Analytic Philosophy

Epistemology and Metaphysics After Logical Positivism

Who was P.F. Strawson?

Sir Peter Frederick (P.F.) Strawson (1919–2006) was educated at Oxford University, where he became a professor in 1968. He disagreed with Bertrand Russell’s (1872–1970) theory of definite descriptions because the statement “The king of France is bald” presupposes the truth of “There exists a king of France.” This created problems because if there is no king of France then “The king of France is bald,” is neither true nor false, or it is not a statement.

Although Strawson was strongly influenced by ordinary language philosophy, he was less interested in linguistic usage than in implied conceptual systems and categories of existence in ordinary reality. In The Bounds of Sense (1966) he argues for a “manifest image,” or common (shared) way of understanding the world.


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