Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century, Volume 1: The Dawn of Analysis

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This is a major, wide-ranging history of analytic philosophy since 1900, told by one of the tradition's leading contemporary figures. The first volume takes the story from 1900 to mid-century. The second brings the history up to date. As Scott Soames tells it, the story of analytic philosophy is one of great but uneven progress, with leading thinkers making important advances toward solving the tradition's core problems. Though no broad philosophical position ever achieved lasting dominance, Soames argues that ...
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Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century, Volume 1: The Dawn of Analysis

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Overview

This is a major, wide-ranging history of analytic philosophy since 1900, told by one of the tradition's leading contemporary figures. The first volume takes the story from 1900 to mid-century. The second brings the history up to date. As Scott Soames tells it, the story of analytic philosophy is one of great but uneven progress, with leading thinkers making important advances toward solving the tradition's core problems. Though no broad philosophical position ever achieved lasting dominance, Soames argues that two methodological developments have, over time, remade the philosophical landscape. These are (1) analytic philosophers' hard-won success in understanding, and distinguishing the notions of logical truth, a priori truth, and necessary truth, and (2) gradual acceptance of the idea that philosophical speculation must be grounded in sound prephilosophical thought. Though Soames views this history in a positive light, he also illustrates the difficulties, false starts, and disappointments endured along the way. As he engages with the work of his predecessors and contemporaries -- from Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein to Donald Davidson and Saul Kripke -- he seeks to highlight their accomplishments while also pinpointing their shortcomings, especially where their perspectives were limited by an incomplete grasp of matters that have now become clear. Soames himself has been at the center of some of the tradition's most important debates, and throughout writes with exceptional ease about its often complex ideas. His gift for clear exposition makes the history as accessible to advanced undergraduates as it will be important to scholars. Despite its centrality to philosophy in the English-speaking world, the analytic tradition in philosophy has had very few synthetic histories. This will be the benchmark against which all future accounts will be measured.
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Editorial Reviews

Journal of the History of Philosophy - A.P. Martinich
I know of no sustained philosophical work that is as clear, deep, and incisive as these two volumes. There are several other excellent books on twentieth-century analytic philosophy, but Soames's is likely to become the standard. His ability to reconstruct arguments, to fill in inchoate arguments, and to detect what may have motivated or underlain some philosopher's position is amazing. . . . These are superb volumes by a superb philosopher.
Virginia Quarterly Review - Charles T. Mathewes
The writing and the organization are admirably clear and straightforward, exhibiting many of the virtues Soames claims for the tradition as a whole. . . . It is hard to imagine another work being produced which would deliver so much solid information on this dense and difficult subject matter in such easy form.
Boston Review - Alex Byrne and Ned Hall
Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century is a marvelous introduction to analytic philosophy. The two volumes unfold as a series of studies of some of the most important and influential philosophers in the analytic tradition. . . . It is a philosopher's history of analytic philosophy, with a careful and critical assessment of ideas about truth, morality, logic, mind, and meaning.
Journal of the History of Philosophy - A. P. Martinich
I know of no sustained philosophical work that is as clear, deep, and incisive as these two volumes. There are several other excellent books on twentieth-century analytic philosophy, but Soames's is likely to become the standard. His ability to reconstruct arguments, to fill in inchoate arguments, and to detect what may have motivated or underlain some philosopher's position is amazing. . . . These are superb volumes by a superb philosopher.
From the Publisher

Winner of the 2003 Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Philosophy, Association of American Publishers

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2004

"I know of no sustained philosophical work that is as clear, deep, and incisive as these two volumes. There are several other excellent books on twentieth-century analytic philosophy, but Soames's is likely to become the standard. His ability to reconstruct arguments, to fill in inchoate arguments, and to detect what may have motivated or underlain some philosopher's position is amazing. . . . These are superb volumes by a superb philosopher."--A. P. Martinich, Journal of the History of Philosophy

"The writing and the organization are admirably clear and straightforward, exhibiting many of the virtues Soames claims for the tradition as a whole. . . . It is hard to imagine another work being produced which would deliver so much solid information on this dense and difficult subject matter in such easy form."--Charles T. Mathewes, Virginia Quarterly Review

"Because of its combination of sympathetic, illuminating exposition of the central doctrines and arguments of the analytic tradition and the hard-nosed critical evaluation to which they are subjected, this will surely be the standard history of analytic philosophy for many years to come."--Choice

Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century is a marvelous introduction to analytic philosophy. The two volumes unfold as a series of studies of some of the most important and influential philosophers in the analytic tradition. . . . It is a philosopher's history of analytic philosophy, with a careful and critical assessment of ideas about truth, morality, logic, mind, and meaning."--Alex Byrne and Ned Hall, Boston Review

Journal of the History of Philosophy
I know of no sustained philosophical work that is as clear, deep, and incisive as these two volumes. There are several other excellent books on twentieth-century analytic philosophy, but Soames's is likely to become the standard. His ability to reconstruct arguments, to fill in inchoate arguments, and to detect what may have motivated or underlain some philosopher's position is amazing. . . . These are superb volumes by a superb philosopher.
— A. P. Martinich
Virginia Quarterly Review
The writing and the organization are admirably clear and straightforward, exhibiting many of the virtues Soames claims for the tradition as a whole. . . . It is hard to imagine another work being produced which would deliver so much solid information on this dense and difficult subject matter in such easy form.
— Charles T. Mathewes
Choice
Because of its combination of sympathetic, illuminating exposition of the central doctrines and arguments of the analytic tradition and the hard-nosed critical evaluation to which they are subjected, this will surely be the standard history of analytic philosophy for many years to come.
Boston Review
Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century is a marvelous introduction to analytic philosophy. The two volumes unfold as a series of studies of some of the most important and influential philosophers in the analytic tradition. . . . It is a philosopher's history of analytic philosophy, with a careful and critical assessment of ideas about truth, morality, logic, mind, and meaning.
— Alex Byrne and Ned Hall
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691115733
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 7/2/2003
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 6.54 (w) x 9.48 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Soames is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California. His other books include "Reference and Description" (Princeton), "Beyond Rigidity", and "Understanding Truth".
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction to the Two Volumes xi
Part 1 G. E. Moore on Ethics, Epistemology, and Philosophical Analysis 1
Chapter 1 Common Sense and Philosophical Analysis 3
Chapter 2 Moore on Skepticism, Perception, and Knowledge 12
Chapter 3 Moore on Goodness and the Foundations of Ethics 34
Chapter 4 The Legacies and Lost Opportunities of Moore's Ethics 71
Suggested Further Reading 89
Part 2 Bertrand Russell on Logical and Linguistic Analysis 91
Chapter 5 Logical Form, Grammatical Form, and the Theory of Descriptions 93
Chapter 6 Logic and Mathematics: The Logicist Reduction 132
Chapter 7 Logical Constructions and the External World 165
Chapter 8 Russell's Logical Atomism 182
Suggested Further Reading 194
Part 3 Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus 195
Chapter 9 The Metaphysics of the Tractatus 197
Chapter 10 Meaning, Truth, and Logic in the Tractatus 214
Chapter 11 The Tractarian Test of Intelligibility and Its Consequences 234
Suggested Further Reading 254
Part 4 Logical Positivism, Emotivism, and Ethics 255
Chapter 12 The Logical Positivists on Necessity and Apriori Knowledge 257
Chapter 13 The Rise and Fall of the Empiricist Criterion of Meaning 271
Chapter 14 Emotivism and Its Critics 300
Chapter 15 Normative Ethics in the Era of Emotivism: The Anticonsequentialism of Sir David Ross 320
Suggested Further Reading 346
Part 5 The Post-Positivist Perspective of the Early W. V. Quine 349
Chapter 16 The Analytic and the Synthetic, the Necessary and the Possible, the Apriori and the Aposteriori 351
Chapter 17 Meaning and Holistic Verificationism 378
Suggested Further Reading 406
Index 409
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