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Oliver Thomas Spinney
Royal Holloway University of London
  1. Analysis, Decomposition, and Unity in Wittgenstein's Tractatus.Oliver Thomas Spinney - 2022 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 10 (2).
    I argue, through appeal to the distinction between analysis and decomposition described by Dummett, that Wittgenstein employs both of those notions in the Tractatus. I then bring this interpretation to bear upon the issue of propositional unity, where I formulate an objection to the views of both Leonard Linksy and José Zalabardo. I show that both Linsky and Zalabardo fail to acknowledge the distinction between analysis and decomposition present in the Tractatus, and that they consequently mischaracterise Wittgenstein’s position with respect (...)
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  2. Priority and Unity in Frege and Wittgenstein.Oliver Thomas Spinney - 2018 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 6 (5).
    In the following article I intend to examine the problem of the unity of the proposition in Russell, Frege, and Wittgenstein. My chief aim will be to draw attention to the distinction between Russell’s conception of propositional constituents, on the one hand, with Frege and Wittgenstein’s on the other. My focus will be on Russell’s view of terms as independent, propositions being built up out of these building blocks, compared with Frege and Wittgenstein’s ‘top down’ approach. Furthermore, I will argue (...)
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  3.  62
    Bradley and Moore on Common Sense.Oliver Thomas Spinney - 2020 - Idealistic Studies 50 (3):291-313.
    It is well appreciated that Moore, in the final years of the nineteenth century, emphatically rejected the monistic idealism of F. H. Bradley. It has, however, been less widely noticed that Moore’s concern to defeat monism remained with him well into the 1920s. In the following discussion I describe the role that Moore’s adoption of a ‘common sense’ orientation played in his criticisms of Bradley’s monism. I begin by outlining certain distinctive features of Bradley’s sceptical methodology, before describing the contrasting (...)
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  4.  29
    Margaret Macdonald on the Argument from Dreaming.Oliver Thomas Spinney - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
    In this article, I offer a detailed examination of Margaret Macdonald's response to the Cartesian sceptical argument from dreaming. I show that Macdonald's views were not well understood by her contemporaries, and I suggest that this misunderstanding has led to her omission from subsequent discussions of this subject. I end with a brief demonstration of the fact that Macdonald's central claims have re-emerged in contemporary epistemology.
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  5.  31
    Samuel Alexander on relations, Russell, and Bradley.Oliver Thomas Spinney - forthcoming - British Journal for the History of Philosophy:1-23.
    In this article I describe the contributions made by Samuel Alexander to the issue of relations which so vexed Bertrand Russell and F. H. Bradley in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I provide a novel understanding of Alexander’s position concerning relations and describe the way in which he viewed his position as superior to those of Bradley and Russell. I offer, therefore, a more complete picture of a philosophical debate central to the relevant period, through the introduction of (...)
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  6.  24
    Reply to Sullivan: Idealism and limits.Oliver Thomas Spinney - 2024 - Philosophical Investigations 47 (2):243-257.
    In this discussion I argue that Peter Sullivan is wrong to suggest that Wittgenstein's position in the Philosophical Investigations involves a commitment to transcendental idealism. I show that Sullivan's interpretation involves holding that transcendental idealism was employed by Wittgenstein in the attempt to combat a Platonist mythology. I show, through a detailed appraisal of Wittgenstein's discussion of samples, that Wittgenstein's approach to Platonism does not involve any such employment of transcendental idealism. I conclude that there is no such motivation as (...)
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  7.  27
    Religious conversion, philosophy, and social science.Oliver Thomas Spinney - 2023 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 94 (2):139-149.
    I argue that empirical studies into the phenomenon of religious conversion suffer from conceptual unclarity owing to an absence of philosophical contributions. I examine the relationship between definition and empirical result in the social sciences, and I show that a wide divergence in conceptual approach threatens to undermine the possibility of useful comparative study. I stake out a distinctive role for philosophical treatments of studies into religious conversion. I conclude with the suggestion that use of the terms ‘convert’ and ‘conversion’ (...)
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  8. Logical form and logical space in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus.Oliver Thomas Spinney - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-23.
    In this article I offer a novel explanation of Wittgenstein’s claim, in his Tractatus, that to represent the logical form of a proposition would require our being positioned outside of logic. The account here presented aims to exploit a connection, widely noticed, between the logical forms of objects and those of the propositions in which the names of those objects figure. I show that the logical forms of propositions may, on Wittgenstein’s view, be identified with places in logical space, and (...)
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  9.  31
    Wittgenstein on logical truth and bipolarity.Oliver Thomas Spinney - 2023 - Philosophical Investigations 46 (2):180-195.
    I provide a motivation for Wittgenstein's holding to the view that a necessary condition of an item's possessing a sense is its being capable of truth and capable of falsehood. I argue that Wittgenstein adopted the relevant view in order to defend an approach to the determination of logical truth on which the subject matter of a proposition is irrelevant to our making such a determination. This approach was itself conceived of as a remedy to that employed by Russell, and (...)
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  10.  15
    Mathematics First: Russell’s Methodological Response to Bradley.Oliver Thomas Spinney - forthcoming - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie.
    In this article I examine the dispute between F. H. Bradley and Bertrand Russell concerning the reality of relations. I show that Bradley’s objections to Russell’s view, that there are such things as relations which serve to effect the unity of complex items, were rooted in a methodological approach which Russell did not share. On Bradley’s view, one must be able to offer reductive analyses of the items one postulates in order that commitment to those items be justified. I argue (...)
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