Susan Stebbing on Incomplete Symbols, and Analysis

Frederique Janssen-Lauret (University of Manchester)
 
 
Abstract:
Susan Stebbing, the UK’s first female professor of philosophy, was a key figure in the development of analytic philosophy. Although she was highly regarded by her contemporaries, she is sadly neglected by historians. Most take no notice of her, and those who do often portray her as primarily a follower of Moore. In this paper I argue instead that Stebbing’s views on incomplete symbols and analysis constitute an innovative and original position of her own and an improvement upon both Russell’s and Moore’s views. I first discuss Stebbing’s incisive criticisms of Russell, and then expound her original distinction between ‘same-level’ analysis, of language in terms of more language, and ‘directional’ analysis of incomplete-symbol discourse in terms of what simple elements and basic facts in the world would account for the truth of such discourse. As the former may be analytic or a priori, but the former is not, Stebbing, unlike Moore, solved Langford’s paradox of analysis.
 
 
Target paper by Frederique Janssen-Lauret
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