Graduate studies at Western
Inquiry 49 (3):290 – 311 (2006)
|Abstract||After more than a century of its development, philosophers working in the analytic tradition have recently begun to consider its history as an object of philosophical investigation.1 This development, particularly significant in the context of a tradition of inquiry that has often conceived of its own problems as ahistorical, is salutary in that it offers to show what, within the tradition, remains rich and vital for philosophy today, as well as to extract the significant theoretical and doctrinal results that can be considered to have been achieved in its itinerary so far. The appearance of a comprehensive, two-volume consideration of the history of analytic philosophy in the twentieth century, written by one of the tradition’s leading contemporary practitioners, is therefore cause for excitement. And Scott Soames’ two-volume Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century is, by any measure, an impressive work. Running to almost 900 pages, it assembles careful, meticulous and detailed expositions and analyses of the arguments and positions of a wide variety of thinkers within the analytic tradition, evaluating the extent of their insight and suggesting implications for philosophical thought today. The analysis is uniformly lucid and clearly written, offering the student of the analytic tradition an indispensable source of arguments she may want to consider in her own work, as well as, in its own argumentation, a suggestive model of at least one way of doing analytic philosophy. Over the course of his reconstructive and evaluative analysis, Soames considers the views and arguments of early analytic philosophers like Russell and Moore, logical positivists like Ayer and..|
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