The article considers, in a historical setting, the links between varieties of nominalism—the extreme nominalism of the Quine-Goodman variety and the trope nominalism current today—and types of idealism. In so doing arguments of various twentieth century figures, including Husserl, Bradley, Russell, and Sartre, as well as a contemporary attack on relations by Peter Simons are critically examined. The paper seeks to link the rejection of realism about universals with the rejection of a mind-independent “world”—in short, linking nominalism with idealism.
Two connected themes have been at the core of the old perplexity regarding thinking and speaking about non-existent objects. One involves a question of reference. Can we refer to non-existent objects without, thereby, recognizing, in some sense, non-existent entities as objects of reference? The other involves a question about existence. Is existence a property representable by a predicate in a logically adequate symbohsm? It is argued (1) that existence is not to be construed as an attribute represented by a predicate, (...) (2) that nonnaming names introduce problems, not solutions to problems, (3) that purported properties such as self-identical are specious, and (4) that the Russell property is also seen to be specious by our consideration of predication. (shrink)
The paper sets out a version of a correspondence theory of truth that deals with a number of problems such theories traditionally face, problems associated with the names of Bradley, Meinong, Camap, Russell, Wittgenstein and Moore and that arise in connection with attempts to analyze facts of various logical forms. The line of argument employs a somewhat novel application of Russell's theory of definite descriptions. In developing a form of "logical realism" the paper takes up various ontological issues regarding classes, (...) causal laws, modality, predication, negation and relations. It does so in connection with critical discussions of alternative views recently proposed by Armstrong, Bergmann, Lewis and Putnam. (shrink)
This book is presumably a collection of essays delivered at a conference, though it's hard to say. There is no cover description and the editors' introduction, where this information might have been found, is missing from the volume (at least from my copy) in spite of being listed in the table of contents. A curious editorial slip. In fact, from an editorial perspective this book is a disaster. Not only is the format reminiscent of those camera ready volumes that jammed (...) our libraries in the late Eighties, when word processors began to spread and people started using them to produce entire books without knowing how to handle line spacing and hyphenation -- not to mention orphans and widows, footnotes, tabs, apostrophes, etc. There are also lots of typos, English infelicities, punctuation disorders. Obviously nobody checked the page proofs. There are even formulas that were not properly converted from the original files and have been printed with the infamous boxes in place of the logical symbols. Publishing academic books in analytic philosophy is becoming increasingly difficult and not every publisher can afford serious copy editing. But charging 74 euros for such a poorly manufactured item is appalling. (shrink)
Russell’s late ontology sought to avoid “wholly colourless particulars” (substrata, points of space, bare instants of time) by appealing to complexes of compresent qualities in place of particulars that exemplify qualitieso Yet he insisted on (i) calling qualities like redness “discontinuous,” “repeatable” particulars, and (ii) claiming that such qualities were not universals, since they were not exemplified but were ultimate subjects that exemplified universal relations and universal qualities. It is argued that his choice of terminology is not only misleading, but (...) is ironically not consistent with the concept of universality implicit in his well known “proof” of the existence of universals, a proof he retained in his later (1940-48) ontology. It is also argued that there are substantive grounds for rejecting his classification that clarify the concept of a universal. (shrink)
John Searle sees previous philosophers as failing to distinguish between "intention-with-a-t" and "intension-with-an-s". This, he believes, leads them to mistake properties of reports for properties of things reported, in their discussions of intentionality, since reports may be "intensional" while what is reported is "extensional". Thus, speaking about John's belief that King Arthur killed Sir Lancelot, he says: "It is completely extensional: it is true if there is a unique x such that x = King Arthur and there is a unique (...) y such that y = Sir Lancelot and x killed y. That is as extensional as anything can get." But all Searle means by the claim that "the belief", as opposed to "the report" of it, is completely extensional is that one gives the "truth condition" for "the belief", by giving the truth condition for the sentence King Arthur killed Sir Lancelot'. Put simply, the sentence King Arthur killed Sir Lancelot' does not raise the familiar issues about substitution raised by John believes that King Arthur killed Sir Lancelot'. While this is true, the analysis of intentional contexts that lies behind it fails to adequately take up, let alone resolve, the familiar logical and ontological problems of intentionality that Searle purports to solve.(edited). (shrink)
The paper begins by considering Russell's criticism of Meinong's theory of objects and Sosein that center on the notions of negation and existence. The discussion raises issues about functions, properties, predication, the "concept" of existence and relations. These lead to a consideration of recent revivals of moderate nominalism in the form of trope theories. An argument against such theories suggests a fundamental principle of ontology and a reformulation of the nominalism-realism dispute.
Russell’s elimination of basic particulars, in An lnquiry into Meaning and Truth and Human Knowledge: lts Scope and Limits, by purportedly construing them as “bundles” or “complexes” of universal qualities has been attacked over the years by A. J. Ayer, M. Black, D. M. Armstrong, M. Loux, and others. These criticisms of Russell’s ontological assay of “particularity” have been based on misconstruals of his analysis. The present paper interprets Russell’s analysis, rebuts arguments of his critics, and sets out a different (...) criticism of “bundle” analyses of particulars of the Russellian kind. (shrink)
The development of the systematic ontology of Bergmannes posthumous 1992 work New Foundations of Ontology from its roots in his early criticisms of R. Camap's work on semantics to his acceptance of fundamental Meinongian ideas, is traced, critically examined and compared to views of others, such as G.E. Moore, B. Russell, W.V. Quine, and J. Searle. The discussion, focusing on main themes of his final metaphysical system, deals with problems posed by universals and particulars, predication and the Bradley "paradox", facts, (...) truth, intentionality and non-existent objectives, classes and the membership relation, logic and the analytic-synthetic distinction, arithmetic and logicism, ontological categories and canons, modalities, internal relations, and the question of the phenomenological ground of ontological claims. Some of the critical analyses are developed into alternative analyses. (shrink)
The paper considers recent proposals by Armstrong, Dretske, and Tooley that revive the view that statements of laws of nature are grounded by the existence of higher order facts relating universals. Several objections to such a view are raised and an alternative analysis, recognizing general facts, is considered. Such an alternative is shown to meet a number of the objections raised against the appeal to higher order facts and it is also related to views of Hume and Wittgenstein. Further objections (...) are then raised to all the non-Humean "realist" attempts to provide special facts to ground the laws of nature. (shrink)
The Analysis of Perception i Moore's most systematic attempt to handle the problems of in- tentionality occurs in connection with his analysis of perception in Some Main Problems of Philosophy . He begins the book with the following ...
Platonism, in its most recent and seemingly most cogent form, has rested on (a) the supposed indispensability of descriptive predicate terms in so-called "improved," or "clarified," or "perspicuous" languages; (b) the distinction between subject and predicate terms based on the asymmetry of the predication relation; and (c) the claimed ontological significance of the different categories of terms implied by (a) and (b). Nominalism, in one of its most pervasive recent forms, has involved the denial of the criterion of ontological commitment (...) embedded in (c) by explicitly or implicitly adopting the criterion expressed in Quine's formula "to be is to be the value of a variable." To avoid the obvious charge that nominalists merely ignore abstract entities by the arbitrary ploy of changing the rules, i.e. denying that ontological commitments are made by the inclusion of primitive predicates in schemata of certain kinds by simply employing a different criterion of commitment, some nominalists have sought to argue for their criterion by pointing to the distinction between singular and general terms and the radically different roles such terms play. The distinction between singular and general terms becomes the premise for an argument that purportedly supports Quine's criterion of ontological commitment. This criterion, in turn, provides the basis for the nomin'alist's use of primitive predicates, as general terms, without ontological commitment to abstract entities. In this paper I shall argue that the nominalist's gambit is inadequate in that the distinction between singular and general terms, as employed by a philosopher like Quine, merely provides a way of stating the nominalist's position and does not provide a reason for holding such a position. To put it another way, if we consider the contemporary nominalist to argue from the distinction between singular and general terms to the cogency of nominalism, since the former provides a ground for Quine's criterion of ontological commitment which, in turn, provides the basis for the latter, then the line of thought is question begging. It is so in that the very way the nominalist draws the distinction presupposes a nominalistic view, since a careful statement of that distinction amounts to a restatement of the nominalistic position. (shrink)
It is argued that Strawson's celebrated attacks on Russell's views about proper names and descriptions are misleading and unfounded. An attempt is made to show that Strawson's alternative views are philosophically more problematic than Russell's. It is also argued that, properly stated, Russell's analyses do not do violence to ordinary usage and that attempts to justify Strawson's analysis on the ground that it fits better with ordinary usage are mistaken.