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By Aaron Preston

A unique, severe account of the origins and improvement of the dominant university of philosophy within the English-speaking international.

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Philosophy now 22 Analytic Philosophy requires “specialization,” . . technique, narrow focus, and rigor rather than vision, curiosity, and openness. (1999: 3) As a result, like Burge’s Professor Carwittup, ‘philosophers today are too often killjoys, too quick with objections, too obstinate to understand (or to listen to) imperfectly stated alternatives, too anxious to belittle both insight and enthusiasm’ (1999: 4). It is important to stress that this criticism is more than a complaint that philosophizing in the analytic mode is too difficult for the hoi polloi.

In 1975, for instance, Michael Corrado acknowledged that analytic philosophers have trouble giving an intensional characterization of their school. ‘Nonetheless,’ he observed, when analysis is opposed to other important contemporary traditions – phenomenology, for example – philosophers know pretty well who is to count as an analyst and who is not. The term analyst applies, in this very loose sense, to the majority of the important philosophers in the English-speaking countries, and in Scandinavia.

After eighty years of debate linguistic philosophers are still not agreed on the semantics of simple proper names. How long would it take to construct a semantics of philosophical discourse? (1980: 3–4) Though dated, Sluga’s general point is still applicable: in the philosophy of language and logic, as elsewhere in philosophy, disagreements on basic issues is the norm; thus, inductively, there is little reason to think that continuing to mine this narrow vein will prove so profitable that it should rank as the most important thing philosophers might do with their time and talents.

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