Category Archives: News

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

SSHAP 2021 in Vienna will be online, July 14-16

The Ninth Annual SSHAP Meeting at the University of Vienna will now be an online conference, to be held on Zoom from July 14-16, 2021. The schedule of talks will be posted here when it become available. It will also be available at the conference site: https://sshapvienna2021.univie.ac.at

We again Georg Schiemer, Florian Kolowrat, and the rest of the organizing team at University of Vienna – Department of Philosophy, for making this possible. We are also grateful for the support of Institute Vienna Circle of University of Vienna and Vienna Circle -Society for the Advancement of the Scientific World Conception.

As announced last April, elections for officers and members of the Board of SSHAP will take place in 2021; there will be a Zoom session for this purpose.

Our best wishes to all for your safety and health.

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!

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!