Tag Archives: wittgenstein

Kripke’s Wittgenstein and Semantic Factualism


Volume 9.3 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/427

It features an article by Miloš Šumonja, called “Kripke’s Wittgenstein and Semantic Factualism.” Here is the abstract:

Recently, two new portrayals of Kripke’s Wittgenstein (KW) have emerged. Both understand KW as targeting the Tractarian picture of semantic fact as a speaker’s mental representation of the truth-conditions of the sentences he uses. According to the factualist interpretation, KW holds that meaning ascriptions are legitimate descriptions because semantic facts are not entities that explain people’s linguistic behavior. The second, Alex Miller’s non-standard non-factualist interpretation, sees KW as claiming that because no fact can explain our linguistic behavior, meaning ascriptions express a speaker’s attitudes towards his interlocutors rather than stating what they mean. This paper advances the minimal factualist interpretation by elaborating two points: that Miller’s reading of the skeptical argument contradicts semantic non-factualism; and that KW’s view of meaning is based on a primitivist rendition of the skeptic’s insight that nothing justifies our use of language, which allows him to assert that semantic facts exist simply because we ordinarily say so.

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

Transfinite Number in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus / Review of work on Ramsey

Volume 9.2 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access.

It features an article by James Connelly entitled, “Transfinite Number in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus”. Here is the abstract:

In his highly perceptive, if underappreciated introduction to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, Russell identifies a “lacuna” within Wittgenstein’s theory of number, relating specifically to the topic of transfinite number. The goal of this paper is two-fold. The first is to show that Russell’s concerns cannot be dismissed on the grounds that they are external to the Tractarian project, deriving, perhaps, from logicist ambitions harbored by Russell but not shared by Wittgenstein. The extensibility of Wittgenstein’s theory of number to the case of transfinite cardinalities is, I shall argue, a desideratum generated by concerns intrinsic, and internal to Wittgenstein’s logical and semantic framework. Second, I aim to show that Wittgenstein’s theory of number as espoused in the Tractatus is consistent with Russell’s assessment, in that Wittgenstein meant to leave open the possibility that transfinite numbers could be generated within his system, but did not show explicitly how to construct them. To that end, I show how one could construct a transfinite number line using ingredients inherent in Wittgenstein’s system, and in accordance with his more general theories of number and of operations.

The volume also contains a review of Cheryl Misak, Frank Ramsey: A Sheer Excess of Powers (Oxford University Press, 2020), written by Matthew Simpson.

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

Resolute Readings of Wittgenstein and Nonsense

Volume 8.10 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access.

It features an article by Joseph Ulatowski entitled, “Resolute Readings of Wittgenstein and Nonsense”. Here is the abstract:

The aim of this paper is to show that a corollary of resolute readings of Wittgenstein’s conception of nonsense cannot be sustained. First, I describe the corollary. Next, I point out the relevance to it of Wittgenstein’s discussion of family resemblance concepts. Then, I survey some typical uses of nonsense to see what they bring to an ordinary language treatment of the word “nonsense” and its relatives. I will subsequently consider the objection, on behalf of a resolute reading, that “nonsense” is a term of philosophical criticism. Finally, I conclude that resolute readings have not sufficiently accounted for how nonsense behaves in our language; they have failed to heed Wittgenstein’s warning: “don’t think, but look!”

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

Davidson’s Wittgenstein

Volume 8.5 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access.

It features an article by Ali Hossein Khani entitled, “Davidson’s Wittgenstein”. Here is an abstract:

Although the later Wittgenstein appears as one of the most influential figures in Davidson’s later works on meaning, it is not, for the most part, clear how Davidson interprets and employs Wittgenstein’s ideas. In this paper, I will argue that Davidson’s later works on meaning can be seen as mainly a manifestation of his attempt to accommodate the later Wittgenstein’s basic ideas about meaning and understanding, especially the requirement of drawing the seems right/is right distinction and the way this requirement must be met. These ideas, however, are interpreted by Davidson in his own way. I will then argue that Davidson even attempts to respect Wittgenstein’s quietism, provided that we understand this view in the way Davidson does. Having argued for that, I will finally investigate whether, for Davidson at least, his more theoretical and supposedly explanatory projects, such as that of constructing a formal theory of meaning and his use of the notion of triangulation, are in conflict with this Wittgensteinian quietist view.

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

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!

“Die Machine als Symbol ihrer Wirkungsweise”: Wittgenstein, Reuleaux, and Kinematics / Review of work on Quine

Volume 7.7 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access.

It features an article by Sébastien Gandon entitled “‘Die Machine als Symbol ihrer Wirkungsweise’: Wittgenstein, Reuleaux, and Kinematics”. Here is an abstract:

In Philosophical Investigations 193–94, Wittgenstein draws a notorious analogy between the working of a machine and the application of a rule. According to the view of rule-following that Wittgenstein is criticizing, the future applications of a rule are completely determined by the rule itself, as the movements of the machine components are completely determined by the machine configuration. On what conception of the machine is such an analogy based? In this paper, I intend to show that Wittgenstein relied on quite a specific scientific tradition very active at the beginning of the twentieth century: the kinematic or the general science of machines. To explain the fundamental tenets of this line of research and its links with Wittgenstein, I focus on Franz Reuleaux (1829–1905), whose works were known to Wittgenstein.

The first payoff of this investigation is to help distance the functionalist framework from which this passage is often read: Wittgenstein’s machines are not (or not primarily) computers. The second payoff is to explain why Wittgenstein talks about machines at this place in his discussion on rule-following: it is not the machine model in itself that is criticized in PI 193–94, but the “philosophical” temptation to generalize from it.

The volume also contains a review of Frederique Jansen-Lauret and Gary Kemp, eds., Quine and His Place in History (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), written by James Andrew Smith, Jr..

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

On the Curious Calculi of Wittgenstein and Spencer Brown

Volume 6.10 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access.

It features an article by Gregory Landini entitled “On the Curious Calculi of Wittgenstein and Spencer Brown”. Here is an abstract:

In his Tractatus, Wittgenstein sets out what he calls his N-operator notation which can be used to calculate whether an expression is a tautology. In his Laws of Form, George Spencer Brown offers what he calls a “primary algebra” for such calculation. Both systems are perplexing. But comparing two blurry images can reduce noise, producing a focus. This paper reveals that Spencer Brown independently rediscovered the quantifier-free part of the N-operator calculus. The comparison sheds a flood light on each and from the letters of correspondence we shall find that Russell, as one might have surmised, was a catalyst for both.

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

Priority and Unity in Frege and Wittgenstein

Volume 6.5 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access.

It features an article by Oliver Thomas Spinney entitled “Priority and Unity in Frege and Wittgenstein”. Here is an abstract:

In the following article I intend to examine the problem of the unity of the proposition in Russell, Frege, and Wittgenstein. My chief aim will be to draw attention to the distinction between Russell’s conception of propositional constituents, on the one hand, with Frege and Wittgenstein’s on the other. My focus will be on Russell’s view of terms as independent, propositions being built up out of these building blocks, compared with Frege and Wittgenstein’s ‘top down’ approach. Furthermore, I will argue that, contra certain other commentators, Frege’s metaphor of saturation and unsaturation does not serve as a solution to the problem of unity, and that the extension of this metaphorical language to Wittgenstein is, therefore, inappropriate.

The volume also contains a review of Erik C. Banks, The Realistic Empiricism of Mach, James, and Russell: Neutral Monism Reconceived (Cambridge University Press, 2014), written by Gary Hatfield.

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