Facing Facts

Hardcover | October 15, 2001

EditorStephen Neale

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Facing Facts is a powerful, original examination of attempts to dislodge a cornerstone of modern philosophy: the idea that our thoughts and utterances are representations of slices of reality. Representations that are accurate are usually said to be true, to correspond to the facts - this isthe foundation of correspondence theories of truth. A number of prominent philosophers have tried to undermine the idea that propositions, facts and correspondence can play any useful role in philosophy, and formal argumentshave been advanced to demonstrate that, under seemingly uncontroversial conditions, such entities collapse into an undifferentiated unity. The demise of individual facts is meant to herald the dawn of a new era inphilosophy, in which debates about scepticism, realism, subjectivity, representational and computational theories of mind, possible worlds, and divergent conceptual schemes that represent reality in different ways todifferent persons, periods, or cultures evaporate through lack of subject matter. By carefully untangling a host of intersecting metaphysical, epistemological, semantic, and logical issues, and providing rich and original analyses of key aspects of the work of Frege, Russell, Godel, andDavidson, Stephen Neale demonstrates that arguments for the collapse of facts are considerably more complex and interesting than either friend or foe ever imagined. A number of deep semantic facts emerge along with apowerful proof: while it is technically possible to avoid the collapse of facts, rescue the idea of representations of reality, and thereby face anew the problems raised by the sceptic or the relativist, doing so requiresmaking some tough semantic decisions about predicates and descriptions. It is simply impossible, Neale shows, to invoke representations, facts, states, or propositions without making hard choices - choices that may send manyphilosophers scurrying back to the drawing board. Facing Facts will be crucial to future work in metaphysics, the philosophy of language and mind, and logic, and will have profound implications far beyond.

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Facing Facts is a powerful, original examination of attempts to dislodge a cornerstone of modern philosophy: the idea that our thoughts and utterances are representations of slices of reality. Representations that are accurate are usually said to be true, to correspond to the facts - this isthe foundation of correspondence theories of ...

Stephen Neale is Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.75 inPublished:October 15, 2001Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199247153

ISBN - 13:9780199247158

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Table of Contents

Preface1. The End of Representation2. Davidson: Truth, Correspondence, Representation3. Frege: Composition, Reference, Truth4. Russell: Facts, Abbreviations, Descriptions5. Godel: Facts and Descriptions6. Extensionality7. Principles of Inference8. Connective Proofs and Logical Equivalence9. Connective Proofs and Godelian Equivalence10. Descriptions and Equivalence11. Facts RevisitedGlossaryReferences, Index

Editorial Reviews

"Neale's book is written with such thoroughness, clarity, and rigor...No one with an interest in intensionality or the semantics of descriptions will want to miss this book."