Dreben, Logic, Nonsense, Herbrand

There’s an interesting discussion going on at Leiter’s blog and on Certain Doubts about Dreben and the history of analytic philosophy. I recommend especially Jason Stanley’s comment on the Certain Doubts post.

While on the subject of Dreben, I thought I’d point out something pointed out to me not too long ago by Bill Tait. Dreben is commonly credited with discovering the (now well-known) errors in Herbrand’s Thesis. But these errors were actually discovered by Peter Andrews in 1961/62 (he was then a grad student at Princeton). Andrews has a full account of the discovery and the correspondence with Dreben in his Herbrand Award Acceptance Speech.

5 thoughts on “Dreben, Logic, Nonsense, Herbrand

  1. What puzzles me about Dreben’s position (aside from the fact that it’s quite difficult to, as some have pointed out in the blog comments, find an actual concrete *argument* for why such and such is nonsense) is the fact he appears to think philosophical logic (and logic in general) is immune to the “nonsense critique”. If he were purely a mathematician, his hostility to M&E might be at least more consistent, if not more plausible. But as one who worked in philosophical logic, his position seems quite ridiculous. Where do you draw the line between M&E and philosophical logic, or X and philosophical logic where X is some area in the analytic tradition that he labeled nonsensical? Posted by Postmodernist

  2. Is there any chance you can post an excerpt? It seems that we here don’t subscribe to this journal so I can’t look at the article, and I’d be interested to see it. If you can, that would be great. Posted by Matt

  3. Hi Richard,Thanks for the pointer- unfortunately I can’t open that one either! (it’s in .ps format which I can’t open.)  Posted by Matt

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