The Usefulness of Slipping to the Propositional

Simon Blackburn at 3:16:

When I migrated from Cambridge to my new post at Pembroke College Oxford in the fall of 1969 I got the sense that many of the Old Guard there regarded me as some kind of foreign usurper. Perhaps their own favourite pupils had not been offered the job as they undoubtedly deserved. An exception was Peter Strawson, who was always friendly, and whom I came to admire greatly. Some years later when I belonged to a rather grubby photography workshop in the city I persuaded him to come downtown for me to make a portrait of him. I hope that some of the affection I felt comes through, as well as his undoubted amusement at the occasion.

The film of Strawson’s conversation with Gareth Evans brings many memories of those years flooding back. It reminds me too of the Davidsonic Boom, as it was christened by Bernard Williams (the noise a research program makes when it gets to Oxford), for Davidson’s Locke lectures had ignited all the Young Turks in the Faculty. Convention T was all the rage. I later wrote Spreading the Word to try to help puzzled students make sense of it all.

Revisiting the film I was struck once more by Strawson’s wonderfully delicate, feline, handling of the issues surrounding truth. As Cheryl Misak has emphasized, he sounds remarkably like Frank Ramsey, whose famous dismissal of the idea that there is a separate problem of truth is but a prelude to his hurling himself at problems of meaning and assertion.

More here.  [Thanks to Huw Price.]