Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Michael Dummett

Michael Dummett (1925 - ) is a leading British philosopher, who has both written on the history of analytic philosophy, and made original contributions to the subject, particularly in the areas of philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of logic, philosophy of language and metaphysics.

Dummett was born in 1925. In 1944 he was received into the Roman Catholic Church, and remains a practising Catholic. He studied at Christ Church College, Oxford, and was awarded a fellowship at All Souls College. In 1979, he became Wykeham Professor of Logic at Oxford, which a post he held until retiring in 1992. He received a Knighthood in 1999.

His work on the German philosopher Frege has also been acclaimed. His first book Frege: Philosophy of Language (1973), written over many years, is now regarded as a classic. The book was instrumental in the rediscovery of Frege's work, and influenced a whole generation of British philosophers, including Gareth Evans.

In his paper Realism he popularised the term anti-realism, used to describe any position involving either the denial of the objective reality of entities of a certain type or the insistence that we should be agnostic about their real existence. Thus, we may speak of anti-realism with respect to other minds, the past, the future, universals, mathematical entities (such as natural numbers), moral categories, the material world, or even thought.

The novelty of Dummett's approach consisted in seeing these disputes as analogous to the dispute between intuitionism and platonism in the philosophy of mathematics.

Representative Works