Saul Kripke

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Saul Kripke
Born (1940-11-13) November 13, 1940 (age 78)
Education Harvard University (B.A., 1962)
Awards Rolf Schock Prizes in Logic and Philosophy (2001)
Era Contemporary philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Analytic
Institutions Princeton University
CUNY Graduate Center
Main interests
Logic  (particularly modal)
Philosophy of language
Set theory
Philosophy of mind
History of analytic philosophy
Notable ideas
Kripke–Platek set theory
Work on theory of reference (causal theory of reference, causal-historical theory of reference, [1] direct reference theory, criticism of the Frege–Russell view)
Admissible ordinal
Kripke structure
Rigid vs. flaccid designator
A posteriori necessity
The possibility of analytic a posteriori judgments [2] [3]
Semantic theory of truth (Kripke's theory)
Non-analytic, a posteriori necessary truths [4]
Contingent a priori [5]
Kripke semantics
Disquotational principle
Accessibility relation
Rule-following paradox (Kripkenstein)
Humphrey objection

Saul Aaron Kripke ( /sɔːlˈkrɪpki/ ; born November 13, 1940) is an American philosopher and logician. He is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and emeritus professor at Princeton University. Since the 1960s, Kripke has been a central figure in a number of fields related to mathematical logic, philosophy of language, philosophy of mathematics, metaphysics, epistemology, and set theory. Much of his work remains unpublished or exists only as tape recordings and privately circulated manuscripts. Kripke was the recipient of the 2001 Schock Prize in Logic and Philosophy.

Princeton University University in Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton University is a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth as the College of New Jersey, Princeton is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The institution moved to Newark in 1747, then to the current site nine years later, and renamed itself Princeton University in 1896.

Mathematical logic is a subfield of mathematics exploring the applications of formal logic to mathematics. It bears close connections to metamathematics, the foundations of mathematics, and theoretical computer science. The unifying themes in mathematical logic include the study of the expressive power of formal systems and the deductive power of formal proof systems.

Philosophy of language in the analytical tradition explored logic and accounts of the mind at the end of the nineteenth century, with English-speaking writers Frege and Russell being pivotal, followed by Wittgenstein, the Vienna Circle and the logical positivists, and Quine, while on the continent a foundation work was Ferdinand de Saussure's Cours de linguistique générale, published posthumously in 1916. Philosophy of Language may investigate the relations between language, language users, and the world. The scope of Philosophy of Language may include inquiry into the origins of language, the nature of meaning, the usage and cognition of language. It overlaps to some extent with the study of Epistemology, Logic, Philosophy of Mind and other fields.


Kripke has made influential and original contributions to logic, especially modal logic. His work has profoundly influenced analytic philosophy; his principal contribution is a semantics for modal logic involving possible worlds, now called Kripke semantics. [6] Another of his most important contributions is his argument that necessity is a "metaphysical" notion that should be separated from the epistemic notion of a priori , and that there are necessary truths that are a posteriori truths, such as that water is H2O. He has also contributed an original reading of Wittgenstein, referred to as "Kripkenstein." A 1970 Princeton lecture series, published in book form in 1980 as Naming and Necessity , is considered one of the most important philosophical works of the twentieth century.

Modal logic is a type of formal logic primarily developed in the 1960s that extends classical propositional and predicate logic to include operators expressing modality. A modal—a word that expresses a modality—qualifies a statement. For example, the statement "John is happy" might be qualified by saying that John is usually happy, in which case the term "usually" is functioning as a modal. The traditional alethic modalities, or modalities of truth, include possibility, necessity, and impossibility. Other modalities that have been formalized in modal logic include temporal modalities, or modalities of time, deontic modalities, epistemic modalities, or modalities of knowledge and doxastic modalities, or modalities of belief.

Analytic philosophy style of philosophy

Analytic philosophy is a style of philosophy that became dominant in the Western world at the beginning of the 20th century. The term can refer to one of several things:

In philosophy and logic, the concept of a possible world is used to express modal claims. The concept of possible worlds is common in contemporary philosophical discourse but has been disputed.

Life and career

Saul Kripke is the oldest of three children born to Dorothy K. Kripke and Rabbi Myer S. Kripke. [7] His father was the leader of Beth El Synagogue, the only Conservative congregation in Omaha, Nebraska; his mother wrote educational Jewish books for children. Saul and his two sisters, Madeline and Netta, attended Dundee Grade School and Omaha Central High School. Kripke was labeled a prodigy, teaching himself Ancient Hebrew by the age of six, reading Shakespeare's complete works by nine, and mastering the works of Descartes and complex mathematical problems before finishing elementary school. [8] [9] He wrote his first completeness theorem in modal logic at 17, and had it published a year later. After graduating from high school in 1958, Kripke attended Harvard University and graduated summa cum laude in 1962 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics. During his sophomore year at Harvard, he taught a graduate-level logic course at nearby MIT. Upon graduation he received a Fulbright Fellowship, and in 1963 was appointed to the Society of Fellows. Kripke later said, "I wish I could have skipped college. I got to know some interesting people but I can't say I learned anything. I probably would have learned it all anyway just reading on my own." [10]

Dorothy Karp Kripke was an American author of Jewish educational books.

Myer Samuel Kripke was an American rabbi, scholar, and philanthropist. He was based in Omaha, Nebraska.

Nebraska State of the United States of America

Nebraska is a state that lies in both the Great Plains and the Midwestern United States. It is bordered by South Dakota to the north; Iowa to the east and Missouri to the southeast, both across the Missouri River; Kansas to the south; Colorado to the southwest; and Wyoming to the west. It is the only triply landlocked U.S. state.

After briefly teaching at Harvard, in 1968 Kripke moved to Rockefeller University in New York City, where he taught until 1976. In 1978 he took a chaired professorship at Princeton University. [11] In 1988 he received the university's Behrman Award for distinguished achievement in the humanities. In 2002 Kripke began teaching at the CUNY Graduate Center, and in 2003 he was appointed a distinguished professor of philosophy there.

Rockefeller University Research institute in New York City

The Rockefeller University is a center for scientific research, primarily in the biological and medical sciences, that provides doctoral and postdoctoral education. Rockefeller is the oldest biomedical research institute in the United States. The 82-person faculty has 37 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 members of the National Academy of Medicine, seven Lasker Award recipients, and five Nobel laureates. As of 2017, a total of 36 Nobel laureates have been affiliated with Rockefeller University.

Kripke has received honorary degrees from the University of Nebraska, Omaha (1977), Johns Hopkins University (1997), University of Haifa, Israel (1998), and the University of Pennsylvania (2005). He is a member of the American Philosophical Society and an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 1985 was a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. [12] He won the Schock Prize in Logic and Philosophy in 2001. [13]

Johns Hopkins University university in Baltimore, Maryland, United States

The Johns Hopkins University is an American private research university in Baltimore, Maryland. Founded in 1876, the university was named for its first benefactor, the American entrepreneur, abolitionist, and philanthropist Johns Hopkins. His $7 million bequest —of which half financed the establishment of Johns Hopkins Hospital—was the largest philanthropic gift in the history of the United States up to that time. Daniel Coit Gilman, who was inaugurated as the institution's first president on February 22, 1876, led the university to revolutionize higher education in the U.S. by integrating teaching and research. Adopting the concept of a graduate school from Germany's ancient Heidelberg University, Johns Hopkins University is considered the first research university in the United States. Over the course of several decades, the university has led all U.S. universities in annual research and development expenditures. In fiscal year 2016, Johns Hopkins spent nearly $2.5 billion on research.

University of Haifa public research university in Haifa, Israel

The University of Haifa is a public research university on the top of Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel. The university was founded in 1963 by the mayor of its host city, Abba Hushi, to operate under the academic auspices of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

University of Pennsylvania Private Ivy League research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is a private Ivy League research university located in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Chartered in 1755, Penn is the sixth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States. It is one of the nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin, Penn's founder and first president, advocated an educational program that trained leaders in commerce, government, and public service, similar to a modern liberal arts curriculum. The university's coat of arms features a dolphin on its red chief, adopted from Benjamin Franklin's own coat of arms.

Kripke was married to philosopher Margaret Gilbert. He is the second cousin once removed of television writer, director, and producer Eric Kripke.

Margaret Gilbert is a British philosopher best known for her founding contributions to the analytic philosophy of social phenomena. She has also made substantial contributions to other philosophical fields including political philosophy, the philosophy of law, and in ethics.

Eric Kripke American writer, television director, television producer

Eric Kripke is an American television writer, director, and producer. He is the creator of The WB series Supernatural, the NBC series Revolution and more recent NBC series Timeless.


Example Kripke model for linear temporal logic, a particular modal logic LTL model.png
Example Kripke model for linear temporal logic, a particular modal logic

Kripke's contributions to philosophy include:

  1. Kripke semantics for modal and related logics, published in several essays beginning in his teens.
  2. His 1970 Princeton lectures Naming and Necessity (published in 1972 and 1980), which significantly restructured philosophy of language.
  3. His interpretation of Wittgenstein.
  4. His theory of truth.

He has also contributed to set theory (see admissible ordinal and Kripke–Platek set theory).

Two of Kripke's earlier works, A Completeness Theorem in Modal Logic and Semantical Considerations on Modal Logic, the former written when he was a teenager, were on modal logic. The most familiar logics in the modal family are constructed from a weak logic called K, named after Kripke. Kripke introduced the now-standard Kripke semantics (also known as relational semantics or frame semantics) for modal logics. Kripke semantics is a formal semantics for non-classical logic systems. It was first made for modal logics, and later adapted to intuitionistic logic and other non-classical systems. The discovery of Kripke semantics was a breakthrough in the making of non-classical logics, because the model theory of such logics was absent before Kripke.

A Kripke frame or modal frame is a pair , where W is a non-empty set, and R is a binary relation on W. Elements of W are called nodes or worlds, and R is known as the accessibility relation. Depending on the properties of the accessibility relation (transitivity, reflexivity, etc.), the corresponding frame is described, by extension, as being transitive, reflexive, etc.

A Kripke model is a triple , where is a Kripke frame, and is a relation between nodes of W and modal formulas, such that:

We read as "w satisfies A", "A is satisfied in w", or "w forces A". The relation is called the satisfaction relation, evaluation, or forcing relation. The satisfaction relation is uniquely determined by its value on propositional variables.

A formula A is valid in:

We define Thm(C) to be the set of all formulas that are valid in C. Conversely, if X is a set of formulas, let Mod(X) be the class of all frames which validate every formula from X.

A modal logic (i.e., a set of formulas) L is sound with respect to a class of frames C, if L  Thm(C). L is complete with respect to C if L  Thm(C).

Semantics is useful for investigating a logic (i.e., a derivation system) only if the semantical entailment relation reflects its syntactical counterpart, the consequence relation (derivability). It is vital to know which modal logics are sound and complete with respect to a class of Kripke frames, and for them, to determine which class it is.

For any class C of Kripke frames, Thm(C) is a normal modal logic (in particular, theorems of the minimal normal modal logic, K, are valid in every Kripke model). However, the converse does not hold generally. There are Kripke incomplete normal modal logics, which is unproblematic, because most of the modal systems studied are complete of classes of frames described by simple conditions.

A normal modal logic Lcorresponds to a class of frames C, if C = Mod(L). In other words, C is the largest class of frames such that L is sound wrt C. It follows that L is Kripke complete if and only if it is complete of its corresponding class.

Consider the schema T : . T is valid in any reflexive frame : if , then since w R w. On the other hand, a frame which validates T has to be reflexive: fix w  W, and define satisfaction of a propositional variable p as follows: if and only if w R u. Then , thus by T, which means w R w using the definition of . T corresponds to the class of reflexive Kripke frames.

It is often much easier to characterize the corresponding class of L than to prove its completeness, thus correspondence serves as a guide to completeness proofs. Correspondence is also used to show incompleteness of modal logics: suppose L1  L2 are normal modal logics that correspond to the same class of frames, but L1 does not prove all theorems of L2. Then L1 is Kripke incomplete. For example, the schema generates an incomplete logic, as it corresponds to the same class of frames as GL (viz. transitive and converse well-founded frames), but does not prove the GL-tautology .

Canonical models

For any normal modal logic L, a Kripke model (called the canonical model) can be constructed, which validates precisely the theorems of L, by an adaptation of the standard technique of using maximal consistent sets as models. Canonical Kripke models play a role similar to the Lindenbaum–Tarski algebra construction in algebraic semantics.

A set of formulas is L-consistent if no contradiction can be derived from them using the axioms of L, and modus ponens. A maximal L-consistent set (an L-MCS for short) is an L-consistent set which has no proper L-consistent superset.

The canonical model of L is a Kripke model , where W is the set of all L-MCS, and the relations R and are as follows:

if and only if for every formula , if then ,
if and only if .

The canonical model is a model of L, as every L-MCS contains all theorems of L. By Zorn's lemma, each L-consistent set is contained in an L-MCS, in particular every formula unprovable in L has a counterexample in the canonical model.

The main application of canonical models are completeness proofs. Properties of the canonical model of K immediately imply completeness of K with respect to the class of all Kripke frames. This argument does not work for arbitrary L, because there is no guarantee that the underlying frame of the canonical model satisfies the frame conditions of L.

We say that a formula or a set X of formulas is canonical with respect to a property P of Kripke frames, if

  • X is valid in every frame which satisfies P,
  • for any normal modal logic L which contains X, the underlying frame of the canonical model of L satisfies P.

A union of canonical sets of formulas is itself canonical. It follows from the preceding discussion that any logic axiomatized by a canonical set of formulas is Kripke complete, and compact.

The axioms T, 4, D, B, 5, H, G (and thus any combination of them) are canonical. GL and Grz are not canonical, because they are not compact. The axiom M by itself is not canonical (Goldblatt, 1991), but the combined logic S4.1 (in fact, even K4.1) is canonical.

In general, it is undecidable whether a given axiom is canonical. We know a nice sufficient condition: H. Sahlqvist identified a broad class of formulas (now called Sahlqvist formulas) such that:

  • a Sahlqvist formula is canonical,
  • the class of frames corresponding to a Sahlqvist formula is first-order definable,
  • there is an algorithm which computes the corresponding frame condition to a given Sahlqvist formula.

This is a powerful criterion: for example, all axioms listed above as canonical are (equivalent to) Sahlqvist formulas. A logic has the finite model property (FMP) if it is complete with respect to a class of finite frames. An application of this notion is the decidability question: it follows from Post's theorem that a recursively axiomatized modal logic L which has FMP is decidable, provided it is decidable whether a given finite frame is a model of L. In particular, every finitely axiomatizable logic with FMP is decidable.

There are various methods for establishing FMP for a given logic. Refinements and extensions of the canonical model construction often work, using tools such as filtration or unravelling. As another possibility, completeness proofs based on cut-free sequent calculi usually produce finite models directly.

Most of the modal systems used in practice (including all listed above) have FMP.

In some cases, we can use FMP to prove Kripke completeness of a logic: every normal modal logic is complete wrt a class of modal algebras, and a finite modal algebra can be transformed into a Kripke frame. As an example, Robert Bull proved using this method that every normal extension of S4.3 has FMP, and is Kripke complete.

Kripke semantics has a straightforward generalization to logics with more than one modality. A Kripke frame for a language with as the set of its necessity operators consists of a non-empty set W equipped with binary relations Ri for each i  I. The definition of a satisfaction relation is modified as follows:

if and only if

Carlson models

A simplified semantics, discovered by Tim Carlson, is often used for polymodal provability logics. A Carlson model is a structure with a single accessibility relation R, and subsets Di  W for each modality. Satisfaction is defined as:

if and only if

Carlson models are easier to visualize and to work with than usual polymodal Kripke models; there are, however, Kripke complete polymodal logics which are Carlson incomplete.

In Semantical Considerations on Modal Logic, published in 1963, Kripke responded to a difficulty with classical quantification theory. The motivation for the world-relative approach was to represent the possibility that objects in one world may fail to exist in another. If standard quantifier rules are used, however, every term must refer to something that exists in all the possible worlds. This seems incompatible with our ordinary practice of using terms to refer to things that exist contingently.

Kripke's response to this difficulty was to eliminate terms. He gave an example of a system that uses the world-relative interpretation and preserves the classical rules. However, the costs are severe. First, his language is artificially impoverished, and second, the rules for the propositional modal logic must be weakened.

Kripke's possible worlds theory has been used by narratologists (beginning with Pavel and Dolezel) to understand "reader's manipulation of alternative plot developments, or the characters' planned or fantasized alternative action series." This application has become especially useful in the analysis of hyperfiction. [14]

Intuitionistic logic

Kripke semantics for intuitionistic logic follows the same principles as the semantics of modal logic, but uses a different definition of satisfaction.

An intuitionistic Kripke model is a triple , where is a partially ordered Kripke frame, and satisfies the following conditions:

Intuitionistic logic is sound and complete with respect to its Kripke semantics, and it has the Finite Model Property.

Intuitionistic first-order logic

Let L be a first-order language. A Kripke model of L is a triple , where is an intuitionistic Kripke frame, Mw is a (classical) L-structure for each node w  W, and the following compatibility conditions hold whenever u  v:

Given an evaluation e of variables by elements of Mw, we define the satisfaction relation :

Here e(xa) is the evaluation which gives x the value a, and otherwise agrees with e.

Naming and Necessity

Cover of Naming and Necessity Naming and Necessity.jpg
Cover of Naming and Necessity

The three lectures that form Naming and Necessity constitute an attack on descriptivist theory of names. Kripke attributes variants of descriptivist theories to Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein and John Searle, among others. According to descriptivist theories, proper names either are synonymous with descriptions, or have their reference determined by virtue of the name's being associated with a description or cluster of descriptions that an object uniquely satisfies. Kripke rejects both these kinds of descriptivism. He gives several examples purporting to render descriptivism implausible as a theory of how names get their references determined (e.g., surely Aristotle could have died at age two and so not satisfied any of the descriptions we associate with his name, but it would seem wrong to deny that he was still Aristotle).

As an alternative, Kripke outlined a causal theory of reference, according to which a name refers to an object by virtue of a causal connection with the object as mediated through communities of speakers. He points out that proper names, in contrast to most descriptions, are rigid designators: that is, a proper name refers to the named object in every possible world in which the object exists, while most descriptions designate different objects in different possible worlds. For example, "Richard Nixon" refers to the same person in every possible world in which Nixon exists, while "the person who won the United States presidential election of 1968" could refer to Nixon, Humphrey, or others in different possible worlds.

Kripke also raised the prospect of a posteriori necessities — facts that are necessarily true, though they can be known only through empirical investigation. Examples include "Hesperus is Phosphorus", "Cicero is Tully", "Water is H2O" and other identity claims where two names refer to the same object.

Finally, Kripke gave an argument against identity materialism in the philosophy of mind, the view that every mental particular is identical with some physical particular. Kripke argued that the only way to defend this identity is as an a posteriori necessary identity, but that such an identity — e.g., that pain is C-fibers firing — could not be necessary, given the (clearly conceivable) possibility that pain could be separate from the firing of C-fibers, or the firing of C-fibers be separate from pain. (Similar arguments have since been made by David Chalmers. [15] ) In any event, the psychophysical identity theorist, according to Kripke, incurs a dialectical obligation to explain the apparent logical possibility of these circumstances, since according to such theorists they should be impossible.

Kripke delivered the John Locke lectures in philosophy at Oxford in 1973. Titled Reference and Existence, they are in many respects a continuation of Naming and Necessity, and deal with the subjects of fictional names and perceptual error. They were recently published by Oxford University Press.

In a 1995 paper, philosopher Quentin Smith argued that key concepts in Kripke's new theory of reference originated in the work of Ruth Barcan Marcus more than a decade earlier. [16] Smith identified six significant ideas in the New Theory that he claimed Marcus had developed: (1) that proper names are direct references that do not consist of contained definitions; (2) that while one can single out a single thing by a description, this description is not equivalent to a proper name of this thing; (3) the modal argument that proper names are directly referential, and not disguised descriptions; (4) a formal modal logic proof of the necessity of identity; (5) the concept of a rigid designator, though Kripke coined that term; and (6) a posteriori identity. Smith argued that Kripke failed to understand Marcus's theory at the time but later adopted many of its key conceptual themes in his New Theory of Reference.

Other scholars have subsequently offered detailed responses arguing that no plagiarism occurred. [17] [18]

"A Puzzle about Belief"

Kripke's main propositions about proper names in Naming and Necessity are that the meaning of a name simply is the object it refers to and that a name's referent is determined by a causal link between some sort of "baptism" and the utterance of the name. Nevertheless, he acknowledges the possibility that propositions containing names may have some additional semantic properties, [19] properties that could explain why two names referring to the same person may give different truth values in propositions about beliefs. For example, Lois Lane believes that Superman can fly, although she does not believe that Clark Kent can fly. This can be accounted for if the names "Superman" and "Clark Kent", though referring to the same person, have distinct semantic properties.

But in his article "A Puzzle about Belief" Kripke seems to oppose even this possibility. His argument can be reconstructed as follows: The idea that two names referring to the same object may have different semantic properties is supposed to explain that coreferring names behave differently in propositions about beliefs (as in Lois Lane's case). But the same phenomenon occurs even with coreferring names that obviously have the same semantic properties: Kripke invites us to imagine a French, monolingual boy, Pierre, who believes that "Londres est joli" ("London is beautiful"). Pierre moves to London without realizing that London = Londres. He then learns English the same way a child would learn the language, that is, not by translating words from French to English. Pierre learns the name "London" from the unattractive part of the city where he lives, and so comes to believe that London is not beautiful. If Kripke's account is correct, Pierre now believes both that Londres is joli and that London is not beautiful. This cannot be explained by coreferring names having different semantic properties. According to Kripke, this demonstrates that attributing additional semantic properties to names does not explain what it is intended to.


First published in 1982, Kripke's Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language contends that the central argument of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations centers on a devastating rule-following paradox that undermines the possibility of our ever following rules in our use of language. Kripke writes that this paradox is "the most radical and original skeptical problem that philosophy has seen to date", and that Wittgenstein does not reject the argument that leads to the rule-following paradox, but accepts it and offers a "skeptical solution" to ameliorate the paradox's destructive effects.

Most commentators accept that Philosophical Investigations contains the rule-following paradox as Kripke presents it, but few have agreed with his attributing a skeptical solution to Wittgenstein. It should be noted that Kripke himself expresses doubts in Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language as to whether Wittgenstein would endorse his interpretation of Philosophical Investigations. He says that the work should not be read as an attempt to give an accurate statement of Wittgenstein's views, but rather as an account of Wittgenstein's argument "as it struck Kripke, as it presented a problem for him".

The portmanteau "Kripkenstein" has been coined for Kripke's interpretation of Philosophical Investigations. Kripkenstein's main significance was a clear statement of a new kind of skepticism, dubbed "meaning skepticism": the idea that for an isolated individual there is no fact in virtue of which he/she means one thing rather than another by the use of a word. Kripke's "skeptical solution" to meaning skepticism is to ground meaning in the behavior of a community.

Kripke's book generated a large secondary literature, divided between those who find his skeptical problem interesting and perceptive, and others, such as Gordon Baker and Peter Hacker, who argue that his meaning skepticism is a pseudo-problem that stems from a confused, selective reading of Wittgenstein. Kripke's position has been defended against these and other attacks by the Cambridge philosopher Martin Kusch, and Wittgenstein scholar David G. Stern considers Kripke's book "the most influential and widely discussed" work on Wittgenstein since the 1980s. [20]


In his 1975 article "Outline of a Theory of Truth", Kripke showed that a language can consistently contain its own truth predicate, something deemed impossible by Alfred Tarski, a pioneer in formal theories of truth. The approach involves letting truth be a partially defined property over the set of grammatically well-formed sentences in the language. Kripke showed how to do this recursively by starting from the set of expressions in a language that do not contain the truth predicate, and defining a truth predicate over just that segment: this action adds new sentences to the language, and truth is in turn defined for all of them. Unlike Tarski's approach, however, Kripke's lets "truth" be the union of all of these definition-stages; after a denumerable infinity of steps the language reaches a "fixed point" such that using Kripke's method to expand the truth-predicate does not change the language any further. Such a fixed point can then be taken as the basic form of a natural language containing its own truth predicate. But this predicate is undefined for any sentences that do not, so to speak, "bottom out" in simpler sentences not containing a truth predicate. That is, " 'Snow is white' is true" is well-defined, as is " ' "Snow is white" is true' is true," and so forth, but neither "This sentence is true" nor "This sentence is not true" receive truth-conditions; they are, in Kripke's terms, "ungrounded."

Saul Kripke gives a lecture about Godel at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Saul Kripke's Godel lecture at UCSB.jpg
Saul Kripke gives a lecture about Gödel at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Nevertheless, it has been shown by Gödel that self-reference cannot be avoided naively, since propositions about seemingly unrelated objects (such as integers) can have an informal self-referential meaning, and this idea – manifested by the diagonal lemma – is the basis for Tarski's theorem that truth cannot be consistently defined. It has thus been claimed [21] that Kripke's suggestion does lead to contradiction: while its truth predicate is only partial, it does give truth value (true/false) to propositions such as the one built in Tarski's proof, and is therefore inconsistent. There is still a debate about whether Tarski's proof can be implemented to every variation of such a partial truth system, but none has been shown to be consistent by acceptable proving methods used in mathematical logic.

Kripke's proposal is also problematic in the sense that while the language contains a "truth" predicate of itself (at least a partial one), some of its sentences – such as the liar sentence ("this sentence is false") – have an undefined truth value, but the language does not contain its own "undefined" predicate. In fact it cannot, as that would create a new version of the liar paradox, called the strengthened liar paradox ("this sentence is false or undefined"). Thus while the liar sentence is undefined in the language, the language cannot express that it is undefined. [22]

Religious views

Kripke is an observant Jew. [23] On how his religious views influenced his philosophical views, he has said: "I don't have the prejudices many have today. I don't believe in a naturalist worldview. I don't base my thinking on prejudices or a worldview and do not believe in materialism." [24]

Saul Kripke Center

The Saul Kripke Center at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York is dedicated to preserving and promoting Kripke's work. Its director is Gary Ostertag. The SKC holds events related to Kripke's work and is creating a digital archive of previously unpublished recordings of Kripke's lectures, lecture notes, and correspondence dating back to the 1950s. [25] In his favorable review of Kripke's Philosophical Troubles, the Stanford philosopher Mark Crimmins wrote, "That four of the most admired and discussed essays in 1970s philosophy are here is enough to make this first volume of Saul Kripke's collected articles a must-have... The reader's delight will grow as hints are dropped that there is a great deal more to come in this series being prepared by Kripke and an ace team of philosopher-editors at the Saul Kripke Center at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York." [26]

Awards and recognitions


See also

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In mathematical logic, a superintuitionistic logic is a propositional logic extending intuitionistic logic. Classical logic is the strongest consistent superintuitionistic logic; thus, consistent superintuitionistic logics are called intermediate logics.

In logic, a normal modal logic is a set L of modal formulas such that L contains:

Kripke semantics is a formal semantics for non-classical logic systems created in the late 1950s and early 1960s by Saul Kripke and André Joyal. It was first conceived for modal logics, and later adapted to intuitionistic logic and other non-classical systems. The development of Kripke semantics was a breakthrough in the theory of non-classical logics, because the model theory of such logics was almost non-existent before Kripke.

Bunched logic is a variety of substructural logic proposed by Peter O'Hearn and David Pym. Bunched logic provides primitives for reasoning about resource composition, which aid in the compositional analysis of computer and other systems. It has category-theoretic and truth-functional semantics which can be understood in terms of an abstract concept of resource, and a proof theory in which the contexts Γ in an entailment judgement Γ ⊢ A are tree-like structures (bunches) rather than lists or (multi)sets as in most proof calculi. Bunched logic has an associated type theory, and its first application was in providing a way to control the aliasing and other forms of interference in imperative programs. The logic has seen further applications in program verification, where it is the basis of the assertion language of separation logic, and in systems modelling, where it provides a way to decompose the resources used by components of a system.

In mathematics a field of sets is a pair where is a set and is an algebra over i.e., a non-empty subset of the power set of closed under the intersection and union of pairs of sets and under complements of individual sets. In other words, forms a subalgebra of the power set Boolean algebra of . Elements of are called points and those of are called complexes and are said to be the admissible sets of .

In logic, a rule of inference is admissible in a formal system if the set of theorems of the system does not change when that rule is added to the existing rules of the system. In other words, every formula that can be derived using that rule is already derivable without that rule, so, in a sense, it is redundant. The concept of an admissible rule was introduced by Paul Lorenzen (1955).

Jaakko Hintikka Finnish philosopher and logician

Kaarlo Jaakko Juhani Hintikka was a Finnish philosopher and logician.

In philosophical logic, the concept of an impossible world is used to model certain phenomena that cannot be adequately handled using ordinary possible worlds. An impossible world, w, is the same sort of thing as a possible world , except that it is in some sense "impossible." Depending on the context, this may mean that some contradictions are true at w, that the normal laws of logic or of metaphysics fail to hold at w, or both.

Neighborhood semantics, also known as Scott-Montague semantics, is a formal semantics for modal logics. It is a generalization, developed independently by Dana Scott and Richard Montague, of the more widely known relational semantics for modal logic. Whereas a relational frame consists of a set W of worlds and an accessibility relation R intended to indicate which worlds are alternatives to others, a neighborhood frame still has a set W of worlds, but has instead of an accessibility relation a neighborhood function

In logic, a modal companion of a superintuitionistic (intermediate) logic L is a normal modal logic which interprets L by a certain canonical translation, described below. Modal companions share various properties of the original intermediate logic, which enables to study intermediate logics using tools developed for modal logic.

In logic, general frames are Kripke frames with an additional structure, which are used to model modal and intermediate logics. The general frame semantics combines the main virtues of Kripke semantics and algebraic semantics: it shares the transparent geometrical insight of the former, and robust completeness of the latter.

In logic and philosophy, S5 is one of five systems of modal logic proposed by Clarence Irving Lewis and Cooper Harold Langford in their 1932 book Symbolic Logic. It is a normal modal logic, and one of the oldest systems of modal logic of any kind. Is the most basic modal logic, is formed with propositional calculus formulas and tautologies, and inference apparatus with substitution and modus ponens, but extending the syntax with the modal operator necessarily and its dual possibly .

Dynamic logic is an extension of modal logic originally intended for reasoning about computer programs and later applied to more general complex behaviors arising in linguistics, philosophy, AI, and other fields.

Logical consequence is a fundamental concept in logic, which describes the relationship between statements that hold true when one statement logically follows from one or more statements. A valid logical argument is one in which the conclusion is entailed by the premises, because the conclusion is the consequence of the premises. The philosophical analysis of logical consequence involves the questions: In what sense does a conclusion follow from its premises? and What does it mean for a conclusion to be a consequence of premises? All of philosophical logic is meant to provide accounts of the nature of logical consequence and the nature of logical truth.


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  4. Michael Giudice, Understanding the Nature of Law: A Case for Constructive Conceptual Explanation, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2015, p. 92.
  5. Saul Kripke (1986). "Rigid Designation and the Contingent A Priori: The Meter Stick Revisited" (Notre Dame).
  6. Jerry Fodor, "Water's water everywhere", London Review of Books, 21 October 2004
  7. Kripke, Saul (2011). Philosophical Troubles: Collected Papers Volume 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. xii. ISBN   978-0-19-973015-5.
  8. Charles McGrath (2006-01-28). "Philosopher, 65, Lectures Not About 'What Am I?' but 'What Is I?'". The New York Times . Retrieved 2008-01-23.
  9. A Companion to Analytic Philosophy (Blackwell Companions to Philosophy), by A. P. Martinich (Editor), E. David Sosa (Editor), 38. Saul Kripke (1940–)
  10. McGrath, Charles (January 28, 2006). "Philosopher, 65, Lectures Not About 'What Am I?' but 'What Is I?'". The New York Times.
  11. "Saul Kripke - American logician and philosopher".
  14. Fludernik, Monika. "Histories of Narrative Theory: From Structuralism to Present." A Companion to Narrative Theory. Ed. Phelan and Rabinowitz. Blackwell Publishing, MA:2005.
  15. Chalmers, David. 1996. The Conscious Mind. Oxford University Press pp. 146–9.
  16. Smith, Quentin (2 August 2001). "Marcus, Kripke, and the Origin of the New Theory of Reference". Synthese. 104 (2): 179–189. doi:10.1007/BF01063869. Archived from the original on 7 May 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-28.
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  18. John Burgess, "Marcus, Kripke, and Names" Philosophical Studies, 84: 1, pp. 1–47.
  19. Kripke, 1980, p. 20
  20. Stern, David G. 2006. Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press. p. 2
  21. Keith Simmons, Universality and the Liar: An Essay on Truth and the Diagonal Argument, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1993
  22. Bolander, Thomas (30 May 2018). Zalta, Edward N., ed. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University via Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  23. "Kripke is Jewish, and he takes this seriously. He is not a nominal Jew and he is careful keeping the Sabbath, for instance he doesn't use public transportation on Saturdays." Andreas Saugstad, "Saul Kripke: Genius logician", 25 February 2001.
  24. Andreas Saugstad, "Saul Kripke: Genius logician", 25 February 2001.
  25. Saul Kripke Center website: Most of these recordings and lecture notes were created by Nathan Salmon while he was a student and, later, a colleague of Kripke's.
  26. Crimmins, Mark (30 October 2013). "Review of Philosophical Troubles: Collected Papers, Volume 1" via Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.

Further reading