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Kripke versus Kant

Richard Rorty, 4 September 1980

Naming and Necessity 
by Saul Kripke.
Blackwell, 172 pp., £7.95, May 1980, 0 631 10151 9
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... as Russell and Bergson, Whitehead and Husserl, James and Nietzsche, Carnap and Cassirer. Until Kripke came along, almost the only exceptions to this consensus were the Catholics and the Marxists. Between the two Vatican Councils, neo-Thomists tried to explain that the ‘naive’ Aristotelian view was the sound intuitive belief of the common man, and that ...

Living Things

Ian Hacking, 21 February 1991

Cognitive Foundations of Natural History: Towards an Anthropology of Science 
by Scott Atran.
Cambridge, 360 pp., £35, August 1990, 0 521 37293 3
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... we are referring, whether we know it or not, to the fundamental kinds at which science aims (Saul Kripke and, sometimes, Hilary Putnam). We have an obligation to integrate our commonsense categories into the best knowledge available; when there is conflict, common sense yields to knowledge (most good scientists, starting with Aristotle). That is a ...

Guilty Statements

Hilary Putnam, 3 May 1984

Representing and Intervening: Introductory Topics in the Philosophy of Natural Science 
by Ian Hacking.
Cambridge, 287 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 521 23829 3
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... of elementary particle physics. It isn’t just a structured aggregate of atoms because (as Saul Kripke has emphasised) the identity conditions for the stone aren’t the same as the identity conditions for the aggregate of atoms (it would be the same stone but not the same aggregate of atoms if one atom were removed). Deep and sophisticated ...

How many grains make a heap?

Richard Rorty: After Kripke, 20 January 2005

Philosophical Analysis in the 20th Century. Vol. I: The Dawn of Analysis 
by Scott Soames.
Princeton, 432 pp., £15.95, February 2005, 9780691122441
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Philosophical Analysis in the 20th Century. Vol. II: The Age of Meaning 
by Scott Soames.
Princeton, 504 pp., £15.95, March 2005, 0 691 12312 8
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... Ayer, Stevenson, Ross, Quine, Ryle, Strawson, Hare, Malcolm, Austin, Grice, Davidson and Kripke – are thought important, you may still be baffled after finishing the second volume. People who are already convinced that the questions Russell asked about the relation between language and reality were good ones will get a lot out of Soames’s careful ...

Man as the Measure

David Pears, 18 August 1983

Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language: An Elementary Exposition 
by Saul Kripke.
Blackwell, 150 pp., £9.50, September 1982, 0 631 13077 2
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... insinuation of inconstancy in the last place where we would think of it, our own minds? Professor Kripke takes Wittgenstein’s treatment of this unnerving form of scepticism, develops it at length and assesses the merits of what he supposes to be Wittgenstein’s answer to it. His presentation of the problem is characteristically profound and clear and it is ...

An End to Anxiety

Barry Stroud, 18 July 1985

by A.J. Ayer.
Weidenfeld, 155 pp., £14.95, May 1985, 0 297 78612 1
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The Legacy of Wittgenstein 
by Anthony Kenny.
Blackwell, 150 pp., £12.50, September 1984, 9780631137054
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Wittgenstein on Meaning 
by Colin McGinn.
Blackwell, 202 pp., £12.50, December 1984, 0 631 13764 5
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Understanding Wittgenstein: Studies of ‘Philosophical Investigations’ 
by J.M.F. Hunter.
Edinburgh, 248 pp., £20, March 1985, 0 85224 497 5
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... it seems impossible to avoid ascribing to him theses or doctrines. Or are they only truisms? Saul Kripke has ascribed to Wittgenstein provocative doctrines about meaning which it now begins to appear almost nobody agrees with – either as views of Wittgenstein’s or as truths about meaning. Colin McGinn attacks ...

Frege and his Rivals

Adam Morton, 19 August 1982

Frege: Philosophy of Language 
by Michael Dummett.
Duckworth, 708 pp., £28, May 1981, 0 7156 1568 8
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The Interpretation of Frege’s Philosophy 
by Michael Dummett.
Duckworth, 621 pp., £35, September 1981, 0 7156 1540 8
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Frege: An Introduction to his Philosophy 
by Gregory Currie.
Harvester, 212 pp., £20, June 1982, 0 85527 826 9
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... in a reflective understanding of theory. It is not a big step from here to the ‘realism’ of Saul Kripke and Hilary Putnam, according to which the factors which determine a sentence’s truth (notably the determination of what its terms refer to) may to a large extent consist in objective facts quite independent of the knowledge of most speakers. On ...

Locke rules

Ian Hacking, 21 November 1991

Locke. Vol. I: Epistemology 
by Michael Ayers.
Routledge, 341 pp., £90, September 1991, 0 415 06406 6
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Locke. Vol. II: Ontology 
by Michael Ayers.
Routledge, 341 pp., £90, September 1991, 0 415 06407 4
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... still stand up well, or so Ayers argues. Here he is taking on the recently fashionable notions of Saul Kripke and Hilary Putnam. Those are formidable opponents, but Locke is a staunch ally. His central analytical concepts of mode and substance are rather carefully tailored to much common experience which we still have, science or no. The most that Ayers ...

Encounters with Trees

Jerry Fodor, 20 April 1995

Mind and World 
by John McDowell.
Harvard, 191 pp., £19.95, October 1994, 0 674 57609 8
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... tell the whole, literal truth about the essence of the mental. Science discovers essences, as Saul Kripke once remarked. So, if it’s literally true that rationality, intentionality, normativity and the like belong to the mind essentially, then they must all be phenomena within the natural realm that scientists explore. McDowell comments, sort of in ...

Unquiet Bodies

Thomas Laqueur: Burying the 20th Century, 6 April 2006

Retroactive Justice: Prehistory of Post-Communism 
by István Rév.
Stanford, 340 pp., £19.95, January 2005, 0 8047 3644 8
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... history of various subway systems and the theory of names as it developed from John Stuart Mill to Saul Kripke, with, by way of comparison, a solid account of necronym taboos among various tribes. Films, photographs and museum exhibits are everywhere used in evidence, as is an enormous range of recondite archival material. As the founder and director of ...

Taking Bad Arguments Seriously

Ian Hacking, 21 August 1997

... Z in terms of the theories of reference advocated a quarter of a century ago by Hilary Putnam and Saul Kripke. Kripke and Putnam would call ‘schizophrenia’ a natural-kind term, if indeed this is a kind of illness that exists in nature. Putnam presents the meaning of a term as a sequence of items, much like a ...
Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature 
by Richard Rorty.
Blackwell, 401 pp., £12.50, May 1980, 0 631 12961 8
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The Claim of Reason: Wittgenstein, Skepticism, Morality and Tragedy 
by Stanley Cavell.
Oxford, 511 pp., £12.50, February 1980, 0 19 502571 7
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Philosophy As It Is 
edited by Ted Honderich and Myles Burnyeat.
Pelican, 540 pp., £2.95, November 1979, 0 14 022136 0
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... the uniformly distinguished contributors include John Rawls, Donald Davidson, Hilary Putnam, Saul Kripke, Ayer and Hampshire – is prefaced by a quite excellent editorial essay which makes available even to beginners work at the very frontiers of the discipline. But what this anthologising approach omits is also important. The editors make the bold ...

Possible Worlds and Premature Sciences

Roger Scruton, 7 February 1980

The Role of the Reader 
by Umberto Eco.
Indiana, 384 pp., £10.50, September 1980, 0 253 11139 0
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The Semiotics of the Built Environment 
by Donald Preziosi.
Indiana, 192 pp., £9, September 1980, 0 253 17638 7
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... It seems to express a greater plasticity of outlook, and, being able to regard Julia Kristeva and Saul Kripke as equally relevant to its intellectual enterprise, it draws attention from every corner of the academic world. Let us, however, ignore the higher reaches of semiotic speculation, and attend for a moment to that mundane application through which ...


Paul Seabright, 21 March 1985

The Forger’s Art 
edited by Denis Dutton.
California, 276 pp., £18, June 1984, 0 520 04341 3
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Of Mind and Other Matters 
by Nelson Goodman.
Harvard, 210 pp., £14.90, April 1984, 0 674 63125 0
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Fact, Fiction and Forecast 
by Nelson Goodman.
Harvard, 131 pp., £4.20, April 1984, 0 674 29071 2
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But is it art? 
by B.R. Tilghman.
Blackwell, 193 pp., £15, August 1984, 0 631 13663 0
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... the ‘sceptical interpretation’ of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations advanced by Saul Kripke a couple of years ago. In a new foreword to this fourth edition, Hilary Putnam mentions the parallel, but does not develop it. It is important because a formally identical argument is put to subtly different uses in the two books. Both show that ...

The Egocentric Predicament

Thomas Nagel, 18 May 1989

The False Prison: A Study of the Development of Wittgenstein’s Philosophy, Vol. II 
by David Pears.
Oxford, 355 pp., £29.50, November 1988, 0 19 824487 8
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... need in natural language is a central issue of Wittgenstein interpretation, stirred up recently by Saul Kripke’s proposals and the response to them – which Pears now joins. Pears explains Wittgenstein’s argument that the rule for the application of a term cannot be captured by an ‘instant mental talisman’, for no such thing could by itself ...

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