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date: 15 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Political philosophy is not, initially, easy to place in terms of the foundation and early development of analytic philosophy. If, following the traditional understanding, one takes analytic philosophy to have been founded by Frege, Russell, Moore, and Wittgenstein, it is not obvious what influence these figures have had on the subsequent development of the discipline, other than prompting the rejection of idealism. From the 1920s to the 1950s analytic political philosophy, under the shadow of logical positivism, became highly introspective, but such paralysis was broken by Rawls’ advocacy and defence of a substantive position. Over time analytic political philosophy has developed into a discipline that privileges the self-conscious search for clarity and precision of thesis and argument and has the ambition of presenting simple theories or principles of great power and application. It often uses abstract examples and simplified models, and favours quantitative over qualitative social science, as well as assuming methodological and moral individualism. It has become the dominant approach in the English-speaking world.

Keywords: political philosophy, analytic political philosophy, analytic philosophy, legal philosophy, analytical Marxism, Peter Laslett, W. G. Runciman, Karl Popper, H. L. A. Hart, John Rawls

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