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Could anything be wrong with analytic philosophy?


Glock, Hans Johann (2007). Could anything be wrong with analytic philosophy? Grazer Philosophische Studien, 74:215-237.

Abstract

Th ere is a growing feeling that analytic philosophy is in crisis. At the same time there is a widespread and prima facie attractive conception of analytic philosophy which implies that it equates to good philosophy. In recognition of these confl icting tendencies, my paper raises the question of whether anything could be wrong with analytic philosophy. In section 1 I indicate why analytic philosophy cannot be defi ned by reference to geography, topics, doctrines or even methods. Th is leaves open the possibility that analytic philosophy is a style of philosophizing (section 2). According to what I call a rationalist conception, the distinguishing feature of analytic philosophy is that it is guided by the ideal of rational argument. Th is conception implies that ‘analytic philosophy’ is an honorifi c title. In section 3 I point out that the rationalist defi nition yields a diff erent extension for ‘analytic philosophy’ than commonly recognized. Section 4 defends the appeal to ordinary use in debates about the nature of analytic philosophy. Section 5 grants that there is an honorifi c use of the label, while also pointing out that the rationalist-cum-honorifi c conception is at odds with a more wide-spread and entrenched taxonomic practice. Section 6 alleges that the rationalist conception boils down to a ‘persuasive definition’ of analytic philosophy, and argues in favour of a more neutral philosophical taxonomy. Section 7 argues that analytic philosophy is an intellectual tradition held together both by lines of infl uence and by family-resemblances. Th e consequences for my topic are two-fold. First, there could obviously be something wrong with this intellectual tradition; secondly, the question whether there is something wrong needs to be raised separately with
respect to individual phases or sections of that tradition.

Th ere is a growing feeling that analytic philosophy is in crisis. At the same time there is a widespread and prima facie attractive conception of analytic philosophy which implies that it equates to good philosophy. In recognition of these confl icting tendencies, my paper raises the question of whether anything could be wrong with analytic philosophy. In section 1 I indicate why analytic philosophy cannot be defi ned by reference to geography, topics, doctrines or even methods. Th is leaves open the possibility that analytic philosophy is a style of philosophizing (section 2). According to what I call a rationalist conception, the distinguishing feature of analytic philosophy is that it is guided by the ideal of rational argument. Th is conception implies that ‘analytic philosophy’ is an honorifi c title. In section 3 I point out that the rationalist defi nition yields a diff erent extension for ‘analytic philosophy’ than commonly recognized. Section 4 defends the appeal to ordinary use in debates about the nature of analytic philosophy. Section 5 grants that there is an honorifi c use of the label, while also pointing out that the rationalist-cum-honorifi c conception is at odds with a more wide-spread and entrenched taxonomic practice. Section 6 alleges that the rationalist conception boils down to a ‘persuasive definition’ of analytic philosophy, and argues in favour of a more neutral philosophical taxonomy. Section 7 argues that analytic philosophy is an intellectual tradition held together both by lines of infl uence and by family-resemblances. Th e consequences for my topic are two-fold. First, there could obviously be something wrong with this intellectual tradition; secondly, the question whether there is something wrong needs to be raised separately with
respect to individual phases or sections of that tradition.

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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:2007
Deposited On:14 May 2012 14:37
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:26
Publisher:Rodopi
ISSN:0165-9227
Related URLs:http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/rodopi/gps/2007/00000074/00000001/art00012
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-56239

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