2018. McMaster University, which houses the Bertrand Russell Archives and the Bertrand Russell Research Centre, is one of the leading centres for research on Russell’s philosophy. 

The Visiting Professorships, one of which will be available each year, are intended for established scholars whose research would be benefited by access to the Bertrand Russell Archives for an extended period. They are tenable for either one or two semesters, and involve the obligation to present at least one paper in the Philosophy Department’s Speakers Series and teach one fourth year undergraduate course also open to graduates, preferably on the history of analytic philosophy (although a different topic may be agreed upon with the Chair of the Department of Philosophy), while undertaking research in the Russell Archives. The stipend for teaching the course is up to $16,627.00, depending on rank, in accordance with the standard schedule for overload teaching. 

It is expected that successful applicants will be on research leave from their home university during the term of their Visiting Professorship and thus can rely on their regular leave salary for their main financial support. 

Review of applications will commence on April 15, 2017

How to Apply: 

Applicants must submit their application through the University’s electronic portal at www.workingatmcmaster.ca/careers/. Please include a CV together with a description of the research you propose to conduct at the Russell Archives. 

Queries should be addressed to Dr. Stefan Sciaraffa, Chair, Department of Philosophy at chphilo@mcmaster.ca 

To comply with the Government of Canada’s reporting requirements, the University is obliged to gather information about applicants’ status as either Permanent Residents of Canada or Canadian citizens. Applicants need not identify their country of origin or current citizenship, however, all applications must include one of the following statements: 

Yes, I am a citizen or permanent resident of Canada 

No, I am not a citizen or permanent resident of Canada 

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply. However, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority for these positions. McMaster University is strongly committed to employment equity within its community and to recruiting a diverse faculty and staff. The University encourages applications from all qualified candidates including women, persons with disabilities, First Nations, Métis and Inuit persons, members of racialized communities and LGBTQ-identified persons. If you require any form of accommodation throughout the recruitment and selection procedure, please contact the Human Resources Service Centre at 905-525-9140 ext. 222-HR (22247). 

JHAP Special Issue: Women in Early Analytic Philosophy

Volume 5.2 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published.

This volume is a special issue on Women in Early Analytic Philosophy, edited by Maria van der Schaar and Eric Schliesser.

In addition to an introduction by the editors, the volume contains these articles:

“Susan Stebbing, Incomplete Symbols and Foundherentist Meta-Ontology” by Frederique Janssen-Lauret. Abstract:

Susan Stebbing’s work on incomplete symbols and analysis was instrumental in clarifying, sharpening, and improving the project of logical constructions which was pivotal to early analytic philosophy. She dispelled use-mention confusions by restricting the term ‘incomplete symbol’ to expressions eliminable through analysis, rather than those expressions’ purported referents, and distinguished linguistic analysis from analysis of facts. In this paper I explore Stebbing’s role in analytic philosophy’s development from anti-holism, presupposing that analysis terminates in simples, to the more holist or foundherentist analytic philosophy of the later 20th century. I read Stebbing as a transitional figure who made room for more holist analytic movements, e.g., applications of incomplete symbol theory to Quinean ontological commitment. Stebbing, I argue, is part of a historical narrative which starts with the holism of Bradley, an early influence on her, to which Moore and Russell’s logical analysis was a response. They countered Bradley’s holist reservations about facts with the view that the world is built up out of individually knowable simples. Stebbing, a more subtle and sympathetic reader of the British idealists, defends analysis, but with important refinements and caveats which prepared the way for a return to foundherentism and holism within analytic philosophy.

“Maria Kokoszyńska: Between the Lvov-Warsaw School and the Vienna Circle” by Anna Brożek. Abstract:

Maria Kokoszyńska-Lutmanowa (1905–1981) was one of the most outstanding female representatives of the Lvov-Warsaw School. After achieving her PhD in philosophy under Kazimierz Twardowski’s supervision, she was Kazimierz Ajdukiewicz’s assistant. She was also influenced by Alfred Tarski whose results in semantics she analyzed and popularized. After World War II, she got the chair of logic in University of Wrocław and she organized studies in logic in this academic center. In the 1930s, Kokoszyńska kept in contact with members of the Vienna Circle and became a kind of connecting factor between Polish logicians and the Viennese group. In Poland, she presented the views of members of the Vienna Circle. In Vienna, she emphasized the results of her Polish colleagues. In the present paper, some of Kokoszyńska’s results connected with the matters discussed in the Vienna Circle are presented, namely with the problem of metaphysics, the status of logic and the idea of unity of science.

“Susanne Langer and the Woeful World of Facts” by Giulia Felappi. Abstract:

Susanne Langer is mainly known as the American philosopher who, starting from her famous Philosophy in a New Key (1942), worked in aesthetics and famously saw art as the product of the human mind’s most important, distinctive and remarkable ability, i.e., the ability to symbolise. But Langer’s later consideration of the connection between art and symbol is propagated by an early interest in the logic of symbols themselves. This rather neglected early part of Langer’s thought and her early interests and lines of reasoning, which she somehow abandoned later on to dedicate herself exclusively to the study of art, are the topic of this paper.

JHAP is available at https://jhaponline.org. All articles are freely available and open access. Submissions welcome!

“The Tragedy of Verbal Metaphysics” by Leon Chwistek

Volume 5.1 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published.

It features a translation by Adam Trybus and Bernard Linsky of Leon Chwistek’s “The Tragedy of Verbal Metaphysics”. Here is an abstract:

This is the first English translation of Leon Chwistek’s “Tragedia werbalnej metafizyki (Z powodu książki Dra Ingardena: Das literarische Kunstwerk),” Kwartalnik Filozoficzny, Vol. X, 1932, 46–76. Chwistek offers a scathing critique of Roman Ingarden’s Das literarische Kunstwerk (translated into English as The Literary Work of Art) and of the entire Phenomenology movement. The text also contains many hints at Chwistek’s own philosophical and formal ideas. The book that Chwistek reviews attracted wide attention and was instrumental in winning Ingarden a position as Professor of Philosophy at the University of Lwów in 1933. Chwistek’s alienation from his fellow logicians of the Lvov-Warsaw school is clear from his ridicule of Leśniewski’s project.

The volume also contains a review of Chon Tejedor, The Early Wittgenstein on Metaphysics, Natural Science, Language and Value (Routledge 2015), written by Peter Hanks.

JHAP is available at https://jhaponline.org. All articles are freely available and open access. Submissions welcome!