Metaphysica 7 (1):121-145 (2006)

Panayot Butchvarov
University of Iowa
General statements have been the chief subject matter of logic since Aristotle’s syllogistic. They have also been a fundamental concern of metaphysics, though only since Frege invented modern quantification theory. Indeed, logicians and even metaphysicians seldom ask what, if anything, general statements correspond to in the world. But Frege and Russell did, and the question became a major theme in Wittgenstein’s early (pre-1929) and Gustav Bergmann’s later (post- 1959) works. All four were aware that, as Bergmann put it in his posthumously published New Foundations of Ontology, there could not be any laws of nature if generality were not in the world.[i] Generality must be in the world if the world is at all how science, indeed any cognition beyond that of babes, takes it to be. This is why all four were also aware of the tie of the topic to what became known as the realism/antirealism issue.[ii].
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