- Series: Philosophical Troubles
- Hardcover: 408 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 7, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199730156
- ISBN-13: 978-0199730155
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.2 x 6.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,068,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Philosophical Troubles: Collected Papers, Volume 1 1st Edition
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"Readers fond of the Greatest Hits will devour this book. You will not be disappointed in expecting savory new servings of philosophical substance sweetened by a familiar charm and wit."--Mark Crimmins, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
"The first volume of [Kripke's] collected papers, recently published by Oxford University Press under the arresting title "Philosophical Troubles" will be a treasure trove to his fellow philosophers of logic and language." -- Jim Holt, The New York Times' The Stone
"The philosophical world has been waiting for a long time for this volume from one of its greatest thinkers. Several of these classic papers revolutionized a number of fields in philosophy, in some cases even without having been previously published. They are available here for the first time in authoritative versions prepared for publication, alongside other justly famous essays. Simply a 'must-have' of analytic philosophy."--Paul Boghossian, New York University
"Everything Saul Kripke has written is first-rate. Most of it is brilliant. Some of it has been field-changing. Naming and Necessity has a good chance of finding a place in the permanent canon of the history of philosophy. So anything else that Kripke publishes will very likely draw long-term interest. Any serious student of philosophy of language, philosophy of logic, philosophy of mind, or epistemology should read and reread Kripke's work, including these papers."--Tyler Burge, University of California, Los Angeles
"Saul Kripke's work has significantly changed the way we look at fundamental philosophical problems today. Naming and Necessity helped to shatter a centuries-old consensus on the nature of the fundamental semantical concepts of connotation and reference, as well as challenging received ideas about necessity and contingency. This collection of articles is more than welcome; it is something every philosopher will want to own."--Hilary Putnam, Harvard University
"A great deal of this work is new-that is, not the classic canonical Saul Kripke everyone already knows about. True, some of it had been circulating in samizdat form. But more often it was just the ideas that were circulating, and whether for broken telephone reasons, or because the ideas have been evolving, they are oftentimes different (and more challenging) than previously reported. Throughout one finds the trademark Kripkean combination of shining insights with an open-mindedness about what is ultimately to be made of them."--Stephen Yablo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
"I have learned more from Saul Kripke than from any other philosopher of our time."--David Kaplan, University of California, Los Angeles
"A new collection of articles by Saul Kripke is a major event. The older papers are classics, and the newer papers are fascinating. There is an enormous amount of substantial, creative, and insightful philosophy throughout."--David Chalmers, Australian National University and New York University
About the Author
Saul A. Kripke is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Computer Science at CUNY Graduate Center in New York and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University.
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Simply put, nearly every paper in this collection either changed the field with which it was concerned (philosophy of language, truth, etc.) in dramatic ways or provides a wildly important contribution to the topic (for those papers that are new). In the book, it is noted that Kripke's papers tend to revolve around puzzles and paradoxes. Namely, two seemingly contradictory truths and how to resolve them. I suppose one could say that all of philosophy is an attempt to straighten out paradoxes. Since this book is merely a collection of various essays, a brief overview of each one will be provided and then some summary thoughts will conclude the review.
"Identity and Necessity" is a precursor of sorts for Kripke's famous book Naming and Necessity. Thus, this article is essentially Naming and Necessity in brief and so it will either re-stimulate one's thinking on the matter or allow one to see how Kripke has changed his views over the years. Both are probably important in pursuing when reading this essay.
The second chapter is entitled "On Two Paradoxes of Knowledge". Here Kripke discusses the infamous surprise exam (or, surprise execution) paradox and how he thinks it falters. This is one of the more technical essays in the piece, but even an interested layman (as I am) can follow it with a bit of work.
Third, Kripke's "Vacuous Names and Fictional Entities" is another essay which acts as a book in brief. Namely, this essay discusses some of the material in Kripke's Reference and Existence. Again, the treatment in this essay is obviously less all encompassing than his book on the topic, but it is still a stimulating read and worth perusing, if nothing else.
Kripke's "Outline of a Theory of Truth" is by far the most difficult essay in this book in my mind. For about three-quarters of the book, even a non-philosopher can follow the discussion quite well. However, at a certain point one hits a wall wherein Kripke starts talking about the matter of a truth on a complex level not because he wants to show off or because he is a poor communicator, but because truth is such a complex matter! However, the parts that one can read and understand are really interesting and very stimulating. A prime interest of Kripke in this essay is the well known liar paradox.
"Speaker's Reference and Semantic Reference" was hugely important when it was first published and it remains important to this day. To those up to date on reading philosophy of language, undoubtedly this essay has either been read or been influential in something they have read. However, to those who are trying to play catch up or are picking up what they can, this essay remains extremely influential in giving prime examples of where speaker's reference and semantic reference converge and depart.
The sixth chapter was thoroughly enjoyable because, while the essay discusses some hugely important topics, I found that it read much like a mystery novel of sorts. There are all of these clues lying around and it seems like the answer is just on the tip of one's tongue, but as more and more is unveiled, the culprit becomes more and more mysterious. However, Kripke is much too intelligent to write a bland run-of-the-mill mystery novel and so he leaves his story without a final chapter in order that the reader might think more deeply about the topic and come to one's own conclusions.
In all honesty, I found "Nozick on Knowledge" a bit out of place and unnecessarily long. However, anyone with an interest in epistemology and specifically counterfactual conditional warrant will want to soak up everything that Kripke says in this essay. Indeed, Kripke has thrown down the gauntlet that counterfactual conditional warrant proponents must meet. That is not exactly an easy task.
"Russell's Notion of Scope" was interesting because Kripke actually finds something of merit in Russell's philosophy of language (unlike much of what he has written). As is obvious from the title, this essay is part historical and part reflection in that Kripke tries to discuss Russell's notion of scope while also keeping an eye on whether Russell is correct or not.
Like the previous essay, "Frege's Theory of Sense and Reference: Some Exegetical Notes" is part historical and part reflection. Although I was not a huge fan of this particular essay, it meshes quite well with the other essays and thus serves a fine place in this volume.
"The First Person" investigates the use of the pronoun "I". While I would not say Kripke provides any revolutionary discussion on the matter, his views and reasoning behind those views are always worth reading and so one should look forward to this chapter. Personally, I wish Kripke would have written (originally, spoken) more of his own thoughts on the matter and not interacted with the secondary literature as much. However, that is the nature of philosophy sometimes.
"Unrestricted Exportation and Some Morals for the Philosophy of Language" was extremely delectable because it provided a jumping off point for the convergence of philosophy of language and metaphysics that I had not thought of before. Kripke discusses the infamous de dicto and de re distinction and whether de re beliefs/properties should be kept or are merely baggage from a bygone age. Kripke thus weighs in on a much debated topic and provides useful insight along the way.
"Presupposition and Anaphora: Remarks on the Formulation of the Projection Problem" was a mere 12 page essay wherein Kripke discusses a much neglected topic. As Kripke summarizes the problem he is to tackle, "if we have a logically complex sentence whose clauses bear certain presuppositions, how do we compute the presuppositions of the whole?" Kripke argues that the usual answers miss out on a vital part that he thinks sheds light on the problem namely, anaphora.
Lastly, Kripke wrote an original essay for this volume entitled "A Puzzle about Time and Thought". This brief essay again comes back to one of Kripke's preoccupations: puzzles. He presents one of his own for the reader to think about and work through. I find this is a very fitting ending for the book because since Kripke loves philosophy and philosophy is centered around puzzles (see my earlier remark on paradoxes and philosophy) and he solved a number of puzzles in the preceding essays, it is only fitting that he presents a puzzle of his own so that philosophy may go on.
When I read this book, I had no degree in philosophy nor had I even completed a philosophy and/or logic course of any kind. Although I am naturally philosophically inclined, this was, at most, the tenth philosophy book I had read. Nonetheless, these articles were typical Kripke in that they treat complex topics in a very simple manner. It is said that Peter van Inwagen is one of (if not the) clearest writer in philosophy, but I must disagree and give that honor to Kripke. This just shows Kripke's genius all the more because he knows his topic well enough to communicate it in simple terms. As Einstein said, "you do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother." Needless to say, Kripke understands the topics on which he writes like very few (if any) other human beings do.
With the above in mind, then, this book is important reading for people as diverse as the world-renowned philosopher to the merely interested layman. Either of those two, and anyone in between, would benefit immensely from reading this book. However, be ready to think about some complex topics because those are exactly the topics about which Kripke is troubled.