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.