Tag Archives: review

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!

Analysis, Decomposition, and Unity in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus / Review of work on Race and Gender

Volume 10.2 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/469

It features an article by Oliver Thomas Spinney, entitled, “Analysis, Decomposition, and Unity in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus.” Here is the abstract:

I argue, through appeal to the distinction between analysis and decomposition described by Dummett, that Wittgenstein employs both of those notions in the Tractatus. I then bring this interpretation to bear upon the issue of propositional unity, where I formulate an objection to the views of both Leonard Linksy and José Zalabardo. I show that both Linsky and Zalabardo fail to acknowledge the distinction between analysis and decomposition present in the Tractatus, and that they consequently mischaracterise Wittgenstein’s position with respect to propositional unity.

The volume also contains a review of Matt LaVine, Race, Gender, and the History of Early Analytic Philosophy (Lexington, 2020), written by James Pearson.

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

Mackie and the Meaning of Moral Terms / Review of work on Frege

Volume 10.1 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/464

It features an article by Tammo Lossau, entitled, “Mackie and the Meaning of Moral Terms.” Here is the abstract:

Moral error theory is comprised of two parts: a denial of the existence of objective values, and a claim about the ways in which we attempt to make reference to such objective values. John Mackie is sometimes presented as endorsing the view that we necessarily presuppose such objective values in our moral language and thought. In a series of recent papers, though, Victor Moberger (2017), Selim Berker (2019), and Michael Ridge (2020) point out that Mackie does not seem to commit himself to this view. They argue that Mackie thinks this reference to objective values can, and perhaps should, be detached from our moral statements and judgments. In this paper, I argue that Moberger, Berker, and Ridge are right to point out that Mackie stops short of claiming a necessary connection between moral language and a commitment to objective values, but that he does not endorse the contrary claim either. Instead, Mackie stays neutral on the question whether it is possible to assert moral statements or make moral judgments without presupposing objective value. This is because he does not need to take a position on this matter. Mackie only engages with the conceptual analysis of moral language and thought to the extent required to achieve his argumentative goals: he wants to reject revisionary analyses of moral language and to refute the idea that we can assume moral truths to be in alignment with ordinary moral language.

The volume also contains a review of Joan Weiner, Taking Frege at his Word (OUP, 2021), written by Hans Sluga.

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!

Epistemic Realism in Bradley and Early Moore / Review of work on Wittgenstein

Volume 9.6 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/446

It features an article by Francesco Pesci, entitled, “Epistemic Realism in Bradley and Early Moore”. Here is the abstract:

In this paper I attempt to show how Moore’s early emancipation from Bradley’s absolute idealism presupposes a fundamental adherence to certain theses of absolute idealism itself. In particular, I argue that the idea of an immediate epistemic access to concepts and propositions that Moore endorses in his platonic atomism (Hylton) is a reworking of a form of epistemic realism already present in Bradley. Epistemic realism is the conjunction of two theses: i) reality is independent of any constructive work of the human mind; ii) reality is immediately (non-discursively) accessible to knowledge. In this paper I first focus on Moore’s early idealist phase (1897), suggesting that it should be understood as an attempt at isolating this thesis in Bradley against Kant’s transcendental idealism. I then suggest that it is on the background of an invariant adherence to it that we should understand Moore’s later rejection of monism and idealism (1898–9) through his anti-psychologism. I hence explore how epistemic realism is at work in Moore’s platonic atomism and conclude with some remarks about the further significance of Moore’s rejection of Kant.

The volume also contains a review of José Zalabardo, Representation and Reality in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (Oxford University Press, 2015), written by Joshua Eisenthal.
JHAP is a free, open-access, peer-reviewed journal.

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

Frege’s Choice: The Indefinability Argument, Truth, and the Fregean Conception of Judgment / Review of Thinking and Being

Volume 9.5 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/444

It features an article by Junyeol Kim entitled, “Frege’s Choice: The Indefinability Argument, Truth, and the Fregean Conception of Judgment”. Here is the abstract:

I develop a new reading of Frege’s argument for the indefinability of truth. I concentrate on what Frege literally says in the passage that contains the argument. This literal reading of the passage establishes that the indefinability argument is an arguably sound argument to the following conclusion: provided that the Fregean conception of judgment—which has recently been countered by Hanks—is correct and that truth is a property of truth-bearers, a vicious infinite regress is produced. Given this vicious regress, Frege chooses to reject that truth is a property of truth-bearers. Frege’s choice leads to a unique version of the Fregean conception of judgment. His unique conception of judgment can cope with Hanks’s recent criticisms against the Fregean conception.

The volume also contains a review of Irad Kimhi, Thinking and Being (Harvard University Press, 2018), written by Jean Philippe Narboux.

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