Saul Kripke currently boasts the title of Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Unlike other philosophers on this list (and other notable academics in general) Kripke holds only a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, earned in 1962 at Harvard University. It is worth noting, however, that during his undergraduate studies Kripke taught a graduate-level logic course at MIT. He also holds numerous honorary degrees. Kripke has also taught at Harvard University, Rockefeller University, and Princeton University.
Kripke’s influence is felt most in logic, philosophy of language, and epistemology. In his early career, Kripke proposed a new form of modal logic, dubbed “Kripke semantics,” which offers a formal semantic approach in non-classical logic systems. In philosophy of language, Kripke published a seminal text, Naming and Necessity, arguing for a causal theory of reference, and against the descriptivist approach to naming. In this, Kripke has promoted a theory of a posteriori necessary truths, or, necessary truths that are so after the fact of empirical investigation. Additionally, Kripke is well known for an original reading of Ludwig Wittgenstein that, in short, argues Philosophical Investigations is built on a paradox.
For his work, Kripke has received awards and honors such as a Fulbright scholarship, induction in the Harvard University Society of Fellows, Fellowship with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Schock Prize in Logic and Philosophy.
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