Tag Archives: logic

Jeff McMahan

I recall my eventual dissertation supervisor, Bernard Williams, saying to me once that he didn’t think that anyone could do ethics competently without a thorough grounding in logic. I nodded solemnly as if to register agreement, though I had never spent a minute studying logic and didn’t even know what a modus ponens was—in fact, I still don’t, though I know it has something to do with p and q.

Jeff McMahan, in Thomas S. Petersen and Jesper Ryberg (eds.), Normative Ethics: 5 Questions, 2007, p. 69

Timothy Williamson

An initial reaction is: how many closed problems are there in philosophy? But of course philosophy is so tolerant of dissent that even if a philosophical problem is solved, an ingenious philosopher can always challenge an assumption of the solution and still be counted as doing philosophy. Thus, as Austin noted, philosophical progress tends to be constituted by the creation of new disciplines, such as logic and formal semantics, less tolerant of philosophical dissent. I suspect that this gradual hiving off of bits of philosophy once philosophers have brought them under sufficient theoretical control will continue.

Timothy Williamson, In Vincent F. Hendricks and John Symons (eds.), Formal Philosophy, 2005