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Peter Strawson

Peter Strawson

Clifford Brown
Series: Philosophy Now
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    Peter Strawson
    Book Description:

    Peter Strawson's work has radically altered the philosophical concept of analysis, returned metaphysics to centre stage in Anglo-American philosophy, and transformed the framework for subsequent interpretations of Kantian philosophy. In this introduction to Strawson's ideas, Clifford Brown provides close and detailed examination of the arguments and contributions to debates that have established Strawson's formidable reputation.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-8601-7
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. Abbreviations
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    That time and place were the late 1940s in Oxford, at the beginning of the diverse, productive and lengthy career of Peter Strawson, whose accomplishments clearly place him at the forefront of Anglophone philosophers in the latter half of the twentieth century. The questions that engaged him at the outset concern our common use of expressions to refer to particular persons and things as the fundamental objects of reference. That use is fundamental, but since anything whatsoever can be identifyingly referred to, theindividualsof our discourse will include not only particular objects, but also all manner of concepts, such...

  5. Chapter 1 “On Referring” and Introduction to Logical Theory: The basic questions
    (pp. 17-50)

    Looking back at the course of his career in philosophy, Strawson believed in 1998 that the work by which he continues to be best known remains his first, the article “On Referring”. That judgement is probably correct. It is certainly true that “On Referring” is the root of the whole wide spectrum of developments in his later writings. The article is concerned with one particular aspect of the relation between our ordinary language and formal logic, and the concern with that relation is then broadened in his subsequent first book,Introduction to Logical Theory. The two works are therefore appropriately...

  6. Chapter 2 Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics: Towards a basic ontology
    (pp. 51-92)

    The central question raised by Strawson in Part I ofIndividualsconcerns the ways in which reference to individuals and particulars is obtained in the practices of ordinary language. Anything whatsoever can be identifyingly referred to, can appear as a logical subject, can appear as an individual. Thus particulars such as historical events, material objects and persons are individuals, but so too are such nonparticular individuals as qualities, properties, numbers and species. There is the further question of whether our reference to a particular can be secured through the exclusive use of purely universal or general terms, or whether in...

  7. Chapter 3 The Bounds of Sense: Kant’s first Critique under analysis
    (pp. 93-142)

    The Bounds of Sense: An Essay on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason(1966a) builds on the questions and the answers that are central to Strawson’sIndividuals. InIndividuals, Strawson had attempted to establish the conditions that are presupposed by the knowledge and experience we plainly do have. As we have seen,Individualshas its roots in the earlierIntroduction of Logical Theoryand “On Referring”. In “On Referring”, the use of the sentence “The king of France is wise” as a statement at this present time is neither true nor false, since itspresuppositionthat there is a present king...

  8. Chapter 4 Skepticism and Naturalism: Hume revisited
    (pp. 143-166)

    Strawson’s interest in Kant did not end with the publication ofThe Bounds of Sensein 1966. He continued to give regular graduate seminars on Kant for the following twenty years, and, in a series of articles, he both amended and developed the views he had established in that book.

    Kant had said that it was Hume who had awakened him from his “dogmatic slumber” and set him on the path to his critical philosophy. While Strawson continued to see Kant as the greatest of the moderns, he has also been prepared to see Hume as his hero on particular...

  9. Chapter 5 Analysis and Metaphysics: Summing up
    (pp. 167-198)

    Beginning in 1968 and continuing until 1987, Strawson gave almost yearly at Oxford a series of introductory lectures in philosophy. In the course of those years, his account of the foundations of logical theory, his effort to provide a metaphysics that would be descriptive rather than revisionary, and his critical accounts of the philosophies of Hume and Kant were all in hand. We have seen how these works are closely and progressively related in their pursuit of certain common themes. Those lectures were gathered together and form the content ofAnalysis and Metaphysics, published towards the end of his career...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 199-202)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 203-206)
  12. Index
    (pp. 207-210)