By G. A. J. Rogers Tom Sorell
Philosophy written in English is overwhelmingly analytic philosophy, and the strategies and predilections of analytic philosophy are usually not basically unhistorical yet anti-historical, and opposed to textual observation. Analytic often aspires to a truly excessive measure of readability and precision of formula and argument, and it frequently seeks to be told through, and in keeping with, present common technological know-how. In an previous period, analytic philosophy geared toward contract with usual linguistic intuitions or logic ideals, or either. All of those points of the topic take a seat uneasily with using historic texts for philosophical illumination. during this ebook, ten distinctive philosophers discover the tensions among, and the chances of reconciling, analytic philosophy and background of philosophy. participants: M. R. Ayers, John Cottingham, Daniel Garber, Gary Hatfield, Anthony Kenny, Steven Nadler, G. A. J. Rogers, Tom Sorell, Catherine Wilson, Yves Charles Zarka
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Individuals who ignore their past, or fail to understand it, are liable to ﬁnd their deliberations marred by distortions of perception and understanding. Their deliberations may appear to be rational, but because of projections and hidden assumptions operating beneath the surface, they may fail to grasp the deeper signiﬁcance of what they are doing, with potentially disastrous results. Now analytic philosophers, or many of them, tend to be highly sceptical about the idea of the past as exercising a hidden inﬂuence on the present, since they tend to subscribe to a highly ratiocentric model of the mind as a transparent goldﬁsh bowl, within which clearly identiﬁable items called ‘beliefs’ and ‘desires’ swim around, only waiting to be properly arranged in order for rational decisions to be possible.
It is possible to be a good philosopher while being a poor exegete. Wittgenstein’s treatment of St Augustine at the beginning of the Philosophical Investigations is very dubious exegesis; but this does not weaken the force of his philosophical criticism of the ‘Augustinian’ theory of language. But Wittgenstein did not really think of himself as engaged in historical philosophy, any more than in the historiography of ideas. The invocation of Augustine as the author of the mistaken theory was merely to indicate that the error is one that is worth attacking.
For the most part the problems that historical writers were concerned with are different from the problems 44 Tom Sorell that current philosophers face. There are no perennial philosophical problems. On the whole, these views about the history of philosophy are quite close to those of my late friend Margaret Wilson. For reasons I do not fully understand, I have sometimes upset people by distinguishing between philosophy and the history of philosophy or by noting that philosophy is what the history of philosophy is the history of.