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Michael Dummett (Michael Anthony Eardley Dummett) Biography

(1925– ), (Michael Anthony Eardley Dummett), Frege and the Philosophy of Language

frege philosophy oxford mathematics

British philosopher, born in London, educated at Winchester and at Christ Church, Oxford. In 1950 he was elected a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and was a senior research fellow from 1974 to 1979, when he was appointed Wykeham Professor of Logic at Oxford. He has also held numerous visiting posts in the USA and elsewhere. His early publications include Frege and the Philosophy of Language (1973), which established him as a leading interpreter of Frege's philosophy. Frege's methods form the basis for Dummett's analytical procedures in constructing a theory of linguistic meaning, which he believes must be a prerequisite for valid philosophical discourse. Among his further studies of Frege's work are The Interpretation of Frege's Philosophy (1981), Frege: Philosophy of Mathematics (1991), and the hitherto uncollected essays of Frege and Other Philosophers (1991). Dummett's writings on Frege are substantially vehicles for his own work in logic and the philosophy of mathematics, which has provoked controversy for its uncompromisingly technical character. He has stated that ‘Philosophy must be either anecdotal or systematic; if one rejects the anecdotal as trivial, one will have to put up with the laboriousness of the systematic’. His other works include Truth and Other Enigmas (1978) and The Logical Basis of Metaphysics (1991); the historical treatise The Game of Tarot (1980) and the instructional Twelve Tarot Games (1980) regard the cards as exclusively recreational in function, dismissing the ‘irrational’ practices of occultists.

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