• Ciceronianus
    1.9k
    What is the cause of this? Too much leisure time?frank

    That would be a factor. Another would be self-love (the belief in one's own importance, and the resulting search for a justification or explanation for one's existence). Related to that would be the need to minimize the significance of ordinary, day-to-day life by positing the existence of some more satisfying reality behind it or transcendent of it. Also the "quest for certainty," based on, I suppose, fear of a world of probabilities and change. The disappointment of those brought up in the Christian faith when they find it to be incredible. That enough?
  • Ciceronianus
    1.9k
    'Inquiry' is certainly a broad enough term to include practically anything.Amity

    According to Dewey, "the controlled or directed transformation of an indeterminate situation into one that is so determinate in its constituent distinctions and relations as to convert the elements of the original situation into a unified whole" though use of reason, experimental method, logic, etc., instead of, e.g., divination, prayer, consulting authority, luck, etc.
  • Amity
    2.1k
    According to Dewey, "the controlled or directed transformation of an indeterminate situation into one that is so determinate in its constituent distinctions and relations as to convert the elements of the original situation into a unified whole"Ciceronianus the White

    Well. What can I say.
    Apart from: "that quote does not exactly set my juices flowing".
    So, unless you can tell me what he means...offer any seductive examples...I'll leave him there, I think.

    through use of reason, experimental method, logic, etc., instead of, e.g., divination, prayer, consulting authority, luck, etc.Ciceronianus the White

    I did 'get' that but, again, some examples would help, ta.
  • frank
    8.6k
    That would be a factor. Another would be self-love (the belief in one's own importance, and the resulting search for a justification or explanation for one's existence). Related to that would be the need to minimize the significance of ordinary, day-to-day life by positing the existence of some more satisfying reality behind it or transcendent of it. Also the "quest for certainty," based on, I suppose, fear of a world of probabilities and change. The disappointment of those brought up in the Christian faith when they find it to be incredible. That enough?Ciceronianus the White

    I don't think analytical philosophy would interfere with any of this. I mean, "there's a god" is true IFF there's a god.

    What am I missing?
  • TheMadFool
    12k
    The death of analytic philosophy has been announced many times — Christoph Schuringa

    Sextus Empiricus' death paradox vis-à-vis Socrates! Funny, how ideas can die multiple times, meaning if given the opportunity they come back to life.

    On the other hand, so the thought continues [...] — Christoph Schuringa

    Exactly!

    It also displaces a standard narrative about analytic philosophy, in which its founding act is the so-called ‘linguistic turn’, through which the problem of meaning was made central to philosophy. — Christoph Schuringa

    Sextus Empiricus' death paradox begins to take on a greater relevance. Socrates, founding father of Western philosophy, was primarily concerned with meaning. What is piety? What is justice?

    Lacking distinctive doctrines or aims, it was no longer really in contest with other approaches: it was really just careful, clever thinking. — Christoph Schuringa

    Dialectics, the so-called Socratic method, essentially a process that consists of asking the right questions to expose a rather troubling truth viz. philosophy suffers from a chronic condition, that of poor/bad definitions.


    Why analytic philosophy resurrects each time it's executed by its opponents (?) is because the "...just careful, clever thinking" that defines it is too general a quality - every other philosophy must also be "...just careful, clever thinking." Too, that it shares its identity with Socrates' philosophical method ensures that it'll never die, not any time soon at least; at any rate, philosophy only begins after one has defined one's terms.
  • ssu
    4.6k
    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.Ciceronianus the White
    Great answer.

    Schuringa seems more like a name dropper who is saying "I know my analytic philosophy" and to the amateur interested in philosophy (me, that is) his basic message is vague. If there really is a message, it perhaps looks like to be this:

    In today’s world, analytic philosophy faces a range of new challenges. It has heard the call of feminism, of critical race theory, and of the movement to decolonize the curriculum, and it is actively in the business of trying to heed these calls. Academic philosophy faces a particularly acute inclusivity problem, even by the standards of the academy: representation of women and of non-whites in the profession is shockingly poor.

    Why are these a "challenge" to analytic philosophy seems strange. It is far more an issue to "Academic Philosophy" and generally to the educational departments in the Academia than a particular school of philosophy. They, the departments and institutions, have to cope with the demands from various entities. That many philosophy departments are openly "analytic" doesn't mean that the school of thought is the one that has to change.

    Similarly, would you ask how the "Continental Philosophy" has to cope with decolonization of the curriculum etc? Or is "Continental Philosophy" close enough to critical race theory to adapt it as part of itself or what? Or are they part of it? Basically the division of philosophy to "Analytical Philosophy" and "Continental Philosophy" doesn't work all the time.

    Yet Schuringa goes on with this entity "Analytic Philosophy" and what it ought to do and cannot do or has problems with doing:

    there are specific reasons why analytic philosophy is peculiarly underequipped to meet these challenges. Although it places emphasis on open and non-hierarchical debate, it conceives of such debate within a problematic framework. In line with the apolitical profile it gave itself in the years following World War II, analytic philosophy tends to conceive debate on the liberal model of a ‘marketplace of ideas’. This is unsurprising, since the ‘apolitical’ are, just by virtue of sealing themselves off from political engagement, particularly susceptible to unwittingly falling into line with the prevailing ideology and its structures.
    Or perhaps Analytic Philosophy is interested in Philosophy, not politics, and that's the reason why it is apolitical, which Schuringa sees so problematical?

    At least an amateur philosopher like me is confused how and why a School of Philosophy like "Analytic Philosophy" should have an answer (opinion? theory?) about decolonization of the curriculum, critical race theory, etc.
  • Ciceronianus
    1.9k
    Or perhaps Analytic Philosophy is interested in Philosophy, not politics, and that's the reason why it is apolitical, which Schuringa sees so problematical?ssu

    Happily, I know little of what goes on in the academic world. When I was taught philosophy, what I read and what was discussed had little to do with political or social issues, and much to do with traditional philosophical issues in metaphysics and epistemology, and ethics, somewhat, but primarily with the language used in ethical statements. Professors had their views on politics, but those I encountered who taught philosophy made no claims of special knowledge or insight regarding social issues, nor did I expect them to do so. I didn't expect them to have any special knowledge or insight either. Maybe it's different now. Maybe there's an expectation that professors should expound on politics, society and culture, and Schuringa thinks they should. Everyone else does, unfortunately. Unless they actually have special knowledge or insight, though, I hope they don't, as in that case it's not clear to me they contribute any more to resolution of problems than do the many, many pundits we can find anywhere in the media or the Internet.
  • Ciceronianus
    1.9k


    Dewey certainly isn't a scintillating writer.

    His definition of "inquiry" is very broad, I think, because it's intended to apply to problems or concerns whether they be mundane or trivial or highly significant. He believed we only think when we encounter problems we wish to solve or circumstances we wish to change. Otherwise, we act merely by instinct or habit or react without thought. Because the definition is to apply to any problematic situation, it's difficult to specify a particular instance in which it would especially apply.

    Let's say we need to buy a car because the one we have no longer works. There are various factors to be considered in deciding which car to buy, e.g. the cost, what we have available to use to make payment of the purchase price, what we use a car for, primarily (distance driving or local driving, off-road driving, etc.) the climate in which we live, the size of our families, the color of the vehicle, safety features, the list goes on. What's the best decision will depend on how we weigh and assess the various factors of concern to us and determine their priority or significance.

    Now say we want to go to the moon, or build a house, or travel from point A to B, or are trying to avoid a confrontation with another person, or want to fire an employee, or decide who to vote for, or when water boils, or whether we're a brain in a vat. What is the most efficient and effective means by which we resolve the questions/problems presented? That's the process of inquiry, I believe.
  • Ciceronianus
    1.9k
    I don't think analytical philosophy would interfere with any of this. I mean, "there's a god" is true IFF there's a god.

    What am I missing?
    frank

    I think analytic philosophy would not so much interfere with the musings, if we can call them that, which result from these characteristics and concerns, as it would analyze them, and find them to be lacking if they're intended to be anything more than evocative. If you're looking for an example of the approach of a form of analytic philosophy to the kind of musings which might result, the one that comes most easily to my mind is found in Carnap's article THE ELIMINATION OF METAPHYSICS THROUGH LOGICAL ANALYSIS OF LANGUAGE, which you can find here:

    http://www.ditext.com/carnap/elimination.html

    I refer especially to his analysis of the statements made by everyone's favorite Nazi, Heidegger, in his musings on metaphysics.

    I think this is an example of one of the methods employed by analytic philosophy, which I would view as including the logical positivism of some of the members of the Vienna Circle.
  • frank
    8.6k


    Ahh. I love Heidegger's essay on metaphysics. It's like Jimi Hendrix.
  • ssu
    4.6k
    Happily, I know little of what goes on in the academic world. When I was taught philosophy, what I read and what was discussed had little to do with political or social issues, and much to do with traditional philosophical issues in metaphysics and epistemology, and ethics, somewhat, but primarily with the language used in ethical statements. Professors had their views on politics, but those I encountered who taught philosophy made no claims of special knowledge or insight regarding social issues, nor did I expect them to do so. I didn't expect them to have any special knowledge or insight either. Maybe it's different now.Ciceronianus the White
    Or maybe not.

    The perception that we have (those who are outside the university and it's campuses) is based on various narratives picked up in the public debate and in the media. Perhaps too much emphasis is given to things like "student activity", demonstrations and political campaigns. The public narrative typically is based around certain individual events, which may hide the actual normality behind everything. Likely a far bigger change has been the corona-pandemic restrictions now, which has abolished one very important part of the university: meeting other students and enjoying a crucial part of their young adulthood. Those that were first year students had really a bad timing in their life.

    Just to give an example, the topic is like the question "How has the military changed in the decades after the Cold War?" There too the pitfall is to follow a narrative given by someone who has a specific agenda in mind. The changes might look to be great, but with a more carefully observation the changes might be far more subtle.

    In the end the academic world is part of the society and societal changes do have naturally an effect on it. We might exaggerate the changes and not take into consideration just how similar the institution still is: I think it still is a place of learning. How many were "Hippies" in the 60s and how many are the "Woke" now? Likely the vast majority of students are quite similar. I remember what my great-great-aunt told me about her studies in the university.

    "The Student Body of the University held an impromptu celebration at the Student's House in honor of Finland having declared it's independence. She didn't stay at the party for long as she had reading to do for her upcoming exams."

    Perhaps reading the books for exams still is in the epicenter. And for the academic professionals, it's still publishing and getting money for future research.
  • Ciceronianus
    1.9k
    Ahh. I love Heidegger's essay on metaphysics. It's like Jimi Hendrix.frank

    He certainly was adept at creating a haze, if not a purple one.
  • frank
    8.6k

    Eh. Some people's eyes glaze over at Davidson, so there's plenty of that.
  • Snakes Alive
    720
    I've read quite a bit of analytic philosophy, as well as some about its history.

    My own view of the matter is that 'analytic philosophy' ended around 1979 or so, with its last major work being Rorty's Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. It ended not because it was criticized or replaced – and the latter work is well within the tradition, just at its tail-end, rather than a repudiation of it – but rather because a new generation of philosophers simply replaced the old. There were some people, like say Dummett or Evans, that sort of continued the tradition after that point, but they're remnants lost in the general swarm of change that happened after that.

    The philosophy that has taken place in the Anglo world after 1979 doesn't bear much resemblance to what came before it. I don't know what to call it, but the continuation of the name is fairly superficial. I would say it's a kind of Anglo neo-scholasticism, that represents the intellectual concerns and political interests of the dominant Anglosphere. It doesn't have any interesting central project, or even really a central aesthetic beyond over-professionalization, but all of it reflects the political and social views of its practitioners.

    The article makes the common historicist mistake of assuming that something came into existence when people self-consciously began referring to it as a genre or collecting the works of that genre. But that's nonsense; by that criterion, Tolkien is not fantasy. The real story of analytic philosophy's birth is the fairly boring mainstream one – though you could push its impulses back to, say, George Boole if you like, and find ancient precursors in some Greek stuff.

    I've actually spent some time just looking through old journals, month by month – the collections of analytic papers the author alludes to reflect a pre-existing sociological reality, rather than creating it.
  • Amity
    2.1k

    Dewey certainly isn't a scintillating writer.Ciceronianus the White
    For sure. It is easier to read what others have written about him and his philosophy.

    What's the best decision will depend on how we weigh and assess the various factors of concern to us and determine their priority or significance.Ciceronianus the White

    Decision-making by way of cost-benefit analysis is fine up to a point. We can only do our best given our current knowledge and circumstances. How to factor in the 'unknowns'...and filter out our own bias or attitudes. It seems that one way for Dewey is not just through calculation but through education and collaboration. A mix of theory and practice with feedback.

    What is the most efficient and effective means by which we resolve the questions/problems presented? That's the process of inquiry, I believe.Ciceronianus the White

    I read about Dewey's 5 stage process: Problem Recognition, Information Search, Alternative Evaluation, Choice, and Outcomes. It seems similar to a process in health care.
    Assessment - gather information about presenting problem(s), needs, wishes.
    Diagnosis - identifying and prioritising problem.
    Planning - involving holistic, interdisciplinary team and individual to set goals and identify best action.
    Implementation - actions and treatment carried out by relevant parties.
    Evaluation - determining whether outcomes have been reached.
    And then repeat as necessary...

    This isn't purely an analytical medical enterprise but in an ideal world involves the individual, the self and family. Enabling them to adapt and involves coping with emotions - the health professional too.
    I think Dewey encompasses this and more. As per:

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/dewey/#toc

    ...human thinking is not a phenomenon which is radically outside of (or external to) the world it seeks to know; knowing is not a purely rational attempt to escape illusion in order to discover what is ultimately “real” or “true”. Rather, human knowing is among the ways organisms with evolved capacities for thought and language cope with problems. Minds, then, are not passively observing the world; rather, they are actively adapting, experimenting, and innovating; ideas and theories are not rational fulcrums to get us beyond culture, but rather function experimentally within culture and are evaluated on situated, pragmatic bases. Knowing is not the mortal’s exercise of a “divine spark”, either; for while knowing (or inquiry, to use Dewey’s term) includes calculative or rational elements, it is ultimately informed by the body and emotions of the animal using it to cope...

    He spoke on topics of broad moral significance, such as human freedom, economic alienation, race relations, women’s suffrage, war and peace, human freedom, and educational goals and methods. Typically, discoveries made via public inquiries were integrated back into his academic theories, and aided their revision. This practice-theory-practice rhythm powered every area of Dewey’s intellectual enterprise,
    SEP article: John Dewey

    How could we at TPF learn from Dewey ? Would it be as exciting and stimulating ? Does it sound boring to be peaceful ? He thought it worthwhile to problem-solve in a peaceful way via group process of discussion and debate. But philosophy, as learned and practised...how effective is it ?

    Dewey in the 21st Century
    https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1158258.pdf
    Dewey’s beliefs about democracy, community, and problem solving, guided the development of his social and educational philosophies. John Dewey may have been the most well-known and influential philosopher to impact education to date (Theobald, 2009).
    John Dewey was a pragmatist, progressivist, educator, philosopher, and social reformer.
    He felt strongly that people have a responsibility to make the world a better place to live through education and social reform (Gutek, 2014). According to Schiro (2012), Dewey believed that education was “a crucial ingredient in social and moral development” (p. 174).
    12 page pdf - Dewey in the 21st Century

    Page 9 - discusses philosophy for children (P4C). Interesting. Listen up. We might learn something ?

    Students learn and take on appropriate social behavior by becoming engaged and reflective listeners, who respect and challenge the different opinions of their peers (Hopkinson, 2007). This is a skill that is certainly crucial to the goal of appropriate social learning in ideal classrooms as presented by John Dewey.

    We can challenge opposing points of view and still keep an attitude of respect, can't we ?
    Or are certain negative behaviours an ongoing problem with anonymous internet chat...
    But which, nevertheless, we can still learn from...

    It's all good. This 'Inquiry' business, innit ?
  • Ciceronianus
    1.9k
    For sure. It is easier to read what others have written about him and his philosophy.Amity

    That's true, unfortunately. I'd recommend Larry Hickman's books about Dewey.

    I'm not sure just what it is about Dewey's writing that makes him difficult to read. It's not that he's obscure or because he uses a special jargon, but his style seems awkward. He can be tedious, but is worth the effort, I think.

    We can only do our best given our current knowledge and circumstances. How to factor in the 'unknowns'...and filter out our own bias or attitudes. It seems that one way for Dewey is not just through calculation but through education and collaboration. A mix of theory and practice with feedback.Amity

    I think Dewey would say that the process of inquiry educates us. We learn new things as part of the process of thinking. So, he thinks conclusions are, at least in theory, subject to correction, modification or rejection as we learn more, have new experiences and discover new or more evidence.
    This troubles some people. His view of ethics has been disturbing to some because he doesn't identify a definite summum bonum, for example. So, in ethics and otherwise, he's accused of relativism. I think that accusation is unfounded because of his emphasis on the method of thinking to be used to make conclusions.

    It's all good. This 'Inquiry' business, innit ?Amity

    I think it's the best we can do.
  • Amity
    2.1k
    I'd recommend Larry Hickman's books about Dewey.Ciceronianus the White

    Thanks for recommendation.
    I searched for books after reading his impressive lecture on Dewey:
    https://www.ikedacenter.org/thinkers-themes/thinkers/lectures-talks/hickman-lecture

    It includes criticisms of Dewey. Mind-boggling that some thought his ideas to blame for the shooting at Columbine High School !

    In 1999, for example, shortly after the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, the vice-president of a suburban Chicago school board complained in print that Dewey's ideas had been responsible for that tragic event...
    Dewey's philosophy of education has dominated the field of learning. We are now paying the price." He then charged that "the seemingly mindless slaughter at Littleton was the acting out of the pragmatic view. If it works, if it feels good, do it. They did."
    Larry Hickman

    Most books I saw were quite expensive. However, have just downloaded this for £0.00 !
    Pragmatism as Post-Postmodernism: Lessons from John Dewey (American Philosophy) 1st Edition, Kindle Edition

    So, he thinks conclusions are, at least in theory, subject to correction, modification or rejection as we learn more, have new experiences and discover new or more evidence. This troubles some people.Ciceronianus the White

    Yes. But for others, it is dynamic and necessary to be flexible and adapt to change, or be the change.

    Another article by Hickman:
    In Dewey's view, then, learning is much more than simply a preparation for living. It is a process of living whose goal is the growth of individuals and institutions in ways that will allow them to participate fully in a life that is free and democratic....

    If our effort is to be intelligent, it must negotiate a creative compromise between the actual and the ideal. Where there is enthusiasm for such activities, where there is a “unity of all ideal ends arousing us to desire and actions,” said Dewey, there is religious experience...
    Working together, he argued, science and religion can establish platforms on which we can build a common faith, a faith for all humankind...
    Hickman on Dewey

    What ? Religious experience...Buddhism ? The message of 'Peace, Learning and Dialogue' from the founder of the website https://www.ikedacenter.org/ who is described as Buddhist philosopher, peacebuilder, and educator Daisaku Ikeda.

    Not sure about this dimension...
  • Ciceronianus
    1.9k
    Mind-boggling that some thought his ideas to blame for the shooting at Columbine High School !Amity

    Right-wingers have believed Dewey destroyed the educational system for quite some time, and that as a consequence our youth are not being taught Truth,Justice and the American Way as in the good old days.
  • Moliere
    1.8k
    My own view of the matter is that 'analytic philosophy' ended around 1979 or so, with its last major work being Rorty's Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. It ended not because it was criticized or replaced – and the latter work is well within the tradition, just at its tail-end, rather than a repudiation of it – but rather because a new generation of philosophers simply replaced the old. There were some people, like say Dummett or Evans, that sort of continued the tradition after that point, but they're remnants lost in the general swarm of change that happened after that.Snakes Alive

    What, in your view, unites the standard story up to Rorty's Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature?
  • Snakes Alive
    720
    Roughly, it begins with things philosophers say as its data, rather than questions presented by the wider tradition. Its focus is on creating technologies to explicate what is said, whether formal calculi like mathematical logic, or metasemantic heuristics, like ordinary language analysis or the positivist criteria. Its first observation is that someone has claimed something, and its typical concern is with what one could possibly be doing by having said that.

    There's more to it than that, and the techniques bear a family resemblance, but that's the gist of it.
  • Banno
    14.3k
    But is that a bad thing? Analytic philosophy marked the end of speculative philosophy; the demise of making shite up. Instead of philosophical bullshit, we might have had a more solid base for social theory. It now seems that making shite up is returning. I will maintain that the tools developed by analytic philosophers are quite suitable for cleaning up bullshit.
  • Banno
    14.3k
    Actual philosophy...Wayfarer

    ...as done by actual Scotsmen?

    Advocating a return to making stuff up. Perhaps a valid point.
  • Banno
    14.3k
    There's a second episode looking at the hegemony of analytic philosophy in American journals. I wasn't very impressed by it; special pleading, in the main. The analytic toolkit was developed in order to dismantle Hegelian Idealism and its bastard children. It proved more far-reaching. Now folk are complaining that there is nothing left, as if that were not a good thing.

    There are unanswerable questions. Analytic philosophy helps us to recognise that.

    But professional philosophers cannot make money by pointing out the uselessness f philosophical speculation. So it's an economic necessity that they reject analytic philosophy.

    Hence the return to making shite up.
  • Fooloso4
    2.6k
    But professional philosophers cannot make money ...Banno

    I have noticed the attempt to move philosophy from the world of academia where jobs are scarce to public forums. Seems to me to be more that a bit of pandering involved.

    I don't know that this divides along the lines of analytical versus other approaches though.
  • Banno
    14.3k
    The only division is between analytic philosophy and bad philosophy. :wink:
  • StreetlightX
    7.5k
    Analytic philosophy marked the end of speculative philosophy; the demise of making shite up.Banno

    Oh sweet summer child. There are none more deluded than those who think their chosen camping spot in philosophy is not just shite made up. Probably the biggest piece of made up shite of all it.
  • Banno
    14.3k
    Obviously. Trite.
  • StreetlightX
    7.5k
    Then we are agree that the idea that the idea that 'analytic philosophy might provide a more solid basis for social theory' on the basis of the fantasy that it does not make shite up (lol) is just a fantasy? Especially given that 'social theory' in AP is more or less utterly toothless and has been since its inception?
  • Banno
    14.3k
    You seem to be off to one side...

    Perhaps the reason analytic philosophy is unhelpful is that philosophy is unhelpful.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.