American Philosophy

Philosophy 5 (18):270- (1930)
Abstract
In America most of us are so proud of our own achievements and—as a corollary of this—so provincial and narrow-minded in our general worldoutlook, that it has probably never occurred to us that until very recently we have cut absolutely no figure in the world's philosophy. In fact, it may still be said that even in 1930 the influence of American philosophy upon the philosophical world is almost a negligible factor. But even such nearly negligible influence is vastly more than American philosophers could boast of thirty or forty years ago. The fact is that even as late as at the outbreak of the world-war most of Europe hardly knew that there was any such thing as American philosophy. And up to a very few years prior to the beginning of this devastating conflict such judgment concerning the non-existence of American philosophy was probably quite in agreement with the facts of the case. For an understanding of America's present cultural position it is essential, therefore, that one should know something of the recent advances in American philosophy. In fact, such philosophical progress in contemporary America constitutes one of the most remarkable and distinct proofs of America's ability to make significant and appreciated contributions to the highest intellectual and cultural life of the world. It would be foolish were one—even yet—to claim that America has arrived, philosophically. But the signs which indicate that American philosophy is definitely on its way are numerous, and are constantly multiplying. If American philosophers cannot yet say: “Plato, Hume, and Kant, we are here!”
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