Central Works of Philosophy, Volume 5

Central Works of Philosophy, Volume 5: The Twentieth Century: Quine and After

Edited by John Shand
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 344
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  • Book Info
    Central Works of Philosophy, Volume 5
    Book Description:

    Ranging over 2,500 years of philosophical writing, this five-volume collection of essays is an unrivalled companion to the study and reading of philosophy. Central Works of Philosophy provides both an overview of particular works and clear and authoritative expositions of their central ideas, giving readers the resources and confidence to read the works themselves. These books offer remarkable insights into the ideas out of which our present ways of thinking emerged and without which they cannot fully be understood.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-8566-9
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Contributors
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xxii)
    John Shand
  5. The Twentieth Century: Quine and After: Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)
    John Shand

    It would be a distortion to attribute to philosophy in the latter half of the twentieth century any overall unity of philosophical outlook, and I shall, therefore, not try to impose one. Moreover, the closeness to the present of the works in this period makes it even more difficult than usual to discern a prevailing direction in recent philosophy or identify what value posterity will assign to any particular part of it. If one true observation about late-twentieth-century philosophy may be made, it is perhaps only the trite one of its diversity.¹

    To say, however, that there is no discernible...

  6. 1 W.V.Quine: Word and Object
    (pp. 15-39)
    Gary Kemp

    Western philosophy since Descartes has been marked by certain seminal books whose concern is the nature and scope of human knowledge. After Descartes'sMeditations,works by Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Kant are perhaps the most familiar and enduringly influential examples. Quine'sWord and Object(1960) not conspicuously announce itself as an intended successor to these, but is very much what it is. And after Wittgenstein'sPhilosophical Investigations,it is among the most likely of the philosophical fruits of the twentieth century to attain something like the prestige of those earlier works (setting aside century's great achievements in pure logic and...

  7. 2 P.F.Strawson: Individuals
    (pp. 40-63)
    Paul Snowdon

    Peter Strawson publishedIndividualsin 1959. He had been a Fellow at University College, Oxford, since 1948. Later he was appointed as Gilbert Ryle's successor to the Waynflete Professorship in Oxford. Strawson had achieved fame, like Frege earlier and Kripke later, by writing about reference. In “On Referring” (1950a) he criticized Russell's theory of definite descriptions and claimed that at least some uses of expressions of the form “TheF” are devices reference rather than a form of general quantification.¹ He moved from this to consider the question of the general relation between ordinary language formal logic, in his first...

  8. 3 John Rawls: A Theory of Justice
    (pp. 64-85)
    Anthony Simon Laden

    In his classes, John Rawls routinely quoted R. G. Collingwood’s remark that “the history of political theory is not the history of different answers to one and same question, but the history of a problem more or less constantly changing, whose solution was changing with it" (Rawls 2000b: xvi). To understand Rawls’s own work, we would do well to understand the problem he took himself be addressing. Fortunately, Rawls tells us what that problem is:

    During much of modern moral philosophy the predominant systematic theory has been some form of utilitarianism. One reason for this is that it has been...

  9. 4 Robert Nozick: Anarchy, State, and Utopia
    (pp. 86-103)

    Robert Nozick'sAnarchy, State, and Utopia(1974), along with John Rawls’sA Theroy of Justice(1971), radically changed the landscape in analytic political philosophy. For much of the preceding half-century, under the influence of logical heavy emphasis on empirical verifiability, much of moral philosophy was taken up with metaethics (e.g. the semantics of moral discourse), with little attention given to normative moral theories. Moreover, to the extent that normative theories were considered, utilitarianism was the centre of attention. This all changed with the publication of Rawls’s articulation and defence of liberal egalitarianism and Nozick’s libertarian challenge to the legitimacy of...

  10. 5 Michael Dummett: Truth and Other Enigmas
    (pp. 104-125)
    Bernhard Weiss

    Truth Other Enigmasis a collection of some of Michael Dummett's writings on truth and other enigmas. The other enigmas include: meaning and understanding, time and causation, the past, realism, logic, proof, vagueness and philosophy itself. The writings span a considerable portion of Dummett's career - the years 1953 to 1975 - and reflect his diverse concerns in that period. So it would be a to look for and wrong to impose a single theme that unifies the essays.However, two issues stand out as central, recurring as they do in many of the essays. One issue is the set of...

  11. 6 Richard Rorty: Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature
    (pp. 126-145)
    Alan Malachowski

    Richard Rorty'sPhilosophy and the Mirror of Naturemay be viewed as a sustained meditation on the philosophical significance and consequences of these by Nietzsche. It is an iconoclastic book. But it is one that any person seriosuly interested in what philosophy is, how it came to be what it is and what it might eventually become should want to read, and re-read, whether or not disposed to agree with its controversial conclusions. In many ways, it is unique text. Certainly, no other book in recent times has launched such a detailed and extensive attack on the presuppositions and preoccupations...

  12. 7 Donald Davidson: Essays on Actions and Events
    (pp. 146-165)
    Kirk Ludwig

    Essay son Actions and Events(Davidson 2001a, henceforth EAE) brings together seminal papers by Donald Davidson, one of the most influential philosophers in the analytic tradition in the latter half of the twentieth century, in the areas of the philosophy of action, the metaphysics of events and the philosophy of psychology. Davidson’s central contributions to philosophy are presented in EAE and its companion volumeInquiries into Trnth and Interpretation(Davidson 2001b), which deals with issues in the theory of meaning and philosophy of language.¹ The fifteen essays collected in EAE² are divided into three groups: “Intention and Action”, “Event and...

  13. 8 Saul Kripke: Naming and Necessity
    (pp. 166-186)
    John P. Burgess

    Kripke first became known for technical work on modal logic, the logic of necessity and possibility, much of it done in the late 1950s as a high-school student, and summarized in Kripke (1963). (Among other things this work popularized a revival of the picturesque Leibnizian language according to which necessity is truth in all possible worlds.) Under the influence of Kripke's later work philosophers have come to distinguish several conceptions of necessity and possibility, in a manner to be described below; but Kripke’s early technical work was not tied to any special conception. Rather, it provides tools applicable to many...

  14. 9 Hilary Putnam: Reason, Truty and History
    (pp. 187-206)
    Peter Clark

    In the late 1970s and early 1980s Hilary Putnam produced a major sequence philosophical works all directed at criticism of a certain view of the relation between language and reality. Two of the most salient of those works wereReason, Truth and History(1981; hereafterRTH) andMeaning and the Moral Sciences(1978). Both works were independently philosophicaltours de forceand both were enormously influential, producing a huge secondary literature. This essay concerns principally the former work, although we shall often have to refer to the latter also. Putnam is unselfconsciously one of those philosophers¹ who is not afraid...

  15. 10 Bernard Williams: Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy
    (pp. 207-226)
    A.W. Moore

    Bernard Williams (1929-2003) was one of the greatest twentieth-century British philosophers, renowned especially for his work in moral philosophy. WhenEthics and the Limits of Philosophywas published, in 1985, he had already written numerous highly influential articles in the area. He had also written a beautifully concise and widely read introduction to the subject entitledMorality: An Introduction to Ethics([1972] 1993a), and had contributed the second half of a joint publication with J. J. C. Smart entitledUtilitarianism: For and Against(Smart & Williams 1973); Williams’s contribution, “A Critique of Utilitarianism”, provided the case against. A number of...

  16. 11 Thomas Nagel: The View From Nowhere
    (pp. 227-245)
    Anita Avramides

    Persons are subjects of thought and action; they live in a world that science has so successfully managed to understand. As subjects, persons have a very particular perspective on the world and their actions in it: call it the subjective perspective. Persons are also capable of transcending this subjective perspective and of thinking about the world and their behaviour in a detached manner. They are capable of viewing the world not just fromhere, and from the point of view of humanity, but also of viewing itfrom nowhere in particular. The View From Nowhereis a philosophical exploration of...

  17. 12 David Lewis: On the Plurality of Worlds
    (pp. 246-267)
    Phillip Bricker

    The notion of a possible world is familiar from Leibniz's philosophy, especially the idea - parodied by Voltaire inCandide- that the world we inhabit, theactualworld, is the best of all possible worlds. But it was primarily in the latter half of the twentieth century that possible worlds became a mainstay of philosophical theorizing. In areas as diverse as philosophy of language, philosophy of science, epistemology, logic, ethics and, of course, metaphysics itself, philosophers helped themselves to possible worlds in order to provide analyses of key concepts from their respective domains. David Lewis contributed analyses in all...

  18. 13 Charles Taylor: Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity
    (pp. 268-290)
    Ruth Abbey

    Since its publication in 1989, Charles Taylor'sSources of the Selfhas commanded much attention and generated considerable controversy. It has attracted lavish praise and fierce criticism - sometimes from the same commentator!¹ Yet when one considers its scope and ambition, it is not surprising thatSources of the Selfshould have elicited, and should continue to elicit, such a range of reactions. This chapter provides an overview of the book by outlining what Taylor was attempting to do inSources of the Self;what conception of the self it adduces; what the sources of the modern self are and...

  19. 14 John McDowell: Mind and World
    (pp. 291-316)
    Tim Thornton

    John McDowell’sMind and Worldwas first published in 1994. Based on his six 1991 John Locke Lectures, it is the most free flowing of his published work. It also the only book-length account of his philosophy. It is an important, dramatic and challenging work for three reasons.

    First, it addresses what is perhaps the central question of modern philosophy since Descartes: what is the relation between mind and world? This large and rather abstract question is raised through a number of more specific, but still central, questions in philosophy. How is it possible for thoughts to be about the...

  20. Index
    (pp. 317-322)