Aristotle tells us that the Nicomachean Ethics (= NE ) is an “inquiry” and an “investigation” ( methodos and zētēsis , see NE 1094b10–11, 1102a12–15). One important way that the work comprises an investigation is that it is a prolonged search for the definition of
Many historians and philosophers of logic have claimed that during the 19th century, before Gottlob Frege’s Begriffsschrift (1879), there was a long period of stagnation or even of decline in the field of logic. The aim of this book is to show that such an evaluation of 19th century logic is misdirected and needs to be corrected. A Hundred Years of Logical Investigations discusses both philosophical and mathematical efforts to reform logic in Germany from Kant’s Kritik der reinen Vernunft (1781) up to Frege’s Begriffsschrift (1879). Amongst others, J.F. Herbart, M.W. Drobisch, G.W.F. Hegel, F.A. Trendelenburg, R. Graßmann, and E. Schröder are discussed in addition to Kant and Frege with regard to their thoughts about the place, the task, and the justification of logic not only as a philosophical discipline, but also as a formal and fundamental theory of science.
In Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations, one can find a number of remarks that could be seen as antithetical to classic philosophical analysis. There are passages seemingly rejecting the ideas of concept decomposition, regression to first principles, and semantic substitution. The criticism, I argue, is aimed not at analysis in particular, but rather at some idealizations that pervade a certain picture of philosophy. This picture can be contrasted with Wittgenstein’s pragmatist view of explanations of meaning which, I believe, can inform a different attitude towards philosophical method that aligns well with a vision of philosophy as conversation. If we think of philosophy as engaging in the development and exchange of explanations of meaning, we can see how various methods can coexist insofar as they are useful, and as long as the urge to sublimate them beyond our practices can be avoided.
Husserl introduces a phenomenological concept called “motivation” early in the First Investigation of his magnum opus, the Logical Investigations. The importance of this concept has been overlooked since Husserl passes over it rather quickly on his way to an analysis of the meaningful nature of expression. I argue, however, that motivation is essential to Husserl’s overall project, even if it is not essential for defining expression in the First Investigation. For Husserl, motivation is a relation between mental acts whereby the content of one act make some further meaningful content probable. I explicate the nature of this relation in terms of “evidentiary weight” and differentiate it from Husserl’s notion of Evidenz, often translated as “self-evidence”. I elucidate the importance of motivation in Husserl’s overall phenomenological project by focusing on his analyses of thing-perception and empathy. Through these examples, we can better understand the continuity between the Logical Investigations and Husserl’s later work.
An act’s form of apprehension (Auffassungsform) determines whether it is a perception, an imagination, or a signitive act. It must be distinguished from the act’s quality, which determines whether the act is, for instance, assertoric, merely entertaining, wishing, or doubting. The notion of form of apprehension is explained by recourse to the so-called content-apprehension model (Inhalt-Auffassung Schema); it is characteristic of the Logical Investigations that in it all objectifying acts are analyzed in terms of that model. The distinction between intuitive and signitive acts is made, and the notion of saturation (Fülle) is described, by recourse to the notion of form of apprehension.
This book empirically investigates the social practice of ascribing moral responsibility to others for the things they failed to do, and it discusses the philosophical relevance of this practice. In our everyday life, we often blame others for things they failed to do. For instance, we might blame our neighbour for not watering our plants during our vacation. Interestingly, the attribution of blame is typically accompanied by the attribution of causal responsibility. We do not only blame our neighbour for not watering our plants, but we do so because we believe that not watering the plants caused them to dry up and die. In this book, I investigate how we make moral and causal judgments about omissions. I discuss different philosophical perspectives on this matter, and I outline to what extent the actual social practice is in line with philosophical theories.