Talk:Analytic philosophy

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What are the relations of analytical philosophy with Immanuel Kant?[edit]

In the Russian version of this article it is written that

Kant's transcendental argumentation became one of the favourite methods of reasoning for analytical philosophers...

This sounds strange for me because I would expect that analytical philosophy has critical views on Kant's style of reasoning. I think this must be a mistake. Can anybody clarify this? Eozhik (talk) 19:39, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

Kant is taken very seriously in analytic departments. However, it is definitely an overstatement to say that it is "one of the favourite", and I don't think you could find a good source for that claim. Hume was pretty much always taken seriously in analytic departments, but P.F. Strawson really established that Kant's philosophy had some aspects that were a valid development and response to Hume's concerns, but also Jonathan Bennett. --Atethnekos (DiscussionContributions) 22:02, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
If you want a source for Strawson's impact on Kant studies in analytic deparments see Hilary Putnam's “Strawson and Scepticism” in Hahn, L. E., (ed.) The Philosophy of P. F. Strawson, (Open Court Press, 1998), p. 273: "I particularly value the fact that [Strawson] opened the way to a reception of Kant's philosophy by analytic philosophers". --Atethnekos (DiscussionContributions) 22:19, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
Atethnekos, thank you very much. I am living in Russia, I am afraid it will take me some time to find the books you mention, so I want to clarify one thing: Kant's antinomies, are they discussed in analytical philosophy? What is the attitude of analytical philosophy to the idea that human intellect inevitably comes to contradictions when analyzing problems like "whether the world has a beginning in time?", or "...is limited as regards space?" Eozhik (talk) 10:36, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
I am asking this because it's difficult for me to believe that this can be acceptable in analytical philosophy. If there is a a text that clarifies this, I would contest (or, depending on what is written there, confirm) this in Russian Wikipedia. Eozhik (talk) 12:52, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
I believe most analytic philosophers reject Kant's reasoning in the antinomies proper (the next chapter, the "Ideal", which is sometimes conflated with the fourth antinomy, is more favourably thought of, especially for the counterargument against the ontological proof and the dictum that "existence is not a real predicate", which is a mainstream position in analytic departments). Both Strawson and Bennett almost entirely rejected Kant's reasoning for the antinomies, and, nowadays, Paul Guyer concurs, and I think most still agree with Strawson. Graham Bird, Michelle Grier, and Henry E. Allison would be analytic philosophers that are more approving of Kant in the antinomies. I don't know of any single source which can corroborate these specific claims, however. I'm not sure how Russian Wikipedia works, but ceraintly here if a claim does not have a source and you sincerely doubt it, then you can remove it. If a claim like that was here I would remove it, and replace it with a short history like:
"Russell characterized the analytic movement in philosophy as returning to the dictates of Hume, in limiting reasonable discourse to the synthetic a posteriori judgements (which concern "matters of fact") and analytic a priori judgements (which concern "relations between ideas"). In this way analytic philosophy initially ignored Kant's metaphysics, including Kant's theory given in the Critique of Pure Reason that some synthetic a priori judgements are possible. Mainstream interest in Kant within analytic philosophy departments was limited to niche, purely historical inquiry. Over time though, Kant has been rehabilitated somewhat. Instrumental to this was the work of Peter Strawson, including his major, 1966 work on Kant's metaphysics, The Bounds of Sense. Although Strawson agreed with earlier analytic views that much of Kant's theory was illegitimate, Strawson nonetheless argued that Kant's transcendental deduction was of great importance, and that Kant's reasoning for it, properly interpreted, was respectable enough by the standards of analytic philosophy. Transcendental arguments in general have had some standing within analytic philosophy since Strawson's work."
Actually, all of these sentences could be well-enough cited to just Westphal, Kenneth R., "Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Analytic Philosophy" in Guyer, Paul (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 401, 402, 412, & 413. So, transcendental arguments have some standing; that's established by the sources, but that's very far from "one of the favourite".-Atethnekos (DiscussionContributions) 10:08, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
Atethnekos, thank you. I did not understand, this quotation, where is it from? Eozhik (talk) 12:45, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
The problem in the Russian Wikipedia is that this opinion (I mean, what I cited about Kant) was published in a textbook on Philosophy here in Russia: http://yanko.lib.ru/books/philosoph/blinov-ladov-lebedev=analytic_philosophy.htm. In Russian this fragment sounds as follows:

И. Кант, трансцендентальная аргументация которого стала для философов-аналитиков одним из излюбленных приемов рассуждения и доказательства

In my opinion, this looks scandaluos, but the editor of the book, someone M.V.Lebedev (М.В.Лебедев) has phD in philosophy, I am afraid, it will be impossible to dispute on this topic without intervention of specialists from the West. Or I need more convincing quotations with criticism of Kant from analytical philosophers. Eozhik (talk) 13:14, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
The quote is my own, I just meant that that is what I would write. It is however a paraphrase of what Westphal says in the source I just listed (Westphal, Kenneth R., "Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Analytic Philosophy" in Guyer, Paul (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 401, 402, 412, & 413.). So I could just copy that text and put it into an article here and use that citation and that would be fine.
Ah, I see! Eozhik (talk) 00:36, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
I'm sorry that that philosophy textbook says that. I imagine that in Russian what is meant by "АНАЛИТИЧЕСКАЯ ФИЛОСОФИЯ" really is supposed to be the same thing as we mean here in English with "analytic philosophy", but maybe there are some slight differences in usage. I wouldn't know. I can only read a Google Translate of that text, but at that section I believe it is talking about old, continental influences on analytic philosophy in general. Is it possible that what is meant there is that transcendental arguments are one of the favourites arguments from earlier continental philosophy? That is, it is not saying that analytic philosophy favours transcendental argumentation when considering all philosophy, but only that it favours it when only considering earlier philosophy from the continent. That would make much more sense. --Atethnekos (DiscussionContributions) 23:17, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
No, in those textbooks they speak about Frege, Russel, Carnap, and others, without hesitation. So there is no misunderstanding of that kind. I believe, the explanation is that there was no analytical philosophy in Russia at all. All those "philosophers" in Russia who write textbooks or articles in Wikipedia, they are former marxist-leninist philosophers. All their life they were praising Marx-Lenin-Stalin (as "great philosophers"), scolding analytical philosophers, and now, after the fall of the iron curtain, they see their task in explaining that actually their understanding of philosophy is more or less the same as in the West. They defend Kant's and Hegel's metaphysics, they underestimate the role of Witgenstein, Carnap, Popper and others. That's what happens, actually. It's awfull what they write, and I doubt that there is a possibility now for effective opposition to them in Wikipedia, since they refer to the numerous textbooks or articles they already wrote in Russia. So if some quotations will occur to you (on the attitude of the analytical philosophy to the Kant's and Hegel's metaphysics), I would be grateful, if you share. Thank you anyway, Atethnekos. Eozhik (talk) 00:36, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

Analytic Philosophy begins in 1900. Kant was a modern era philosophy. - Atfyfe (talk) 19:23, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

Excuse me, I am afraid, I did not understand this. Eozhik (talk) 19:32, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

Bad examples of Philosophy of Science[edit]

Social Constructivism and Cognitive Relativism? How can these views, by any stretch, be called Analytic?

If the intent is to say that Philosophy of Science is no longer notably Analytic, I would heartily agree in an informal emotive sense. But without a lot of corroboration being added, such a pronouncement is quite far from encyclopedic. (To disclose a personal interest, I would love to see it proven wrong!)

198.228.228.152 (talk) 08:06, 28 June 2014 (UTC)Collin237

Contra Hegel[edit]

You might think, from the way that the article is written, that Analytic Philosophy was severely antithetical to Hegel’s talk of Absolute, Three-step Dialectics, Spirit, and self-moving Notions. If so, then Analytical Philosophy would be totally avoided and shunned by a great number of academics.173.72.111.113 (talk) 18:24, 6 July 2014 (UTC)The Honourable Ronald Adair

If that is the impression you got from this article, then the article is accurate about Analytic Philosophy. - Atfyfe (talk) 00:49, 8 July 2014 (UTC)


Thesis, antithesis, synthesis originated with Fichte, not Hegel. I feel that removing all references to Hegel, and replacing them with "British Idealism", is relevant. Wittgenstein was influential in Continental Philosophy, yes, until he died. Hegel lived before the analytical-continental "divide"; It's hard to say that his work was what gave birth to "continental Philosophy". This article is saying that, indirectly. It's like saying the works of Kierkegaard were influenced by Hegel, even though Kierkegaard was strongly opposed to Hegelianism. To the average person "influences" can be divided into "positive" and "negative" rational categories, unless we want to pass judgement on them. — Preceding unsigned comment added by OhWhyNot (talkcontribs) 04:04, 9 May 2015 (UTC)
Rational Categories is an important part of Hegelianism, while suspending judgement, which is a certain point I'm making OhWhyNot (talk) 04:08, 9 May 2015 (UTC)

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Jules Vuillemin[edit]

Why is there a picture of Jules Vuillemin? He is not mentioned in the body of the article. 109.153.242.98 (talk) 19:25, 20 November 2016 (UTC)

Am I the only one to see a huge irony here?[edit]

This article says that analytic philosophy has something to do with "argumentative clarity and precision." It also says that the field is characterized by "precision and thoroughness about a specific topic, and resistance to ′imprecise or cavalier discussions of broad topics′."

But at the same time, the article warns us that "the term ′analytic philosophy′ can refer to [any] one of several things," and that many of the tenets of the school as laid out by its own founders are often rejected by its contemporary practitioners. Indeed, the article goes on to recount that "many philosophers and historians have attempted to define or describe analytic philosophy."

In other words, the term itself is neither clear nor precise. As a result, this article—and perhaps the philosophical school it describes—strikes me as imprecise to the point of cavalier. To innocent seekers of understanding who turn for recourse to Wikipedia, this article can't even provide any clear sense of what it is trying to be about. What a strange antiloop!

Sorry to break this to all you philosophers out there, but this is the kind of stuff that drives us mere mortals bonkers.—PaulTanenbaum (talk) 20:36, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

I like your point. I think if I was doing a stand-up bit about philosophy that would be fodder for a good joke about analytic philosophers. But let me venture an answer to your point/question: Analytic philosophers study things like free will, consciousness, justification, etc. For all of these things, analytic philosophers seeking precise accounts, theories, and arguments regarding. The label "analytic philosophy" however is just a vague label for a loosely related group of philosophers all proceeding in a way that differs in many characteristic ways from the philosophers before them and from continental philosophers. Analytic philosophers don't seek a clear and precise definition of "analytic philosophy" because there is no real need to give one. Let me use an analogy. There is probably no way to rigorously define what truly makes a vehicle a "truck". That's just a vague label for vehicles that differ from cars in certain characteristic ways. Furthermore, in different regions and for different purposes, how it is useful to define a "truck" versus a "car" may differ. By contrast, we should seek a rigorous definition of a term like "electron". That is something scientists and philosophers shouldn't just vaguely talk about without clear and rigorous definitions. While the term "truck" (in contrast to cars) is a irreducibly vague concept which is nevertheless still useful for talking, the term "electron" (in contrast to protons, neutrinos, etc.) is a concept that can and should be rigorously defined. Getting to the point of my analogy: the term "analytic philosophy" is more like the label "truck" whereas the things analytic philosophers study (e.g. "free will", "consciousness", "justification", etc.) are more like the label "electron". Analytic philosophers do care about rigorous definitions, arguments, theories, etc. but only toward the things that rightfully require such rigorous accounts. The label "analytic philosophy" is merely useful in the loose way that the label "truck" is useful for vaguely referring to a imprecise collection of philosophers and methodological techniques which separate analytic philosophers from, e.g., continental philosophers, ancient Greek philosophers, etc. One of the ways in which analytic philosophers differ (in the vague, imprecise way they differ) is that they take seriously the need to be rigorous and precise in their study of philosophical concepts like free will, consciousness, etc. - Atfyfe (talk) 20:32, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, Atfyfe, for your response. I get your analogy that

"analytic philosophy" : truck :: justification : electron ,

and I'm not bent on scolding philosophers for being less rigorous in labeling their approaches than in labeling the objects of their study. Rather than with the analytic philosophers themselves, perhaps my beef should be with those—from whatever disciplines—who have brought this article to its current state.
One of the characteristics of a well designed, effective Wikipedia article is that its lead, or at least its intro section as a whole, provides a reasonably clear—if perhaps simplified—sense of its definiendum. So the article entitled truck begins thus: "A truck (or lorry) is a motor vehicle designed to transport cargo." Then, because of precisely the imprecision and vagueness you point out, it immediately goes on to discuss the point that "trucks vary greatly in size, power, and configuration."
Unfortunately, in the case of this article (analytic philosophy), its intro succeeds in nothing else so much as enumerating a disparate collection of notions and explicitly saying that which of these notions is even relevant depends entirely on who happens to be using the term. I hope that there's somebody out there qualified and willing to rework the intro to better accommodate the background and needs of "the typical user of Wikipedia." If, as the article's first sentence asserts, analytic philosophy is indeed "a style," then there must be some brief way to explain what that style is in a way that is comprehensible to non-philosophers.—PaulTanenbaum (talk) 21:15, 14 June 2017 (UTC)

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