Brevity in conversation is a window to the workings of the mind. It is both a multifaceted topic of deep philosophical importance and a phenomenon that serves as a testing ground for theories in linguistics, psycholinguistics and computer modeling. Speakers use elliptical constructions and exploit salient features of the conversational environment, a process of pragmatic enrichment, so as to pack a great deal into a few words. They also tailor their words to theirparticular conversational partners. In Brevity, distinguished linguists, philosophers and cognitive scientists shed new light on economy in discourse. The book will appeal to linguists, philosophers, and psychologists at advanced undergraduate level and above.
What is knowledge? What, if anything, can we know? In Knowing and Seeing, Michael Ayers recovers the insight in the traditional distinction between knowledge and belief, according to which 'knowledge' stems from direct and perspicuous cognitive contact with ('seeing') its object, whereas 'belief' relies on 'extraneous' justification. He conducts a careful phenomenological analysis of what it is to perceive one's environment as one's environment, the result of which is not only direct realism, but recognition that in being perceptually aware of anything we are at the same time perceptually aware of how we are aware of it. Perceptual knowing comes with knowing how you know. Some other forms of knowledge are similarly direct and perspicuous, but not all; a distinction is accordingly drawn between primary and secondary knowledge, and Ayers argues that no secondary knowledge is possible without some primary knowledge. Perceptual knowledge supplies the paradigm to which other cases of knowledge are diversely analogous - hence the notorious difficulty of defining knowledge. These conclusions, supported by a detailed examination of the relations between different grammatical constructions in which 'know', 'believe' and 'see' occur, fuel extended critiques of two lines of thought influential in contemporary epistemology: John McDowell's conceptualist and intellectualist account of perceptual knowledge, and Fred Dretske's 'externalist' employment of sceptical argument. Ayers unpicks the arguments for these other views, explains the failure of recent attempts at a comprehensive definition of knowledge, explores the tight relation between knowledge and certainty, and gives an account of how 'defeasibility' should and should not be understood in epistemology.
A distinctive feature of Ludwig Wittgenstein's work after 1930 was his turn to a conception of philosophy as a form of social inquiry, John G. Gunnell argues, and Thomas Kuhn's approach to the philosophy of science exemplified this conception. In this book, Gunnell shows how these philosophers address foundational issues in the social and human sciences, particularly the vision of social inquiry as an interpretive endeavor and the distinctive cognitive and practical relationship between social inquiry and its subject matter. Gunnell speaks directly to philosophers and practitioners of the social and human sciences. He tackles the demarcation between natural and social science; the nature of social phenomena; the concept and method of interpretation; the relationship between language and thought; the problem of knowledge of other minds; and the character of descriptive and normative judgments about practices that are the object of inquiry. Though Wittgenstein and Kuhn are often criticized as initiating a modern descent into relativism, this book shows that the true effect of their work was to undermine the basic assumptions of contemporary social and human science practice. It also problematized the authority of philosophy and other forms of social inquiry to specify the criteria for judging such matters as truth and justice. When Wittgenstein stated that "philosophy leaves everything as it is," he did not mean that philosophy would be left as it was or that philosophy would have no impact on what it studied, but rather that the activity of inquiry did not, simply by virtue of its performance, transform the object of inquiry.
Saul Kripke has been a major influence on analytic philosophy and allied fields for a half-century and more. His early masterpiece, Naming and Necessity, reversed the pattern of two centuries of philosophizing about the necessary and the contingent. Although much of his work remains unpublished, several major essays have now appeared in print, most recently in his long-awaited collection Philosophical Troubles. In this book Kripke’s long-time colleague, the logician and philosopher John P. Burgess, offers a thorough and self-contained guide to all of Kripke’s published books and his most important philosophical papers, old and new. It also provides an authoritative but non-technical account of Kripke’s influential contributions to the study of modal logic and logical paradoxes. Although Kripke has been anything but a system-builder, Burgess expertly uncovers the connections between different parts of his oeuvre. Kripke is shown grappling, often in opposition to existing traditions, with mysteries surrounding the nature of necessity, rule-following, and the conscious mind, as well as with intricate and intriguing puzzles about identity, belief and self-reference. Clearly contextualizing the full range of Kripke’s work, Burgess outlines, summarizes and surveys the issues raised by each of the philosopher’s major publications. Kripke will be essential reading for anyone interested in the work of one of analytic philosophy’s greatest living thinkers.
The writings of Kierkegaard continue to be a fertile source for con temporary philosophical thought. Perhaps the most interesting of his works to a philosopher is the Concluding Unscientific Postscript to the Philosophical Fragments. The Fragments is a brief, algebraic piece in which the author attempts to put forward the central teachings of Christianity in philosophical terminology. The. work is addressed to a reader who has a philosophical bent and who may therefore be tempted to relate to Christianity via such questions as: Can the truth of Christian ity be established? The analysis of the Fragments establishes that this way of relating to Christianity is misguided, since Christianity and phil osophy are categorically different. Having done this, the author turns his attention in the Postscript to the question of how an individual human being can properly establish a relationship to Christianity. In order to become a Christian, one must first of all exist. "Nothing more than thatP' one may be tempted to think. Yet at the very core of the Postscript is the notion that to exist as an individual human being is difficult. The author goes so far as to claim that men have forgotten what it means to exist.
Reference and Existence, Saul Kripke's John Locke Lectures for 1973, can be read as a sequel to his classic Naming and Necessity. It confronts important issues left open in that work -- among them, the semantics of proper names and natural kind terms as they occur in fiction and in myth; negative existential statements; the ontology of fiction and myth (whether it is true that fictional characters like Hamlet, or mythical kinds like bandersnatches, might have existed). In treating these questions, he makes a number of methodological observations that go beyond the framework of his earlier book -- including the striking claim that fiction cannot provide a test for theories of reference and naming. In addition, these lectures provide a glimpse into the transition to the pragmatics of singular reference that dominated his influential paper, "Speaker's Reference and Semantic Reference" -- a paper that helped reorient linguistic and philosophical semantics. Some of the themes have been worked out in later writings by other philosophers -- many influenced by typescripts of the lectures in circulation -- but none have approached the careful, systematic treatment provided here. The virtuosity of Naming and Necessity -- the colloquial ease of the tone, the dazzling, on-the-spot formulations, the logical structure of the overall view gradually emerging over the course of the lectures -- is on display here as well.
This is the first critical study of The Logic of Sense, Gilles Deleuze's most important work on language and ethics, as well as the main source of his vital philosophy of the event.James Williams explains the originality of Deleuze's work with careful definitions of all his innovative terms and a detailed description of the complex structure he constructs. This reading makes connections to his ground-breaking work on literature, to his critical but also progressive relation to the sciences, and to his controversial denial of the priority of standard logics, human values and 'meaning' in thinking.This book will open new debates and develop current ones around Deleuze's work in philosophy, politics, literature, linguistics, cultural studies and sociology.
Mathematics as a Science of Patterns is the definitive exposition of a system of ideas about the nature of mathematics which Michael Resnik has been elaborating for a number of years. In calling mathematics a science he implies that it has a factual subject-matter and that mathematical knowledge is on a par with other scientific knowledge; in calling it a science of patterns he expresses his commitment to a structuralist philosophy of mathematics. He links this to a defence of realism about the metaphysics of mathematics--the view that mathematics is about things that really exist. Resnik's distinctive philosophy of mathematics is here presented in an accessible and systematic form: it will be of value not only to specialists in this area, but to philosophers, mathematicians, and logicians interested in the relationship between these three disciplines, or in truth, realism, and epistemology.