Tag Archives: logic

Wittgenstein’s Reductio / Review of work on Necessity

Volume 10.3 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/471

It features an article by Gilad Nir, entitled “Wittgenstein’s Reductio.” Here is the abstract:

By means of a reductio argument, Wittgenstein’s Tractatus calls into question the very idea that we can represent logical form. My paper addresses three interrelated questions: first, what conception of logical form is at issue in this argument? Second, whose conception of logic is this argument intended to undermine? And third, what could count as an adequate response to it? I show that the argument construes logical form as the universal, underlying correlation of any representation and the reality it represents. I further show that the argument seeks to undermine core commitments of Frege’s and Russell’s. But the reductio, as I read it, is not intended to establish the falsity of any of their specific assumptions. Rather, its aim is to make manifest the indeterminacies that underlie the language in which these assumptions are framed, and establish the need for a transformation of that language. So understood, Wittgenstein’s argument exemplifies his idea that philosophy is not a theory, but an activity of elucidation. The interpretation I propose bears on one of the central debates in the literature, namely how we should understand Wittgenstein’s contention that his elucidations succeed despite being nonsensical.

The volume also contains a review of Sanford Shieh, Necessity Lost (Oxford University Press, 2019), written by Roberta Ballarin.

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

Frege in Philosophical-Historical Context

Volume 9.11 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/461

This special issue was edited by Juliet Floyd and Sanford Shieh and consists of the following papers, as well as an introduction.

“Frege, Hankel, and Formalism in the Foundations” by Richard Lawrence: https://jhaponline.org/jhap/article/view/5007

“Frege’s Curiously Two-Dimensional Concept-Script” by Landon D. C. Elkind: https://jhaponline.org/jhap/article/view/5008

“Logical Concepts vs. Logical Operations: Two Traditions of Logic Re-revisited” by Tabea Rohr: https://jhaponline.org/jhap/article/view/5010

“The Fate of the Act of Synthesis: Kant, Frege, and Husserl on the Role of Subjectivity in Presentation and Judgment” by Jacob Rump: https://jhaponline.org/jhap/article/view/5030

“Frege on the Fruitfulness of Definitions” by Rachel Boddy: https://jhaponline.org/jhap/article/view/5031

“Strictures on an Exhibition: Frege on his Primitive Laws” by Alexander Yates: https://jhaponline.org/jhap/article/view/5033

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

Notions of Existence in Frege

Volume 9.8 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/448

It features an article by Dolf Rami, entitled, “Notions of Existence in Frege.” Here is the abstract:

In this paper, I aim to present the main components of my non-standard interpretation of Frege’s views on existence to the English-speaking public (Rami 2017a, 2018, 2019a,b). First, I will outline the standard interpretation and show how to a great but not full extent the standard interpretation can be justified on the basis of Frege’s writings. Second, I show that the main error of the standard interpretation consists in the assimilation of the contents of the ordinary language expressions “exist” (“existiert”) and “there is” (“es gibt”) according to Frege. Third, I evaluate possible sources for this unfounded assimilation. After that, I outline my alternative interpretation that distinguishes in opposition to other non-standard interpretations between a substantive and a deflationary part of Frege’s complete conception of existence in analogy to Frege’s analysis of truth and negation. Fifthly, I justify my interpretation by the reconstruction of a so far overlooked master argument of Frege against the above-mentioned assimilation. In the last section, I introduce and discuss four objections against my interpretation that came to my attention.

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

An Argument for Completely General Facts / Review of work on Frege

Volume 9.7 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/447

It features an article by Landon D.C. Elkind, entitled, “An Argument for Completely General Facts: Generalized Molecular Formulas in Logical Atomism.” Here is the abstract:

In his 1918 logical atomism lectures, Russell argued that there are no molecular facts. But he posed a problem for anyone wanting to avoid molecular facts: we need truth-makers for generalizations of molecular formulas, but such truth-makers seem to be both unavoidable and to have an abominably molecular character. Call this the problem of generalized molecular formulas. I clarify the problem here by distinguishing two kinds of generalized molecular formula: incompletely generalized molecular formulas and completely generalized molecular formulas. I next argue that, if empty worlds are logically possible, then the model-theoretic and truth-functional considerations that are usually given address the problem posed by the first kind of formula, but not the problem posed by the second kind. I then show that Russell’s commitments in 1918 provide an answer to the problem of completely generalized molecular formulas: some truth-makers will be non-atomic facts that have no constituents. This shows that the neo-logical atomist goal of defending the principle of atomicity—the principle that only atomic facts are truth-makers—is not realizable.

The volume also contains a review of Gottfried Gabriel & Sven Schlotter, Frege und die kontinentalen Ursprünge der analytischen Philosophie (mentis, 2017), written by Günther Eder.

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!

Collections in Early Bolzano

Volume 6.7 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access.

It features an article by Stefania Centrone and Mark Siebel entitled “Collections in Early Bolzano.” Here is an abstract:

There are quite a few studies on late Bolzano’s notion of a collection (Inbegriff). We try to broaden the perspective by scrutinising the forerunner of collections in Bolzano’s early writings, namely the entities referred to by expressions with the technical term “et”. Special emphasis is laid on the question whether these entities are set-theoretical or mereological plenties. Moreover, similarities and differences to Bolzano’s mature conception are pointed out. We argue that early Bolzano’s particular blend of set-theoretical and mereological features is best interpreted as a set-theoretically enhanced mereology.

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

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.