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am 5. Juli 2000
In this brilliant work Saul Kripke outlines his theory of rigid designation and in doing so reinstitutes a concept pretty much debunked in analytic philosophy since Hume - that of necessity in nature. In this series of lectures Kripke resurrected a branch of philosophy and left a permanent mark on Western thought along with Hilary Putnam's paper 'The meaning of "Meaning"'. Whether or not he was successful in his attempt is questionable. There are powerful arguments against rigid desination, but his attacks on Wittgenstein's work on necessity (notably on the metre bar in Paris and Moses in 'The Philosophical Investigations') and the mind-brain identity theorists (Smart, Lewis and with a proviso Davidson) are unanswerable. A book for any one who wishes to read a living philosopher whose work is already a classic. Also a book that every scientist and technician of the human brain should be forced to read.
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am 4. Juni 2000
If ever there was a time in history (and there have been many), when reality seems to be doubted and truth seems illusive, that time is now. With the reductio ad absurdum of post-modernism, Kripke restores the viability and stability of naive realism by fixing the referent in linguistic activity. It's a brilliant move, and one that has withstood the antagonists with suave and elegant argument. What Kripke has done is completely undermine the whole post-modernist project, which, at its core, attempts to deconstruct every semblance of reality. By using the very same tools, namely language, Kripke shows how the post-modernists have failed, and why they have.
Intellectual skepticism is a healthy attitude for any critical thinker, but this very-well written argument on the necessity of naming that establishes and stabilizes our world around us is a must for all students of philosophy, and for all disiciplines that believe "differance" makes all the difference. Kripke shows that it does not.
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am 21. März 2000
The proper analysis of language is more important for philosophy than practically any other project (an exception is the proper understanding of logic, and perhaps the right ontology). This is true even if your primary philosophical interest is "spirituality" and the "World Soul", whatever that is. The importance of language is recognized even by Continental philosophers, given their concern with semiotics, structuralism, etc. Analytic philosophers, needless to say, have always understood it, and none more so than Kripke. Kripke does an incredible job of clearing up a mass of confusions that have surrounded the notion of necessity ever since the days of Hume and Kant. In terms of its philosophical importance, this book is comparable to "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" or "Philosophical Investigations"; it ought to be read by every analytic philosopher. END
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am 28. April 1999
The Millian semantics of proper names; the separation of semantics from the theory of how the semantics gets generated; the staunch insistence on the necessity of identity; the rehabilitation of "non-linguisitic" necessity"; the generation of the class of the necessary a posteriori from the semantics; the extension of the approach to proper names to the semantics of general terms; the consequences for metaphysics and the interpretation of science; the extension of _this_ to the mind-body problem; the tantalizing hints about fictional names; the skepticism about the possibility of conceptual analysis and the cosequent support for rationalist metaphysics; the huge quantity of material to be mined from footnotes -- all of these features and many more are radical and absolutely essential contributions of this book.
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am 4. März 2000
"It's all just about language, not about the truly deep issues in metaphysics."
You've got to be kidding! This book is not "just about language" -- this is the book that lifted 20th century philosophy OUT OF being just about language, and returned it to the perennial questions of metaphysics. (Incidentally, the book argues that the mind is not reducible to the brain. Deep and metaphysical enough for you?)
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am 2. August 1999
Put the dog out, slip on your fuzzy velveteen loafers, pour yourself a glass of cabernet sauvignon, pack your pipe full of a tobacco -- the smell of which reminds you of days at sea, settle into that worn leather chair -- the one that belonged to your grandfather and get ready to dive into one of the most delicious philosophical texts since derrida's last book. Absolutely riveting!!!
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am 17. Juni 2000
Kripke's much celebrated work should be read by everyone who has a serious interest in philosophy of language. Kripke claims that names are rigid designators, i.e. words that refer to the same in all possible worlds. This is intimately conncted to Kripke's strong thesis, that names do not have meaning. In my opinion this work, although HIGHLY original, is just based on dubious exaples, some of the language-users in Kripke's examples do not master the language they attempt to use at all. Does this provide suffiencient basis for saying something whoch is signifcant about language?
Personally, I believe that meanings are in the head, and if i did not have knowledge in my head when I refer to Kripke, I would not really be refering to Kripke.
Kripke also writes about necessity. This is creative work. But if I remember correctly, he says the "This wooden table is not made of ice" is an a priori particular truth. I think he does a serious mistake here. He does realize that this knowledge is derived from the two premises: (1) This is a wooden table, (2) If a table is made of wood, it is not made of ice. now the first prop, I think anyone should agree that is empirical. (I believe the second is too). So this is not known a priori.
But Kripke is very interesting. His book should be read. But what happened to Wittgenstein's "only death gives life it's meaning". When did this leave philosophy?
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This book reads like a novella, yet it delves the most complicated areas of philosophy today.
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am 13. März 2000
Some people claim that Kripke's book is a major turning point in contemporary analytic philosophy. I found it to be a bore. Follow Kripke as he drives home the point that the philosophy of language is dead (not that it hasn't been important).
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