Analytic philosophy (sometimes analytical philosophy) is a style of
philosophy that became dominant in the west at the beginning of the
20th century. In the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia,
New Zealand and Scandinavia, the majority of university philosophy
departments today identify themselves as "analytic" departments.
The term "analytic philosophy" can refer to one of several things:
As a philosophical practice, it is characterized by an emphasis
on argumentative clarity and precision, often making use of formal
logic, conceptual analysis, and, to a lesser degree, mathematics and
the natural sciences.
As a historical development, analytic philosophy refers to certain
developments in early 20th-century philosophy that were the historical
antecedents of the current practice. Central figures in this
historical development are Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, G.
E. Moore, Gottlob Frege, and the logical positivists. In this more
specific sense, analytic philosophy is identified with specific
philosophical traits (many of which are rejected by many contemporary
analytic philosophers), such as:
The logical-positivist principle that there are not any specifically
philosophical facts and that the object of philosophy is the logical
clarification of thoughts. This may be contrasted with the traditional
foundationalism, which considers philosophy to be a special science
(i.e., the discipline of knowledge) that investigates the fundamental
reasons and principles of everything. Consequently, many analytic
philosophers have considered their inquiries as continuous with, or
subordinate to, those of the natural sciences. This is an attitude
that begins with John Locke, who described his work as that of an
"underlabourer" to the achievements of natural scientists such as
Newton. During the 20th century, the most influential advocate of the
continuity of philosophy with science was Willard Van Orman Quine.
The principle that the logical clarification of thoughts can be
achieved only by analysis of the logical form of philosophical
propositions. The logical form of a proposition is a way of
representing it (often using the formal grammar and symbolism of a
logical system), to reduce it to simpler components if necessary, and
to display its similarity with all other propositions of the same
type. However, analytic philosophers disagree widely about the correct
logical form of ordinary language.
The neglect of generalized philosophical systems in favour of more
restricted inquiries stated rigorously, or ordinary language.
According to a characteristic paragraph by Russell:
Modern analytical empiricism [...] differs from that of Locke,
Berkeley, and Hume by its incorporation of mathematics and its
development of a powerful logical technique. It is thus able, in
regard to certain problems, to achieve definite answers, which have
the quality of science rather than of philosophy. It has the
advantage, in comparison with the philosophies of the system-builders,
of being able to tackle its problems one at a time, instead of having
to invent at one stroke a block theory of the whole universe. Its
methods, in this respect, resemble those of science.
Analytic philosophy is often understood in contrast to other
philosophical traditions, most notably continental philosophies such
as existentialism and phenomenology, and also
Thomism and Marxism.
1.1 Ideal language analysis
1.2 Logical positivism
1.3 Ordinary-language analysis
2 Contemporary analytic philosophy
Philosophy of mind and cognitive science
Ethics in analytic philosophy
2.2.1 Normative ethics
2.2.3 Applied ethics
Analytic philosophy of religion
2.4 Political philosophy
2.4.2 Analytical Marxism
2.5 Analytic metaphysics
Philosophy of language
Philosophy of science
3 See also
6 Further reading
7 External links
British idealism, as taught by philosophers such as F. H. Bradley
Thomas Hill Green
Thomas Hill Green (1836–1882), dominated English
philosophy in the late 19th century. With reference to this
intellectual basis the initiators of analytic philosophy, G. E. Moore
and Bertrand Russell, articulated early analytic philosophy.
Since its beginning, a basic goal of analytic philosophy has been
conceptual clarity, in the name of which Moore and Russell
Hegelianism for being obscure — see for example Moore's "A
Defence of Common Sense" and Russell's critique of the doctrine of
internal relations. Inspired by developments in modern logic, the
early Russell claimed that the problems of philosophy can be solved by
showing the simple constituents of complex notions. An important
British idealism was logical holism — the opinion that
there are aspects of the world that can be known only by knowing the
whole world. This is closely related to the opinion that relations
between items are internal relations, that is, properties of the
nature of those items. Russell, along with Wittgenstein, in response
promulgated logical atomism and the doctrine of external relations —
the belief that the world consists of independent facts.
Russell, during his early career, along with his collaborator Alfred
North Whitehead, was much influenced by
Gottlob Frege (1848–1925),
who developed predicate logic, which allowed a much greater range of
sentences to be parsed into logical form than was possible using the
ancient Aristotelian logic. Frege was also influential as a
philosopher of mathematics in Germany at the beginning of the 20th
century. In contrast to Edmund Husserl's 1891 book Philosophie der
Arithmetik, which argued that the concept of the cardinal number
derived from psychical acts of grouping objects and counting them,
Frege argued that mathematics and logic have their own validity,
independent of the judgments or mental states of individual
mathematicians and logicians (which were the basis of arithmetic
according to the "psychologism" of Husserl's Philosophie). Frege
further developed his philosophy of logic and mathematics in The
Foundations of Arithmetic (1884) and The Basic Laws of Arithmetic
(German: Grundgesetze der Arithmetik, 1893–1903), where he provided
an alternative to psychologistic accounts of the concept of number.
Like Frege, Russell argued that mathematics is reducible to logical
The Principles of Mathematics
The Principles of Mathematics (1903). Later, his book
written with Whitehead,
Principia Mathematica (1910–1913),
encouraged many philosophers to renew their interest in the
development of symbolic logic. Additionally, Russell adopted Frege's
predicate logic as his primary philosophical method, a method Russell
thought could expose the underlying structure of philosophical
problems. For example, the English word "is" has three distinct
meanings which predicate logic can express as follows:
For the sentence 'the cat is asleep', the is of predication means that
"x is P" (denoted as P(x)).
For the sentence 'there is a cat', the is of existence means that
"there is an x" (∃x).
For the sentence 'three is half of six', the is of identity means that
"x is the same as y" (x=y).
Russell sought to resolve various philosophical problems by applying
such logical distinctions, most famously in his analysis of definite
descriptions in "On Denoting" (1905).
Ideal language analysis
Main article: Linguistic philosophy
From about 1910 to 1930, analytic philosophers like Russell and Ludwig
Wittgenstein emphasized creating an ideal language for philosophical
analysis, which would be free from the ambiguities of ordinary
language that, in their opinion, often made philosophy invalid. This
philosophical trend can be termed "ideal-language analysis" or
"formalism". During this phase, Russell and Wittgenstein sought to
understand language (and hence philosophical problems) by using formal
logic to formalize the way in which philosophical statements are made.
Wittgenstein developed a comprehensive system of logical atomism in
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (German: Logisch-Philosophische
Abhandlung, 1921). He thereby argued that the universe is the totality
of actual states of affairs and that these states of affairs can be
expressed by the language of first-order predicate logic. Thus a
picture of the universe can be construed by means of expressing atomic
facts in the form of atomic propositions, and linking them using
Main article: Logical positivism
During the late 1920s, to 1940s, a group of philosophers of the Vienna
Circle and the
Berlin Circle developed Russell and Wittgenstein's
formalism into a doctrine known as "logical positivism" (or logical
Logical positivism used formal logical methods to develop
an empiricist account of knowledge. Philosophers such as Rudolf
Carnap and Hans Reichenbach, along with other members of the Vienna
Circle, claimed that the truths of logic and mathematics were
tautologies, and those of science were verifiable empirical claims.
These two constituted the entire universe of meaningful judgments;
anything else was nonsense. The claims of ethics, aesthetics and
theology were, accordingly, pseudo-statements, neither true nor false,
simply meaningless. In reaction to what he considered excesses of
logical positivism, Karl Popper's insisted on the role of
falsification in the philosophy of science—although his general
method was also part of the analytic tradition. With the coming to
Adolf Hitler and
Nazism in 1933, many members of the Vienna
and Berlin Circles fled to Britain and America, which helped to
reinforce the dominance of logical positivism and analytic philosophy
in Anglophone countries.
Logical positivists typically considered philosophy as having a very
limited function. For them, philosophy concerned the clarification of
thoughts, rather than having a distinct subject matter of its own. The
positivists adopted the verification principle, according to which
every meaningful statement is either analytic or is capable of being
verified by experience. This caused the logical positivists to reject
many traditional problems of philosophy, especially those of
metaphysics or ontology, as meaningless.
Main article: Ordinary language philosophy
After World War II, during the late 1940s and 1950s, analytic
philosophy became involved with ordinary-language analysis. This
resulted in two main trends. One continued Wittgenstein's later
philosophy, which differed dramatically from his early work of the
Tractatus. The other, known as "Oxford philosophy", involved J. L.
Austin. In contrast to earlier analytic philosophers (including the
early Wittgenstein) who thought philosophers should avoid the
deceptive trappings of natural language by constructing ideal
languages, ordinary-language philosophers claimed that ordinary
language already represents many subtle distinctions not recognized in
the formulation of traditional philosophical theories or problems.
While schools such as logical positivism emphasize logical terms,
supposed to be universal and separate from contingent factors (such as
culture, language, historical conditions), ordinary-language
philosophy emphasizes the use of language by ordinary people. The most
prominent ordinary-language philosophers during the 1950s were Austin
and Gilbert Ryle.
Ordinary-language philosophers often sought to dissolve philosophical
problems by showing them to be the result of misunderstanding ordinary
language. Examples include Ryle, who tried to dispose of "Descartes'
myth", and Wittgenstein.
Contemporary analytic philosophy
Although contemporary philosophers who self-identify as "analytic"
have widely divergent interests, assumptions, and methods—and have
often rejected the fundamental premises that defined analytic
philosophy before 1960—analytic philosophy today is usually
considered to be defined by a particular style, characterized by
precision and thoroughness about a specific topic, and resistance to
"imprecise or cavalier discussions of broad topics".
During the 1950s, logical positivism was challenged influentially by
Wittgenstein in the Philosophical Investigations, Quine in "Two Dogmas
of Empiricism", and Sellars in
Empiricism and the
Philosophy of Mind.
After 1960, Anglophone philosophy began to incorporate a wider range
of interests, opinions, and methods. Still, many philosophers in
Britain and America still consider themselves "analytic
philosophers". They have done so largely by expanding the notion
of "analytic philosophy" from the specific programs that dominated
Anglophone philosophy before 1960 to a much more general notion of an
"analytic" style. This interpretation of the history is far from
universally accepted, and its opponents would say that it grossly
downplays the role of Wittgenstein during the 1960s and 1970s.
Many philosophers and historians have attempted to define or describe
analytic philosophy. Those definitions often include an emphasis on
A.P. Martinich draws an analogy between analytic
philosophy's interest in conceptual analysis and analytic chemistry,
which aims to determine chemical compositions. Steven D. Hales
described analytic philosophy as one of three types of philosophical
method practiced in the West: "[i]n roughly reverse order by number of
proponents, they are phenomenology, ideological philosophy, and
Scott Soames agrees that clarity is important: analytic philosophy, he
says, has "an implicit commitment—albeit faltering and
imperfect—to the ideals of clarity, rigor and argumentation" and it
"aims at truth and knowledge, as opposed to moral or spiritual
improvement [...] the goal in analytic philosophy is to discover what
is true, not to provide a useful recipe for living one's life". Soames
also states that analytic philosophy is characterised by "a more
piecemeal approach. There is, I think, a widespread presumption within
the tradition that it is often possible to make philosophical progress
by intensively investigating a small, circumscribed range of
philosophical issues while holding broader, systematic questions in
A few of the most important and active topics and subtopics of
analytic philosophy are summarized by the following sections.
Philosophy of mind and cognitive science
Motivated by the logical positivists' interest in verificationism,
logical behaviorism was the most prominent theory of mind of analytic
philosophy for the first half of the 20th century. Behaviorists
tended to opine either that statements about the mind were equivalent
to statements about behavior and dispositions to behave in particular
ways or that mental states were directly equivalent to behavior and
dispositions to behave.
Behaviorism later became much less popular, in
favor of type physicalism or functionalism, theories that identified
mental states with brain states. During this period, topics of the
philosophy of mind were often related strongly to topics of cognitive
science such as modularity or innateness. Finally, analytic philosophy
has featured a certain number of philosophers who were dualists, and
recently forms of property dualism have had a resurgence; the most
prominent representative is David Chalmers.
John Searle suggests that the obsession with the philosophy of
language during the 20th century has been superseded by an emphasis on
the philosophy of mind, in which functionalism is currently the
dominant theory. In recent years, a central focus of research in the
philosophy of mind has been consciousness. While there is a general
consensus for the global neuronal workspace model of
consciousness, there are many opinions as to the specifics. The
best known theories are Daniel Dennett's heterophenomenology, Fred
Dretske and Michael Tye's representationalism, and the higher-order
theories of either David M. Rosenthal—who advocates a higher-order
thought (HOT) model—- or David Armstrong and William Lycan—who
advocate a higher-order perception (HOP) model. An alternative
higher-order theory, the higher-order global states (HOGS) model, is
offered by Robert van Gulick.
Ethics in analytic philosophy
Philosophers working with the analytic tradition have gradually come
to distinguish three major types of moral philosophy.
Meta-ethics which investigates moral terms and concepts;
Normative ethics which examines and produces normative ethical
Applied ethics which investigates how existing normative principles
should be applied to difficult or borderline cases, often cases
created by new technology or new scientific knowledge.
The first half of the 20th century was marked by skepticism toward,
and neglect of, normative ethics. Related subjects, such as social and
political philosophy, aesthetics, and philosophy of history, became
only marginal topics of English-language philosophy during this
During this time, utilitarianism was the only non-skeptical type of
ethics to remain popular. However, as the influence of logical
positivism began to decrease mid-century, analytic philosophers had
renewed interest in ethics. G. E. M. Anscombe's 1958 "Modern Moral
Philosophy" sparked a revival of Aristotle's virtue ethical approach
and John Rawls's 1971
A Theory of Justice
A Theory of Justice restored interest in Kantian
ethical philosophy. Today, contemporary normative ethics is dominated
by three schools: utilitarianism, virtue ethics, and deontology.
Twentieth-century meta-ethics has two origins. The first is G. E.
Moore's investigation into the nature of ethical terms (e.g., good) in
his Principia Ethica (1903), which identified the naturalistic
fallacy. Along with Hume's famous is/ought distinction, the
naturalistic fallacy was a major topic of investigation for analytical
The second is in logical positivism and its attitude that statements
which are unverifiable are meaningless. Although that attitude was
adopted originally to promote scientific investigation by rejecting
grand metaphysical systems, it had the side effect of making (ethical
and aesthetic) value judgments (as well as religious statements and
beliefs) meaningless. But because value judgments are of major
importance in human life, it became incumbent on logical positivism to
develop an explanation of the nature and meaning of value judgements.
As a result, analytic philosophers avoided normative ethics, and
instead began meta-ethical investigations into the nature of moral
terms, statements, and judgments.
The logical positivists opined that statements about value—-
including all ethical and aesthetic judgments—- are non-cognitive;
that is, they cannot be objectively verified or falsified. Instead,
the logical positivists adopted an emotivist theory, which was that
value judgments expressed the attitude of the speaker. For example, in
this view, saying, "Killing is wrong", is equivalent to saying, "Boo
to murder", or saying the word "murder" with a particular tone of
While non-cognitivism was generally accepted by analytic philosophers,
emotivism had many deficiencies, and evolved into more sophisticated
non-cognitivist theories such as the expressivism of Charles
Stevenson, and the universal prescriptivism of R. M. Hare, which was
based on J. L. Austin's philosophy of speech acts.
These theories were not without their critics. Philippa Foot
contributed several essays attacking all these theories. J. O.
Urmson's article "On Grading" called the is/ought distinction into
As non-cognitivism, the is/ought distinction, and the naturalistic
fallacy began to be called into question, analytic philosophers began
to show a renewed interest in the traditional questions of moral
philosophy. Perhaps most influential in this regard was Elizabeth
Anscombe, whose monograph Intention was called by Donald Davidson "the
most important treatment of action since Aristotle".
A favorite student and friend of Ludwig Wittgenstein, her 1958 article
"Modern Moral Philosophy" introduced the term "consequentialism" into
the philosophical lexicon, declared the "is-ought" impasse to be
unproductive, and resulted in a revival of virtue ethics.
A significant feature of analytic philosophy since approximately 1970
has been the emergence of applied ethics—- an interest in the
application of moral principles to specific practical issues.
Topics of special interest for applied ethics include environmental
issues, animal rights, and the many challenges created by advancing
Analytic philosophy of religion
Philosophy of Religion, Harris noted that
analytic philosophy has been a very heterogeneous 'movement'.... some
forms of analytic philosophy have proven very sympathetic to the
philosophy of religion and have actually provided a philosophical
mechanism for responding to other more radical and hostile forms of
As with the study of ethics, early analytic philosophy tended to avoid
the study of philosophy of religion, largely dismissing (as per the
logical positivists) the subject as part of metaphysics and therefore
meaningless. The demise of logical positivism renewed interest in
philosophy of religion, prompting philosophers like William Alston,
John Mackie, Alvin Plantinga, Robert Merrihew Adams, Richard
Antony Flew not only to introduce new problems, but to
re-study classical topics such as the nature of miracles, theistic
arguments, the problem of evil, (see existence of God) the rationality
of belief in God, concepts of the nature of God, and many more.
Plantinga, Mackie and Flew debated the logical validity of the free
will defense as a way to solve the problem of evil. Alston,
grappling with the consequences of analytic philosophy of language,
worked on the nature of religious language. Adams worked on the
relationship of faith and morality. Analytic epistemology and
metaphysics has formed the basis for a number of
philosophically-sophisticated theistic arguments, like those of the
reformed epistemologists like Plantinga.
Analytic philosophy of religion has also been preoccupied with
Wittgenstein, as well as his interpretation of Søren Kierkegaard's
philosophy of religion. Using first-hand remarks (which was later
published in Philosophical Investigations, Culture and Value, and
other works), philosophers such as
Peter Winch and Norman Malcolm
developed what has come to be known as contemplative philosophy, a
Wittgensteinian school of thought rooted in the "Swansea tradition,"
and which includes Wittgensteinians such as Rush Rhees, Peter Winch,
and D. Z. Phillips, among others. The name "contemplative philosophy"
was first coined by
D. Z. Phillips in Philosophy's Cool Place, which
rests on an interpretation of a passage from Wittgenstein's "Culture
and Value." This interpretation was first labeled,
"Wittgensteinian Fideism," by Kai Nielsen but those who consider
themselves Wittgensteinians in the Swansea tradition have relentlessly
and repeatedly rejected this construal as a caricature of
Wittgenstein's considered position; this is especially true of D. Z.
Phillips. Responding to this interpretation, Kai Nielsen and D. Z.
Phillips became two of the most prominent philosophers on
Wittgenstein's philosophy of religion.
Current analytic political philosophy owes much to John Rawls, who in
a series of papers from the 1950s onward (most notably "Two Concepts
of Rules" and "
Justice as Fairness") and his 1971 book A Theory of
Justice, produced a sophisticated defence of a generally liberal
egalitarian account of distributive justice. This was followed soon by
Rawls's colleague Robert Nozick's book Anarchy, State, and Utopia, a
defence of free-market libertarianism.
Isaiah Berlin also had a
lasting influence on both analytic political philosophy and Liberalism
with his lecture the Two Concepts of Liberty.
During recent decades there have also been several critiques of
liberalism, including the feminist critiques of Catharine MacKinnon
and Andrea Dworkin, the communitarian critiques of
Michael Sandel and
Alasdair MacIntyre (although neither of them endorses the term), and
the multiculturalist critiques of
Amy Gutmann and Charles Taylor.
Although not an analytic philosopher,
Jürgen Habermas is another
important—- if controversial—- author of contemporary analytic
political philosophy, whose social theory is a blend of social
science, Marxism, neo-Kantianism, and American pragmatism.
Consequentialist libertarianism also derives from the analytic
Another development of political philosophy was the emergence of the
school of Analytical Marxism. Members of this school seek to apply
techniques of analytic philosophy modern social science such as
rational choice theory to clarify the theories of
Karl Marx and his
successors. The best-known member of this school is G. A. Cohen, whose
1978 work, Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence, is generally
considered to represent the genesis of this school. In that book,
Cohen used logical and linguistic analysis to clarify and defend
Marx's materialist conception of history. Other prominent Analytical
Marxists include the economist John Roemer, the social scientist Jon
Elster, and the sociologist Erik Olin Wright. The work of these later
philosophers have furthered Cohen's work by bringing to bear modern
social science methods, such as rational choice theory, to supplement
Cohen's use of analytic philosophical techniques in the interpretation
of Marxian theory.
Cohen himself would later engage directly with Rawlsian political
philosophy to advance a socialist theory of justice that contrast with
Marxism and the theories advanced by Rawls and
Nozick. In particular, he indicates Marx's principle of from each
according to his ability, to each according to his need.
Communitarians such as Alasdair MacIntyre, Charles Taylor, Michael
Michael Sandel advance a critique of
Liberalism that uses
analytic techniques to isolate the main assumptions of Liberal
individualists, such as Rawls, and then challenges these assumptions.
In particular, Communitarians challenge the Liberal assumption that
the individual can be considered as fully autonomous from the
community in which he lives and is brought up. Instead, they argue for
a conception of the individual that emphasizes the role that the
community plays in forming his or her values, thought processes and
Main article: Metaphysics
One striking difference with respect to early analytic philosophy was
the revival of metaphysical theorizing during the second half of the
20th century. Philosophers such as
David Kellogg Lewis and David
Armstrong developed elaborate theories on a range of topics such as
universals, causation, possibility and necessity, and abstract
Among the developments that resulted in the revival of metaphysical
theorizing were Quine's attack on the analytic-synthetic distinction,
which was generally considered to weaken Carnap's distinction between
existence questions internal to a framework and those external to
it. Important also for the revival of metaphysics was the further
development of modal logic, including the work of Saul Kripke, who
Naming and Necessity
Naming and Necessity and elsewhere for the existence of
essences and the possibility of necessary, a posteriori truths.
Metaphysics remains a fertile topic of research, having recovered from
the attacks of
A.J. Ayer and the logical positivists. Although many
discussions are continuations of old ones from previous decades and
centuries, the debate remains active. The philosophy of fiction, the
problem of empty names, and the debate over existence's status as a
property have all become major concerns, while perennial issues such
as free will, possible worlds, and the philosophy of time have been
Science has also had an increasingly significant role in metaphysics.
The theory of special relativity has had a profound effect on the
philosophy of time, and quantum physics is routinely discussed in the
free will debate. The weight given to scientific evidence is
largely due to widespread commitments among philosophers to scientific
realism and naturalism.
Philosophy of language
Philosophy of language
Philosophy of language is a topic that has decreased during the last
four decades, as evidenced by the fact that few major philosophers
today treat it as a primary research topic. Indeed, while the debate
remains fierce, it is still strongly influenced by those authors from
the first half of the century: Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig
Wittgenstein, J.L. Austin, Alfred Tarski, and W.V.O. Quine.
In Saul Kripke's publication Naming and Necessity, he argued
influentially that flaws in common theories of proper names are
indicative of larger misunderstandings of the metaphysics of necessity
and possibility. By wedding the techniques of modal logic to a causal
theory of reference, Kripke was widely regarded as reviving theories
of essence and identity as respectable topics of philosophical
Another influential philosopher,
Pavel Tichý initiated Transparent
Intensional Logic, an original theory of the logical analysis of
natural languages – the theory is devoted to the problem of saying
exactly what it is that we learn, know and can communicate when we
come to understand what a sentence means.
Philosophy of science
Philosophy of science
Reacting against both the verificationism of the logical positivists
as well as the critiques of the philosopher of science Karl Popper,
who had suggested the falsifiability criterion on which to judge the
demarcation between science and non-science, discussions of philosophy
of science during the last 40 years were dominated by social
constructivist and cognitive relativist theories of science. Thomas
Samuel Kuhn with his formulation of paradigm shifts and Paul
Feyerabend with his epistemological anarchism are significant for
these discussions. The philosophy of biology has also undergone
considerable growth, particularly due to the considerable debate in
recent years over the nature of evolution, particularly natural
Daniel Dennett and his 1995 book Darwin's Dangerous
Idea, which defends Neo-Darwinism, stand at the foreground of this
Main article: Epistemology
Owing largely to Gettier's 1963 paper "Is Justified True Belief
Knowledge?", epistemology resurged as a topic of analytic philosophy
during the last 50 years. A large portion of current epistemological
research is intended to resolve the problems that Gettier's examples
presented to the traditional justified true belief model of knowledge,
including developing theories of justification in order to deal with
Gettier's examples, or giving alternatives to the justified true
belief model. Other and related topics of contemporary research
include debates between internalism and externalism, basic
knowledge, the nature of evidence, the value of knowledge, epistemic
luck, virtue epistemology, the role of intuitions in justification,
and treating knowledge as a primitive concept.
Main article: Aesthetics
As a result of attacks on the traditional aesthetic notions of beauty
and sublimity from post-modern thinkers, analytic philosophers were
slow to consider art and aesthetic judgment. Susanne Langer and
Nelson Goodman addressed these problems in an analytic style
during the 1950s and 1960s. Since Goodman, aesthetics as a discipline
for analytic philosophers has flourished. Rigorous efforts to
pursue analyses of traditional aesthetic concepts were performed by
Guy Sircello in the 1970s and 1980s, resulting in new analytic
theories of love, sublimity, and beauty.
^ a b "Without exception, the best philosophy departments in the
United States are dominated by analytic philosophy, and among the
leading philosophers in the United States, all but a tiny handful
would be classified as analytic philosophers. Practitioners of types
of philosophizing that are not in the analytic tradition—- such as
phenomenology, classical pragmatism, existentialism, or Marxism—-
feel it necessary to define their position in relation to analytic
John Searle (2003), Contemporary
Philosophy in the United
States in N. Bunnin and E. P. Tsui-James (eds.), The Blackwell
Companion to Philosophy, 2nd ed., (Blackwell, 2003), p. 1.
^ See, e.g., Avrum Stroll, Twentieth-Century Analytic Philosophy
(Columbia University Press, 2000), p. 5: "[I]t is difficult to give a
precise definition of 'analytic philosophy' since it is not so much a
specific doctrine as a loose concatenation of approaches to problems."
Also, see Stroll (2000), p. 7: "I think Sluga is right in saying 'it
may be hopeless to try to determine the essence of analytic
philosophy.' Nearly every proposed definition has been challenged by
some scholar. [...] [W]e are dealing with a family resemblance
^ See Hans-Johann Glock, What Is Analytic
University Press, 2008), p. 205: "The answer to the title question,
then, is that analytic philosophy is a tradition held together both by
ties of mutual influence and by family resemblances."
^ a b c
Brian Leiter (2006) webpage "Analytic" and "Continental"
Philosophy. Quote on the definition: "'Analytic' philosophy today
names a style of doing philosophy, not a philosophical program or a
set of substantive views. Analytic philosophers, crudely speaking, aim
for argumentative clarity and precision; draw freely on the tools of
logic; and often identify, professionally and intellectually, more
closely with the sciences and mathematics, than with the humanities."
^ Glock, H. J. (2004). "Was Wittgenstein an Analytic Philosopher?".
Metaphilosophy. 35 (4): 419–444.
^ Colin McGinn, The Making of a Philosopher: My Journey through
Philosophy (HarperCollins, 2002), p. xi.:
"analytical philosophy [is] too narrow a label, since [it] is not
generally a matter of taking a word or concept and analyzing it
(whatever exactly thatthat might be). [...] This tradition emphasizes
clarity, rigor, argument, theory, truth. It is not a tradition that
aims primarily for inspiration or consolation or ideology. Nor is it
particularly concerned with 'philosophy of life,' though parts of it
are. This kind of philosophy is more like science than religion, more
like mathematics than poetry – though it is neither science nor
Book II 993a), Kenny (1973) p. 230.
^ See, e.g., Quine's papers "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" and
^ A.P. Martinich, "Introduction," in Martinich & D. Sosa (eds.), A
Companion to Analytic
Philosophy (Blackwell, 2001), p. 1: "To use a
general name for the kind of analytic philosophy practiced during the
first half of the twentieth century, [...] 'conceptual analysis' aims
at breaking down complex concepts into their simpler components."
^ Wittgenstein, op. cit., 4.111
^ Scott Soames, Philosophical
Analysis in the Twentieth Century Vol. 1
(Princeton UP, 2003), p. xv: "There is, I think, a widespread
presumption within the tradition that it is often possible to make
philosophical progress by intensively investigating a small,
circumscribed range of philosophical issues while holding broader,
systematic questions in abeyance. What distinguishes twentieth-century
analytical philosophy from at least some philosophy in other
traditions, or at other times, is not a categorical rejection of
philosophical systems, but rather the acceptance of a wealth of
smaller, more thorough and more rigorous, investigations that need not
be tied to any overarching philosophical view." See also, e.g.,
"Philosophical Analysis" (catalogued under "Analysis, Philosophical")
in Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Vol. 1 (Macmillan, 1967), esp. sections
on "Bertrand Russell" at p. 97ff, "G.E. Moore" at p. 100ff, and
"Logical Positivism" at p. 102ff.
^ See, e.g., the works of
G.E. Moore and J.L. Austin.
^ B. Russell, A History of Western
Philosophy (Simon & Schuster,
1945), p. 834.
A. C. Grayling
A. C. Grayling (ed.),
Philosophy 2: Further through the Subject
(Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 2: "
Analytic philosophy is mainly
associated with the contemporary English-speaking world, but it is by
no means the only important philosophical tradition. In this volume
two other immensely rich and important such traditions are introduced:
Indian philosophy, and philosophical thought in Europe from the time
of Hegel." L.J. Cohen, The Dialogue of Reason: An
Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 1986), p. 5: "So,
despite a few overlaps, analytical philosophy is not difficult to
distinguish broadly [...] from other modern movements, like
phenomenology, say, or existentialism, or from the large amount of
philosophizing that has also gone on in the present century within
frameworks deriving from other influential thinkers like Aquinas,
Hegel, or Marx." H.-J. Glock, What Is Analytic Philosophy? (Cambridge
University Press, 2008), p. 86: "Most non-analytic philosophers of the
twentieth century do not belong to continental philosophy."
^ a b Mautner, Thomas (editor) (2005) The Penguin Dictionary of
Philosophy, entry for 'Analytic philosophy, pp. 22–3
Analytic philosophy opposed right from its beginning English
Hegelianism of Bradley's sort and similar ones. It did not only
criticize the latter's denial of the existence of an external world
(anyway an unjust criticism), but also the bombastic, obscure style of
Hegel's writings." Jonkers, Peter (2003). "Perspectives on Twentieth
Century Philosophy:A Reply to Tom Rockmore" (PDF). Ars Disputandi. 3.
ISSN 1566-5399. Archived from the original (PDF) on
^ Baillie, James, "Introduction to Bertrand Russell" in Contemporary
Analytic Philosophy, Second Edition (Prentice Hall, 1997), p. 25.
^ Willard, Dallas. "Husserl on a
Logic that Failed". Philosophical
Review. 89 (1): 52–53. doi:10.2307/2184863.
^ Russell, Bertrand (1905). "On Denoting". Mind. 14: 473–93.
^ Carnap, R. (1928). The Logical Structure of the World. Felix Meiner
Verlag. ISBN 0-8126-9523-2. LCCN 66013604.
^ Popper, Karl R. (2002). The
Logic of Scientific Discovery.
Routledge. ISBN 0-415-27844-9.
^ a b c Analytic
Philosophy Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
^ A.P. Martinich, ed. (2001). A companion to analytic philosophy.
Malden, Mass.: Blackwell. pp. 1–5.
^ Hales, Steven D. (2002). Analytic philosophy : classic
readings. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning. pp. 1–10.
^ Soames, Scott (2003). The dawn of analysis (2nd print., 1st paperb.
print. ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.
pp. xiii–xvii. ISBN 0-691-11573-7.
^ Graham, George, "Behaviorism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of
Philosophy (Fall 2010 Edition),
Edward N. Zalta
Edward N. Zalta (ed.). 
^ Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). "Dualism". Stanford Encyclopedia of
^ Postrel and Feser, February 2000,
Reality Principles: An Interview
with John R. Searle at http://www.reason.com/news/show/27599.html
^ Dennett, D. (2001). "Are we explaining consciousness yet?".
Cognition. 79 (1–2): 221–237. doi:10.1016/S0010-0277(00)00130-X.
^ For summaries and some criticism of the different higher-order
theories, see Van Gulick, Robert (2006) "Mirror Mirror—Is That All?"
In Kriegel & Williford (eds.), Self-Representational Approaches to
Consciousness. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. The final draft is also
available here "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF)
on 2008-10-02. Retrieved 2008-09-23. . For Van Gulick's own view,
see Van Gulick, Robert. "Higher-Order Global States HOGS: An
Alternative Higher-Order Model of Consciousness." In Gennaro, R.J.,
(ed.) Higher-Order Theories of Consciousness: An Anthology. Amsterdam
and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
^ Brennan, Andrew and Yeuk-Sze Lo (2002). "Environmental Ethics" §2,
in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
^ Gruen, Lori (2003). "The Moral Status of Animals," in The Stanford
Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
^ See Hursthouse, Rosalind (2003). "Virtue Ethics" §3, in The
Stanford Encyclopedia of
Philosophy and Donchin, Anne (2004).
"Feminist Bioethics" in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
^ Harris, James Franklin (2002).
Analytic philosophy of religion.
Dordrecht: Kluwer. ISBN 1-4020-0530-X. (432 pages) (volume
3 of Handbook of Contemporary
Philosophy of Religion, ISSN 1568-1556)
^ (a notable exception is the series of Michael B. Forest's 1934–36
Mind articles involving the Christian doctrine of creation and the
rise of modern science).
^ Peterson, Michael et al. (2003). Reason and Religious Belief
^ Mackie, John L. (1982). The
Miracle of Theism: Arguments For and
Against the Existence of God
^ Adams, Robert M. (1987). The Virtue of Faith And Other Essays in
^ Creegan, Charles. (1989). Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard: Religion,
Individuality and Philosophical Method
^ Phillips, D. Z. (1999). Philosophy's Cool Place. Cornell University
Press. The quote is from Wittgenstein's Culture and Value (2e): "My
ideal is a certain coolness. A temple providing a setting for the
passions without meddling with them.
^ Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). "Fideism". Stanford Encyclopedia of
^ Nielsen, Kai and D.Z. Phillips. (2005). Wittgensteinian Fideism?
^ S. Yablo and A. Gallois, Does
Ontology Rest on a Mistake?,
Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volumes, Vol.
72, (1998), pp. 229–261+263-283 first part
^ Zimmerman, Dean W., "Prologue" in Oxford Studies in Metaphysics,
Volume 1 (Oxford University Press, 2004), p. xix.
^ Everett, Anthony and Thomas Hofweber (eds.) (2000), Empty Names,
Fiction and the Puzzles of Non-Existence.
^ a b Van Inwagen, Peter, and
Dean Zimmerman (eds.) (1998),
Metaphysics: The Big Questions.
^ Glock 2008, p. 47.
^ Hull, David L. and Ruse, Michael, "Preface" in The Cambridge
Companion to the
Philosophy of Biology (Cambridge University Press,
2007), pp. xix & xx.
^ Lennox, James G., "Darwinism and Neo-Darwinism" in Sakar and
Plutynski (eds.), A Companion to the
Philosophy of Biology (Blackwell
Publishing, 2008), p. 89.
^ Bonjour, Laurence, "Recent Work on the Internalism—Externalism
Controversy" in Dancy, Sosa, and Steup (eds.), A Companion to
Epistemology, Second Edition (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), p. 33.
^ Susanne Langer, Feeling and Form: A Theory of Art (1953)
^ Nelson Goodman, Languages of Art: An Approach to a Theory of
Symbols. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1968. 2nd ed. Indianapolis:
Hackett, 1976. Based on his 1960–61
John Locke lectures.
^ Kivy, Peter, "Introduction:
Aesthetics Today" in The Blackwell Guide
Aesthetics (Blackwell Publishing, 2004), p. 4.
^ Guy Sircello, Love and Beauty. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University
Guy Sircello "How Is a Theory of the Sublime Possible?" The Journal
Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 51, No. 4 (Autumn, 1993),
^ Guy Sircello, A New Theory of Beauty. Princeton Essays on the Arts,
1. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1975.
Geach, P., Mental Acts, London 1957
Kenny, A.J.P., Wittgenstein, London 1973.
Aaron Preston. "Analytic philosophy". Internet Encyclopedia of
Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
Philosophy Study Guide offers many suggestions on what to
read, depending on the student's familiarity with the subject: Frege,
Russell, and Wittgenstein
Dummett, Michael. The Origins of Analytical Philosophy. Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press, 1993.
Hirschberger, Johannes. A Short History of Western Philosophy, ed.
Clare Hay. Short History of Western Philosophy, A.
Hylton, Peter. Russell, Idealism, and the Emergence of Analytic
Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990.
Soames, Scott. Philosophical
Analysis in the Twentieth Century: Volume
1, The Dawn of Analysis. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003.
Passmore, John. A Hundred Years of Philosophy, revised ed. New York:
Basic Books, 1966.
Weitz, Morris, ed. Twentieth Century Philosophy: The Analytic
Tradition. New York: Free Press, 1966.
"Analytic philosophy". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). "Conceptions of
Analysis in Analytic
Philosophy". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Analytic philosophy at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
J. L. Austin
A. J. Ayer
G. E. M. Anscombe
C. D. Broad
James F. Conant
Bas van Fraassen
R. M. Hare
Carl Gustav Hempel
Peter van Inwagen
J. L. Mackie
G. E. Moore
W. V. O. Quine
Descriptivist theory of names
Ordinary language philosophy
Pragmatic theory of truth
Causal / Deductive / epistemic closure
Denotation / reference
Natural kind / projectability
Paradox of analysis
Ordinary language philosophy
Philosophy of language
Philosophy of science
Philosophy of psychiatry
Philosophy of perception
Space and time
Schools of thought
Acintya bheda abheda
Foundationalism / Coherentism
Internalism and Externalism
Ordinary language philosophy
Rationalism / Reasonism
Philosophy by region
Women in philosophy
Philosophy of language
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
Wilhelm von Humboldt
Ferdinand de Saussure
Benjamin Lee Whorf
J. L. Austin
A. J. Ayer
G. E. M. Anscombe
P. F. Strawson
Willard Van Orman Quine
Causal theory of reference
Contrast theory of meaning
Descriptivist theory of names
Direct reference theory
Mediated reference theory
Theory of descriptions
Principle of compositionality
Sense and reference
Philosophy of information
Logical positivism / analytic philosophy
Machian positivism (empiriocriticism)
Rankean historical positivism
Russian positivism (empiriomonism)
Critique of metaphysics
Unity of science
Problem of induction
Related paradigm shifts
in the history of science
Non-Euclidean geometry (1830s)
Heisenberg uncertainty principle (1927)
Criticism of science
Holism in anthropology
Naturalism in literature
Objectivity in science
Philosophy of science
Relationship between religion and science
Social science (Philosophy)
1980s Fourth Great Debate in international relations
1990s Science Wars
1830 The Course in Positive Philosophy
1848 A General View of Positivism
1869 Critical History of Philosophy
Idealism and Positivism
Analysis of Sensations
Logic of Modern Physics
1936 Language, Truth, and Logic
1959 The Two Cultures
2001 The Universe in a Nutshell
A. J. Ayer
Materialism and Empirio-criticism
1923 History and Class Consciousness
Logic of Scientific Discovery
1936 The Poverty of Historicism
1942 World Hypotheses
1951 Two Dogmas of Empiricism
Truth and Method
1962 The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
1963 Conjectures and Refutations
1964 One-Dimensional Man
Knowledge and Human Interests
1978 The Poverty of Theory
1980 The Scientific Image
Rhetoric of Economics
Theodor W. Adorno
Willard Van Orman Quine
Concepts in contention