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By tracing the outlines of the moment when analytic philosophy was born, Michael Potter try

to show that it was an attempt to escape from Kants tradition. The first battleground was

thought to be mathematics and the attempt that Frege had to refute Kants account in the case

of arithmetic and, also, Russells extention of this project to the whole of mathematics. Even

that both failed, what was generate from this project is nowadays known as the analytic

method in philosophy.

1. Frege

1.1. Begriffsschrift

Frege (1879) - Begriffsschrift (Conceptual notation)

a formalization of the predicate calculus (quantification)

his aim in trying to formalize logic was to codify the laws not of thought but of truth

Aristotel, Leibniz and others, like Boole or Jevons, tried to formalize part of logic before

Frege. Although theyre works survive, none of them are at the nivel of Freges contribution.

For exemple, it did eventually turn out that Booles idea of treating reasoning as a form of

algebraic manipulation can be generalized to encompass reasoning that involves quatifiers and

the notion that plays the analogous role to that of a Boolean algebra is called a cylindric

algebra. In comparison, what is important in Freges work is thus that it enlarged the scope

of the formal logic decisively.

According to Church and Turing, the reason for what the Freges invention of polyadic

predicate calculus counts as decisive is for that that it is not mechanically decidable which

arguments involving polyadic quatification are logically valid, by contrast with Aristotelian

syllogistic (monadic quantification) which is mechanically decidable. this was a big step in

logic, because by showing that there are problems in logic which cannot be solved

mechanically it demonstrated a disanalogy between logic and elementary arithmetic.

This discovery raised a question about what remains of Kants claim that arithmetic is

synthetic, if the scope of logic is to include what can be deduced by means of polyadic logic?

1.2. Grundlagen

Like Frege, Dedekind was also interested of this questions and tried to show that arithmetic is

independent of space and time, on contrary of Kants claim.

There are three stages involved in establishing this claim:

1) To caracterize the natural numbers in axiomatic terms and show that the familiar

arithmetical properties follow logically from these axioms Dedekinds execution of

this stage may be counted a complete success, because the axioms he identified

(Peanos axioms) do have as logical consequences all of the truths of arithmetic

2

2) To show that there exists a structure satisfying these axioms problematic (its

needed to assume the axiom of infinity)

3) To abstract from the particular properties of the structure used in the second stage, so

as to identify the natural numbers as a new structure satisfying the axioms.

problematic (appealed to a sort of creative abstraction that has seemed obscure to

many later writers)

Frege, also, said that the arithmetic is independent of space and time and the shape of his

approach was the same as that of Dedekind:

1) He identified an axiomatic base from which the properties of the natural numbers

could be deduced

2) He tried to show logically that there exist objects satisfying these axioms

3) He needed a principled reason to ignore whatever properties the objects chosen in the

second stage may have that do not follow from the axiomatic characterization of them

identified in the first stage

( eg for polyadic quatification:

The following is the translation scheme:

Fx:

x is a Freshman

Sx:

x is a student

Kx: x respects every student

Lx:

x respects every Freshman )

But he executed this stages significantly different:

1) -Freges axiomatic characterization of the natural numbers treated them as finite cardinal

numbers

-charazterized cardinal numbers by means of the priciple that the cardinals of two concepts F

and G are equal if and only if there exists a one-to-one correlation of the Fs with the Gs

(equinumerous)

-this equivalence = Humes principle

2) by showing that are objects who satisfie Humes principle, Frege made use of the notion

of the extension of a concept (a sort of logical object associated with a concept in such a way

that two concept have the same extension just in case they have the same objects falling under

them) eg: number Fs is an extension for concept F

For why the extra properties numbers acquire accidentally as a consequence of the

definition can be ignored, Frege said that some role was played by the context principle ( =

the methodological principle that it is only in the context of a sentence that words mean

anything)

According to Dummet, this context principle marks a fundamental shift in the

philosophy, the so-called linguistic turn

3

Frege rejects the idea of treating the Humes Principle as a contextual definition of numbers

and he treats it only as a contextual constraint (a condition that any definition of natural

numbers must satisfy if it is to be regarded as correct)

A much worse problem for Frege: the explicit definition of numbers that he settled on

defined them in terms of the notion of the extension of a concept. Solving this by started with

explaining how numbers are given to us, to the rather of how extensions of concept are given

to us

For Humes Principle, the contextual specification of the identity conditions for:

a) Numbers: an abstraction principle it asserts the logical equivalence of: 1) an

identity between two terms

2) the holding of an equivalence relation between the relevant concepts

b) the extention of a concept: abstraction principle, too

Frege didnt solve the problem of if the Julius Caesar is a natural number or the extention of a

concept

1.3. Sense and reference

For Frege, Humes Principle (Basic Law V) is in some weak sense logical. He remained

attracted to the tought that the left hand side of an abstraction principle (identity between the

objects the principles seeks to introduce) is somehow a recarving of the content of the relation

of equivalence between concepts which occurs on the right hand side.

The difficulty: the notion of content is which can give substance to this metaphor of

recarving

Frege elaborated the theory of Sense and reference in Grundgesetze

The deeper claim: if we are to have a satisfying account of languages ability to

communicate thoughts from speaker to listener we must appeal to yet a fourth element what

Frege calls sense

Sense: 1) abstract (not a mental entity, neither physical)

2) uniform (a whole sentence is a sense, sentence composed out of the senses of the

subsentential expressions that make up the sentence)

Both this aspects are problematic.

2. Moore and Russell

2.1.Objective propozitions

1898 the second strand in the birth of analytic philosophy conversations between Russell

and Moore first Moores publications was articles on The nature of judgment and The

refutation of idealism

The overall step of the revolution: Moore thought that by conceiving of propositions as

objective complex entities he could resist the temptations of idealism

The centre of the project: an identity theory of truth

Moores conception of a proposition is embodied in two central doctrines:

a) The entities of which a proposition is composed (concepts) are themselves the items

the proposition is about; concepts are objective entities

4

b) There are no internal relations between concepts; what it is for a proposition to be true

is just for the concepts it is composed of to be externally related to each other in a

certain way

2.2. The Principles of Mathematics

The doctrine that there are no internal relations between concepts runs into an obvious

difficulty in the case of identity statements

If there are no internal relations, then it does not express anything at all

Russell Principles of Mathematics (1903) in contrast with Grundlagen of Frege:

Russells purpose: logicism - he wished to generalize to the whole of mathematics

Freges more limited claim that arithmetic is part of logic

Central to this project: Russells adoptation of Moores conception of a proposition as

containing the parts of the world it is about he added the notion of a denoting concept

Denoting concept = to enable a proposition to be about something else that is not itself

part of the proposition

Russell, 1903: A concept denotes when, if it occurs in a proposition, the proposition is

not about the concept but about a term connected in a certain peculiar way with the

concept. Russell seizes on denoting as the central element in his account of

mathematics

2.3. On denoting

In 1901, Russell discovered the famous paradox which bears his name: he showed that the

denoting concept, the class of all classes which do not belong to themselves, does not denote

anything

He wasnt the first who discovered this paradox, but what he did significantly was the fact

that on the strengh of this discovery he became more interested on to gain a better

understanding of how denoting concepts function.

Russell introduces a further constraint: the relationship between a concept and its denotation

is not linguistic through the phrase

Concepts exist whether or not we choose to devise means to express them in language the

relationship between the concept and its denotation exists independent of language and hence

so does the proposition expressing it

The Russells objection to his earlier theory of denoting applies to denoting concept which

denotes nothing and, also, to those which denotes something.

He replaces his theory of denoting with what was an account according to which the true

structure of the proposition a sentence expresses is to be revealed by translating it into the

predicate calculus with identity

The denoting phrase was replaced with quantified variable

5

2.4. Logicism

Significant in this method of translation: how the grammatical form of a sentence might

differ from the logical form of the proposition the sentence expresses

incomplete symbols = expessions which have no meaning on their own but which are such

that any sentence in which the expression occurs can be translated into another in which it

does not

Principia mathematica: here he developted a theory in which terms apparently referring to

classes are incomplete symbols which disappear on analysis

The solution to the paradox: any sentence in which the term the class of all classes which do

not belong to themselves occurs would resist rewriting according to the translation rules and

would therefore turn out not to express a proposition at all it does not just drop out all by

itself, because this transfer the focus of attention to the corresponding paradox of properties

(propositional functions)

necessary to stratify propositional functions into types, in two ways:

a) According to the types of the free variables they contain

b) According to the types of the bound variables

Whitehead and Russells aim in Principia Mathematica was an extension of Freges: they

wanted to embed not just arithmetic but the whole of mathematics in logic they did not

succeed

Unsolving problems with: the axiom of reducibility

the axiom of infinity

Influential in philosophy: the method of analysis of which it was an instance analytical

realism

2.5. Sense data

Q.: What is the ultimate subject matter of ordinary discours about the physical world?

A.: how Russell dealt with non-reffering expressions

Logically proper name = any proper name which functions as such not just gramatically but

logically for any name which logical analysis does not reveal to be really a disguised

definite description (exception rather than the rule)

We must cannot intelligibly doubt about what is logically proper name the physical realm

are sense data

Objects are constructed out of the sense data Russell, 1924: Whenever possible, substitute

constructions out of known entities for inferences to unknown entities

2.6. Difficulties with the theory

One currious side effect of Russells theory: it forced him to abandon the notion that

modalities of possibility and necessity may be applied to propositions

1) Frege made explaining the communication one of the central tasks of his theory of

meaning that is why he had to insist that the sense of an expression is not simply an

idea in my mind but a distinct, inter-subjectively available entity

6

2) For Russell it was not really part of the task he was engaged in the communication: on

his view the fact that we communicate at all emerges a strange kind of miracle,

because the sense data experienced by me are not the same as those experienced by

anyone else the only entities the propositions you and I express have in common

are universals

Russells theory is thus at risk of a kind of solipsism and, at first side, it might also be

thought to flirt with idealism

Russell and Moore both conceived of sense data as objective entities to wich we may

bear a relation of aquaintance (Russell) or direct apprehension (Moore)

sensibilia = things that no-one ever has experienced or ever will experience

2.7. The multiple relation theory of judgment

According to Russell and Moore, a proposition is a sort of complex made up out of entities

of various sort sensibilia, ideas, or universals

In the case where the proposition is true, it is identical with the fact whose existence it

asserts; in the case that its false, there is no fact Russell think that the solution of this

problem is to eliminate propositions from the account of what it is to make a judgment

(Russells logical method apparently gave him the means to achieve this)

Problems: it is a quartenary relation just because the proposition being analysed has three

components, other cases would be different

there is no constancy about which elements of the judgment should be of which

kinds the judgement relation has to be very tolerant as to what sorts of arguments it takes

Wittgenstein pointed out this difficulty to Russell in 1913: Every right theory of judgment

must make it impossible for me to judge that this table penholders the book. Russells theory

does not satisfy this requirement what is devastating is that the objection depends not on

detailed features of Russells theory but only on its overall shape

3. Tractatus

3.1. Propositions

Wittgenstein repeatedly urged that is necessary a correct theory of propositions.

Wittgensteins starting point was the realization that there is a fundamental error in Russells

way of conceiving the matter: sentences are not like names, because they are capable of truth

and falsity the bipolarity of propositions (symmetry)

Q.: How is the bipolarity of the proposition achieved?

W. A.: a proposition pictures how the world would have to be for the proposition to be true;

the proposition is true if things are as it pictures them to be

Genuine insight: it is an essential component of what enables a sentence to express

something about the world that the complexity of the proposition the sentence expresses

should track the complexity of the possibilities of arrangements of the world which it

represents W. constraint this by saying how the world is with other ways the world could

have been but isnt

The role of a proposition is to divide all the possible worlds into two classes:

7

1) If the actual world is in one class, the proposition is true

2) If it is in the other, the proposition is false

Senseless:

Tautology = is a proposition which is true in all possible worlds

Contradiction = is one which is true in none

The notion of possibility is built into the expressive nature of propositions from the

start

The role of propositions is to express possible configurations of the world; the role of

the objects is to be the hinges around which these possibilities turn

What varies between possible worlds is only how they are combined with one another

to form states of affairs

What makes language expressive is that the substitutional possibilities of the linguistic

elements which it allows for match precisely are identical with the combinatorial

possibilities of the objects these elements represent

3.2. Mathematics

Using the Wittgensteins criterion of logical truth is showing that Russells axiom of

reducibility is not a logical truth worse for mathematics only part of mathematics he kept

was simple arithmetic (7+5=12)

Eguations do not express genuine senseful propositions, but not are they logical truths

(tautologies). Instead, they have the same sort as general claims that certain sorts of symbols

express tautologies

Imp.: W. opposed the idea that mathematics consists of tautologies, but in the Tractatus

showed how similar the equations of mathematics are to tautologies

Difference between them: lies in how they can be applied

Nothing which express that something is a tautology is, according to the Tractatus, itself a

tautology

3.3. Saying and showing

Russells solution for incompatility of the twin constraints that the simple entities should be

both indubitable and necessary is to abandon the notion of possibility

W.s solution is to abandon the propositional atitudes

The key element in the holding of a belief is the ascription of sense of a certain symbol, but

this ascription is not a proposition nothing can be a proposition that attempts to express the

expressiveness of a symbol

Is not a proposition with sense something that is true in some possible worlds and

false in others

Tautologies puts all the worlds into one class: it has the general shape to be a proposition with

sense, but its parts cancel one another out and end up saying nothing

Nonsense propositions: it is something which is not of the right shape to have a sense at all.

Eg: the claim which carries the ethical content

8

In Wittgensteins sistem are only three categories:

-senseful

-senseless

-nonsensical

W. held that the solution to our philosophical difficulties is their dissolution

3.4. Important nonsense?

Imp.: to see what the scope of W.s argument for nonsense is

Part of what is powerful about Ws inexpressibility argument is its generality; its conclusion

is very restricted: nonsense is a technical term defined in contrast to sense

Is hard to hold resolutely to the view that in the Tractatus all nonsense is gibberish

When W. says that he believed himself to have found the final solution to the problems of

philosophy, he meant what he said: he intended the doctrine of saying and showing to solve

the problem of the relationship between the self and the world the problem to which realism

and idealism represent constrasting solutions he conceives of my self as constituted by the

process of representing the world in which I am engaged

if this is right, then all the big questions of philosophy are not really questions at all and

cannot be answered by the application of logical reasoning (because logical reasoning applies

only to propositions and this qustions do not express propositions)

3.5. Reactions to the Tractatus

There is certainly something very mystical about W.s view of the unsayable

What was took much more seriously at first was W.s dismissal of the logicist

reduction of mathematics to the theory of classes

According to W., mathematical theorems are not themselves tautologies but have the

form of claims that various other symbols are tautologies

If W.s view was to be refuted, therefore, was needed a demonstration that the

theorems of the theory of classes were indeed simply more elaborate tautologies

Ramsey: the theory of classes could be regarded as part of logic because of

propositional function in extension

W.: propositional function = what we obtain if we take a proposition and replace some

symbolic element in it with a variable

The problem with tautologies in mathematics is hold on their applicability; another

problem is regarding on the way of expressing what Godels incompleteness theorems

demonstrate is that arithmetic have a complexity that tautologies do not have this

force us to recognize a distinctively mathematical notion of necessity distinct from the

logical notion of tautology picked out by W.

Retracted: the claim that there is only one kind of necessity, namely logical necessity

W. abandoned the idea that elementary propositions are independent

Problem with identifying the simple entities which logical atomism presupposes

9

W. recommended in the Tractatus the abandonment as a way of dissolving the dispute

between realism and idealism

4. Analytic philosophy

4.1. What it is not

There is a dispute about what it is, but, nonetheless:

1) Its not about psychological process of thinking

2) Its not about normative constraints

3) Its not continental philosophy

4.2. What it is

1) although there is no general agreement about what is analysed and why it is being

analysed, the analytic method does nonetheless involve analysis

2) the importance of rational argument in philosophy, not just as a tool but also as

something which it is one of our primary tasks reflexively to critique and explain

3) may be seen as the inheritor of the 18

th

century debate between the rationalist and

empiricist traditions (analytic philosophers hoped that modern logic would close the

gap between these two)

4) the ineluctability distinction between being true and being taken to be true -

disagreement

5) the content of a judgment is not changed by the mere act of judging it (Russell and

Moore)

4.3. Why it is

Q.: Why it has arisen?

A.: Two facts:

1) the analytic tradition has achieved a dominance in English-speaking philosophy

department that is astonishing

2) its success: analytic philosophy made enormous progress in the fifty years after his birth,

especially in the philosophy of mathematics, but also in the philosophies of language, mind

and science

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