Two directions for analytic kantianism : Naturalism and idealism

In Mario de Caro & David Macarthur (eds.), Naturalism and Normativity. Columbia University Press (2010)
Abstract
Usually, analytic philosophy is thought of as standing firmly within the tradition of empiricism, but recently attention has been drawn to the strongly Kantian features that have characterized this philosophical movement throughout a considerable part of its history. Those charting the history of early analytic philosophy sometimes point to a more Kantian stream of thought feeding it from both Frege and Wittgenstein, and as countering a quite different stream flowing from the early Russell and Moore. In line with this general assessment, Michael Friedman has pointed to the specifically Kantian features of the approach of Carnap and other members of the Vienna Circle. For Friedman, the positivists should be seen as having emerged from the tradition of late nineteenth-century neo-Kantianism. Although they had explicitly rejected Kant’s analysis of geometric truth and his key concept of the “synthetic a priori” because of dramatic changes within science itself, this move should not be seen as any simple abandonment of Kantianism. Rather, the positivists had redefined the nature of the Kantian a priori, by axiomatizing, relativizing and historicizing it, so as to fit with the results of the contemporary sciences.
Keywords idealism  Kantianism
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