Logic and the Sachverhalt

The Monist 72 (1):52-69 (1989)
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Those who conceive logic as a science have generally favoured one of two alternative conceptions as to what the subject-matter of this science ought to be. On the one hand is the nowadays somewhat old-fashioned-seeming view of logic as the science of judgment, or of thinking or reasoning activities in general. On the other hand is the view of logic as a science of ideal meanings, 'thoughts', or 'propositions in themselves'. There is, however, a third alternative conception, which enjoyed only a brief flowering in the years leading up to the first World War, but whose lingering presence can be detected in the background of more recent ontologising trends in logic, as for example in the 'situation semantics' of Barwise and Perry. This third conception sees logic as a science of special objects called 'Sachverhalte' or 'states of affairs'. A view of this sort is present in simplified form in the works of Meinong, but it received its definitive formulation in the writings of Adolf Reinach, a student of Husserl who is otherwise noteworthy for having anticipated, in a monograph of 1913, large chunks of what later became known as the theory of speech acts.(1).
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