[lit-ideas] Re: Michael Dummett

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 9 Jan 2012 22:42:34 -0500 (EST)

For the record, while the obituaries are not too explicit about this,  
Dummett had various tutors. Being a PPE (philosophy, politics, economics) he 
 tutors in each of the three areas. In the area that matters (philosophy) 
he had  three of them:

--- Urmson
--- Foster (M. B.), and 
--- Flew  (Grice's tutee, actually).

I wouldn't know if there are many connections  between Dummett and Popper. 
I know there are a few between Dummett and Grice,  which I have discussed 

Further to the Guardian links that R.  P. supplied, the Oxford Univ. site 
provides links to the NYT, which contains  'memoirs' by a few philosophers. 
One comments that Dummett was surprised that an  'answering machine' was thus 
called ("It does not really answer the questions  you may care to pose 

The Daily Telegraph obit has links to letters  from readers. One was 
wondering about the etymology of Dummett qua surname,  which he found otiose 
for a 
logic teacher (or something).

Urmson was a  member of Grice's (indeed Austin's "Play Group"). Apparently, 
Dummett belonged,  rather, not to these "Saturday Mornings". He rather 
attended the "Tuesday  [evening] club", aka as the Freddie Ayer group, after 

While  Foster, Urmson and Flew were Dummett's _official_ tutors at Christ 
Church,  Dummett liked to say he perhaps learned more from Anscombe (during 
his forming  years).

Further to the wiki entry that D. McEvoy refers to, there's the  entry in 
the Stanford Encyclopedia, online, which makes for some interesting  read, if 
you are into this sort of thing of "Oxonian lingo philosophy" and  stuff.

R. Paul is incidentally right, in his reply to McC, that all roads lead  
somewhere. "A road to nowhere" is possibly a misnomer. It may be argued that  
more than Fregean, the argument for 'all roads leading somewhere' is 
_analytic_  alla Kant ("What _is_ a road, if not a road to somewhere?").
The NYT links include a recollection by J. Stanley, the infamous  
contextualist. He recalls his discussion with Dummett on this. Stanley was  
that it would be odd to think that 'if' changes its meaning on each  occasion 
of use. E.g. 
"If it rains, it pours"
"If Plato had been Roman, Greek would not have been his mother  tongue."
Dummett commented: "I wonder IF you think that". (Implicature: the use of  
'if' in "wonder if" is yet different from the horseshoe, allegedly).

And so on.


In a message dated 1/8/2012  9:57:20 P.M. UTC-02, rpaul@xxxxxxxx writes:
Donal wrote
>  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Dummett
There's  also
and  I'm sure some other obituaries of Dummett.
The Guardian page has links to  readers' comments on the original article.
Robert Paul
Reed College
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