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A Brief History of Analytic Philosophy: From Russell to Rawls

A Brief History of Analytic Philosophy: From Russell to Rawls

Stephen P. Schwartz

ISBN: 978-0-470-67208-2

May 2012

368 pages

In Stock



A Brief History of Analytic Philosophy: From Russell to Rawls presents a comprehensive overview of the historical development of all major aspects of analytic philosophy, the dominant Anglo-American philosophical tradition in the twentieth century. 
  • Features coverage of all the major subject areas and figures in analytic philosophy - including Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russell, G.E. Moore, Gottlob Frege, Carnap, Quine, Davidson, Kripke, Putnam, and many others
  • Contains explanatory background material to help make clear technical philosophical concepts
  • Includes listings of suggested further readings
  • Written in a clear, direct style that presupposes little previous knowledge of philosophy


Preface xi

Introduction: What is Analytic Philosophy? 1

Leading Analytic Philosophers 6

1 Russell and Moore 8

Empiricism, Mathematics, and Symbolic Logic 8

Logicism 12

Russell on Definite Descriptions 20

G. E. Moore's Philosophy of Common Sense 27

Moore and Russell on Sense Data 30

Moore's and Russell's Anti-Hegelianism 33

Summary 38

2 Wittgenstein, the Vienna Circle, and Logical Positivism 46

Introduction 46

Ludwig Wittgenstein and the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus 48

Historical Note: The Vienna Circle and their Allies 58

The Elimination of Metaphysics and the Logical Positivist Program 59

The Demise of the Vienna Circle 68

The Influence of the Logical Positivists 69

3 Responses to Logical Positivism: Quine, Kuhn, and American Pragmatism 76

Introduction 76

The Demise of the Verifiability Criterion of Meaningfulness 78

Quine’s Rejection of the Analytic/Synthetic Distinction 82

Quinean Empiricism without the Dogmas 86

American Pragmatists after Quine: Nelson Goodman, Richard Rorty, and Hilary Putnam 101

4 Oxford Ordinary Language Philosophy and Later Wittgenstein 119

Introduction 119

The Attack on Formalism – Strawson and Ryle 124

Philosophy of Language – Austin and Wittgenstein 128

Philosophy of Mind – Ryle, Strawson, and Wittgenstein 138

The Rejection of Sense Data Theory 147

The Legacy of Ordinary Language Philosophy 153

5 Responses to Ordinary Language Philosophy: Logic, Language, and Mind 160

Part 1: Formal Logic and Philosophy of Language 161

G¨odel and Tarski 161

Davidson 166

Grice 174

Carnap – Meaning and Necessity 178

Chomsky 180

Part 2: Philosophy of Mind 183

Functionalism 183

Objections to Functionalism – Bats and the Chinese Room 188

Anomalous Monism 192

The Problem of Mental Causation 194

6 The Rebirth of Metaphysics 204

Modal Logic 204

Possible Worlds 212

Problems with the Canonical Conception of Possible Worlds 216

Transworld Identity and Identification 223

The Modal Version of the Ontological Argument 229

7 Naming, Necessity, and Natural Kinds: Kripke, Putnam, and Donnellan 239

Introduction 239

The Traditional Theory of Meaning and Reference 240

Kripke's and Donnellan's Criticism of the Traditional Theory: Names and Descriptions 243

Natural Kind Terms 247

Problems for the New Theory of Reference 253

Applications of the New Theory of Reference to the Philosophy of Mind 257

The Social, Cultural, and Institutional Basis of Meaning and Reference 260

8 Ethics and Metaethics in the Analytic Tradition 264

Introduction 264

G. E. Moore's Principia Ethica 266

The Non-Cognitivism of C. L. Stevenson 269

The Universal Prescriptivism of R. M. Hare 272

The Return to Substantive Ethics 275

Questioning the Fact/Value Divide 278

Peter Singer and Animal Liberation 281

John Rawls' Theory of Justice 285

9 Epilogue: Analytic Philosophy Today and Tomorrow 299

Analytic Philosophy since 1980 299

What is the Future of Analytic Philosophy? 321

References 327

Index 337

“Schwartz's book…is, in my estimation, the most useful introduction to the history of analytic philosophy currently available for a general audience.”  (Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 15 December 2012)

“As far removed as I am from my own university studies in the history of philosophy, I found reading the book a bracing refresher of things learned long ago (and sometimes forgotten) and a source of more than a few new insights on familiar controversies.""

(Teaching Philosophy, 1 March 2013)

“Summing Up: Highly recommended.  Lower-and upper-level undergraduates.”  (Choice, 1 December 2012)