Peter Thomas Geach FBA (/ɡiːtʃ/; 1916–2013) was a British philosopher and professor of logic at the University of Leeds. His areas of interest were the history of philosophy, philosophical logic, ethics, philosophy of religion, and the theory of identity.
Peter Thomas Geach
29 March 1916
Chelsea, London, England
|Died||21 December 2013 (aged 97)|
|Alma mater||Balliol College, Oxford|
G. E. M. Anscombe (m. 1941)
|Philosophical logic, history of philosophy, philosophy of religion|
|Analytical Thomism, omnipotence paradox, Frege–Geach problem, Cambridge change|
Peter Geach was born in London on 29 March 1916 to George Hender Geach, a professor of philosophy in Lahore who had studied philosophy at Cambridge, in the days of Russell, Moore, and Mactaggart, and Eleonora Adolfina Sgonina, a poet, and spent his earliest years in Cardiff. He attended Llandaff Cathedral School and Clifton College. He received instruction in logic and philosophy from his father who, as a member of the Indian Educational Service, had been professor of philosophy at Lahore and later principal of a teacher training college in Peshawar. His parents' marriage was unhappy and quickly broke up. Until around the age of four, he lived with his maternal grandparents in Cardiff, after which time he was raised by a guardian, and then sent first to Llandaff Cathedral School and then to Clifton College. Geach never saw his mother again after childhood.
In 1934 Geach won a scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford, graduating in 1938 with a First in Literae Humaniores.
In 1951, Geach was appointed to his first substantive academic post, as assistant lecturer at the University of Birmingham, going on to become Reader in Logic. In 1966 he was appointed Professor of Logic in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Leeds. Geach retired from his chair in 1981 with the title Emeritus Professor of Logic. He also held Visiting Professorships at the universities of Cornell, Chicago, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Warsaw.
His early work includes the classic texts Mental Acts and Reference and Generality, the latter defending an essentially modern conception of reference against medieval theories of supposition. His Catholic perspective was integral to his philosophy. He was perhaps the founder of Analytical Thomism (though the current of thought running through his and Elizabeth Anscombe's work to the present day was only ostensibly so named forty years later by John Haldane), the aim of which is to synthesise Thomistic and Analytic approaches. Geach was a student and an early follower of Ludwig Wittgenstein whilst at Cambridge University.
Geach defends the Thomistic position that human beings are essentially rational animals, each one miraculously created. He dismissed Darwinistic attempts to regard reason as inessential to humanity, as "mere sophistry, laughable, or pitiable." He repudiated any capacity for language in animals as mere "association of manual signs with things or performances."
Geach dismissed both pragmatic and epistemic conceptions of truth, commending a version of the correspondence theory proposed by Aquinas. He argues that there is one reality rooted in God himself, who is the ultimate truthmaker. God, according to Geach, is truth. While they lived, he saw W. V. Quine and Arthur Prior as his allies, in that they held three truths: that there are no non-existent beings; that a proposition can occur in discourse without being there asserted; and that the sense of a term does not depend on the truth of the proposition in which it occurs. He invented the famous ethical example of the stuck potholer, when arguing against the idea that it might be right to kill a child to save its mother. Jenny Teichman, fellow of New Hall, Cambridge, has characterised Geach's philosophical style as "deliberately outrageous".
His wife and occasional collaborator was the philosopher and Wittgenstein scholar Elizabeth Anscombe. Both converts to Roman Catholicism, they married in 1941 and had seven children. They co-authored the 1961 book Three Philosophers, with Anscombe contributing a section on Aristotle and Geach one each on Aquinas and Gottlob Frege. For a quarter century they were leading figures in the Philosophical Enquiry Group, an annual confluence of Catholic philosophers held at Spode House in Staffordshire that was established by Father Columba Ryan in 1954.
The chapter opens by rejecting the claim that rationality as a differentia fails to pick out human beings uniquely. Geach dismisses Darwin-inspired attempts to regard human reason as distinct from non-human mental activity merely as a matter of degree. Such attempts are rejected by Geach as “mere sophistry, laughable, or pitiable.” Evidence of language acquisition capacities of animals is also dismissed as, at best, association of manual signs with things or performances.
1916 in philosophy1980 in philosophy
1980 in philosophy2013 in philosophy
2013 in philosophyAbstractionism
Abstractionism is the theory that the mind obtains some or all of its concepts by abstracting them from concepts it already has, or from experience. One may, for example, abstract 'green' from a set of experiences which involve green along with other properties. Also, for example, one may abstract a generic concept like 'vegetable' from the already possessed concepts of its instances (carrot, broccoli, onion, etc.). This view was criticized by George Berkeley and Peter Geach.Agnostic existentialism
Agnostic existentialism is a type of existentialism which makes no claim to know whether there is a "greater picture"; rather, it simply asserts that the greatest truth is that which the individual chooses to act upon. It feels that to know the greater picture, whether there is one or not, is impossible, or impossible so far, or of little value. Like the Christian existentialist, the agnostic existentialist believes existence is subjective.Analytical Thomism
Analytical Thomism is a philosophical movement which promotes the interchange of ideas between the thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas (including the philosophy carried on in relation to his thinking, called 'Thomism'), and modern analytic philosophy.
Scottish philosopher John Haldane first coined the term in the early 1990s and has since been one the movement's leading proponents. According to Haldane, "analytical Thomism involves the bringing into mutual relationship of the styles and preoccupations of recent English-speaking philosophy and the ideas and concerns shared by St Thomas and his followers" (Haldane 2004, xii).Anthony Kenny
Sir Anthony John Patrick Kenny (born 16 March 1931) is an English philosopher whose interests lie in the philosophy of mind, ancient and scholastic philosophy, the philosophy of Wittgenstein and the philosophy of religion. With Peter Geach, he has made a significant contribution to Analytical Thomism, a movement whose aim is to present the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas in the style of analytic philosophy. He is one of the executors of Wittgenstein's literary estate. He is a former President of the British Academy and the Royal Institute of Philosophy.Benson Mates
Benson Mates (May 19, 1919 in Portland, Oregon – May 14, 2009 in Berkeley, California) was an American philosopher, noted for his work in logic, the history of philosophy, and skepticism. Mates studied philosophy and mathematics at the University of Oregon, Cornell University, and the University of California at Berkeley. Some of his teachers included J. Barkley Rosser, Harold Cherniss, and Alfred Tarski. From 1948 until his retirement in 1989, he was a professor of philosophy at Berkeley. He remained Professor Emeritus of philosophy at University of California at Berkeley until his death.
Mates's 1948 dissertation, "On the Logic of the Old Stoa", formed the basis for his 1953 book Stoic Logic, of which Peter Geach wrote, "Stoic logic is a difficult subject [...] Dr. Mates's monograph is a strenuous and successful effort to overcome these difficulties." Mates's 1965 book, Elementary Logic, remains a widely used introductory textbook in symbolic logic. His 1986 study of Leibniz is also highly regarded.In his own philosophical work, Mates defends a stance akin to Pyrrhonian skepticism. He argues that the major problems of philosophy (such as the liar paradox, the existence of an external world, and free will) are intelligible and non-trivial yet utterly defy solution. Unlike the classical Pyrrhonists, however, Mates finds that skeptical arguments lead to unsatisfactory perplexity rather than ataraxia.G. E. M. Anscombe
Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe (; 18 March 1919 – 5 January 2001), usually cited as G. E. M. Anscombe or Elizabeth Anscombe, was a British analytic philosopher. She wrote on the philosophy of mind, philosophy of action, philosophical logic, philosophy of language, and ethics. She was a prominent figure of analytical Thomism.
Anscombe was a student of Ludwig Wittgenstein and became an authority on his work and edited and translated many books drawn from his writings, above all his Philosophical Investigations. Anscombe's 1958 article "Modern Moral Philosophy" introduced the term consequentialism into the language of analytic philosophy, and had a seminal influence on contemporary virtue ethics. Her monograph Intention is generally recognised as her greatest and most influential work, and the continuing philosophical interest in the concepts of intention, action, and practical reasoning can be said to have taken its main impetus from this work.Gottlob Frege
Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege (; German: [ˈɡɔtloːp ˈfreːɡə]; 8 November 1848 – 26 July 1925) was a German philosopher, logician, and mathematician. He is understood by many to be the father of analytic philosophy, concentrating on the philosophy of language and mathematics. Though largely ignored during his lifetime, Giuseppe Peano (1858–1932) and Bertrand Russell (1872–1970) introduced his work to later generations of logicians and philosophers.
His contributions include the development of modern logic in the Begriffsschrift and work in the foundations of mathematics. His book the Foundations of Arithmetic is the seminal text of the logicist project, and is cited by Michael Dummett as where to pinpoint the linguistic turn. His philosophical papers "On Sense and Reference" ("Über Sinn und Bedeutung") and "The Thought" ("Der Gedanke") are widely cited.Language game (philosophy)
A language-game (German: Sprachspiel) is a philosophical concept developed by Ludwig Wittgenstein, referring to simple examples of language use and the actions into which the language is woven. Wittgenstein argued that a word or even a sentence has meaning only as a result of the “rule” of the “game” being played. Depending on the context, for example, the utterance “Water!” could be an order, the answer to a question, or some other form of communication.List of metaphysicians
This is a list of metaphysicians, philosophers who specialize in metaphysics. See also Lists of philosophers.List of philosophers of language
This is a list of philosophers of language.
G. E. M. Anscombe
Saint Thomas Aquinas, OP
J. L. Austin
Alfred Jules Ayer
Archie J. Bahm
F. H. Bradley
Cardinal Thomas Cajetan, OP
Cheung Kam Ching
James F. Conant
William C. Dowling
César Chesneau Dumarsais
S. Morris Engel
Robert Maximilian de Gaynesford
Wilhelm von Humboldt
Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins
David Kellogg Lewis
Ruth Barcan Marcus
John Stuart Mill
Charles W. Morris
William of Ockham
Jesús Padilla Gálvez
Charles Sanders Peirce
Willard Van Orman Quine
Bertrand Russell's views on philosophy
John of St. Thomas, OP (John Poinsot)
P. F. Strawson
Kenneth Allen Taylor
Georg Henrik von Wright
Edward N. Zalta
Dean ZimmermanMax Black
Max Black (24 February 1909 – 27 August 1988) was a British-American philosopher, who was a leading figure in analytic philosophy in the years after World War II. He made contributions to the philosophy of language, the philosophy of mathematics and science, and the philosophy of art, also publishing studies of the work of philosophers such as Frege. His translation (with Peter Geach) of Frege's published philosophical writing is a classic text.Natural-law argument
Natural-law argument for the existence of God was especially popular in the eighteenth century as a result of the influence of Sir Isaac Newton. As Bertrand Russell pointed out much later, many of the things we consider to be laws of nature, in fact, are human conventions. Indeed, Albert Einstein has shown that Newton's law of universal gravitation was such a convention, and though elegant and useful, one that did not describe the universe precisely. Most true laws are rather trivial, such as mathematical laws, laws of probability, and so forth, and much less impressive than those that were envisioned by Newton and his followers. Russell wrote:
"If you say, as more orthodox theologians do, that in all the laws which God issues he had a reason for giving those laws rather than others -- the reason, of course, being to create the best universe, although you would never think it to look at it -- if there was a reason for the laws which God gave, then God himself was subject to law, and therefore you do not get any advantage by introducing God as an intermediary. You really have a law outside and anterior to the divine edicts, and God does not serve your purpose, because he is not the ultimate law-giver. In short, this whole argument from natural law no longer has anything like the strength that it used to have."The argument of natural laws as a basis for God was changed by Christian figures such as Thomas Aquinas, in order to fit biblical scripture and establish a Judeo-Christian teleological law.Remarks on Colour
Remarks on Colour (German: Bemerkungen über die Farben) was one of Ludwig Wittgenstein's last works, written during a visit to Vienna in 1950 while dying of cancer. Believing that philosophical puzzles about colour can only be resolved through attention to the involved language games, he considers Goethe's propositions in the Theory of Colours, and the observations of Philipp Otto Runge in an attempt to clarify the use of language about colour.
Wittgenstein was interested in the fact that some propositions about colour are apparently neither empirical nor exactly a priori, but something in between: phenomenology, according to Goethe. However, he took the line that 'There is no such thing as phenomenology, though there are phenomenological problems.' He was content to regard Goethe's observations as a kind of logic or geometry. Wittgenstein took his examples from the Runge letter included in the "Farbenlehre", e.g. "White is the lightest colour", "There cannot be a transparent white", "There cannot be a reddish green", and so on. The logical status of these propositions in Wittgenstein's investigation, including their relation to physics, was discussed in Jonathan Westphal's Colour: a Philosophical Introduction (1991).
Although Remarks on Colour is considered difficult on account of its fragmentation, his last work, On Certainty (German: Über Gewissheit) is considered to be his most lucid.Some Remarks on Logical Form
Some Remarks on Logical Form (German: Bemerkungen über logische Form) was the only academic paper ever published by Ludwig Wittgenstein, and contained Wittgenstein's thinking on logic and the philosophy of mathematics immediately before the rupture that divided the early Wittgenstein of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus from the later Wittgenstein. The approach to logical form in the paper reflected Frank P. Ramsey's critique of Wittgenstein's account in the Tractatus, and has been analyzed by G.E.M. Anscombe and Jaakko Hintikka, among others.Theological noncognitivism
Theological noncognitivism is the position that religious language – specifically, words such as "God" – are not cognitively meaningful. It is sometimes considered synonymous with ignosticism.Zettel (Wittgenstein)
Zettel (German: "slip(s) of paper") is a collection of assorted remarks by Ludwig Wittgenstein, first published in 1967.
It contains several discussions of philosophical psychology and of the tendency in philosophy to try for a synoptic view of phenomena. Analyzed subjects include sense, meaning, thinking while speaking, behavior, pretense, imagination, infinity, rule following, imagery, memory, negation, contradiction, calculation, mathematical proof, epistemology, doubt, consciousness, mental states, and sensations.Editions include a parallel text English/German edition edited by Elizabeth Anscombe and Georg Henrik von Wright first published by Blackwell (UK) and University of California Press (USA) in 1967.
|Concepts in religion|
|Conceptions of God|
|Existence of God|
|Problem of evil|
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