Necessity, Style, and Metaphilosophy

Part of the History of Analytic Philosophy book series (History of Analytic Philosophy)


Wittgenstein regarded necessary statements as grammatical rules in disguise, and he also argued against the very notion of necessary fact. In the Quinean, science-oriented philosophical scenario of the 1970s and 1980s, Kripke’s successful rehabilitation of necessary facts created a space, which was occupied mainly by David Lewis and his methodologically continuist metaphilosophy. The chapter compares the work of Lewis with that of the two arguably most authoritative British philosophers during the same period, Strawson and Dummett, both deeply influenced by Wittgenstein. A sign of the decline of Wittgenstein was the similarity in philosophical style between Lewis, the metaphysician, and Strawson and Dummett, the Wittgenstein-inspired conceptual analysts (all of them built general and systematic theories; Lewis and Dummett shared, in addition, the use of logically sophisticated tools). However, identity of style doesn’t entail full metaphilosophical and methodological agreement, especially in presence of disagreement in the theory of meaning. Focusing on this issue, the chapter briefly discusses some themes from The Philosophy of Philosophy (2007) by Timothy Williamson, a student of Dummett and a metaphilosophical ally of Lewis.


Wittgenstein Necessity Metaphysics Saul Kripke David Lewis Peter Strawson Michael Dummett Timothy Williamson Metaphilosophy Philosophical style 

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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TurinTurinItaly

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