Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2020)

Michael J. Raven
University of Victoria
Kit Fine is an English philosopher who is among the most important philosophers of the turn of the millennium. He is perhaps most influential for reinvigorating a neo-Aristotelian turn within contemporary analytic philosophy. Fine’s prolific work is characterized by a unique blend of logical acumen, respect for appearances, ingenious creativity, and originality. His vast corpus is filled with numerous significant contributions to metaphysics, philosophy of language, logic, philosophy of mathematics, and the history of philosophy. Although Fine is well-known for favoring ideas familiar from the neo-Aristotelian tradition (such as dependence, essence, and hylomorphism), his work is most distinctive for its methodology. Fine’s general view is that metaphysics is not best approached through the study of language Roughly put, Fine’s approach focuses on providing a rigorous account of the apparent phenomena themselves, and not just how we represent them in language or thought, prior to any attempt to discern the reality underlying them. Furthermore, a strong and ecumenical respect for the intelligible options, demands patience for the messy details, even when they resist tidying or systematization. All this leads to a steadfastness in refusing to allow epistemic qualms about how we know what we seem to know interferes with our attempts to clarify just what it is that we seem to know. This article surveys the wide variety of Fine’s rich and creative contributions to philosophy, and it conveys what Fine’s distinctive methodology is and how it informs his contributions to philosophy.
Keywords metaphysics  philosophy of language  logic
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