• Banno
    27
    Christoph Schuringa has a piece called The never-ending death of analytic philosophy, mentioned in The Philosopher's Zone.

    Schuringa makes a case for analytic philosophy not as beginning with Frege, Moore and Russel, but much later, in 1945. His evidence is sociological, and persuasive. I'll leave it for you to read the details in his article, perhaps just noting mention of the tension between Davidson and Wittgenstein to which I am most drawn.

    Of interest also is the creation by analytic philosophy of "Continental Philosophy", an act that served in the main as an exercise in self-affirmation by expelling the Other.

    Schuringa sees the challenges - or failing - of analytic philosophy as developing from its fained apolitical stance; the challenges come from those ignored political stances; feminism, critical race theory, decolonisation and so on.

    And no, the article is not an obituary.
  • Joshs
    21
    Schuringa sees the challenges - or failing - of analytic philosophy as developing from its fained apolitical stance; the challenges come from those ignored political stances; feminism, critical race theory, decolonisation and so on.Banno

    While he’s at it , he may as well add analytic philosophy’s failure to address in a primordial way values, affectivity and the body.
  • Jack Cummins
    60

    I believe that it was that kind of philosophy which created a negative image of philosophy, even among academics. It has taken the ideas of many other disciplines to bring philosophy back to life, and even now analytic philosophy probably casts a haunting and daunting shadow.
  • Fooloso4
    7
    Another issue he mentions is "the recent growth of historical self-awareness within analytic philosophy".
  • Ciceronianus the White
    40


    Analytic philosophy, like Joe Hill, ain't dead, and like rock 'n roll, it will never die, as long as it's considered to be a method or collection of methods by which the detritus of philosophy is cleared. Those methods may be usefully addressed to such as feminism or critical race theory, but I don't see why it must take them onboard in order to survive or flourish.
  • frank
    10
    Is philosophy like a magic closet that keeps filling up with detritus?

    Instead of diligently cleaning it for the rest of eternity, why not just throw a few grenades in it?
  • StreetlightX
    58
    Schuringa sees the challenges - or failing - of analytic philosophy as developing from its fained apolitical stance; the challenges come from those ignored political stances; feminism, critical race theory, decolonisation and so on.Banno

    I think what is called analytic philosophy thrives because it ignores these issues. Or at least, when it does deign to treat them, it does so in such a sanitized way that it may as well be altogether useless. The inoffensiveness of analytic philosophy when it comes to anything political is what makes it palatable to institutional power. So Schuringa has a point but the conclusion to draw is the exact opposite - APs 'never ending death' will be prolonged so long as it does not substantively address these issues.

    The article I linked deals primarily with Miranda Fricker's Epistemic Injustice (a supposedly premier piece of 'analytic feminism', here critiqued by Alice Cracy, a first-rate Wittgenstein scholar) but these kinds of issues were practically identical to the ones surrounding Rawls' Theory of Justice - a similarly defanged piece of liberal feel good sanctimony - nearly 50 years ago. I have no expectation that AP will ever change on this score. Its political inanity is a feature, not a bug.
  • Wayfarer
    21
    . And yet analytic philosophy somehow seems to continue to be with us as the dominant force in academic philosophy. — Christoph Schuringa

    It is hard to see what other form could subsist in the English-speaking academies. Actual philosophy would be too antagonistic to their major patrons, technology and industry. That's probably why arts faculties and religious studies are on the chopping block all over the world.

    Crucially, however, it is analytic philosophers who are the originators of the label ‘continental philosophy’, to designate an out-group to their in-group. — Christoph Schuringa

    Things came to a head in 1958, at Royaumont in France. A conference had been held here to connect a group of continental philosophers (mostly French phenomenologists) and their Oxford counterparts, with the aim of bridging the gap between their two schools. But, as if determined instead to reinforce it, Ryle gave a paper called “Phenomenology versus ‘The Concept of Mind,’” the latter being the title of his most famous book. That “versus” captured his pugnacious mood. In this paper, Ryle outlined what he regarded as the superiority of British (“Anglo-Saxon,” as he put it) analytic philosophers over their continental counterparts, and dismissed Husserl’s phenomenology as an attempt to “puff philosophy up into the Science of the sciences.” British philosophers were not tempted to such delusions of grandeur, he suggested, because of the Oxbridge rituals of High Table: “I guess that our thinkers have been immunised against the idea of philosophy as the Mistress Science by the fact that their daily lives in Cambridge and Oxford colleges have kept them in personal contact with real scientists."Ray Monk

    There is a dangerous childlikeness in its insistence that anyone can come and argue, and everything will be considered from scratch, treating everyone as equals.

    It's like saying anyone can sell razors in a supermarket.

    [Analytic philosophy] will need to open itself to immersion in cultural, social and political reality. — Christoph Schuringa

    There [is] a massive failure by American universities to address the spiritual cravings of the post-sixties period. The present cultural landscape is bleak: mainline religions torn between their liberal and conservative wings; a snobbishly secular intelligentsia; an alternately cynical or naively credulous media; and a mass of neo-pagan cults and superstitions seething beneath the surface.

    The religious impulse of the sixties must be rescued from the wreckage and redeemed. The exposure to Hinduism and Buddhism that my generation had to get haphazardly from contemporary literature and music should be formalized and standardized for basic education. What students need to negotiate their way through the New Age fog is scholarly knowledge of ancient and medieval history, from early pagan nature cults through the embattled consolidation of Christian theology. Teaching religion as culture rather than as morality also gives students the intellectual freedom to find the ethical principles at the heart of every religion.
    Camille Paglia
  • Olivier5
    9
    It's never been entirely alive, the way I see it, more like a half-dead zombie philosophy, by virtue of what analysis is. It's about cutting ideas into small pieces to study them one by one. The process is bound to kill those ideas. You can cut a zebra into pieces to study it too, but the zebra often ends up dead.
  • Cuthbert
    2
    Too much dialogue of the deaf signalled in that article. Analytic philosophy: "You must think like us because that is what 'thinking' is". Critical race theory, feminism: "You must think like us because otherwise you are silencing us." How about - "We could listen to you and learn something and who knows even vice versa." I don't know what life is like on the battleground of universities but if it's as described in the article I am glad I only sell sea shells on the sea shore for a living.
  • Olivier5
    9
    I guess that our thinkers have been immunised against the idea of philosophy as the Mistress Science by the fact that their daily lives in Cambridge and Oxford colleges have kept them in personal contact with real scientists.Gilbert Ryle as quoted by Ray Monk
    Perhaps they just lacked imagination, constrained as they were in a narrowly insular mentality. The quote above is saying in essence: "Our thinkers are better than your thinkers." But don't thoughts travel across borders? :-)
  • Amity
    9
    Christoph Schuringa has a piece called The never-ending death of analytic philosophy, mentioned in The Philosopher's Zone.Banno

    What a refreshing and welcome introduction to a new place-to-go for accessible philosophy.
    Thanks for providing links to both text and audio versions.

    I'll leave it for you to read the details in his article, perhaps just noting mention of the tension between Davidson and Wittgenstein to which I am most drawn.Banno

    Unfortunately, reading and responding to the details of an article is something that I don't always give time to. Or if I do and it stimulates thought in any way, then any TPF discussion moves on at pace and I feel I have lost a window of opportunity...
    It seems I need more time to think than most commentators here.
    For example:
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/11175/philosophical-plumbing-mary-midgley/p1

    I felt it worthy of a deeper analysis than my usual. I refreshed my memory as to how to read a philosophical text. How to analyse a philosophical essay. Then I read and took notes.
    With other mundane and special activities to tend to - in lovely warm, summer weather - this took a couple of days. By this time - although I had reached a better understanding of Midgley's approach, views and arguments - I began to wonder if it was worthwhile entering my thoughts into the records of TPF.

    Still, it made me appreciate the analytical skills I had previously learned and forgotten.
    If you don't use it, you lose it, huh ?

    So, without giving this too much time and effort, here are a few thoughts re some paragraphs:

    ...On the other hand, so the thought continues, there is still a distinctive style in philosophy that can be aptly called ‘analytic’ (characterized, perhaps, by clarity of argumentation in its self-presentation and by openness to vigorous, non-hierarchical debate)...

    ...Analytic philosophy may seem more diffident today, and more sensitive to the other. It is true that a recent growth of historical self-awareness within analytic philosophy, and the growth of the history of analytic philosophy as a subdiscipline, have helped make it more self-questioning. This development reflects a remarkable overcoming of analytic philosophy’s previously staunchly ahistorical self-conception, which had tended to keep its past buried and hidden from view.
    Christoph Schuringa

    It seems to be characterised as a 'distinctive style' all the better to clarify argumentation by being open to 'vigorous, non-hierarchical debate'. Hmm.
    I think it more a rigorous method - as per @Ciceronianus the White: https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/554632
    But perhaps there is not that much difference...

    I am not convinced that about the lack of hierarchy, given that it is mentioned as 'the dominant force in academic philosophy'.

    As per @Fooloso4 : https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/554523
    The self-questioning issue is due to an increasing awareness of other aspects and ways of using philosophy. To take account of social changes, as you say:
    His evidence is sociological, and persuasive.Banno

    Perhaps, this means a broadening out from its arguably narrow academic hierarchical 'home'.
    To be more inclusive and less divisive, even within its own ranks. *
    The skills of analysis and critical thinking can be started in early education, for all.

    *
    Nagel had been trained in the United States, and the articles are effectively a travel diary of a year in which he tried to meet representatives of various kinds of what he identified as ‘analytic philosophy’ in Europe (including Britain). Nagel’s four big categories...

    ...What Nagel further draws our attention to is that the approaches he groups together were not always friendly to each other.
    Christoph Schuringa

    And then, further divisions and antagonisms developed:

    Of interest also is the creation by analytic philosophy of "Continental Philosophy", an act that served in the main as an exercise in self-affirmation by expelling the Other.Banno

    I remember - a long time ago - trying to figure out what position, if any, I had re analytic v continental philosophy.
    The picture that has stayed with me is that of both sides shooting from their bows.
    Me running under an archway of arrows...

    It is similar to how I feel about the continual atheism v theism arguments and the way they seem to pervade any thread about any topic...

    Those methods may be usefully addressed to such as feminism or critical race theory, but I don't see why it must take them onboard in order to survive or flourish.Ciceronianus the White

    There is no compulsion to take current issues on board in order to survive.
    However, I think the necessary self-questioning aspect of relevance is a good way forward, don't you think ? Thoughts travel...
  • Amity
    9
    But don't thoughts travel across borders? :-)Olivier5

    Wow. Just what I was thinking. Our posts crossed :cool:
  • Amity
    9
    How about - "We could listen to you and learn something and who knows even vice versa."Cuthbert

    Indeed.
  • Olivier5
    9
    Hi Amity, always a pleasure to share with you. :-)

    Guess I should return to the deep songs page.
  • Amity
    9

    Moi aussi :cool:
  • Wayfarer
    21
    Perhaps they just lacked imagination, constrained as they were in a narrowly insular mentality. The quote above is saying in essence: "Our thinkers are better than your thinkers." But don't thoughts travel across borders?Olivier5

    That’s why I posted a cross-link to that particular article. It’s an article about how the untimely death of R G Collingwood - a sensitive soul, philosopher, sailor, music-lover - created an opening for Gilbert Ryle, described in the article as the ‘generalissimo of English philosophy’. ‘No ear for a tune’. Tough-minded, hard talking, none of this lily-livered idealism nonsense! And, according to the article, immensely influential on post-war philosophy in Britain and therefore globally.

    Screenshot-2019-09-03-at-15.39.30.png
    Don’t he just look so much the part?
  • Olivier5
    9
    Careful here. Collingwood did contribute his "2 cents"; Popper and Whitehead too, to mention only two other non-analytic philosophers. The fact that analytic philosophers dominated academic philosophy in the British isles during the 20th century cannot be explained (in my view) by the untimely death of any one philosopher. There was something deeper, more structural than that at play, a sort of escapism from the difficult questions into mere word play, e.g. "is there something Mary thinks about when she thinks about something?".

    This is the kind of question a salaried philosopher can safely indulge in without ruining his career. My idea is that the academic environment in Oxford incentivised such small, safe, boring analytics over more fundamental and risky questioning.

    It's another way to defang our good friend Sophia: make her a bureaucrat.
  • Moliere
    43
    The creation of analytic/continental philosophy as a historical category definitely escaped me -- I basically had the standard history in my head before reading this, though I would use that history to attempt to demonstrate that there is not a meaningful distinction if the topic happened to come up. This is definitely a new take on that!

    I would still say I agree with him, though -- that there should be something driving a philosophy, be it political or moral or something, that isn't just "pure inquiry", given the inability to step out of our political lives. And I would encourage a reorientation to such an approach -- it seems to me that many would see this as giving up on some kind of ideal of the philosopher. But the best philosophers in history were those engaging in contemporary issues. Even Kant had contemporary issues in mind while writing what appears to be a Pure Critical Inquiry that seems entirely a-political.



    I wonder how Heidegger fairs, on this account? :D

    I guess there is something of this idealization of the philosopher in my own mind, still, since I do enjoy Heidegger even though I find myself nodding along to this article.
  • Wayfarer
    21
    The fact that analytic philosophers dominated academic philosophy in the British isles during the 20th century cannot be explained (in my view) by the untimely death of any one philosopher.Olivier5

    Yes, you're probably right, but I think Ryle's tenure has particular significance even if only as a representative of that kind of dry British positivism.

    It's another way to defang out good friend Sophia: make her a bureaucrat.Olivier5

    That's one for the ages.
  • Olivier5
    9
    dry British positivismWayfarer

    AP is less of a school of thought with its own tenets than a manner of thought in my view, if not a mannerism i.e. a style that progressively turned into meaningless flourish.

    It's another way to defang our good friend Sophia: make her a bureaucrat.
    — Olivier5

    That's one for the ages.
    Wayfarer

    If you say so... :blush:
  • Ciceronianus the White
    40
    Instead of diligently cleaning it for the rest of eternity, why not just throw a few grenades in it?frank

    I think that's been tried, at least as to certain aspects of philosophy; metaphysics, for example. And yet it keeps reappearing in various guises--like a demon that refuses to be exorcised. Analytic philosophy (to mix metaphors) is therefore similar to a mallet which may be used in a game of Whac-A-Mole, the moles being replaced by specific philosophers or philosophical theories, satisfyingly wacked by those seeking clarity and rigor in philosophy and eschewing obscurity.

    But the moles keep popping up until the game is over.

    Again, I view analytic philosophy as a method--a tonic and roborative, perhaps even a purgative. It shouldn't pretend to be anything else, I think. It's not the end of philosophy, it's a way of addressing problems.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    40
    There is no compulsion to take current issues on board in order to survive.
    However, I think the necessary self-questioning aspect of relevance is a good way forward, don't you think ? Thoughts travel...
    Amity

    The only formal education I had in philosophy was devoted to the study of Analytic Philosophy, Ordinary Language Philosophy, and (through a particular professor) Deweyian Pragmatism.

    Dewey, unlike the other philosophers I studied, was deeply concerned with social issues. However, he was similar to them (I think) in his emphasis on the consideration and application of a method of addressing and resolving problems he called "inquiry." "Inquiry" is broad enough, I think, to include the methods employed by AP and OLP in addressing traditional philosophical questions. But Dewey felt inquiry should be applied not merely to philosophical issues but current social issues as well.

    So, I have no problem with philosophy addressing social issues.
  • Amity
    9

    "Inquiry" is broad enough, I think, to include the methods employed by AP and OLP in addressing traditional philosophical questions. But Dewey felt inquiry should be applied not merely to philosophical issues but current social issues as well.

    So, I have no problem with philosophy addressing social issues.
    Ciceronianus the White

    'Inquiry' is certainly a broad enough term to include practically anything.
    Careful ways of reading, listening and questioning might be seen as obvious and necessary skills if we are to progress from the sometimes narrow and seemingly irrelevant to a broader holistic understanding.

    But that's easier said than done...

    Dewey I keep meaning to read...but...what is putting me off...I don't know.
    Perhaps I need help to put my finger on that particular pulse ?
    Any advice welcome, especially any of his analyses regarding social issues, thanks.
  • Fooloso4
    7
    Analytic philosophy: "You must think like us because that is what 'thinking' is".Cuthbert

    The study of animal thought has long been thwarted by such narrow mindedness.
  • Fooloso4
    7
    I remember - a long time ago - trying to figure out what position, if any, I had re analytic v continental philosophy.Amity

    My approach is the read those philosophers who interest me.
  • frank
    10
    But the moles keep popping up until the game is over.Ciceronianus the White

    What is the cause of this? Too much leisure time?
  • Olivier5
    9
    I remember - a long time ago - trying to figure out what position, if any, I had re analytic v continental philosophy.
    — Amity

    My approach is the read those philosophers who interest me.
    Fooloso4

    Why yes. Sometimes though, one encounters the phenomenon of schism: imagine you like two philosophers, and in studying them you happen to read a virulent critique of one by the other and vice versa. Sometimes I ask myself in these cases: how to position myself in this dispute, even if only in my own mind? Do I need to? Is the debate meaningful or is it hiding more than it's showing (personal feuds)? Other times, you hate one philosopher and love another, and you find a glowing review of one by the other... These things are a bit destabilizing, in a good way I think. They break the silos, the churches.
  • Fooloso4
    7


    Sometimes I will side with whoever is more persuasive. Other times I leave it open, seeing no way to reach a satisfactory conclusion one way or the other.

    When I like one and not another and one gives a glowing review then I look to see what what I might have missed or what the reviewer might have missed.
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