Thread: Got Dummett?
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frelkins  frelkins is offline
Join Date: 19 Mar 2007
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While we're on the subject, let me say that I was at a conference of logicians in Japan last March. There I met several senior mathematicians, and I asked if any of them had known Dummett well.

As you recall, he was a towering figure of 20th century analytical philosophy, mathematics & logic. In his works you must include the enormous collected philosophy: The philosophy of Michael Dummett / edited by Randall E. Auxier and Lewis, Edwin Hahn. It must be nearly 750 pages. Key take-away - he hated Plato & Platonists.

After asking around for a couple of days, I was introduced to an Austrian logician, Matthias Baaz, of Vienna. I asked him if he had known Dummett well, and if in fact he had ever played cards with him - Dummett's reputation was that he rarely lost a game of cards. Very rarely.

Herr Doktor Professor Baaz was very clear: "Oh yes," he replied, "No one knew him better than I." "Really?" I asked. "What was he really like?" "He was a true English gentleman, much concerned with social questions, who sought a knighthood," Baaz answered. (Dummett was a devout Catholic who campaigned against racism.)

"How did you come to know him so well?" I asked. "I went and spent 2 entire weeks with him in England, discussing his whole philosophy," Baaz said. "Several times."

"And then?" I asked. "Then," Baaz said with a small smile, "I returned to Vienna and wrote a long paper absolutely refuting everything he had done." "But you never played cards with him?" I pressed him on this point. "Oh no," Baaz said, "He could barely keep his arguments alive against me." Baaz looked at me directly with a flat, steely eye: "He became emotional you know. The English."
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