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Monday
Jan202014

On The Club's Meaning of "Analytic Philosophy"

... found this company statement to be, well, a company statement:
http://www.iep.utm.edu/analytic/
Note that it begins with an historic understanding of the term "analytic philosophy," one that rightly stresses a certain kind of method or approach. Then, as this conception crashes, the use changes. "Analytic philosophy," we are told, becomes an eclectic and pluralistic thing. You know, a big tent. Yet, one can't help but note that the sense of the term has just shifted. What once was a description of a method or approach has now become a description of a social club. Analytic philosophy has become whatever the philosophers who call themselves by this moniker are doing now. "Analytic philosophy" is no different in this sense than, say, "The Hell's Angels" -- for whatever has become the practices of the Angels is what the Angels stand for. But Wittgensteinians know better. For the very same thing that the article asserts could be said in another way: Analytic philosophy became discredited because of the emergence (and superiority) of post-analytic thought. In a manner of speaking, once the club understood Wittgenstein -- which many members, I assume, still don't -- the club learnt that it could no longer go on doing "analytic philosophy." The only difference between this proposition and the other is that this one doesn't change the sense of the term midstream. It doesn't, in a manner of speaking, make for a good company statement.

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