Whatever topic Wright addresses, the lynchpin of his work, following the lead of Dummett, is the 'Realism/Anti-Realism' dispute. Wright painstakingly explores the nature and implications of adopting intuitionist logic and anti-realist semantics and has succeeded in sharpening the debate in many ways. He has not confined his attention to technical semantical and logical issues, but, going beyond attention to global realism and global anti-realism, has explored the past, other minds, etc., in the light of this overarching approach.
Meaning, for Wright, must respect quasiverifîcationist constraints: the notion of truth deployed in a theory of meaning should not and cannot transcend possible evidence. Whilst addressing similar issues to those Dummett considers, Wright is suspicious of semantic monism (a theory of meaning using a single key-concept such as truth or assertability) and of seeing the Principle of Bivalence as crucial to acceptance/rejection of realism.
In the philosophy of mathematics Wright broke with Dummett's reading of Frege and gave some defence of Frege's 'Platonism' whilst rejecting his 'realism', doctrines Dummett tied together. Wright has succeeded in helping Dummett force philosophers to reconsider their perhaps unthinking realism and to shift the axis of attention to metaphysics in a semantical direction. His work, notwithstanding the difficulty of the subject matter, has increasingly attracted high approbation. Sources: WW 1993; Univ. of St Andrews Philosophy Dept.
German, b: 1832, Mannheim, Germany, d: 1920, Grossbothen, near Munich. Cat: Psychologist; physiologist. Ints: Introspective and psychophysical research in psychology; history of psychology; anthropology; logic; philosophy of science and ethics. Educ: Studied Medicine at the Universities of Tübingen, Heidelberg and Berlin. Infls: Leibniz, Schopenhauer and Hegel. Appts: Privatdozent, Helmholtz Physiological Institute, Heidelberg, 1857; Professor of Inductive Philosophy, Leipzig, 1875.
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Publication information: Book title: Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Philosophers. Contributors: Stuart Brown - Editor, Diané Collinson - Editor, Robert Wilkinson - Editor. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1996. Page number: 851.
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