Category Archives: News

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

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!

Quine and the Problem of Truth

Volume 4.10 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published.

It features an article by Joshua Schwartz entitled “Quine and the Problem of Truth”. Here is an abstract:

Widespread deflationistic readings of Quine misrepresent his view of disquotation’s significance and the truth predicate’s utility. I demonstrate this by answering a question that philosophers have not directly addressed: how does Quine understand the philosophical problem of truth? A primary thesis of this paper is that we can answer this question only by working from within Quine’s naturalistic framework. Drawing on neglected texts from Quine’s corpus, I defend the view that, for Quine, the problem of truth emerges from the development of science, in particular, from logical theorizing. I show that disquotation itself, from this Quinean point of view, is the problematic phenomenon calling for philosophical reflection. I conclude by arguing that Quine does not envisage the kind of explanatory role for disquotation taken up by contemporary deflationists, and he shows no interest in the task that animates deflationism, namely, to show that concerns with truth’s nature are fundamentally confused.

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

SSHAP 2017 (Calgary): Call for Abstracts

The sixth annual conference of the Society for the Study of the History of Analytical Philosophy will be held at the University of Calgary,  May 8-10, 2017.  It is locally organised by Richard Zach and sponsored by the Philosophy Department at the University of Calgary.

Invited Speakers:

Previous conferences have been held at McMaster University, Indiana University, Université du Québec à Montréal, Trinity College Dublin and Metropolitan State University Denver.

This year’s meeting is being held in conjunction with the Society for Exact Philosophy whose conference (5-7 May 2017) convenes immediately before the SSHAP meeting. The organizers hope that SSHAP conferees will also want to attend the SEP meeting and vice versa. There are many areas of shared interest and possibilities for fruitful exchange. Information about the SEP meeting and its call for papers can be found here.

We do ask that those who wish to submit papers for both meetings not submit the very same paper.

SSHAP – Call for Abstracts

The Society for Study of the History of Analytical Philosophy is an international organization aimed at promoting discussion in all areas of scholarship concerning the development of philosophical logic, philosophy of language, the philosophy of mind, metaphysics, ethics and metaethics, the philosophy of science and epistemology. It welcomes scholars interested in the many ways in which the disciplines were influenced by thinkers such as Bolzano, Brentano and his school, Husserl, Frege, Russell, the Vienna Circle, Wittgenstein, Tarski, Quine and the Polish school, for instance, but also seeks to promote work engaging with lesser know figures and trends.

SSHAP invites submissions for its 2017 annual conference. Paper submissions in all areas of the history of analytic philosophy are welcome.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: January 15, 2017.

In the past, some of the papers presented at the annual the conference were published in the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy. (www.jhaponline.org)

Submission Instructions

Authors are requested to submit their long abstract electronically according to the following guidelines:

  1. Long abstracts (500-1000 words) should be prepared for blind refereeing,
  2. put into PDF file format, and
  3. sent as an email attachment to the address given below.
  4. The subject line of the submission email should include the key-phrase “SSHAP submission”, and
  5. the body text of the email message should constitute a cover page for the submission by including i) return email address, ii) author’s name, iii) affiliation, iv) paper title, and v) short abstract (50-100 words) and vi) academic rank.

Time allowed for presentation is 60 minutes (including discussion).

Electronic submissions and queries should be sent to: sshap@mcmaster.ca

For more information, please visit our website:  www.sshap.org

The Substance Argument of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus

Volume 4.7 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published.

It features an article by Michael Morris entitled “The Substance Argument of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus”. Here is an abstract:

In Morris (2008) I presented in outline a new interpretation of the famous ‘substance argument’ in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (Wittgenstein 1922). The account I presented there gave a distinctive view of Wittgenstein’s main concerns in the argument, but did not explain in detail how the argument works: how its steps are to be found in the text, and how it concludes. I remain convinced that the interpretation I proposed correctly identifies the main concerns which lie behind the argument. I return to the argument here in order to elaborate in fuller detail the relation between those concerns and the actual course of the text.

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

Geach and Ascriptivism: Beside the Point / Getting off the Inwagen: A Critique of Quinean Metaontology

Volume 4.6 of the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published.

The essays published in this volume were selected as the co-recipients of the 2014 JHAP Essay Prize.

The first paper is “Geach and Ascriptivism: Beside the Point”, by Luís Duarte d’Almeida. Here is an abstract:

This paper discusses the first incarnation of what came to be known as the “Frege-Geach” point. The point was made by Peter Geach in his 1960 essay “Ascriptivism”, and developed in “Assertion”, a 1965 piece. Geach’s articles launch a wholesale attack on theories of non-descriptive performances advanced by “some Oxford philosophers” whom he accuses of ignoring “the distinction between calling a thing ‘P’ and predicating ‘P’ of a thing”. One view that Geach specifically targets is H. L. A. Hart’s claim (in the 1949 essay “The Ascription of Responsibility and Rights”) that sentences of the form “X φ-ed” are not primarily descriptive but ascriptive of responsibility for actions. Hart explicitly accepted Geach’s criticism, and disowned his essay. I argue that he was wrong to do so. Perhaps the essay was worth retracting, but not because of Geach’s objections. I begin by restating and refining Geach’s arguments, in order to bring out the flaw he claimed to have detected in the “pattern of philosophising” that he took Hart’s essay to exemplify. I go on to argue that Geach’s original point poses no obstacle either to non-descriptivism in general, or to Hart’s sui generis non-descriptivist claim in particular.

The second is “Getting off the Inwagen: A Critique of Quinean Metaontology”, by Karl Egerton. Abstract:

Much contemporary ontological inquiry takes place within the so-called ‘Quinean tradition’ but, given that some aspects of Quine’s project have been widely abandoned even by those who consider themselves Quineans, it is unclear what this amounts to. Fortunately recent work in metaontology has produced two relevant results here: a clearer characterisation of the metaontology uniting the aforementioned Quineans, most notably undertaken by Peter van Inwagen, and a raft of criticisms of that metaontology. In this paper I critique van Inwagen’s Quinean metaontology, finding that certain challenges, supplemented by pressure to reflect more closely Quine’s work, should drive Quineans to adopt a stronger metaontology incorporating more of Quine’s radical views. I conclude that while van Inwagen’s Quineanism is problematic there are prospects for a viable, more wholeheartedly Quinean, metaontology.

JHAP is available at https://jhaponline.org. Submissions welcome.

Responses to Uebel on American Pragmatism and the Vienna Circle

Volume 4.5 of the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) is now online. This issue contains discussions in response to Thomas Uebel’s article “American Pragmatism and the Vienna Circle: The Early Years” published in volume 3.3 (2015) of JHAP.

Contents:
Was James Psychologistic?
Alexander Klein

Abstract: As Thomas Uebel has recently argued, some early logical positivists saw American pragmatism as a kindred form of scientific philosophy. They associated pragmatism with William James, whom they rightly saw as allied with Ernst Mach. But what apparently blocked sympathetic positivists from pursuing commonalities with American pragmatism was the concern that James advocated some form of psychologism, a view they thought could not do justice to the a priori. This paper argues that positivists were wrong to read James as offering a psychologistic account of the a priori. They had encountered James by reading Pragmatism as translated by the unabashedly psychologistic Wilhelm Jerusalem. But in more technical works, James had actually developed a form of conventionalism that anticipated the so-called “relativized” a priori positivists themselves would independently develop. While positivists arrived at conventionalism largely through reflection on the exact sciences, though, James’s account of the a priori grew from his reflections on the biological evolution of cognition, particularly in the context of his Darwin-inspired critique of Herbert Spencer.

The Subterranean Influence of Pragmatism on the Vienna Circle: Peirce, Ramsey, Wittgenstein
Cheryl Misak

Abstract: An underappreciated fact in the history of analytic philosophy is that American pragmatism had an early and strong influence on the Vienna Circle. The path of that influence goes from Charles Peirce to Frank Ramsey to Ludwig Wittgenstein to Moritz Schlick. That path is traced in this paper, and along the way some standard understandings of Ramsey and Wittgenstein, especially, are radically altered.

Pragmatisms and Logical Empiricisms: Response to Misak and Klein
Thomas Uebel

Abstract: This paper responds to the generous comments by Alexander Klein and Cheryl Misak on my “American Pragmatism and the Vienna Circle: The Early Years”. First, besides offering some clarification of my original thesis, I argue that Jerusalem was not liable to the anti-Spencerian criticisms by James that Klein adduces in the course of defending James against the charge of psychologism. Then I investigate the impact of Wittgenstein’s Ramsey-derived pragmatism, importantly foregrounded by Misak, on the Vienna Circle and argue that it was mainly limited to Schlick but not recognized as pragmatist, also leaving unaffected the impact of James’s pragmatism on Frank, Hahn and Neurath specified in my original paper. That said, Klein’s and Misak’s comments add significantly to our understanding of long-neglected transatlantic philosophical connections in the early twentieth century.

JHAP is available at: https://jhaponline.org. Submissions welcome.

SSHAP AGM and Election

Dear SSHAP members,

We celebrated yesterday, on 14 May, the first anniversary of our incorporation as a non-profit. In order to maintain our legal status we are required to hold a first Annual General Meeting within 18 months of incorporation and, as a matter of fact, hold our first election. The AGM will take place on 17 June 2016, during our annual conference. All members are invited to attend.

At the Meeting, the Assembly will hopefully ratify the constitution (attached). The SSHAP’s structure has not been very rigid, but for the purpose of the law, we need to have a Secretary and a President. Richard Zach and I have been filling these positions in the interim, i.e. since 2008 (yes, that long already!) and we will be hoping to be elected by the Assembly – so as to put an end to the dictatorship and establish the Supreme Sovereignty of the Will of the People. (The Will of the People is an obsolete notion, but we are historians after all.)

The Association was co-founded by three other members: Amie Thomasson, Mathieu Marion and Mark Textor whom we’d like to thank very warmly for their input over the years. Unlike me and Richard, however, they have either moved on to better things – or they disagree with our attempt to become a democratic institution and are in the process of forming an alternative “Axis” of some kind – and they will not be seeking election.

We’ve sought to recruit members interested in joining SSHAP’s leadership to populate our Board. There are currently four persons we would like to nominate on the Steering Committee:

  • Aude Bandini, University of Montreal
  • Matt Carlson, Wabash College
  • Theresa Kouri, Ohio State
  • Sean Morris, Metropolitan State Univsersity Denver

All members are however invited and warmly encouraged to make further suggestions. There are still 3 positions available, one for Treasurer and a maximum of two on Steering Committee.

The mandate of the Steering Committee is:

  • to assist the executive in finding a location for upcoming annual meetings (previous venues include: McMaster in Hamilton, Indiana at Bloomington, University of Montreal and Trinity College Dublin; prospective venues include San Diego, Helsinki and Berlin);
  • to make or solicit proposals for symposia at the Central and Pacific APA, where SSHAP meets annually (for previous meetings: http://sshap.org/category/meetings/apa-group-meetings/)

Nominations can be entered until the vote, at the AGM.

Because we’d like to insure continuity on the Board, and because this can only be done if mandates are staggered, initial mandates will exceptionally be for the following length, starting July 1 2016.

  • President: 2 years
  • Secretary: 3 years
  • Treasurer: 2 years
  • Steering Committee member 1: 3 years
  • Steering Committee member 2: 2 years
  • Steering Committee member 3: 3 years
  • Steering Committee member 4: 2 years
  • Steering Committee member 5: 3 years
  • Steering Committee member 6: 2 years

Subsequent mandates will be for 2 years, as stipulated in the Constitution.

We will be looking forward to seeing you in Denver. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us:

sshap@mcmaster.ca

Very best,

Sandra

A. N. Prior on Austin’s ‘Sense and Sensibilia’

Volume 4.4 of the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy is now online. It features an article entitled "A. N. Prior on Austin's Sense and Sensibilia", edited by Chrissy van Hulst and Max Cresswell. Here is an abstract:

In the early 1960s A. N. Prior was commissioned to write a review of J. L. Austin’s Sense and Sensibilia. The review was never published. The present article presents a transcription of the review from the material available in the Virtual Lab For Prior Studies maintained at Aalborg University, together with an edited version of the transcription of a longer commentary on Sense and Sensibilia from which the review was condensed.

JHAP is available at: https://jhaponline.org. Submissions welcome.