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20th Century Philosophy

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Tarski’s convention T: condition beta. South American Journal of Logic. 1, 3–32.

John Corcoran and Leonardo Weber


HISTORICAL NOTE: This paper is the culmination of a years-long joint effort by the two authors. A preliminary report appeared in 2013: Corcoran-Weber, Bulletin of Symbolic Logic, 19 (2013) 510–11. Their co-operative work was conducted by email dialogue in which each author’s work was developed and corrected by the other. Each section went through several iterations. The final version was the result of dozens of reciprocal exchanges; it is impossible to allocate credit. Each author learned from and taught the other. During this time they consulted several other scholars including the Tarski experts David Hitchcock, James Smith, and Albert Visser.

The senior author expresses his deep gratitude to the junior author. Moreover the senior author acknowledges publicly what he has already said privately, viz. that without the junior author’s help and mastery of ... (read more)

This seems a simple mistake, and it should consequently be simple to rectify it. 

In particular, since the bulk of the translation was done by G.E.M. Anscombe in 1958, and the front page of the fourth edition states "The German text, with an English translation by G.E.M. Anscombe, P.M.S. Hacker and Joachim Schulte", Anscombe should be appropriately credited. 


JOHN CORCORAN, Two-method errors.

  Where there are two or more methods for the same thing, sometimes errors occur if two are mixed. Two-method errors, TMEs, occur in technical contexts but they occur more frequently in non-technical writing. Examples of both are cited.

  We can say “Abe knows whether Ben draws” in two other ways: ‘Abe knows whether or not Ben draws’ or ‘Abe knows whether Ben draws or not’. But a TME occurs in ‘Abe knows whether or not Ben draws or not’.

  We can say “Abe knows how Ben looks” using ‘Abe knows what Ben looks like’. But a TME occurs in ‘Abe knows what Ben looks’ and also in ‘Abe knows how Ben looks like’. Again, we can deny that Abe knows Ben by prefixing ‘It isn’t   that’ or by interpolating ‘doesn’t’. But a TME occurs in trying to deny that Abe knows Ben by using ‘It isn’t that Abe doesn’t know Ben’.

  There are two standard ways of defining truth for first-order languages: using finite sequences or infinite sequences. Quine’s discussion in the 1970 first ... (read more)

I am currently writing a paper on Wittgenstein's notion of 'nonsense' in the Tractatus. I'm situating my analysis in terms of how to characterise nonsense, what informs this characterisation, and in what sense Tractarian propositions can be understood as nonsense, or having sense. 
I'm situating myself slightly outside of the typical metaphysical/ resolute debate. Insofar as if my claim has any merit, we might be able to side-step the problems faced between proponents of both sides, qua: metaphysical readers ignoring W's determination of nonsense, or otherwise supporting an 'ineffable' expression of truth; resolute readers offering an implausible reading given contextual considerations of the work (both external, in terms of W's preface and later treatment of the work, and internal with regards to his situation certain propositions in terms of an intellectual context). 

I understand W's nonsense in a generally Fregean capacity. (actually, I agree with Diamond's characterisations- j ... (read more)
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Methodologically speaking, I wonder why Matilal and S's article has not been enough for  further studies of this sort to be the rule on Mind (and other philosophical journals). Does this failure depend on their style? (Or should we just start working as a task-force and submit many articles of this kind?)

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Can there be linguistics without ontology?

The context principle and some Indian controversies over Meaning is a milestone in Indian studies, and in the history of their interaction with mainstream (i.e. Western) philosophy. Since it was published in 1988 on Mind (one of the top-5 journals in Philosophy, inaccessible for most authors), virtually everyone (in Indian philosophy) has read it.

Have you also re-read it?

I re-read it after some years this Summer and I have to admit that it was again a surprise. The article starts with a discussion of the Context principle in Frege and Quine (does the principle mean that words HAVE no meaning outside a sentence, or that their meaning can only be UNDERSTOOD within a sentence?). In this connection, Matilal and Sen discuss a strong and a weak interpretation of the Context principle (according to whether it should answer the first or the second question). They end up saying that the strong interpretation clashes with Frege's later work (see belo ... (read more)

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Hello Everyone!

In Being and Time Heidegger states that in order for thematization to be possible at all Dasein must transcend the entities thematized. Following two interpreters -Gelven and Hanley- this necessity would be inspired on a "strongly kantian doctrine": that which states that " in order for something like thematizing to occur at all that which does the thematizing cannot be a part of that which is thematized". Given that both interpreters give a coincident formulation of the problem I would like to know if anyone has found a formulation of this problem in Kant in this explicit fashion. The point for me its quite simple in Kant: sensibility cannot be sensible. But I can't hardly see this issue in Heidegger. At least beyond the problem of finitude that affects every modern thinker, that which states that the subject must "position" some kind of sensible or meaningful horizon in order for objects or meanings to appear. What do you think about this? Thank you all!

Juan E. P

Hi everyone,

I hope that someone can give me a hint in the right direction with this question: In analyzing the issue of thematization in Being and Time, Michel Gelven states that the necessity for Dasein to transcend the entities that it thematizes has an strongly Kantian "family resemblance" (p.195). For thematizing to occur at all, -he says- that which does the thematizing cannot be a part of that which is thematized.

My problem is that I still can't understand why this reading is required for understanding the necessity for Dasein to transcend the entities that it thematizes. Is this correct at all? to render the necessity for dasein to transcend as this prohibition "not being part of what is thematized"? Also where does this problem can be seen in Kant?

For me this necessity points to the inseparability of being and understanding, specially regarding the necessity of a horizon for the showing of entities. Because if the reading of Gelven is right how could the Analityc be possible a ... (read more)
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This is awesome. Tractatus power!
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Perhaps we could begin with Hitchcock and Husserl/Sartre?
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There's been some interest in whether the phil. of lang has been replaced the phil. of mind as the center of philosophical discussion. Searle and Williamson I believe both think that the phil. of mind is in the driver's seat. I believe that the phil. of lang. is still important due the Putnam's and Kripke's work.

The relationship of early Carnap to Husserl is now better known.
English readers may not know that "Überwindung der Metaphysik" is the title of a controversial Heidegger essay which appeared in the early 50's

In this thread I will look at the Joan Stambaugh translation in the light of Faye, Wolin and Rockmore on Heidegger's political thought.

Stambaugh's 1973 translation appears in Richard Wolin's (editor) 1991 collection, "The Heidegger Controversy".

note: Wilfred Sellar's short philosophical autobiography is interesting and amusing as regards the early Carnap.

In "On Denoting" (1905), Russell presents a theory of denotation which relies on the notion of a variable.  Russell says very little about variables in this paper.  He says only that they are "fundamental," and that they are "essentially and wholly undetermined" constituents of propositional functions.  I think I understand the role of this notion in Russell's theory, and why Russell says what he does about it,  He appeals to non-denoting elements in propositions in order to avoid having to interpret "a=b" as "a=a."  By using variables, he can claim that no elements in a propositional function serve the role of the denoting phrase.  For example, in the fully explicit presentation of "Scott is the author of Waverley," we do not find anything for which we could substitute the phrase "the author of Waverley."  The meaning of the denoting phrase is only found when we interpret the proposition as a whole, and cannot be found in any of its parts. 

My problem is, I don't know what it means to say ... (read more)
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In 1970 M. Nijhoff published "Phenomenology of Experience" by J-P Leyvraz (in French)
I just obtained a copy from a MN U. library, only to find that I would have to get out a blade to cut pages (i.e. good indication book was never read cover to cover by anyone.)

I can find no indication at Geneva of what he does - and do not have access to an article of his on L.W. "On Certainty".

If someone can shed light on his use of "acte" in this volume (or on the closing page, the last few paragraphs of which appear to be bizarre) I would be grateful.

The book has some parallels with Heidegger's "Kant and the Problems of Metaphysics" but I get the impression that it is obscure lecture notes in the guise of a book.  The Heidegger clue is in his view of imagination and his treatment of natural kinds or any claims to knowledge of "facts in isolation" as merely illusory "knowledge".  Hi account of biology seems to be similar to Heidegger's preference for Ge ... (read more)
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[I was adding a post on Ricoeur and Jaspers when a simple Frech character from the numpad was taken by Chrome as a request to open a Chrome page in the place of this form. Poof!]
In 1978 a UNESCO volume appeared: "Main Trends in Philosophy" under the name of Ricoeur but as  collaborative project (I do not know where UNESCO is at with web collaboration and philosophy at this time.)  Relevance: our new MN/USA suburban library opened yesterday: the LoC B100 section had 4 introductory books on philosophy of a rather tawdry sort.  Thereafter the B section is full of the occult etc, shelf after shelf.  So I ask myself if this was the sort of book - a UNESCO volume - which I might recommend as suitable for a non-academic library ( I think a teenage would pull a book off the shelf called "Philosophical Arguments for Atheism" but astrology is deemed more relevant, popular, eye-catching for teens and the general reader in this very prosperous suburb.)

I cannot recommend the UNESCO volume: not because ... (read more)
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I have a question: In Heidegger's Ontology, fundamental ontology is equated to the existential analytic (because there only "is" being in the seinsverstandnis that is a seinsverfassung of Dasein's being it become necessary to start with the being of Dasein in order to move to the answer to the question of the meaning of being), so does this equation implies that fundamental ontology must be understood as also preparatory and then, of course "more ontological" (mainly in the second division where authentic Dasein is interpreted in it's Being -for, again, there is only Being where there is time (proyection, extasis, transcendence, etc)- articulating both divisions of Sein und Zeit, or it would have to be understood as the global enterprise and then including the existential analytic as only a part, fundamental yes, but asymmetric to the end of the treatise? I personally think that the possible answer must have a little of both alternatives mainly bec ... (read more)
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This much seems clear. Wittgenstein held that Christians, at some level of devoutness, should believe in the alleged historical event (believe that it actually occurred – could have been photographed, etc.) but with a sort of certainty, and fervor, that is quite inappropriate in regard to historical events in general.  Something like that? I think it is clear that he did not think that they should keep the objective uncertainty of such beliefs in mind. That is to say, he was strongly opposed to what I take to be the Kierkegaardian view.


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Here is a bit of background: I came across Millican's 1994 paper over the weekend while I was independently researching the philosophy of P.F. Strawson online.  (My resources are quite limited, incidentally.)  I only last week learned of Strawson via the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy while I was looking for interpretations of the Liar's Paradox, and I was struck by an apparent similarity between his and my own.  My interest in Strawson was furthered when I came across the first four pages of "On Referring," in which he claims that expressions do not refer, but that people can refer using expressions.  (This is the idea Millican indicates as Strawson's distinction between sentences and statements, where the latter is determined by a sentence's usage.)  This Wittgensteinian notion had occured to me only days earlier, and is what led me to formulate my own arguments about the Liar's Paradox.  In fact, I had written virtually the exact same sentence as Strawson to express t
 he same id ... (read more)
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Dear reader,

I am looking for feedback on this paper.  I have never sent anything (except book notes) to be published because I have never felt that my work was up to standard.  I do not want to publish something that will not be read or that will not provide some inspiration and interest when read.  If you feel you can provide constructive criticism, then please do so.

All the best,

Max Bini

The notion that natural kinds are defined by necessary and sufficient conditions seems to stem from Kripke and Putnam in the 1970s. Were they the first to characterize natural kinds this way?

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