Tag Archives: meaning

Russell’s Use Theory of Meaning / Review of work on Wittgenstein

Volume 8.3 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access.

It features an article by Nicholas Griffin entitled, “Russell’s Use Theory of Meaning”. Here is an abstract:

Russell is often accused of having a naive ‘Fido’–Fido theory of meaning of the sort Wittgenstein attacked at the beginning of the Philosophical Investigations. In this paper I argue that he never held such a theory though I concede that, prior to 1918, he said various things that might lead a very careless reader to suppose that he had. However, in The Analysis of Mind (1921), a book which (from the work of Garth Hallett) we know Wittgenstein studied closely, Russell put forward an account of understanding an utterance which clearly anticipates the use theory of meaning usually attributed to Wittgenstein. The paper concludes with some problems for understanding the use theory of meaning as presented by both Russell and, derivatively, Wittgenstein.

The volume also contains a review of David G. Stern, Brian Rogers, and Gabriel Citron, eds., Wittgenstein: Lectures, Cambridge 1930-1933: From the Notes of G. E. Moore (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), written by Mauro Luiz Engelmann.

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

What is the Sceptical Solution? / Review of work on the philosophy of mind

Volume 8.2 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access.

It features an article by Alexander Miller entitled, “What is the Sceptical Solution?”. Here is an abstract:

In chapter 3 of Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language, Kripke’s Wittgenstein offers a “sceptical solution” to the sceptical paradox about meaning developed in chapter 2 (according to which there are no facts in virtue of which ascriptions of meaning such as “Jones means addition by ‘+’” can be true). Although many commentators have taken the sceptical solution to be broadly analogous to non-factualist theories in other domains, such as non-cognitivism or expressivism in metaethics, the nature of the sceptical solution has not been well-understood. The main aim of this paper is to advance our understanding of the nature of the non-factualism about meaning proposed in the sceptical solution. It attempts to outline some desiderata that should be respected by interpretations of the sceptical solution and considers two objections raised against it in Barry Stroud’s paper “Wittgenstein on Meaning, Understanding and Community”. It attempts to correct misconstruals of the sceptical solution that have been promulgated by Davidson and some of his followers and suggests that the sceptical solution developed by Kripke’s Wittgenstein is best viewed as a form of quasi-realism about meaning. It ends by outlining what it takes to be the most pressing challenges facing the sceptical solution.

The volume also contains a review of Sandra Lapointe, ed., Philosophy of Mind in the Nineteenth Century (London: Routledge, 2018), written by Steven Horst.

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

Verificationism and (Some of) its Discontents

Volume 7.4 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access.

It features an article by Thomas Uebel entitled “Verificationism and (Some of) its Discontents”. Here is an abstract:

Verificationism has had a bad press for many years. The view that the meaning of our words is bound up with the discernible difference it would make if what we say, think or write were true or false, nowadays is scorned as “positivist” though it was shared by eminent empiricists and pragmatists. This paper seeks to sort through some of the complexities of what is often portrayed as an unduly simplistic conception. I begin with an overview of its main logical empiricist varieties before considering which aspects of it fall victim to which of the three major types of objection that have been raised against it. I will conclude that what is left standing is a modest proposal that seems worth further investigation.

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

Donald Davidson: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Volume 7.2 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open access.

This volume is a special issue: Donald Davidson: Looking back, Looking forward, edited by Claudine Verheggen. The volume contains five substantial articles, as well as an introductory essay. Here is an abstract:

The papers collected in this issue were solicited to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Donald Davidson’s birth. Four of them discuss the implications of Davidson’s views—in particular, his later views on triangulation—for questions that are still very much at the centre of current debates. These are, first, the question whether Saul Kripke’s doubts about meaning and rule-following can be answered without making concessions to the sceptic or to the quietist; second, the question whether a way can be found to answer Davidson’s own doubts about the continuity of non-propositional thought and language; third, the question whether normative properties can be at once causal and prescriptive; fourth, the question whether folk psychological explanations can be at once illuminating and autonomous. The fifth paper reexamines Davidson’s take on the principle of compositionality, which always was at the centre of his theorizing about language.

Table of contents

  1. Claudine Verheggen: Volume Introduction
  2. Olivia Sultanescu and Claudine Verheggen: Davidson’s Answer to Kripke’s Sceptic
  3. Dorit Bar-On: Crude Meaning, Brute Thought (or: What Are They Thinking?!)
  4. Robert Myers: Davidson’s Meta-Normative Naturalism
  5. Karsten R. Stueber: Davidson, Reasons, and Causes: A Plea for a Little Bit More Empathy
  6. Peter Pagin: Compositionality in Davidson’s Early Work

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

Why “is at”? —On Quine’s Objection to Carnap’s Aufbau in “Two Dogmas of Empiricism”

Volume 6.4 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open access.

It features an article by Ka Ho Lam entitled ‘Why “is at”? —On Quine’s Objection to Carnap’s Aufbau in “Two Dogmas of Empiricism”’. Here is an Abstract:

In “Two Dogmas”, Quine indicates that Carnap’s Aufbau fails “in principle” to reduce our knowledge of the external world to sense data. This is because in projecting the sensory material to reconstruct the physical world, Carnap gives up the use of operating rules and switches to a procedure informed by general principles. This procedure falls short of providing an eliminative translation for the connective “is at”, which is necessary for the reduction. In dissecting Quine’s objection, I argue that Quine has at best proven the claim that the use of general principles essentially fails the task of radical reductionism. However, in order to establish the conclusion that the Aufbau fails in principle, Quine needs to further vindicate two other claims. They are: first, a switch from operating rules to general principles is necessary; second, the set of general principles Carnap adopts is the best alternative. By disambiguating the notion of “explicit definition” and examining the concept of definability in the Aufbau, I explore the possibility of justifying these two claims that Quine overlooks in his objection. The result suggests that Quine’s objection stands in tension with his radical reductionist reading of the Aufbau.

The volume also contains a review of Anna Boncompagni’s Wittgenstein and Pragmatism. On Certainty in the Light of Peirce and James, written by Annalisa Coliva.

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

A Reconstruction of Russell’s Gray’s Elegy Argument

Volume 6.2 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) is now online, with full open access.

It features an article by Max Rosenkrantz entitled, “A Reconstruction of Russell’s Gray’s Elegy Argument”. Here is an abstract:

This paper presents a detailed exegesis of Russell’s “Gray’s Elegy Argument” (GEA). It holds that the GEA mounts a successful attack on Frege—a thesis that has been widely controverted in the literature. The point of departure for my interpretation is Russell’s charge that it is impossible to speak about Sinne, or “meanings” as Russell calls them. I argue that the charge concerns the construction of an “ideal language.” For Russell, an ideal language is an artificial schema designed to represent the truth-makers for sentences occurring in natural language. Its signs stand for the entities that are constituents of those truth-makers. Russell’s charge can thus be expressed more clearly and completely as follows: an ideal language designed to express Frege’s ontology requires signs for meanings (Sinne); however, the signs introduced for that purpose cannot be correlated with the entities they are supposed to represent. Thus, the requirement cannot be met.

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