Skip to main content Accessibility help
Saul Kripke
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 4
  • Edited by Alan Berger, Brandeis University, Massachusetts
  • Export citation
  • Recommend to librarian
  • Buy the print book

Book description

This collection of essays on Saul Kripke and his philosophy is the first and only collection of essays to examine both published and unpublished writings by Kripke. Its essays, written by distinguished philosophers in the field, present a broader picture of Kripke's life and work than has previously been available to scholars of his thought. New topics covered in these essays include vacuous names and names in fiction, Kripke on logicism and de re attitude toward numbers, Kripke on the incoherency of adopting a logic, Kripke on colour words and his criticism of the primary versus secondary quality distinction, and Kripke's critique of functionalism. These essays not only present Kripke's basic arguments but also engage with the arguments and controversies engendered by his work, providing the most comprehensive analysis of his philosophy and writings available. This collection will become a classic in contemporary analytic philosophy.


"...This is a consistently stimulating book, chocked-full of interesting interpretations of Kripke’s philosophy of language. Most of the contributions are instructive and insightful."
--George Lăzăroiu, PhD, Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies inHumanities and Social Sciences, New York, Analysis and Metaphysics

"If Kripke did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him. If it were necessary to invent K, it would be possible to invent K. If K could be invented by J, and K innovated I, then J could have innovated I. For most ideas, I, recounted or reappraised in this first-rate collection of original essays on Kripke's philosophical work: only K could have innovated I.... Berger's anthology has been a long time coming, but it comes at a good time..."
--Alexis Burgess, Stanford University, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"...this volume is a welcome and eminently worthwhile contribution. It is a very significant event in the history of Kripke scholarship, both in terms of its dissemination of Kripke’s unpublished work and in the way that it brings together top scholars in the field to continue grappling with problems developed and inspired by Kripke’s published work. Most of these papers are not accessible to neophytes, but this is important reading for experts in these fields."
--Philosophy in Review, Arthur Sullivan, Memorial University

Refine List

Actions for selected content:

Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to Dropbox
  • Send to Google Drive

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.


  • 1 - Kripke on Proper and General Names
    pp 17-48
  • View abstract


    Saul Kripke's first contributions to philosophy were his papers on modal logic, which quickly made possible worlds semantics a working tool of philosophical logicians and then of philosophers more generally. The received view of the semantics of proper names around 1970 was that the correct account lay somewhere among the theories descended from classic papers of Gottlob Frege and Bertrand Russell. One of Kripke's most influential examples of a class of necessary truths which could come to be known in an a posteriori fashion were the very examples of identity sentences that Frege used to introduce the notion of the sense of a name in the first place. In the Naming and Necessity lectures, Kripke made use of the distinction between speaker's reference and semantic reference to explain some of our intuitions about the use of names.
  • 2 - Fiction, Myth, and Reality
    pp 49-77
  • View abstract


    Saul Kripke's insightful and penetrating work on names from fiction and myth, though unpublished, has generated a great deal of discussion. Kripke's account illuminates and yet exacerbates the chestnut of negative existentials. On Kripke's account, use of the name 'Sherlock Holmes' to refer to the fictional character is in a certain sense parasitic on a prior, more fundamental use not as a name for the fictional character. The use of 'Sherlock Holmes' represented by 'Holmes', as the name for what is in reality an abstract artifact, is the same use it has according to the Holmes stories, except that according to the stories, that use is one on which it designates a man. The alleged thoroughly nondesignating use of 'Sherlock Holmes' by Conan Doyle, as a pretend name for a man, is a myth.
  • 3 - Kripke on Epistemic and Metaphysical Possibility
    pp 78-99
  • View abstract


    This chapter argues that there are, in fact, two Kripkean routes to the necessary a posteriori - one correct and philosophically far-reaching, the other incorrect and philosophically misleading. The two routes to the necessary a posteriori differs in certain ways. The first route applies to a proper subset of cases to which the second is meant to apply; only the first route leads to the recognition of epistemically possible world-states over and above those that are metaphysically possible. The problem with Saul Kripke's second route to the necessary a posteriori is that the principle, strong disquotation and justification (SDJ), on which it depends, requires an unrealistic degree of transparency in the relationship between sentences and the propositions they express. The strong descriptive origin and justification (SDOJ) can be used in Kripke's second route to the necessary a posteriori in essentially the same way that SDJ was.
  • 4 - Possible Worlds Semantics
    pp 100-116
  • View abstract


    Possible worlds semantics have been widely applied both in philosophy and in other fields such as linguistic semantics and pragmatics, theoretical computer science, and game theory. This chapter discusses the general contrast between modal realism and actualism and questions about the kind of explanation that possible worlds provide for modal discourse and modal facts. It looks at Saul Kripke's views about how possible worlds are specified, in particular at the role of individuals in specifying possible worlds. A large part of the attraction of modal realism is that it purports to provide a genuine eliminative reduction of modality. Kripke thinks that the "distant planets" picture of possible worlds contributes to the illusion that there is a problem about the identification of individuals across possible worlds, and that is one of his main reasons for thinking that the modal realist doctrine is a pernicious one.
  • 5 - Kripke Models
    pp 119-140
  • View abstract


    Saul Kripke has made fundamental contributions to a variety of areas of logic. The task of devising a model theory for modal logic was really a series of tasks, of devising a model theory for each of the various systems. Or rather, it was to devise a general type of model theory which, by varying certain conditions, could produce specific model theories for which the various systems would be sound and complete. Kripke's model theory for modal predicate logic is related to his model theory for modal sentential logic rather as the standard model theory for nonmodal predicate logic is related to the standard model theory for nonmodal sentential logic. There is more of a gap between Kripke's formal models for intuitionistic logic, and Brouwer's and Heyting's explanations of the intended meaning of intuitionistic negation and other logical operators.
  • 6 - Kripke on Truth
    pp 141-159
  • View abstract


    Saul Kripke's "Outline of a Theory of Truth" has been the most influential publication on truth and paradox since Alfred Tarski's "The Concept of Truth in Formalized Languages". The liar paradox was introduced by Eubulides and much discussed by Chrysippus and others in ancient times, while it and related paradoxes, under the label insolubilia, were much discussed by Bradwardine and others in the Middle Ages. The kind of formal language Tarski considers has predicates and terms, from which may be formed atomic sentences, from which may be formed other sentences using negation, conjunction, disjunction, and universal and existential quantification. Different schemes of rules have been proposed for evaluating logical compounds some or all of whose logical components may lack truth value, with some schemes looking more plausible for some types of truth-value gap and others for others.
  • 7 - Kripke on Logicism, Wittgenstein, and De Re Beliefs about Numbers
    pp 160-176
  • View abstract


    This chapter discusses the evolution of Saul Kripke's thinking about Wittgenstein. Philosophy is a struggle for clarity, and both Wittgenstein and Kripke have the power to get to the absolute nub of a problem, taking nothing for granted, especially the orthodoxies of academic philosophy. More significantly, the concept of a "buckstopper" takes account of the Wittgensteinian intuition that mathematical notation must be perspicuous to be mathematical. It is internal to the concept of a calculation that the calculation should have the power to persuade us to accept the result. Kripke notes himself that his proposal implies that the identity of the numbers is culturally dependent. Even a culture that recognized decimal numbers, but did not use our system of positional notation for the numbers would be using different numbers, and not just different numerals.
  • 8 - Kripke on the Incoherency of Adopting a Logic
    pp 177-208
  • View abstract


    This chapter discusses Saul Kripke's general objections to the notion of adopting a logic. The main issue Kripke chose to talk about first is whether logic is a set of statements, and not whether logic is revisable. Kripke also criticized the view that the notion of "adopting a logic" is a coherent one. The whole point of introducing quantum logic is to put quantum mechanics on a sound foundation, making it paradox-free. Hilary Putnam refers to a formal system that he calls "quantum logic", which he says can "be read off from Hilbert space". Unlike quantum logic, intuitionist logic is commonly given as the most standard example of a change in logic. Intuitionists have supposedly adopted a logic different from "the received one" and have based a whole different system of mathematics upon it, as well as having rejected classical mathematics.
  • 9 - Kripke’s Puzzle about Belief
    pp 211-234
  • View abstract


    Pierre's experience in England warrants our saying that he believes that London is not pretty. This leads to a puzzle does Pierre, or does he not believe that London is pretty. This chapter explores a question that why should one care about Pierre. Saul Kripke suggests that the way the puzzle about Pierre arises casts doubt on a standard argument against "Millianism", the view that the semantic role of a proper name is exhausted by its being a name of whatever it names. If one thinks of a way of thinking as something to be identified with, or at least individuated in terms of, a collection of objects, properties, and relations, the puzzles Kripke presents us with are indeed difficult to solve. Kripke's puzzle is a puzzle about belief. Linguistic interpretation is not exactly Millian, but it is, or at least is usually, pretty close.
  • 10 - A Note on Kripke’s Puzzle about Belief
    pp 235-252
  • View abstract


    Millianism is the belief that the semantic content of a proper name is just the name's designatum. Millianism has it that Pierre has the contradictory beliefs that London is pretty and that London is not pretty Kripke uses his well-known puzzle about belief as a defense of Millianism against the standard objection from apparent failure of substitution. This chapter argues relatively hard results in connection with Saul Kripke's well-known puzzle about belief, and for resulting constraints on a correct solution. A complete solution must acknowledge that Pierre has contradictory beliefs. In presenting the puzzle, Kripke follows a sound methodology championed in Alfred Tarski's classic discussion of the liar paradox. Unlike Tarski, Kripke does not make any official pronouncement concerning which principles are guilty. Instead he considers a variety of possible answers to the puzzle without officially endorsing any of them.
  • 11 - On the Skepticism about Rule-Following in Kripke’s Version of Wittgenstein
    pp 253-289
  • View abstract


    In this chapter, the author outlines the critique of targeted notion of "prior semantic determination" that Saul Kripke's Wittgenstein elaborates. It seems to the author that it is a great achievement of Kripke's book to stress the centrality of the skeptical doubts about semantic determination in Wittgenstein's rule-following reflections and to develop an original and powerful challenge to this fundamental idea. The author explains his interpretation of the Skeptical argument as an argument chiefly directed against an intuitive conception of "semantic determination". He also explains at some length why the apparent nonfactualism about meaning strikes him as so puzzling in the overall context of Kripke's book. Saul Kripke affirms that there is a "skeptical conclusion about meaning" that Wittgenstein himself elaborates and endorses, but Kripke's formulation of the thesis has a confusing tendency to vary from passage to passage.
  • 12 - Kripke on Color Words and the Primary/Secondary Quality Distinction
    pp 290-324
  • View abstract


    The Lockean view appears to have been a dominant view on color, sound, and so on among analytical philosophers until about the mid- 1980s. One of the exceptions had been Saul Kripke in Naming and Necessity. Kripke qualified the "fixes a reference" view of color by developing new positive views about the semantics and overall functioning of words for colors and other sensible qualities, views that help explain our intuitions about his counterexamples to dispositionalism. This chapter attempts to summarize these Kripkean ideas, based especially on a transcript of a recording of the Michigan talk, on recordings of lectures of the 1987 seminar, and to a lesser extent on seminar notes and personal recollections. It briefly reviews some recent defenses of dispositionalism about color, and sketches some objections that could be made to them from a broadly Kripkean perspective.
  • 13 - Kripke and Cartesianism
    pp 327-342
  • View abstract


    The metaphysical and semantical ideas Saul Kripke advanced in the early 1970s, in Naming and Necessity and "Identity and Necessity", have found wide acceptance among philosophers. But what is perhaps the most intriguing application he made of these ideas was in his discussion of the mind/body problem, where his arguments and conclusions are widely regarded as Cartesian in spirit. Materialist views about the mind are often expressed in identity statements. At one time, in the 1950s, it was widely held that there are "contingent identities" between mental and physical entities. Many materialists are functionalists, and think that mental states are "multiply realizable" in the physical. This means that pain, for example, might be realized in one way in us - in C-fiber stimulation, for example - and in some quite different way in some other species.
  • 14 - Not Even Computing Machines Can Follow Rules
    pp 343-368
  • View abstract


    Conceiving of our mental capacities on the model of a computing machine is a natural and sound way both to stave off skepticism about the epistemic reliability of those capacities and to provide a scientific metaphysics for mental states. The computational mechanism underlying the mental actions of a human being could provide a clear account of what those actions consist in and how they work. The core idea of Saul Kripke's refutation of functionalism is that functionalists fail to recognize a deep problem engendered by the distinction central to functionalism: namely, "the distinction between the abstract diagram of an abstract mathematical automaton, and the physical machines themselves that realize the diagram". One functionalist response to Kripke's problem is to invoke counterfactuals to describe what physical computing machines (PCM) would compute if it never malfunctions, and has infinitely many memory cells.


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.