The primary purpose of this note is to demonstrate that predicative Fregearithmetic naturally interprets certain weak but non-trivial arithmetical theories. It will take almost as long to explain what this means and why it matters as it will to prove the results.
Øystein Linnebo has recently shown that the existence of successors cannot be proven in predicative Fregearithmetic, using Frege’s definitions of arithmetical notions. By contrast, it is shown here that the existence of successor can be proven in ramified predicative Fregearithmetic.
This paper describes both an exegetical puzzle that lies at the heart of Frege’s writings—how to reconcile his logicism with his definitions and claims about his definitions—and two interpretations that try to resolve that puzzle, what I call the “explicative interpretation” and the “analysis interpretation.” This paper defends the explicative interpretation primarily by criticizing the most careful and sophisticated defenses of the analysis interpretation, those given my Michael Dummett and Patricia Blanchette. Specifically, I argue that Frege’s text either (...) are inconsistent with the analysis interpretation or do not support it. I also defend the explicative interpretation from the recent charge that it cannot make sense of Frege’s logicism. While I do not provide the explicative interpretation’s full solution to the puzzle, I show that its main competitor is seriously problematic. (shrink)
Frege says, at the end of a discussion of formalism in the Foundations of Arithmetic, that his own foundational program “could be called formal” but is “completely different” from the view he has just criticized. This essay examines Frege’s relationship to Hermann Hankel, his main formalist interlocutor in the Foundations, in order to make sense of these claims. The investigation reveals a surprising result: Frege’s foundational program actually has quite a lot in common with Hankel’s. This (...) undercuts Frege’s claim that his own view is completely different from Hankel’s formalism, and motivates a closer examination of where the differences lie. On the interpretation offered here, Frege shares important parts of the formalist perspective, but differs in recognizing a kind of content for arithmetical terms which can only be made available via proof from prior postulates. (shrink)
We note that a plural version of logicism about arithmetic is suggested by the standard reading of Hume's Principle in terms of `the number of Fs/Gs'. We lay out the resources needed to prove a version of Frege's principle in plural, rather than second-order, logic. We sketch a proof of the theorem and comment philosophically on the result, which sits well with a metaphysics of natural numbers as plural properties.
This paper argues that Carnap both did not view and should not have viewed Frege's project in the foundations of mathematics as misguided metaphysics. The reason for this is that Frege's project was to give an explication of number in a very Carnapian sense — something that was not lost on Carnap. Furthermore, Frege gives pragmatic justification for the basic features of his system, especially where there are ontological considerations. It will be argued that even on the (...) question of the independent existence of abstract objects, Frege and Carnap held remarkably similar views. I close with a discussion of why, despite all this, Frege would not accept the principle of tolerance. (shrink)
A speculative investigation of how Frege's logical views change between Begriffsschrift and Grundgesetze and how this might have affected the formal development of logicism.
Gottlob Frege criticized Kant's use of the term "representation" in a footnote in the Foundations of Arithmetics. According to Frege, Kant used the term "representation" for mental images, which are private and incommunicable, and also for objects and concepts. Kant thereby gave "a strongly subjectivistic and idealistic coloring" to his thought. The paper argues that Kant avoided the kind of subjectivism and idealism which Frege hints in his remark. For Kant, having "Vorstellungen" requires the capacity of synthesis, (...) by virtue of which the mind goes beyond its subjective states, and its modifications become presentations of an independent world. (shrink)
While there has been significant philosophical debate on whether nonlinguistic animals can possess conceptual capabilities, less time has been devoted to considering 'talking' animals, such as parrots. When they are discussed, their capabilities are often downplayed as mere mimicry. The most explicit philosophical example of this can be seen in Brandom's frequent comparisons of parrots and thermostats. Brandom argues that because parrots (like thermostats) cannot grasp the implicit inferential connections between concepts, their vocal articulations do not actually have any conceptual (...) content. In contrast, I argue that Pepperberg's work with Alex (and other African grey parrots) provides evidence that the vocal articulations of at least some parrots have conceptual content. Using Frege's insight that numbers assert something about a concept, I argue that Alex's ability to answer the question "How many?" depended upon a prior grasp of conceptual content. Developing this claim, I argue that Alex's arithmetical abilities show that he was capable of using numbers as both concepts and objects. Frege's theoretical insight and Pepperberg's empirical work provide reason to reconsider the capabilities of parrots, as well as what sorts of tasks provide evidence for conceptual content. (shrink)
According to what was the standard view (Poincaré; Wang, etc.), although Frege endorses, and Kant denies, the claim that arithmetic is reducible to logic, there is not a substantive disagreement between them because their conceptions of logic are too different. In his “Frege, Kant, and the logic in logicism,” John MacFarlane aims to establish that Frege and Kant do share enough of a conception of logic for this to be a substantive, adjudicable dispute. MacFarlane maintains that (...) for both Frege and Kant, the fundamental defining characteristic of logic is “that it provides norms for thought as such (MacFarlane, 2002, p.57). I defend the standard view. I show that MacFarlane's argument rests on conflating the way that pure general logic is normative as a canon and as a propaedeutic, and that once these are distinguished the argument is blocked. (shrink)
By drawing attention to these facts and to the relationship between Cantor’s and Husserl's ideas, I have tried to contribute to putting Frege's attack on Husserl "in the proper light" by providing some insight into some of the issues underling criticisms which Frege himself suggested were not purely aimed at Husserl's book. I have tried to undermine the popular idea that Frege's review of the Philosophy of Arithmetic is a straightforward, objective assessment of Husserl’s book, and (...) to give some specific reasons for thinking that the uncritical reading of Frege's review has unfairly distorted philosophers' perception of a work they do not know very well. (shrink)
Why should one think Frege's definition of the ancestral correct? It can be proven to be extensionally correct, but the argument uses arithmetical induction, and that seems to undermine Frege's claim to have justified induction in purely logical terms. I discuss such circularity objections and then offer a new definition of the ancestral intended to be intensionally correct; its extensional correctness then follows without proof. This new definition can be proven equivalent to Frege's without any use of (...) arithmetical induction. This proves, without any use of arithmetical induction, that Frege's definition is extensionally correct and so answers the circularity objections. (shrink)
This paper aims to answer the question of whether or not Frege's solution limited to value-ranges and truth-values proposed to resolve the "problem of indeterminacy of reference" in section 10 of Grundgesetze is a violation of his principle of complete determination, which states that a predicate must be defined to apply for all objects in general. Closely related to this doubt is the common allegation that Frege was unable to solve a persistent version of the Caesar problem for (...) value-ranges. It is argued that, in Frege’s standards of reducing arithmetic to logic, his solution to the indeterminacy does not give rise to any sort of Caesar problem in the book. (shrink)
A crucial part of the contemporary interest in logicism in the philosophy of mathematics resides in its idea that arithmetical knowledge may be based on logical knowledge. Here an implementation of this idea is considered that holds that knowledge of arithmetical principles may be based on two things: (i) knowledge of logical principles and (ii) knowledge that the arithmetical principles are representable in the logical principles. The notions of representation considered here are related to theory-based and structure-based notions of representation (...) from contemporary mathematical logic. It is argued that the theory-based versions of such logicism are either too liberal (the plethora problem) or are committed to intuitively incorrect closure conditions (the consistency problem). Structure-based versions must on the other hand respond to a charge of begging the question (the circularity problem) or explain how one may have a knowledge of structure in advance of a knowledge of axioms (the signature problem). This discussion is significant because it gives us a better idea of what a notion of representation must look like if it is to aid in realizing some of the traditional epistemic aims of logicism in the philosophy of mathematics. (shrink)
As is well-known, the formal system in which Frege works in his Grundgesetze der Arithmetik is formally inconsistent, Russell?s Paradox being derivable in it.This system is, except for minor differences, full second-order logic, augmented by a single non-logical axiom, Frege?s Axiom V. It has been known for some time now that the first-order fragment of the theory is consistent. The present paper establishes that both the simple and the ramified predicative second-order fragments are consistent, and that Robinson (...) class='Hi'>arithmetic, Q, is relatively interpretable in the simple predicative fragment. The philosophical significance of the result is discussed. (shrink)
This article derives from a project attempting to show that Western formal logic, from Aristotle onward, has both been partially constituted by, and partially constitutive of, what has become known as racism. In the present article, I will first discuss, in light of Frege’s honorary role as founder of the philosophy of mathematics, Reuben Hersh’s What is Mathematics, Really? Second, I will explore how the infamous section of Frege’s 1924 diary (specifically the entries from March 10 to April (...) 9) supports Hersh's claim regarding the link between political conservatism and the (historically and currently) dominant school of the philosophy of mathematics (to which Frege undeniably belongs). Third, I will examine Frege’s attempt at a more reader-friendly introduction to his philosophy of mathematics, The Foundations of Arithmetic. And finally, I will briefly analyze Frege’s Begriffsschrift to see how questions of race arise even at the heights of his logical abstraction. (shrink)
Is a logicist bound to the claim that as a matter of analytic truth there is an actual infinity of objects? If Hume’s Principle is analytic then in the standard setting the answer appears to be yes. Hodes’s work pointed to a way out by offering a modal picture in which only a potential infinity was posited. However, this project was abandoned due to apparent failures of cross-world predication. We re-explore this idea and discover that in the setting of the (...) potential infinite one can interpret first-order Peano arithmetic, but not second-order Peano arithmetic. We conclude that in order for the logicist to weaken the metaphysically loaded claim of necessary actual infinities, they must also weaken the mathematics they recover. (shrink)
This paper contains a close analysis of Frege's proofs of the axioms of arithmetic §§70-83 of Die Grundlagen, with special attention to the proof of the existence of successors in §§82-83. Reluctantly and hesitantly, we come to the conclusion that Frege was at least somewhat confused in those two sections and that he cannot be said to have outlined, or even to have intended, any correct proof there. The proof he sketches is in many ways similar to (...) that given in Grundgesetze der Arithmetik, but fidelity to what Frege wrote in Die Grundlagen and in Grundgesetze requires us to reject the charitable suggestion that it was this (beautiful) proof that he had in mind in §§82-83. (shrink)
Within the context of the Quine–Putnam indispensability argument, one discussion about the status of mathematics is concerned with the ‘Enhanced Indispensability Argument’, which makes explicit in what way mathematics is supposed to be indispensable in science, namely explanatory. If there are genuine mathematical explanations of empirical phenomena, an argument for mathematical platonism could be extracted by using inference to the best explanation. The best explanation of the primeness of the life cycles of Periodical Cicadas is genuinely mathematical, according to Baker (...) :223–238, 2005; Br J Philos Sci 60:611–633, 2009). Furthermore, the result is then also used to strengthen the platonist position :779–793, 2017a). We pick up the circularity problem brought up by Leng Mathematical reasoning, heuristics and the development of mathematics, King’s College Publications, London, pp 167–189, 2005) and Bangu :13–20, 2008). We will argue that Baker’s attempt to solve this problem fails, if Hume’s Principle is analytic. We will also provide the opponent of the Enhanced Indispensability Argument with the so-called ‘interpretability strategy’, which can be used to come up with alternative explanations in case Hume’s Principle is non-analytic. (shrink)
The rather unrestrained use of second-order logic in the neo-logicist program is critically examined. It is argued in some detail that it brings with it genuine set-theoretical existence assumptions and that the mathematical power that Hume’s Principle seems to provide, in the derivation of Frege’s Theorem, comes largely from the ‘logic’ assumed rather than from Hume’s Principle. It is shown that Hume’s Principle is in reality not stronger than the very weak Robinson Arithmetic Q. Consequently, only a few (...) rudimentary facts of arithmetic are logically derivable from Hume’s Principle. And that hardly counts as a vindication of logicism. (shrink)
An overview of what Frege accomplishes in Part II of Grundgesetze, which contains proofs of axioms for arithmetic and several additional results concerning the finite, the infinite, and the relationship between these notions. One might think of this paper as an extremely compressed form of Part II of my book Reading Frege's Grundgesetze.
There is a wide range of realist but non-Platonist philosophies of mathematics—naturalist or Aristotelian realisms. Held by Aristotle and Mill, they played little part in twentieth century philosophy of mathematics but have been revived recently. They assimilate mathematics to the rest of science. They hold that mathematics is the science of X, where X is some observable feature of the (physical or other non-abstract) world. Choices for X include quantity, structure, pattern, complexity, relations. The article lays out and compares these (...) options, including their accounts of what X is, the examples supporting each theory, and the reasons for identifying the science of X with (most or all of) mathematics. Some comparison of the options is undertaken, but the main aim is to display the spectrum of viable alternatives to Platonism and nominalism. It is explained how these views answer Frege’s widely accepted argument that arithmetic cannot be about real features of the physical world, and arguments that such mathematical objects as large infinities and perfect geometrical figures cannot be physically realized. (shrink)
This paper considers whether incompatibilism, the view that negation is to be explained in terms of a primitive notion of incompatibility, and Fregeanism, the view that arithmetical truths are analytic according to Frege’s definition of that term in §3 of Foundations of Arithmetic, can both be upheld simultaneously. Both views are attractive on their own right, in particular for a certain empiricist mind-set. They promise to account for two philosophical puzzling phenomena: the problem of negative truth and the (...) problem of epistemic access to numbers. For an incompatibilist, proofs of numerical non-identities must appeal to primitive incompatibilities. I argue that no analytic primitive incompatibilities are forthcoming. Hence incompatibilists cannot be Fregeans. (shrink)
The word ‘equality’ often requires disambiguation, which is provided by context or by an explicit modifier. For each sort of magnitude, there is at least one sense of ‘equals’ with its correlated senses of ‘is greater than’ and ‘is less than’. Given any two magnitudes of the same sort—two line segments, two plane figures, two solids, two time intervals, two temperature intervals, two amounts of money in a single currency, and the like—the one equals the other or the one is (...) greater than the other or the one is greater than the other [sc. in appropriate correlated senses of ‘equals’, ‘is greater than’ and ‘is less than’]. In case there are two or more appropriate senses of ‘equals’, the one intended is often indicated by an adverb. For example, one plane figure may be said to be equal in area to another and, in certain cases, one plane figure may be said to be equal in length to another. Each sense of ‘equality’ is tied to a specific domain and is therefore non-logical. Notice that in every cases ‘equality’ is definable in terms of ‘is greater than’ and also in terms of ‘is less than’ both of which are routinely considered domain specific, non-logical. The word ‘identity’ in the logical sense does not require disambiguation. Moreover, it is not correlated ‘is greater than’ and ‘is less than’. If it is not the case that a certain designated triangle is [sc. is identical to] an otherwise designated triangle, it is not necessary for the one to be greater than or less than the other. Moreover, if two magnitudes are equal then a unit of measure can be chosen and, no matter what unit is chosen, each magnitude is the same multiple of the unit that the other is. But identity does not require units. In this regard, congruence is like identity and unlike equality. In arithmetic, the logical concept of identity is coextensive with the arithmetic concept of equality. The logical concept of identity admits of an analytically adequate definition in terms of logical concepts: given any number x and any number y, x is y iff x has every property that y has. The arithmetical concept of equality admits of an analytically adequate definition in terms of arithmetical concepts: given any number x and any number y, x equals y iff x is neither less than nor greater than y. As Aristotle told us and as Frege retold us, just because one relation is coextensive with another is no reason to conclude that they are one. (shrink)
A common view is that natural language treats numbers as abstract objects, with expressions like the number of planets, eight, as well as the number eight acting as referential terms referring to numbers. In this paper I will argue that this view about reference to numbers in natural language is fundamentally mistaken. A more thorough look at natural language reveals a very different view of the ontological status of natural numbers. On this view, numbers are not primarily treated abstract objects, (...) but rather 'aspects' of pluralities of ordinary objects, namely number tropes, a view that in fact appears to have been the Aristotelian view of numbers. Natural language moreover provides support for another view of the ontological status of numbers, on which natural numbers do not act as entities, but rather have the status of plural properties, the meaning of numerals when acting like adjectives. This view matches contemporary approaches in the philosophy of mathematics of what Dummett called the Adjectival Strategy, the view on which number terms in arithmetical sentences are not terms referring to numbers, but rather make contributions to generalizations about ordinary (and possible) objects. It is only with complex expressions somewhat at the periphery of language such as the number eight that reference to pure numbers is permitted. (shrink)
Gottlob Frege abandoned his logicist program after Bertrand Russell had discovered that some assumptions of Frege’s system lead to contradiction (so called Russell’s paradox). Nevertheless, he proposed a new attempt for the foundations of mathematics in two last years of his life. According to this new program, the whole of mathematics is based on the geometrical source of knowledge. By the geometrical source of cognition Frege meant intuition which is the source of an infinite number of objects (...) in arithmetic. In this article, I describe this final attempt of Frege to provide the foundations of mathematics. Furthermore, I compare Frege’s views of intuition from The Foundations of Arithmetic (and his later views) with the Kantian conception of pure intuition as the source of geometrical axioms. In the conclusion of the essay, I examine some implications for the debate between Hans Sluga and Michael Dummett concerning the realistic and idealistic interpretations of Frege’s philosophy. (shrink)
Departing from and closing with reflections on issues regarding teaching practices of philosophy of mathematics, I propose a comparison between the main features of the Leibnizian notion of symbolic knowledge and some passages from the Tractatus on arithmetic. I argue that this reading allows (i) to shed a new light on the specificities of the Tractarian definition of number, compared to those of Frege and Russell; (ii) to highlight the understanding of the nature of mathematical knowledge as symbolic (...) or formal knowledge that Wittgenstein mobilizes in his book; (iii) to offer reasons for the claim that Wittgenstein can be considered the philosopher of mathematical practice avant la lettre. The paper ends with an overview, a return to the initial reflection on the connections between research and teaching, and a defense of the reading key used here in terms of its potential for the research in philosophy of mathematics. (shrink)
In this article I offer an explicating interpretation of the procedure of content recarving as described by Frege in §64 of the Foundations of Arithmetic. I argue that the procedure of content recarving may be interpreted as an operation that while restricting the subject matter of a sentence, performs a generalization on what the sentence says about its subject matter. The characterization of the recarving operation is given in the setting of Yablo’s theory of subject matter and it (...) is based on the relation of determination between properties. The main advantage of the proposal is its generality, for it is applicable not just to the case of abstraction principles. (shrink)
Many intuitively valid arguments involving intensionality cannot be captured by first-order logic, even when extended by modal and epistemic operators. Indeed, previous attempts at providing an adequate treatment of the phenomenon of intensionality in logic and language, such as those of Frege, Church, Russell, Carnap, Quine, Montague and others are fraught with numerous philosophical and technical difficulties and shortcomings. We present Bealer's solution to this problem which hinges on an ontological commitment to theory of Properties, Propositions and Relations (PRP). (...) At the most basic level we can distinguish two conceptions in the theory of PRPs. An objective one tied to modality and necessary equivalence, and a mental (intentional) one tied to concepts and the requirement of non-circularity in definitions. Building on the work of Russell, Church and Quine, Bealer proposes two distinct intensional logics T1 and T2 (presented in Hilbert form) corresponding to these two conceptions, both based on the language of first-order logic extended with an intensional abstraction operator. In T1 necessitation can be directly defined and the axioms entail that we obtain standard S5 modal logic. These logics have a series of striking features and desirable aspects which set them apart from higher-order approaches. Bealer constructs a non-Tarskian algebraic semantic framework, distinct from possible worlds semantics and its problematic ontological commitments, yielding two classes of models for which T1 and T2 are both sound and complete. Other features include being able to deal with quantifying-in, and the various substitution puzzles, being free from artificial type restrictions, having a Russellian semantics, satisfying Davidson's learnability requirement, etc. Bealer proposes his logic as the basis of a larger philosophical project in the tradition of logicism (or logical realism) concerning which we refer to his book Quality and Concept (1982). This includes a neo-Fregean logicist foundation of arithmetic and set-theory in which various (according to him) purely logical predication axioms ( and intensional analogues of ZF, NGB, or Kelley-Morse axioms) are adjoined to T2, thereby explaining incompleteness as a property of pure logic rather than of mathematics. Surprisingly, and rather ironically, Bealer's logic also fulfills Carnap's thesis of extensionality due precisely to its ontological commitment to the reality of PRPs. The proof of these results consists either in lemmas which are merely stated or which are given but brief sketches of a proof. We aim to give detailed proofs of all the mathematical logical results that appear in Bealer's \emph{Quality and Concept} and in \cite{C} and to clarify and simplify some of the concepts and techniques so as to bring Bealer's work to a larger audience of philosophers, logicians, linguists and mathematicians and to be better equipped to address some of the unsolved problems and challenges. We also include a brief introduction to other approaches to intensionality in natural language and discuss how Bealer's approach compares favourably to some of them and is likely to benefit from the insights offered by others. (shrink)
This note presents an analysis of Symbolic Knowledge from Leibniz to Husserl, a collection of works from some members of The Southern Cone Group for the Philosophy of Formal Sciences. The volume delineates an outlook of the philosophical treatments presented by Leibniz, Kant, Frege, and the Booleans, as well as by Husserl, of some questions related to the conceptual singularities of symbolic knowledge –whose standard we find in the arts of algebra and arithmetic. The book’s unity of themes (...) and (at least in part) style is examined with the aim of showing the articulation of its parts. (shrink)
The objective of this paper is to analyze the broader significance of Frege’s logicist project against the background of Wittgenstein’s philosophy from both Tractatus and Philosophical Investigations. The article draws on two basic observations, namely that Frege’s project aims at saying something that was only implicit in everyday arithmetical practice, as the so-called recursion theorem demonstrates, and that the explicitness involved in logicism does not concern the arithmetical operations themselves, but rather the way they are defined. It thus (...) represents the attempt to make explicit not the rules alone, but rather the rules governing their following, i.e. rules of second-order type. I elaborate on these remarks with short references to Brandom’s refinement of Frege’s expressivist and Wittgenstein’s pragmatist project. (shrink)
In the 17th century, Hobbes stated that we reason by addition and subtraction. Historians of logic note that Hobbes thought of reasoning as “a ‘species of computation’” but point out that “his writing contains in fact no attempt to work out such a project.” Though Leibniz mentions the plus/minus character of the positive and negative copulas, neither he nor Hobbes say anything about a plus/minus character of other common logical words that drive our deductive judgments, words like ‘some’, ‘all’, ‘if’, (...) and ‘and’, each of which actually turns out to have an oppositive, character that allows us, “in our silent reasoning,” to ignore its literal meaning and to reckon with it as one reckons with a plus or a minus operator in elementary algebra or arithmetic. These ‘logical constants’ of natural language figure crucially in our everyday reasoning. Because Hobbes and Leibniz did not identify them as the plus and minus words we reason with, their insight into what goes on in ‘ratiocination’ did not provide a guide for a research program that could develop a +/- logic that actually describes how we reason deductively. I will argue that such a +/- logic provides a way back from modern predicate logic—the logic of quantifiers and bound variables that is now ‘standard logic’—to an Aristotelian term logic of natural language that had been the millennial standard logic. (shrink)
Horwich gives a fine analysis of Wittgenstein (W) and is a leading W scholar, but in my view, they all fall short of a full appreciation, as I explain at length in this review and many others. If one does not understand W (and preferably Searle also) then I don't see how one could have more than a superficial understanding of philosophy and of higher order thought and thus of all complex behavior (psychology, sociology, anthropology, history, literature, society). In a (...) nutshell, W demonstrated that when you have shown how a sentence is used in the context of interest, there is nothing more to say. I will start with a few notable quotes and then give what I think are the minimum considerations necessary to understand Wittgenstein, philosophy and human behavior. -/- First one might note that putting “meta” in front of any word should be suspect. W remarked e.g., that metamathematics is mathematics like any other. The notion that we can step outside philosophy (i.e., the descriptive psychology of higher order thought) is itself a profound confusion. Another irritation here (and throughout academic writing for the last 4 decades) is the constant reverse linguistic sexism of “her” and “hers” and “she” or “he/she” etc., where “they” and “theirs” and “them” would do nicely. Likewise, the use of the French word 'repertoire' where the English 'repertory' will do quite well. The major deficiency is the complete failure (though very common) to employ what I see as the hugely powerful and intuitive two systems view of HOT and Searle’s framework which I have outlined above. This is especially poignant in the chapter on meaning p111 et seq. (especially in footnotes 2-7), where we swim in very muddy water without the framework of automated true only S1, propositional dispositional S2, COS etc. One can also get a better view of the inner and the outer by reading e.g., Johnston or Budd (see my reviews). Horwich however makes many incisive comments. I especially liked his summary of the import of W’s anti-theoretical stance on p65. He needs to give more emphasis to ‘On Certainty’, recently the subject of much effort by Daniele Moyal- Sharrock, Coliva and others and summarized in my recent articles. -/- Horwich is first rate and his work well worth the effort. One hopes that he (and everyone) will study Searle and some modern psychology as well as Hutto, Read, Hutchinson, Stern, Moyal-Sharrock, Stroll, Hacker and Baker etc. to attain a broad modern view of behavior. Most of their papers are on academia dot edu and philpapers dot org , but for PMS Hacker see his papers on his Oxford page. -/- He gives one of the most beautiful summaries of where an understanding of Wittgenstein leaves us that I have ever seen. -/- “There must be no attempt to explain our linguistic/conceptual activity (PI 126) as in Frege’s reduction of arithmetic to logic; no attempt to give it epistemological foundations (PI 124) as in meaning based accounts of a priori knowledge; no attempt to characterize idealized forms of it (PI 130) as in sense logics; no attempt to reform it (PI 124, 132) as in Mackie’s error theory or Dummett’s intuitionism; no attempt to streamline it (PI 133) as in Quine’s account of existence; no attempt to make it more consistent (PI 132) as in Tarski’s response to the liar paradoxes; and no attempt to make it more complete (PI 133) as in the settling of questions of personal identity for bizarre hypothetical ‘teleportation’ scenarios.” -/- Finally, let me suggest that with the perspective I have encouraged here, W is at the center of contemporary philosophy and psychology and is not obscure, difficult or irrelevant, but scintillating, profound and crystal clear and that to miss him is to miss one of the greatest intellectual adventures possible. -/- Those wishing a comprehensive up to date framework for human behavior from the modern two systems view may consult my book ‘The Logical Structure of Philosophy, Psychology, Mind and Language in Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Searle’ 2nd ed (2019). Those interested in more of my writings may see ‘Talking Monkeys--Philosophy, Psychology, Science, Religion and Politics on a Doomed Planet--Articles and Reviews 2006-2019 3rd ed (2019), The Logical Structure of Human Behavior (2019), and Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st Century 4th ed (2019) . (shrink)
Over 40 years ago I read a small grey book with metaphysics in the title which began with the words “Metaphysics is dead. Wittgenstein has killed it.” I am one of many who agree but sadly the rest of the world has not gotten the message. Shoemaker’s work is nonsense on stilts but is unusual only in that it never deviates into sense from the first paragraph to the last. At least with Dennett, Carruthers, Churchland etc. one gets a breath (...) of fresh air when they discuss cognitive science (imagining they are still doing philosophy). As W showed so beautifully, the confusions that lead to metaphysics are universal and nearly inescapable aspects of our psychology. They occur not only in all thinking on behavior but throughout science as well. It’s easy to find examples in Hawking, Weinberg, Penrose, Green, who of course have no idea they have left science and entered metaphysics, that the statement they just made is not a matter of fact at all but a matter of conceptual (linguistic) confusion. “Law, event, space, time, force, matter, proof, connection, cause, follows, physical”, etc., all have clear uses in certain technical contexts, but these blend insensibly into quite different uses that have little in common but the spelling. Since it is pointless to waste time deconstructing Shoemaker line by line, showing the same errors over and over, I will describe some facts about how our psychology (language) works and with this outline and the references I give it is quite straightforward to give a meaningful description of the world in place of the metaphysical fantasies. If I were to debate Shoemaker we would never get beyond the title. Horwich gives one of the most beautiful summaries of where an understanding of Wittgenstein leaves us that I have ever seen. “There must be no attempt to explain our linguistic/conceptual activity (PI 126) as in Frege’s reduction of arithmetic to logic; no attempt to give it epistemological foundations (PI 124) as in meaning based accounts of a priori knowledge; no attempt to characterize idealized forms of it (PI 130) as in sense logics; no attempt to reform it (PI 124, 132) as in Mackie’s error theory or Dummett’s intuitionism; no attempt to streamline it (PI 133) as in Quine’s account of existence; no attempt to make it more consistent (PI 132) as in Tarski’s response to the liar paradoxes; and no attempt to make it more complete (PI 133) as in the settling of questions of personal identity for bizarre hypothetical ‘teleportation’ scenarios.” Those wishing a comprehensive up to date framework for human behavior from the modern two systems view may consult my book ‘The Logical Structure of Philosophy, Psychology, Mind and Language in Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Searle’ 2nd ed (2019). Those interested in more of my writings may see ‘Talking Monkeys--Philosophy, Psychology, Science, Religion and Politics on a Doomed Planet--Articles and Reviews 2006-2019 3rd ed (2019) and Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st Century 4th ed (2019). (shrink)
In this essay, I argue that Frege plagiarized the Stoics --and I mean exactly that-- on a large scale in his work on the philosophy of logic and language as written mainly between 1890 and his death in 1925 (much of which published posthumously) and possibly earlier. I use ‘plagiarize' (or 'plagiarise’) merely as a descriptive term. The essay is not concerned with finger pointing or casting moral judgement. The point is rather to demonstrate carefully by means of detailed (...) evidence that there are numerous (over a hundred) and extensive parallels both in formulation and --more importantly-- in content between the Stoics and Frege, parallels so plentiful that one would be hard pressed to brush them off as coincidence. These parallels include several that appear to occur in no other modern works that were published before Frege’s own and were accessible to him. Additionally, a cluster of corroborating historical data is adduced to support the suggestion, showing how easy it would have to been for Frege to plagiarize the Stoics. This (first) part of the essay is easy to read and vaguely entertaining, or so I hope. (shrink)
Philosophers of science since Nagel have been interested in the links between intertheoretic reduction and explanation, understanding and other forms of epistemic progress. Although intertheoretic reduction is widely agreed to occur in pure mathematics as well as empirical science, the relationship between reduction and explanation in the mathematical setting has rarely been investigated in a similarly serious way. This paper examines an important particular case: the reduction of arithmetic to set theory. I claim that the reduction is unexplanatory. In (...) defense of this claim, I offer evidence from mathematical practice, and I respond to contrary suggestions due to Steinhart, Maddy, Kitcher and Quine. I then show how, even if set-theoretic reductions are generally not explanatory, set theory can nevertheless serve as a legitimate foundation for mathematics. Finally, some implications of my thesis for philosophy of mathematics and philosophy of science are discussed. In particular, I suggest that some reductions in mathematics are probably explanatory, and I propose that differing standards of theory acceptance might account for the apparent lack of unexplanatory reductions in the empirical sciences. (shrink)
So-called 'Frege cases' pose a challenge for anyone who would hope to treat the contents of beliefs (and similar mental states) as Russellian propositions: It is then impossible to explain people's behavior in Frege cases without invoking non-intentional features of their mental states, and doing that seems to undermine the intentionality of psychological explanation. In the present paper, I develop this sort of objection in what seems to me to be its strongest form, but then offer a response (...) to it. I grant that psychological explanation must invoke non-intentional features of mental states, but it is of crucial importance which such features must be referenced. -/- It emerges from a careful reading of Frege's own view that we need only invoke what I call 'formal' relations between mental states. I then claim that referencing such 'formal' relations within psychological explanation does not undermine its intentionality in the way that invoking, say, neurological features would. The central worry about this view is that either (a) 'formal' relations bring narrow content in through back door or (b) 'formal' relations end up doing all the explanatory work. Various forms of each worry are discussed. The crucial point, ultimately, is that the present strategy for responding to Frege cases is not available either to the 'psycho-Fregean', who would identify the content of a belief with its truth-value, nor even to someone who would identify the content of a belief with a set of possible worlds. It requires the sort of rich semantic structure that is distinctive of Russellian propositions. There is therefore no reason to suppose that the invocation of 'formal' relations threatens to deprive content of any work to do. (shrink)
This is an opinionated overview of the Frege-Geach problem, in both its historical and contemporary guises. Covers Higher-order Attitude approaches, Tree-tying, Gibbard-style solutions, and Schroeder's recent A-type expressivist solution.
An investigation of Frege’s various contributions to the study of language, focusing on three of his most famous doctrines: that concepts are unsaturated, that sentences refer to truth-values, and that sense must be distinguished from reference.
Frege is widely supposed to believe that vague predicates have no referent (Bedeutung). But given other things he evidently believes, such a position would seem to commit him to a suspect nihilism according to which assertoric sentences containing vague predicates are neither true nor false. I argue that we have good reason to resist ascribing to Frege the view that vague predicates have no Bedeutung and thus good reason to resist seeing him as committed to the suspect nihilism. (...) In the process, I call attention to several under-appreciated texts in which Frege suggests that a vague predicate, though lacking a Bedeutung of its own, can come to acquire a Bedeutung in certain contexts. The upshot of this suggestion is that vague predicates can serve the purposes of ordinary communication quite well, even if they are useless for logical purposes. (shrink)
Is calculation possible without language? Or is the human ability for arithmetic dependent on the language faculty? To clarify the relation between language and arithmetic, we studied numerical cognition in speakers of Mundurukú, an Amazonian language with a very small lexicon of number words. Although the Mundurukú lack words for numbers beyond 5, they are able to compare and add large approximate numbers that are far beyond their naming range. However, they fail in exact arithmetic with numbers (...) larger than 4 or 5. Our results imply a distinction between a nonverbal system of number approximation and a language-based counting system for exact number and arithmetic. (shrink)
The paper explores the idea that some singular judgements about the natural numbers are immune to error through misidentification by pursuing a comparison between arithmetic judgements and first-person judgements. By doing so, the first part of the paper offers a conciliatory resolution of the Coliva-Pryor dispute about so-called “de re” and “which-object” misidentification. The second part of the paper draws some lessons about what it takes to explain immunity to error through misidentification. The lessons are: First, the so-called Simple (...) Account of which-object immunity to error through misidentification to the effect that a judgement is immune to this kind of error just in case its grounds do not feature any identification component fails. Secondly, wh-immunity can be explained by a Reference-Fixing Account to the effect that a judgement is immune to this kind of error just in case its grounds are constituted by the facts whereby the reference of the concept of the object which the judgement concerns is fixed. Thirdly, a suitable revision of the Simple Account explains the de re immunity of those arithmetic judgements which are not wh-immune. These three lessons point towards the general conclusion that there is no unifying explanation of de re and wh-immunity. (shrink)
We draw attention to a series of implicit assumptions that have structured the debate about Frege’s Puzzle. Once these assumptions are made explicit, we rely on them to show that if one focuses exclusively on the issues raised by Frege cases, then one obtains a powerful consideration against a fine-grained conception of propositional-attitude content. In light of this consideration, a form of Russellianism about content becomes viable.
Frege's puzzle is a fundamental challenge for accounts of mental and linguistic representation. This piece surveys a family of recent approaches to the puzzle that posit representational relations. I identify the central commitments of relational approaches and present several arguments for them. I also distinguish two kinds of relationism—semantic relationism and formal relationism—corresponding to two conceptions of representational relations. I briefly discuss the consequences of relational approaches for foundational questions about propositional attitudes, intentional explanation, and compositionality.
This piece criticizes Fodor's argument (in The Elm and the Expert, 1994) for the claim that Frege cases should be treated as exceptions to (broad) psychological generalizations rather than as counterexamples.
Goodman and Lederman (2020) argue that the traditional Fregean strategy for preserving the validity of Leibniz’s Law of substitution fails when confronted with apparent counterexamples involving proper names embedded under propositional attitude verbs. We argue, on the contrary, that the Fregean strategy succeeds and that Goodman and Lederman’s argument misfires.
This paper argues that Frege's notoriously long commitment to Kant's thesis that Euclidean geometry is synthetic _a priori_ is best explained by realizing that Frege uses ‘intuition’ in two senses. Frege sometimes adopts the usage presented in Hermann Helmholtz's sign theory of perception. However, when using ‘intuition’ to denote the source of geometric knowledge, he is appealing to Hermann Cohen's use of Kantian terminology. We will see that Cohen reinterpreted Kantian notions, stripping them of any psychological connotation. (...) Cohen's defense of his modified Kantian thesis on the unique status of the Euclidean axioms presents Frege's own views in a much more favorable light. (shrink)
I resolve the major challenge to an Expressivist theory of the meaning of normative discourse: the Frege–Geach Problem. Drawing on considerations from the semantics of directive language (e.g., imperatives), I argue that, although certain forms of Expressivism (like Gibbard’s) do run into at least one version of the Problem, it is reasonably clear that there is a version of Expressivism that does not.
Many philosophers have argued or taken for granted that Frege's puzzle has little or nothing to do with identity statements. I show that this is wrong, arguing that the puzzle can only be motivated relative to a thinker's beliefs about the identity or distinctness of the relevant object. The result is important, as it suggests that the puzzle can be solved, not by a semantic theory of names or referring expressions as such, but simply by a theory of identity (...) statements. To show this, I sketch a framework for developing solutions of this sort. I also consider how this result could be implemented by two influential solutions to Frege's puzzle, Perry's referential-reflexivism and Fine's semantic relationism. (shrink)
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