Facing Facts

Facing Facts

Facing Facts

Facing Facts

Synopsis

Stephen Neale presents a powerful, original examination of a cornerstone of modern philosophy: the idea that our thoughts and utterances are representations of reality, that accurate or true representations are those that correspond to the facts. Facing Facts will be crucial to future work in metaphysics, logic, and the philosophy of mind and language, and will have profound implications far beyond.

Excerpt

At the 1995 meeting of Logic and Language, held at the University of London, I gave a talk on something I had been discussing in seminars at Birkbeck College that spring and at the University of California, Berkeley, the previous year: Kurt Gödel's “slingshot” argument and its philosophical implications. I had received so much stimulating and challenging feedback from Herman Cappelen, William Craig, Tim Crane, Donald Davidson, Josh Dever, Eli Dresner, Marcus Giaquinto, Jim Hopkins, Martin Jones, Ariela Lazar, Jonathan Lebowitsch, Michael Martin, Benson Mates, John Searle, Hans Sluga, Barry Smith, Scott Sturgeon, Bruce Vermazen, and Jamie Whyte that I was not at all confident I could get across my points convincingly in a one-hour lecture at the conference. My presentation was inevitably compressed, but the main ideas seemed to go over well, mainly because the audience was so well versed in the relevant subject matter. the editor of Mind was present and, perhaps aware of my constitutional inability to send anything to a journal without semi-official encouragement, asked if I would consider writing up my talk for submission, on the off-chance that Mind decided to publish selected proceedings of the conference. I was torn, as I felt I could not do justice to the issues in a journal article and had viewed myself as in the process of writing a book. Several weeks later I aired the main ideas again in lectures at the Universities of Oslo, Stockholm, and Stuttgart, where Jens-Erik Fenstad, Olav Gjelsvik, Sören Häggkvist, Matthias Högström, Hans Kamp, Jonathan Knowles, Per-Martin Löf, Jan-Tore Lønning, Paul Needham, Peter Pagin, Dag Prawitz, Bjørn Ramberg, and Dag Westerståhl left no symbol unturned. For the following five or six weeks I had the privilege of a residential fellowship at the Rockefeller Foundation's Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio, where I was able

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