Talk:20th-century philosophy

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Someone Fix up this Article[edit]

Someone needs to fix up this article. There seems to be a lack of organization for the topics, subjects, and people highlighted in red. Seriously, some please FIX IT UP, or I will, with research, dedication, and EFFORT! User:Xinyu

stuff at top of page??[edit]

Whats going on with all that stuff at the top?? Its not got anything to do with 20c philosophy and it barely makes sense, am i the only one who thinks this?

The first 3 paragraphs appear to be an attempt to summarize 20th century philosophy which would be a major article in itself and not the lead in to a list of philosophers. Either this page will become a list of 20th century philosophers or it will become an article on some aspect of 20th century philosophy (it can NOT cover ALL of century philosopy in an article). The page needs serious work. What is it's purpose? It is located under the major category of "History of philosophy" which make the stuff in these first 3 paragraphs more understandable - but still in dire need of total rewriting with a tight focus.
There is already a List of philosophers born in the twentieth century so perhaps this article, if it is to be rewritten, should just link to that list and this article should be re-named "History of 20th-century philosophy - a summary" - then it could paint in broad strokes and link to other articles that would do the detail work.
The last paragraph appears to be acting as a guideline for edits, particularly for the list of philosophers. It needs to be reworked as well. It says, "Articles referenced here are expected to substantiate standing by demonstrating either of the above criteria." Did he mean to say "Entries" or "Philosophers" or "Philosophies", rather than "Articles"?
And the section entitled "Quasi-philosophical or politically-philosophical movements, schools, and tendencies" plays no part in the top 4 paragraphs. That is just a rant in list form that doesn't fit the article or the list or the title. Steve 22:52, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

what are some people of the Enlightment Era?[edit]

What are some of the people in the Enlightmnet Era?

Valid, verifiable source for Rand as a philosopher[edit]

An IP user deleted Ayn Rand from the list. I restored her entry and am providing the following source: Chris Matthew Sciabarra, Ph.D, visiting professor at NYU, writes, "Ayn Rand is one of the most widely read philosophers of the twentieth century." This is in Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, page 1. Steve 18:20, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

source is biased, not valid.--Buridan 00:14, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
Sciabarra's credentials are in order. The book he wrote is a scholarly work. A previous publication of his was Marx; Hayek; And Utopia 1995 State University of New York Press. Would we throw out Richard McKeon or Jonathon Barnes as a 'biased' source on Aristotle? Mr. Buridan is the one who stated that Objectivism, Milton Friedman, and Alan Greenspan killed tens of millions of people. I'd say he was the biased source in the Rand dispute. Steve 18:53, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
that statement has nothing to do with any bias, i have no bias here. I am trying to maintain Neutrality against people who are promoting non-neutrality. that specific statement was a rhetorical rejoinder to the 'marxism killed millions' quote. if a person is promoting rand as a philosopher, it is likely the source is biased. find a neutral source. --Buridan 21:30, 14 January 2007 (UTC) ahhhh man :)
Mr. Buridan, I'll let your last comment stand as-is - it pretty much says what I've been saying all along - that you would call ANY source for Rand or Objectivism biased.  :-) Steve 22:20, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
yes, use a neutral source that is not specifically arguing that rand is a philosophy, or that does not say that her status is questionable. The thing is steve, and I know you have a hard time with this. Her status is questionable. Because it is questionable, to put her on the list, is not neutral. To put a questionable person on a list of philosopher is to argue a point of view in favor of that philosopher. I say... Let history judge. In 20 years, perhaps she'll be on this list, perhaps not. Today though, she is not, and by putting her on this list... you are influencing that 20 years from now in a very unjust way.--Buridan 03:16, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
Buridan, you never accept ANY source. You admitted that you won't accept any source that says Rand is a philosopher or that Objectivism is a philosophy. You violate WP Policy again and again with your deletion campaign. You attempt to substitute your judgment for the policies we are supposed to follow. Steve 04:00, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
No, Steve, there you are just making it up. I have accepted sources in the past about rand and objectivism, and i will likely in the future. i do not violate any policy by maintaining a standard of npov. that you promote, promote, promote, add, add, add, might be a bit suspicious though, but i give you the benefit of the doubt. are you promoting a non-neutral point of view? are you promoting rand as a philosopher when she is not recognized as such other than by a minority of people in the field of philosophy? if so, is promoting rand neutral?
Ayn Rand is a philosopher, agree with her or not. To claim she is not is only POV. --Childhood's End 15:54, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
To claim she is is also POV, so where is NPOV? --Buridan 22:50, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (JARS) is a scholarly, peer reviewed journal that is abstracted and indexed by many such services. JARS is nonpartisan and accepts articles that are favorable to or critical of Rand's positions. The stated editorial position is to remain unaligned with any advocacy group, institution or person. "While we publish essays by Objectivists and those influenced by Rand, we are especially interested in publishing scholars who work in traditions outside of Objectivism--including those who are critical of Rand's thought. We promote and encourage scholarly give-and-take among diverse elements of the academy." This journal has litteraly volumes of academic sources for Rand's work as a 20th century philosopher since it has been publishing for a number of years.

This cite also serves to meet the guidelines suggested in this WP article's heading. The guideline calls for 'formalized study' and 'a degree of institutional recognition.' There have been many other cites of academically based authors (some on this page), along with cites of acredited classes (other talk pages), and philosophy textbooks (cite posted by bmorton3 on another talk page). These establish 'a degree of institutional recognition.' Steve 22:29, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

In what way is a relatively uncited non-philosophy journal any sort of institutional recognition or evidence of formalized study in philosophy? it seems to be published by a non-academic foundation. in sort, it is just another attempt to legitimize her as a philosopher, certified by minor figures... find something strong --Buridan 22:49, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
Your on-going campaign against Rand has already made it clear you will never accept ANY sources (you admitted that on a post on another page) and your claim that Objectivism killed tens of millions of people shows that you will say anything in pursuit of your campaign. Steve 23:20, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
how about trying to deal with the arguments instead of making ad hominens? --Buridan 00:06, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
Nothing ad hominens there. I just repeated two statments that you made that apply directly to to the argument. Steve 03:14, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
no, they do not apply and you attacked me instead of addressing the argument, that is an ad hominen. i have accepted citations in the past and i will in the future, when you provide one that is reliable/nonbiased. --Buridan 11:50, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
No attacks. They were YOUR statements, you said them, they apply. I just repeated them and in a civil fashion. If you want I'll go find, and quote, the statement where you said you would never accept as unbiased any source that listed Rand as a philosopher. Steve 14:34, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
they are attacks. and they are so because you used them to sidetrack the discussion and make it focus on me, instead of the issue at hand. I said that i would not accept as any source that promoted rand as a philosopher. If you cite a book or journal whose primary purpose is to capitalize off the rand name or ideas, then it is not neutral, it is promoting rand. There are enormous numbers of works that aren't written by biased randians, all we need are some of those to validate the rest. It is the walled garden problem of wikipedia. if the whole group of randians all certify that rand is a philosopher, but no one else does.. then they are just talking to themselves and promoting rand as a philosopher. promoting rand as a philosopher in wikipedia is non-neutral. if she is widely recognized as a philosophy by non-randians, then it is not promotion. In short, what it comes down to is that rand as a philosopher is a pov until it is demonstrated to be widely accepted both inside of academic philosophy and outside. If people don't generally consider her to be a philosopher other than 100 books, out of the 2 million or so published each year,then why are you forcing your pov on wikipedia? --Buridan 14:46, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
They are not attacks (because they are your statements repeated in a civil fashion) and they are not sidetracking the discussion because the discussion is about your continually discounting all sources and calling for an unbiased source and then when you get one you ignore it or falsely discredit it and repeat your call. That pattern is clear. It is your POV that Rand is not a philosopher. It is your POV that everyone who treats her as a philosopher is a Randian groupie or doing it for money. The Berkeley professor I cited is neither a Randian nor does he gain finacially but I won't be surprised if you ignore or diminish that source. Your entire approach is an origonal-research concocted filter designed to support your POV that Rand shouldn't be here and your entire campaign to remove her supports that contention. If you truly believe she created a philosophy that killed tens of millions then it is understandable you would do anything to censor her. If you don't believe what you said, then maybe you really don't believe she isn't a philosopher - how in the world would we ever know when you are in your 'retorical rejoineder' mode? Steve 15:15, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
ummm steve...? which berkeley professor? publishing where? all you did above was ad hominen, it was about me, not about the argument or about the topic. --Buridan 16:13, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

There is no ad hominen. If you don't believe it, try to capture it in a quote. Here is the Berkeley source (which makes 3 sources on this page alone): Wallace Matson, Professor Emeritus, UC Berkeley, an Analytic Philosopher who disagrees with part of Rand's epistemology and agrees with much of it and stated that her work was worth serious study. The Philosophic Thought of Ayn Rand, University of Illinois Press, Chicago, 1986. I've put this on several talk pages and all of them have posts from you in the same thread - I assumed you read it. Steve 16:37, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

that was the definition of ad hominen steve, if you talk about me and my attitudes instead of addressing the argument, it is ad hominen, a fallacy of the first order and bad argument. anyway, yes, i looked at that book and it is all rand insiders. look at it on google books. it does have an article by anthony flew, that might be citable, but given the book is mainly articles by uyl and rasmussen and rand.... --Buridan 16:45, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm familiar with the definition of ad hominen. The argument being addressed is that you, by your own statement, will never accept as a source anyone that says Rand is a philosopher. That is directly on point to any claim that you make that a source provided for Rand is inadequate. You grudgingly admit that Anthony Flew's article might be acceptable as a cite, then dismiss it referring to the books contributers: " is all rand insiders." That is tantamount to claiming that there is something wrong with Anthony Flew, Wallace Matson, Tibor Machan, J. Charles King, Douglas Den Uyl and others - which is an ad hominen attack on them rather than showing any evidence that their credentials are suspect or integrity lacking. You denigrate them with no evidence, just unsupported insinuations. The other ad hominen attack in these posts is your persistence in trying to wrongly stick me with that label. If anyone discusses Rand in an article you refer to them as Rand insiders or biased. When I provide valid sources, you decide that I must trying to 'promote' Rand. That IS the argument. Steve 19:56, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

RfC on User Steve Wolfer[edit]

sigh, Simoes along with Buridan have initiated a Request for Comment on me. The request asks that I be admonished to "refrain from editing philosophy-related lists". I'll confess to several things right now: that I feel a kind of hurt, that I worry that there will be not one voice to come to that page and say anything positive about me or anything negative about the accusations, and that lots of people will be glad if I were gone - and with some good reason. I know Rand isn't popular here. I know the edit war has made a mess of the talk pages. But I'm hoping some people, whose voices are respected, and haven't been partisans in this mess, will take a look at both sides and address the issues of policy abuse. I haven't attempted to modify text others have put in, or delete their entries. All I have been doing is entering Rand as a philosopher and attempting to provide valid sources. sigh, now I have to go off to that page and enter some kind of response or justification for myself. Steve 23:35, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Simoes has pulled out of the RfC - it may be dead or not. Steve 01:11, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Restored Rand following an anon delete - with sources on the list page[edit]

This time I followed the advice given by many (KSchutte, Simoes, and others) and provided sources where they belong - at the bottom of the List page instead of in the discussion. Steve 01:11, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

What is the point of this article?[edit]

It surely isn't a historical work about how philosophy was done or what philosophers were doing in the previous century (I think that would be an interesting article, if someone were to write it). It's also a very poor and at times random list of figures that may not even be at all relevant to philosophy (I mean, David Blitz?). Why hasn't anyone put this up on AfD? Because this kind of garbage isn't really worth anything. List of philosophers born in the nineteenth century, List of philosophers born in the twentieth century, and List of living philosophers and academics of philosophy already satisfy (and much better) any need this article could serve at present. KSchutte 01:49, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

I put this article up for deletion because it has no salvageable content that isn't better covered elsewhere. I do think that the Wikipedia should write an article on this topic, but this isn't even a serious attempt. KSchutte 18:57, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree that the best part of this article is what we imagine it could be. I said on the AfD page that I'm comfortable with a delete or with a major rewrite as something like 'Summary of 20th Century Philosophy's History' (and no lists). It could be put up as a well done stub (like an outline only partially flushed out) and left to grow, or it could be a substantial effort right away. Steve 21:22, 22 January 2007 (UTC)


Everyone listed on the page appears in at least three of the four sources on the page. Please refrain from adding anyone to the list who is not in at least two of the sources mentioned in order to ensure the list remains encyclopedic. In other words, it must be verifiable that any addition to the list be just as important to philosophy as those on the list in its current form. KSchutte 20:07, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

You are making up rules as you go along. Why not all of the sources? Or should we add 5 more sources and require 6 out of 9? You continue to delete a valid, verifiably sourced, entry using your own, made-up rule. WP Verifiable policy does NOT say two out of three. Again, you're just making stuff up because you don't like Rand. She was a philosopher in the 20th century and fits this list far more than some others - I mean you have Jung on that list! That doesn't speak very highly of your beloved sources. They can't tell a psychologist from a philosopher (unless they are counting his rather minor foray into alchemy and astronomy from the perspective of archtypes!). And Keynes - he never strayed from economics. Stop deleting sourced entries. Steve 23:03, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
Psychology and economics (like pretty much every other field) developed as unique academic disciplines from philosophy. (Adam Smith and William James were philosophers, no?) In the case of Jung and Keynes, they were right square at the beginning of the split. That one gets an entry on a list of philosophers isn't the same thing as asserting that one is primarily a philosopher. The reference works may not even describe every person who is included with the term "philosopher" (as Rand's entry doesn't). Establishing that level of rigor would be decidedly difficult on a edit-warring-prone resource like this one. I am certainly not opposed to removing some of the entries, but have given merely a minimum criteria for inclusion. If you have an alternative criteria (that isn't just including whoever we feel like), feel free to suggest it.
As to what the sources are, they are the contemporary general reference works on philosophy (simplicitir) with which I am familiar, and each is written and edited by a large number of contemporary philosophers. If you have a source to add or recommend adding that meets these same criteria, I'd be glad to include it. I have proposed a reasonable criteria for inclusion, and you have said nothing more than that you don't like the criteria. Please provide an alternative if you think you have one. An increasingly huge list of philosophers is not desirable in an article that should be (but sadly isn't) primarily composed in paragraphs. KSchutte 20:29, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Ayn Rand is a notable philosopher of the time period - a philosopher that has had a significant impact on the period. You repeatedly delete her entry for reasons of your own. Jung's so-called contribution to philosophy was from the spirit world and astrology (you want to keep him there, fine, go ahead - you have sources). Keynes did nothing in philosophy - he worked from an already established philosophical base (Both Adam Smith and Marx preceded him by a long, long time) - Keynes wasn't a philosopher (but, again, you want to keep him there and these sources you are so fond of justify it, fine, go ahead).
Anytime there is a doubt, it should be remembered that lists are more useful when they are inclusionary - not exclusionary. But I don't believe you are focused on usability, or on notability. You just don't like Rand and continue to delete her despite a valid sources.
You suggested that I provide alternative sourcing. Please remember that the last time I put some sources for Rand on a list page you called them "silly" and "bizarre." You deleted the sources! If you insist on another source I'll put one out there. But, if I do, no matter how much you don't like it, I'll also fight every single attempt to delete it. How many times does it have to be said, you are deleting a valid, sourced entry. Steve 22:28, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
While it is true that list pages are more acceptable when they are inclusionary, this is not supposed to be a list page!!! I am focused on usability, and so long as this page is supposed to be about the history of philosophy in the twentieth-century, I intend to have the list include only justifiably useful links. Ayn Rand isn't yet important in the history of philosophy because she has almost no influence in the discipline (though if a reader of this page wanted to find less notable philosophers they could follow the links to the list pages). Her own article says as much. As to Jung and Keynes, as I've already said, I'm entirely willing to remove entries from the list if that would make it more useful (though I think you're underestimating Moore's influence on Keynes and Keynes' influence on Russell and Wittgenstein). I fail to see how adding those who historians of philosophy would not consider very important is supposed to be useful to someone trying to learn about twentieth-century philosophy. (While Rand may have been a philosopher that had an impact on the period, she was not a philosopher who had an impact on the philosophers of the period.) I didn't like your references because 1) they looked ridiculous and attention-seeking in the absence of any other sources and 2) all but one of them weren't general reference works on philosophy (which is the kind of authority that can verify notability in philosophy). KSchutte 21:26, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
It may not be intended as a list page, but it does have a big list - and lists are more acceptable when they are inclusionary. This page is supposed to be about the history of philosophy in the twentieth-century and NOT just about who was influential in the academy - that only tells part of the story. There is life (and history) going on outside the hallowed walls. Ayn Rand had a major impact even if the academy is only starting to recognize that fact. Your statement above admits she was a philosopher and that she had an impact in the period - that plus the source cited requires that you leave the entry in. Steve 21:49, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
No. No, it doesn't. KSchutte 02:38, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

This should be a no-brainer: Our own WP:MOS says no hyphens.--SallyForth123 19:14, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

No other mainspace article names use the hyphen. See link.--SallyForth123 21:08, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

I doubt it matters, but the case for no hyphen seems well argued. Anarchia 01:28, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
I suppose 19th-century philosophy and 17th-century philosophy should move as well... -GTBacchus(talk) 06:04, 6 August 2007 (UTC)


I think this article needs to be expanded massively. I came here looking for an overview of all the important aspects of C20 Philosophy and didn't really find it. I don't know enough to do it myself but I'm sure some of you guys do! Yeanold Viskersenn 23:29, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Outlining the eventual article[edit]

First, a heading something like "early 20th century philosophy". Then mid-20th century philosophy. someone should make a try at writing each of those. it's rather disheartening to see so many academics coming to wikipedia to list themselves as philosophers, but not willing to write articles telling us what it is they are up to.Diotemaheartsphilosophy (talk) 20:09, 1 April 2009 (UTC)Diotema

That is a good suggestion, but it faces the problem that we really can't just have headings like "early 20th century philosophy". Instead, we would need headings like "early 20th century analytic philosophy" and "early 20th century continental philosophy". However, then the entry would risk simply repeating the information found in the entries for analytic philosophy, continental philosophy, and contemporary philosophy. I am a little unsure of what should go in this entry, but here are my suggestions for the core subsections: "Professionalization" (e.g. the American Philosophical Association, rise of philosophy journals, the disappearance of independent philosophers not associated with a university), "Emergence of American Philosophy" (e.g. first pragmatism, and then analytic philosophy), "Emergence of the Analytic/Continental Divide". It might also be worth having one subsection devoted to the external influences on philosophy during the 20th century: the effect the discovery of relativity and quantum mechanics had on philosophy, how World War 2 forced many philosophers to seek refuge in places like the United States, etc. - Atfyfe (talk) 05:48, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

3 Lines?[edit]

Who is this idiot who made this page? Only three lines to describe the entire twentieth century?! Ridiculous. Wiki is losing it s standards. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:49, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

Purpose of this entry?[edit]

I can't see what work this entry is doing that isn't covered by the entry on contemporary philosophy, analytic philosophy, and continental philosophy. That is:

  • The entry on contemporary philosophy covers the professionalization of philosophy and the analytic/continental split.
  • The entries on analytic and continental philosophy cover in detail the work of those two traditions during the 20th century.

So how can we make this entry useful and something that does not merely repeat what is in those entries? Here's two possibilities:

(Possibility 1) We can't. We should just forward this entry to the contemporary philosophy entry. Perhaps 10-20 years down the line, enough of the 21st century will have passed to warrent this entry, but not yet.
(Possibility 2) We can make this entry more multi-national. For example, have a section dealing with "Western Philosophy" that briefly covers anayltic/continental philosophy (and has links to those entries), professionalization (and has a link to the contemporary philosophy entry), and then some discussion of how western philosophy was affected by and affected the world outside of philosophy (How a 20th century event like WW2 affected philosophy, etc.). Then we could also have a section dealing with "Eastern Philosophy" (which I could not write) in a similar way.

Right now the path we seem to be going down involves starting a huge entry that would include everything in the analytic, continental, and contemporary philosophy entries combined. Why not either keep this entry short and put the work into those entries or find some other role for this entry to serve? Thoughts? - Atfyfe (talk) 01:36, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Two redeeming features I can fathom: Firstly, there are 17th, 18th, 19th century pages, so this has some precedent. Secondly, it may be useful as a navigator to the other pages. A page can surely also function usefully as a kind of index rather than a piece of work in its own right, can't it? If so then I would think this page plays such a role. Of course, the sections ought to be filled in. That's my quick thought. —Zujine|talk 18:32, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
I concur with this. I've started working on how to potentially flesh it out. —Tom Morris (talk) 18:48, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
Well, I look forward to see what gets done with this entry. I am fully supportive. But I just wanted to voice my constructive criticism. There is a great use to having "navigator" entries, but much of the navigating work to entries like "epistemology" is already being done, for example, on the analytic philosophy entry. This is what I find under the Epistemology sub-heading for epistemology on the Analytic philosophy entry:
"Owing largely to Gettier's 1963 paper "Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?", epistemology saw a resurgence in analytic philosophy over the last 50 years. A large portion of current epistemological research aims to resolve the problems that Gettier's examples presented to the traditional justified true belief model of knowledge. Other areas of contemporary research include basic knowledge, the nature of evidence, the role of intuitions in justification, and treating knowledge as a primitive concept."
And this is what Tom has added under the epistemology sub-heading for this entry:
"Epistemology in the Anglo-American tradition was radically shaken up by the publication of Edmund Gettier's 1963 paper "Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?" which provided counter-examples to the traditional formulation of knowledge going back to Plato. A huge number of responses to the Gettier problem were formulated, generally falling into internalist and externalist camps, the latter including work by philosophers like Alvin Goldman, Fred Dretske, David Malet Armstrong and Alvin Plantinga."
Both very good. But why have both? Why not just have this entry navigate to the analytic and continental entries and leave the further navigating to those entries? Okay, I've voiced my concern. I leave it up to you all. - Atfyfe (talk) 05:20, 1 February 2011 (UTC)