The decline of analytic philosophy?

Tadeusz Szubka


Analytic philosophy is one of the most varied currents of philosophy in the 20th century. Its development can be seen to include three phases: early, central, and late. Making use of the remarks of Bernard Williams, I argue that the scientism, naturalism, and ahistoricism that it often espouses are leading to a crisis and even to a gradual decline of this philosophical current. Analytic philosophy, at least in the present phase of its development, ought to rid itself of scientistic illusions and stop imitating the natural sciences or even behaving as if it were their extension (unless it indeed is such an extension, like the philosophy of quantum mechanics or the philosophy of biology). Philosophy, Williams claims, ought to regard itself as part of a broader humanistic enterprise whose aim is to understand ourselves and our activity. In order to answer the many questions that arise in the course of its investigations, it ought to turn its attention to other parts of this enterprise, in particular with history. Once this happens, we will witness a radical transformation of analytic philosophy, or even its replacement by some form of post-analytic philosophy.

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