Reply To: Analytic philosophy

  • Encyclios

    April 3, 2023 at 8:46 AM

    From the school of G.E. Moore to the Tractatus of L. Wittgenstein

    Taking the premises of traditional English empiricism to their ultimate consequences, G.E. Moore founded a school in Cambridge whose thirty years of teaching (1911-39) deeply influenced all English philosophy, a school destined to develop. The acceptance of a conscious realism leads Moore to consider as an essential task of a philosophy the clarification of the implicit assumptions, on the linguistic level, of common sense, in order to guarantee more rigorously the realistic assumptions (even if his method is composite and still suffers from psychological suggestions).

    On the other hand, B. Russell, on the basis of mathematical investigations and inspired by the work of G. Frege and G. Peano and by the mathematical doctrine of A. Whitehead, but without neglecting theories such as that of A. Meinong on “objects”, arrives at a logical and linguistic investigation of mathematical propositions which leads, on the one hand, to the theory of defined descriptions and, on the other, to the theory of types. L. Wittgenstein’s Tractatus logico-philosophicus (1922), in which the results and problems of both Frege’s and Russell’s researches converge, as well as the introduction of original logical techniques (propositional calculation using the matrix method), poses the need to formulate a philosophy of language in which traditional gnoseological, metaphysical, and ethical problems are absorbed.

    It is common to trace back to philosophy the logical positivism that, inspired by some statements of the Tractatus, elaborated with M. Schlick the so-called principle of verification (“the meaning of a proposition is the method of its empirical verification”), proposing a radical anti-metaphysical reductionism. The meeting of logical positivism and American pragmatic currents, after the emigration to the USA of most of the representatives of the neo-positivist movement (such as R. Carnap, H. Reichenbach, C.G. Hempel), determines a confluence of interests and creates a mutual stimulus.

    Among the most important products are W.V. Quine’s essays on ontological and semantic problems, N. Goodman’s research on phenomenal languages and inductive inference, H. Putnam’s studies on the problems of meaning, truth, and realism, and S. Kripke’s studies on modal logic and the reference of linguistic concepts.