Opposing a long-standing orthodoxy of the Western philosophical tradition running from ancient Greek thought until the late nineteenth century, Frege argued that psychological laws of thought—those that explicate how we in fact think—must be distinguished from logical laws of thought—those that formulate and impose rational requirements on thinking. Logic does not describe how we actually think, but only how we should. Yet by thus sundering the logical from the psychological, Frege was unable to explain certain fundamental logical truths, most notably the psychological version of the law of non-contradiction—that one cannot think a thought and its negation simultaneously.
Irad Kimhi’s Thinking and Being marks a radical break with Frege’s legacy in analytic philosophy, exposing the flaws of his approach and outlining a novel conception of judgment as a two-way capacity. In closing the gap that Frege opened, Kimhi shows that the two principles of non-contradiction—the ontological principle and the psychological principle—are in fact aspects of the very same capacity, differently manifested in thinking and being.
As his argument progresses, Kimhi draws on the insights of historical figures such as Aristotle, Kant, and Wittgenstein to develop highly original accounts of topics that are of central importance to logic and philosophy more generally. Self-consciousness, language, and logic are revealed to be but different sides of the same reality. Ultimately, Kimhi’s work elucidates the essential sameness of thinking and being that has exercised Western philosophy since its inception.
To his admirers, Kimhi is a hidden giant, a profound thinker…Strives to do a lot in a short space, aiming to overthrow views about logic and metaphysics that have prevailed in philosophy for a century.
Irad Kimhi’s Thinking and Being is a profound philosophical inquiry into mind and world. The text is difficult. I had to work hard at every sentence to make sure I was following the argument. But the more I did this the more I realized that this book challenges fundamental assumptions of logic and metaphysics that have dominated analytic philosophy throughout the twentieth century and into the present. By going back to the ancient Greeks, Kimhi reanimates a sense of what we might mean by first philosophy. I believe this book marks a turning point.
This book is the most rewarding text by a living author that I have read in years. Kimhi is a philosopher of the highest caliber. Thinking and Being is revolutionary in relation to contemporary orthodoxy by being conservative in relation to certain classical texts. It will have an immediate and powerful impact in a wide array of fields.
It would be remiss to downplay the enormous effort required to understand this book, but even more so to diminish its rewards. Impossible, frustrating, beguiling and iconoclastic, few books in philosophy have challenged my views about so much, so deeply…For those within whom dissatisfaction with philosophy’s dominant methods and presuppositions glimmers darkly, the book suggests a radical new project, one that starts by taking us back to the very beginning of philosophy and showing that we can, each of us, think our way through it all over again, now differently…Extraordinary work.
- 176 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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