By Aaron Preston
A singular, serious account of the origins and improvement of the dominant college of philosophy within the English-speaking global.
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Additional info for Analytic Philosophy: The History of an Illusion
Second, even if they do count as genuine advances, the applicability of these insights to real-world concerns has yet to be demonstrated. And third, again assuming they are sure insights, achieving them has taken so much time and effort that other very significant areas of philosophical inquiry went neglected by the philosophical mainstream for much of the twentieth century. Hans Sluga captures some of these concerns when he observes that: At least since Tarski’s essay ‘On the Concept of Truth in Formalized Languages’ of 1931 it has become the common belief of linguistic philosophers that a purely formal, structural theory of meaning could be constructed.
And this possibility is something about which everyone involved in the profession should be concerned. Though it is impossible to tell just how widespread it may be or have been, there is good evidence that this has been a problem in AP. In fact, the prejudicial treatment of a non-analytic philosopher provided the occasion for one of the earliest inquiries into AP’s nature: Ved Mehta’s Fly and the Fly Bottle (1963). In the opening chapter, Mehta chronicles a heated 1959 exchange in the correspondence columns of The London Times.
Doing ‘good philosophy’ on the analytic model has played a significant role in making academic philosophy what it is today – indeed, what it has been for the last century. Doubtless, many analytic philosophers will regard the result as generally good. Still, only the most partisan will refuse to admit that much has gone wrong with academic philosophy over the last hundred years. 7f, above). The designation ‘analytic’ would then be little more than a label of arbitrary approval to be worn and bestowed by those with academic power and prestige.
Analytic Philosophy: The History of an Illusion by Aaron Preston