Saul Kripke  

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Saul Aaron Kripke (1940 – 2022) was an American philosopher known for his work in logic, philosophy of language, philosophy of mathematics, metaphysics, epistemology, and recursion theory. He is best-known for his work Naming and Necessity (1980).


Work in logic

Kripke has made influential and original contributions to logic, especially modal logic. His principal contribution is a semantics for modal logic involving possible worlds, now called Kripke semantics.

Revival of metaphysics

Kripke is also partly responsible for the revival of metaphysics after the decline of logical positivism, claiming necessity is a metaphysical notion distinct from the epistemic notion of a priori, and that there are necessary truths that are known a posteriori, such as that water is H2O.

Naming and necessity

A 1970 Princeton lecture series, published in book form in 1980 as Naming and Necessity, is considered one of the most important philosophical works of the 20th century. It introduces the concept of names as rigid designators, true in every possible world, as contrasted with descriptions. It also contains Kripke's causal theory of reference, disputing the descriptivist theory found in Gottlob Frege's concept of sense and Bertrand Russell's theory of descriptions.

Work on Wittgenstein

Kripke also gave an original reading of Ludwig Wittgenstein, known as "Kripkenstein", in his Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language. The book contains his rule-following argument, a paradox for skepticism about meaning.

See also

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