Analytical philosophy

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Analytical philosophy is a collective term for certain philosophical approaches that have been developed since the beginning of the 20th century. These approaches are part of a tradition that initially operated mainly with ideal languages ( formal logics ) or by analyzing the common everyday language . In the beginning, many school-educating representatives were close to logical empiricism ( Vienna Circle and others). There was a skepticism about metaphysical terms. Analytical instruments have been increasingly used in all disciplines of philosophy since the mid-20th century at the latest. A Demarcation continental approaches ( continental philosophy ) is largely become impossible regarding theoretical assumptions. Exact delimitations are also often controversial with regard to methodological approaches.


The main concern of the analytical direction and methodology of philosophy, which has become particularly popular in Great Britain, the USA and Scandinavia since the end of the Second World War, is to formulate philosophical problems as clearly and precisely as possible and then to find a solution through logical, conceptual or colloquial analysis. to prove that these are really philosophical " pseudo-problems " or that there are only linguistic misunderstandings. Some of the main exponents of early analytical philosophy in particular rejected all metaphysical questions as meaningless.

Historically, this strand of early analytical philosophy picks up on the philosophical tradition of empiricism, originally at home in England, with its main representatives John Locke , George Berkeley and David Hume , who give sensory perception a central or exclusive role in cognitive processes. Above all, the works of Gottlob Frege (1848–1925) and the “ Tractatus logico-philosophicus ” from 1921, the early main work of Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951), are among the direct founding texts of analytical philosophy. Their further elaboration was done during the first phase mainly by the British philosophers Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) and George Edward Moore (1873-1958) as well as by the philosophers of the " Vienna Circle ".

Two lines of tradition can be distinguished within classical analytical philosophy: One runs from Frege and Russell via the early Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle to Willard Van Orman Quine (1908–2000). Here “concept” was understood in the sense of idea , and “analysis” of concepts meant breaking them down into their component parts. This means that the terms to be analyzed in each case should be traced back to more fundamental terms and their meaning should thereby be explained. The other line of tradition runs from Moore via the late Wittgenstein and the philosophy of normal language to Peter Strawson (1919–2006). Here “term” was understood in the sense of a linguistic expression . The “analysis” of terms should consist of a precise description of their everyday use in concrete contexts. That too should serve to clarify their meaning.

The methodological requirements and content restrictions of both lines of tradition have been criticized by representatives of analytical philosophy since the 1950s, for example through the work of Quine, Saul Aaron Kripke (* 1940) and Paul Grice (1913–1988) and in some cases even considered to have failed.

As a result of this sometimes very critical examination of the methodologies and scientific ideals of numerous early main representatives of their own discipline, there was a thematic opening up to now all philosophical disciplines and questions. Today, numerous philosophers do research, for example, on phenomenological and even metaphysical problem contexts who still see themselves as belonging to the tradition of analytic philosophy and call themselves "analytic" philosophers. Presently, practically all available theoretical options are being pursued by one or the other analytical author. In this way, transcendental philosophical , transcendental pragmatic and idealistic positions as well as naturalistic and empirical theories are worked out and debated.

A certain methodological continuity can be observed in the following aspects:

  • The important role that so-called conceptual or pre-theoretical intuitions , for example with regard to thought experiments , play
  • A strong orientation towards the empirical sciences
  • The appreciation of clarity in expression and presentation, sometimes using complex technical devices (e.g. logical, linguistic or formal-ontological)
  • A tendency towards non-historicity caused by concentrating on mostly narrowly limited systematic rather than historical questions

Language analysis as a method

It is Gottlob Frege's work that became almost programmatic for large parts of the analytic tradition. Frege explains his approach in his “ Conceptual Writing ” (1879) as follows:

“When it is a task of philosophy to break the dominion of the word over the human mind by exposing the deceptions that often arise almost inevitably through the use of language about the relationships of concepts, by freeing the thought from that with which it is if only the quality of the linguistic means of expression is affected, my conceptual writing is further developed for these purposes, and can become a useful tool for philosophers. "

In his work, Frege is concerned with language as a tool and medium of thought, the confusion of which he largely attaches to the structurally conditioned ambiguities of general language. Following on from an idea by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz , he worked on the mammoth undertaking, barely noticed by contemporaries, of an ideal language freed from all ambiguities and confusions. In this, scientific knowledge - in his work mainly those of logic and arithmetic  - should be formulated in the greatest possible clarity and there should be no more ambiguities between the interlocutors. This tradition, which is another work of Wittgenstein's famous Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921), is called Ideal Language Philosophy , as it uses logic and mathematics to try to clear up one of all ambiguities, to create consistent, formal language in which the mapping relationship to the extra-linguistic reality should also be clearly identifiable. Bertrand Russell and Rudolf Carnap (1891–1970) also pursued this goal with their philosophical conceptions.

The project failed, however, because it turned out to be impossible to conceive a formal language that had the same scope of functions and the same possibilities of expression as the spoken everyday language. Criticism of principle soon arose at the project, pointing out that logic was fundamentally too narrow an instrument to be able to fully grasp human language (e.g. as a socially given). Following on from GE Moore, Ludwig Wittgenstein first rejected the idea of ​​developing a purely logical formal language to remove ambiguities from language and philosophy in his late work, the " Philosophical Investigations " from 1953, and the Oxford philosopher Gilbert Ryle . Instead, they propagated the analysis and critical description of everyday language in its respective use , colloquial or everyday language (language as use) as a more promising philosophical method.

Both lines of tradition are united by a special appreciation for clear, simple words and the work on detail in verifiable statements. Analytical philosophizing, understood in this way, is more of a methodological attitude than a problem- or idea-specific school, whereby language analysis is to be viewed as prima philosophia within analytical philosophies.

History of Analytical Philosophy

"Analytical philosophy" is a collective term that subsumes several philosophical currents of modernity, some of which are quite different in terms of their basic requirements. GE Moore and Bertrand Russell are commonly cited as the real founders of analytical philosophy. Historically, analytical philosophy ties in with the tradition of British empiricism with its main representatives John Locke, George Berkeley and David Hume. The logical works of Gottlob Freges and Giuseppe Peanos also had a great influence on their early elaboration, especially with regard to the logical-analytical instruments of analytic philosophy (“Principia Mathematica”). Russell and Moore's renewed interest in the old tradition of English empiricism arose from an increasing philosophical unease about the teachings of the idealism then circulating in English universities , to which both had initially professed. This unease culminated in the belief that the assumptions of idealism (such as those advocated by Thomas Hill Green , John McTaggart Ellis McTaggart, and Francis Herbert Bradley ) contained too many unproven implications and speculative elements to be true. But not by opposing competing philosophical assertions to idealism, but by a linguistic-logical analysis of its terms and assertion sentences or a comparison of these assertions with the " common-sense conceptions", it was believed to be able to demonstrate the logical inadequacy of this philosophical position . Language analysis and language criticism turned out to be efficient methods of philosophical argumentation.

In his lectures on the origins of analytic philosophy ("Origins of analytic philosophy", 1988) given at the University of Bologna in 1987, the British analytic philosopher Michael Anthony Eardley Dummett tries to find common ground between thinkers as different as Frege on the one hand and Edmund Husserl , Franz Brentano , Bernard Bolzano and Alexius Meinong on the other hand. According to Dummett, this commonality consists in the rejection of so-called “ psychologism ” in philosophy, which is based on the assumption that thinking and knowing are purely psychological events and that logic therefore has to do with psychological laws. By taking up and developing ideas from Meinong, Bolzano and Brentano on this complex of topics, the phenomenologist Husserl finally succeeds in showing that the content of an act of thought is not part of the stream of consciousness in the sense of a stream of subjective ideas. The thought cannot be merely "subjective-psychic" and therefore truth-relative, since thoughts always refer to something external to them (i.e. something independent of the subject) and their truth or falsehood can often also be determined objectively (e.g. as a logical law) . According to Michael Dummett, Frege also came to the same conclusion. This "expulsion of thoughts from consciousness" (Dummett) now leads to language, as the adequate form of expression of thoughts, becoming the focus of interest. An analysis of language promises to provide information about the thoughts, but not an (empirical) breakdown of the thought into psychological acts. Dummett sees this turning point in the history of ideas as the common prerequisite for the further development of the two contradicting philosophical currents “phenomenology” and “analytical philosophy”.

The development of those philosophical positions that are summarized today under the term “analytical philosophy” can be divided into at least four distinct phases.

First phase

The first phase of the last century in the first third, with heyday in the 1920s, is characterized by the basic philosophical concept of a " logical atomism " which mainly in Cambridge, among others, GE Moore, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Frank P. Ramsey represented has been. In Russell's “The Philosophy of Logical Atomism” from 1918 and Wittgenstein's “Tractatus Logico-philosophicus” from 1921, the philosophy of Logical Atomism is represented paradigmatically. While Russell and Wittgenstein endeavored to work out and establish a theoretical basis for logical atomism, it was of course GE Moore who was the first to consistently apply analytical methods to philosophical problems. It was Moore's particular concern to critically examine the assertions made by philosophers about the nature of the world and human capacity for knowledge for their agreement with the judgment of common sense . This is worth mentioning because Moore's therapeutically intended and radical language criticism (conceptual analysis) oriented basic philosophical attitude was later, during the phase of linguistic analysis (Oxford Ordinary Language Philosophy), declared to be the only legitimate basic attitude in any philosophizing. His 1903 work Principia Ethica is a classic of analytical ethics . For him and many other analytical ethicists of this phase, such as Ayer, Hare or Stevenson, it is not about a discussion of questions of morality, but an analysis of moral concepts such as “good”, “duty”, “right” as well as types and functions moral judgments.

Second phase

The second phase of the development of analytical philosophy, namely the phase of logical positivism or logical empiricism , extends from about 1930 to the end of the 1940s .

Logical Positivism was conceived by the members of the Vienna Circle, whose most notable representatives were Moritz Schlick , Rudolf Carnap , Friedrich Waismann , Herbert Feigl and Otto Neurath . The philosophy of the Vienna Circle was mainly influenced by mathematical logic and empirically oriented positivism ( Richard Avenarius and Ernst Mach ). The strictly anti-metaphysical stance of Logical Positivism was striking, based on the conviction that metaphysical statements, as non-empirical and thus in principle non-verifiable statements, can never be meaningful from the outset.

The British reception of logical positivism is called logical empiricism . Strangely, in Great Britain, logical positivism found a well-known representative only in Alfred Jules Ayer , although much of the ideas of the Vienna Circle are still of the greatest importance for the development of analytical philosophy as a whole (especially in the USA and Scandinavia). Ayer took over the polemical, strictly anti-metaphysical stance of Logical Positivism and launched a frontal attack on the philosophy of religion and (Christian) theology of that time with his book “Language, Truth and Logic”. Most of the contributions made by theologians and philosophers on the topic of "language analysis and religion" in the years after the book was published (after there were initially no more important publications on the philosophy of religion for almost ten years) were made under the impression of this book and were more or less convincing replies to it. Quite a few theologians and religious philosophers adopted Ayer's thesis that religious statements do not represent propositions and therefore cannot have any cognitive content and therefore tried to redefine the allegedly lost meaning of religious speech.

Third phase

Elizabeth Anscombe

The third phase of analytical philosophy is called "Linguistic Analysis" or "Linguistic Phenomenalism". It began during the Second World War and lasted well into the 1960s. It was two schools that developed linguistic analysis into an independent philosophical discipline. One (in Cambridge) arose when a group of students developed around Wittgenstein and John Wisdom , to which philosophers such as Elizabeth Anscombe , Rush Rhees, A. Ambrose, N. Malcolm and numerous others belonged. A school of linguistic analysis was also organized at Oxford somewhat later than at Cambridge. Its outstanding representatives were Gilbert Ryle , John Langshaw Austin , Peter Frederick Strawson , Richard Mervyn Hare , Antony Flew and others. a. The Oxford School would later gain fame as the “Oxford Ordinary Language School” and develop into one of the most influential currents in contemporary philosophy and linguistics.

While in logical atomism and in logical positivism or empiricism the idea of ​​an ideal language to be constructed was still predominant and the truth of sentences and complex sentence combinations were understood as the truth function of their elementary components, which had to be determined by logical analysis, this is the case in linguistic Analysis fundamentally different. There the “completely normal” spoken language takes center stage and becomes the object of analysis. The linguistic turn in modern philosophy, which has become famous as a catchphrase , finally begins here. The method that is used is no longer primarily logical-analytical, but rather the question is: How is the word in question used in everyday language? What is the speaker trying to express? Or: What are the rules of the language game that is specifically played here? The formal-logical language analysis is replaced by the descriptive analysis of language games or - with recourse to Moore - the conceptual analysis.

The initiator of this new way of philosophizing is Ludwig Wittgenstein in Cambridge. In a radical departure from many of his views originally represented in the “Tractatus”, he designs a completely new understanding of language. Language is now understood by him and his students as an unmanageable conglomerate of individual " language games " that each obey their own rules, but nevertheless overlap due to their "family similarities" (e.g. speaking about games with speaking about sport). Philosophical problems are nothing more than “pseudo-problems”, that is, merely “language confusions” that can be removed from the world, as it were “treated away”, by returning to the normal, that is, colloquial use of the terms and words. This becomes possible by uncovering the internal rules of a language game, i.e. the rules for using the individual words and sentences in it. In the "Philosophical Investigations" published posthumously in 1953, Wittgenstein presented his new philosophical convictions in detail.

Wittgenstein's new ideas were also taken up and discussed in Oxford, but far less enthusiastically than in Cambridge, where Wittgenstein was given the position of an almost charismatic leader and pioneer. At Oxford it is Gilbert Ryle, a student of John Cook Wilson , who uses Moore's philosophical attitude and method to advance linguistic analysis. For Ryle - as for the late Wittgenstein - philosophizing means the resolution of philosophical problems by analyzing normal colloquial language and disentangling the conceptual confusion by analyzing concepts. With Ryle, the focus is not on a language game concept, but on the conceptual analysis originally initiated by Moore and the grammatical-logical analysis of sentences in the sense of Wilson. Similar to what Wittgenstein called for, the philosopher should work as a therapist by healing the sick language of the philosophers himself by orienting himself towards everyday language usage. Many alleged philosophical problems only arose when language was used in the wrong way. One example are so-called " category errors " that arise when you choose a syntactic form for a statement that is not appropriate to the facts to be reproduced, as in the following example:

“A South Sea islander watches his first soccer game. You explain to him the role of goalkeeper, striker, defender, referee, etc. After a while he says: 'But there is nobody there who contributes the famous team spirit. I see who is attacking, who is defending, who is making the connection and so on: but whose role is it to provide the team spirit? ' Again we would have to explain that he was looking for the wrong category of thing. Team spirit is not another football operation like scoring goals, throwing in, etc.
But neither is it a third thing that we could say the center forward threw in first and then showed team spirit, or the defender will either behead or show team spirit now . The errors were committed by people who did not know how to use the terms [...]. The difficulties arise from their inability to use certain words correctly. "

- Ryle : The concept of the mind

Ryle's language-critical approach was particularly influential through his work "The Concept of Mind" (Oxford 1949). As Ryle's successor, Strawson, Dummett and others later developed their own approaches to language philosophy, which were also influential in terms of history.

Fourth phase

Hilary Putnam

The fourth phase of analytical philosophy is usually simply subordinated to the Oxford Ordinary Language Philosophy. However, it seems advisable to set it apart from this as an independent further development.

It was initiated by John Langshaw Austin , who, like Ryle, worked in Oxford. Austin drafted what is known as “ speech act theory ” during the 1950s, which was refined and further developed in the 1960s by John Rogers Searle ( Speech acts , 1969), HP Grice, PF Strawson, WP Alston, SR Schiffer and others. The core of speech act theory initially appears banal. In his theory of speaking, Austin focuses on a fact that until then had never been considered to the full extent of its importance: that language / speaking always has an action character and is never independent of the current situation in which one speaks. This actually quite simple statement nevertheless had enormous effects on the modern philosophy of language and linguistics . The realization that there is such a thing as speech acts (performative speech acts) threw a completely new light on the communicative processes taking place between subjects and the functioning of language, speaking and acting . A performative speech act is, for example: "I hereby declare you to be husband and wife." Or: "I hereby baptize you in your name ..." At the moment of uttering a new "fact in the world" is created.

So far, new variants of a theory of speech acts have been formulated over and over again, incorporating elements of behaviorism , pragmatism , linguistics in general and Noam Chomsky's transformational grammar in particular, and the theory of action .

The most recent phase of analytical philosophy is represented by the work of Nelson Goodman , Willard Van Orman Quine , Hilary Putnam , David Kellogg Lewis , Saul Aaron Kripke , Donald Davidson, and others. To simplify matters, it can be said that these authors turned to classical and even metaphysical themes and problems of philosophy. Since analytical philosophy is more of a method than a uniform philosophical direction, metaphysical problems are also examined strictly linguistically and with the means of mathematical logic, which distinguishes them from other, such as existential or phenomenological approaches.

Recent developments

In addition to a younger generation who are continuing the tendencies just described, there have been philosophers since the 1980s who have criticized the conception of language and the methodological orientation towards language analyzes of some classical analytical philosophers. A frequent accusation is to forget the historicity and cultural ties of language and thought (compare post-analytical philosophy , continental philosophy ).

If one regards analytical philosophy as a tradition that has developed into its own solid line from its beginnings, one can take a critical look at its orientation as a whole. Regardless of differences regarding individual content-related issues, it then represents a current that has certain tendencies. These tendencies, peculiarities and preliminary decisions are no longer shared by all representatives today, but have given rise to critical consideration, especially in recent times. Whether, due to the peculiarities of analytical philosophy, a differentiation from so-called continental philosophy is even possible or useful, is also discussed.

Relationship to the history of philosophy

Gilbert Harman once put the slogan on his office door: “History of Philosophy: Just say no!”. Harman actually takes a much less provocative position. The appeal can, however, be regarded as symptomatic of the fact that some radical representatives of analytical philosophy rejected any preoccupation with the history of philosophy as being superfluous for their interests.

One reason for such rejections was the opinion that with the change in language criticism, older approaches were outdated insofar as they got entangled in metaphysical speculations that were only a hindrance to the clarification of philosophical issues. For a few decades now, very few philosophically trained philosophers have been bound by this dogma. What has remained, however, is an often predominant division of labor between systematic and exegetical areas of interest and research. While the history of philosophy is not seen as detrimental to a systematic approach , there are demands that it be left mainly or solely to the experts. In addition, many analytical philosophers deal with current theories and findings of the natural and social sciences instead of objects from cultural and historical studies.

On the other hand, many historically working philosophers emphasize a "special kind of relevance of the history of philosophy for the systematic philosophizing ever present." The German-speaking and general continental academic tradition had for the most part always emphasized this.

Richard Rorty is a well-known example of a philosopher who first went through a training course in analytical philosophy and published on relevant topics, but then (beginning from around 1967) advocated methods and theses more strongly represented by some continental philosophers become. In late requests to speak, Rorty, who consequently switched to a comparative faculty (in Stanford) in 1998, distanced himself from many standards of academic and especially analytical philosophy and pleaded for a more intensive study of historical texts: “Anglo-American philosophy has repeated that history which she refused to read. But we need all the help we can get to break out of the time capsule in which we are progressively locking ourselves in. "

Turning away from the focus of research on the history of philosophy is by no means a necessary or sufficient criterion for assignment to tradition or the current foothills of analytical philosophy. On the one hand, many philosophers assigned to a continental direction also mainly pursue current systematic and non-historical interests. On the other hand, today many authoritative experts who use analytical instruments and who have made important contributions to contemporary systematic debates of analytical provenance are also concerned with historical approaches - just as many leading representatives have been pursuing historical interests and with systematic questions since the beginning of analytical schooling have linked. Examples are Bertrand Russell , Elizabeth Anscombe , Peter Geach , Max Black , Eleonore Stump , Norman Kretzmann , Robert J. Fogelin , Jaakko Hintikka , Roderick Chisholm , Anthony Kenny , Simo Knuuttilla , Klaus Jacobi , Brian Leftow , Ernst Tugendhat , Michael Dummett , Robert Merrihew Adams , Benson Mates , Nicholas Rescher , Michael Della Rocca , John Hawthorne and John Haldane .

In general, there is also resistance to purely ahistorical work in the discussion about analytical philosophizing. Every now and then general criticism is put forward against a type of philosophy historiography which regards its subject solely through the methodological grid of analytical philosophy. In addition, certain individual studies working with analytical instruments have been and are repeatedly criticized as being inadequate in relation to the subject matter, especially when they discuss historical theses against the background of current concepts and problems; well-known examples are articles by J. Hintikka.

Delimitation criteria for continental philosophy

Above all, in contrast to what it calls “ continental philosophy”, representatives of analytical philosophy saw their own line of tradition as an independent and superior way of philosophizing. Clarity of expression, objectivity, strict argumentation and a sharp definition of terms stand for her against the literary style of the "continental philosophers". This split in the philosophical world began in the dispute between Carnap and Heidegger. Even today, some representatives have a great dislike of the other tradition.

Peter Bieri , on the other hand, considers the aforementioned peculiarities of analytical philosophy to be a series of dogmas that have proven to be untenable over time. He advocates the thesis that after these dogmas have disappeared, a distinction between analytical and continental philosophy is no longer tenable. In addition, for him, many of the dogmas have undesirable and negative effects on philosophizing itself. Bieri asserts seven points of view:

  1. Analytical philosophy cannot be described as a special subject , since it has neither a limited subject area (the topics change according to fashion and interest) nor a specific method (because the foundation of analytical philosophy, for example through Wittgenstein's philosophical investigations, is not itself a method Reasons).
  2. The requirement for clarity of expression cannot therefore be regarded as a peculiarity of analytical philosophy, since within its own tradition there are two completely different blueprints of clarity: on the one hand, the blueprint that emerged following a philosophy of ideal language, which understands clarity as accuracy , on the other hand that understanding developed in everyday language, which understands clarity as contextual accuracy and clarity .
  3. The highly developed formal systems and logics, which should serve as a method of analytical philosophy, did not help with most problems in terms of content. Instead, their dominance led to the development of a habitus that made philosophy appear as logelism, where it was a matter of beating others with "knockout arguments" or using shrewd tricks in "sporty outsmarting " of the other profile. This partly led to the content being displaced.
  4. The pathos of the early years with which metaphysics was rejected under the sign of the Enlightenment has become largely obsolete with the further development of analytical philosophy. This is mainly because an atomistic understanding of meaning has given way to a holistic one , which allows the narrow criteria to be expanded and to turn to questions that were previously dismissed as meaningless.
  5. The philosophy of language is not fundamental in all respects to the analytic tradition either . There are now many areas in which it is no longer assumed that language or meaning analysis can contribute to an understanding of the problem, for example in the understanding of mental causation .
  6. Analytical philosophy, too, is not as exclusively oriented towards the natural sciences as Quine demanded when he denied the difference between “conceptual” and “empirical” questions. Analytical philosophers, too, develop knowledge a priori , such as Donald Davidson , when he describes the connection between action, reasons, causes, rationality and meaning without relying exclusively on empirical knowledge.
  7. With Kuhn and the late Wittgenstein, the attempt to invoke a universal rationality also ended . With the orientation towards natural languages, the contingency of many things emerges, which cannot be switched off by a supra-historical reason.

Bieri's diagnosis that the overemphasis on formal elements of philosophizing suppresses the view of the content has led to various reactions. Following Bieri, it is pointed out that the “conceptual scholastic finger exercises” and the logical-deductive arguments of analytical philosophy are based on terms that can only be explained and paraphrased metaphorically and cannot be defined. On the other hand, the example of literature shows that a new view of the world can be gained without having to clarify terms, which as a specific form of knowledge provides new orientations. As in literature, the source of new philosophical knowledge ultimately lies in the imagination , which cannot be replaced by arguments based on formal logic.

Since the analytical philosophy nowadays largely assumes the cultural independence of philosophical questions, i. H. Attempts to answer philosophical questions independently of history, nation, language and worldview, it is proposed to distinguish analytical and continental tradition on the basis of this criterion: While the continental tradition examines and develops worldviews comparatively and thus always focuses on the whole of thought , tries the analytical tradition of labor clarify issues and systematically capture, they regardless of the contingency sees the cultural lives of the people.

See also



Overview of the history of philosophy

  • Pierfrancesco Basile, Wolfgang Röd : The philosophy of the late 19th and 20th centuries 1. Pragmatism and analytical philosophy. In: Wolfgang Röd (Ed.): History of Philosophy , Volume XI. CH Beck, Munich 2014.
  • Michael Beaney (Ed.): The Oxford Handbook of The History of Analytic Philosophy . Oxford University Press 2013, ISBN 978-0-19-923884-2 .
  • Anat Biletzki (Ed.): The story of analytic philosophy: plot and heroes. In: Routledge studies in twentieth-century philosophy. Routledge, London 1998, ISBN 0-415-16251-3 .
  • Tyler Burge : Philosophy of Language and Mind: 1950–1990. In: The Philosophical Review. 101/1, Philosophy in Review: Essays on Contemporary Philosophy (1992), ISSN  0031-8108 , pp. 3-51.
  • Michael Dummett : Origins of Analytical Philosophy. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1988, ISBN 3-518-57894-4 .
  • PMS Hacker : Wittgenstein in the context of analytical philosophy. Suhrkamp 1997, ISBN 3-518-58242-9 . This broad representation is based on the subject areas opened by Wittgenstein.
  • Erich H. Reck: From Frege to Wittgenstein: Perspectives on Early Analytic Philosophy. Oxford University Press 2002, ISBN 0-19-513326-9 .
  • Scott Soames: Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century. Princeton University Press, Princeton 2003 (Volume 1: The Dawn of Analysis, Volume 2: The Age of Meaning), ISBN 0-691-11573-7 .
  • Scott Soames: The Analytic Tradition in Philosophy, Volume 1: The Founding Giants. Princeton University Press 2014.
  • Wolfgang Stegmüller : Main currents of contemporary philosophy. A critical introduction. Vol. 2-4, Kröner, Stuttgart 1987-89.
  • Joachim Track: Philosophy, analytical. In: Theological Real Encyclopedia . Vol. 26, 1996, pp. 560-572.
  • Eike von Savigny , Albert Newen: Analytical Philosophy . UTB, Stuttgart 1996, ISBN 978-3-8252-1878-2 .

Anthologies and edited volumes

  • Michael Beaney: The Analytic Turn: Analysis in Early Analytic Philosophy and Phenomenology. Routledge, London 2009 (2007). Fourteen authors ( PMS Hacker et al.) Describe the analytical contributions not only by Frege, Russell and Wittgenstein, but also by Bolzano , Husserl and CI Lewis .
  • Steven D. Hales (Ed.): Analytic Philosophy: Classic Readings . Belmont, Wadsworth 2002. Collection of important classical essays, sorted according to individual disciplines (philosophy of language, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, ethics), each with excellent introductory articles.
  • Aloysius P. Martinich, E. David Sosa (Eds.): A Companion to Analytic Philosophy. Blackwell, Oxford 2001, ISBN 0-631-21415-1 . 39 philosophers (from Frege to David Lewis ) are presented by different authors.
  • Aloysius P. Martinich, David Sosa (Eds.): Analytic Philosophy: An Anthology. Blackwell, Oxford 2001.
  • Tom Sorell, GAJ Rogers (Ed.): Analytic Philosophy and History of Philosophy. Oxford University Press 2005, ISBN 0-19-927899-7 . Ten authors discuss the connection between analytical philosophy and the history of philosophy ( Anthony Kenny et al.).


  • Juliet Floyd: Recent Themes in the History of Early Analytic Philosophy. In: Journal of the History of Philosophy. 47/2 (2009), pp. 157-200.
  • Dagfinn Føllesdal : Analytic Philosophy: What Is It and Why Should One Engage in It? In: Ratio. 9/3 1996, pp. 193-208. German: What is analytical philosophy? In: G. Meggle (Ed.): Analyomen 2 . Volume I: Logic, Epistemology, Philosophy of Science. de Gruyter, Berlin 1997.

Web links

Overview representations


Institutions and events

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Scott Soames: Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century, Volume 2. Princeton University Press, 2003.
  2. ^ Ingolf Ulrich Dalferth: Religious Speech from God, Contributions to Protestant Theology. In: Eberhardt Jüngel and Rudolf Smend (Hrsg.): Theologische Abhandlungen. Volume 87, 1st edition, Munich: Kaiser, 1981, p. 43.
  3. ^ Russell's Logical Atomism.
  4. ^ Wittgenstein's Logical Atomism.
  5. See for example Kurt Fischer, Franz Martin Wimmer: The historical consciousness in the analytic philosophy . In: Ludwig Nagl, Richard Heinrich (ed.): Where does analytical philosophy stand today? Vienna / Munich 1986.
  6. Even if quoted in this way, the sentence was literally: "History of Philosophy: Just say no!". See Tom Sorell: On Saying No to History of Philosophy. In: Tom Sorell (Ed.): Analytic Philosophy and History of Philosophy . Oxford University Press, Oxford 2005, pp. 43f. ( Online at Google Books ): Sorell quotes from a letter from Harmans: “ … I believe my views about the history of philosophy are mostly orthodox nowadays. The history of philosophy is not easy. It is very important to consider the historical context of a text and not just try to read it all by itself. One should be careful not to read one's own views (or other recent views) into a historical text. It is unwise to treat historical texts as sacred documents that contain important wisdom. In particular, it is important to avoid what Walter Kaufmann calls 'exegetical thinking': reading one's views into a sacred text so one can read them back out endowed with authority. For the most part of the problems that historical writers were concerned with are different from the problems that current philosophers face. There are no perennial philosophical problems… The playful sign that was once on my office door, History of Philosophy: Just Say No! was concerned with whether our students should be required to do work in the history of philosophy. That is not to say that I have anything against the study of the history of philosophy. I do not discourage students or others from studying the history of philosophy. I am myself quite interested in the history of moral philosophy for example…
  7. Following Quine, for example Margaret Wilson: Is the History of Philosophy Good for Philosophy? In: Tom Sorell (Ed.): Analytic Philosophy and History of Philosophy . Oxford University Press, Oxford 2005, p. 65 ( online at Google Books ).
  8. ^ Pirmin Stekeler-Weithofer: History of Philosophy . de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2006, p. 9.
  9. Andreas Urs Sommer: History of Philosophy as a Problem . In: Philosophical Review . Volume 55, Issue 1, p. 56.
  10. Peter Bieri: What remains of analytical philosophy when dogmas have fallen? In: German magazine for philosophy . 03/2007, issue 55, p. 334.
  11. ^ B. Ramberg:  Richard Rorty. In: Edward N. Zalta (Ed.): Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy .
  12. ^ "Anglo-American philosophy has been repeating the history it has been refusing to read, and we need all the help we can get to break out of the time capsule within which we are gradually sealing ourselves." R. Rorty: Derrida on Language , Being, and Abnormal Philosophy . In: The Journal of Philosophy 74.11, 1977.
  13. Glock 2008, chap. 4th
  14. ^ Carlin Romano: Rescuing the History of Philosophy From Its Analytic Abductors . In: The Chronicle of Higher Education. Volume 49, No. 44, page B14. Rescuing the History of Philosophy From Its Analytic Abductors ( Memento from 20090710052225)
  15. See the study by Michael Friedman: Carnap. Cassirer. Heidegger: Divided paths . Fischer, Frankfurt a. M. 2004.
  16. See, for example, Jonathan Barnes harsh words in a conversation with Myles Fredric Burnyeat, Raymond Geuss and Barry Stroud : Modes of philosophizing. Discussion at the round table in Cogito (Greece). Online .
  17. Peter Bieri: What remains of analytical philosophy when dogmas have fallen? In: German magazine for philosophy. 03/2007, issue 55, p. 333 ff. ( As a video presentation ).
  18. Peter Bieri: What remains of analytical philosophy when dogmas have fallen? In: German magazine for philosophy. 03/2007, issue 55, p. 335 ff.
  19. Peter Bieri: What remains of analytical philosophy when dogmas have fallen? In: German magazine for philosophy. 03/2007, issue 55, p. 338 ff.
  20. Christiane Schildknecht : Clarity in Philosophy and Literature . In: German magazine for philosophy . 56, 2008, p. 782.
  21. Ansgar Beckermann: Introduction (PDF; 162 kB) In: Peter Prechtl (Ed.): Basic Concepts of Analytical Philosophy Stuttgart 2004, here pp. 11-12.
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on September 7, 2005 .