Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Mulligan, Kevin. "The Great Divide." TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT June 26, 1998, 6-8.

At the turn of the century, Russell, Husserl and Couturat singled out Leibniz the logician as an important precursor of the way they thought philosophy should be done. Like their most gifted contemporaries they conceived of philosophy as essentially argumentative and - as Russell put it in a 1911 talk in French - analytic. Unsurprisingly, the search for the best arguments and analyses meant that good philosophy was cosmopolitan. William James and Ernst Mach were read everywhere. James studied Mach and the pupils of Brentano, whom Stout introduced to Cambridge. Moore recognised the deep kinship between his work on ethics and that of Brentano. Russell was influenced by Peano, used and criticised Meinong and was attacked by Poincaré. Pragmatism was subjected to a series of criticisms by realists in German and in English but gradually began to win adherents, for example in Italy, where Vailati and Calderoni introduced both pragmatism and Austrian philosophy of mind. Philosophy at the end of the century presents a very different aspect. Two very different complex (families of) philosophical traditions occupy the scene - Analytic and Continental philosophy. The terminology is neither happy nor stable. John Searle likens distinguishing between philosophies in this way to the claim that America has two parts, Kansas and business; Bernard Williams compares it to the distinction between cars which are Japanese and those with front-wheel drive. Members of the first tradition hesitate between "analytic" and "analytical" and many of their heroes were in fact from the continent. A short list of such heroes would include the names of Russell and Moore, Wittgenstein, Carnap and Tarski, Quine, Davidson, Kripke, Lewis, Putnam, Nozick and Rawls, Strawson, Armstrong, Dummett, Wiggins, Williams and Evans. Behind them stands the tradition's grandfather, the great German logician and philosopher Gottlob Frege. Among Frege's earliest readers were Couturat and Russell - who immediately proclaimed his importance - and Husserl - who maintained a strange silence on the subject. . . . To read the rest of the essay, please visit the following URL: http://www.unige.ch/lettres/philo/enseignants/km/doc/GreatDivide.pdf.

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