Philosophy #33: Analytic Philosophy

Analytic Philosophy

In the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Scandinavia, Australia, and New Zealand, the overwhelming majority of university philosophy departments identify themselves as “analytic” departments. Analytic philosophy is often understood as being defined in opposition to continental philosophy. The term “analytic philosophy” can refer to a tradition of doing philosophy characterized by an emphasis on clarity and argument, often achieved via modern formal logic and analysis of language, and a respect for the natural sciences. In this sense, analytic philosophy makes specific philosophical commitments: 1) The positivist view that there are no specifically philosophical truths and that the object of philosophy is the logical clarification of thoughts. This may be contrasted with the traditional foundation that views philosophy as a special sort of science, the highest one, which investigates the fundamental reasons and principles of everything. As a result, many analytic philosophers have considered their inquiries as continuous with, or subordinate to, those of the natural sciences. 2) The view that the logical clarification of thoughts can only be achieved by analysis of the logical form of philosophical propositions. The logical form of a proposition is a way of representing it (often using the formal grammar and symbolism of a logical system) to display its similarity with all other propositions of the same type. However, analytic philosophers disagree widely about the correct logical form of ordinary language. 3) The rejection of sweeping philosophical systems in favor of close attention to detail, common sense, and ordinary language.

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