[FOM] Permanent Value?

Dean Buckner Dean.Buckner at btopenworld.com
Mon Oct 6 16:28:03 EDT 2003

>I am sure that the FOM list would appreciate an accounting of what you >
[Lindauer] think
>are the highlights in philosophy from the last 5 years as far as
>together with a detailed list of publications. Start with the last five
>years of Journal of Philosophy, and Philosophical Review, perhaps the two
>leading philosophy journals today(?).

An interesting thought.  Friedman's challenge is of course rhetorical, but
it inspired me to look through the bibliography of a book of mine in prep,
which contains about 200 references.  It turns out that:

(a) many of them are letters which afterwards found their way into
anthologies.  Interesting fact that the key ideas of many of great thinkers
& mathematicians (Russell, Frege, Dedekind, Cantor, Zermelo) they did not
choose to put into their published work, but left as quick notes or
scribbles to colleagues.
(b) Two of them (Kripke. Naming & Necessity, Aristotle, Organon) may simply
have been lecture notes subsequently published.
(c) Many if not the majority of the papers are complete rubbish, but
referred to in order to be disparaged.

Thus, when writing the History of a Great Idea, one needs to include
letters, scribblings, also the rubbish that the Great Idea replaced.  Not
necessarily a good idea to look in "the leading philosophy journals today"
to do this.  (I'd also question Friedman's choice of "leading philosophy
journals today"!!!)

For the record, here are some things published in the last 30 years that I
quite like:

Arthur, R., "Leibniz in Cantor's Paradise: A Dialogue on the Actual
Infinite", (manuscript)
Cochiarella, N.  "Denoting Concepts, Reference, and the Logic of Names,
Classes as Many, Groups and Plurals"
Evans, Gareth The Varieties of Reference
Lowe, E. J.   "Identity, Individuality, and Unity" 2002, to appear in
Mayberry, J.P.,  The Foundations of Mathematics in the Theory of Sets,
Cambridge, 2000
Fred Sommers, The Logic of Natural Language, , Oxford 1982
Prior, A.N. Objects of Thought Oxford 1971
Mark Sainsbury, Departing from Frege, for a review  (by me!) click here
Slater B.H.  "Concept And Object In Frege", Minerva, 2000

Two of these (Evans, Sommers) are acknowledged classics, and have entered
the "canon", of regularly referred-to books.  Two of the other authors
(Lowe, Sainsbury) are internationally recognised philosophers with serious
reputation.  The others deserve to be more widely recognised than they are.
The common thread to all of these pieces, is that in some way they present a
challenge to the logic we owe to Frege, and to the ideas of standard set
theory.  Lowe's piece (shortly to be published) is probably the most
outspoken.  They represent, in my view, the most interesting intellectual
revolution in philosophy in the last 30 years, namely the revolution against
Frege (and by implication, against set theory).

Dean Buckner

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