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Analytic philosophy and history: a mismatch?


Glock, Hans Johann (2008). Analytic philosophy and history: a mismatch? Mind: A Quarterly Review of Philosophy, 117(468):867-897.

Abstract

In recent years, even some of its own practitioners have accused analytic philosophy of lacking historical awareness. My aim is to show that analytic philosophy and history are not such a mismatch after all. Against the objection that analytic philosophers have unduly ignored the past I argue that for the most part they only resist strong versions of historicism, and for good reasons. The history of philosophy is not the whole of philosophy, as extreme historicists maintain, nor is it indispensable to substantive philosophizing, as mainline historicists have it, it is merely advantageous (pragmatic historicism). Against the objection that analytic histories of philosophy are inevitably anachronistic I argue that it is possible to approach past texts with a view to substantive issues and in a critical spirit (contrary to historicist relativism and to misguided interpretations of the principle of charity). Indeed, such an analytic approach makes not just for better philosophy but also for better history.

In recent years, even some of its own practitioners have accused analytic philosophy of lacking historical awareness. My aim is to show that analytic philosophy and history are not such a mismatch after all. Against the objection that analytic philosophers have unduly ignored the past I argue that for the most part they only resist strong versions of historicism, and for good reasons. The history of philosophy is not the whole of philosophy, as extreme historicists maintain, nor is it indispensable to substantive philosophizing, as mainline historicists have it, it is merely advantageous (pragmatic historicism). Against the objection that analytic histories of philosophy are inevitably anachronistic I argue that it is possible to approach past texts with a view to substantive issues and in a critical spirit (contrary to historicist relativism and to misguided interpretations of the principle of charity). Indeed, such an analytic approach makes not just for better philosophy but also for better history.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:21 Nov 2008 08:04
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:31
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0026-4423
Additional Information:This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in "Mind: A Quarterly Review of Philosophy" following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version "Hans-Johann Glock, Analytic Philosophy and History: A Mismatch?, Mind 2008 117: 867-897" is available online at: http://mind.oxfordjournals.org/current.dtl.
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:10.1093/mind/fzn055
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-4729

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