On Operator N and Wittgenstein’s Logical Philosophy

Volume 5.4 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy is now online.

It features an article by James R. Connelly entitled, “On Operator N and Wittgenstein’s Logical Philosophy”. Here is an abstract.

In this paper, I provide a new reading of Wittgenstein’s N operator, and of its significance within his early logical philosophy. I thereby aim to resolve a longstanding scholarly controversy concerning the expressive completeness of N. Within the debate between Fogelin and Geach in particular, an apparent dilemma emerged to the effect that we must either concede Fogelin’s claim that N is expressively incomplete, or reject certain fundamental tenets within Wittgenstein’s logical philosophy. Despite their various points of disagreement, however, Fogelin and Geach nevertheless share several common and problematic assumptions regarding Wittgenstein’s logical philosophy, and it is these mistaken assumptions which are the source of the dilemma. Once we recognize and correct these, and other, associated expository errors, it will become clear how to reconcile the expressive completeness of Wittgenstein’s N operator, with several commonly recognized features of, and fundamental theses within, the Tractarian logical system.

The issue also contains a review of Sebastian Sunday Grève and Jakub Mácha, eds. Wittgenstein and the Creativity of Language, written by Craig Fox.

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

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!

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

Early Forms of Metaethical Constructivism in John Dewey’s Pragmatism (JHAP)

Volume 4.9 of the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) is now online (full open access). It features an article entitled “Early Forms of Metaethical Constructivism in John Dewey’s Pragmatism”, by Pierre-Luc Dostie Proulx. Here is an abstract:

This paper demonstrates the innovative character of the approach to metaethics underlying John Dewey’s pragmatism. Dewey’s theory of evaluation is contrasted with one of the most dominant contemporary metaethical theses: constructivism. I show that the insistence placed by metaethical constructivists on the actor’s practical point of view, on the rejection of the subjective preferences model, and on a specific form of ethical antirealism and naturalism echoes some of the most crucial claims made by Dewey. This argumentation leads to my main hypothesis: an analysis of Dewey’s conception of evaluation allows us to highlight the groundbreaking character of its metaethical approach—an approach that will be characterized as fairly constructivist.

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

Rawls on Kantian Constructivism

Volume 4.8 of the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) is now online. It features an article entitled “Rawls on Kantian Constructivism”, by Nathaniel Jezzi. Here is an abstract:

John Rawls’s 1980 Dewey Lectures are widely acknowledged to represent the locus classicus for contemporary discussions of moral constructivism. Nevertheless, few published works have engaged with the significant interpretive challenges one finds in these lectures, and those that have fail to offer a satisfactory reading of the view that Rawls presents there or the place the lectures occupy in the development of Rawls’s thinking. Indeed, there is a surprising lack of consensus about how best to interpret the constructivism of these lectures. In this paper, I argue that the constructivism presented in the Dewey Lectures is best understood as involving the view that moral truth is correspondence with procedurally-determined, stance-dependent facts. Employing Rawls’s discussion of rational intuitionism as a foil, I defend this reading against textual discrepancies from within the lectures, as well as those one finds across Rawls’s other works. In addition to settling interpretive disputes, I draw out the ways in which this understanding of Kantian constructivism fits within the broader comparative project in ‘moral theory’ that Rawls inherits from Sidgwick.

The volume also features a review of Erich Reck., ed. The Historical Turn in Analytic Philosophy, by Sean Morris.

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

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!