Strawson Philosophy Of Language Essays

Sir Peter Strawson, in full Peter Frederick Strawson, (born November 23, 1919, London, England—died February 13, 2006, Oxford, Oxfordshire), British philosopher who was a leading member of the ordinary language school of analytic philosophy during the 1950s and ’60s. His work was instrumental in reviving interest in metaphysics within Anglo-American (analytic) philosophy in the mid-20th century.

After graduating from St. John’s College at Oxford in 1940, Strawson served in the British military during World War II. In 1947, on the recommendation of Gilbert Ryle, he was appointed to a lectureship at University College, Oxford; he was elected a fellow the following year. In 1968 he was elected Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy at Oxford—replacing Ryle, who had retired—and moved to the university’s Magdalen College, where he remained until his retirement in 1987. He also held numerous visiting professorships in the United States.

Strawson first came to prominence with two papers: “Truth” (1949), in which he attacked the complex correspondence theory of his Oxford colleague J.L. Austin, and “On Referring” (1950), in which he criticized the widely accepted theory of definite descriptions put forward by Bertrand Russell in “On Denoting” (1905). Russell’s analysis had entailed that a sentence such as “The present king of France is bald” is meaningful but false, because there is no present king of France. Strawson claimed that such a sentence is meaningful but neither true nor false, because its presupposition—that there is a present king of France—is false; he thus challenged the widely held view that every indicative sentence is either true or false.

Because of their generally empirical orientation, adherents of ordinary language philosophy (which was based on the examination of nontechnical uses of philosophical terms in everyday language) tended to view metaphysics with skepticism if not outright scorn. Strawson’s work Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics (1959) helped to change this perception by showing how ordinary language analysis could shed light on traditional metaphysical questions. In The Bounds of Sense (1966), Strawson attempted to determine how much of the metaphysics of Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (1781; 2nd ed. 1787) could be plausibly defended. His arguably uncharitable assessment of Kant’s transcendental idealism nevertheless inspired much new Anglo-American scholarship on Kant in subsequent decades.

Strawson’s other publications included Introduction to Logical Theory (1952); Freedom and Resentment (1974), a collection of essays; Subject and Predicate in Logic and Grammar (1974); Scepticism and Naturalism: Some Varieties (1985); and Analysis and Metaphysics: An Introduction to Philosophy (1992). He was elected a fellow of the British Academy in 1960 and knighted in 1977.

Sir Peter Frederick Strawson
Born23 November 1919
Ealing, West London
Died13 February 2006(2006-02-13) (aged 86)
London
Alma materSt John's College, Oxford
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolAnalytic

Main interests

Philosophy of language ·Philosophy of mind

Notable ideas

Ordinary language philosophy, moral reactive attitudes, the distinction between sortal and characterising universals[1]

Influenced

  • David Lewis, Ted Honderich, Colin McGinn, Arda Denkel, Ramchandra Gandhi, Martin Hollis, Robert Hanna, Keith Donnellan, Joshua Knobe, John Searle, Pierre Bourdieu

Sir Peter Frederick StrawsonFBA (; 23 November 1919 – 13 February 2006), usually cited as P. F. Strawson, was an English philosopher. He was the Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy at the University of Oxford (Magdalen College) from 1968 to 1987. Before that, he was appointed as a college lecturer at University College, Oxford, in 1947, and became a tutorial fellow the following year, until 1968. On his retirement in 1987, he returned to the college and continued working there until shortly before his death. His portrait was painted by the artists Muli Tang and Daphne Todd.[2]

When he died, the obituary in The Guardian noted that, "Oxford was the world capital of philosophy between 1950 and 1970, and American academics flocked there, rather than the traffic going the other way. That golden age had no greater philosopher than Sir Peter Strawson."[3]

Early years[edit]

Peter Strawson was born in Ealing, west London, and brought up in Finchley, north London, by his parents, both of whom were teachers. He was educated at Christ's College, Finchley, followed by St John's College, Oxford, where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

Career[edit]

Strawson first became well known with his article "On Referring" (1950), a criticism of Bertrand Russell's Theory of Descriptions (see also Definite descriptions) that Russell explained in the famous "On Denoting" article (1905).

In philosophical methodology, there are (at least) two important and interrelated features of Strawson's work that are worthy of note.[4] The first is the project of a 'descriptive' metaphysics, and the second is his notion of a shared conceptual scheme, composed of concepts operated in everyday life. In his book Individuals (1959), Strawson attempts to give a description of various concepts that form an interconnected web, representing (part of) our common, shared, human conceptual scheme. In particular, he examines our conceptions of basic particulars, and how they are variously brought under general spatio-temporal concepts. What makes this a metaphysical project is that it exhibits, in fine detail, the structural features of our thought about the world, and thus precisely delimits how we, humans, think about reality.

Strawson was made a Fellow of the British Academy in 1960 and Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1971. He was president of the Aristotelian Society from 1969 to 1970. He was knighted, in 1977, for services to philosophy.

Personal life[edit]

After serving as a captain in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers during World War II, Strawson married Ann Martin in 1945. They had four children, including the philosopher Galen Strawson. He lived in Oxford all his adult life and died in hospital on 13 February 2006 after a short illness. P. F. Strawson was elder brother to Major General John Strawson.

Partial bibliography[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Introduction to Logical Theory. London: Methuen, 1952.
  • Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics. London: Methuen, 1959.
    • German translation by F. Scholz (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1972)
    • French translation by A. Shalom and P. Drong (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1973)
    • Italian translation by E. Bencivenga (Milan: Feltrinelli, 1978)
    • Japanese translation by N. Nakamura (Tokyo: Misuzu Shobo, 1978)
    • Polish translation by B. Chwedenczuk (Warsaw: Wydawniczy Pax, 1980)
    • Spanish translation by A. Suarez and L. Villanueva (Madrid: Taurus, 1989)
  • The Bounds of Sense: An Essay on Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. London: Methuen, 1966.
    • Spanish translation by C. Luis Andre (Madrid: Revista de Occidente, 1975)
    • German translation by E. Lange (Hain, 1981)
    • Italian translation by M. Palumbo (Roma-Bari: Laterza, 1985)
    • Japanese translation, 1987
  • Logico-Linguistic Papers. London: Methuen, 1971
  • Freedom and Resentment and other Essays. London: Methuen, 1974
  • Subject and Predicate in Logic and Grammar. London: Methuen, 1974
  • Skepticism and Naturalism: Some Varieties. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985.
  • Analysis and Metaphysics: An Introduction to Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992.
  • Entity and Identity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Philosophical Writings. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Articles[edit]

  • "Necessary Propositions and Entailment Statements" (Mind, 1948)
  • "Truth" (Analysis, 1949)
  • "Ethical Intuitionism" (Philosophy, 1949)
  • "Truth" (Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society suppl. vol. xxiv, 1950)
  • "On Referring" (Mind, 1950)
  • "Particular and General" (Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 1953
  • "Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations (Mind, vol. 63, 1954)
  • "A Logician's Landscape" (Philosophy, Vol. 30, 1955)
  • "Construction and Analysis" in A.J. Ayer et al., The Revolution in Philosophy. London: Macmillan, 1956
  • "Singular Terms, Ontology and Identity" (Mind, Vol. 65, 1956)
  • "In Defence of a Dogma" with H. P. Grice (Philosophical Review, 1956)
  • "Logical Subjects and Physical Objects" (Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 1957)
  • "Propositions, Concepts and Logical Truths" (Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 7, 1957)
  • "Proper Names" (Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supp. Vol. 31, 1957)
  • "On Justifying Induction" (Philosophical Studies, 1958)
  • "The Post-Linguistic Thaw" (Times Literary Supplement, 1960)
  • "Freedom and Resentment" (Proceedings of the British Academy, Vol. 48, 1960)
  • "Singular Terms and Predication" (Journal of Philosophy, 1961)
  • "Perception and Identification" (Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supp. Vol. 35, 1961)
  • "Carnap's Views on Constructed Systems v. Natural Languages in Analytical Philosophy" in The Philosophy of Rudolf Carnap ed. P.A. Schlipp (La Salle Ill.: Open Court, 1963)
  • " A Problem about Truth: A reply to Mr. Warnock" in Truth, ed. G. Pitcher, Englewood Cliffs (N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1964)
  • "Truth: A Reconsideration of Austin's Views" (Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 15, 1965)
  • "Self, Mind and Body" (Common Factor, Vol. 4, 1966)
  • "Is Existence Never A Predicate" (Critica, Vol.1, 1967)
  • "Bennett on Kant's Analytic" (Philosophical Review, Vol. 77, 1968)
  • "Meaning and Truth" (Proceedings of the British Academy, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969)
  • "Imagination and Perception" in Experience and Theory, ed. L. Foster and J.W. Swanson (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1970)
  • "Categories" in Ryle: A Collection of Critical essays, ed. O.P. Wood and G. Pitcher, (New York: Doubleday, 1970)
  • "The Asymmetry of Subjects and Predicates" in Language, Belief and Metaphysics, ed. H.E. Kiefer and M.K. Munitz (New York: State of University of New York Press, 1970)
  • "Self-Reference, Contradiction and Content-Parasitic Predicates" (Indian review of Philosophy, 1972)
  • "Different Conceptions of Analytical Philosophy" (Tijdschrift voor Filosofie, 1973)
  • "Austin and 'Locutionary Meaning'" in Essays on J.L. Austin, ed. I Berlin (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973)
  • "On Understanding the Structure of One's Language" in Freedom and Resentment and Other Essays
  • "Positions for Quantifiers" in semantics and Philosophy, ed. M.K. Munitz and P.K. Unger (New York: New York University Press, 1974)
  • "Does Knowledge Have Foundations?" (Conocimiento y Creencia, 1974)
  • "Semantics, Logic and Ontology" (Neue Hafte fur Philosophie, 1975)
  • "Knowledge and Truth" (Indian Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 3., No. 3, 1976)
  • "Entity and Identity" in Contemporary British Philosophy Fourth Series, ed. H.D. Lewis (London: Allen and Unwin, 1976)
  • "Scruton and Wright on Anti-Realism" (Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Vol. 77, 1976)
  • "May Bes and Might Have Beens" in Meaning and Use, ed. A. Margalit (London: Reidel, 1979)
  • "Perception and its Objects" in Perception and Identity: Essays Presented to A.J. Ayer, ed. G.F. Macdonald (London: Macmillan, 1979)
  • "Universals" (Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 1979)
  • "Belief, Reference and Quantification" (Monist, 1980)
  • "P.F. Strawson Replies" in Philosophical Subjects Presented to P.F. Strawson, ed. Zak Van Straaten (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980)
  • "Comments and Reples" (Philosophia, Vol. 10, 1981)
  • "Logical Form and Logical Constants" in Logical Form, Predication and Ontology, ed. P.K. Sen (India: Macmillan, 1982)
  • " Liberty and Necessity" in Spinoza, His Thought & Work, ed. Nathan Rotenstreich and Norma Schneider (Jerusalem: The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1983)
  • "Causation and Explanation" in Essays on Davidson, ed. Bruce Vermazen and J. Hintikka (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985)
  • "Direct Singular Reference: Intended Reference and Actual Reference" in Wo steht die Analytische Philosophie Heute?, 1986
  • "Reference and its Roots" in The Philosophy of W.V.Quine. ed L.E. Hahn and P.A. Schlipp (La Salle Ill.: Open Court, 1986)
  • "Kant's Paralogisms: Self Consciousness and the 'Outside Obsrver'" in Theorie der Subjektivität, ed. K. Cramer, F. Fulda, R.-P. Hortsmann, U. Poshast (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1987)
  • "Concepts and Properties, or Predication and Copulation" (Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 37, 1987)
  • "Kant's New Foundations of Metaphysics" in Metaphysik nach Kant, ed. Dieter Henrich and R.-P. Horstmann (Stuttgart: Klett Cotta, 1988)
  • "Ma Philosophie: son Developpement, son Theme Central et sa Nature Generale (Revue de Theologie et de Philosophie, Vol. 120, 1988)
  • "Sensibility, Understanding and the Doctrine of Synthesis: Comments on D. Henrich and P. Guyer" in Kant's Transcendental Deductions, ed. E. Forster (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1989)
  • "Two Conceptions of Philosophy" in Perspectives on Quine, ed. Robert Barrett and Roger Gibson (Oxford: Blackwell: 1990)
  • "The Incoherence of Empiricism" (Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supp. Vol. 66, 1992)
  • "Comments on Some Aspects of Peter Unger's Identity, Consciousness and Value (Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 42, 1992)
  • "Echoes of Kant" (Times Literary Supplement, 1992, The State of Philosophy)
  • "Replies" in Ensayos sobre Strawson, ed. Carlos E. Carosi (Montevideo: Universidad de la Republica, 1992)
  • "Knowing From Words" in Knowing From Words, ed. B. K. Matilal and A. Chakrabati (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1992)
  • "My Philosophy," and "Replies" to critics in The Philosophy of P.F. Strawson, ed. P.K. Sen and R.K. Verma (New Delhi: Indian Council of Philosophical Research, 1994)
  • "Individuals" in Philosophical Problems Today, Vol. 1, ed. G. Floistad (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1994)
  • "The Problem of Realism and the A Priori" in Kant and Contemporary Epistemology, ed. Paolo Parrini (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1994)
  • "Introduction," "Kant on Substance," and "Meaning and Context" in Entity and Identity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997)

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Philosophical Subjects: Essays Presented to P. F. Strawson, ed. Zak Van Straaten (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980)
  • Leibniz and Strawson: A New Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics, Clifford Brown (Munich: Philosophia Verlag, 1990)
  • Ensayos sobre Strawson, ed. Carlos E. Carosi (Montevideo: Universidad de la Republica, 1992)
  • The Philosophy of P. F. Strawson, ed. Pranab Kumar Sen and Roop Rekha Verma (Indian Council of Philosophical Research, 1995)
  • The Philosophy of P. F. Strawson, Lewis E. Hahn, ed. (Open Court, 1998)
  • Theories of Truth, Richard Kirkham (MIT Press, 1992). (Chapter 10 contains a detailed discussion of Strawson's performative theory of truth.)
  • Strawson & Kant: ensaios comemorativos aos 50 anos de The Bounds of Sense. GELAIN, Itamar Luís & CONTE, Jaimir (Org.) Pelotas: NEPFIL (On-line), 2016.
  • Ensaios sobre a filosofia de Strawson. CONTE, Jaimir & GELAIN, Itamar Luís (Org.). Florianópolis: Editora UFSC, 2015.
  • Strawson and Kant, ed. Hans-Johann Glock (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003)
  • Sir Peter Strawson (1919–2006), Univ Newsletter, Issue 23, page 4, Hilary 2006.
  • Peter Strawson, Clifford Brown (Acumen Publishing, 2006)
  • Free Will and Reactive Attitudes: Perspectives on P. F. Strawson's 'Freedom and Resentment'. Micheal McKenna and Paul Russell, forthcoming.[clarification needed]

External links[edit]

0 thoughts on “Strawson Philosophy Of Language Essays”

    -->

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *