Abstracts of Philosophy Papers

Jan Dejnožka







Note on Russell and the Materialist Principle of Logically Possible Worlds.”

Dejnožka, Jan

Organon F 25/3, 429-430, 2018.

Language: English

Document Type: Journal Article

The question is how or whether new or hitherto “alien” objects can come into being in any possible world, or at least in the actual world, for Russell. The answer is that for Russell and for Leibniz before him (Russell wrote a book on Leibniz), possible worlds are defined by the possible objects they contain and by their relationships. Thus no new object (or, for that matter, new relationship) can be added without definitionally changing the possible world in question into another possible world. This also explains the sense in which possible worlds (including the actual world) can be viewed timelessly (sub specie aeternitatis), even though within the world, new objects are perceived as coming into being (sub specie temporis).



Russell and the Materialist Principle of Logically Possible Worlds.”

Dejnožka, Jan

Organon F 25/2, 265-278, 2018.

Language: English

Document Type: Journal Article

In his review in Organon F, Martin Vacek knows that the second edition of my Bertrand Russell on Modality and Logical Relevance (xv + 649 pages) has a difficult mission of revealing hitherto unsuspected major new aspects in a great thinker whose work has already been investigated for over a century. Vacek has a fine understanding of the book, and expresses only a few doubts about its success. I explain away his doubts as misunderstandings. I show that Russell’s talk of modality and possible worlds is neither circular nor incomplete. I show that Vacek’s materialist principle of logically possible worlds can be true only for materialists, and that Russell was no materialist.



Being Qua Identity in Russell’s Ontologies.”

Dejnožka, Jan

Theory and History of Ontology, 1-24, Raul Corazzon’s ontology site, February 2018

Language: English

Document Type: Online Article

This essay is about being qua identity theories in Bertrand Russell. A being qua identity theory is any theory that aims to define, explain, or understand some concept of being, reality, existence, or reference in terms of some concept of identity. Most philosophers know that Quine coined the slogan “no entity without identity,” and that Wittgenstein understood reference in terms of identity criteria. Most also know that Russell was a primary influence on Wittgenstein and Quine on many logical and metaphysical issues. But it is not well known that Russell was also a “no entity without identity” theorist influencing Wittgenstein and Quine on the deepest ontological level. Here I explain all of Russell’s main ontological phases as belonging to a kind of being qua identity theory which I call modified realism.


"Dummett's Forward Road to Frege and to Intuitionism"

Dejnožka, Jan

Diametros, vol. 25, 118-131, September 2010

Language: English

Document Type: Journal Article

This paper continues my discussion of Frege with Michael Dummett in The Philosophy of Michael Dummett (2007). Most of it is about Dummett’s adopting my view that Frege’s senses cannot be objects. The issues include: the cognitive order versus the ontological order for the forward road; the nature and identity of senses; the different senses of “intension;” the nature of saturation; whether special quantifiers are now needed for senses; and Frege’s earlier and later permutation arguments. I also continue our discussion of the implications of the forward road for intuitionism.


"The Concept of Relevance and the Logic Diagram Tradition"

Dejnožka, Jan

Logica Universalis 4, 67-135, 2010

Language: English

Document Type: Journal Article

What is logical relevance? Anderson and Belnap say that the "modern classical tradition[,] stemming from Frege and Whitehead-Russell, gave no consideration whatsoever to the classical notion of relevance." But just what is this classical notion? I argue that the relevance tradition is implicitly most deeply concerned with the containment of truth-grounds, less deeply with the containment of classes, and least of all with variable sharing in the Anderson-Belnap manner. Thus modern classical logicians such as Peirce, Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, and Quine are implicit relevantists on the deepest level. In showing this, I reunite two fields of logic which, strangely from the traditional point of view, have become basically separated from each other: relevance logic and diagram logic.

I argue that there are two main concepts of relevance, intensional and extensional. The first is that of the relevantists, who overlook the presence of the second in modern classical logic. The second is the concept of truth-ground containment as following from in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus. I show that this second concept belongs to the diagram tradition of showing that the premisses contain the conclusion by the fact that the conclusion is diagrammed in the very act of diagramming the premisses. I argue that the extensional concept is primary, with at least five usable modern classical filters or constraints and indefinitely many secondary intensional filters or constraints. For the extensional concept is the genus of deductive relevance, and the filters are species. Also following the Tractatus, deductive relevance, or full truth-ground containment, is the limit of inductive relevance, or partial truth-ground containment. Purely extensional inductive or partial relevance has its filters or species too. Thus extensional relevance is a universal concept of relevance or summum genus with modern classical deductive logic, relevantist deductive logic, and inductive logic as its three main domains.


"Dummett's Backward Road to Frege and to Intuitionism"

Dejnožka, Jan

In Randall E. Auxier, ed., The Philosophy of Michael Dummett. La Salle, Ill.: Open Court, 55-113, August 2007. The Library of Living Philosophers, vol. 31.

Language: English

Document Type: Anthology Article

This paper is on Michael Dummett's paper, "The Context Principle: Centre of Frege's Philosophy" (read in 1993, published in 1995), in which Dummett revises his thinking on Frege. But it is really on Frege. I argue that Dummett's semantic program for Frege rests on a scholarly and philosophical mistake. Namely, it takes what Russell calls the backward road from reference to sense. Since Dummett endorses the backward road, I must show that the mistake is genuine. But I need not enter the murky waters of "On Denoting" to do so, since I make the mistake independently clear. After arguing that no senses are objects or functions, I show how we can keep Frege's context principle from bifurcating into one principle for senses and another for references. I conclude by showing that intuitionism is a form of the backward road and shares in the mistake.

"Thus, I recant my earlier view and am now in full agreement with Jan Dejnožka that senses—even thoughts—cannot be objects. He deserves credit for perceiving this....The whole apparatus of objects, concepts, and functions is inapplicable in the realm of sense. Dr. Dejnožka perceives this too....I think now that Frege ought to have held that view, and I applaud Dr. Dejnožka's recognition of this." —Michael Dummett, "Reply to Jan Dejnožka," in The Philosophy of Michael Dummett, 122-23

Michael Dummett was the world's best Frege scholar in the twentieth century.



"Are the Natural Numbers Just Any Progression? Peano, Russell, and Quine"

Dejnožka, Jan

The Review of Modern Logic, vol. 10, nos. 3-4, issue 32, 91-111, March 2005-May 2007

Language: English

Document Type: Journal Article

Are the natural numbers just any progression? It is widely held that Peano and Quine say yes, Russell no. Russell criticizes Peano, and Peano and Quine criticize Russell. The paper has four parts. (1) I describe Peano's theory as Russell understands it and as I think it is. (2) I describe Russell's criticism. (3) I extend Russell's criticism to odd counting procedures. (4) I discuss Quine's objections to Russell. I conclude that while it is not in the least controversial that infinitely many definitions of numbers and counting procedures are possible, Russell is right and my extension of Russell is right.



"Observational Ecumenicism, Holist Sectarianism: The Quine-Carnap Conflict on Metaphysical Realism"

Dejnožka, Jan

Philo 9/2, 165-91, Fall-Winter 2006

Language: English

Document Type: Journal Article

Where ecumenicism is the view that empirically equivalent theories or ontologies are equally warranted, it is often held that pragmatism and verificationism each imply ecumenicism, and that Quine and Carnap are therefore both ecumenicists. And indeed for Carnap, realism and idealism are equally nonsensical because no observation can be evidence for or against them. But Quine's realism contradicts this very plausible portrait. Quine repeatedly gives reasons for preferring realism to idealism, reasons which can only be holophrastically empirical for him. This calls for a new distinction between observational and holist empirical equivalence, leading to three kinds of ecumenicism and sectarianism.



"Russell on Modality: A Reply to Kervick"

Dejnožka, Jan

The Bertrand Russell Society Quarterly 120, 33-38, November 2003

Language: English

Document Type: Journal Article

Daniel Kervick finds my book, Bertrand Russell on Modality and Logical Relevance (Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 1999) confusing. He thinks the book is about modal logics Russell intended to present and cannot find their formalization. Yet the book repeatedly states it is finding only implicit modal logics, and repeatedly states their formalization. Surely we all know that Russell expressly presents no such thing. Indeed, there would be no point in writing a book revealing Russell's modal logics for the first time, if Russell had expressly stated them. Kervick asks how Russell can have a modal logic, yet banish modality. The idea is simple, and it is Russell's. Logical analysis preserves truth while eliminating ontological commitments, for example, preserves arithmetic while eliminating numbers. Here Russell preserves logically necessary truths but implicitly analyzes the necessity operator as the Principia thesis sign. Russell's containment theory of deduction implies that the same sign is also a relevance operator.



"Origin of Russell's Early Theory of Logical Truth as Purely General Truth: Bolzano, Peirce, Frege, Venn, or MacColl?"

Dejnožka, Jan

Modern Logic 8/3-4, 21-30, 2001

Language: English

Document Type: Journal Article

While the idea of such a logic was in the air, I cite a "smoking gun" text to show that MacColl was the source of Russell's theory. I argue against Leila Haaparanta, who favors Frege, against Simo Knuuttila, who favors Peirce, and against texts suggesting Venn or Bolzano. Following Russell and Gustav Bergmann, I argue that there are limits to this sort of theory.



"Reply to Ostertag"

Dejnožka, Jan

Russell n.s. 21/1, 63-65, Summer 2001

Language: English

Document Type: Journal Article

Gary Ostertag's review of my book, Bertrand Russell on Modality and Logical Relevance, turns the book upside down. Ostertag mistakes MDL, a trio of initial definitions, for the main propositional modal logic I find implicit in Russell, resulting in a misguided criticism of that logic as being nonpropositional. He finds MDL trivial, but I had shown that MDL results from highly controversial Parmenidean argument. He says I say Russell "espouses a variety of modal logics." But surely we all know that Russell "espouses" no such thing. My book repeatedly states it paraphrases Russell's texts into logics I find implicit in them. There would be no point in writing a book revealing Russell's modal logics for the first time, if Russell had expressly stated them. Ostertag overlooks all seven implicit modal logics which are my formal paraphrases of various texts in Russell. In fact, he overlooks over nine tenths of the book.



"Butchvarov: Phenomenology, Ontology, Universals, and Goodness"

Dejnožka, Jan

Philosophia (Israel) 28/1-4, 445-54, June 2001

Language: English

Document Type: Journal Article

Butchvarov profoundly synthesizes Continental phenomenology with analytic no entity without identity theory into an ontology of objects and entities to ground a theory of universals which in turn grounds an ethical realism reminiscent of Aristotle and Aquinas. The heart of Butchvarov'-s ethical realism is his theory that goodness is a highly generic universal which is presented to us in a mode of generic awareness. After discussing Butchvarov's phenomenological ontology, I criticize his analogical argument for universals. I argue that even if a is more like b than a is like anything else, a need not be a kind of b.



"Russell and MacColl: Reply to Grattan-Guinness, Woleński, and Read"

Dejnožka, Jan

Nordic Journal of Philosophical Logic 6/1, 41-42, 2001

Language: English

Document Type: Journal Article

In the December 1999 special issue of Nordic Journal of Philosophical Logic on Hugh MacColl, Ivor Grattan-Guinness and Jan Wolenski describe my publications in superficially true but unfortunately misleading ways. After discussing them, I proceed to the main topic. Pace Stephen Read's paper in the same issue denying that MacColl has S4 or even S3, I argue that MacColl has an S5 formal modal logic with invariant formal certainties and formal impossibilities, and a T material modal logic with material certainties and material impossibilities which can vary relative to fresh data, and uses one generic notation to write both logics.



"Reply to Falk's Review of The Ontology of the Analytic Tradition and Its Origins"

Dejnoka, Jan

Russell n.s. 19/1, 85-93, Summer 1999

Language: English

Document Type: Journal Article

Arthur Falk reviewed my first book in Russell n.s. 18, 161-74, Winter 1998-99. Among other things, Falk missed the principal argument of my book, which was expressly announced as such four times (in this "Reply," I cite two times). Falk's "Rejoinder" to this "Reply" immediately follows it, Russell n.s. 19/1, 94-96, Summer 1999.



"Quine: Whither Empirical Equivalence?"

Dejnožka, Jan

South African Journal of Philosophy 14/4, 175-82, November 1995

Language: English

Document Type: Journal Article

I criticize W. V. O. Quine's conception of empirically equivalent theories and favor Bertrand Russell's; however, my critique is tailored to Quine and is very much my own. After introducing Russell's and Quine's basic ideas and stating initial criticisms, I argue that "Theories T1 and T2 are empirically equivalent" is logically incomplete, i.e. without a determinate truth-value. We need instead "Theories T1 and T2 are empirically equivalent to observer O at time T." Finally, I draw some consequences for Quine's various theses.



"Origins of the Private Language Argument"

Dejnožka, Jan

Dialogos 30/66, 59-78, July 1995

Language: English

Document Type: Journal Article

The private language arguments of the analytic tradition may be understood best in terms of their historical origins. There are at least eight origins: verificationism, naturalism-pragmatism, materialism, projective geometry, justificationism, realism versus nominalism, the thesis that language and thought are identical, and "no entity without identity" theory. Anticipators include Dewey, James, Peirce, Helmholtz, Müller, Hamann, Herder, Humboldt, Marx, Engels, Feuerbach, Hegel, Schelling, Schopenhauer, Kant, Tooke, Hobbes, Bonald, Lamettrie, Arnobius, Cicero, Plato, 19th century opticians and geometers, and the Renaissance painters. Thus an enormous private-language dialogue flourished long before any analysts appeared on the scene.



"Russell's Seventeen Private-Language Arguments"

Dejnožka, Jan

Russell n.s. 11/1, 11-35, Summer 1991

Language: English

Document Type: Journal Article

Russell gives seventeen private-language arguments of six main kinds having very different realist implications: Act-Object, Black Box, Inner Comparison, Subtle Black Box, Social Language, Probability. These span 57 years and four main metaphysical periods. Russell also advances a degree-of-privacy solution of the private language problem; I suggest eight variants. I resolve four initial difficulties with Russell's views and show how Russell connects some private-language argumentation with Parmenides and the substance tradition. Russell anticipates Wittgenstein in some ways, but Russell also describes alternatives which Wittgenstein and his scholars seem completely unaware of.

"Dejnožka has made a solid contribution to Russell scholarship by tracking down Russell's seventeen private language arguments and tracing the effect each had on Russell's metaphysical points of view for over half a century. This is a tremendous task, and Dejnožka has pulled it off with flying colors." —Fred Guy

Fred Guy is Director of the Hoffberger Center for Professional Ethics in Baltimore, and professor of philosophy at The University of Maryland at Baltimore.



"The Ontological Foundation of Russell's Theory of Modality"

Dejnožka, Jan

Erkenntnis 32/3, 383-418, May 1990

Language: English

Document Type: Journal Article

Prominent thinkers such as Kripke and Rescher hold that Russell has no modal logic, even that Russell was indisposed toward modal logic. In Part 1, I show that Russell had a modal logic which he repeatedly described and that Russell repeatedly endorsed Leibniz's multiplicity of possible worlds. In Part 2, I describe Russell's theory as having three ontological levels. In Part 3, I describe six Parmenidean theories of being Russell held from 1903 to 1948. The transcendental theory underlies the primary level of Russell's modal logic. In Part 4, I criticize Rescher's arguments that Russell was against modal logic. This paper is superseded by chapters 1-8 of Bertrand Russell on Modality and Logical Relevance.



"Russell's Robust Sense of Reality: A Reply to Butchvarov"

Dejnožka, Jan

Grazer Philosophische Studien 32, 155-64, 1988

Language: English

Document Type: Journal Article

The 1918 Russell has three senses of "exists" which work together. In the primary (Parmenidean) sense, to be is not to be nothing. In the secondary (Berkeleyan and Humean) sense, to be real is to be a lawful series of classes of sensibilia. In the tertiary (Fregean) sense, existence is the individual quantifier. Comments and replies are published in the same journal volume. This paper is superseded by chapter 4 of The Ontology of the Analytic Tradition and Its Origins.



"Reply to Butchvarov's 'Russell's Views on Reality'"

Dejnožka, Jan

Grazer Philosophische Studien 32, 181-84, 1988

Language: English

Document Type: Journal Article

This is my reply to Panayot Butchvarov's comments on my paper "Russell's Robust Sense of Reality: A Reply to Butchvarov." Butchvarov's comments and the main paper are published in the same journal volume. Here I offer a reductio ad absurdum of Butchvarov's thesis that all concepts (including the concept of existence) are classificatory. I also give two positive reasons why being classificatory is not essential to being a concept. As Frege says, we cannot always tell in advance the limits of applicability of a concept. And a concept may be logically determinate without determining and limiting in Spinoza's sense.



"Reply to Umphrey's 'The Meinongian-Antimeinongian Dispute Reviewed'"

Dejnožka, Jan

Grazer Philosophische Studien 32, 185-86, 1988

Language: English

Document Type: Journal Article

This is my reply to Stewart Umphrey's comments on my paper "Russell's Robust Sense of Reality: A Reply to Butchvarov." Umphrey's comments and the main paper are published in the same journal volume. I had distinguished three senses of "exists" in the 1918 Russell. In this reply I add a fourth sense. For x to have being in the quaternary sense is for x not to be nothing, where "nothing" means 'not anything among things: not a thing nor a property of a thing (nor a relation among things)'. Everything exists in this Parmenidean sense, including all of Meinong's objects.



"Zeno's Paradoxes and the Cosmological Argument"

Dejnožka, Jan

International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion 25, 65-81, April 1989

Language: English

Document Type: Journal Article

I show that the cosmological argument and the first cause argument of St. Thomas Aquinas for the existence of God commit a linguistic fallacy by showing that (1) some of Zeno's paradoxes commit a linguistic fallacy, and that (2) the cosmological and first cause arguments are sufficiently similar to those paradoxes that they commit the same fallacy. This refutes Frederick Copleston's view that "mention of the mathematical infinite series is irrelevant" to "any" of Aquinas' arguments for God's existence. I make use of infinitely diminishing series as discussed in José Benardete's book Infinity.



"Frege: Existence Defined as Identifiability"

Dejnožka, Jan

International Studies in Philosophy 14, 1-18, Fall 1982

Language: English

Document Type: Journal Article

In Frege's philosophy existence is best defined as identifiability. Contra Michael Dummett, Frege does require in Foundations of Arithmetic that for numbers to be named, a criterion for their identity must be provided. Minds and ideas are not exceptions, since Frege's private language argument makes identifiability a necessary condition of existence. Functions are not exceptions, since they are representatively identifiable. My definition is preferable to Frege's own and can be stated representatively to avoid objections. This paper is superseded by chapter 3 of The Ontology of the Analytic Tradition and Its Origins.



"Frege on Identity"

Dejnožka, Jan

International Studies in Philosophy 13, 31-42, Spring 1981

Language: English

Document Type: Journal Article

For Frege, identity is the relation between names, understood as signs expressing senses, of denoting the same denotation. Senses are not objects or functions but a unique category. The expression "the sense of expression 'A'" denotes an object, not a sense. Identity is indefinable, but is explainable as being the relation of indiscernibility salva veritate. I argue against rival interpretations by Dummett, Angelelli, Ray, Wienpahl, Coder, Linsky, Wells, Jackson, Bergmann, and Furth. This paper is superseded by chapter 2 of The Ontology of the Analytic Tradition and Its Origins.



Invited Book Reviews

MICHAEL BEANEY (ed.), The Frege Reader. Introduction by Michael Beaney. U.K. and U.S.A.: Blackwell Publishers. xv + 409 pp.. The review appeared in History and Philosophy of Logic 19/2, 119-22, 1998. The anthology is praised and recommended, but Beaney's own interpretation of Frege is criticized.

RAY MONK and ANTHONY PALMER (eds.) Bertrand Russell and the Origins of Analytical Philosophy. Introduction by Ray Monk and Anthony Palmer. Bristol, U.K.: Thoemmes Press, 1996. xvi + 383 pages. The review appeared in History and Philosophy of Logic 18/1, 49-54, 1997. Each of the thirteen papers in the anthology receives its own mini-review.

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