Bolzano’s Theoretical Philosophy: An Introduction by Sandra Lapointe (auth.)

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Hardcover: 315 pages
Publisher: Nijhoff, 1976 (Photomechanical reprint of: 3rd printing, 1971 [first: 1964])
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9024702488
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On Bolzano’s view, inclusion relations of the type Kant has in mind do not point to semantically interesting features of propositions: use of the notion of ‘inclusion’ and other cognates are “mere metaphors (bildliche Redensarten) that do not analyse the concept to be defined or expressions which allow for too broad an interpretation” (1837, §148, 87). In general, it seems to him that definitions of logical notions such as analyticity that rest on the idea of inclusion: do not emphasise sufficiently what makes this type of propositions important.

More on the Bolzanian notion of synonymy in Chapter 5. Bolzano’s views on analysis are informed by his views on what makes for deductive languages in which sentences express their content completely. It is difficult to exaggerate the import of this idea and the novelty of the resources Bolzano deployed at the time in order to bring it to fruition. Bolzano’s predecessors typically adhered to the picture theory of ideas (see Chapter 2). This naïve form of representationalism is based on the assumption that the relation between meaning (concepts) and referent (objects) ought to be explained by resorting to the notion of resemblance: the structure of meaning is in some determinate way defined by analogy with the structure of the referent.

Whoever subscribes to (1) conceives of this relation in terms of “resemblance”. (1) expresses a naïve form of representationalism: a concept is in some substantial way determined by the features of the object it represents, and it represents things by virtue of “resembling” them. (1) supposes that the structure of (components in) concepts is in some systematic manner analogous to the structure of (properties in) objects. The kind of analogy adherents to (1) had in mind was typically based on the idea that concepts are “pictures” of the objects they represent; the idea that they are “pictures” of the objects they represent was meant to explain how they represent the latter, namely by virtue of their components’ corresponding to some features of the objects to which they refer.

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