Peter Frederick Strawson

Peter Frederick Strawson

Born: 1919. Died: 2006.


Peter Frederick Strawson, British philosopher, a graduate of Oxford, was born in 1919.

An influential spokesman for so-called ordinary language philosophy, he began teaching at Oxford in 1947 and from 1968 to 1987 was Waynflete Professor of Metaphysics.

In an early article, “On Referring” (Mind, 1950), he disputed Bertrand Russell’s theory of definite descriptions, drawing a distinction between referring to an entity and asserting its existence.

He also disputed, on linguistic grounds, the correspondence theory of truth, maintaining that a “fact” is not something that corresponds to a true statement but something stated; facts are not something to which statements refer, rather “facts are what statements (when true) state.”

In his first book, Introduction to Logical Theory (1952), Strawson studied the relationship between common language and the language of formal logic.

Later his concern shifted to what he calls descriptive metaphysics, a description of the actual structure of our thought about the world. His development of and work in this area revived interest in metaphysics as a respectable philosophic enterprise. Strawson died on 13 February 2006.

Major Books of Peter Frederick Strawson

- Analysis and Metaphysics: An Introduction to Philosophy, 1992
- The Bounds of Sense: An Essay on Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, 1966
- Construction and Analysis, in A.J. Ayer et al., The Revolution in Philosophy, 1956
- Entity and Identity, 1997
- Freedom and Resentment and other Essays, 1974
- Knowing From Words, in B.K. Matilal and A. Chakrabati, editors, Knowing From Words, 1992
- Imagination and Perception, in L. Foster and J.W. Swanson, editors, Experience and Theory, 1970
- Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics, 1959
- Introduction to Logical Theory, 1952
- Logico-Linguistic Papers, 1971
- May Bes and Might Have Beens, in A. Margalit, editor, Meaning and Use, 1979
- The Problem of Realism and the A Priori, in Paolo Parrini, editors, Kant and Contemporary Epistemology, 1994
- Skepticism and Naturalism: Some Varieties, 1985
- Subject and Predicate in Logic and Grammar, 1974
- Two Conceptions of Philosophy, in Robert Barrett and Roger Gibson, editors, Perspectives on Quine, 1990

Major Articles of Peter Frederick Strawson

- 1948, Necessary Propositions and Entailment Statements, Mind
- 1949, Truth, Analysis
- 1949, Ethical Intuitionism, Philosophy
- 1950, On Referring, Mind
- 1953, Particular and General, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society
- 1955, A Logician's Landscape, Philosophy
- 1956, Singular Terms, Ontology and Identity, Mind
- 1956, In Defense of a Dogma, with H. P. Grice, Philosophical Review
- 1957, Propositions, Concepts and Logical Truths, Philosophical Quarterly
- 1976, Knowledge and Truth, Indian Philosophical Quarterly
- 1976, Scruton and Wright on Anti-Realism, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society
- 1987, Concepts and Properties, or Predication and Copulation, Philosophical Quarterly
- 1992, The Incoherence of Empiricism, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society


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