Thought and Reality

Paperback | November 1, 2008

byMichael Dummett

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In this short, lucid, rich book Michael Dummett sets out his views about some of the deepest questions in philosophy. The fundamental question of metaphysics is: what does reality consist of? To answer this, Dummett holds, it is necessary to say what kinds of fact obtain, and what constitutestheir holding good. Facts correspond with true propositions, or true thoughts: when we know which propositions, or thoughts, in general, are true, we shall know what facts there are in general. Dummett considers the relation between metaphysics, our conception of the constitution of reality, andsemantics, the theory that explains how statements are determined as true or as false in terms of their composition out of their constituent expressions. He investigates the two concepts on which the bridge that connects semantics to metaphysics rests, meaning and truth, and the role ofjustification in a theory of meaning. He then examines the special semantic and metaphysical issues that arise with relation to time and tense. On this basis Dummett puts forward his controversial view of reality as indeterminate: there may be no fact of the matter about whether an object does or does not have a given property. We have to relinquish our deep-held realist understanding of language, the illusion that we know what it is forany proposition that we can frame to be true independently of our having any means of recognizing its truth, and accept that truth depends on our capacity to apprehend it. Dummett concludes with a chapter about God.

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In this short, lucid, rich book Michael Dummett sets out his views about some of the deepest questions in philosophy. The fundamental question of metaphysics is: what does reality consist of? To answer this, Dummett holds, it is necessary to say what kinds of fact obtain, and what constitutestheir holding good. Facts correspond with tr...

Sir Michael Dummett is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Oxford University, and Emeritus Fellow, New College and All Souls College, Oxford.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:128 pages, 7.99 × 5.31 × 0.31 inPublished:November 1, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019955224X

ISBN - 13:9780199552245

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Table of Contents

Preface1. Facts and Propositions2. Semantics and Metaphysics3. Truth and Meaning4. Truth-Conditional Semantics5. Justificationist Theories of Meaning6. Tense and Time7. Reality As It Is In Itself8. God and the World

Editorial Reviews

`Review from previous edition The British elder sage of philosophy of language...provide[s] a clear exposition of his consistent rejection of bivalent logic (the view that something must be true or false, and nothing inbetween) in favour of what is called "intuitionist" logic. The knottyarguments about meaning and knowledge are illuminated with references to astrophysics and the odd beguiling image.'Steven Poole, The Guardian