In a definition (∀ x )(( x є r )↔D[ x ]) of the set r, the definiens D[ x ] must not depend on the definiendum r . This implies that all quantifiers in D[ x ] are independent of r and of (∀ x ). This cannot be implemented in the traditional first-order logic, but can be expressed in IF logic. Violations of such independence requirements are what created the typical paradoxes of set theory. Poincaré’s Vicious Circle (...) Principle was intended to bar such violations. Russell nevertheless misunderstood the principle; for him a set a can depend on another set b only if ( b є a ) or ( b ⊆ a ). Likewise, the truth of an ordinary first-order sentence with the Gödel number of r is undefinable in Tarki’s sense because the quantifiers of the definiens depend unavoidably on r. (shrink)
The Berlin Group was an equal partner with the Vienna Circle as a school of scientific philosophy, albeit one that pursued an itinerary of its own. But while the latter presented its defining projects in readily discernible terms and became immediately popular, the Berlin Group, whose project was at least as sig-nificant as that of its Austrian counterpart, remained largely unrecognized. The task of this chapter is to distinguish the Berliners’ work from that of the Vienna Circle and (...) to bring to light its impact in the history of scientific philosophy. (shrink)
This article is intended as a contribution to the current debates about the relationship between politics and the philosophy of science in the Vienna Circle. I reconsider this issue by shifting the focus from philosophy of science as theory to philosophy of science as practice. From this perspective I take as a starting point the Vienna Circle’s scientific world-conception and emphasize its practical nature: I reinterpret its tenets as a set of recommendations that express the particular epistemological attitude (...) in which both the Vienna Circle’s (doing) philosophy of science and its political engagement were rooted. -/- Regarding politics, and referring to new primary sources, I reconstruct how the scientific world-conception placed the Vienna Circle within a neoliberal-socialist political network that pursued concrete political aims. In light of my reconstruction I shall argue that neither the Vienna Circle’s alleged ethical noncognitivism nor its alleged adhesion to the Weberian ideal of a value-free science rules out the possibility of ascribing to the Vienna Circle a politically engaged philosophy of science: the case of the Vienna Circle shows how philosophy of science, as a public activity, can itself become a form of political engagement, even without necessarily entailing a theory of objective values. (shrink)
This article introduces a Students’ Quality Circle in higher education, in the context of current debates. With increasing numbers of students entering the university and constrained financial resources in the sector, new approaches are needed, with new partnership between lecturers and students. The first Students’ Quality Circle at Kingston is located in a wider international context.
A new direction in philosophy Between 1920 and 1940 logical empiricism reset the direction of philosophy of science and much of the rest of Anglo-American philosophy. It began as a relatively organized movement centered on the Vienna Circle, and like-minded philosophers elsewhere, especially in Berlin. As Europe drifted into the Nazi era, several important figures, especially Carnap and Neurath, also found common ground in their liberal politics and radical social agenda. Together, the logical empiricists set out to reform traditional (...) philosophy with a new set of doctrines more firmly grounded in logic and science. Criticism and decline Because of Nazi persecution, most of the European adherents of logical empiricism moved to the United States in the late 1930s. During the 1940s, many of their most cherished tenets became targets of criticism from outsiders as well as from within their own ranks. Philosophers of science in the late 1950s and 1960s rejected logical empiricism and, starting in the 1970s, presented such alternative programs such as scientific realism with evolutionary epistemology. A resurgence of interest During the early 1980s, philosophers and historians of philosophy began to study logical empiricism as an important movement. Unlike their predecessors in the 1960s-for whom the debate over logical empiricism now seems to have been largely motivated by professional politics-these philosopher no longer have to take positions for or against logical empiricism. The result has been a more balanced view of that movement, its achievements, its failures, and its influence. Hard-to-find core writings now available This collection makes available a selection of the most influential and representative writings of the logical empiricists, important contemporary criticisms of their doctrines, their responses, as well as the recent reappraisals. Introductions to each volume examine the articles in historical context and provide importantbackground information that is vital to a full understanding of the issues discussed. They outline prevalent trends, identifying leading figures and summarize their positions and reasoning, as well as those of opposing thinkers. Available individually by volume. 1. The Emergence of Logical Empiricism (0-8153-2262-3) 432 pages 2. Logical Empiricism at its Peak (0-8153-2263-1) 4243 pages 3. Logic, Probability, and Epistemology (0-8153-2264-X) 424 pages 4. Logical Empiricism and the Special Sciences (0-8153-2265-8) 376 pages 5. Decline and Obsolescence of Logical Empiricsm (0-8153-2266-6) 440 pages 6. The Legacy of the Vienna Circle (0-8153-2267-4) 400 pages. (shrink)
Descartes’ circle has been extensively discussed, and I do not wish to add another paper to that literature. Rather, I use the circle to facilitate our understanding of two types of scepticism and the proper attitude to them. Descartes’ text is especially apt for this purpose, because a case can be made for attributing to him both types. Although I will touch on the interpretative question, that is not my main aim. My contention is that one brand - (...) whether or not it is the one that Descartes favoured - should be taken very seriously, and Descartes’ failure to respond to it non circularly cannot be met with equanimity. (shrink)
Classically, an osculating circle at a point of a planar curve is introduced technically, often with formula giving its radius and the coordinates of its center. In this note, we propose a new and intuitive definition of this concept: among all the circles which have, on the considered point, the same tangent as the studied curve and thus seem equal to the curve through a microscope, the osculating circle is this that seems equal to the curve through a (...) microscope within microscope. (shrink)
Here we give a semantical account of propositional quantification that is intended to formally represent Russell’s view that one cannot express a proposition about "all" propositions. According to the account the authors give, Russell’s view bears an interesting relation to the view that there are no sets which are members of themselves.
This paper defends an interpretation of Descartes according to which he sees us as having normative (and not merely psychological) certainty of all clear and distinct ideas during the period in which they are apprehended clearly and distinctly. However, on this view, a retrospective doubt about clear and distinct ideas is possible. This interpretation allows Descartes to avoid the Cartesian Circle in an effective way and also shows that Descartes is surprisingly, in some respects, an epistemological externalist. The paper (...) goes on to defend this interpretation against some powerful philosophical objections by Margaret Wilson and others by showing how Descartes' doctrine of the creation of the eternal truths can be brought in to support his epistemology. This doctrine and other analogous positions in Descartes can also reveal that Descartes, again surprisingly, takes important steps toward doing epistemology without direct appeal to God and God's veracity. (shrink)
This article distinguishes between Machian empiricism and the logical positivism of the Vienna Circle and associated philosophers. Mach's natural philosophy was a first order attempt to reform and reorganize physics, not a second order reconstruction of the "language" of physics. Mach's elements were not sense data but realistic events in the natural world and in minds, and Mach admitted unobserved elements as part of his world view. Mach's critique of metaphysics was far more subtle and concerned the elimination of (...) sensory visual imagery from natural science, leaving only concrete elements and functions, very much an inspiration to the young Einstein and Heisenberg and a useful engine of theory construction in physics. (shrink)
This paper reviews the argument by Peter Singer that speciesism, the exploitation of other species without regard for their interests, is as morally objectionable as racism and sexism. Objections to this argument by philosophers such as Peter Carruthers, Mary Midgley, and Cora Diamond as well as conventional wisdom about notions of species differences are presented and critically examined. I conclude that Alaine Locke would have supported Singer's expansion of the moral circle.
Classical Gricean pragmatics is usually conceived as dealing with far-side pragmatics, aimed at computing implicatures. It involves reasoning about why what was said, was said. Near-side pragmatics, on the other hand, is pragmatics in the service of determining, together with the semantical properties of the words used, what was said. But this raises the specter of ‘the pragmatic circle.’ If Gricean pragmatics seeks explanations for why someone said what they did, how can there be Gricean pragmatics on the near-side? (...) Gricean reasoning seems to require what is said to get started. But then if Gricean reasoning is needed to get to what is said, we have a circle. (shrink)
Examination of contemporary debates on metaphysics and its critique yields the conclusion that there is an overall tendency to defend an inextricable bond between them. According to the vast majority of participants in these debates, any reaction against metaphysics, however powerful or radical, is bound to remain trapped in the metaphysical tradition. The dominant view is that criticism either remains tied to or eventually returns to forms of metaphysics, if it does not in fact remain metaphysical in itself. This view (...) confirms the persistence of a typical pattern, namely, that of a circular relationship between metaphysics and its critique. Conspicuous by its absence is the idea of a critique of metaphysics that is not caught up in this vicious metaphysical circle. Moreover, the alleged self-defeating and counterproductive character of critique has become so widely and uncritically accepted—even among opponents of metaphysics—that strong and well-founded objections to metaphysics have largely disappeared from philosophical discourse. Contrary to the conventional idea of a crisis of metaphysics, there appears to be a crisis of the critique of metaphysics. This paper attempts to turn the tide of this crisis. It demonstrates that the categorical assertion of a circular relationship between metaphysics and its critique cannot be logically justified. Furthermore, it presents three different forms of criticism that cannot be metaphysically recuperated. It therefore concludes that the wide acceptance of the idea of an inescapable metaphysical circle, instead of being inspired by sound and irrefutable arguments, is essentially based on a myth. (shrink)
This paper analyzes the claim that the Left Vienna Circle (LVC) offers a theoretical and historical precedent for a politically engaged philosophy of science today. I describe the model for a political philosophy of science advanced by LVC historians. They offer this model as a moderate, properly philosophical approach to political philosophy of science that is rooted in the analytic tradition. This disciplinary-historical framing leads to weaknesses in LVC scholars' conception of the history of the LVC and its contemporary (...) relevance. In this light, I examine the claim that there are productive enrichments to be gained from the engagement of feminist philosophy of science with the LVC, finding this claim ill-formulated. The case of LVC historiography and feminist philosophy of science presents a revealing study in the uses and ethics of disciplinary history, showing how feminist and other perspectives are misconceived and marginalized by forms of disciplinary self-narrativizing. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. (shrink)
Linguistics and the Vienna Circle Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9445-9 Authors Thomas Uebel, Department of Philosophy, School of Social Science, University of Manchester, Arthur Lewis Building, Manchester, M13 9PL UK Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
What might it mean to say that there is such a thing as a hermeneutic circle in the social sciences? A consideration of some remarks by Charles Taylor and others and an interpretive reconstruction, and assessment, of the idea of such a circle.
The "standard account" of Wittgenstein’s relations with the Vienna Circle is that the early Wittgenstein was a principal source and inspiration for the Circle’s positivistic and scientific philosophy, while the later Wittgenstein was deeply opposed to the logical empiricist project of articulating a "scientific conception of the world." However, this telegraphic summary is at best only half-true and at worst deeply misleading. For it prevents us appreciating the fluidity and protean character of their philosophical dialogue. In retrospectively attributing (...) clear-cut positions to Wittgenstein and his interlocutors, it is very easy to read back our current understanding of familiar distinctions into a time when those terms were used in a much more open-ended way. The paper aims to to provide a broader perspective on this debate, starting from the protagonists’ understanding of their respective positions. Too often, the programmatic statements about the nature of their work that are repeated in manifestoes, introductions, and elementary textbooks have occupied center stage in the subsequent secondary literature. Consequently, I focus on a detailed examination of a turning point in their relationship. That turning point is Wittgenstein's charge, in the summer of 1932, that a recently published paper of Carnap's, "Physicalistic Language as the Universal Language of Science", made such extensive and unacknowledged use of Wittgenstein's own ideas that Wittgenstein would, as he put it in a letter to Schlick, "soon be in a situation where my own work shall be considered merely as a reheated version or plagiarism of Carnap’s." While the leading parties in this dispute shared a basic commitment to the primacy of physicalistic language, and the view that all significant languages are translatable, there was a remarkable lack of mutual understanding between them, and deep disagreement about the nature of the doctrines they disputed. Three quarters of a century later, we are so much more conscious of the differences that separated them than the points on which they agreed that it takes an effort of historical reconstruction to appreciate why Wittgenstein once feared that his own work would be regarded as a pale shadow of Carnap’s. (shrink)
The tendency to attribute foundationalist ambitions to the Vienna Circle has long obscured our view of its attempted revolution in philosophy. The present paper makes the case for a consistently epistemologically anti-foundationalist interpretation of all three of the Circle's main protagonists: Schlick, Carnap, and Neurath. Corresponding to the intellectual fault lines within the Circle, two ways of going about the radical reorientation of the pursuit of philosophy will then be distinguished and the contemporary potential of Carnap's and (...) Neurath's project explored. (shrink)
This essay examines the role allocated to ostensive definition in the logical empiricist philosophy of the vienna circle. it explains how this characteristic array of doctrines grew out of reflections on the "tractatus". the various theses are distinguished into general principles, logical aspects, normative aspects and psychological theses. a detailed survey of wittgenstein's later analysis of ostensive definition is undertaken. this is then brought to bear on the doctrines of logical empiricism to show that they are incoherent. the essay (...) concludes by sketching out how much of those fallacious doctrines survive explicitly in contemporary philosophy of language. (shrink)
The author argues that Descartes is not trapped inside the Cartesian circle. The essay rehearses Descartes’ argument against the “evil demon” hypothesis. The so-called Cartesian circle is described and some of the most prominent discussions of the problem are evaluated. Such arguments tend either to leave Descartes in the circle, or themselves depend upon distinctions that in the end lead to Descartes claiming something less than metaphysical certainty for his system. The author argues that Descartes’ real Archimedian (...) point is the light of nature, and that his project is to extend the certainty of the light of nature to those ideas which are clear and distinct. Using this interpretation of Descartes, the author returns to the accounts of the critics to account for their mischaracterization of Descartes’ reasoning as circular. (shrink)
This paper rejects as unfounded a recent criticism of research on the so-called left wing of the Vienna Circle and the claim that it sported a political philosophy of science. The demand for ‘specific, local periodized claims’ is turned against the critic. It is shown (i) that certain criticisms of Red Vienna’s leading party cannot be transferred to the members of the Circle involved in popular education, nor can criticism of Carnap’s Aufbau be transferred to Neurath’s unified science (...) project; (ii) that neither with regard to Carnap nor to Neurath does the criticism raise points that either engage with the thesis proposed or stand up to closer scrutiny; (iii) that the main thesis attacked is just what I had warned the claim that the Vienna Circle had a political philosophy of science should not be understood as. The question whether theirs is ‘political enough’ today can and should be discussed without distortion of the historical record. (shrink)
: Considerable unclarity exists in the literature concerning the origin and authorship of Wissenschaftliche Weltauffassung. Der Wiener Kreis, the Vienna Circle's manifesto of 1929 and on the extent of and the reasons for the mixed reception it received in the Circle itself. This paper reconsiders these matters on the light of so far insufficiently consulted documents.
I argue that Wittgenstein’s short-lived verificationism (c.1929-30) differed from that of his contacts in the Vienna Circle in not being a reductionist view. It lay the groundwork for his later views that the meaning of a word is determined by its use and that certain "propositions of the form of empirical propositions" (On Certainty, §§96, 401, 402) act as "norm[s] of description" (On Certainty,§§167, 321). He gave it up once he realized that it contradicted his rejection of logical atomism, (...) and that he ever held such a view at all says something about his respect for the leader of the Vienna Circle, Moritz Schlick. (shrink)
Recent scholarship resuscitates the history and philosophy of a ‘left wing’ in the Vienna Circle, offering a counterhistory to the conventional image of analytic philosophy as politically conformist. This paper dis- putes the historical claim that early logical empiricists developed a political philosophy of science. Though some individuals in the Vienna Circle, including Rudolf Carnap and Otto Neurath, believed strongly in the importance of science to social progress, they did not construct a political philosophy of science. Both Carnap (...) and Neurath were committed to forms of political neutralism that run strongly against a political reading of their logical empiricism. In addition, Carnap and Neurath sharply differ on precisely the subject of the place of politics in logical empiricism, throwing into question the construct of the ‘Left Vienna Circle’ as a coherent, sociohistorical, programmatic unit within the Vienna Circle. (shrink)
Book Information The Voices of Wittgenstein: The Vienna Circle. The Voices of Wittgenstein: The Vienna Circle Ludwig Wittgenstein and Friedrich Waismann , ed. Gordon Baker , London : Routledge , 2003 , 528 , US$100 ( cloth ) Edited by Gordon Baker . By Ludwig Wittgenstein. and Friedrich Waismann. Routledge. London. Pp. 528. US$100 (cloth:).
This paper examines the Buddhist’s answer to one of the most famous (and more intuitive) objections against the semantic theory of “exclusion” ( apoha ), namely, the charge of circularity. If the understanding of X is not reached positively, but X is understood via the exclusion of non-X, the Buddhist nominalist is facing a problem of circularity, for the understanding of X would depend on that of non-X, which, in turn, depends on that of X. I distinguish in this paper (...) two strategies aiming at “breaking the circle”: (i) conceding the precedence of a positive understanding of X, from which a negative understanding (i.e., the understanding of “non-X”) is derived by contrast, and (ii) denying any precedence by proposing a simultaneous understanding of both X and non-X. I consider how these two options are articulated respectively by Dharmakīrti in his Pramāṇavārttika cum Svavṛtti and by one of his Tibetan interpreters, Sa skya Paṇḍita, and examine the requirements for their workability. I suggest that Sa skya Paṇḍita’s motivation to opt for an alternative solution has to do with his criticism of notions shared by his Tibetan predecessors, an outline of which is given in Appendix 1. In Appendix 2, I present the surprising use of the charge of circularity by an early Tibetan logician against his coreligionists. (shrink)
This paper re-contextualises Popper within a Kantian tradition by examining his interaction with the Vienna Circle. The complexity of Popper's relationship to the Vienna Circle is often a point of confusion as some view him as a member of the Vienna Circle while others minimise his association with this group. This paper argues that Popper was not a member of the Vienna Circle or a positivist but shared many neo-Kantian philosophical tendencies with the members of the (...)Circle as well as many of their philosophical problems and interests. By better understanding the influence of the Circle's members upon Popper, we not only remove the myths surrounding Popper's positivism, but also place the logical positivism of the Vienna Circle within its proper philosophical context. This paper further argues that it was Popper's friend during his formative philosophical years in Vienna, Julius Kraft (1921-1960) who was responsible for the way in which Popper approached Kant. Through Kraft, Popper was introduced to the thought of Leonard Nelson (1882-1927) and Jakob Fries (1773-1843) as well as a tradition of critical rationalism which Popper would continue both in his methodological orientation as well as through his late German Enlightenment intellectual values. (shrink)
Some members of the Vienna Circle argued for a coherence theory of truth. Their coherentism is immune to standard objections. Most versions of coherentism are unable to show why a sentence cannot be true even though it fails to cohere with a system of beliefs. That is, it seems that truth may transcend what we can be warranted in believing. If so, truth cannot consist in coherence with a system of beliefs. The Vienna Circle's coherentists held, first, that (...) sentences are warranted by coherence with a system of beliefs. Next they drew upon their verification theory of meaning, a consequence of which is that truth cannot transcend what can be warranted. The coherence theory of knowledge and verificationism together entail that truth cannot transcend what can be warranted by coherence with a system of beliefs. The Vienna Circle's argument for coherentism is strong and anticipates contemporary anti-realism. (shrink)
Uebel has recently claimed that, contrary to popular opinion, none of the philosophers of the Vienna Circle of Logical Positivists were proponents of epistemological foundationalism. According to the considerations of the current discussion, however, Uebel's conclusion is erroneous, especially with respect to the work of Moritz Schlick. The chief reason Uebel offers to support his conclusion is that current attempts to portray Schlick's epistemology as foundationalist fail to overcome its ‘ultimate incoherence’. In contrast, it is argued that current interpretations, (...) based on the unpublished as well as the published record, provide understandings of Schlick's foundationalist epistemology as not only coherent, but plausible. In closing, Uebel's own treatment of Schlick's work, which purports to show that the most feasible candidates for foundational statements are ‘meaning-theoretic’ clarifications of the content of expressions, itself fails to accurately represent Schlick's own characterizations, and pictures Schlick's epistemology as a confused mix of epistemic and semantic insights. (shrink)
Considerable unclarity exists in the literature concerning the origin and authorship of Wissenschaftliche Weltauffassung. Der Wiener Kreis, the Vienna Circle’s manifesto of 1929 and on the extent of and the reasons for the mixed reception it received in the Circle itself. This paper reconsiders these matters on the light of so far insufªciently consulted documents.
According to many critics, Descartes argued in a circle when he presumed to base the certainty (and thus knowledge) of propositions that fulfill his epistemic criterion of being “clearly and distinctly perceived” on the demonstration that God exists and is not a deceiver. But his critics say, that demonstration, as he presented it, presupposed the validity of the same epistemic criterion. I critically examine two major strategies to dispel the appearance of circularity, two ways of interpreting Descartes’ argument.My approach (...) shares with the second strategy the contention that Descartes did adopt the principle that “whatever is clearly and distinctly perceived to be true is true,” prior to his consideration of the God question. Moreover, his demonstration of God’s existence and veracity made use of the principle. But my claim is that the knowledge of God’s existence and veracity is not used to validate the principle of clear and distinct perception (that would be unnecessary). It is used rather to defeat the sceptic’s argument that we cannot have any knowledge of the external, physical world. I proceed to present and explain Descartes’ argument centered around the thesis, “I cannot be certain that (r) any of my representational ideas of the external world are veridical, unless I am certain that (q), God exists and is not a deceiver.” That is, I prove why, for Descartes, (q) is necessary for (r). My discussion exposes some new facets to the principle of clear and distinct perception and reveals the fact that some familiar Cartesian distinctions that were not thought to be relevant to the problem of the Cartesian Circle are crucial to the solution of that problem. (shrink)
The standard version of the story of Russell's theory of types gives legitimately precedence to the vicious circle principle, but it fails to appreciate the significance of the doctrine of incomplete symbols and of the ultimate universalist perspective of Russell's logic. It is what the Author tries to do. This enables him to resolve the apparent contradiction which exists in "Principles" between the ontological commitment of the theory itself with respect to individuals, propositions, and functions, and the inventory of (...) the world, according to which there are only individuals and elementary facts. (shrink)
A new direction in philosophy Between 1920 and 1940 logical empiricism reset the direction of philosophy of science and much of the rest of Anglo-American philosophy. It began as a relatively organized movement centered on the Vienna Circle, and like-minded philosophers elsewhere, especially in Berlin. As Europe drifted into the Nazi era, several important figures, especially Carnap and Neurath, also found common ground in their liberal politics and radical social agenda. Together, the logical empiricists set out to reform traditional (...) philosophy with a new set of doctrines more firmly grounded in logic and science. Criticism and decline Because of Nazi persecution, most of the European adherents of logical empiricism moved to the United States in the late 1930s. During the 1940s, many of their most cherished tenets became targets of criticism from outsiders as well as from within their own ranks. Philosophers of science in the late 1950s and 1960s rejected logical empiricism and, starting in the 1970s, presented such alternative programs such as scientific realism with evolutionary epistemology. A resurgence of interest During the early 1980s, philosophers and historians of philosophy began to study logical empiricism as an important movement. Unlike their predecessors in the 1960s-for whom the debate over logical empiricism now seems to have been largely motivated by professional politics-these philosopher no longer have to take positions for or against logical empiricism. The result has been a more balanced view of that movement, its achievements, its failures, and its influence. Hard-to-find core writings now available This collection makes available a selection of the most influential and representative writings of the logical empiricists, important contemporary criticisms of their doctrines, their responses, as well as the recent reappraisals. Introductions to each volume examine the articles in historical context and provide importantbackground information that is vital to a full understanding of the issues discussed. They outline prevalent trends, identifying leading figures and summarize their positions and reasoning, as well as those of opposing thinkers. (shrink)
This paper is a background study. It gives an overview of the institutions, decisive trends and major achievements of Hungarian philosophy at the beginning of the 20th century. Thus light is shed on the philosophical scenery which forms the background to the Lukács Circle. The paper discusses the relation of the Lukács Circle at the turn of the century to "official" Hungarian philosophy. First, the introduction portrays the various phases of the evolution of Hungarian institutions of philosophy. Then (...) it sketches the institutional scene at the turn of the century. Thirdly, it attempts to determine the relation of the Lukács Circle to the official academic philosophy, and also sketches some of its aspects after 1919-1920. (shrink)
Prompted by Poincaré, Russell put forward his celebrated vicious-circle principle (vcp) as the solution to the modern paradoxes. Ramsey, Gödel, and Quine, among others, have raised two salient objections against Russell's vcp. First, Gödel has claimed that Russell's various renderings of the vcp really express distinct principles and thus, distinct solutions to the paradoxes, a claim that gainsays one of Russell's positions on the nature of the solution to the paradoxes, namely, that such a solution be uniform. Secondly, Ramsey, (...) Gödel, and Quine have protested that the vcp's proscription against impredicative specification is incompatible with a realistic conception of the domain of quantification, a conception that Russell certainly held. I examine Russell's vcp and defend it against these objections. (shrink)
At the start of his account of hermeneutic experience, Gadamer quotes Heidegger: “Our first, last and constant task is never to allow our fore-having, fore-sight and fore-conception to be presented to us by fancies and popular conceptions, but rather to make the scientific theme secure by working out these fore-structures in terms of the things themselves.” Heidegger’s “fore-structures” reflect our practical pre-understanding and ongoing engagement with our world or “the things themselves.” Yet, if so, how can we work these fore-structures (...) out in terms of them? Gadamer claims to take his answer to this question from Heidegger and to appeal, like him, to the hermeneutic circle. However, I argue that Gadamer takes the question more seriously than Heidegger does by supplementing recourse to the hermeneutic circle with an appeal to dialogue. I also explore concerns about this supplement. Gadamer conceives of understanding as a dialogue in which we test our fore-meanings against those of others and come to a consensus with others about a subject matter (Sache). Yet, dialogue can just as easily reinforce or even exaggerate our fore-meanings as test them For its part, consensus is as easily to be feared as sought. (shrink)
This paper defends an interpretation of Descartes according to which he sees us as having normative (and not merely psychological) certainty of all clear and distinct ideas during the period in which they are apprehended clearly and distinctly. However, on this view, a retrospective doubt about clear and distinct ideas is possible. This interpretation allows Descartes to avoid the Cartesian Circle in an effective way and also shows that Descartes is surprisingly, in some respects, an epistemological externalist. The paper (...) goes on to defend this interpretation against some powerful philosophical objections by Margaret WiIson and others by showing how Descartes’ doctrine of the creation of the eternal truths can be brought in to support his epistemology. This doctrine and other analogous positions in Descartes can also reveal that Descartes, again surprisingly, takes important steps toward doing epistemology without direct appeal to God and God’s veracity. (shrink)
Taking the real Newtonian colour circle – and not the one Palmer depicts as Newton's – we don't have to wait 300 years for Palmer to say no to the Lockean aperçu about the inverted spectrum. One of the aims of this historical detour is to show that one's commitment about the “topology” of the colour space greatly affects Palmer's argument.
Descartes' attempt to avoid the charge of circularity is unconvincing, And more recent efforts by scholars such as frankfurt and kenny to defend him on this point have not been entirely successful. The only way to remove the circle is to replace the search for perfect knowledge by a search for knowledge that is less than perfect, Yet not obviously attainable. Philosophers can then defend knowledge claims against metaphysical doubts without fear of having to beg the question, Indeed can (...) even adopt the cartesian principle that defending knowledge claims is impossible without engaging in this type of epistemology. (shrink)
In his recent book on revelation, Jorge Gracia rejects the authorial intention view of textual interpretation, arguing that the only interpretation that makes sense for texts regarded as divinely revealed is theological interpretation. Both his position and the authorial view face the problem of the Hermeneutical Circle. I contend that the arguments he provides in his own defense do not successfully avoid the circularity present in his own view. His thesis about expected behavior might provide resources for a solution, (...) but this thesis in turn can be used to respond to his own objections against the authorial intention view of interpreting divinely revealed texts. (shrink)