Analytic philosophy

Analytic philosophy

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Analytic philosophy is a generic term for a style of philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 that came to dominate English-speaking countries in the 20th century. In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, and New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, the overwhelming majority of university philosophy departments identify themselves as "analytic" departments.

The term "analytic philosophy" can refer to:
  • A general philosophical tradition characterized by an emphasis on clarity and argument (often achieved via modern formal logic
    Formal logic
    Classical or traditional system of determining the validity or invalidity of a conclusion deduced from two or more statements...

     and analysis of language
    Language
    Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

    ) and a respect for the natural sciences.

  • The more specific set of developments of early 20th-century philosophy that were the historical antecedents of the general sense: e.g., the work of Bertrand Russell
    Bertrand Russell
    Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

    , Ludwig Wittgenstein
    Ludwig Wittgenstein
    Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was an Austrian philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. He was professor in philosophy at the University of Cambridge from 1939 until 1947...

    , G. E. Moore, Gottlob Frege
    Gottlob Frege
    Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege was a German mathematician, logician and philosopher. He is considered to be one of the founders of modern logic, and made major contributions to the foundations of mathematics. He is generally considered to be the father of analytic philosophy, for his writings on...

    , and the logical positivists
    Logical positivism
    Logical positivism is a philosophy that combines empiricism—the idea that observational evidence is indispensable for knowledge—with a version of rationalism incorporating mathematical and logico-linguistic constructs and deductions of epistemology.It may be considered as a type of analytic...

    . In this specific sense, analytic philosophy is identified with specific philosophical commitments (many of which are rejected by contemporary analytic philosophers), such as:

  • The logical positivist
    Logical positivism
    Logical positivism is a philosophy that combines empiricism—the idea that observational evidence is indispensable for knowledge—with a version of rationalism incorporating mathematical and logico-linguistic constructs and deductions of epistemology.It may be considered as a type of analytic...

     principle that there are not any specifically philosophical truths and that the object of philosophy is the logical clarification of thoughts. This may be contrasted with the traditional foundationalism
    Foundationalism
    Foundationalism is any theory in epistemology that holds that beliefs are justified based on what are called basic beliefs . This position is intended to resolve the infinite regress problem in epistemology...

    , which considers philosophy as a special, elite science that investigates the fundamental reasons and principles of everything. As a result, many analytic philosophers have considered their inquiries as continuous with, or subordinate to, those of the natural sciences.

  • the principle that the logical clarification of thoughts can only be achieved by analysis of the logical form
    Logical form
    In logic, the logical form of a sentence or set of sentences is the form obtained by abstracting from the subject matter of its content terms or by regarding the content terms as mere placeholders or blanks on a form...

     of philosophical propositions. The logical form of a proposition is a way of representing it (often using the formal grammar
    Formal grammar
    A formal grammar is a set of formation rules for strings in a formal language. The rules describe how to form strings from the language's alphabet that are valid according to the language's syntax...

     and symbolism of a logical system) to display its similarity with all other propositions of the same type. However, analytic philosophers disagree widely about the correct logical form of ordinary language.

  • the rejection of sweeping philosophical systems in favour of attention to detail, common sense, or ordinary language.


According to a characteristic paragraph by Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

:

"Modern analytical empiricism [...] differs from that of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume by its incorporation of mathematics and its development of a powerful logical technique. It is thus able, in regard to certain problems, to achieve definite answers, which have the quality of science rather than of philosophy. It has the advantage, as compared with the philosophies of the system-builders, of being able to tackle its problems one at a time, instead of having to invent at one stroke a block theory of the whole universe. Its methods, in this respect, resemble those of science. I have no doubt that, in so far as philosophical knowledge is possible, it is by such methods that it must be sought; I have also no doubt that, by these methods, many ancient problems are completely soluble."

Background


After the philosophy of Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher from Königsberg , researching, lecturing and writing on philosophy and anthropology at the end of the 18th Century Enlightenment....

, German idealism
German idealism
German idealism was a philosophical movement that emerged in Germany in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It developed out of the work of Immanuel Kant in the 1780s and 1790s, and was closely linked both with romanticism and the revolutionary politics of the Enlightenment...

 dominated philosophical thought from the early to mid 19th century in Continental Europe and the 19th century philosophical climate turned towards the thought of philosophers like Fichte, Schelling
Schelling
Notable people with the last name of Schelling include:* Ernest Schelling, American composer* Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, German philosopher* Thomas Schelling, American economist and Nobel laureate...

, and Hegel. In the mid to late 19th century in Britain, philosophy was increasingly Hegelian in practice. British idealism
British idealism
A species of absolute idealism, British idealism was a philosophical movement that was influential in Britain from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. The leading figures in the movement were T.H. Green , F. H. Bradley , and Bernard Bosanquet . They were succeeded by the...

, as taught by philosophers like F.H. Bradley and Thomas Hill Green
Thomas Hill Green
Thomas Hill Green was an English philosopher, political radical and temperance reformer, and a member of the British idealism movement. Like all the British idealists, Green was influenced by the metaphysical historicism of G.W.F. Hegel...

 was an extension of the German idealist mode of thought. It is this intellectual climate, that fathers of analytic philosophy, G. E. Moore and Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

, rebelled against the British idealist thought and formed analytic philosophy and split philosophy into continental (or German-French) and analytic (or Anglo-American) thought.

History



Specifically, "analytic philosophy" is used to refer to a specific philosophical program that is ordinarily dated from about 1900 to 1960.

The analytic program of philosophy is ordinarily dated to the work of British philosophers Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

 and G. E. Moore during the early 20th century. Since the beginning, a basic principle of analytic philosophy has been conceptual clarity, in the name of which they rejected then-dominant types of Hegelianism
Hegelianism
Hegelianism is a collective term for schools of thought following or referring to G. W. F. Hegel's philosophy which can be summed up by the dictum that "the rational alone is real", which means that all reality is capable of being expressed in rational categories...

, which they accused of obscurity and objected to its idealism
Idealism
In philosophy, idealism is the family of views which assert that reality, or reality as we can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. Epistemologically, idealism manifests as a skepticism about the possibility of knowing any mind-independent thing...

. The basic assumption of analytic philosophy is that the problems of philosophy can be solved by showing the simple constituents of complex notions. Russell and Moore began to develop a new sort of conceptual analysis, based on new developments in logic.

Russell (1872-1970) combined Frege's logical insights with the influence of David Hume's empiricism. Russell thought that the world was composed of 'atomic facts'. Sentences, if they were to be meaningful, had to correspond to these atomic facts. Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was an Austrian philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. He was professor in philosophy at the University of Cambridge from 1939 until 1947...

 (1889-1951) studied under Russell, his early ideas influenced the Vienna Circle and help form the logical positivism of the 1920s and 1930s.

There is a radical break between the early and the later works of Wittgenstein. In his earlier work Wittgenstein saw language as picturing the world, in his later philosophy he understands language by using the metaphor of a game. This change in direction spurred the development of 'Linguistic philosophy', in the mid 20th century. Linguistic philosophers such as Gilbert Ryle (1900-76) thought many of the traditional problems of philosophy could be dissolved by the careful study of language as it is used.

By the 1970's there was a growing dissatisfaction with linguistic philosophy, and philosophers began to show more interest in the philosophy of mind and the application of philosophical methods to wider issues in politics, ethics and the nature of philosophy itself. Richard Rorty (1931-2007) has used the methods of analytic philosophy to deconstruct its assumptions. Rorty is influenced as much by Heidegger as he is by Wittgenstein, and his approach echoes the ideas of the post-structuralists. It may be that the future will see the concerns of 'analytic' and 'continental' philosophies converge.

Analytic philosophy became dominant in English-speaking countries during the 20th century. In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, and New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, the overwhelming majority of university philosophy departments identify themselves as "analytic" departments.

Origins: Frege, Russell and Whitehead


Russell, during his early career, along with collaborator Alfred North Whitehead
Alfred North Whitehead
Alfred North Whitehead, OM FRS was an English mathematician who became a philosopher. He wrote on algebra, logic, foundations of mathematics, philosophy of science, physics, metaphysics, and education...

, was much influenced by Gottlob Frege
Gottlob Frege
Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege was a German mathematician, logician and philosopher. He is considered to be one of the founders of modern logic, and made major contributions to the foundations of mathematics. He is generally considered to be the father of analytic philosophy, for his writings on...

, who developed predicate logic
Predicate logic
In mathematical logic, predicate logic is the generic term for symbolic formal systems like first-order logic, second-order logic, many-sorted logic or infinitary logic. This formal system is distinguished from other systems in that its formulae contain variables which can be quantified...

, which allowed a much greater range of sentences to be parsed into logical form than was possible by the ancient Aristotlean logic. Frege was also a major philosopher of mathematics
Philosophy of mathematics
The philosophy of mathematics is the branch of philosophy that studies the philosophical assumptions, foundations, and implications of mathematics. The aim of the philosophy of mathematics is to provide an account of the nature and methodology of mathematics and to understand the place of...

 in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. In contrast to Husserl's 1891 book Philosophie der Arithmetik, which attempted to show that the concept of the cardinal number
Cardinal number
In mathematics, cardinal numbers, or cardinals for short, are a generalization of the natural numbers used to measure the cardinality of sets. The cardinality of a finite set is a natural number – the number of elements in the set. The transfinite cardinal numbers describe the sizes of infinite...

 derived from psychical acts of grouping objects and counting them, Frege sought to show that mathematics and logic have their own validity, independent of the judgments or mental states of individual mathematicians and logicians (which were the basis of arithmetic according to the "psychologism
Psychologism
Psychologism is a generic type of position in philosophy according to which psychology plays a central role in grounding or explaining some other, non-psychological type of fact or law...

" of Husserl's Philosophie). Frege further developed his philosophy of logic and mathematics in The Foundations of Arithmetic
The Foundations of Arithmetic
Die Grundlagen der Arithmetik is a book by Gottlob Frege, published in 1884, in which he investigates the philosophical foundations of arithmetic. In a tour de force of literary and philosophical merit, Frege demolished other theories of number and developed his own theory of numbers...

and The Basic Laws of Arithmetic where he provided an alternative to psychologistic accounts of the concept of number.

Like Frege, Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

 and Alfred North Whitehead
Alfred North Whitehead
Alfred North Whitehead, OM FRS was an English mathematician who became a philosopher. He wrote on algebra, logic, foundations of mathematics, philosophy of science, physics, metaphysics, and education...

 attempted to show that mathematics is reducible to fundamental logical principles. Their Principia Mathematica
Principia Mathematica
The Principia Mathematica is a three-volume work on the foundations of mathematics, written by Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell and published in 1910, 1912, and 1913...

(1910–1913) encouraged many philosophers to renew their interest with the development of symbolic logic
Mathematical logic
Mathematical logic is a subfield of mathematics with close connections to foundations of mathematics, theoretical computer science and philosophical logic. The field includes both the mathematical study of logic and the applications of formal logic to other areas of mathematics...

. Additionally, Bertrand Russell adopted Frege's predicate logic as his primary philosophical method, a method he thought could expose the underlying structure of philosophical problems. For example, the English word “is” has three distinct meanings by predicate logic:
  • For the sentence 'the cat is asleep', the is of predication means that "x is P" (denoted as P(x))
  • For the sentence 'there is a cat', the is of existence means that "there is an x" (∃x);
  • For the sentence 'three is half of six', the is of identity means that "x is the same as y" (x=y).

Russell sought to resolve various philosophical issues by applying such definite distinctions, most famously in his analysis of definite description
Definite description
A definite description is a denoting phrase in the form of "the X" where X is a noun-phrase or a singular common noun. The definite description is proper if X applies to a unique individual or object. For example: "the first person in space" and "the 42nd President of the United States of...

s in "On Denoting."

Ideal language analysis


From about 1910 to 1930, analytic philosophers like Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was an Austrian philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. He was professor in philosophy at the University of Cambridge from 1939 until 1947...

 emphasized creating an ideal language for philosophical analysis, which would be free from the ambiguities of ordinary language that, in their opinion, often made philosophy invalid. This philosophical trend can be called "ideal-language analysis" or "formalism". During this phase, Russell and Wittgenstein sought to understand language, and hence philosophical problems, by using formal logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

 to formalize the way in which philosophical statement
Statement (logic)
In logic a statement is either a meaningful declarative sentence that is either true or false, or what is asserted or made by the use of a declarative sentence...

s are made. Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was an Austrian philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. He was professor in philosophy at the University of Cambridge from 1939 until 1947...

 developed a comprehensive system of logical atomism in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is the only book-length philosophical work published by the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein in his lifetime. It was an ambitious project: to identify the relationship between language and reality and to define the limits of science...

. He thereby argued that the world is the totality of actual states of affairs and that these states of affairs can be expressed by the language of first-order predicate logic. So a picture of the world can be made by expressing atomic facts as atomic propositions, and linking them using logical operators.

Logical positivism



During the late 1920s, '30s, and '40s, Russell and Wittgenstein's formalism was developed by a group of philosophers in Vienna and Berlin, who were known as the Vienna Circle
Vienna Circle
The Vienna Circle was an association of philosophers gathered around the University of Vienna in 1922, chaired by Moritz Schlick, also known as the Ernst Mach Society in honour of Ernst Mach...

 and Berlin Circle respectively, into a doctrine known as logical positivism
Logical positivism
Logical positivism is a philosophy that combines empiricism—the idea that observational evidence is indispensable for knowledge—with a version of rationalism incorporating mathematical and logico-linguistic constructs and deductions of epistemology.It may be considered as a type of analytic...

 (or logical empiricism). Logical positivism used formal logical methods to develop an empiricist account of knowledge. Philosophers such as Rudolf Carnap
Rudolf Carnap
Rudolf Carnap was an influential German-born philosopher who was active in Europe before 1935 and in the United States thereafter. He was a major member of the Vienna Circle and an advocate of logical positivism....

 and Hans Reichenbach
Hans Reichenbach
Hans Reichenbach was a leading philosopher of science, educator and proponent of logical empiricism...

, along with other members of the Vienna Circle
Vienna Circle
The Vienna Circle was an association of philosophers gathered around the University of Vienna in 1922, chaired by Moritz Schlick, also known as the Ernst Mach Society in honour of Ernst Mach...

, claimed that the truths of logic and mathematics were tautologies
Tautology (logic)
In logic, a tautology is a formula which is true in every possible interpretation. Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein first applied the term to redundancies of propositional logic in 1921; it had been used earlier to refer to rhetorical tautologies, and continues to be used in that alternate sense...

, and those of science were verifiable empirical claims. These two constituted the entire universe of meaningful judgments; anything else was nonsense. The claims of ethics, aesthetics and theology were, accordingly, pseudo-statements, neither true nor false, simply meaningless nonsense. Karl Popper
Karl Popper
Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH FRS FBA was an Austro-British philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics...

's insistence upon the role of falsification in the philosophy of science was a reaction to the logical positivists. With the gaining of power of Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 and National Socialism in Germany and Austria, many members of the Vienna and Berlin Circles fled Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, most commonly to Britain and America, which helped to reinforce the dominance of logical positivism and analytic philosophy in the Anglophone countries.

Logical positivists typically considered philosophy as having a very limited function. For them, philosophy concerned the clarification of thoughts, rather than having a distinct subject matter of its own. The positivists adopted the verification principle, according to which every meaningful statement is either analytic or is capable of being verified by experience. This caused the logical positivists to reject many traditional problems of philosophy, especially those of metaphysics
Metaphysics
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:...

 or ontology
Ontology
Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, existence or reality as such, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations...

, as meaningless.

Ordinary language analysis


After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, during the late 1940s and 1950s, analytic philosophy took a turn toward ordinary-language analysis
Ordinary language philosophy
Ordinary language philosophy is a philosophical school that approaches traditional philosophical problems as rooted in misunderstandings philosophers develop by distorting or forgetting what words actually mean in everyday use....

. This movement had two main strands. One followed in the wake of Wittgenstein's later philosophy, which departed dramatically from his early work of the Tractatus. The other, known as "Oxford philosophy", involved J. L. Austin. In contrast to earlier analytic philosophers (including the early Wittgenstein) who thought philosophers should avoid the deceptive trappings of natural language by constructing ideal languages, ordinary language philosophers claimed that ordinary language already represented a large number of subtle distinctions that had been unrecognized in the formulation of traditional philosophical theories or problems. While schools such as logical positivism emphasize logical terms, supposed to be universal and separate from contingent factors (such as culture, language, historical conditions), ordinary language philosophy emphasizes the use of language by ordinary people. Some have argued that ordinary language philosophy is of a more sociological grounding, as it essentially emphasizes on the use of language within social contexts. The best-known ordinary language philosophers during the 1950s were Austin
J. L. Austin
John Langshaw Austin was a British philosopher of language, born in Lancaster and educated at Shrewsbury School and Balliol College, Oxford University. Austin is widely associated with the concept of the speech act and the idea that speech is itself a form of action...

 and Gilbert Ryle
Gilbert Ryle
Gilbert Ryle , was a British philosopher, a representative of the generation of British ordinary language philosophers that shared Wittgenstein's approach to philosophical problems, and is principally known for his critique of Cartesian dualism, for which he coined the phrase "the ghost in the...

. Some say that this movement marked a return to the common sense philosophy advocated by G.E. Moore.

Ordinary language philosophy often sought to disperse philosophical problems by showing them to be the result of misunderstanding ordinary language. See for example Ryle (who attempted to dispose of "Descartes' myth
Ghost in the machine
The "ghost in the machine" is the British philosopher Gilbert Ryle's description of René Descartes' mind-body dualism. The phrase was introduced in Ryle's book The Concept of Mind to highlight the perceived absurdity of dualist systems like Descartes' where mental activity carries on in parallel...

") and Wittgenstein, among others.

1960 and beyond


In the 1950s, logical positivism was influentially challenged by Wittgenstein in the Philosophical Investigations
Philosophical Investigations
Philosophical Investigations is, along with the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, one of the most influential works by the 20th-century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein...

, Quine
Willard Van Orman Quine
Willard Van Orman Quine was an American philosopher and logician in the analytic tradition...

 in "Two Dogmas of Empiricism
Two Dogmas of Empiricism
W. V. Quine's paper Two Dogmas of Empiricism, published in 1951, is one of the most celebrated papers of twentieth century philosophy in the analytic tradition. According to Harvard professor of philosophy Peter Godfrey-Smith, this "paper [is] sometimes regarded as the most important in all of...

", and Sellars in Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind
Wilfrid Sellars
Wilfrid Stalker Sellars was an American philosopher. His father was the Canadian-American philosopher Roy Wood Sellars, a leading American philosophical naturalist in the first half of the twentieth-century...

. Following 1960, both logical positivism and natural language philosophy fell out of fashion and Anglophone philosophy began to incorporate a wider range of interests, views, and methods. Nonetheless, most philosophers in Britain and America still consider themselves to be "analytic philosophers." Largely, they have done so by expanding the notion of "analytic philosophy" from the specific programs that dominated Anglophone philosophy before 1960 to a much more general notion of an "analytic" style, characterized by precision and thoroughness about a narrow topic and opposed to "imprecise or cavalier discussions of broad topics". This interpretation of the history is far from universally accepted, and its opponents would say that it grossly downplays the role of Wittgenstein in the sixties and seventies.

Contemporary analytic philosophy


Although contemporary philosophers who self-identify as "analytic" have widely divergent interests, assumptions, and methods—and have often rejected the fundamental premises that defined the analytic movement before 1960—analytic philosophy, in its contemporary state, is usually taken to be defined by a particular style characterized by precision and thoroughness about a narrow topic, and resistance to "imprecise or cavalier discussions of broad topics."

Many philosophers and historians have attempted to define or describe analytic philosophy. Those definitions often include a focus on conceptual analysis: A.P. Martinich
A.P. Martinich
Aloysius P. Martinich is an analytic philosopher and is the Roy Allison Vaughan Centennial Professor of Philosophy and Professor History at University of Texas at Austin. His area of interest is the nature and practice of interpretation; history of modern philosophy; the philosophy of language and...

 draws an analogy between analytic philosophy's interest in conceptual analysis and analytic chemistry, which "aims at determining chemical compositions." Steven D. Hales described analytic philosophy as one of three types of philosophical method practiced in the West: "[i]n roughly reverse order by number of proponents, they are phenomenology, ideological philosophy, and analytic philosophy".

Scott Soames
Scott Soames
Scott Soames is a professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California. He specializes in the philosophy of language and the history of analytic philosophy...

 agrees that clarity is important: analytic philosophy, he says, has "an implicit commitment—albeit faltering and imperfect—to the ideals of clarity, rigor and argumentation" and it "aims at truth and knowledge, as opposed to moral or spiritual improvement [...] the goal in analytic philosophy is to discover what is true, not to provide a useful recipe for living one's life". Soames also states that analytic philosophy is characterised by "a more piecemeal approach. There is, I think, a widespread presumption within the tradition that it is often possible to make philosophical progress by intensively investigating a small, circumscribed range of philosophical issues while holding broader, systematic questions in abeyance".

A few of the most important and active fields and subfields in analytic philosophy are summarized in the following sections.

Philosophy of mind and cognitive science


Motivated by the logical positivists' interest in verificationism, behaviorism
Behaviorism
Behaviorism , also called the learning perspective , is a philosophy of psychology based on the proposition that all things that organisms do—including acting, thinking, and feeling—can and should be regarded as behaviors, and that psychological disorders are best treated by altering behavior...

 was the most prominent theory of mind in analytic philosophy for the first half of the twentieth century. Behaviorists tended to hold either that statements about the mind were equivalent to statements about behavior and dispositions to behave in particular ways or that mental states were directly equivalent to behavior and dispositions to behave. Behaviorism later became far less popular, in favor of type physicalism or functionalism
Functionalism (philosophy of mind)
Functionalism is a theory of the mind in contemporary philosophy, developed largely as an alternative to both the identity theory of mind and behaviourism. Its core idea is that mental states are constituted solely by their functional role — that is, they are causal relations to other mental...

, theories that identified mental states with brain states. During this period, topics in the philosophy of mind were often in close contact with issues in cognitive science
Cognitive science
Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary scientific study of mind and its processes. It examines what cognition is, what it does and how it works. It includes research on how information is processed , represented, and transformed in behaviour, nervous system or machine...

 such as modularity
Modularity of mind
Modularity of mind is the notion that a mind may, at least in part, be composed of separate innate structures which have established evolutionarily developed functional purposes...

 or innateness
Psychological nativism
In the field of psychology, nativism is the view that certain skills or abilities are 'native' or hard wired into the brain at birth. This is in contrast to empiricism, the 'blank slate' or tabula rasa view, which states that the brain has inborn capabilities for learning from the environment but...

. Finally, analytic philosophy has featured a few philosophers who were dualists
Dualism (philosophy of mind)
In philosophy of mind, dualism is a set of views about the relationship between mind and matter, which begins with the claim that mental phenomena are, in some respects, non-physical....

, and recently forms of property dualism have had a resurgence, with David Chalmers
David Chalmers
David John Chalmers is an Australian philosopher specializing in the area of philosophy of mind and philosophy of language, whose recent work concerns verbal disputes. He is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Consciousness at the Australian National University...

 as the most prominent representative.

John Searle
John Searle
John Rogers Searle is an American philosopher and currently the Slusser Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley.-Biography:...

 suggests that the obsession with linguistic philosophy of the last century has been superseded by an emphasis on the philosophy of mind
Philosophy of mind
Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness and their relationship to the physical body, particularly the brain. The mind-body problem, i.e...

, in which functionalism
Functionalism (philosophy of mind)
Functionalism is a theory of the mind in contemporary philosophy, developed largely as an alternative to both the identity theory of mind and behaviourism. Its core idea is that mental states are constituted solely by their functional role — that is, they are causal relations to other mental...

 is currently the dominant theory. In recent years, a central focus for research in the philosophy of mind has been consciousness
Consciousness
Consciousness is a term that refers to the relationship between the mind and the world with which it interacts. It has been defined as: subjectivity, awareness, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind...

. And while there is a general consensus for the global neuronal workspace model of consciousness, there are many views as to how the specifics work out. The best known theories are Daniel Dennett
Daniel Dennett
Daniel Clement Dennett is an American philosopher, writer and cognitive scientist whose research centers on the philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and philosophy of biology, particularly as those fields relate to evolutionary biology and cognitive science. He is currently the Co-director of...

's heterophenomenology
Heterophenomenology
Heterophenomenology is a term coined by Daniel Dennett to describe an explicitly third-person, scientific approach to the study of consciousness and other mental phenomena...

, Fred Dretske
Fred Dretske
Frederick Irwin Dretske is a philosopher noted for his contributions to epistemology and the philosophy of mind. His more recent work centers on conscious experience and self-knowledge. Additionally, he was awarded the Jean Nicod Prize in 1994...

 and Michael Tye's
Michael Tye (philosopher)
Michael Tye is a philosopher at the University of Texas at Austin who has made significant contributions to the philosophy of mind. He was educated at Oxford University in England, studying first physics and then physics and philosophy. Before moving to Texas, Tye taught at Temple University in...

 representationalism
Direct and indirect realism
The question of direct or "naïve" realism, as opposed to indirect or "representational" realism, arises in the philosophy of perception and of mind out of the debate over the nature of conscious experience; the epistemological question of whether the world we see around us is the real world itself...

, and the higher-order theories of either David M. Rosenthal
David M. Rosenthal
David M. Rosenthal is a philosopher at the City University of New York who has made significant contributions to the philosophy of mind, particularly in the area of consciousness. He was educated at the University of Chicago and then Princeton University...

—who advocates a higher-order thought (HOT) model—or David Armstrong
David Malet Armstrong
David Malet Armstrong , often D. M. Armstrong, is an Australian philosopher. He is well-known for his work on metaphysics and the philosophy of mind, and for his defence of a factualist ontology, a functionalist theory of the mind, an externalist epistemology, and a necessitarian conception of the...

 and William Lycan
William Lycan
William G. Lycan is a noted American philosopher teaching at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,where he is the William Rand Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor. He won the Class of 2001 Outstanding Faculty Award and a Distinguished Teaching Award for Post-Baccalaureate Instruction in...

—who advocate a higher-order perception (HOP) model. An alternative higher-order theory, the higher-order global states (HOGS) model, is offered by Robert van Gulick.

Ethics in analytic philosophy



The first half of the twentieth century was marked by the widespread neglect of ethical philosophy and the popularity of skeptical attitudes towards value (e.g., emotivism
Emotivism
Emotivism is a meta-ethical view that claims that ethical sentences do not express propositions but emotional attitudes. Influenced by the growth of analytic philosophy and logical positivism in the 20th century, the theory was stated vividly by A. J. Ayer in his 1936 book Language, Truth and...

). During this time, utilitarianism
Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism is an ethical theory holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes the overall "happiness", by whatever means necessary. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined only by its resulting outcome, and that one can...

 was the only non-skeptical approach to ethics to remain popular. However, as the influence of logical positivism
Logical positivism
Logical positivism is a philosophy that combines empiricism—the idea that observational evidence is indispensable for knowledge—with a version of rationalism incorporating mathematical and logico-linguistic constructs and deductions of epistemology.It may be considered as a type of analytic...

 began to wane mid-century, contemporary analytic philosophers began to have a renewed interest in ethics. G.E.M. Anscombe’s 1958 Modern Moral Philosophy
Modern Moral Philosophy
Modern Moral Philosophy was an influential article on moral philosophy by G. E. M. Anscombe, originally published in the journal Philosophy, vol. 33, no. 124 ....

 sparked a revival of Aristotle's
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 virtue ethical
Virtue ethics
Virtue ethics describes the character of a moral agent as a driving force for ethical behavior, rather than rules , consequentialism , or social context .The difference between these four approaches to morality tends to lie more in the way moral dilemmas are...

 approach and John Rawls’s
John Rawls
John Bordley Rawls was an American philosopher and a leading figure in moral and political philosophy. He held the James Bryant Conant University Professorship at Harvard University....

 1971 A Theory of Justice
A Theory of Justice
A Theory of Justice is a book of political philosophy and ethics by John Rawls. It was originally published in 1971 and revised in both 1975 and 1999. In A Theory of Justice, Rawls attempts to solve the problem of distributive justice by utilising a variant of the familiar device of the social...

restored interest in Kantian ethical philosophy. At present, contemporary ethical philosophy is dominated by three schools: utilitarianism, virtue ethics, and deontology.

Another major development in the latter half of the twentieth century (c. 1970), has been contemporary ethical philosophy's overwhelming concern with practical applications, especially in relation to environmental issues
Environmental ethics
Environmental ethics is the part of environmental philosophy which considers extending the traditional boundaries of ethics from solely including humans to including the non-human world...

, animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

 and the many challenges created by advancing medical science
Bioethics
Bioethics is the study of controversial ethics brought about by advances in biology and medicine. Bioethicists are concerned with the ethical questions that arise in the relationships among life sciences, biotechnology, medicine, politics, law, and philosophy....

.

As a side-effect of the focus on logic and language in the early years of analytic philosophy, the tradition initially had little to say on the subject of ethics. The attitude was widespread among early analytics that these subjects were unsystematic, and merely expressed personal attitudes about which philosophy could have little or nothing to say. Wittgenstein, in the Tractatus, remarks that values cannot be a part of the world, and if they are anything at all they must be beyond or outside the world somehow, and that hence language, which describes the world, can say nothing about them. One interpretation of these remarks found expression in the doctrine of the logical positivists that statements about value
Value (ethics)
In ethics, value is a property of objects, including physical objects as well as abstract objects , representing their degree of importance....

—including all ethical and aesthetic judgments—are non-cognitive
Cognitivism (ethics)
Cognitivism is the meta-ethical view that ethical sentences express propositions and can therefore be true or false , which noncognitivists deny...

; that is, not able to be either true or false. Instead, it was held that they expressed the attitude of the speaker. Saying, "Killing is wrong", they thought, was equivalent to saying, "Boo to murder", or saying the word "murder" with a particular tone of disapproval. Social and political philosophy, aesthetics, and various more specialized subjects like philosophy of history
Philosophy of history
The term philosophy of history refers to the theoretical aspect of history, in two senses. It is customary to distinguish critical philosophy of history from speculative philosophy of history...

 moved to the fringes of English-language philosophy for some time.

By the 1950s debates had begun to arise over whether—and if so, how—ethical statements really were non-cognitive. Charles Stevenson
Charles Stevenson
Charles Leslie Stevenson was an American analytic philosopher best known for his work in ethics and aesthetics....

 argued for expressivism
Expressivism
Expressivism in meta-ethics is a theory about the meaning of moral language. According to expressivism, sentences that employ moral terms–for example, “It is wrong to torture an innocent human being”–are not descriptive or fact-stating; moral terms such as “wrong,” “good,” or “just” do not refer...

, R. M. Hare
R. M. Hare
Richard Mervyn Hare was an English moral philosopher who held the post of White's Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Oxford from 1966 until 1983. He subsequently taught for a number of years at the University of Florida...

 advocated a view called universal prescriptivism
Universal prescriptivism
Universal prescriptivism is the meta-ethical view which claims that, rather than expressing propositions, ethical sentences function similarly to imperatives which are universalizable — whoever makes a moral judgment is committed to the same judgment in any situation where the same relevant facts...

. Phillipa Foot contributed several essays attacking all these positions, and the collapse of logical positivism as a cohesive research programme led to a renewed interest in ethics. Perhaps most influential in this area was Elizabeth Anscombe, whose landmark monograph "Intention" was called by Donald Davidson
Donald Davidson (philosopher)
Donald Herbert Davidson was an American philosopher born in Springfield, Massachusetts, who served as Slusser Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley from 1981 to 2003 after having also held teaching appointments at Stanford University, Rockefeller University, Princeton...

 "the most important treatment of action since Aristotle", and is widely regarded as a masterpiece of moral psychology. A favorite student and close friend of Ludwig Wittgenstein, her 1958 article "Modern Moral Philosophy" introduced the term "consequentialism
Consequentialism
Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness of that conduct...

" into the philosophical lexicon, declared the "is-ought" impasse to be a dead end, and led to a revival in virtue ethics.

Analytic philosophy of religion



As with the study of ethics, early analytic philosophy tended to avoid the study of philosophy of religion
Philosophy of religion
Philosophy of religion is a branch of philosophy concerned with questions regarding religion, including the nature and existence of God, the examination of religious experience, analysis of religious language and texts, and the relationship of religion and science...

, largely dismissing (as per the logical positivists view) the subject as part of metaphysics
Metaphysics
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:...

 and therefore meaningless. The collapse of logical positivism
Logical positivism
Logical positivism is a philosophy that combines empiricism—the idea that observational evidence is indispensable for knowledge—with a version of rationalism incorporating mathematical and logico-linguistic constructs and deductions of epistemology.It may be considered as a type of analytic...

 renewed interest in philosophy of religion, prompting philosophers like William Alston
William Alston
William Payne Alston was an American philosopher. He made influential contributions to the philosophy of language, epistemology and Christian philosophy. He earned his Ph.D...

, John Mackie
J. L. Mackie
John Leslie Mackie was an Australian philosopher, originally from Sydney. He made significant contributions to the philosophy of religion, metaphysics, and the philosophy of language, and is perhaps best known for his views on meta-ethics, especially his defence of moral skepticism.He authored six...

, Alvin Plantinga
Alvin Plantinga
Alvin Carl Plantinga is an American analytic philosopher and the emeritus John A. O'Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He is known for his work in philosophy of religion, epistemology, metaphysics, and Christian apologetics...

, Robert Merrihew Adams, Richard Swinburne
Richard Swinburne
Richard G. Swinburne is an Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford. Over the last 50 years Swinburne has been a very influential proponent of philosophical arguments for the existence of God. His philosophical contributions are primarily in philosophy of religion and...

, and Antony Flew
Antony Flew
Antony Garrard Newton Flew was a British philosopher. Belonging to the analytic and evidentialist schools of thought, he was notable for his works on the philosophy of religion....

 not only to introduce new problems, but to re-open classical topics such as the nature of miracle
Miracle
A miracle often denotes an event attributed to divine intervention. Alternatively, it may be an event attributed to a miracle worker, saint, or religious leader. A miracle is sometimes thought of as a perceptible interruption of the laws of nature. Others suggest that a god may work with the laws...

s, theistic arguments, the problem of evil
Problem of evil
In the philosophy of religion, the problem of evil is the question of how to explain evil if there exists a deity that is omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient . Some philosophers have claimed that the existences of such a god and of evil are logically incompatible or unlikely...

, (see existence of God
Existence of God
Arguments for and against the existence of God have been proposed by philosophers, theologians, scientists, and others. In philosophical terms, arguments for and against the existence of God involve primarily the sub-disciplines of epistemology and ontology , but also of the theory of value, since...

) the rationality of belief in God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

, concepts of the nature of God, and many more.

Plantinga, Mackie and Flew debated the logical validity of the free will defense as a way to solve the problem of evil. Alston, grappling with the consequences of analytic philosophy of language
Philosophy of language
Philosophy of language is the reasoned inquiry into the nature, origins, and usage of language. As a topic, the philosophy of language for analytic philosophers is concerned with four central problems: the nature of meaning, language use, language cognition, and the relationship between language...

, worked on the nature of religious language. Adams worked on the relationship of faith and morality. Analytic epistemology and metaphysics has formed the basis for a number of philosophically-sophisticated theistic arguments, like those of the reformed epistemologists
Reformed epistemology
In the philosophy of religion, reformed epistemology is a school of thought regarding the epistemology of belief in God put forward by a group of Protestant Christian philosophers, most notably, Alvin Plantinga, William Alston, Nicholas Wolterstorff and Michael C. Rea...

 like Plantinga.

Analytic philosophy of religion has also been preoccupied with Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was an Austrian philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. He was professor in philosophy at the University of Cambridge from 1939 until 1947...

, as well as his interpretation of Søren Kierkegaard
Søren Kierkegaard
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a Danish Christian philosopher, theologian and religious author. He was a critic of idealist intellectuals and philosophers of his time, such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel...

's philosophy of religion. Using first-hand remarks (which was later published in Philosophical Investigations
Philosophical Investigations
Philosophical Investigations is, along with the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, one of the most influential works by the 20th-century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein...

, Culture and Value, and other works), philosophers such as Peter Winch
Peter Winch
Peter Guy Winch was a British philosopher known for his contributions to the philosophy of social science, Wittgenstein scholarship, ethics, and the philosophy of religion...

 and Norman Malcolm
Norman Malcolm
Norman Malcolm was an American philosopher, born in Selden, Kansas. He studied philosophy with O.K. Bouwsma at the University of Nebraska, then enrolled as a graduate student at Harvard University in 1933....

 developed what has come to be known as contemplative philosophy, a Wittgensteinian school of thought rooted in the "Swansea tradition," and which includes Wittgensteinians such as Rush Rhees
Rush Rhees
Rush Rhees was a philosopher at Swansea University from 1940 to 1966Rhees is principally known as a student, friend, and literary executor of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. With G. E. M. Anscombe, he edited Wittgenstein's posthumous Philosophical Investigations , a highly influential work...

, Peter Winch
Peter Winch
Peter Guy Winch was a British philosopher known for his contributions to the philosophy of social science, Wittgenstein scholarship, ethics, and the philosophy of religion...

 and D. Z. Phillips
D. Z. Phillips
Dewi Zephaniah Phillips , known as D. Z. Phillips, Dewi Z, or simply DZ, was a leading proponent of Wittgensteinian philosophy of religion and had a long academic career spanning five decades...

, among others. The name "contemplative philosophy" was first coined by D. Z. Phillips in Philosophy's Cool Place, which rests on an interpretation of a passage from Wittgenstein's "Culture and Value." This interpretation was first labeled, "Wittgensteinian Fideism," by Kai Nielsen but those who consider themselves Wittgensteinians in the Swansea tradition have relentlessly and repeatedly rejected this construal as caricature of Wittgenstein's considered position; this is especially true of D. Z. Phillips. Responding to this interpretation, Kai Nielsen and D.Z. Phillips became two of the most prominent philosophers on Wittgenstein's philosophy of religion.

Liberalism


Current analytic political philosophy owes much to John Rawls
John Rawls
John Bordley Rawls was an American philosopher and a leading figure in moral and political philosophy. He held the James Bryant Conant University Professorship at Harvard University....

, who, in a series of papers from the 1950s onward (most notably "Two Concepts of Rules" and "Justice as Fairness") and his 1971 book A Theory of Justice
A Theory of Justice
A Theory of Justice is a book of political philosophy and ethics by John Rawls. It was originally published in 1971 and revised in both 1975 and 1999. In A Theory of Justice, Rawls attempts to solve the problem of distributive justice by utilising a variant of the familiar device of the social...

, produced a sophisticated and closely argued defence of a liberalism
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

 in politics. This was followed in short order by Rawls's colleague Robert Nozick
Robert Nozick
Robert Nozick was an American political philosopher, most prominent in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for his book Anarchy, State, and Utopia , a right-libertarian answer to John Rawls's A Theory of Justice...

's book Anarchy, State, and Utopia
Anarchy, State, and Utopia
Anarchy, State, and Utopia is a work of political philosophy written by Robert Nozick in 1974. This minarchist book was the winner of the 1975 National Book Award...

, a defence of free-market libertarianism
Libertarianism
Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy that holds individual liberty as the basic moral principle of society. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view...

. Isaiah Berlin
Isaiah Berlin
Sir Isaiah Berlin OM, FBA was a British social and political theorist, philosopher and historian of ideas of Russian-Jewish origin, regarded as one of the leading thinkers of the twentieth century and a dominant liberal scholar of his generation...

 has had a notable influence on both analytic political philosophy and Liberalism
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

 with his lecture the Two Concepts of Liberty
Two Concepts of Liberty
Two Concepts of Liberty was the inaugural lecture delivered by the liberal philosopher Isaiah Berlin before the University of Oxford on 31 October 1958. It was subsequently published as a 57-page pamphlet by Oxford at the Clarendon Press...

.

Recent decades have also seen the rise of several critiques of liberalism, including the feminist
Feminism
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights...

 critiques of Catharine MacKinnon
Catharine MacKinnon
Catharine Alice MacKinnon is an American feminist, scholar, lawyer, teacher and activist.- Biography :MacKinnon was born in Minnesota. Her mother is Elizabeth Valentine Davis; her father, George E. MacKinnon was a lawyer, congressman , and judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit...

 and Andrea Dworkin
Andrea Dworkin
Andrea Rita Dworkin was an American radical feminist and writer best known for her criticism of pornography, which she argued was linked to rape and other forms of violence against women....

, the communitarian
Communitarianism
Communitarianism is an ideology that emphasizes the connection between the individual and the community. That community may be the family unit, but it can also be understood in a far wider sense of personal interaction, of geographical location, or of shared history.-Terminology:Though the term...

 critiques of Michael Sandel
Michael Sandel
Michael J. Sandel is an American political philosopher and a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for the Harvard course 'Justice' which is available to , and for his critique of Rawls' A Theory of Justice in his Liberalism and the Limits of Justice...

 and Alasdair MacIntyre
Alasdair MacIntyre
Alasdair Chalmers MacIntyre is a British philosopher primarily known for his contribution to moral and political philosophy but known also for his work in history of philosophy and theology...

 (though it should be noted both shy away from the term), and the multiculturalist
Multiculturalism
Multiculturalism is the appreciation, acceptance or promotion of multiple cultures, applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place, usually at the organizational level, e.g...

 critiques of Amy Gutmann
Amy Gutmann
Amy Gutmann is the eighth President of the University of Pennsylvania and the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Communications, and Philosophy...

 and Charles Taylor
Charles Taylor (philosopher)
Charles Margrave Taylor, is a Canadian philosopher from Montreal, Quebec best known for his contributions in political philosophy, the philosophy of social science, and in the history of philosophy. His contributions to these fields have earned him both the prestigious Kyoto Prize and the...

. Although not an analytic philosopher, Jürgen Habermas
Jürgen Habermas
Jürgen Habermas is a German sociologist and philosopher in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He is perhaps best known for his theory on the concepts of 'communicative rationality' and the 'public sphere'...

 is another important—if controversial—figure in contemporary analytic political philosophy, whose social theory is a blend of social science, Marxism, neo-Kantianism
Neo-Kantianism
Neo-Kantianism refers broadly to a revived type of philosophy along the lines of that laid down by Immanuel Kant in the 18th century, or more specifically by Schopenhauer's criticism of the Kantian philosophy in his work The World as Will and Representation , as well as by other post-Kantian...

, and American pragmatism
Pragmatism
Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition centered on the linking of practice and theory. It describes a process where theory is extracted from practice, and applied back to practice to form what is called intelligent practice...

.

Consequentialist libertarianism
Consequentialist libertarianism
Consequentialist libertarianism refers to the view that liberty leads to favorable consequences such as prosperity, efficiency, or peace, and for that reason should be supported, advocated, and maximized...

 also derives from the analytic tradition.

Analytical Marxism


Another development in the area of political philosophy has been the emergence of a school known as Analytical Marxism
Analytical Marxism
Analytical Marxism refers to a particular Marxist approach that was prominent amongst English-speaking philosophers and social scientists during the 1980s. It was mainly associated with the September Group of academics, so called because of their biennial September meetings to discuss common...

. Members of this school seek to apply the techniques of analytic philosophy, along with tools of modern social science such as rational choice theory
Rational choice theory
Rational choice theory, also known as choice theory or rational action theory, is a framework for understanding and often formally modeling social and economic behavior. It is the main theoretical paradigm in the currently-dominant school of microeconomics...

 to the elucidation of the theories of Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

 and his successors. The best-known member of this school is Oxford University philosopher G.A. Cohen, whose 1978 work, Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence
Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence
Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence is a 1978 book by Gerald Cohen, considered a groundbreaking reinterpretation of the Marxist doctrine of historical materialism...

is generally taken as representing the genesis of this school. In that book, Cohen attempted to apply the tools of logical and linguistic analysis to the elucidation and defense of Marx's materialist conception of history. Other prominent Analytical Marxists include the economist John Roemer
John Roemer
John E. Roemer is an American economist and political scientist. He is currently the Elizabeth S. and A. Varick Stout Professor of Political Science and Economics at Yale University. Prior to joining Yale, he was on the economics faculty at the University of California, Davis, and before entering...

, the social scientist Jon Elster
Jon Elster
Jon Elster is a Norwegian social and political theorist who has authored works in the philosophy of social science and rational choice theory...

, and the sociologist Erik Olin Wright
Erik Olin Wright
Erik Olin Wright is an American analytical Marxist sociologist, specializing in social stratification, and in egalitarian alternative futures to capitalism.-Biography:...

. All these people have attempted to build upon Cohen's work by bringing to bear modern social science methods, such as rational choice theory, to supplement Cohen's use of analytic philosophical techniques in the interpretation of Marxian theory.

Cohen himself would later engage directly with Rawlsian political philosophy in attempt to advance a socialist theory of justice that stands in contrast to both traditional Marxism and the theories advanced by Rawls and Nozick. In particular, he points to Marx's principle of from each according to his ability, to each according to his need
From each according to his ability, to each according to his need
From each according to his ability, to each according to his need is a slogan popularised by Karl Marx in his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program. In German, "Jeder nach seinen Fähigkeiten, jedem nach seinen Bedürfnissen!"...

.

Communitarianism


Communitarians such as Alasdair MacIntyre
Alasdair MacIntyre
Alasdair Chalmers MacIntyre is a British philosopher primarily known for his contribution to moral and political philosophy but known also for his work in history of philosophy and theology...

, Charles Taylor
Charles Taylor (philosopher)
Charles Margrave Taylor, is a Canadian philosopher from Montreal, Quebec best known for his contributions in political philosophy, the philosophy of social science, and in the history of philosophy. His contributions to these fields have earned him both the prestigious Kyoto Prize and the...

, Michael Walzer
Michael Walzer
Michael Walzer is a prominent American political philosopher and public intellectual. A professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, he is co-editor of Dissent, an intellectual magazine that he has been affiliated with since his years as an undergraduate at...

 and Michael Sandel
Michael Sandel
Michael J. Sandel is an American political philosopher and a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for the Harvard course 'Justice' which is available to , and for his critique of Rawls' A Theory of Justice in his Liberalism and the Limits of Justice...

 advance a critique of Liberalism that uses analytic techniques to isolate the key assumptions of Liberal individualists, such as Rawls, and then challenges these assumptions. In particular, Communitarians challenge the Liberal assumption that the individual can be viewed as fully autonomous from the community in which he lives and is brought up. Instead, they push for a conception of the individual that emphasizes the role that the community plays in shaping his or her values, thought processes and opinions.

Analytic metaphysics


One striking break with early analytic philosophy was the revival of metaphysical theorizing in the second half of the twentieth century. Philosophers such as David Kellogg Lewis
David Kellogg Lewis
David Kellogg Lewis was an American philosopher. Lewis taught briefly at UCLA and then at Princeton from 1970 until his death. He is also closely associated with Australia, whose philosophical community he visited almost annually for more than thirty years...

 and David Armstrong
David Malet Armstrong
David Malet Armstrong , often D. M. Armstrong, is an Australian philosopher. He is well-known for his work on metaphysics and the philosophy of mind, and for his defence of a factualist ontology, a functionalist theory of the mind, an externalist epistemology, and a necessitarian conception of the...

 developed elaborate theories on a range of topics such as universals, causation, possibility and necessity, and abstract objects.

Among the developments that led to the revival of metaphysical theorizing were Quine's
Willard Van Orman Quine
Willard Van Orman Quine was an American philosopher and logician in the analytic tradition...

 attack on the analytic-synthetic distinction, which was generally taken to undermine Carnap's
Rudolf Carnap
Rudolf Carnap was an influential German-born philosopher who was active in Europe before 1935 and in the United States thereafter. He was a major member of the Vienna Circle and an advocate of logical positivism....

 distinction between existence questions internal to a framework and those external to it.

Metaphysics remains a fertile area for research, having recovered from the attacks of A.J. Ayer and the logical positivists
Logical positivism
Logical positivism is a philosophy that combines empiricism—the idea that observational evidence is indispensable for knowledge—with a version of rationalism incorporating mathematical and logico-linguistic constructs and deductions of epistemology.It may be considered as a type of analytic...

. And though many were inherited from previous decades, the debate remains fierce. The philosophy of fiction, the problem of empty names, and the debate over existence's status as a property have all risen out of relative obscurity to become central concerns, while perennial issues such as free will, possible worlds, and the philosophy of time have had new life breathed into them.

Science has also played an increasingly significant role in metaphysics. The theory of special relativity has had a profound effect on the philosophy of time, and quantum physics is routinely discussed in the free will debate. The weight given to scientific evidence is largely due to widespread commitments among philosophers to scientific realism
Scientific realism
Scientific realism is, at the most general level, the view that the world described by science is the real world, as it is, independent of what we might take it to be...

 and naturalism
Naturalism (philosophy)
Naturalism commonly refers to the philosophical viewpoint that the natural universe and its natural laws and forces operate in the universe, and that nothing exists beyond the natural universe or, if it does, it does not affect the natural universe that we know...

.

Philosophy of language



Philosophy of language is another area that has slowed down over the course of the last four decades, as evidenced by the fact that few major figures in contemporary philosophy treat it as a primary research area. Indeed, while the debate remains fierce, it is still strongly under the influence of those figures from the first half of the century: Gottlob Frege
Gottlob Frege
Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege was a German mathematician, logician and philosopher. He is considered to be one of the founders of modern logic, and made major contributions to the foundations of mathematics. He is generally considered to be the father of analytic philosophy, for his writings on...

, Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

, Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was an Austrian philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. He was professor in philosophy at the University of Cambridge from 1939 until 1947...

, J.L. Austin, Alfred Tarski
Alfred Tarski
Alfred Tarski was a Polish logician and mathematician. Educated at the University of Warsaw and a member of the Lwow-Warsaw School of Logic and the Warsaw School of Mathematics and philosophy, he emigrated to the USA in 1939, and taught and carried out research in mathematics at the University of...

, and W.V.O. Quine
Willard Van Orman Quine
Willard Van Orman Quine was an American philosopher and logician in the analytic tradition...

.

In Naming and Necessity
Naming and Necessity
Naming and Necessity is a book by the philosopher Saul Kripke that was first published in 1980 and deals with the debates of proper nouns in the philosophy of language. The book is based on a transcript of three lectures given at Princeton University in 1970...

, Kripke influentially argued that flaws in common theories of proper names are indicative of larger misunderstandings of the metaphysics of necessity and possibility. By wedding the tools of modal logic to a causal theory of reference, Kripke was widely regarded as reviving theories of essence and identity as respectable topics of philosophical discussion.

Philosophy of science



Reacting against the earlier philosopher of science Sir Karl Popper
Karl Popper
Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH FRS FBA was an Austro-British philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics...

, who had suggested the falsifiability
Falsifiability
Falsifiability or refutability of an assertion, hypothesis or theory is the logical possibility that it can be contradicted by an observation or the outcome of a physical experiment...

 criterion on which to judge the demarcation between science and non-science, discussions in philosophy of science
Philosophy of science
The philosophy of science is concerned with the assumptions, foundations, methods and implications of science. It is also concerned with the use and merit of science and sometimes overlaps metaphysics and epistemology by exploring whether scientific results are actually a study of truth...

 in the last forty years were dominated by social constructivist
Social constructivism
Social constructivism is a sociological theory of knowledge that applies the general philosophical constructionism into social settings, wherein groups construct knowledge for one another, collaboratively creating a small culture of shared artifacts with shared meanings...

 and cognitive relativist theories of science. Thomas Samuel Kuhn is one of the major philosophers of science representative of the former theory, while Paul Feyerabend
Paul Feyerabend
Paul Karl Feyerabend was an Austrian-born philosopher of science best known for his work as a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked for three decades . He lived a peripatetic life, living at various times in England, the United States, New Zealand,...

 is representative of the latter theory. Philosophy of biology has also undergone considerable growth, particularly due to the considerable debate in recent years over evolution
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

. Here again, Daniel Dennett and his 1995 book Darwin's Dangerous Idea
Darwin's Dangerous Idea
Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life is a book by Daniel Dennett which argues that Darwinian processes are the central organizing force that gives rise to complexity...

stand at the foreground of this debate.

Epistemology



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.

Aesthetics



In the wake of attacks on the traditional aesthetic notions of beauty and sublimity from post-modern thinkers, analytic philosophers were slow in taking on analyses of art and aesthetic judgment. Susanne Langer
Susanne Langer
Susanne Katherina Langer was an American philosopher of mind and of art who was influenced by Ernst Cassirer and Alfred North Whitehead. She was one of the first women to achieve an academic career in philosophy and the first to be popularly and professionally recognized as an American philosopher...

 and Nelson Goodman
Nelson Goodman
Henry Nelson Goodman was an American philosopher, known for his work on counterfactuals, mereology, the problem of induction, irrealism and aesthetics.-Career:...

 addressed these problems in an analytic style in the 1950s and 60s. Rigorous efforts to pursue analyses of traditional aesthetic concepts were undertaken by Guy Sircello
Guy Sircello
**Guy Sircello was an American philosopher best known for his analytic approach to philosophical aesthetics.-Biography:Guy Sircello was a Professor of Philosophy at the University of California Irvine from 1966 until his death in 1992 at the age of 55. He earned his PhD from Columbia University...

 in the 1970s and 80s, resulting in new analytic theories of love, sublimity, and beauty.

Schools of thought in analytic philosophy


Coherentism
Coherentism
There are two distinct types of coherentism. One refers to the coherence theory of truth. The other refers to the coherence theory of justification. The coherentist theory of justification characterizes epistemic justification as a property of a belief only if that belief is a member of a coherent...

In epistemology, the view has been advanced both as a theory of knowledge and of justified belief. As a theory of knowledge, coherentism can be roughly stated as follows: "Someone's belief is true if and only if it is coherent with all or most of his or her other beliefs." As a theory of justification
Theory of justification
Theory of justification is a part of epistemology that attempts to understand the justification of propositions and beliefs. Epistemologists are concerned with various epistemic features of belief, which include the ideas of justification, warrant, rationality, and probability...

, coherentism can be roughly stated: "Someone's belief is justified if and only if it is coherent with all or most of his or her other beliefs."

Compatibilism
In metaphysics, it is the view that free will and determinism are compatible ideas and that it is possible to believe both without being logically inconsistent. Compatibilism is also known as soft determinism.

Contextualism
Contextualism
Contextualism describes a collection of views in philosophy which emphasize the context in which an action, utterance, or expression occurs, and argues that, in some important respect, the action, utterance, or expression can only be understood relative to that context...

In epistemology, contextualism is the treatment of the word 'knows' as context-sensitive. Context-sensitive expressions are ones that "express different propositions relative to different contexts of use".

Deflationism
Deflationary theory of truth
A deflationary theory of truth is one of a family of theories which all have in common the claim that assertions that predicate truth of a statement do not attribute a property called truth to such a statement.-Redundancy theory:...

In epistemology, the view that assertions that predicate truth of a statement do not attribute a property called truth to such a statement. However, there are many competing deflationist theories: redundancy theory
Redundancy theory of truth
According to the redundancy theory of truth, or the disquotational theory of truth, asserting that a statement is true is completely equivalent to asserting the statement itself. For example, asserting the sentence " 'Snow is white' is true" is equivalent to asserting the sentence "Snow is...

, performative theory, ; semantic theory
Semantic theory of truth
A semantic theory of truth is a theory of truth in the philosophy of language which holds that truth is a property of sentences.-Origin:The semantic conception of truth, which is related in different ways to both the correspondence and deflationary conceptions, is due to work published by Polish...

, disquotationalism, prosententialism, and minimalism.

Direct realism
Naïve realism
Naïve realism, also known as direct realism or common sense realism, is a philosophy of mind rooted in a common sense theory of perception that claims that the senses provide us with direct awareness of the external world...

In epistemology, the view that the world is pretty much as common sense would have it. Furthermore, when we look at and touch things we see and feel those things directly, and so perceive them as they really are. In contrast, indirect or representative realism claims that we are directly aware only of internal representations of the external world. Direct realism is also known by the names, naïve realism or common sense realism.

Epiphenomenalism
Epiphenomenalism
In philosophy of mind, epiphenomenalism, also known as Type-E Dualism, is a view that "mental" states do not have any influence on "physical" states.-Background:...

In philosophy of mind, epiphenomenalism is a view according to which some or all mental states are mere epiphenomena (side-effects or by-products) of physical states of the world.

Incompatibilism
In metaphysics, it is the view that free will (and therefore moral responsibility) and determinism are logically incompatible categories. This could include believing in determinism and therefore free will is an illusion (Hard Determinism
Determinism
Determinism is the general philosophical thesis that states that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given them, nothing else could happen. There are many versions of this thesis. Each of them rests upon various alleged connections, and interdependencies of things and...

) or that free will exists and therefore determinism is false (Libertarianism)
Libertarianism (metaphysics)
Libertarianism is one of the main philosophical positions related to the problems of free will and determinism, which are part of the larger domain of metaphysics. In particular, libertarianism, which is an incompatibilist position, argues that free will is logically incompatible with a...

.

Externalism
Internalism and externalism
Internalism and externalism are two opposing ways of explaining various subjects in several areas of philosophy. These include human motivation, knowledge, justification, meaning and truth. The distinction arises in many areas of debate with similar but distinct meanings...

Contrasted with internalism, externalism names several distinct views across several branches of philosophy. For example, in moral philosophy a motivational externalist claims that there is no necessary connection between moral judgments and moral motives. In epistemology, a justification externalist claims that there are factors other than those internal to the believer that can affect the justificatory status of a belief. In philosophy of mind, externalism is the view that the contents of at least some of one's mental states are dependent in part on their relationship to the external world or one's environment.

Functionalism
Functionalism (philosophy of mind)
Functionalism is a theory of the mind in contemporary philosophy, developed largely as an alternative to both the identity theory of mind and behaviourism. Its core idea is that mental states are constituted solely by their functional role — that is, they are causal relations to other mental...

In philosophy of mind, functionalism is a philosophical position holding that mental states (beliefs, desires, being in pain, etc.) are constituted solely by their functional role—that is, their causal relations to other mental states, sensory inputs, and behavioral outputs. Since mental states are identified by a functional role, they are said to be multiply realizable; in other words, they are able to be manifested in various systems, even perhaps computers, so long as the system performs the appropriate functions.

Internalism
Internalism and externalism
Internalism and externalism are two opposing ways of explaining various subjects in several areas of philosophy. These include human motivation, knowledge, justification, meaning and truth. The distinction arises in many areas of debate with similar but distinct meanings...

Contrasted with externalism, internalism names several distinct views across several branches of philosophy. For example, in moral philosophy a motivational internalist claims that moral judgments are intrinsically motivating. In epistemology, a internalism about justification claims that everything necessary to provide justification for a belief must be immediately available in an agent's conscious. In philosophy of mind, internalism is the view that the contents of all of one's mental states are independent of their relationship to the external world or one's environment.

Logical atomism
Logical atomism
Logical atomism is a philosophical belief that originated in the early 20th century with the development of analytic philosophy. Its principal exponents were the British philosopher Bertrand Russell, the early work of his Austrian-born pupil and colleague Ludwig Wittgenstein, and his German...

The theory holds that the world consists of ultimate logical "facts" (or "atoms") that cannot be broken down any further.

Logical positivism
Logical positivism
Logical positivism is a philosophy that combines empiricism—the idea that observational evidence is indispensable for knowledge—with a version of rationalism incorporating mathematical and logico-linguistic constructs and deductions of epistemology.It may be considered as a type of analytic...

Logical positivism (or logical empiricism) is a school of philosophy that combines empiricism, the idea that observational evidence is indispensable for knowledge of the world, with a version of rationalism, the idea that our knowledge includes a component that is not derived from observation.

Naturalism
Naturalism (philosophy)
Naturalism commonly refers to the philosophical viewpoint that the natural universe and its natural laws and forces operate in the universe, and that nothing exists beyond the natural universe or, if it does, it does not affect the natural universe that we know...

Naturalism is the view that the scientific method (hypothesize, predict, test, repeat) is the only effective way to investigate reality. Most notably defended by W.V. Quine's
Willard Van Orman Quine
Willard Van Orman Quine was an American philosopher and logician in the analytic tradition...

 with his work to reduce epistemology to psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

.\

Neopragmatism
Neopragmatism
Neopragmatism, sometimes called linguistic pragmatism is a recent philosophical term for philosophy that reintroduces many concepts from pragmatism...

Neopragmatism, sometimes called linguistic pragmatism, is a recent (since the 1960s) philosophical term for philosophy that reintroduces many concepts from pragmatism. It has been associated with a variety of thinkers, among them Richard Rorty, Hilary Putnam, W.V.O. Quine, Donald Davidson, and Stanley Fish though none of these figures have called themselves "neopragmatists".

Non-cognitivism
Non-cognitivism
Non-cognitivism is the meta-ethical view that ethical sentences do not express propositions and thus cannot be true or false...

In metaethics, non-cognitivism is the view that ethical sentences do not express propositions and thus cannot be true or false. Examples of this view emotivism
Emotivism
Emotivism is a meta-ethical view that claims that ethical sentences do not express propositions but emotional attitudes. Influenced by the growth of analytic philosophy and logical positivism in the 20th century, the theory was stated vividly by A. J. Ayer in his 1936 book Language, Truth and...

, prescriptivism
Universal prescriptivism
Universal prescriptivism is the meta-ethical view which claims that, rather than expressing propositions, ethical sentences function similarly to imperatives which are universalizable — whoever makes a moral judgment is committed to the same judgment in any situation where the same relevant facts...

, quasi-realism
Quasi-realism
Quasi-realism is the meta-ethical view which claims that:# Ethical sentences do not express propositions.# Instead, ethical sentences project emotional attitudes as though they were real properties....

, and expressivism
Expressivism
Expressivism in meta-ethics is a theory about the meaning of moral language. According to expressivism, sentences that employ moral terms–for example, “It is wrong to torture an innocent human being”–are not descriptive or fact-stating; moral terms such as “wrong,” “good,” or “just” do not refer...

.

Ordinary language philosophy
Ordinary language philosophy
Ordinary language philosophy is a philosophical school that approaches traditional philosophical problems as rooted in misunderstandings philosophers develop by distorting or forgetting what words actually mean in everyday use....

Ordinary language philosophy is a philosophical school that approached traditional philosophical problems as rooted in misunderstandings philosophers develop by forgetting what words actually mean in a language.

Particularism
Moral particularism
Moral particularism is the view that there are no moral principles and that moral judgement can be found only as one decides particular cases, either real or imagined. This stands in stark contrast to other prominent moral theories, such as deontology or utilitarianism...

Moral particularism is the view that there are no moral principles and that moral judgement can be found only as one decides particular cases, either real or imagined.

Physicalism
Physicalism
Physicalism is a philosophical position holding that everything which exists is no more extensive than its physical properties; that is, that there are no kinds of things other than physical things...

In philosophy of mind and metaphysics, physicalism is a philosophical position holding that everything that exists is no more extensive than its physical properties; that is, that there are no kinds of things other than physical things. The term was coined by Otto Neurath in a series of early 20th century essays on the subject.

Property dualism
Property dualism
Property dualism describes a category of positions in the philosophy of mind which hold that, although the world is constituted of just one kind of substance - the physical kind - there exist two distinct kinds of properties: physical properties and mental properties...

In philosophy of mind, the view that, although the world is constituted of just one kind of substance—the physical kind—there exist two distinct kinds of properties: physical properties and mental properties.

Quietism
Quietism (philosophy)
Quietism in philosophy is an approach to the subject that sees the role of philosophy as broadly therapeutic or remedial. Quietist philosophers believe that philosophy has no positive thesis to contribute, but rather that its value is in defusing confusions in the linguistic and conceptual...

In metaphilosophy, the view that the role of philosophy is therapeutic or remedial. Quietist philosophers believe that philosophy has no positive theses to contribute, but rather that its value is in defusing confusions in the linguistic and conceptual frameworks of other subjects.

Reliabilism
Reliabilism
Reliabilism, a category of theories in the philosophical discipline of epistemology, has been advanced both as a theory of knowledge and of justified belief...

In epistemology, the view has been advanced both as a theory of knowledge and of justified belief. As a theory of knowledge, reliabilism can be roughly stated as follows: "One knows that p (p stands for any proposition—e.g., that the sky is blue) if and only if p is true, one believes that p is true, and one has arrived at the belief that p through some reliable process." As a theory of justified belief, reliabilism can be formulated roughly as follows: "One has a justified belief that p if, and only if, the belief is the result of a reliable process."

Scientific realism
Scientific realism
Scientific realism is, at the most general level, the view that the world described by science is the real world, as it is, independent of what we might take it to be...

 and Scientific antirealism
In philosophy of science, the view that the entities described in scientific theories (e.g., quarks, mesons, double-helix molecules) really exist and the opposing view that they do not exist but are rather something like a useful fiction, social construction, etc. See also Australian realism, Instrumentalism
Instrumentalism
In the philosophy of science, instrumentalism is the view that a scientific theory is a useful instrument in understanding the world. A concept or theory should be evaluated by how effectively it explains and predicts phenomena, as opposed to how accurately it describes objective...

, and Entity realism
Entity realism
Entity realism is a philosophical position within the debate about scientific realism. Whereas traditional scientific realism argues that our best scientific theories are true, or approximately true, or closer to the truth than their predecessors, entity realism does not commit itself to judgments...

.

Substance dualism
In philosophy of mind, substance dualism is the view that there exist two kinds of substance: physical and non-physical (the mind), and subsequently, two kinds of properties that adhere in those respective substances.

Verificationism
Verificationism is the idea that a statement or question only has meaning if there is some way to determine if the statement is true, or what the answer to the question is.

Virtue Ethics
Virtue ethics
Virtue ethics describes the character of a moral agent as a driving force for ethical behavior, rather than rules , consequentialism , or social context .The difference between these four approaches to morality tends to lie more in the way moral dilemmas are...

The contemporary revival of virtue theory is frequently traced to the philosopher G. E. M. Anscombe's 1958 essay, Modern Moral Philosophy and to Philippa Foot, who published a collection of essays in 1978 entitled Virtues and Vices.

Further reading

  • The London Philosophy Study Guide offers many suggestions on what to read, depending on the student's familiarity with the subject: Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein
  • Dummett, Michael. The Origins of Analytical Philosophy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993.
  • Hirschberger, Johannes. A Short History of Western Philosophy, ed. Clare Hay. Short History of Western Philosophy, A. ISBN 978-0-7188-3092-2
  • Hylton, Peter. Russell, Idealism, and the Emergence of Analytic Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990.
  • Soames, Scott. Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century: Volume 1, The Dawn of Analysis. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003.
  • Passmore, John. A Hundred Years of Philosophy, revised ed. New York: Basic Books, 1966.
  • Weitz, Morris, ed. Twentieth Century Philosophy: The Analytic Tradition. New York: Free Press, 1966.

External links