What is Analytic Philosophy?
Abstract and Keywords
Over the course of the twentieth century analytic philosophy developed into the dominant philosophical tradition in the English-speaking world, and it is now steadily growing in the non-English-speaking world. Originating in the work of Frege, Russell, Moore, and Wittgenstein, it has now ramified into all areas of philosophy, diversifying in its methodology, ideas, and positions. In this chapter, I outline the origins and development of analytic philosophy, highlight certain key themes in the history of analytic philosophy, and discuss the controversial question of whether ‘analytic philosophy’ can be defined.
Keywords: analytic philosophy, history of analytic philosophy, logic, philosophy of language, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, G. E. Moore, Ludwig Wittgenstein, logical positivism
All concepts in which a whole process is semiotically summarized elude definition; only that which has no history is definable.
(Nietzsche, ‘On the Genealogy of Morals’, 1887, Second Essay, § 13)
I am an analytic philosopher. I think for myself.
Analytic philosophy is characterized above all by the goal of clarity, the insistence on explicit argumentation in philosophy, and the demand that any view expressed be exposed to the rigours of critical evaluation and discussion by peers.
(European Society for Analytic Philosophy, homepage of website <http://www.dif.unige.it/esap>; accessed 18 October 2011)
Analytic philosophy is now generally seen as the dominant philosophical tradition in the English-speaking world,1 and has been so from at least the middle of the last century. Over the last two decades its influence has also been steadily growing in the non-English-speaking world. One sign of this is the proliferation of societies for (p. 4) analytic philosophy around the world.2 The growing dominance of the analytic tradition, however, does not mean that there has been any convergence of aims, methods, or views. If anything, the reverse is true: analytic philosophy now encompasses a far wider range of approaches, ideas, and positions than it ever did in its early days. From its original concern with epistemological and metaphysical questions in the philosophy of logic and mathematics (in the case of Frege and Russell) and in ethics and the theory of judgement (in the case of Moore), it has ramified—via the linguistic turn (taken first by Wittgenstein)—into all spheres of philosophy. As well as mainstream analytic philosophy in the areas of philosophy of language, logic, mathematics, mind and science, and analytic ethics, there are also fields as diverse as analytic aesthetics, analytic Marxism, (p. 5) analytical feminism, analytic theism, and analytical Thomism, for example.3 There have also been complete reversals of views as well as diversification. One central strand in early analytic philosophy was logical positivism, in which the repudiation of metaphysics was fundamental. In the second half of the twentieth century, however, metaphysics has undergone a revival, and while earlier analytic philosophers would have regarded ‘analytic metaphysics’ as an oxymoron, the term now designates a respectable subdiscipline.4 Analytic philosophy supposedly originated in reaction to Kantian and Hegelian forms of idealism, yet analytic Kantianism has been alive and flourishing for many years and there is now talk of analytic philosophy being ushered from its Kantian to its Hegelian stage.5 Phenomenology has generally been seen as the main rival to the analytic tradition in the first half of the twentieth century, yet analytic phenomenology, especially analytic phenomenology of mind, is both reputable and thriving in the twenty-first century.6
Faced with these developments, one might wonder whether it makes sense to talk of ‘analytic philosophy’ any longer; as Frege once remarked, the wider the extension of a (p. 6) term, the less content it has (1884, § 29). Wanting to restrict the label to the early phase of the tradition, some have argued that analytic philosophy had exhausted itself by the 1970s (at the latest), and that we are now in a ‘post-analytic’ age.7 These views, however, do not reflect the widespread use of ‘analytic philosophy’ to refer to much contemporary philosophy, and the term ‘early analytic philosophy’ has been introduced to refer to the early period.8 It seems best, then, to respect the current use of the term as much as possible and treat analytic philosophy as a tradition that is healthier and stronger today, albeit more diverse, than it has ever been in the past. Certainly, a concern with the history of analytic philosophy should err on the side of inclusiveness. Even if there are some philosophers, schools of thought, or periods that some would wish to exclude from the tradition, their relationship to analytic philosophy, on whatever narrower conception is favoured, will still be relevant in understanding the nature and development of analytic philosophy, so conceived.
As a first approximation, then, in its most inclusive sense, analytic philosophy can be characterized as the tradition that originated in the work of Gottlob Frege (1848–1925), Bertrand Russell (1872–1970), G. E. Moore (1873–1958), and Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951) and developed and ramified into the complex movement (or set of interconnected subtraditions) that we know today. I say more about the origins of analytic philosophy in the first section of this chapter, and more about its development in the second section. In the third section I discuss the question of what themes have been particularly important in the history of analytic philosophy and hence might reveal something about the character of the analytic tradition. These first three sections correspond (more or less) to the three main parts of this Handbook. In the fourth and final section I draw on these sections—and the Handbook as a whole—in directly addressing the question that forms the title of this chapter. I shall leave until the next chapter consideration of the historical turn that has taken place in analytic philosophy over the last two decades, the histories that have been written of the analytic tradition, and the questions that these raise as to the relationship between (p. 7) analytic philosophy and history of philosophy.9 This Handbook is itself both an historical product of that historical turn and philosophically conceived to consolidate and deepen that historical turn.
1.1 The Origins of Analytic Philosophy
Russell’s and Moore’s rebellion against British idealism has often been taken as signalling the birth of analytic philosophy.10 Certainly, it is one of the key events in the emergence of analytic philosophy, and the nature of the rebellion is explained by Griffin in chapter 11 of this Handbook. For Russell, what was crucial was his concern with the foundations of mathematics. After his initial flirtation with neo-Hegelianism, he came to the conclusion that it was only by rejecting the neo-Hegelian doctrine of internal relations that an adequate account of mathematics could be provided. Relational propositions are fundamental in mathematics, and according to Russell, relations had to be treated as ‘real’ (i.e. independent and irreducible) constituents of propositions in order for mathematics to consist of truths. For Moore, what was crucial was his dissatisfaction with the idealist’s denial of mind-independent objects. Moore came to believe that the world is quite literally composed of concepts, propositions being nothing other than complex concepts. In understanding propositions, according to Moore, we grasp the constituent concepts that the propositions are actually about. Both Russell and Moore, then, came to adopt a crude form of direct realism, and this was at the heart of their rebellion against British idealism.
In his own description of their rebellion in My Philosophical Development, Russell just talked of their ‘new philosophy’,11 and nowhere in their early work does either Russell or Moore speak of ‘analytic’ or ‘analytical’ philosophy. (I trace the development of talk of ‘analytic philosophy’, and the corresponding construction of analytic philosophy as a tradition, in the next chapter.) What we do find, however, is emphasis on the role of analysis. Russell’s first endorsement is in his book on Leibniz, where he asserts as an ‘evident’ truth that ‘all sound philosophy should begin with an analysis of propositions’ (1900, p. 8). For Moore, such analysis consists in decomposing propositions into their constituent concepts, and this decompositional conception is also in play in the first chapter of Principia Ethica, where he argues that ‘good’ (p. 8) is indefinable, that is, that what ‘good’ denotes has no parts into which it can be decomposed.12
As Griffin notes, we have a clear sense in which Russell’s and Moore’s ‘new philosophy’ is ‘analytic’: at the core of their method is the decompositional analysis of propositions. For Moore, this is conceptual analysis; Russell’s position, however, is more complex. While Moore and Russell agreed that the aim of philosophical analysis is to uncover the fundamental constituents of propositions,13 Russell understood this within a broader programme of logical analysis. This involved the identification, first, of the logical constituents of propositions, that is, the logical constants,14 but second, more importantly, of the logical propositions themselves, and in particular, of the fundamental propositions or logical principles from which all other logical propositions can be derived. It is this idea that lay at the core of his work on the foundations of mathematics from 1901, when his logicist project was first announced—the project of showing how the propositions of mathematics can be derived from purely logical propositions.15
What made logicism feasible was the creation of modern logic, the system of propositional and predicate logic whose use has been a major force in the development of analytic philosophy. It is here that Frege comes into the story and obliges us to acknowledge him as one of the co-founders of analytic philosophy. For it was Frege who created quantificational logic, and although Russell learnt of this logic through Giuseppe Peano (1858–1932), and adapted Peano’s notation rather than Frege’s, there is no doubt that once Russell properly studied Frege’s writings, after completing The Principles of Mathematics in May 1902, he both learnt from them and developed his own position in critique of some of Frege’s key ideas.16 Frege was also an influence on Wittgenstein, whose early thinking was prompted by the problems he found in Frege’s and Russell’s work, taking over some of their ideas and assumptions but criticizing others. So on (p. 9) this score, too, Frege must be counted as one of the co-founders of analytic philosophy. Moore’s and Russell’s rebellion against British idealism occurred independently of Frege, but both Russell’s subsequent work and Wittgenstein’s thinking were inextricably linked to Frege’s ideas.17
Quantificational logic was first presented in Frege’s Begriffsschrift of 1879, where he announces that his ultimate aim is to give a logical analysis of number (1879, p. viii). Over twenty years before Russell, then, Frege set out to demonstrate that arithmetic is reducible to logic. (Unlike Russell, Frege was never a logicist about geometry.) He gave his first, informal account in Die Grundlagen der Arithmetik of 1884, and the formal proof was his aim in Grundgesetze der Arithmetik, of which Volume I appeared in 1893 and Volume II in 1903. It was while the second volume was in press that Russell informed him, in June 1902, of the contradiction that undermined his system, and Frege was soon led to abandon his logicist project. The task of demonstrating logicism was passed on to Russell, who found it necessary to construct a complex theory of types to avoid the contradiction (and related ones). In pursuing his logicist project, however, Frege had been led to develop many of the ideas that became influential in subsequent analytic philosophy. Many courses in the philosophy of language today, for example, begin with Frege’s key distinctions between concept and object, and Sinn and Bedeutung; and the internalism/externalism debate in current philosophy of mind goes back to Frege’s theory of thought and his views about indexicality. An account of Frege’s influence is provided by Tyler Burge in chapter 10 of this Handbook (see also Burge 1992).
Frege’s creation of quantificational logic and the rebellion by Russell and Moore against British idealism are the two most significant events in the emergence of analytic philosophy, events that lie at the root of many of the ideas and achievements that we associate with early analytic philosophy, such as Frege’s logical analysis of existential and number statements, Moore’s critique of naturalism, Russell’s theory of descriptions and theory of types, and Wittgenstein’s conception of logical propositions as tautologies. A deeper understanding of the origins of analytic philosophy, then, requires appreciation of the background to these events—in particular, the German philosophical and scientific background to Frege’s and Wittgenstein’s work, the British philosophical background to Russell’s and Moore’s rebellion, and the mathematical and logical background to Frege’s and Russell’s logicist projects. The chapters by David Hyder, Gottfried Gabriel, John Skorupski, and Jamie Tappenden offer an account of these backgrounds. I also say more about this in the first section of the next chapter, and further details are provided in the chronology that forms chapter 3. Here I simply note that to place a philosopher’s work in historical context is not necessarily to dissolve away its originality or significance: it may help, instead, to identify just what was new and important.
(p. 10) Originality and significance, however, are often only appreciated with hindsight. Frege’s work was recognized by very few at the time. Russell claimed that it was he who first drew attention to Frege. The claim is false, but he is right that he wrote the first exposition of Frege’s philosophy in English, and it was through this exposition that Wittgenstein learnt of Frege’s work.18 Frege’s influence on Russell and (to a much greater extent) Wittgenstein, however, was not appreciated until after the Second World War, and Frege’s work was overlooked in the early histories of analytic philosophy (see the next chapter). Even today, he is still sometimes omitted,19 but the general consensus firmly locates him at the heart of analytic philosophy.
In recent years there has been growing interest in the work of Bernard Bolzano (1781–1848). Bolzano was critical of Kant’s account of mathematics, just as Frege and Russell were, and his conceptions of analyticity, apriority, logical consequence, and propositionality, as well as his use of the method of variation, anticipate the ideas of later analytic philosophers. Bolzano did not directly influence the four acknowledged main founders of analytic philosophy, but he did influence Kazimierz Twardowski (1866–1938), the founder of the Lvov–Warsaw School, whose work fed into the later analytic tradition through Alexius Meinong (1853–1920) and Alfred Tarski (1902–83), among others. Recognizing the Polish and Austrian influences on analytic philosophy—or better, the Polish and Austrian branches of analytic philosophy, then, brings Bolzano into its family tree, as a granduncle of the analytic tradition.20 Whether or not we agree to count Bolzano himself as an analytic philosopher, however, consideration of his work certainly has a place in understanding the history of analytic philosophy. Mark Textor explains Bolzano’s critique of Kant in chapter 5 of this Handbook.
If there is anything that might provide a defining characteristic of ‘analytic’ philosophy, then the obvious candidate—as the very name suggests—is the role played by analysis. As indicated above, Russell’s and Moore’s early philosophy was indeed ‘analytic’ in the sense that the decompositional analysis of propositions was central to their methodology. As Russell himself announced in 1900, ‘That all sound philosophy should begin with an analysis of propositions, is a truth too evident, perhaps, to demand a proof’ (1900, p. 8). This remark is made in his book on Leibniz, and he immediately went on to note: ‘That Leibniz’s philosophy began with such an analysis, is less evident, but seems (p. 11) to be no less true’ (ibid.). Russell’s first remark is frequently cited; the implication of the second is less often recognized: that Leibniz might count as an analytic philosopher just like Russell. But if Leibniz so counts, then how far back can we go? To Descartes? To Ockham, Buridan, and other medieval logicians? To Aristotle or even Plato? As Richard Gaskin shows in chapter 29, there are logical atomist themes in Plato’s Theaetetus, as Ryle and others have explored.
In fact, the decompositional conception of analysis that Moore and Russell adopted was neither new nor definitively characteristic of later analytic philosophy, even in the case of Russell’s and Moore’s own later philosophy. Arguably, Moore inherited his early conception from Brentano via Stout and Ward,21 and Moore in turn influenced Russell, reinforced by Russell’s own work on Leibniz in 1899.22 Moore’s and Russell’s early conception of analysis was extremely crude, reflecting as it did their initial naïve realism, but richer and more interesting conceptions soon developed. By far the most significant and influential conception was that embodied in Russell’s theory of descriptions, first put forward in 1905 and famously described by Ramsey as a ‘paradigm of philosophy’ (1931b, p. 263). Much has been written about this;23 what is important for present purposes is the role played by what I have called ‘interpretive’ or ‘transformative’ analysis.24 The first step in the analysis of a sentence of the (grammatical) form ‘The F is G’ consists in interpreting it as, or transforming it into, a sentence of a different (quantificational) form, namely, ‘There is one and only one F, and whatever is F is G’, taken to represent the real logical form of the proposition expressed by the sentence—or at least, as a step nearer the goal of complete representation. (For discussion of the idea of a logically perfect language involved in this, see Hylton’s chapter.)
Russell’s theory of descriptions opened up the prospect of a whole new philosophical programme: making clear the ‘real’ logical form of propositions to both reveal the fundamental structure and composition of the world and resolve philosophical perplexity that arises from misunderstanding the logic of our language and thought. Developing the associated ideas of ‘incomplete symbols’ and ‘logical fictions’, Russell applied the theory in attempting to solve the paradoxes that threatened his logicist project, and then turned to what he later called ‘logical constructions’ in other areas of philosophy, as Bernard Linsky explains in chapter 12.25
There was development in Moore’s views on analysis, too, as Thomas Baldwin shows in chapter 13. Moore’s early (crude) decompositional conception of analysis underlies both his attack in Principia Ethica (1903a) on the supposed naturalistic fallacy and his idea that philosophical disagreements arise from failing to disentangle questions that get fused together (1903a, p. vii). After that, Moore’s views become more complex. Moore (p. 12) (1944) endorsed Ramsey’s praise of Russell’s theory of descriptions, for example, but he did not advocate any systematic project of analysis such as Russell did. Influenced, too, by Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (1921), Moore insisted that one could understand the meaning of an expression without being able to give a correct analysis of its meaning. This enabled him to claim, in ‘A Defence of Common Sense’ (1925), that one could know that certain deliverances of common sense are true even if one has no analysis of the relevant statements to hand. The idea also underlies Moore’s ‘Proof of an External World’ (1939), as Annalisa Coliva makes clear in section 34.1 of chapter 34 (and see also section 35.3 of Juliet Floyd’s chapter).
Russell’s, Moore’s, and Wittgenstein’s ideas all helped form what became known as the Cambridge School of Analysis, which reached the peak of its influence in the 1930s, as Baldwin describes in the second half of his chapter. As well as Russell, Moore, and Wittgenstein, key figures in Cambridge were C. D. Broad (1887–1971), Frank Ramsey (1903–30), and John Wisdom (1904–93), and in London (though Cambridge educated) Susan Stebbing (1885–1943). The journal Analysis was founded in 1933, and in the pages of both it and the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society there was both lively discussion of the nature of analysis and examples of its use that also generated debate. It was with respect to the Cambridge School that the term ‘analytic philosophy’ was first used, and I say much more about this and the construction of the analytic tradition in the following chapter.
Wittgenstein’s Tractatus was the single most important influence on the Cambridge School, and it is generally regarded as the key text of early analytic philosophy, influencing every subsequent generation of analytic philosophers. In the final chapter of Part I of this Handbook, Michael Kremer offers an account of its main ideas by focusing on the summary of the whole sense of the book that Wittgenstein himself offered in his preface: ‘what can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot speak thereof one must be silent’ (1922, p. 27). At the end of his book, Wittgenstein notoriously claimed that the propositions of the Tractatus were nonsensical, to be kicked away once one has used them as a ladder to climb up to the correct view. Traditionally, commentators have interpreted Wittgenstein as holding that the nonsense is nevertheless ‘illuminating’, intended to express ineffable truths about language, logic, and the world.26 In recent years, however, a new ‘therapeutic’ or ‘resolute’ reading has been developed that challenges this traditional view; and this has stirred a great deal of debate. According to the new reading, we should take Wittgenstein at his word and not ‘chicken out’ by talking of illuminating nonsense and ineffable truths.27 Kremer sides more with the new than the old reading, and uses his discussion to elucidate Wittgenstein’s famous remark (in a letter to Ficker in 1919) that the point of his book was in fact ethical.
(p. 13) 1.2 The Development of Analytic Philosophy
Wittgenstein’s Tractatus can be regarded as marking the culmination of the early period of analytic philosophy. Wittgenstein’s own statement in his preface that he is ‘indebted to Frege’s great works and to the writings of my friend Mr Bertrand Russell’ (1922, p. 3) reinforces the case for regarding Frege as one of the founders of the analytic tradition, and for classifying Frege’s invention of quantificational logic alongside Moore’s and Russell’s rebellion against British idealism as the two most significant events in the emergence of analytic philosophy. Its further development is characterized by its gradual broadening and ramifying, as the ideas of Frege, Russell, Moore, and Wittgenstein in its early period were applied, criticized, extended, and transformed. Russell, Moore, and Wittgenstein themselves played major roles in this development. An account of Russell’s project in The Analysis of Matter of 1927 is included in Linsky’s chapter, and Moore’s ‘Proof of an External World’ of 1939 is examined by Annalisa Coliva in chapter 34. Both Russell’s and Moore’s views on perception and sense-data are also discussed by Gary Hatfield in chapter 33. Hans-Johann Glock provides a survey of Wittgenstein’s later philosophy in chapter 18, concluding by addressing the disputed questions of his legacy and of whether the later Wittgenstein is an ‘analytic’ philosopher.
In the development of analytic philosophy in its second phase, Russell, Moore, and Wittgenstein were joined by a broad range of philosophers of the next generation, who, with different backgrounds and interests, introduced new approaches and ideas in responding not only to earlier philosophical views but also to subsequent advances in logic, mathematics, science, and other disciplines. The work of the Cambridge School of Analysis in the 1920s and 1930s has already been mentioned. Standard stories of analytic philosophy in Britain simply then switch, after the Second World War, to Oxford and so-called ordinary language philosophy, with Gilbert Ryle (1900–76), J. L. Austin (1911–60), and P. F. Strawson (1919–2006) taking over as the dominant figures.28 In fact, however, there was an earlier movement in Oxford that in some ways parallels developments in Cambridge. Indeed, in its own rejection of British idealism, it begins several years before Moore’s and Russell’s rebellion, and defends anti-psychologistic and realist views of knowledge and perception that are interestingly related to Moore’s and Russell’s. Certainly, they were all part of the vigorous epistemological debate that took place in Britain in the first half of the twentieth century—and continues to the present day. The key figures were John Cook Wilson (1848–1915) and H. A. Prichard (1871–1947), and (p. 14) Part II of this Handbook opens with an account of Oxford realism by Charles Travis and Mark Kalderon. As they argue, the work of later Oxford philosophers, especially Austin and, more recently, John McDowell (1942–), must be seen in the broader historical context of the Oxford tradition. I say more about Oxford realism in section 2.3 of the next chapter, and there is further discussion in Hatfield’s chapter.
The most important event in the development of analytic philosophy in its second phase, though, was the establishment of the Vienna Circle, following on from the founding of the Verein Ernst Mach in 1928 and with its collaborative name-bestowing manifesto launched in 1929 (Carnap, Hahn, and Neurath 1929). The movement of logical positivism—or logical empiricism (the two terms are often used synonymously)—proved to be far more influential than the Cambridge School of Analysis. Indeed, while both were seen as forms of analytic philosophy in the 1930s (see the next chapter), analytic philosophy came to be identified more in the public mind as logical positivism, especially when A. J. Ayer (1910–89) popularized it in the English-speaking world in Language, Truth and Logic (1936) and Wittgenstein’s influence on the Vienna Circle and his own verificationist phase in the early 1930s suggested (mistakenly) that he, too, counted as a logical positivist.29 In chapter 16 of this Handbook, Thomas Uebel stresses the heterogeneity of logical empiricism, which in fact included not only the work of members of the Vienna Circle, from Moritz Schlick (1882–1936) and Friedrich Waismann (1896–1959), who had the closest connection to Wittgenstein, to Otto Neurath (1882–1945) and Rudolf Carnap (1891–1970), but also the work of the Berlin Society for Empirical Philosophy, led by Hans Reichenbach (1891–1953).30
Vienna in the late 1920s and early 1930s was not only a centre for logical empiricism. It was also at the forefront of developments in logic, as Erich Reck explains in chapter 17.31 Carnap made contributions to logic as well as to philosophy, and one of the younger members of the Vienna Circle was Kurt Gödel (1906–78), who published his famous incompleteness theorems in 1931. Alfred Tarski (1901–83), one of the leading figures in the Lvov–Warsaw School of Logic, maintained close links with Carnap and Gödel, and his seminal paper on truth appeared in Polish in 1933 and in German in 1935. This influenced not only Carnap’s philosophy, as his ‘syntactic turn’ gave way to a ‘semantic turn’,32 (p. 15) but also many subsequent philosophers, most notably, Donald Davidson (1917–2003) in his work on theories of meaning thirty years later. Alexander Miller explains Davidson’s use of Tarski’s theory of truth in chapter 21.
The 1930s, however, also saw the rise of Nazism in Germany, and this led to the exodus of many of the logical positivists and logicians in continental Europe by the beginning of the Second World War, most of them ending up in the United States. Carnap emigrated at the end of 1935, for example, Tarski had to stay when he was stranded there at the outbreak of war, after a trip to a congress, and Gödel went to Princeton in 1940. Reichenbach went to UCLA in 1938 after five years in Istanbul. Together with the visits from British philosophers, including both Russell and Moore, that increasingly took place, these events transformed philosophy in the States.33 American philosophers had visited Europe to learn about and report back on developments in philosophy there,34 but it was only when European philosophers went to the States, and started taking up jobs there, that analytic philosophy began to grow. Seen by some in the States as a healthy import, by others as a threat to existing American philosophical traditions, especially pragmatism, it soon took firm root in American soil and began to develop its own character in critical interaction with those other traditions and with earlier and continuing European analytic philosophy. An account of the relationship between American pragmatism and analytic philosophy is provided by Cheryl Misak in chapter 38.35
The most famous American visitor to the Vienna Circle had been W. V. O. Quine (1908–2000), who spent a year in Europe in 1932–3. The dispute that he subsequently had with Carnap over the analytic/synthetic distinction is perhaps the most well-known of all in the history of analytic philosophy, taken by some to mark the beginning of the end of analytic philosophy but by most as heralding a new phase in analytic philosophy. Much has been written about this dispute,36 and aspects of it are discussed by Maria Baghramian and Andrew Jorgensen in chapter 19 and by Sanford Shieh in chapter 36. Quine’s work has had enormous influence on both American philosophy and analytic philosophy in general. Davidson, Hilary Putnam (1926–) and Saul Kripke (1940–) are three of the most prominent American analytic philosophers who have critically engaged at the deepest level with Quine’s ideas. Baghramian and Jorgensen explain Putnam’s and Kripke’s critique of Quine’s views on meaning and reference, and Shieh (p. 16) discusses some of the responses to Quine’s views on modality, in particular, from Kripke and Ruth Barcan Marcus (1921–2012).
On a widespread view of analytic philosophy, the focus of interest in its early period was on questions of meaning in the areas of (philosophical) logic and philosophy of mathematics, with philosophy of language coming to be seen as fundamental to other areas of philosophy, not least metaphysics, which increasingly became the target of attack. Certainly, the development of philosophy of language has been a central thread—arguably even the central thread—in the history of analytic philosophy. The construction of theories of meaning has played a key role in this development, as Alexander Miller explains in chapter 21. In fact, however, traditional epistemological and metaphysical concerns were present right from the beginning of analytic philosophy. Frege and Russell were both concerned with the epistemology of mathematics, and made metaphysical assumptions or came to meta-physical conclusions in support of their logical and logicist views.37 Moore’s objection to idealism was primarily epistemological and he, too, advocated a metaphysics of concepts to support his critique.38 Of course, it is true that logical positivism urged the repudiation of metaphysics, but this was relatively short-lived, and logical positivism came under attack for its own metaphysical assumptions. By the time we come to the work of Quine and Strawson, metaphysics, whether qualified as ‘analytic’ or ‘descriptive’, is firmly back on the agenda. The story of metaphysics in analytic philosophy is charted by Peter Simons in chapter 23.39
If philosophy of language has often been seen as central in early analytic philosophy, then philosophy of mind is sometimes taken to have usurped its place in later analytic philosophy. There is no doubt that there has been an explosion of interest in a wide range of issues in philosophy of mind over the last 50 years.40 One fundamental debate concerns the mind/body problem, and in chapter 20 Sean Crawford explains the origins of the identity theory. On the standard story, this emerged in critique of the various forms of so-called logical behaviourism proposed by the logical positivists and Ryle. As Crawford shows, however, the ‘logical behaviourism’ that was attacked was to some extent constructed by its critics into a ‘shadow position’; and the actual history is both more interesting and philosophical revealing.
A similar strategy is adopted by Stewart Candlish and Nic Damnjanovic in chapter 22, in discussing a second—and related—debate that is fundamental to both philosophy of mind and philosophy of action. This concerns the distinction—or lack of it—between reasons and causes. Here the standard picture has been of an anti-causalist consensus in earlier analytic philosophy, in which the distinction was stressed, being demolished by Davidson’s paper of 1963 on ‘Actions, Reasons and Causes’. Candlish (p. 17) and Damnjanovic argue, though, that the supposed neo-Wittgensteinian ‘behaviourist’ position attacked by Davidson is a caricature of the views actually held by Wittgenstein, Ryle, and G. E. M. Anscombe (1919–2001), and that the current causalist consensus is not as well-grounded as many people think.41
There have been major developments in analytic philosophy in other areas as well. From Moore’s earliest work, analytic philosophers have concerned themselves with ethics, and emotivism and prescriptivism, in particular, were closely related to logical positivism and ordinary language philosophy, respectively. In later analytic ethics, there has been a ‘naturalistic turn’ that parallels developments in philosophy of mind, although this, too, has generated much debate and Kantian theories (among others) have been revived in response. In chapter 24 Jonathan Dancy provides an account of meta-ethics in twentieth-century analytic philosophy, and in chapter 25 Julia Driver discusses normative ethical theory.42 As mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, there are now ‘analytic’ traditions in virtually all areas of philosophy. In chapter 26, Peter Lamarque identifies the beginnings of analytic aesthetics in a collection on Aesthetics and Language published in 1954 (Elton 1954) and outlines its growth and concerns. In 1956 there appeared the first in a series of edited volumes on Philosophy, Politics and Society (Laslett 1956), and in chapter 27, Jonathan Wolff considers this series in charting the development of analytic political philosophy. These dates are significant; as I suggest in section 2.5 of the next chapter, it is only in the 1950s that analytic philosophy properly becomes recognized as a tradition. That this should have happened as it ramified into all areas of philosophy is not a coincidence.
1.3 Themes in the History of Analytic Philosophy
In the previous two sections, in introducing the chapters in Parts I and II of this Handbook, a sketch has been provided of some of the main developments in the history of analytic philosophy. Those chapters fill out the sketch by focusing on particular figures, movements, periods, or areas of philosophy. But this is not the only way to contribute to history of analytic philosophy. The chapters in Part III also shed light on the history of analytic philosophy by exploring certain themes that are characteristic of, or have been particularly associated with, analytic philosophy.43
(p. 18) At the foundation of Frege’s creation of quantificational logic in his Begriffsschrift of 1879 was his use of function–argument analysis, which replaced the subject–predicate analysis of traditional logic. Frege came to characterize functions as ‘unsaturated’ (reflecting the gap in functional expressions, such as ‘( ) is mortal’, that indicates where the argument term goes), distinguishing them thereby from objects, seen as ‘saturated’. The distinction provided Frege with a way to solve what has become known as the problem of the unity of the proposition, concerning the compositionality of propositions. In chapter 28 Robert May and Richard Heck argue that the origins of Frege’s conception of unsaturatedness lay in his confrontation with George Boole, which occurred after the Begriffsschrift was published. Frege was led to take propositions of the form ‘Fa’ as logically primary, and this entailed maintaining that the composition of such atomic propositions is essentially and irreducibly predicative.
Compositionality is also the theme of chapter 29, but here there is a contrasting conclusion, with the focus shifting to a later figure in the analytic tradition, Gilbert Ryle, and to a confrontation with a much earlier philosopher, Plato. Richard Gaskin argues that Ryle read Plato’s Theaetetus through the spectacles of Russell’s and Wittgenstein’s logical atomism, and offered a ‘propositional’ interpretation of Socrates’ dream theory. On Gaskin’s account, Ryle overplays the distinction between naming and saying, which is not required to solve the problem of the unity of the proposition. Gaskin’s discussion shows how the concerns and ideas of analytic philosophy affect the interpretation of past philosophers, and how diagnosis of the distortions that may be involved in such interpretations can be aided by appreciation of their own historical context.
The development of interpretations of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, one of the seminal works of analytic philosophy, is itself the theme of chapter 30. Cora Diamond argues that Anscombe effected a transformation in our understanding of the history of analytic philosophy that reflects the transformation of philosophy that Wittgenstein himself had hoped his work would achieve. What is central here is recognition of the influence that Frege had on Wittgenstein, and the significance of Frege’s ‘judgement-based’ approach to meaning as opposed to Russell’s ‘object-based’ approach. Seeing the Tractatus through a Russellian lens, Diamond argues, yields a realist ‘metaphysical’ reading that fails to do justice to Wittgenstein’s conception of philosophy as an elucidatory activity. Thinking through the deep implications of Frege’s influence and of judgement-based approaches, however, yields an interpretation of Wittgenstein’s work that places its methodological revolution at its heart. Here we find history of analytic philosophy employed in philosophical elucidation itself. I consider some of the methodological issues raised by Gaskin’s and Diamond’s chapters in the final section of the next chapter.
In his introduction to the Tractatus, Russell remarked that Wittgenstein ‘is concerned with the conditions for a logically perfect language’ (1922, p. 8). Russell misunderstood Wittgenstein’s aims, but the concern with a logically perfect language was indeed part of Russell’s own project in his logical atomist period. In chapter 31 Peter Hylton explains the role that the idea of a logically perfect language plays in this project and traces the development of the idea in the works of Carnap, Quine, and David Lewis (1941–2001). The idea, he argues, lingers on in analytic philosophy, in conceptions of regimented (p. 19) theory that supposedly present metaphysical conclusions drawn from philosophical analysis, even though the reasons that originally motivated the idea have long since ceased to convince.
The misunderstanding of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus that Russell showed in his introduction has often been taken to reflect two different traditions in analytic philosophy, ‘ordinary language philosophy’ and ‘ideal language philosophy’. Both are seen as resulting from ‘the linguistic turn’ that philosophy took in giving rise to analytic philosophy. This term was introduced in 1960 by Gustav Bergmann (1906–87), and later formed the title of an influential collection that was published in 1967, edited by Richard Rorty (1931–2007). In chapter 32 Peter Hacker critically examines Bergmann’s and Rorty’s conception of the linguistic turn, and argues that its origin lies in the Tractatus, and that it should be distinguished from an earlier ‘logicist turn’ that was taken in the mid-nineteenth century. He outlines its development in the work of the Vienna Circle, Wittgenstein’s later thought, and Oxford philosophy, and defends it against some criticisms.44
Turning now to epistemology, there are two interconnected debates that might be seen as especially characteristic of analytic philosophy. One concerns the idea of sense-data and their supposed role in perception, and the other concerns scepticism about the external world. The debate about sense-data figured prominently in epistemological discussions in the first half of the twentieth century. Russell and Moore made important contributions to this debate, but their own positions were by no means the only ones, as Gary Hatfield explains in chapter 33. Hatfield charts the development of this debate from the end of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century, discussing the Oxford realists as well as the American ‘new realists’ and ‘critical realists’, the attack on the ‘myth of the given’ by Wilfrid Sellars (1912–89), and Austin’s critique of appeals to sense-data.
The problem of the external world is perhaps the most notorious philosophical problem of all, a source of continual fascination and frustration. In 1939 Moore offered a famous ‘proof’ of an external world that has been controversial ever since. In chapter 34 Annalisa Coliva discusses this proof and some of the different interpretations of it, from its initial reception right up to the most recent debate. Drawing on both Wittgenstein’s ideas in On Certainty, which was inspired by Moore’s work and written in the last 18 months of Wittgenstein’s life, and contemporary arguments for epistemic externalism, Coliva offers a ‘new Wittgensteinian’ analysis of Moore’s proof and response to the problem of the external world.
Moore’s ‘proof’ is one of the examples that Juliet Floyd gives in chapter 35 of the concern with ‘rigour’ that is also often taken to be characteristic of analytic philosophy. She uses it to illustrate the varieties of ‘rigorous experience’ to which analytic philosophers aspire, a goal which is not unique to those working in the tradition of ideal language philosophy, but which is also involved, in ordinary language philosophy, in attempts to (p. 20) remind us of the familiar. Every analysis or rigorization, she writes in section 35.1, ‘leaves an interpretive need behind, the trail where the human serpent brings philosophy and knowledge into the garden’. This ‘residue’, as she calls it, must always be explained; and once this is pointed out, we can see it recognized, in some form or other, by analytic philosophers from Frege onwards. Frege spoke of the importance of pre-theoretical ‘elucidation’ of basic logical concepts,45 for example, and Floyd suggests that Alan Turing (1912–54) was especially sensitive to the need for a ‘common sense basis’ for logic.
One area where rigorization has a played a crucial role in the development of analytic philosophy is modality. Kant located the analytic/synthetic, a priori/a posteriori, and necessary/contingent distinctions at the conceptual core of his philosophy, and critique of Kant’s understanding of these distinctions has driven much analytic philosophy. The story here is highly complex, but one theme stands out: the gradual waning of distrust in modal notions. In chapter 26 Sanford Shieh provides an account of this waning, identifying two major phases. The first begins with Frege’s, Moore’s, and Russell’s views and consists of the critique of Russell’s conception of logic, in particular, by C. I. Lewis (1883–1964) and Wittgenstein in the Tractatus. The second phase begins with Carnap’s Logical Syntax (1934/1937) and Quine’s modal scepticism and consists of the rejection of Quine’s scepticism by Ruth Barcan Marcus (1921–2012) and Saul Kripke, among others.
Issues of modality are intimately connected with questions of inference and normativity. Various accounts have been given of the notions here and different paths have been taken through their history, paths chosen to support the accounts given.46 In recent years, one particular account has been powerfully articulated through a new reading of the history of analytic philosophy that has sought to construct an ‘inferentialist’ tradition, to use the term introduced by its main architect, Robert Brandom (1950–). In chapter 37 Jaroslav Peregrin explains inferentialism, outlining its main ideas and distinguishing it from the representationalism that has been the more dominant paradigm in analytic philosophy. He traces its history through the work of Frege, Wittgenstein, Carnap, and Sellars, and draws also on Gentzen’s development of the natural deduction system of logic.
Brandom’s inferentialism is rooted not only in the analytic tradition but also in the related tradition of pragmatism. The two traditions have had a close but complicated relationship throughout their history, especially in the States. In chapter 38 Cheryl Misak provides an account of this relationship, discussing the work of Chauncey Wright (1830–75), Charles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914), William James (1842–1910), John Dewey (1859–1952), Quine, and Rorty. Although there are differences between pragmatism and analytic philosophy, Misak argues, they share a basic emphasis on argumentative rigour, logic, and scientific methodology.
The final chapter, by David Woodruff Smith, concerns the relationship between analytic philosophy and what is generally seen as its main rival, especially in the first half of (p. 21) the twentieth century, phenomenology. As Smith points out, however, in their origins in the work of Frege and Husserl, respectively, it is hard to find any clear differences of concern or methodology. Both were occupied with the analysis of meaning or content, and both argued against psychologism, for example. After its emergence, phenomenology may have placed more emphasis on conceptual rather than linguistic structures, but as the focus in analytic philosophy shifted from philosophy of language to philosophy of mind, there was greater engagement with phenomenology. Concern with intentionality and consciousness has brought phenomenology and analytic phenomenology closer together, and the existence now of ‘analytic phenomenology’ is only one sign of the rapprochement that has taken place, at least in some quarters. At any rate, there is now much more dialogue between analytic philosophy and phenomenology,47 as indeed between analytic philosophy and other traditions, which bodes well for the future of philosophy.
1.4 Can ‘Analytic Philosophy’ be Defined?
At least in outline, a certain view of the nature of analytic philosophy should now have emerged in introducing the chapters in the three main parts of this Handbook. Of course, it might be objected that this view was presupposed in the outline provided—or indeed, further back, in the commissioning of the chapters themselves. So can more be said in justifying this view? I provide an account of how the analytic tradition came to be constructed, historically, in the next chapter. Here I focus on the question of whether ‘analytic philosophy’ can be defined. In their chapters, the contributors to this Handbook either say something explicit about what they take analytic philosophy to be or else show what they take it to be through their discussions. It may be misguided to seek necessary and sufficient conditions for philosophy to be ‘analytic’, but can some kind of consensus as to its general characterization be extracted from their discussions? And if so, then does this reflect a consensus in the wider philosophical community?48
(p. 22) We have already noted one particular disagreement as to who counts as a founder of the analytic tradition. Everyone agrees that Russell and Moore, through their rebellion against British idealism, and Wittgenstein, through his Tractatus, are founders, but some, even today, exclude Frege. Hacker, for example, quite explicitly does so, and Frege was left out in Soames’ story of analytic philosophy.49 Frege’s exclusion might be seen as implicit in some discussions of Russell and Moore, although most authors would say that this is just because it was not in their brief to include Frege.50 Others clearly take Frege to be the main inspiration behind the analytic tradition. This is explicit in Burge’s chapter in this Handbook and in his other work, for example, and rampantly explicit throughout Dummett’s writings.51 As Diamond shows in her chapter, there is also increasing recognition of the crucial influence that Frege had on Wittgenstein. In any case, given the importance of logic in the analytic tradition, Frege’s creation of quantificational theory alone entitles him to a secure place in the analytic pantheon.
Agreement on the key founders already gives some shape to the analytic tradition—as a first approximation, we can characterize it as what is inspired by their work. With this in mind, we can then identify two subsequent strands in analytic philosophy that develop the ideas of its four founders. The first is the Cambridge School of Analysis, building on the work of Russell, Moore, and Wittgenstein, and the second is logical empiricism, influenced by Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein. Of course, there were other influences on both of these, most notably, by the German-speaking philosophers of science, neo-Kantians, and Polish logicians on logical empiricism. This brings further philosophers into the frame, strengthening and broadening analytic philosophy: Stebbing, Broad, Ramsey, Wisdom, Black (on the Cambridge side); Schlick, Neurath, Carnap, Waismann, Tarski, Popper, Feigl, Hempel, Gödel, Bergmann, Hung, Ayer (on the logical empiricist side). As has often been remarked, the establishment of a tradition proceeds not only by developing new ideas but also by securing suitable predecessors. In this way, retrospectively, the analytic tradition can then be backdated to include such figures as Stout, Twardowski and Leśniewski, and even Bolzano.52
(p. 23) The process of consolidation and ramification continued after the Second World War, with logical empiricism emigrating to the States, where its growth was nourished by interaction with native pragmatism, and with British analytic philosophy moving house to Oxford to nurture ordinary language philosophy. A whole host of new names enter the pantheon: most prominently, Goodman, Quine, Stevenson, Sellars, Chisholm, Davidson, Putnam, and Kripke in the States, and Ryle, Austin, Grice, Hare, and Strawson in Oxford. This suggests a further way to characterize analytic philosophy: by simply listing those in the pantheon. This is essentially what Martinich and Sosa do in their Companion to Analytic Philosophy (2001a): 39 chapters deal with 42 philosophers in turn.53 In the introduction, Martinich makes some brief remarks on the history of analytic philosophy, but having found nothing to define or characterize analytic philosophy, concludes: ‘The multiplicity of analytical styles is one reason for organizing the volume by individual philosopher and not by theme’ (2001a, p. 5).
Turning to theme, then, is there anything here by means of which to characterize analytic philosophy? There are obvious candidates, most notably, the focus on questions of language. That analytic philosophy arose when the linguistic turn was taken is one of its most popular creation myths.54 In chapter 32, however, Hacker argues that the linguistic turn was only properly taken by Wittgenstein in the Tractatus, which would mean that the early Russell and Moore would be excluded from the analytic tradition. Dummett, on the other hand, has claimed that it was first taken in section 62 of Frege’s Foundations.55 This may restore Frege to the pantheon, but would still exclude early Russell and Moore. If we also add that linguistic turns have occurred in both twentieth-century hermeneutics and in earlier German philosophy,56 then it cannot be taken to provide either necessary or sufficient conditions for philosophy to be ‘analytic’.
(p. 24) We find ourselves in a similar predicament whatever other themes or doctrines we consider. Hostility to metaphysics is often suggested as another candidate. As Simons shows in chapter 23, however, while this was characteristic of logical positivism and Wittgenstein’s thinking, it was not true of either Frege’s philosophy or Russell’s and Moore’s early realism, and analytic metaphysics is very much alive today. Other candidates include anti-psychologism, endorsement of the analytic/synthetic distinction, naturalism, and ahistoricism. In each case, however, counterexamples can readily be found, showing that any suggested characterization either excludes some philosophers who would definitely be counted as analytic or includes some who would definitely be counted as not analytic—or indeed both. Husserl, for example, was also a critic of psychologism (from his Logical Investigations onwards), as were the neo-Kantians and the British idealists. Many philosophers today follow Quine in rejecting the (absoluteness of the) analytic/synthetic distinction while still regarding themselves as working in the analytic tradition. While there might have been a ‘naturalistic turn’ in later analytic philosophy partly inspired by this Quinean rejection, naturalism is far from universally accepted today, and was in any case explicitly repudiated by the early analytic philosophers.57 As to ahistoricism, I shall say more about this in the next chapter. Here we need only note that the very existence of this Handbook is a counterexample.58
Far greater potential for characterization of analytic philosophy lies in considerations of method and style. As far as style is concerned, analytic philosophy is widely regarded as placing emphasis on argumentation, clarity, and rigour.59 In the preface to his Begriffsschrift, Frege wrote that his concept-script was ‘intended to serve primarily to test in the most reliable way the validity of a chain of inference and to reveal every presupposition that tends to slip in unnoticed, so that its origin can be investigated’ (1879/1997, pp. 48–9). The quantificational logic Frege developed has been seen ever since as a means to sharpen and evaluate argumentation. But the use of logic is hardly itself new; logic was invented by Aristotle, systematized and deployed by the medieval logicians, and further extended and exploited by Leibniz and Bolzano, among others. Of course, the logic Frege developed was far more powerful than anything hitherto available, but emphasis on argumentation has always been central—and self-consciously so—in philosophy.60
As far as clarity is concerned, it is easy to find passages in, say, Bradley, Heidegger, or Derrida and place them alongside passages in, say, Frege, Russell, or Putnam, to show some major difference of style. But Collingwood, for example, writes at least as clearly as Russell, and while Wittgenstein is certainly an anomaly, his aphoristic remarks make (p. 25) more interpretive demands than Nietzsche’s. In much analytic philosophy today there is also a keenness for jargon and technical sophistication to more than match the fondness for neologism and allusion to profundity characteristic of some non-analytic philosophy. I share the view that clarity is one of the most important virtues of philosophical thinking and writing, but it is by no means exhibited only in the best analytic philosophy. The virtue was expressed with poetic clarity by Pope long before Frege and Russell: ‘True wit is nature to advantage dressed, / What oft was thought, but ne’er so well expressed; / Something whose truth convinced at sight we find, / That gives us back the image of our mind.’61 If an idea is worth thinking, then it is worth saying clearly; and if it is said clearly, then it will crystallize thinking in others.
As far as rigour is concerned, there is far more involved here than is often assumed, as Floyd shows in chapter 35. However ‘rigorous’ one might be, there is always a ‘residue’ requiring elucidation, where one can only appeal, in some informal way, to ‘common sense’, ‘intuitions’, or a ‘meeting of minds’.62 In any case, once again, it is not only analytic philosophy that values rigour. In his critique of Dilthey’s historical hermeneutics, Husserl also argued that philosophy is a rigorous science (1911); phenomenology involved a different conception of rigour, but the difference between this conception and, say, Frege’s or Russell’s, is no greater than the difference between Moore’s and Frege’s or Russell’s.
While it would be wrong to deny that analytic philosophy places emphasis on argumentation, clarity, and rigour, then, the most that could really be claimed is that analytic philosophy, on the whole, places more emphasis on these virtues than other traditions of philosophy. If we want to characterize analytic philosophy more substantially, then it is to method that we should turn, and more specifically, to the method of analysis. For the obvious suggestion is that analytic philosophy is ‘analytic’ because of the central role played by analysis. Here the immediate objection is that analysis, too, has been central to philosophy from its very birth in ancient Greek thought and hardly distinguishes analytic philosophy. As I have argued elsewhere, however, there were new methods and kinds of analysis that were indeed introduced into analytic philosophy, beginning with Frege’s logical and logicist analyses, his use of contextual definition, and Russell’s theory of descriptions.63 These were developed further in Russell’s method of logical construction (see Linsky’s chapter), by Wittgenstein in the Tractatus (see Kremer’s (p. 26) chapter), by other members of the Cambridge School of Analysis (see Baldwin’s chapter), and by Carnap in The Logical Construction of the World (1928a) and in his work on logic and semantics (see Reck’s chapter).64 The ideas were introduced to Oxford by Ryle in his ‘Systematically Misleading Expressions’ of 1932 and by Ayer in his Language, Truth and Logic of 1936 (see Uebel’s chapter), and Quine gave them a powerful presence in America through his own logical and philosophical work (see Baghramian and Jorgensen’s and Hylton’s chapters), with others such as C. I. Lewis, Marcus, and Kripke contributing to the analysis of modal notions (see Shieh’s chapter).
This Fregean strand in analytic philosophy is complemented by a Moorean strand, the creative tension between these two main strands forming the central core of the internal dynamic of the analytic tradition.65 The Moorean strand begins with Moore’s early emphasis on carefully distinguishing and clarifying the philosophical questions we ask and his decompositional conception of the analysis of propositions (see Griffin’s chapter), and proceeds (also) through the elucidatory project of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (see Diamond’s chapter), his later philosophy (see Glock’s chapter), and Moore’s later appeal to common sense in responding to scepticism (see Coliva’s chapter). After the Second World War, conceptual analysis is developed further in Oxford ordinary language philosophy, exhibited by Austin’s philosophically motivated linguistic analyses (see Travis and Kalderon’s chapter) and the connective analyses of Ryle, Strawson, and others (see Hacker’s chapter).
All these different conceptions and techniques of analysis, and the variations and modifications introduced by many other analytic philosophers, have become part of the methodological toolbox of analytic philosophy. The analytic philosopher might then be characterized as someone who knows how to use these tools, through training in modern logic and study of the work of their predecessors. Each analytic philosopher may have different aims, ambitions, backgrounds, concerns, motivations, presuppositions, and projects, and they may use these tools in different ways to make different constructions, criticisms, evaluations, and syntheses; but there is a common repertoire of analytic techniques and a rich fund of instructive examples to draw upon; and it is these that form the methodological basis of analytic philosophy. As analytic philosophy has developed and ramified, so has its toolbox been enlarged and the examples of practice (both good and bad) expanded.
This methodologically based conception makes sense of a number of other features of analytic philosophy and disputes that often arise regarding it. First of all, it explains why analytic philosophy is sometimes said to adopt (and to be criticized for adopting) a piecemeal approach, encouraging small-scale investigations rather than grand (p. 27) system-building.66 ‘Divide and conquer’ is the maxim of success, Russell remarked in advocating the scientific method in philosophy (1914d, p. 86). Analytic techniques clearly lend themselves to piecemeal approaches and to collaborative work of the kind familiar in science. Concepts can be analysed one by one, and in very specific contexts of use; intermediate steps can be inserted in chains of argument and further assumptions added; Gettier-style counterexamples to purported definitions can be presented in brief articles; and so on. No doubt those techniques can be employed in idle cog-spinning or epicycling, or Gettier games played for their own sake, or massive logical hammers used to crack tiny philosophical nuts, all of which provide grounds for criticism; but analytic philosophy is not intrinsically piecemeal, and grand narratives can indeed be pursued, bringing together the results of many different kinds of analysis.
Secondly, we have an explanation of the success of analytic philosophy—of why analytic philosophy, despite occasional talk of ‘post-analytic’ philosophy and the objections and fears of ‘continental’ philosophers, has established itself so firmly and widely over the last hundred years. The toolbox is full of useful instruments, with concepts clarified, distinctions drawn, doctrines refined, and logical theories enriched. The big philosophical questions may seem as fascinating and frustrating as ever, but there is a range of responses available to entice and enrage further. A major reason for its global success, however, is its relatively democratic and meritocratic nature. There is no ideological baggage to acquire in the way that there is in Marxism, no creed to avow as there is in Thomism, no doctrines or attitudes to adopt as there is in Kantianism or Hegelianism or phenomenology. One doesn’t need an ‘ism’ to be an analytic philosopher,67 although if one wants to be an ‘ist’, one can be an analytic ‘ist’. It is no surprise that analytic philosophy has taken off in those countries that have shed or are shedding their Marxism-Leninism. The turn to analytic philosophy in Eastern Europe, for example, happened almost immediately after the communist regimes crumbled in 1989.68 And analytic philosophy is gradually growing in China. With widening educational opportunities and the proliferation of online resources, journals, and textbooks, access to philosophy is open (p. 28) as never before, and at its best, analytic philosophy, in particular, lends itself to ready engagement, its piecemeal character encouraging participation.69 Everyone can in principle contribute, even if it is only to find a counterexample to a definition of knowledge; and on any topic, there is some position available that may accord with one’s ‘intuitions’, however shaky or robust they may be. And even if—or when—someone comes up with a confused or mistaken view, it can be misguided in a revealing way, and analysis of it can spur further debate. For someone with individualistic leanings in an oppressive or repressive environment, analytic philosophy can be intellectually liberating. As Searle is reported as having once said (quoted at the beginning of this chapter), ‘I am an analytic philosopher. I think for myself.’70
Thirdly, and following on from this, we can see what is mistaken about talk of ‘post-analytic’ philosophy, and why ‘analytic’ can qualify just about any philosophical position or tradition. Talk of ‘post’ anything is to suggest having gone beyond something, its errors or limitations recognized, the problems solved or shown to be insoluble, its possibilities exhausted. Such critical distancing is always overdone. But if analytic philosophy is seen as methodologically based, and the toolbox is still in use, even if some tools have been added and some have dropped to the bottom, then talk of ‘post-analytic’ makes little sense. No one is a post-carpenter or post-plumber, though they can be an ex-carpenter or ex-plumber. As noted at the beginning of this chapter, far from being replaced by ‘post-analytic’, ‘analytic’ is being used as a qualifier with ever greater frequency. But this, too, is unsurprising, if to talk of something being ‘analytic’ is just to say that it can be done in an analytic way, that is, by using the analytic toolbox.
While the methodologically based conception makes sense of many of the uses of ‘analytic’, however, it does not do justice to all those uses, and in particular, to when we talk of analytic philosophy as a tradition or movement. Perhaps we should simply distinguish two meanings of ‘analytic philosophy’, depending on whether we have in mind the activity (‘analytic philosophizing’) or the tradition (‘the analytic tradition’). But the two are clearly related, both historically and conceptually. As I show in the next chapter, talk of the analytic (or logico-analytic) method came before talk of analytic philosophy, which only began in the 1930s and only became widespread in the 1950s, which is when an analytic tradition was finally recognized. The methods provided the basis for the tradition, their application in specific projects, from Frege’s and Russell’s logicism onwards, providing the analyses, approaches, arguments, concepts, doctrines, moves, positions, texts, themes, and theories that gradually accumulated in all their interconnections to form that tradition.
None of these analyses, approaches, and so on can be singled out as somehow definitive of the analytic tradition. But there is an underlying interconnectedness, grounded (p. 29) in methodological, conceptual, and causal relations, that a philosophically perceptive, historically sensitive account can bring out. There are many, mutually supporting ways of doing this—comparing the analyses, contextualizing the approaches, reconstructing the arguments, clarifying the concepts, identifying anticipations of the doctrines in earlier philosophy, explaining the moves in the debates in which they occurred, refining the positions in considering their reception by critics and interpreters, exploring the intertextual references, drawing out underlying themes, synthesizing the theories, and so on. There is no royal road through the history of analytic philosophy, and certainly no single track that a single chapter can take to do that history justice; but in a multi-authored Handbook such as this, enough different paths can be taken, and enough different aspects of the philosophical debates can be elucidated, to show something of the richness and complexity of that history. In the end, the only way to answer the question ‘What is analytic philosophy?’ is to provide a history of the analytic tradition. I consider some examples of such histories in the next chapter, in saying more about the historical construction of the analytic tradition and some of the historiographical issues they raise. The chapters that then follow make contributions both to providing such a history and to elucidating the philosophical debates and themes that have been central in the history of analytic philosophy.
(1) Even with my best Austinian hat on, I have been unable to detect any significant differences (whether semantic or pragmatic) between uses of ‘analytic’ and uses of ‘analytical’. Some talk of ‘analytical’ philosophy, others of ‘analytic’ philosophy, but the latter are in the clear majority, and I will follow the majority use here. One suggestion might be that the former have a methodologically based conception in mind, while the latter are referring more to a tradition or movement. I discuss this distinction in section 1.4 of this chapter; but I have no found no grounds for it in uses of ‘analytic’ and ‘analytical’. For all philosophical (and present) purposes, they can be treated as synonymous. In the German philosophical literature, as well as ‘analytisch’ there is ‘sprachanalytisch’, which tends to be used, more specifically, for linguistic philosophy or analytic philosophy of language (see e.g. Tugendhat 1976).
(2) In Europe there are societies for analytic philosophy in Austria (WFAP, founded 2009, with around 20 members), Croatia (CSAP, founded 2001), France (SoPhA, founded 1993), Germany (GAP, founded 1990, with around 900 members, claiming to be one of the biggest philosophical societies in Europe), Italy (SIFA, founded 1992, with over 400 members), the Netherlands (and Flemish-speaking Belgium; VAF, founded 2006), Portugal (SPFA, founded 2004), Romania (SRFA, founded 2007), Slovenia (DAF, founded 1991), and Spain (SEFA, founded 1995, with some 100 members). Most of these are constituent members of the European Society for Analytic Philosophy (ESAP, founded 1991), whose website <http://www.dif.unige.it/esap> contains links to its member societies. Analytic philosophy has been strong in the Nordic countries since the early twentieth century, from the work of Hägerström, Kaila, and Naess onwards. On Scandanavian and Nordic philosophy, see Olson and Paul 1972; Manninen and Stadler 2010; and on Finnish analytic philosophy, in particular, see Pihlström 2001; Haaparanta and Niiniluouto 2003. Poland and Austria, too, boast a proud history of analytic philosophy, through the work of the Lvov–Warsaw school and the Austrian realists, in particular. For references, see n. 20 below.
In Latin America, there are societies in Argentina (SADAF, founded 1972, with over 200 members), Brazil (SBFA, founded 2008, with over 50 members), Chile (SCFA, founded 2007, with some 20 members), and Peru (CESFIA, founded 2006), with Mexico hosting the Asociación Latinoamericana de Filosofía Analítica (ALFAn, founded 2006, with over 120 members). On analytic philosophy in Latin America, see Gracia et al. 1984; Martí 1998.
In Japan, analytic philosophy is promoted through such societies as the Association for Philosophy of Science and the Association for the Study of American Philosophy (cf. Piovesana 1962 , pp. 219–21). In China, there is a Center for Analytical Philosophy (founded 2003) in the Institute of Foreign Philosophy at Peking University, as well as a Society for Analytic Philosophy (founded 2005)..
There are also related societies such as the Institut Wiener Kreis (founded 1991), devoted to the study and further development of the work of the original Vienna Circle, the History of Early Analytic Philosophy Society (HEAPS, founded 2003, with over 60 members), and the Society for the Study of the History of Analytical Philosophy (SSHAP, founded 2009). Mention, too, should be made of the various societies and networks devoted to the work of individual analytic philosophers, such as the extremely active and long-established Bertrand Russell Society (BRS, founded 1974, with some 100 members) and Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society (ALWS, founded 1974, with around 120 members), and the newer British Ludwig Wittgenstein Society (BWS, founded 2007, with over 300 members), Internationale Ludwig Wittgenstein Gesellschaft (formerly the Deutsche Ludwig Wittgenstein Gesellschaft, founded 1994, becoming the ILWG in 2006), Nordic Network for Wittgenstein Research (NNWR, founded 2006, with over 110 members), and North American Wittgenstein Society (NAWS, founded 2000). All this adds up, then, to tremendous and burgeoning interest in analytic philosophy, its past and its future, across the world.
(3) On analytic aesthetics, see Lamarque’s chapter in this Handbook; on analytic Marxism, see Cohen 1978 and Wolff’s chapter (which discusses analytic political philosophy, more generally); on analytic feminism, see Garry 2004, and the website of the Society for Analytical Feminism (founded in 1991; <https://sites.google.com/site/analyticalfeminism>; accessed 9 January 2012); on analytic theism (associated with the work of Plantinga, in particular), see Sennett 1998; on analytical Thomism, see Haldane 1995, 1997, 2006, and Paterson and Pugh 2006. Today, ‘analytic’ (or ‘analytical’ can qualify most philosophical approaches or areas. This practice of ‘analytic’ qualification was firmly established in the late 1960s and early 1970s when Danto published a trilogy of books on analytical philosophy of history (1965), analytical philosophy of knowledge (1968), and analytical philosophy of action (1973).
(4) On analytic metaphysics, see Simons’ chapter in this Handbook; cf. Tooley 1999; Loux and Zimmerman 2003; Lowe 2008a; Chalmers et al. 2009. Lowe (1998, p. vi) treats it as the fundamental subdiscipline of analytic philosophy, although he also has reservations about the use of the term ‘analytic metaphysics’ and its close relative ‘analytic ontology’ (2008b, 2011). On metaphysics in early analytic philosophy, see Bradford 1981; Beaney 2012b; Shieh 2012. The latter two are contained in Haaparanta and Koskinen 2012, which traces the development of the relationship between logic and metaphysics from Aristotle to recent analytic metaphysics.
(5) The work of Strawson, especially Strawson 1959 and 1966, was the main source of the Kantian turn in analytic philosophy. For discussion of Kant and analytic philosophy, see Hanna 2001, 2008; Glock 2003b (Glock’s own contribution, 2003c, talks explicitly of ‘analytic Kantianism’; O’Shea 2006. On the move to a Hegelian stage in analytic philosophy, see Rorty’s introduction to Sellars 1997, pp. 8–9; cf. Redding 2007, p. 1. Redding discusses the work of McDowell and Brandom, in particular. Brandom’s inferentialism is explained in Peregrin’s chapter in this Handbook, and McDowell’s views on perception are considered in the context of the Oxford realist tradition in Travis and Kalderon’s chapter.
(6) ‘Analytic phenomenology’ was used in the title of a book as far back as 1970 (Erickson 1970). A more recent use is in the subtitle of Huemer 2005. For discussion of analytic phenomenology, see Smith’s chapter in the present volume. Other examples of prima facie oxymoronic ‘analytic’ qualification include ‘analytic idealism’ (which has been used to describe e.g. Ewing’s work), ‘analytic hermeneutics’ (used e.g. as the title of ch. 1 of Howard 1982), and ‘analytic existentialism’ (used as the title of a conference held in Cape Town in 2001).
(7) Quine’s attack on the analytic/synthetic distinction and Wittgenstein’s later critique of his own earlier philosophy have been seen as inaugurating the ‘post-analytic’ age. ‘Post-analytic philosophy’ is the title of a book published in 1985 (Rajchman and West), though only American philosophy is here discussed. Wang published a book in the same year called Beyond Analytic Philosophy. Quine describes himself as ‘post-analytic’ in Borradori 1994. The University of Southampton established a Centre for Post-Analytic Philosophy in 1997 (inaugurated with a lecture by Bernard Williams, later published as ch. 17 of Williams 2006a), but it soon became a Post-Centre. A collection entitled Post-Analytic ‘Tractatus’ appeared in 2004 (Stocker 2004). For further discussion of ‘post-analytic’ philosophy, see e.g. Mulhall 2002; Reynolds et al. 2010.
(8) The first book to have ‘Early Analytic Philosophy’ in its title was Cocchiarella 1987. Later books include Clarke 1997; Tait 1997; Reck 2002a; Beaney 2007a; and Textor 2013. As noted above (n. 2), the History of Early Analytic Philosophy Society was founded in 2003. An analogy can be drawn with the way that ‘early modern philosophy’ came to be used to refer to the first phase of ‘modern philosophy’, the phase that is generally taken to run from Descartes (or just before) to Kant, whose work marks the end of early modern philosophy, whether or not Kant’s work itself is counted as part of it.
(9) In what follows I use ‘history of philosophy’ to denote the discipline or practice of history of philosophy and ‘the history of analytic philosophy’ to denote the actual history of analytic philosophy. The title of this Handbook should be understood in both senses, however. It is both a handbook of the history of analytic philosophy and a handbook of history of analytic philosophy.
(12) Cf. Beaney 2009, § 6.4. Moore also endorses analysis in his preface to Principia Ethica, although here what he means is the disentangling of questions so that we can be clear about what exactly the question is that we are asking before we try to answer it. Moore writes that ‘the work of analysis and distinction is often very difficult’, but if we can do it, then we can resolve the philosophical problems that face us (1903, p. vii). A decompositional conception of analysis is still at work here, and we might bring his various descriptions of analysis together by suggesting that the aim of philosophy, on Moore’s view, is to get clear about the constituent concepts of propositions that give rise to philosophical problems.
(13) For the early Moore, the fundamental constituents are all concepts. For Russell in the Principles, they are all terms, of which there are two kinds, things and concepts, concepts in turn being divided into predicates and relations (1903, p. 44). So there are differences between Moore’s and Russell’s views here (cf. Russell 1903, p. 44, n.*).
(15) See Russell 1901. Two years later he writes: ‘The fact that all Mathematics is Symbolic Logic is one of the greatest discoveries of our age; and when this fact has been established, the remainder of the principles of mathematics consists in the analysis of Symbolic Logic itself’ (1903, p. 5).
(17) On the influence of Frege and Russell on Wittgenstein, the relative strengths of which is a matter of controversy, see Anscombe 1959; Diamond 1981, 1984, 2010, chapter 30 below; Dummett 1981b; Baker 1988; Hacker 1996, ch. 2, 1999; Ricketts 1996, 2002, 2010; Reck 1997, 2002b; Green 1999; Conant 2000, 2002; Goldfarb 2002; Travis 2006a; Carey 2007; Landini 2007; Floyd 2009; Potter 2009; Kienzler 2011; Beaney 2012b.
(18) Russell makes the claim in his History of Western Philosophy (1945, p. 784, for example, and his exposition is offered in Appendix A of The Principles of Mathematics (1903, which Wittgenstein read in 1909. It was Peano who drew Russell’s own attention to Frege, though, and Frege’s work was also familiar to many German and Polish logicians and mathematicians at the time.
(19) Hacker (rather surprisingly, given his work on Wittgenstein) tends to play down Frege’s role in the history of analytic philosophy (see e.g. Hacker 1996, 2007, and his chapter in the present volume; but the most egregious recent omission occurs in Soames’ two-volume history (2003). Soames claims that it was his hope to write a companion volume on the ‘highly technical parts’ of the analytic tradition (2003, I, pp. xvii f.), but Frege’s ideas about concept and object, sense and reference, thought, compositionality, indexicality, analyticity, analysis, and the context principle, among others, hardly count as ‘highly technical’ (cf. Beaney 2006b, §3).
(20) On the Polish and Austrian branches of analytic philosophy, see Woleński 1989, 1999; Simons 1992; Nyirí 1996; Textor 2006; Lapointe et al. 2009; Mulligan et al. 2013; and for discussion of Bolzano in relation to analytic philosophy, see Künne, Siebel, and Textor 1997; Lapointe 2011.
(27) See especially Diamond 1988, where the phrase ‘chickening out’ is used ([1991a], p. 181, 1991b; Ricketts 1996a; Goldfarb 1997b, where the term ‘resolute’ is used (p. 64; Conant 2002, 2007; Conant and Diamond 2004. For an ‘elucidatory’ reading that attempts to steer between the traditional and new readings, see McGinn 1999, 2006; and for further discussion of the debate, see Kremer 2001, 2007; Proops 2001; Sullivan 2002, 2003.
(28) The standard story can be found in its crudest form in Milkov 2003, but it is also reflected, for example, in Warnock 1958/1969, Stroll 2000, and Soames 2003, very different as all these are. The centre of gravity of British analytic philosophy did indeed shift from Cambridge to Oxford after the Second World War (cf. Beaney 2006c, 2006f, but as I have come to appreciate much more now, Oxford ordinary language philosophy has deep roots in earlier Oxford realism, and Cook Wilson’s work, in particular (Beaney 2012a).
(29) On the controversial relationship between Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle, see Baker 1988, 2003; McGuinness 1991; Carus 2007, ch. 7; Stern 2007. For Wittgenstein’s conversations with members of the Vienna Circle, see Waismann 1979.
(30) On the Berlin Society, see Hoffmann 2007. For fuller discussion of logical empiricism, see Hanfling 1981a; Uebel 1992, 2007; Giere and Richardson 1996; Stadler 1997/2001, 2003; Friedman 1999; Richardson and Uebel 2007. On Carnap and Reichenbach, see Spohn 1992; and on Carnap, in particular, see Richardson 1998; Awodey and Klein 2004; Carus 2007; Friedman and Creath 2007. The classic collection of readings is Ayer 1959; a later collection is Hanfling 1981b.
(32) Carnap’s conception of philosophy as the logic of science, understood as formalizing the logical syntax of the language of science, is articulated in Carnap 1934/1937; his ‘semantic turn’ is represented in Carnap 1942, 1943, 1947. On the former, see Friedman 1999, Part 3; Wagner 2009. On the development of Carnap’s views, see Coffa 1991, chs. 15–17; Ricketts 1996b; Creath 1999; Awodey 2007.
(33) Further details of all these events are provided in the chronology that forms chapter 3 of this Handbook. Russell was a regular—if controversial—visitor to the States (see his Autobiography, 1967–9/ 1975, especially ch. 13. After his retirement from Cambridge, Moore went to the States in October 1940 and taught at various institutions during the war (Moore 1942a, pp. 38–9). For one testament to his influence, see White 1999, ch. 5.
(36) See, for example, Ebbs 1997, Part II; Hylton 2001a; 2007a, chs. 2–3; Creath 2007. For Quine’s and Carnap’s own correspondence, see Quine and Carnap 1990. Morton White’s role in the story is frequently overlooked; see especially White 1950; 1956, ch. 8; cf. 1999, Appendix.
(40) For a good sense of the breadth of this explosion, see the 4 vols. of Crawford 2011. For a survey of developments in both philosophy of language and philosophy of mind between 1950 and 1990, see Burge 1992. Cf. Crane and Patterson 2000; Kim 2004.
(43) This is not to say that there is a hard and fast division between the three parts. Chapters 21 and 22 might have been allocated to Part III, for example, and chapter 38 might have been placed in Part I. But the Handbook was planned with the division in mind, allowing for some flexibility in deciding its final shape.
(44) It has recently been argued that the linguistic turn has now been displaced by a ‘representational turn’ in analytic philosophy; see e.g. Williamson 2003; 2007, ch. 1. For his reply, see Hacker 2007.
(46) One prominent—and controversial—recent account is that provided by Soames (2003, who takes the gradual advance in our understanding of modal notions, culminating in Kripke’s work, as the central story of analytic philosophy.
(48) There is no shortage of reflections on the nature of analytic philosophy. By far the most helpful and comprehensive discussion is provided by Glock (2008. I agree with a lot of what Glock says, although (as will become clear in what follows), I do not think he does justice either to the role of analysis in analytic philosophy (which can provide the basis for a satisfying account of analytic philosophy) or to the importance of history of philosophy for philosophy; cf. Beaney 2011b. Here is an alphabetically ordered list of other works that offer a characterization or account of analytic philosophy, which have helped inform the view sketched in the present section: Akehurst 2010; Ammerman 1965b; Baldwin 1998; Beaney 1998, 2006c, 2006f, 2007b; Boundas 2007b; Bouveresse 1983; Charlton 1991, ch. 1; Cohen 1996; Cozzo 1999; Danto 1980; Engel 1988, 1999; Floyd and Shieh 2001, introd.; Føllesdal 1997; Hacker 1996, 1998, 2007, 2011; Martin 2002; Martinich 2001a; Monk 1996b, 1997; E. Nagel 1936; Preston 2006, 2007; Quinton 1995a; Rorty 1981, 2007b; J. Ross 1998; Schwartz 2012, introd.; Soames 2003, 2005, 2008; Stroll 2000, ch. 1; Urmson 1956; van Inwagen 2006; von Wright 1993b; Weitz 1966, introd., 1967; White 1955, editorial material; Williams 1996. For discussion of the relationship between analytic and ‘continental’ philosophy, see the references given in n. 60 of chapter 2 below.
(49) See e.g. Hacker 1996b, 2007, 2011, as well as his chapter in the present volume; Soames 2003. For criticism of both, see Floyd 2009; cf. Beaney 2006b. Frege is also omitted in Schwartz’s recent history of analytic philosophy on the ground that he ‘published in mathematics journals’ (2012, p. 197. Not a single one of Frege’s three books (1879, 1884, 1893/1903), three seminal essays of 1891–2, and three articles of his ‘Logical Investigations’ (1918–23) was published in a mathematics journal. Five of the latter six were published in philosophy journals, the other (1891) appeared as a booklet.
(51) See especially Burge 2005a; Dummett 1973, 1981a, 1991a, 1991b, 1993a. In the latter, on the origins of analytic philosophy, Dummett focuses solely on Frege, though there is a lot of comparison with Husserl. Russell and Moore are excluded ‘because this ground has been fairly well worked over’ (1993a, p. 1.
(52) Logical empiricism provides an excellent example of backdating. In the manifesto of the Vienna Circle (Carnap, Hahn, and Neurath 1929), the following predecessors were all co-opted: Avenarius, Bentham, Boltzmann, Brentano, Comte, Duhem, Einstein, Enriques, Epicurus, Feuerbach, Frege, Helmholtz, Hilbert, Hume, Leibniz, Mach, Marx, Menger, Mill, Müller-Lyer, Pasch, Peano, Pieri, Poincaré, Popper-Lynkeus, Riemann, Russell, Schröder, Spencer, Vailati, Whitehead, Wittgenstein. Cf. Ayer 1959, p. 4. On the need to find predecessors in constructing a (self-justificatory) grand narrative for a tradition, cf. Moran 2008, pp. 23–4.
(53) Tarski, Church, and Gödel are all covered in one chapter. For the record, the full list is given in the chronology in chapter 3 below, in the entry for 2001. Martinich reports that there are others who were considered but in the end excluded: Black, Bergmann, Feigl, Feyerabend, Evans, C. I. Lewis, Mackie, E. Nagel, Price, Prichard, Prior, Reichenbach, Schlick, Vlastos, Waismann, Wisdom. Yet others were excluded ‘because they do not fit squarely within the tradition of analytic philosophy as ordinarily understood’: Dewey, James, Peirce, Cook Wilson, Whitehead (2001a, p. 5). All of these have been included in the chronology below. For the different selection made in their anthology (Martinich and Sosa 2001b), see the entry for 2001 in the chronology below.
(54) The term ‘creation myth’ is used by Gerrard (1997, p. 40), referring to Moore’s and Russell’s rebellion against British idealism. Gerrard argues that Moore and Russell took over much more from Bradley’s idealism than they admitted, most notably, his anti-psychologism.
(56) On the linguistic turn in hermeneutics (especially in the work of Heidegger and Gadamer), see Gadamer 1960, Part 3; 1962; 1972; Habermas 1999; Lafont 1999; Davey 2008. On Husserl and the linguistic turn, see Parsons 2001. On earlier linguistic turns, see Losonsky 2006. Preston (2007) takes the linguistic turn to provide the basis for characterizing analytic philosophy as a school, and then, having shown (rightly) that this does not give us necessary and sufficient conditions, argues that the history of analytic philosophy is the history of an illusion. The illusion is Preston’s assumption that analytic philosophy has to be seen as a school at all, defined by a set of doctrines. See Beaney 2007e; cf. n. 46 in chapter 2 below.
(62) For discussion of the role of ‘intuitions’ in philosophy, see chapter 19 by Baghramian and Jorgensen. On the need to appeal to a ‘meeting of minds’, see Frege 1892b/1997, p. 192; 1914/1997, p. 313. I discuss the importance of this in Beaney 2006a.
(63) See especially Beaney 2009a (first pub. 2003); cf. 2002, 2007b, 2007c, 2013c. I argue that ‘interpretive’ forms of analysis, drawing on the new logic to transform or paraphrase sentences to exhibit their ‘real’ logical form and content, come to the fore in early analytic philosophy, reflection on their nature and justification then inspiring the linguistic turn that is consolidated in the second phase of analytic philosophy. I also argue that analytic philosophy, in its Fregean and Russellian manifestations, should be seen as ‘analytic’ much more in the sense that analytic geometry is ‘analytic’ than in the crude decompositional sense exhibited in Moore’s and Russell’s early naïve realism.
(64) In George’s 1967 translation of Der logische Aufbau der Welt, the title is rendered as ‘The Logical Structure of the World’, but this misses the sense of ‘Aufbau’. On Carnap’s Aufbau project, see especially Richardson 1998. I discuss Carnap’s key conception of analysis in this work—what he calls ‘quasi-analysis’— in Beaney 2004b.
(67) In ‘Taking Sides in Philosophy’, Ryle wrote: ‘The gist of my position is this. There is no place for “isms” in philosophy’ (1937b/1971b, p. 161). In concluding his article, he conceded that the ‘ism’ labels are ‘applicable and handy, as terms of abuse, commiseration, or apologia’, but urged that they be reserved ‘for our intervals of gossip and confession’ (1937b/1971b, p. 175). Consistently with this, Ryle avoided talk of ‘analytic philosophy’, too, though here there was the additional reason that he regarded the word ‘analysis’ as misleading in its suggestion that philosophical problems could be tackled piecemeal (cf. the previous footnote)—despite the fact that it ‘contrasts well with such expressions as “speculation”, “hypothesis”, “system-building” and even “preaching” and “writing poetry”’ (1957/1971b, p. 385). Ayer also claimed that ‘there is nothing in the nature of philosophy to warrant the existence of conflicting philosophical parties or “schools”’ (1936, p. 176). More recently, van Inwagen has written: ‘being an analytical philosopher does not involve commitment to any philosophical doctrine….A philosopher may take any position on any philosophical question and still be an analytical philosopher in good standing’ (2006, p. 88).
(69) This is no doubt helped by the fact that analytic philosophy is pursued almost entirely through the medium of English, which has now established itself as the international language of communication.