Sunday, January 29, 2006



Good to see Kripke getting a favourable profile in the New York Times yesterday (I saw the article via Leiter). As the article points out, Kripke is of course brilliant, no question. But there were a couple of weird spins on things. We're told that 'his book-length interpretation of Wittgenstein, published two years later, is so thoroughgoing that some scholars now refer to a sort of composite figure known as Kripkenstein' (correcting the obvious spelling mistake). I was pretty sure that scholars refered to a composite figure because they were under the (correct, I hasten to add) impression that Kripke's Wittgenstein couldn't possibly be Wittgenstein. I'm not sure when this practice was first adopted, but Blackburn's 'The Individual Strikes Back' in Synthese in 1984 must be one of the earliest examples (if it's not the earliest). I don't mean to deny the obvious, which is that's Kripke's Wittgenstein has been taken (again correctly, in my humble opinion) as posing one of the most difficult and fascinating challenges in contemporary philosophy of language. But it's a very charitable spin on why philosophers speak of Kripkenstein as if he were a separate figure - unless 'thoroughgoing' is code for utterly historically inaccurate, which I presume it isn't.

It's also never been clear that Kripke improvises his talks in quite the way suggested in the article. I was born over a decade after the first publication of the lectures, so I'm hardly in a position to tell conclusively, but I've heard it plausibly suggested that Kripke's lectures were delievered from memory rather than improvised. Of course, that's a hell of a feat of memory alone if that is indeed, as suggested, the way he delievered the lectures, but it would be interesting to know just how much of a myth the improvisation is. (All that said, I'm still hoping I'll get an opportunity to hear him speak in person at some point soon.)

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Thursday, January 26, 2006



It's been a while since the last post, but after reading the touching tale of Matt Weiner's ongoing relationship with his blog, I've decided to make the most of the honeymoon period, even though - or perhaps because - I don't really have anything to say.

The schedule for the UCLA/USC conference is now up here. I'm looking forward to the talks, in particular those of Kenny Easwaran of antimeta fame, and Daniel Rothschild - not just because his topic sounds interesting, but because he has a heartless namesake spurning the affections of a clearly not-crazy girl over on TAR (scroll down when you get there). Which, obviously, is cool.

Let me leave with a reminder that the deadline for submitting to the UT Austin grad conference is coming up. The topic is Thoughts, Words, Objects, and so we're looking for submissions in metaphysics, philosophy of language, mind, and other relevant sub-disciplines. The keynotes are Dean Zimmerman and Jason Stanley from Rutgers. I'll post some real philosophy as soon as I've finished reading Stanley's absurdly good new monograph - if I can't find something to say then, I never will.

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