Frege famously argued that truth is not a property or relation. In the “Notes on Logic” Wittgenstein emphasised the bi-polarity of propositions which he called their sense. He argued that “propositions by virtue of sense cannot have predicates or relations.” This led to his fundamental thought that the logical constants do not represent predicates or relations. The idea, however, has wider ramifications than that. It is not just that propositions cannot have relations to other propositions but also that they cannot (...) have relations to anything at all. The paper explores the consequences of this insight for the way in which we should read the Tractatus. In the “Notes on Logic” the insight led to Wittgenstein's emphasis on “facts” in any attempt to understand the nature of symbolism. This emphasis is continued in the Tractatus. It is central to his view that propositions are facts which picture facts which prevent us from construing such picturing as a relation between what pictures and what is pictured. It illuminates the importance of context principle with regard to the distinction between showing and saying to which Wittgenstein attached so much importance and it underlies the non-relational view of psychological propositions which he advocates. Finally, if propositions by virtue of sense cannot have predicates or relations the paradox at the end of a work which consist largely of propositions about propositions becomes intelligible. (shrink)
Whether any property is internal to a particular object may be taken to depend upon the way in which the object is described. Thus it is not an internal property of Scott to have been the author of Waverley, neither is it an internal property of the author of Ivanhoe. But what of the author of Waverley? Is the proposition that the author of Waverley composed Waverley necessarily true? On one interpretation of it it surely is. Even so, one can (...) attach a sense to saying that the person who was in fact the author of Waverley might not have been so. All that is needed for this is that he be capable of being otherwise identified. (shrink)
The articles on ‘thinking’ by Gilbert Ryle brought together by Konstantin Kolenda were not very well received, even by those who acknowledge, as awhole generation of philosophers must, a considerable intellectual debt to him. Bernard Williams in his review ‘Ryle Remembered’ ) seemed to capture the general impression created by the book. My suspicion is that this was so because readers approached it with a resistance built up over years of hearingRyle flounder on the topic. They read the book expecting (...) to find nothing init that they had not already assimilated or rejected. To pick up the metaphor G. E. L. Owen employed in the obituary he wrote for the Aristotelian Society, they had come to regard Ryle's work as a philosophical seam which during his own lifetime had already been so extensively and profitably minedthat by the time of his death it was already producing diminishing returns. Although Williams in his review did provide a rationale for Ryle's floundering I suspect that his rationale, like most readers’ expectations, preventedhim from reading the articles in the volume at all closely. Williams's viewwas that towards the end of his life, with whatever he had had in the way of theory collapsing around him, Ryle was left with nothing but his massive common sense together with the resources of a style of writing which had bythen become a caricature of itself. As against this I shall argue that Ryle, puzzled by the notion of thinking, took the problem back to his own philosophical roots where he finally came to think that the solution lay. (shrink)
So stellt der satz den Sachverhalt gleichsam auf eigene Faust dar. Foreword . Towards the end of this paper I refer to the work of A. J. Smith who died suddenly on 11 December 1991. His last book, Metaphysical Wit , was published in January 1992 by Cambridge University Press. I would like this paper to be thought of as a small tribute to the man and his work.
Whether any property is internal to a particular object may be taken to depend upon the way in which the object is described. Thus it is not an internal property of Scott to have been the author of Waverley , neither is it an internal property of the author of Ivanhoe . But what of the author of Waverley? Is the proposition that the author of Waverley composed Waverley necessarily true? On one interpretation of it it surely is. Even so, (...) one can attach a sense to saying that the person who was in fact the author of Waverley might not have been so. All that is needed for this is that he be capable of being otherwise identified. (shrink)
Descartes thought that belief was a voluntary matter. His account of error in the Fourth Meditation is based on this. Given his account of what it is to have a true idea he thought that our false beliefs could be accounted for by the fact that while our intellectual capacity is limited our capacity for willing is unlimited, and so allows us to give our assent to what we do not truly perceive. Spinoza, on the other hand, thought that the (...) intellect and will cannot be separated in such a way, and urged that ‘In the mind there is no volition or affirmation and negation excepting that which the idea, in so far as it is an idea, involves’ . One philosopher, S. Hampshire, sees this distinction between Descartes and Spinoza as one of the dividing lines of philosophy . Yet it is not easy to see wherein the division lies. (shrink)
The ways in which mental concepts can seem problematic are various, and consequently the idea of a coherent body of issues forming one part of philosophy, namely the philosophy of mind, is highly misleading. When Ludwig Wittgenstein and Gilbert Ryle inaugurated the flood of recent writings about the concept of mind there was some similarity, although not identity, in the problems which led them to concentrate their attention on mental concepts. Wittgenstein saw that lack of clarity about such notions as (...) willing, thinking, feeling and imagining generated powerful but misleading pictures about logic—about the difference between sense and nonsense —so that if we were to become clear about one we should have to become clear about the other. Worries about logic generated his interest in what it is to have a mind. In the case of Ryle, if we are to accept his own autobiographical remarks, an exposition of the logic of mental concepts was undertaken to illustrate whatever clarity had already been achieved by him and others with regard to logic and logical investigations. ‘ The Concept of Mind was a philosophical book written with a meta-philosophical purpose’ . Although I think it should be open for speculation just why specifically mental notions were singled out by him for such an illustrative purpose. In each case questions about logic prompted writing about the mind. There remains an echo of this in some of the books under review, but, as often with deepseated changes, the original impetus can soon be lost, and debates about distinctions in which it was first embodied can take on a life of their own. (shrink)
My writing is simply a set of experiments in life—an endeavour to see what our thought and emotion may be capable of—what stores of motive, actual or hinted as possible, give promise of a better after which we may strive—what gains from past revelations and discipline we must strive to keep hold of as something more than shifting theory. I became more and more timid—with less daring to adopt any formula which does not get itself clothed for me in some (...) human figure and individual experience, and perhaps that is a sign that if I help others to see at all it must be through the medium of art. George Eliot. In his inaugural lecture, given in Birkbeck College in 1987, Roger Scruton, who has done as much as anyone else in recent years to bring the importance of art in general and literature in particular to the attention of philosophers, contends that ‘philosophy severed from literary criticism is as monstrous a thing as literary criticism severed from philosophy’. The first, he argues, aims to be science: strives after theoretical truth which it can never attain; and results in banality clothed in pseudo-scientific technicalities: while the second is liable to find consolation in the kind of nonsense which pretends that in the study of literature we are confronted with nothing other than an author-less, unreadable, ‘text’. Philosophy, he maintains, ‘must return aesthetics to the place that Kant and Hegel made for it: a place at the centre of the subject, the paradigm of philosophy and the true test of all its claims’. (shrink)