The Philosophy of Philosophy

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The second volume in the Blackwell Brown Lectures in Philosophy, this volume offers an original and provocative take on the nature and methodology of philosophy.
  • Based on public lectures at Brown University, given by the pre-eminent philosopher, Timothy Williamson
  • Rejects the ideology of the 'linguistic turn', the most distinctive trend of 20th century philosophy
  • Explains the method of philosophy as a development from non-philosophical ways of thinking
  • Suggests new ways of understanding what contemporary and past philosophers are doing
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About the author

Timothy Williamson is Wykeham Professor of Logic at the University of Oxford, a Fellow of the British Academy, and a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts. Williamson is the author of Identity and Discrimination (1990), Vagueness (1996), Knowledge and its Limits (2000) and numerous articles on logic, philosophy of language, epistemology, and metaphysics.
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Additional Information

Publisher
John Wiley & Sons
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Published on
Apr 30, 2008
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9780470695913
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Are there such things as merely possible people, who would have lived if our ancestors had acted differently? Are there future people, who have not yet been conceived? Questions like those raise deep issues about both the nature of being and its logical relations with contingency and change. In Modal Logic as Metaphysics, Timothy Williamson argues for positive answers to those questions on the basis of an integrated approach to the issues, applying the technical resources of modal logic to provide structural cores for metaphysical theories. He rejects the search for a metaphysically neutral logic as futile. The book contains detailed historical discussion of how the metaphysical issues emerged in the twentieth century development of quantified modal logic, through the work of such figures as Rudolf Carnap, Ruth Barcan Marcus, Arthur Prior, and Saul Kripke. It proposes higher-order modal logic as a new setting in which to resolve such metaphysical questions scientifically, by the construction of systematic logical theories embodying rival answers and their comparison by normal scientific standards. Williamson provides both a rigorous introduction to the technical background needed to understand metaphysical questions in quantified modal logic and an extended argument for controversial, provocative answers to them. He gives original, precise treatments of topics including the relation between logic and metaphysics, the methodology of theory choice in philosophy, the nature of possible worlds and their role in semantics, plural quantification compared to quantification into predicate position, communication across metaphysical disagreement, and problems for truthmaker theory.
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