What does the way we clarify and revise concepts reveal about the nature of concepts? This paper investigates the ontological commitments of conceptual analysis and explication regarding their supposed subject matter–concepts. It demonstrates the benefits of a cognitivist account of concepts, according to which they are not items on which the subject operates cognitively, but rather ways in which the subject operates. The proposed view helps to handle alternating references to ‘concepts’ and ‘terms’ in instructions on analysis and explication. Furthermore, its virtue lies not in the capacity to render concepts ‘shareable’ but in its ontological parsimony.
Pseudoproblems, pseudoquestions, pseudosentences (etc.) constitute an iridescent group of concepts which were prominently used by the Vienna Circle (including Wittgenstein). In the course of an explication this paper presents a compilation of the many different meanings that were given to these expressions. This includes the more prominent Viennese approaches as well as a more recent one by Roy Sorensen. A novel proposal concerning the use of the term is made, suggesting that nothing is just a pseudoproblem, but only relative to a certain state of discourse. While the paper follows an explicative methodology, several uses of ‘pseudoproblem’ , including the explicated one, relate pseudoproblemhood to other kinds of analysis.
Collingwood’s An Essay on Philosophical Method provides an insightful critique of Russell’s analysis and metaphysics of logical atomism, proposing an unduly neglected neo - idealist alternative to Russell’s philosophical method. I summarize Collingwood’s critique of analysis and sympathetically outline the philosophical methodology of Collingwood’s post - Hegelian dialectical method: his scale of forms methodology, grounded on the overlap of philosophical classes. I then delineate Collingwood’s critique of the metaphysics of logical atomism, demonstrating how the scale of forms methodology is opposed to Russell’s logical atomism. Finally, I reflect on the reasons Collingwood’s Essay aroused little interest upon publication and the importance of continually rethinking the history of philosophy.
In this paper, it is argued that there are relevant similarities between Aristotle’s account of definition and Carnap’s account of explication. To show this, first, Aristotle’s conditions of adequacy for definitions are provided and an outline of the main critique put forward against Aristotle’s account of definition is given. Subsequently, Carnap’s conditions of adequacy for explications are presented and discussed. It is shown that Aristotle’s conditions of extensional correctness can be interpreted against the backdrop of Carnap’s condition of similarity once one skips Aristotelian essentialism and takes a Carnapian and more pragmatic stance. Finally, it is argued that, in general, a complementary rational reconstruction of both approaches allows for resolving problems of interpretational underdetermination.
In the first chapter of his book Logical Foundations of Probability, Rudolf Carnap introduced and endorsed a philosophical methodology which he called the method of ‘explication’ . P.F. Strawson took issue with this methodology, but it is currently undergoing a revival. In a series of articles, Patrick Maher has recently argued that explication is an appropriate method for ‘formal epistemology’, has defended it against Strawson’s objection, and has himself put it to work in the philosophy of science in further clarification of the very concepts on which Carnap originally used it (degree of confirmation, and probability), as well as some concepts to which Carnap did not apply it (such as justified degree of belief).
We shall outline Carnap’s original idea, plus Maher’s recent application of such a methodology, and then seek to show that the problem Strawson raised for it has not been dealt with. The method is indeed, we argue, problematic and therefore not obviously superior to the ‘ descriptive’ method associated with Strawson. Our targets will not only be Carnapians, though, for what we shall say also bears negatively on a project that Paul Horwich has pursued under the name ‘therapeutic’ , or ‘Wittgensteinian’ Bayesianism. Finally, explication, as we shall suggest and as Carnap recognised, is not the only route to philosophical enlightenment.
We do not fully understand Hume’s account of space if we do not understand his view of determinations of extension, a topic which has not received enough attention. In this paper, I argue for an interpretation that determinations of extension are unities in Hume’s view: single beings in addition to their components. This realist reading is reasonable on both textual and philosophical grounds. There is strong textual evidence for it and no textual reason to reject it. Realism makes perfect sense of the metaphysics of determinations of extension along Humean lines and Hume’s view of spatial relations.