In the opening to his late essay, Der Gedanke, Frege asserts without qualification that the word "true" points the way for logic. But in a short piece from his Nachlass entitled "My Basic Logical Insights", Frege writes that the word true makes an unsuccessful attempt to point to the essence of logic, asserting instead that "what really pertains to logic lies not in the word "true" but in the assertoric force with which the sentence is uttered". Properly understanding what Frege (...) takes to be at issue here is crucial for understanding his conception of logic and, in particular, what he takes to be its normative status vis-à-vis judgement, assertion, and inference. In this paper, I focus my attention on clarifying the latter claim and Frege's motivations for making it, exposing what I take to be a fundamental tension in Frege's conception of logic. Finally, I discuss whether Frege's deployment of the horizontal in his mature Begriffsschrift helps to resolve this tension. (shrink)
Efforts to bare the psychonomic nature of the semantic reference (representation) relation have been remarkably scanty; in fact, the only contemporary account developed with any care is the one proposed by Osgood. However, not even Osgood has looked deeply at the difficulties that beset any attempt to analyze reference in terms of common effects appropriately shared by a symbol and its significate.
It is widely agreed among philosophers of science today that no formal pattern can possibly be found in the origins of scientific theory. There is no such thing as a "logic of discovery," insists this view--a scientific hypothesis is susceptible to methodological critique only in its relation to empirical consequences derived after the hypothesis itself has emerged through a spontaneous creative inspiration. Yet confronted with the tautly directed thrust of theory-building as actually practiced at the cutting edge of scientific research, (...) this romantic denial of method in the genesis of ideas takes on the appearance of myth. It is the contention of this article that as empirical data ramify in logical complexity, they deposit a hard sediment of theory according to a standard inductive pattern so primitively compelling that it must be recognized as one of the primary forms of inferential thought. This process, here called "ontological induction," is a distillation out of unwieldly observed regularities of more conceptually tractable states hypothesized to underlie them, and is the wellspring of our beliefs in theoretical entities. Previous failure to recognize this pattern of induction has undoubtedly been in substantial measure a result of inadequate attention to the structural details of scientific propositions; for in order to exhibit the nature of ontological induction clearly, it is first necessary to make extended forays through sparsely explored methodological terrain--notably, the nature of scientific "variables," the logical form of "laws," and the type-hierarchy of scientific concepts. (shrink)
Subjunctive conditionals have their uses, but constituting the meaning of dispositional predicates is not one of them. More germane is the analysis of dispositions in terms of "bases"--except that past efforts to maintain an ontic gap between dispositions and their bases, while not wholly misguided, have failed to appreciate the semantic birthright of dispositional concepts as a species of theoretical construct in primitive science.
In her influential paper, ‘The First Person,’ Elizabeth Anscombe brings together a number of considerations which, she believes, lead to the startling conclusion that the first person pronoun is not a referring expression — that ‘I’ is never used to refer. This is startling, because if we consider even superficially the logical properties of first person statements, nothing could, prima facie, seem more obvious than that in any such statement, the first person pronoun functions logically as a singular referring expression. (...) Moreover, Anscombe herself offers the following informal gloss on the truth conditions of first person assertions: ‘If X asserts something with ‘I’ as subject, his assertion will be true if and only if what he asserts is true of X.’. (shrink)
We discuss the semantical categories of base and object implicit in the Curry-Howard theory of types and we derive derive logic and, in particular, the comprehension principle in the classical version of the theory. Two results that apply to both the classical and the constructive theory are discussed. First, compositional semantics for the theory does not demand ‘incomplete objects’ in the sense of Frege: bound variables are in principle eliminable. Secondly, the relation of extensional equality for each type is definable (...) in the Curry-Howard theory. (shrink)
Part I is concerned with the tenet of modern Emperical Realism that while the theoretical concepts employed in science obtain their meanings entirely from the connections their usage establishes with the data language, the referents of such terms may be "unobservables," that is, entities which cannot be discussed within the data language alone. Such a view avoids both the restrictive excesses of logical positivism and the epistemic laxity of transcendentalism; however, it also necessitates a break with classical semantics, for it (...) follows from the empirical realistic position that a theoretical term must in principle be capable of simultaneously designating not just one entity, but indefinitely many. Drawing upon the Carnapian explication of "analytic truth," Part II examines a possible axiomatic basis for the empiricist theory of scientific meaningfulness to demonstrate that even if theoretical terms are able to designate entities inaccessible to the observation language, as held by Empirical Realism, so long as the meanings of theoretical terms derive from their connections with the observation language, the meaning content of a theory is exhausted by its observational consequences. (shrink)
It has become customary in modern behavioristics to speak of stimuli as though they elicit responses from organisms. But logically this is absurd, for analysis of the grammatical roles of stimulus and response concepts shows that stimuli and responses differ in logical type from causes and effects. The "S elicits R" formula thus stands revealed as elliptical for a more complicated form of assertion. The trouble with this ellipsis, however, is that by suppressing vital components of formal structure in behavioral (...) principles, it has led to gratuitous assumptions about the environmental antecedents of behavior and seriously undermined the ability of behavior theory to assimilate the "higher mental processes.". (shrink)
“What is truth?” Pontius Pilot asked Jesus of Nazareth. For many educators today this question seems quaintly passé. Rejection of “truth” goes hand-in-hand with the rejection of epistemological realism. Educational thought over the last decade has instead been dominated by empiricist, anti-realist, instrumentalist epistemologies of two types: first by psychological constructivism and later by social constructivism. Social constructivism subsequently has been pressed to its logical conclusion in the form of relativistic multiculturalism. Proponents of both psychological constructivism and social constructivism value (...) knowledge for its utility and eschew as irrelevant speculation any notion that knowledge is actually about reality. The arguments are largely grounded in the discourse of science and science education where science is “western” science; neither universal nor about what is really real. The authors defended the notion of science as universal in a previous article. The present purpose is to offer a commonsense argument in defense of critical realism as an epistemology and the epistemically distinguished position of science (rather than privileged) within a framework of epistemological pluralism. The paper begins with a brief cultural survey of events during the thirty-year period from 1960–1990 that brought many educators to break with epistemological realism and concludes with comments on the pedagogical importance of realism. Understanding the cultural milieu of the past forty years is critical to understanding why traditional philosophical attacks on social constructivist ideas have proved impotent defenders of scientific realism. (shrink)