Canonizing Dewey: Naturalism, logical empiricism, and the idea of american philosophy

Modern Intellectual History 8 (1):91-125 (2011)
Abstract
Between World War I and World War II, the students of Columbia University's John Dewey and Frederick J. E. Woodbridge built up a school of philosophical naturalism sharply critical of claims to value-neutrality. In the 1930s and 1940s, the second-generation Columbia naturalists (John Herman Randall Jr, Herbert W. Schneider, Irwin Edman, Horace L. Friess, and James Gutmann) and their students who later joined the department (Charles Frankel, Joseph L. Blau, Albert Hofstadter, and Justus Buchler) reacted with dismay to the arrival on American shores of logical empiricism and other analytic modes of philosophy. These figures undermined their colleague Ernest Nagel's attempt to build an alliance with the logical empiricists, accusing them of ignoring the scholar's primary role as a public critic. After the war, the prestige of analytic approaches and a tendency to label philosophies either “analytic” or “Continental” eclipsed the Columbia philosophers’ normatively inflected naturalism. Yet in their efforts to resist logical empiricism, the Columbia naturalists helped to construct a sturdy, canonical portrait of “American philosophy” that proponents still hold up as a third way between analytic and Continental approaches
Keywords Dewey  Naturalism  Columbia University  Logical empiricism  United States
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DOI 10.1017/S1479244311000060
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Language, Truth and Logic.A. J. Ayer - 1936 - London: V. Gollancz.
Gödel's Proof.Ernest Nagel - 1958 - New York University Press.

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