Year of Birth
Field of Knowledge
Saul Aaron Kripke (; born November 13, 1940) is an American philosopher and logician. He is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and emeritus professor at Princeton University. Since the 1960s, Kripke has been a central figure in a number of fields related to mathematical logic, modal logic, philosophy of language, philosophy of mathematics, metaphysics, epistemology, and recursion theory. Much of his work remains unpublished or exists only as tape recordings and privately circulated manuscripts. Kripke was the recipient of the 2001 Schock Prize in Logic and Philosophy.
Kripke has made influential and original contributions to logic, especially modal logic. His work has profoundly influenced analytic philosophy; his principal contribution is a semantics for modal logic involving possible worlds, now called Kripke semantics. Another of his most important contributions is his argument that necessity is a “metaphysical” notion that should be separated from the epistemic notion of a priori, and that there are necessary truths that are a posteriori truths, such as that water is H2O. He has also contributed an original reading of Wittgenstein, referred to as “Kripkenstein.” A 1970 Princeton lecture series, published in book form in 1980 as Naming and Necessity, is considered one of the most important philosophical works of the twentieth century.