P. F. Strawson

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Sir Peter Strawson
Born 23 November 1919
Ealing, West London
Died 13 February 2006(2006-02-13) (aged 86)
London
Era Contemporary philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Analytic
Main interests Philosophy of language · Philosophy of mind
Notable ideas Ordinary language philosophy
Influences
Influenced

Sir Peter Frederick Strawson FBA (/ˈstrɔːsən/; 23 November 1919 – 13 February 2006) was an English philosopher. He was the Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy at the University of Oxford (Magdalen College) from 1968 to 1987. Before that he was appointed as a college lecturer at University College, Oxford, in 1947 and became a tutorial fellow the following year until 1968. On his retirement in 1987, he returned to the college and continued working there until shortly before his death.

Early years[edit]

Peter Strawson was born in Ealing, west London, and brought up in Finchley, north London, by his parents, both of whom were teachers. He was educated at Christ's College, Finchley, followed by St John's College, Oxford, where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

Career[edit]

Strawson first became well known with his article "On Referring" (1950), a criticism of Bertrand Russell's Theory of Descriptions (see also Definite descriptions).

In philosophical methodology, there are (at least) two important and interrelated features of Strawson's work that are worthy of note.[citation needed] The first is the project of a 'descriptive' metaphysics, and the second is his notion of a shared conceptual scheme, composed of concepts operated in everyday life. In his book Individuals, Strawson attempts to give a description of various concepts that form an interconnected web, representing (part of) our common, shared, human conceptual scheme. In particular, he examines our conceptions of basic particulars, and how they are variously brought under general spatio-temporal concepts. What makes this a metaphysical project is that it exhibits, in fine detail, the structural features of our thought about the world, and thus precisely delimits how we, humans, think about reality.

Strawson was made a Fellow of the British Academy in 1960, and Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1971. He was president of the Aristotelian Society from 1969 to 1970. He was knighted in 1977, for services to philosophy.

Personal life[edit]

After serving as a captain in the war, Strawson married Ann Martin in 1945 and had four children. He lived in Oxford all his adult life and died in hospital on 13 February 2006 after a short illness. Strawson's son, Galen Strawson (born 1952), is also a philosopher. P. F. Strawson was elder brother to Major General John Strawson.

Partial bibliography[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Introduction to Logical Theory. London: Methuen, 1952.
  • Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics. London: Methuen, 1959.
    • Chapter 1: Bodies
    • German translation by F. Scholz (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1972)
    • French translation by A. Shalom and P. Drong (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1973)
    • Italian translation by E. Bencivenga (Milan: Feltrinelli, 1978)
    • Japanese translation by N. Nakamura (Tokyo: Misuzu Shobo, 1978)
    • Polish translation by B. Chwedenczuk (Warsaw: Wydawniczy Pax, 1980)
    • Spanish translation by A. Suarez and L. Villanueva (Madrid: Taurus, 1989)
  • The Bounds of Sense: An Essay on Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. London: Methuen, 1966.
    • Spanish translation by C. Luis Andre (Madrid: Revista de Occidente, 1975)
    • German translation by E. Lange (Hain, 1981)
    • Italian translation by M. Palumbo (Roma-Bari: Laterza, 1985)
    • Japanese translation, 1987
  • Logico-Linguistic Papers. London: Methuen, 1971
  • Freedom and Resentment and other Essays. London: Methuen, 1974
  • Subject and Predicate in Logic and Grammar. London: Methuen, 1974
  • Skepticism and Naturalism: Some Varieties. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985.
  • Analysis and Metaphysics: An Introduction to Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992.
  • Entity and Identity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Philosophical Writings. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Articles[edit]

References[edit]

  • Philosophical Subjects: Essays Presented to P. F. Strawson, ed. Zak Van Straaten (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980)
  • Leibniz and Strawson: A New Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics, Clifford Brown (Munich: Philosophia Verlag, 1990)
  • Ensayos sobre Strawson, ed. Carlos E. Carosi (Montevideo: Universidad de la Republica, 1992)
  • The Philosophy of P. F. Strawson, ed. Pranab Kumar Sen and Roop Rekha Verma (Indian Council of Philosophical Research, 1995)
  • The Philosophy of P. F. Strawson, Lewis E. Hahn, ed. (Open Court, 1998)
  • Theories of Truth, Richard Kirkham (MIT Press, 1992). (Chapter 10 contains a detailed discussion of Strawson's performative theory of truth.)
  • Strawson and Kant, ed. Hans-Johann Glock (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003)
  • Sir Peter Strawson (1919–2006), Univ Newsletter, Issue 23, page 4, Hilary 2006.
  • Peter Strawson, Clifford Brown (Acumen Publishing, 2006)
  • Free Will and Reactive Attitudes: Perspectives on P. F. Strawson's 'Freedom and Resentment'. Micheal McKenna and Paul Russell, forthcoming.[clarification needed]

External links[edit]