Kripke, Saul

Kripke, Saul

biographical name

(born Nov. 13, 1940, Bay Shore, Long Island, N.Y., U.S.) U.S. logician and philosopher. He taught at Rockefeller University (1968–76), Princeton University (1976–98), and, in retirement, at the City University of New York (CUNY) from 2003. He made groundbreaking contributions to the semantics of modal logic in a series of papers published mainly in the 1960s. His most important philosophical work, Naming and Necessity (1980), based on transcripts of lectures he delivered in 1970, changed the course of analytic philosophy by undermining the conventional assumption that all and only necessary propositions are a priori (known independently of experience), by reviving the ancient metaphysical doctrine of essentialism, by introducing a new “causal” theory of reference for names and natural-kind terms (e.g., heat, water, and tiger), and by arguing on the basis of these ideas that strict materialism in the philosophy of mind is false. In Wittgenstein: On Rules and Private Language (1982), he derived an influential skepticism of linguistic meaning from arguments contained in the Philosophical Investigations (1953) of Ludwig Wittgenstein.

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