Facing Facts

Front Cover
Clarendon Press, Nov 1, 2001 - Philosophy - 272 pages
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Facing Facts is a powerful, original examination of attempts to dislodge a cornerstone of modern philosophy: the idea that our thoughts and utterances are representations of slices of reality. Representations that are accurate are usually said to be true, to correspond to the facts - this is the foundation of correspondence theories of truth. A number of prominent philosophers have tried to undermine the idea that propositions, facts and correspondence can play any usefulrole in philosophy, and formal argumentshave been advanced to demonstrate that, under seemingly uncontroversial conditions, such entities collapse into an undifferentiated unity. The demise of individual facts is meant to herald the dawn of a new era inphilosophy, in which debates about scepticism, realism, subjectivity, representational and computational theories of mind, possible worlds, and divergent conceptual schemes that represent reality in different ways todifferent persons, periods, or cultures evaporate through lack of subject matter.By carefully untangling a host of intersecting metaphysical, epistemological, semantic, and logical issues, and providing rich and original analyses of key aspects of the work of Frege, Russell, Gödel, andDavidson, Stephen Neale demonstrates that arguments for the collapse of facts are considerably more complex and interesting than either friend or foe ever imagined. A number of deep semantic facts emerge along with apowerful proof: while it is technically possible to avoid the collapse of facts, rescue the idea of representations of reality, and thereby face anew the problems raised by the sceptic or the relativist, doing so requiresmaking some tough semantic decisions about predicates and descriptions. It is simply impossible, Neale shows, to invoke representations, facts, states, or propositions without making hard choices - choices that may send manyphilosophers scurrying back to the drawing board. Facing Facts will be crucial to future work in metaphysics, the philosophy of language and mind, and logic, and will have profound implications far beyond.

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References to this book

Truth
Pascal Engel
Limited preview - 2002
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About the author (2001)


Stephen Neale is Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University.

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