In this short, lucid, rich book Michael Dummett sets out his views about some of the deepest questions in philosophy. The fundamental question of metaphysics is: what does reality consist of? To answer this, Dummett holds, it is necessary to say what kinds of fact obtain, and what constitutes their holding good. Facts correspond with true propositions, or true thoughts: when we know which propositions, or thoughts, in general, are true, we shall know what facts there
are in general. Dummett considers the relation between metaphysics, our conception of the constitution of reality, and semantics, the theory that explains how statements are determined as true or as false in terms of their composition out of their constituent expressions. He investigates the two
concepts on which the bridge that connects semantics to metaphysics rests, meaning and truth, and the role of justification in a theory of meaning. He then examines the special semantic and metaphysical issues that arise with relation to time and tense.
On this basis Dummett puts forward his controversial view of reality as indeterminate: there may be no fact of the matter about whether an object does or does not have a given property. We have to relinquish our deep-held realist understanding of language, the illusion that we know what it is for any proposition that we can frame to be true independently of our having any means of recognizing its truth, and accept that truth depends on our capacity to apprehend it. Dummett concludes with a
chapter about God.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 124
Weight: 265 g
Dimensions: 220 x 140 x 15 mm
The British elder sage of philosophy of language... provide[s] a clear exposition of his consistent rejection of bivalent logic (the view that something must be true or false, and nothing in between) in favour of what is called "intuitionist" logic. The knotty arguments about meaning and knowledge are illuminated with references to astrophysics and the odd beguiling image. * Steven Poole, The Guardian *
...a good introduction to the thought of one of philosophy's most searching minds. * Paul Boghossian, TLS *
Dummett's Thought and Reality, based on his 1996-7 Gifford Lectures, is characteristically brilliant. * John Perry, Mind *