Gathered in this volume are selected essays by P. F. Strawson from the 1970s to the 1990s, in two areas of philosophy to which he has most notably contributed. The first twelve pieces concern the philosophy of language, a broad heading under which many controversial philosophical issues can be fruitfully approached. Questions such as the following are discussed: Do general properties exist as well as the particular things that have them? What is involved in reference to particular things? What exactly is formal logic as we now understand it? What do we mean when we say that something may happen or might have happened? What do we mean when we speak of the meaning of what we say? The volume is completed by four studies in Kantian metaphysics: these develop and strengthen Strawson's influential view of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and bring out the implications of this view for current metaphysical debates.
One of these essays is published here for the first time, and one for the first time in English; several others have been difficult of access till now. A new introduction offers an overview of the essays, their topics, and their interrelations. This book represents some of the most fascinating work of one of the foremost philosophers of the late twentieth century.
Sir Peter Strawson is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy in the University of Oxford, where he held senior positions from 1947 until his retirement from the Waynflete Chair of Metaphysical Philosophy in 1987; he is an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen, St John's, and University Colleges. He has held visiting professorships at Duke, Princeton, and Columbia Universities, and at the Collège de France. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a member of the Academia Europea, and an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His books include Individuals (1959), The Bounds of Sense (1966), Freedom and Resentment (1974), and Analysis and Metaphysics (1992).
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