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Williamson, Timothy (1955–)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DD105-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 2016
Retrieved July 25, 2024, from

Article Summary

Timothy Williamson is a British analytic philosopher, who has made major contributions in philosophical logic, epistemology, metaphysics, the philosophy of language and philosophical methodology.

Williamson has defended classical logic in connection with the sorites (or heap) paradox, by appeal to epistemicism, the view that vagueness is ignorance. His knowledge first approach has reversed the traditional order of explanation in epistemology. In metaphysics, he has argued in favour of necessitism – the view that what there is (ontology) is metaphysically necessary, not contingent. In the philosophy of language, he has argued that one must (in a certain privileged sense, constitutive of assertion) assert only what one knows; and he has defended a principle of charity according to which the best interpretations of a language maximize the attribution of knowledge (rather than true belief) to its speakers.

Methodologically, Williamson opposes naturalism and defends instead the use of ‘armchair’ methods to answer substantive questions; in practice, his work is often characterized by the application of formal techniques, both logical and mathematical, to traditional philosophical problems.

Citing this article:
Ball, Brian. Williamson, Timothy (1955–), 2016, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DD105-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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