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The Logical Basis of Metaphysics


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Table of Contents

* Preface * Introduction: Metaphysical Disputes over Realism *1. Semantic Values *2. Inference and Truth *3. Theories of Truth *4. Meaning, Knowledge, and Understanding *5. Ingredients of Meaning *6. Truth and Meaning-Theories *7. The Origin and Role of the Concept of Truth *8. The Justification of Deduction *9. Circularity, Consistency, and Harmony *10. Holism *11. Proof-Theoretic Justifications of Logical Laws *12. The Fundamental Assumption *13. Stability *14. Truth-Conditional Meaning-Theories *15. Realism and the Theory of Meaning * Index

About the Author

Michael Dummett was Wykeham Professor of Logic, Emeritus, at the University of Oxford.


Fundamental issues of human understanding are pursued with moral passion and enormous energy by a real philosopher. The questions Dummett presses reach at least as far as the very limits of thought. -- Barry Stroud * Times Literary Supplement *
Michael Dummett's The Logical Basis of Metaphysics was very much worth waiting for: the book is important, daring, controversial, and very deep... The overall thesis of the book is that the way to solve metaphysical problems is through philosophy of language, and the large metaphysical 'pay-off' the book offers is nothing less than a revision of classical logic! In a nutshell, this means that the principle of Bivalence (the Law of the Excluded Middle) is wrong and Brouwer's Intuitionist Logic is right! Although the conclusions are dramatic, they are reached by slow and sober steps... Even though I have not been 'completely converted,' I have myself learned an enormous amount from this book, and I believe that it marks one of the true high-water marks of twentieth-century philosophy. -- Hilary Putnam, Harvard University
It will be difficult to exaggerate the philosophical interest of the general conclusion that Dummett recommends in this book. If he is right, a large number of issues which have been wrangled over inconclusively, in some cases for centuries, acquire a new sharpness and tractability, with a serious prospect (or worse) that the verdict will go against what has passed for common sense. If he is wrong, as I in fact believe, he is profoundly and importantly wrong, and it is a difficult and pressing task for philosophy to see why... [He has been urging] the general conception in articles and, in passing, in books not primarily devoted to it, for some thirty years. What is new here is the depth, generality, and detail with which he spells out the views about what the theory of meaning must do which have stood largely in the background of his previous writings about realism... This is an extraordinarily important book. -- John McDowell, University of Pittsburgh

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