Saul Kripke has been a major influence on analytic philosophy and allied fields for a half-century and more. His early masterpiece, Naming and Necessity, reversed the pattern of two centuries of philosophizing about the necessary and the contingent. Although much of his work remains unpublished, several major essays have now appeared in print, most recently in his long-awaited collection Philosophical Troubles.
The logician and philosopher John Burgess, the John N. Woodhull Professor of Philosophy, offers a thorough and self-contained guide to all of Kripke’s published books and his most important philosophical papers, old and new. Burgess also provides an authoritative but nontechnical account of Kripke’s influential contributions to the study of modal logic and logical paradoxes. Although Kripke has been anything but a system builder, Burgess expertly uncovers the connections between different parts of his oeuvre. Kripke is shown grappling, often in opposition to existing traditions, with mysteries surrounding the nature of necessity, rule-following, and the conscious mind, as well as with intricate and intriguing puzzles about identity, belief and self-reference. Clearly contextualizing the full range of Kripke’s work, Burgess outlines, summarizes and surveys the issues raised by each of the philosopher’s major publications.
Publisher: Polity, 2012 (Cover image and text courtesy of the publisher.)