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Ian Proops
University of Texas at Austin
  1. The New Wittgenstein: A Critique.Ian Proops - 2001 - European Journal of Philosophy 9 (3):375–404.
    A critique of Cora Diamond's influential approach to reading Wittgenstein's Tractatus. According to Diamond, the Tractatus contains no substantive philosophical theses, but is rather merely an especially subtle and sophisticated exercise in the unmasking of nonsense. I argue that no remotely convincing case for this interpretive thesis has yet been made--either by Diamond herself, or by the numerous defenders of this so-called "resolute" reading (so-called by those who wish to style themselves as resolute; their opponents tend to reject this characterization (...)
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  2. Russellian Acquaintance Revisited.Ian Proops - 2014 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 52 (4):779-811.
    It is sometimes claimed that in his 1912 work, "The Problems of Philosophy" (POP), and possibly as early as “on Denoting”, Russell conceives of the mind's acquaintance with sense-data as providing an indubitable or certain foundation for empirical knowledge. However, although he does say things suggestive of this view in certain of his 1914 works, Russell also makes remarks in POP that conflict with any such broadly "Cartesian" interpretation of this work. This paper attempts to resolve this apparent tension, while (...)
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  3. What is Frege's "Concept Horse Problem" ?Ian Proops - 2013 - In Michael Potter and Peter Sullivan (ed.), Wittgenstein's Tractatus: History and Interpretation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 76-96.
    I argue that Frege's so-called "concept 'horse' problem" is not one problem but many. When these different sub-problems are distinguished, some emerge as more tractable than others. I argue that, contrary to a widespread scholarly assumption originating with Peter Geach, there is scant evidence that Frege engaged with the general problem of the inexpressibility of logical category distinctions in writings available to Wittgenstein. In consequence, Geach is mistaken in his claim that in the Tractatus Wittgenstein simply accepts from Frege certain (...)
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  4. Kant's Legal Metaphor and the Nature of a Deduction.Ian Proops - 2003 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 41 (2):209-229.
    This essay partly builds on and partly criticizes a striking idea of Dieter Henrich. Henrich argues that Kant's distinction in the first Critique between the question of fact (quid facti) and the question of law (quid juris) provides clues to the argumentative structure of a philosophical "Deduction". Henrich suggests that the unity of apperception plays a role analogous to a legal factum. By contrast, I argue, first, that the question of fact in the first Critique is settled by the Metaphysical (...)
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  5. Kant’s Conception of Analytic Judgment.Ian Proops - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (3):588–612.
    In the 'Critique of Pure Reason' Kant appears to characterize analytic judgments in four distinct ways: once in terms of “containment,” a second time in terms of “identity,” a third time in terms of the explicative–ampliative contrast, and a fourth time in terms of the notion of “cognizability in accordance with the principle of contradiction.” The paper asks: Which of these characterizations—or apparent characterizations—best captures Kant’s conception of analyticity in the first Critique? It suggests: “the second.” It argues, further, that (...)
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  6. Kant on the Ontological Argument.Ian Proops - 2015 - Noûs 49 (1):1-27.
    The article examines Kant's various criticisms of the broadly Cartesian ontological argument as they are developed in the Critique of Pure Reason. It is argued that each of these criticisms is effective against its intended target, and that these targets include—in addition to Descartes himself—Leibniz, Wolff, and Baumgarten. It is argued that Kant's most famous criticism—the charge that being is not a real predicate—is directed exclusively against Leibniz. Kant's argument for this thesis—the argument proceeding from his example of a hundred (...)
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  7. Kant's First Paralogism.Ian Proops - 2010 - Philosophical Review 119 (4):449–495.
    In the part of the first Critique known as “The Paralogisms of Pure Reason” Kant seeks to explain how even the most acute metaphysicians could have arrived, through speculation, at the ruefully dogmatic conclusion that the self (understood as the subject of thoughts or "thinking I") is a substance. His diagnosis has two components: first, the positing of the phenomenon of “Transcendental Illusion”—an illusion, modelled on but distinct from, optical illusion--that predisposes human beings to accept as sound--and as known to (...)
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  8. Russell on Substitutivity and the Abandonment of Propositions.Ian Proops - 2011 - Philosophical Review 120 (2):151-205.
    The paper argues that philosophers commonly misidentify the substitutivity principle involved in Russell’s puzzle about substitutivity in “On Denoting”. This matters because when that principle is properly identified the puzzle becomes considerably sharper and more interesting than it is often taken to be. This article describes both the puzzle itself and Russell's solution to it, which involves resources beyond the theory of descriptions. It then explores the epistemological and metaphysical consequences of that solution. One such consequence, it argues, is that (...)
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  9. Wittgenstein on the Substance of the World.Ian Proops - 2004 - European Journal of Philosophy 12 (1):106–126.
    The *Tractatus* contains an argument that there are simple, necessarily existent objects, which, being simple, are suited to be the referents of the names occuring in the final analysis of propositions. The argument is perplexing in its own right, but also for its invocation of the notion of "substance". I argue that if one locates Wittgenstein's conception of substance in the Kantian tradition to which his talk of "substance" alludes, what emerges is an argument that is very nearly--but not quite--cogent.
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  10. Russell and the Universalist Conception of Logic.Ian Proops - 2007 - Noûs 41 (1):1–32.
    The paper critically scrutinizes the widespread idea that Russell subscribes to a "Universalist Conception of Logic." Various glosses on this somewhat under-explained slogan are considered, and their fit with Russell's texts and logical practice examined. The results of this investigation are, for the most part, unfavorable to the Universalist interpretation.
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  11. Logical Atomism in Russell and Wittgenstein.Ian Proops - 2011 - In Marie McGinn & Oskari Kuusela (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Wittgenstein. Oxford University Press.
    An essay examining logical atomism as it arises in Russell and the early Wittgenstein.
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  12. The Tractatus on Inference and Entailment.Ian Proops - 2002 - In Erich Reck (ed.), From Frege to Wittgenstein: Essays on Early Analytic Philosophy, 283–307. Oxford University Press.
    In the Tractatus Wittgenstein criticizes Frege and Russell's view that laws of inference (Schlussgesetze) "justify" logical inferences. What lies behind this criticism, I argue, is an attack on Frege and Russell's conceptions of logical entailment. In passing, I examine Russell's dispute with Bradley on the question whether all relations are "internal".
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  13. Logical Syntax in the Tractatus.Ian Proops - 2001 - In Richard Gaskin (ed.), Grammar in Early Twentieth-Century Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 163.
    An essay on Wittgenstein's conception of nonsense and its relation to his idea that "logic must take care of itself". I explain how Wittgenstein's theory of symbolism is supposed to resolve Russell's paradox, and I offer an alternative to Cora Diamond's influential account of Wittgenstein's diagnosis of the error in the so-called "natural view" of nonsense.
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