Meanings, Minds and Legacy

Part of passing is leaving things behind. On a social scale, an architect leaves buildings, a businessman a fortune, and an artist works of art. For people like philosophers, writers and mathematicians, it’s their ideas that live on.

Reflecting on those ideas is like caring after a building or a work of art – it’s not just a question of formal study, but also of showing a degree of respect. It also shows that the influence of things, even those as delicate as ideas, extends beyond one’s life.

Recent articles talking about Putnam’s Twin Earth argument (that the meaning of words rests partially outside of the head) rarely mention that the full article can be found in the University of Minnesota’s archives. It’s worth a read, if only to dispel the misconception that philosophy nowadays is all incomprehensible gibberish, or “all relative”.

I suggest that those interested interested in how a leading philosopher argued about what “meaning” is give it a read and reflect on it. Those reflections, too, are evidence of a person’s legacy.

The rest of the articles published by UoM in their Philosophy of Science series can be found here.

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