I had the good fortune as a graduate student to have significant interaction with W. V. Quine and Saul Kripke, and as a younger faculty member with Ruth Barcan Marcus and Roderick Chisholm. These prominent philosophers have had great influence on the recent history of the central topics of this book. Their views include some of the ‘orthodox’ ones I will in fact be rejecting, but also views that I accept and which have influenced what is offered in these pages. I’m very grateful for these long-past interactions and for their effect on my philosophical perspective.
Scores of philosophers have my gratitude for specific comments on earlier publications and drafts and for comments at conferences, at colloquia, in conversations, and in classes, but by now there are far too many to attempt a complete list. (Most of these people have received explicit acknowledgment in previous publications, but I hope all will understand that I remain grateful if now inexplicit.) All the same, it would be wrong not to thank Chris Menzel, Karen Bennett, Linda Wetzel, Greg Ray, Kirk Ludwig, Greg Fitch, Jeff King, and David Copp. The last three have had the greatest influence on my thinking about the topics at hand and I believe this book is much better as a result.
There are eight people with whom I’ve spent countless hours at various times over the years discussing all manner of philosophical (and other) topics. They are Ed Gettier, Herb Heidelberger, Fred Feldman, Terry Parsons, Greg Fitch, G. J. Mattey, David Copp, and Jeff King. They have all helped (p.viii) shape how I think about philosophy and I’m most grateful for their friendship and for this philosophical influence. (The premature passings of Herb and, much more recently, Greg, were real losses to philosophy as well as personal losses for me and of course for many other people.)
Finally, I am very grateful to Peter Momtchiloff, for repeatedly urging me to write this book and for his help in producing it, and also to anonymous readers for Oxford University Press for their very helpful comments.