Saul Kripke is a good Omaha boy who made fine use of his gifts for the world beyond the midlands.

You may read an excellent article titled Saul Kripke, Genius Logician that Andreas Saugstad, one of my star Go Inside Magazine writers, created after meeting the great Kripke in person in Oslo in 2001. Kripke may be prickly, but that’s the price we pay to touch the effervescence of things we do not comprehend.

Here is Kripke’s website at The City University of New York’s Graduate Center.

You must read Kripke’s classic monograph Naming and Necessity published by Harvard University Press because the experience will stun you as it betters you.


  1. Naming and Necessity was the greatest work of philosophy of the 20th century beating out in my mind Quine’s Two Dogmas of Empiricism, Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, and other great works. It is simply formidable and the insights are genuine philosophical breakthtoughs, the type of advances that prove that philosophy can advance every bit as much as science does.

  2. Everytime I reread Naming & Necessity I’m stunned. It’s a vertiginous feeling. To read Kripke is to be taken to the brink. (That kind of implies that I follow him all the way. I don’t.)
    But that little book contains one of the most aggressive (strongest) philosophical claims to retain its influence. Most philosophical claims of this (maximum, vindaloo) strength are false. But Kripke’s is as intuitively plausible as it is strong. The claim I have in mind is, for me, central to that work: it is his denial (pp64+) of
    (2) One of the properties, or some conjointly, are believed by A to pick out some individual uniquely.
    To deny (2) seems crazy (because of the intentional component). But he’s right. (2) is false. The earth now tilts a little.
    But I think SK is wrong about unicorns. I think, on his own assumptions, they could turn out to be real entities.
    PS. Nozick’s vertiginuos too.

  3. Hey ralph —
    Thanks for popping in here to share such an intimate and specific appreciation of Saul Kripke!
    I love your analysis and integration of Kripke’s ideas. Well done! I am with you!

  4. Thanks David.
    I stumbled upon your (very interesting) site whilst chasing a Kripke link. I love your ground rules. What has become of grammar and profundity? Not that I’m often (if ever) profound. I’d like to be.
    Kripke fascinates me because he’s (one of the very few who’s) shown that you REALLY can get ontology from semantics: you (really) can get clear about what, in general, there is, from what is said.
    Actually, that’s a pretty strange, even counter-intuitive idea. And it gets all the more counter-intuitive (for my money) in the hands of both Frege and Russell. Wittgenstein’s ‘Tractatus’ is perhaps the locus classicus of this ontology-from-semantics ideal.
    But the Frege-Russell paradigm only strikes us as odd (i.e. how could we have EVER fallen for it!) in light of Kripke’s work. That’s the genius of Kripke.
    In general though, I suggest that if you want to find out what there is you look at the world; not the word. An abundance of postmodernist claptrap to the contrary nothwithstanding!
    Best Wishes from somewhere in England to users of your site.
    PS. For those who ‘dig’ this kind of stuff, try Robert Nozick’s ‘Invariances’. He disagrees with SK about the existence of Kripkean necessities (e.g. Water = H2O).

  5. Hi Ralph —
    It is wonderful having you with us!
    We try to be a calm place for interesting discussion but we are only as good as the profound minds that join us each day.
    You make some truly innovative and important points here, Ralph. My concern is those readers here who are not as smart as you might not be able to comprehend the ideas you are condensing.
    If you ever feel the want to pull these ideas into a longer piece we would love to publish it here as an article for extended discussion.
    Just remember when you’re writing to assume your reader knows nothing about the terms or concepts you share — so you’ll have to explain them a bit first.
    We have an international readership with varying levels of education, life experience and language skills so we try to always be clear and competent first and then add the extra insights into the comments thread.

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