Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Journal of the History of Philosophy: Vol. 47, No. 2, April 2009

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Journal of the History of Philosophy: Vol. 47, No. 2, April 2009

Article excerpt

Recent Themes in the History of Early Analytic Philosophy, JULIET FLOYD

This paper offers a survey of the emergence of early analytic philosophy as a subfield of the history of philosophy. The importance of recent literature on Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein is stressed, as is the widening interest in understanding the nineteenth-century scientific and Kantian backgrounds. In contrast to recent histories of early analytic philosophy by P. M. S. Hacker and Scott Soames, the importance of historical and philosophical work on the significance of formalization is highlighted, as are the contributions made by those focusing on systematic treatments of individual philosophers, traditions, and periods in relation to contemporary issues (rule-following, neo-Fregeanism, contextualism, theory of meaning).

"Their Intention Was Shown by Their Bodily Movements": The Basran Mu'tazilites on the Institution of Language, SOPHIA VASALOU

Following the initiative of Abu Hashim al-Jubba'i, the Basran Mu'tazilites rejected the view of language, dominant till then in the Islamic milieu, according to which humanity had received it by way of divine revelation, and defended the position that language had arisen by means of a human convention. On the Basran understanding of this convention, the connection between words and things was effected by means of a momentous act of intention to assign a name, which was revealed to another through a bodily gesture or act of pointing. In considering the signifying powers of this bodily manifestation of intention, this paper discusses two points of difficulty, one internal and one external (grounded in Wittgenstein's critical framework) which beset the Basran Mu'tazilite account.

The Principle of Continuity and Leibniz's Theory of Consciousness, LARRY M. JORGENSEN

Leibniz viewed the principle of continuity, the principle that all natural changes are produced by degrees, as a useful heuristic for evaluating the truth of a theory. Since the Cartesian laws of motion entailed discontinuities in the natural order, Leibniz could safely reject it as a false theory. The principle of continuity has similar implications for analyses of Leibniz's theory of consciousness. This paper briefly surveys the three main interpretations of Leibniz's theory of consciousness and argues that the standard account entails a discontinuity that Leibniz could not allow. …

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