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Profile: Ian Proops (University of Texas at Austin)
  1. Ian Proops, What is Frege's "Concept Horse Problem&Quot;?
    I argue that Frege's so-called "concept 'horse' problem" is not one problem but many. When these separate sub-problems are distinguished, some are revealed to be more tractable than others. I further argue that there is, contrary to a widespread scholarly assumption originating with Peter Geach, little evidence that Frege was concerned with the general problem of the inexpressibility of logical category distinctions in writings available to Wittgenstein. In consequence, Geach is mistaken in thinking that in the Tractatus Wittgenstein simply accepts (...)
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  2. Ian Proops (2014). Kant on the Cosmological Argument. Philosophers' Imprint 14 (12):1-21.
    In the first Critique Kant levels two main charges against the cosmological argument. First, it commits the fallacy of ignoratio elenchi. Second, in two rather different ways, it presupposes the ontological argument. Commentators have struggled to find merit in either of these charges. The paper argues that they can nonetheless be shown to have some merit, so long as one takes care to correctly identify the version of the cosmological argument that Kant means to be attacking. That turns out to (...)
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  3. Ian Proops (2013). Horse Problem'? In Peter Sullivan Michael Potter (ed.), Wittgenstein's Tractatus. History and Interpretation. Oup. 76.
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  4. Ian Proops (2013). Kant on the Ontological Argument. Noûs 48 (2).
    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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  5. Ian Proops (2011). Logical Atomism in Russell and Wittgenstein. In Oskari Kuusela & Marie McGinn (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Wittgenstein. Oup Oxford.
    An essay examining logical atomism as it arises in Russell and the early Wittgenstein.
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  6. Ian Proops (2011). Russell on Substitutivity and the Abandonment of Propositions. 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” (the so-called "George IV puzzle"). 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 (...)
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  7. Ian Proops (2010). Kant's First Paralogism. Philosophical Review 119 (4):449–495.
    In “The Paralogisms of Pure Reason” Kant seeks to explain how rationalist philosophers could have arrived at the dogmatic conclusion that the self is a substance. His diagnosis has two components: first, the positing of “Transcendental Illusion”—a pervasive intellectual illusion that predisposes us to accept as sound certain unsound arguments for substantive theses about the nature of the self; second, the identification of the relevant fallacy we commit when we succumb to this illusion. This paper explains how these two elements (...)
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  8. Ian Proops (2007). Russell and the Universalist Conception of Logic. Noûs 41 (1):1–32.
    The paper examines 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 are, by an large, unfavorable to the Universalist interpretation.
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  9. Ian Proops (2006). Russell’s Reasons for Logicism. Journal of the History of Philosophy 44 (2):267-292.
    What is at stake philosophically for Russell in espousing logicism? I argue that Russell's aims are chiefly epistemological and mathematical in nature. Russell develops logicism in order to give an account of the nature of mathematics and of mathematical knowledge that is compatible with what he takes to be the uncontroversial status of this science as true, certain and exact. I argue for this view against the view of Peter Hylton, according to which Russell uses logicism to defend the unconditional (...)
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  10. Ian Proops (2006). Soames on the Metaphysics and Epistemology of Moore and Russell. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 129 (3):627–635.
    A critical discussion of selected chapters of the first volume of Scott Soames’s Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century. It is argued that this volume falls short of the minimal standards of scholarship appropriate to a work that advertises itself as a history, and, further, that Soames’s frequent heuristic simplifications and distortions, since they are only sporadically identified as such, are more likely confuse than to enlighten the student. These points are illustrated by reference to Soames’s discussions of Russell’s logical (...)
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  11. Ian Proops (2005). Kant's Conception of Analytic Judgment. 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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  12. Ian Proops (2004). Wittgenstein's Logical Atomism. Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy.
    An article explicating Wittgenstein's logical atomism and surveying the relevant secondary literature.
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  13. Ian Proops (2004). Wittgenstein on the Substance of the World. 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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  14. Ian Proops (2003). Kant's Legal Metaphor and the Nature of a Deduction. 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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  15. Ian Proops (2002). The Tractatus on Inference and Entailment. 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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  16. Ian Proops (2001). Logical Syntax in the Tractatus. In Richard Gaskin (ed.), Grammar in Early Twentieth-Century Philosophy. Routledge. 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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  17. Ian Proops (2001). The New Wittgenstein: A Critique. European Journal of Philosophy 9 (3):375–404.
    An essay challenging Cora Diamond's influential approach to reading Wittgenstein's Tractatus. According to Diamond, the Tractatus contains no substantive philosophical theses, but is purely an exercise in the debunking of nonsense. I argue that a convincing case for this claim has not yet been made--either by Diamond herself, or by the numerous defenders of this so-called "resolute" reading. Having critically examined the arguments that have been offered in favor of the resolute reading, I go on to marshal textual evidence--using both (...)
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  18. Ian Proops (2000). Logic and Language in Wittgenstein's Tractatus. Routledge.
    This historical study investigates Ludwig Wittgenstein's early philosophy of logic and language, as it is presented in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus . The study makes a case for the Tractatus as an insightful critique of the philosophies of Bertrand Russell and Gottlob Frege-the Founding Fathers of analytic philosophy.
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  19. Ian Proops (1997). The Early Wittgenstein on Logical Assertion. Philosophical Topics 25 (2):121-144.
    The paper argues that Wittgenstein's criticisms of Frege and Russell's assertion sign are, a bottom, criticisms of a common flaw in these philosophers' early conceptions of the proposition. Each philosopher offers an account of the proposition that *seems* to suggest that a sentence cannot get so far as to say something without the addition of the assertion sign. This leads to the mistaken idea that there is a coherent notion of "logical assertion.".
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