Analytic Philosophy: The History of an Illusion by Aaron Preston

By Aaron Preston

A singular, serious account of the origins and improvement of the dominant tuition of philosophy within the English-speaking global.

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He notes the dominance of AP in English-speaking countries throughout much of the twentieth century, as well as its continuing influence, saying that ‘some understanding of the development and growth of analytic thought is essential if one is to understand the state of philosophy today’ (1). The centrality of the linguistic thesis is a chord struck loudly and repeatedly, as Ammerman drives home the point that ‘philosophical analysis is essentially the study of language’ and ‘all analytic philosophers would agree that the study of language is of the greatest importance’ (2).

Later in that chapter, Mehta recounts an interview with Gellner in which the latter is quoted as saying: 20 Analytic Philosophy As far as professional philosophy is concerned, ‘Words and Things’ ruined my future rather than secured it. I attacked the philosophical Establishment, and as long as the present philosophers remain in power, I will never have a position at an Oxford college. Whether I will be accepted again in philosophical circles remains to be seen. (Mehta 1963: 38) He never was. Though Gellner went on to have a brilliant career working at the intersection of philosophy, anthropology and sociology, he never re-entered the philosophical mainstream.

What we lack, however, is an explanation for why the analytic consensus is as it is, and an argument for why it should be as it is. ). It is not the sociologist’s job to 1. Identity Crisis in Analytic Philosophy 19 find these answers; rather, it is the philosopher’s job to provide them. But the analysts have not provided them. Consequently, it remains unclear just what the criteria are for good philosophy on the analytic model. Is Analytic Philosophy Good Philosophy? Doing ‘good philosophy’ on the analytic model has played a significant role in making academic philosophy what it is today – indeed, what it has been for the last century.

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