Bolzano and the Analytical Tradition Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • In the course of the last few decades, Bolzano has emerged as an important player in accounts of the history of philosophy. This should be no surprise. Few authors stand at a more central junction in the development of modern thought. Bolzano's contributions to logic and the theory of knowledge alone straddle three of the most important philosophical traditions of the 19th and 20th centuries: the Kantian school, the early phenomenological movement and what has come to be known as analytical philosophy. This paper identifies three Bolzanian theoretical innovations that warrant his inclusion in the analytical tradition: the commitment to ‘logical realism’, the adoption of a substitutional procedure for the purpose of defining logical properties and a new theory of a priori cognition that presents itself as an alternative to Kant's. All three innovations concur to deliver what counts as the most important development of logic and its philosophy between Aristotle and Frege. In the final part of the paper, I defend Bolzano against a common objection and explain that these theoretical innovations are also supported by views on syntax, which though marginal are both workable and philosophically interesting. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

publication date

  • February 1, 2014