The Rise of ‘Analytic Philosophy’: When and How Did People Begin Calling Themselves ‘Analytic Philosophers’?

In Sandra Lapointe & Christopher Pincock (eds.), Innovations in the History of Analytical Philosophy. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 27-67 (2017)
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Many have tackled the question ‘What (if anything) is analytic philosophy?’ I will not attempt to answer this vexed question. Rather, I address a smaller, more manageable set of interrelated questions: first, when and how did people begin using the label ‘analytic philosophy’? Second, how did those who used this label understand it? Third, why did many philosophers we today classify as analytic initially resist being grouped together under the single category of ‘analytic philosophy’? Finally, for the first generation who described themselves as analytic philosophers, what was their intended contrast class? Relatedly, when did ‘continental philosophy’ become the standard opposition? Some evidence I present justifies received answers to these questions; other evidence supports surprising and unorthodox answers to these questions.



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Greg Frost-Arnold
Hobart and William Smith Colleges

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