Naming and Necessity (Library of Philosophy & Logic) Paperback – 23 Jul 1981
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"Brilliant and very influential . . . stands up as an impressive and enduring work of philosophy, outstanding in its sweep, clarity and penetration."― Colin McGinn, Times Higher Education Supplement
"When these lectures were first published eight years ago, they stood analytic philosophy on its ear. Everybody was either furious, or exhilarated, or thoroughly perplexed. No one was indifferent. This welcome republication provides a chance to look back at a modern classic, and to say something about why it was found so shocking and liberating."―Richard Rorty, London Review of Books
From the Back Cover
Naming and Necessity has had a great and increasing influence. It redirected philosophical attention to neglected questions of natural and metaphysical necessity and to the connections between these and theories of naming, and of identity. This seminal work, to which today′s thriving essentialist metaphysics largely owes its impetus, is here reissued in a newly corrected form with a new preface by the author. If there is such a thing as essential reading in metaphysics, or in philosophy of language, this is it.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book itself is split into three lectures - Kripke can be summarised as arguing against the Frege-Russell thesis (the idea that proper names in natural language can be analysed as definite descriptions or as clusters of definite descriptions). His modal, epistemic and semantic arguments are contributions to this. He introduces the notion of rigid designation to support his claim to a causal-historical theory of reference for proper names, and extends this in the third lecture to a semi-Aristotelian scientific essentialism, a consequence of which is, if water is H2O, then water is necessarily H2O.
It's not intended to be hugely accessible, but it transpires that it is because it was given as lectures. If you want a more modern take on what is a very important debate in philosophical logic, then buy this book. If you don't, don't buy it.
The title is no snappy gimmick, the book simply does what it says it does: the book concerns the old analytic/synthetic distinction, sharpened by Frege and later framed as 'necessary' versus 'contingent'.
But if we name something, then is calling it such a 'necessary' or a 'contingent' truth? If this book melts your brainn a bit, and it certainly did mine, then beware that rather too austere logical-positivist tradition.
But if logic appeals rather than frightens, always room for one more inside. Try it and see?