The Austrian Contribution to Analytic Philosophy (London Studies in the History of Philosophy)


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Textor notes that it is entirely legitimate to speak of "Analytic Philosophy" without possessing a definition, given that it is "a tradition held together by the use of a distinctive family of concepts, acceptance of specific assumptions, problems and methods for their solution".


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One might think therefore that the same goes for Austrian Philosophy and, indeed, Textor says so. Yet this he does in a footnote that also advertises the fact that "Wittgenstein is a philosopher from Austria but not an Austrian philosopher. Brentano, by contrast, is from Germany, but is an Austrian philosopher" his emphasis.

This raises the question why Wittgenstein is excluded by Textor. This question becomes even more pressing given that two of the contributors to this volume do discuss Wittgenstein, one explicitly as an Austrian philosopher. Since there are no indications that Wittgenstein is to be excluded from Analytic Philosophy, it would seem that talk of an Austrian tradition raises issues that talk of the analytic tradition does not. What, if anything, makes the Austrian tradition distinctive in Analytic Philosophy? Another way of probing the question of the identity of the Austrian tradition is to ask whether the use of the definite article in the title of this collection is justified.

Here it may be noted that it often is a measure of the acceptance of a thesis if its originator is no longer mentioned. So perhaps Rudolf Haller ought to take it as a triumph that a book like the present one can appear without his name being mentioned, but matters are not so simple. For, as noted, according to Haller, post-Bolzanian Austrian philosophy comprised two wings, the Brentano-school leading to Meinong's school in Graz, Twardowski's school of Polish logicians and Husserl's phenomenology, and the positivist Machian tradition leading to the Vienna Circle.

Since the present collection features no Mach and theorists from the Vienna Circle only twice, however, it would appear that the definite article in the title either signals implicit dissent from Haller's taxonomy or somewhat cavalierly addresses a perceived imbalance in recent Anglophone historiography of analytical philosophy. What, if anything, makes the Brentano-wing more Austrian than the positivist wing deriving from Mach?

The editor may of course respond that -- his throw-away remark notwithstanding -- the issue of the identity of the Austrian tradition belongs to those questions that have been bracketed in the present collection. Another one apparently so bracketed concerns the issue of the relation of Bolzano's thought to the Brentano school, a topic surely of interest to the Bolzano scholar Textor.


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Such a response could not be faulted. After all, the definite article in the title apart, no claims are here advanced to close off such further studies. Instead, awareness of the need to look still closer at many of the aspects of the tradition of Austrian Philosophy that Haller, Smith and Dummett first drew attention to informs the contributors. I knew also that I was joining a stream of Australian students who had gone to graduate school overseas. But I was still surprised to find, in an area of philosophy far from mine, all those Australians on the syllabus. Australia has had an outsized influence on philosophy, especially in the middle and lateth century.

The Austrian Contribution to Analytic Philosophy

The field still shows a broad Australian footprint. For many years, Princeton University in New Jersey, perennially one of the highest-ranked philosophy departments, has had three or four Australians on its faculty depending on when you look and on how you count Australians. Princeton has always been an especially clear case, but the influence is all over, an ongoing export of both people and ideas. What is going on? How did this happen?

What you think about all this depends on what you think is valuable and worthwhile in philosophy, a topic subject to enormous disagreement.

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Many qualified people think that Martin Heidegger, for example, was the most breathtakingly original and important philosopher of the past century. Other qualified people think that he was an obscurantist Nazi windbag. Australia has not produced someone as polarising as Heidegger, but here, as elsewhere, there is a lot of disagreement about how philosophy should be done. The divergence dates from the early and midth century. The analytic style is more associated with English-speaking work, and the continental style has been more influenced by German and French 20th-century developments.

One philosophical goal is the investigation of difficult and abstract questions in a clear and argumentative way analytic. The writing that results is often rather dry and unexciting. On the continental side, versions of traditional philosophical questions are usually still in view, as is a deep concern with the history of the field, but the activity of philosophy becomes an arena for political and aesthetic gesture, and for a highly personal working-through of topics such as death and alienation. Clear communication is willingly sacrificed to further novel and radical possibilities of thought.

A problem on the analytic side of philosophy is a tendency to expend enormous energy on narrowly technical puzzle-solving that has lost touch with significant problems. Avoiding empty pretension is a problem on the continental side. M ost of the philosophers discussed here are on the analytic side of the divide. The story begins in the middle of the 20th century, and it is worth setting the scene internationally before turning to Australia.

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England and the USA were the main centres of the emerging analytic style in philosophy, with some differences between them. England, and especially Cambridge, had entered an unusual phase due to the extraordinary influence of one particular Viennese import, Ludwig Wittgenstein.

He criticised the whole idea of giving theories in philosophy. Philosophy exists because we make mistakes about language. When the mistakes are fixed, philosophy will fade. Across the globe in Australia, the two most important places intellectually in many respects were the universities at Sydney and Melbourne. Especially for readers born digital, it is worth emphasising the isolation of Australia from the main philosophical centres at this time, and through many of the decades in which the philosophical story unfolds.

Mail was slow, and international phone calls extravagantly expensive.

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Travel was by ship and the UK-to-Sydney route took around a month. It was actually possible to fly as a passenger from London to Sydney from the s, but the trip took 12 days and cost the equivalent of tens of thousands of dollars.

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Sydney and Melbourne both had philosophy departments that dated from the 19th century. Sydney was dominated for decades by a Scottish-born professor, John Anderson, who arrived in and exercised enormous local influence until his retirement in The preacher of free enquiry was inclined to strongly enforce his own line locally — in hiring, in developing the curriculum, and so on.

Ethical statements cannot be objective, and so, neither are neither true nor false. Web resource: Allan Gibbard's Home Page. Susan Haack received her Ph. Haack's work can be primarily described as pragmatic philosophy, and she has written on logic, philosophy of language, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of law, philosophy of science, feminism, and literature. Much of her later work has been concerned with defending science and scientific inquiry against skepticism and faulty epistemologies, with religious doctrine being a primary obstacle.

Web resource: Susan Haack's Home Page. After some disagreements, Habermas finished his education studying political science at the University of Marburg under notable Marxist Wolfgang Abendroth. Habermas would also teach at the Frankfurt school, retiring in Habermas works in the traditions of critical theory and pragmatism, and has been very influential to philosophy and sociology. Habermas has placed a great deal of emphasis on the power of rational discourse. In what is perhaps his most important work, Theory of Communicative Action , Habermas expressed criticism of modern society for the development of the welfare state, corporate capitalism, and its demand for mass consumption.

Habermas argued that with the development of modern industrial society since the start of the 19th century, democracy shifted from being participatory to representative, and the body of the public lost its voice in the democratic discourse, as public life became rationalized and quantified. With some controversy, Habermas has called for the need to shift from representative democracy to a deliberative one, in which discourse is made equal again among citizens and government. John Haldane studied art before pursuing philosophy, earning a B.

Haldane is currently a University Professor at the University of St. Andrews, holds the title of J.

Newton Rayzor Sr. Haldane is not just a notable analytical philosopher, but is recognizable in the mainstream; he has published articles in art magazines, and contributed to numerous television programs. Haldane is a catholic, he and is a papal adviser to the Vatican. Haldane is most notable for his work on Thomas Aquinas. Analytical Thomism seeks to merge the ideas of contemporary analytical philosophy with the ideas of 13th century thinker and saint Thomas Aquinas.

Through his work, Haldane has been influential in developing a space for Catholic philosophy in the modern analytical landscape. Graham Harman received his Ph. Harman's work has primarily focused on metaphysics and ontology, and he has been influential as a key figure in speculative realism and the development of object oriented ontology. Harman's goal in philosophy has been to reject anthropocentric philosophical views in favor of a metaphysical realist approach.

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The Austrian contribution to analytic philosophy - Markus Textor - Google книги

In his view, everything is an object human, animal, rock, city, etc. Harman's philosophy is primarily concerned with understanding objects in the world as things-in-themselves, without allusion to anthropocentric qualities of being. Web resource: Graham Harman's Home Page. John Hawthorne earned his Ph.


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  • Hawthorne's work primarily focuses on metaphysics and epistemology, and his most influential book on the subjects is Metaphysical Essays However, Hawthorne grants that this is separate from whether the subject can be said to have knowledge, which depends on the subject's own context. Web resource: John Hawthorne's Home Page. Heil's work combines metaphysics with philosophy of mind, using each realm as a way of understanding the other.

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    The Austrian Contribution to Analytic Philosophy (London Studies in the History of Philosophy) The Austrian Contribution to Analytic Philosophy (London Studies in the History of Philosophy)
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    The Austrian Contribution to Analytic Philosophy (London Studies in the History of Philosophy) The Austrian Contribution to Analytic Philosophy (London Studies in the History of Philosophy)
    The Austrian Contribution to Analytic Philosophy (London Studies in the History of Philosophy) The Austrian Contribution to Analytic Philosophy (London Studies in the History of Philosophy)
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