Katz, Jerrold J. 1932-2002
KATZ, Jerrold J. 1932-2002
PERSONAL: Born July 14, 1932, in Washington, DC; died of bladder cancer February 7, 2002, in New York, NY; second marriage to Virginia Valian (a professor); children: (first marriage) Seth, Jesse. Education: George Washington University, B.A.; Princeton University, Ph.D., 1960.
CAREER: Professor of linguistics and philosophy. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, instructor, c. 1960s; City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, NY, Distinguished Professor of linguistics and philosophy, 1975-2002. Military service: U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps, 1954-56.
The Problem of Induction and Its Solution, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1962.
(With Paul Martin Postal) An Integrated Theory ofLinguistic Descriptions ("Special Technical Support" series), MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 1964.
(Editor with Jerry A. Fodor) The Structure of Language: Readings in the Philosophy of Language, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1964.
The Philosophy of Language ("Studies in Languages" series), Harper & Row (New York, NY), 1966.
The Underlying Reality of Language and Its Philosophical Import ("Harper Essays in Philosophy" series), Harper & Row (New York, NY), 1971.
Semantic Theory ("Studies in Languages" series), Harper & Row (New York, NY), 1972.
(Editor with Thomas G. Bever and D. Terence Langendoen) An Integrated Theory of Linguistic Ability ("Language and Thought" series), Crowell (New York, NY), 1976.
Propositional Structure and Illocutionary Force: AStudy of the Contribution of Sentence Meaning to Speech Acts ("Language and Thought" series), Crowell (New York, NY), 1977.
Language and Other Abstract Objects, Rowman & Littlefield (Totowa, NJ), 1981.
(Editor) The Philosophy of Linguistics ("Oxford Readings in Philosophy" series), Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1985.
Cogitations: A Study of the Cogito in Relation to thePhilosophy of Logic and Language and a Study of Them in Relation to the Cogito, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1986.
The Metaphysics of Meaning ("Representation and Mind" series), MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 1990.
Realistic Rationalism ("Representation and Mind" series), MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 1998.
Sense, Reference, and Philosophy, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: Jerrold J. Katz was a professor of linguistics and philosophy who began his teaching career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Included in his writings is his seminal Semantic Theory and Language and Other Abstract Objects, the first study of the philosophy of linguistics. Philosophical Review's Sally McConnell-Ginet wrote that in the latter, "Katz offers a spirited defense of (1) the view that linguistics is an a priori discipline, quite separate from the empirical study of human psychology, and (2) the view that languages dwell in some third realm of abstract objects to which humans have access via the faculty of 'intuition.' Spirited though it is, however, the defense is unlikely to persuade most linguists that questions about the human mind are irrelevant to linguistic theory. . . . It has nonetheless brought to the fore some interesting and important questions that merit further discussion."
Katz's subsequent books included The Metaphysics of Meaning, described by Kelley L. Ross at Fresian.com as "one of the most important books in all of recent philosophy." Ross added that "Katz himself is that rare person in twentieth-century philosophy: Someone who talks about language and actually knows something about real (i.e., natural) languages. With a doctorate in philosophy but a sober curiosity about what everyone at the time was talking about—language—Katz went off to do graduate work in linguistics with Noam Chomsky himself. The result is a fully informed linguistic philosopher."
John Lyons noted in the Times Literary Supplement that The Metaphysica of Meaning reflects Katz's ongoing work. Lyons explained that Katz's aim was "to subject to further critical examination, 'the naturalistic picture of language and philosophy which emerged in the course of the so-called linguistic turn' and to lay the foundations of 'a future non-naturalism,' which will enable us 'to enjoy both the scientific advantages of the Chomskyan approach and the philosophical relevance of the (late) Wittgensteinian approach.'" In doing so, Katz critiques the arguments and views of Chomsky, Ludwig Wittgenstein, W. V. Quine, Donald Davidson, Hilary Putnam, Tyler Burge, and others who promoted naturalism as the dominant philosophy.
"Katz's approach builds on a foundation of 'folk semantics,'" said Brian Bix in Mind, "the idea that we commonly speak about meanings and their relationships . . . that such talk need not entail or assume any particular conclusions about the ontology or epistemology of meaning . . . and that any semantic theory should try to explain these 'facts' about meaning. His argument is that only an intensionalist approach succeeds in doing so."
Ross concluded by calling The Metaphysics of Meaning a "watershed analysis. . . . If Logical Positivism, Wittgenstein, and Quine all fall, then the whole project of meaning in twentieth-century philosophy, which has mostly been empiricist, reductionistic, and naturalistic, is a failure; and it becomes obvious that one of the avenues of inquiry branching off from Kant has been a blind alley. Since other, equally blind allies, like Hegelianism, have subsequently been revived, and vast new theories of nihilism and irrationalism are being actively promoted, there will be no lack of challenges for the philosophers of the twenty-first century."
Michael D. Resnik wrote in Journal of Philosophy that Katz's Realistic Rationalism, "although billed as a book in the philosophy of mathematics . . . is the final chapter in his larger philosophical project of rebutting contemporary naturalism and regaining for metaphysics a central place in philosophy."
Mark Eli Kalderon noted in Philosophical Review that the 'realism' of the title "conveys the author's conviction that there are abstract objects—objects that do not participate in the causally integrated, spatiotemporal system of events. The 'rationalism' of the title reflects his conviction that we can and do have a priori knowledge of extra-linguistic reality. Part of the project is to defend our a priori knowledge of abstract objects (of which mathematical knowledge is an apparent and prominent example). The larger project, however, is to break the back of naturalist and empiricist ideologies that would deny the possibility of such knowledge by self-consciously articulating and deploying a rationalist counterideology."
Mind contributor Gary Kemp commented that "the crucial move" in Realistic Rationalism "is its attempt to resurrect the synthetic a priori, combining it with an unqualified Platonism: to conceive of mathematical knowledge as the extra-logical apprehension of a mind-independent realm of abstract objects. Katz attempts this not, as one might expect, by arguing that empiricism-friendly accounts of mathematics are simply unable to account for accepted (classical) mathematics, driving us by elimination to accept what Katz call Realistic Rationalism. Katz's strategy, rather, is to explain Realistic Rationalism so as to make it both intrinsically plausible and invulnerable to standard objections from the Empiricist camp."
"The book is engaging and provocative, but it will not win many converts," said A. W. Moore in Times Literary Supplement. "It glides too easily over too many controversial issues to do that. What it will do is to provide both friends and foes with a very clear statement of a position, or a set of positions, not only in the philosophy of mathematics but in philosophy more generally."
Katz's final book, Sense, Reference, and Philosophy, was published posthumously. Katz signed the contract the day before his death from bladder cancer at the age of sixty-nine.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Pope, Emily Norwood, Questions and Answers inEnglish, Mouton (The Hague, Netherlands), 1976.
British Book News, June, 1985, Michael N. Anthony, review of The Philosophy of Linguistics, p. 349.
Canadian Journal of Philosophy, December, 1990, Andre Gombay, review of Cogitations: A Study of the Cogito in Relation to the Philosophy of Logic and Language and a Study of Them in Relation to the Cogito, pp. 565-575.
Choice, March, 1973, review of Semantic Theory, p. 84; November, 1986, M. Andic, review of Cogitations, p. 492; June, 1991, P. K. Moser, review of The Metaphysics of Meaning, p. 1652.
Inquiry, March, 2000, Alex Oliver, review of RealisticRationalism, p. 111.
Journal of Philosophy, April, 1999, Michael D. Resnik, review of Realistic Rationalism, pp. 207-211.
Mind, July, 1993, Brian Bix, review of The Metaphysics of Meaning, p. 512; April, 2001, Gary Kemp, review of Realistic Rationalism, pp. 488-491.
Philosophical Review, July, 1969, Helen Morris Cartwright, review of The Philosophy of Language, pp. 413-420; April, 1974, Stephen P. Stitch, review of The Underlying Reality of Language and Its Philosophical Import, pp. 259-263; January, 1983, Robert M. Harnish, review of Propositional Structure and Illocutionary Force: A Study of the Contribution of Sentence Meaning to Speech Acts, pp. 103-107; October, 1985, Sally McConnell-Ginet, review of Language and Other Abstract Ideas, pp. 590-596; October, 1995, David Braun, "Katz on Names without Bearers," p. 553; July, 2000, Mark Eli Kalderon, review of Realistic Rationalism, p. 456.
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, July,
2000, Jonathan Cohen, "Analyticity and Katz's New Intensionalism: or, If You Sever Sense from Reference, analyticity is Cheap but Useless," p. 115.
Quarterly Journal of Speech, April, 1973, John Stewart, review of The Underlying Reality of Language and Its Philosophical Import, pp. 249-250.
Review of Metaphysics, December, 1973, review of Semantic Theory, p. 395; December, 1987, M. Glouberman, review of Cogitations, pp. 397-399.
Times Literary Supplement, April 16, 1982, L. Jonathan Cohen, review of Language and Other Abstract Ideas, p. 434; January 3, 1992, John Lyons, review of The Metaphysics of Meaning, p. 24; September 18, 1998, A. W. Moore, review of Realistic Rationalism, p. 34.*
New York Times, February 26, 2002, p. B9.
Graduate Center, CUNY,http://www.gc.cuny.edu/ (March, 2002), Margaret K. Rowell, "In Memoriam."*