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By Tom Sorell, G. A. J. Rogers

Philosophy written in English is overwhelmingly analytic philosophy, and the options and predilections of analytic philosophy aren't in simple terms unhistorical yet anti-historical, and opposed to textual remark. Analytic often aspires to a really excessive measure of readability and precision of formula and argument, and it usually seeks to be told by means of, and in keeping with, present common technology. In an previous period, analytic philosophy aimed toward contract with traditional linguistic intuitions or logic ideals, or either. All of those elements of the topic take a seat uneasily with using ancient texts for philosophical illumination. during this ebook, ten distinctive philosophers discover the tensions among, and the probabilities of reconciling, analytic philosophy and background of philosophy. individuals: 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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21 Edward Craig, The Mind of God and the Works of Man (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987). 40 John Cottingham If this argument is on the right lines, then it turns out that not only should philosophers cultivate historical sensitivity if they are to philosophize in a self-aware way, but, more than that, it may even be true that historically based philosophical inquiry is the only kind that can aspire to qualify as genuine philosophizing (or at the very least, that it is far better placed so to qualify than its contemporary ‘up-to-date’, ‘cutting-edge’ cousin).

Indeed, it now takes an enormous effort of philosophical imagination even to work out exactly what was puzzling Parmenides—a puzzle which terrified philosophers for generations. It is unsurprising, given the relationship of philosophy to a canon, that a notable feature of philosophical progress is that it is largely progress in coming to terms with, and interpreting, the thoughts of the great philosophers of the past. The great works of the past do not lose their importance in philosophy—but their intellectual contributions are not static.

But this conception also has failed to catch on much outside the sector of the AngloAmerican philosophy of mind now known as cognitive science. I Let me begin with the issue addressed by Harman’s playful sign: namely, that of what students of philosophy might reasonably be required to read in order to get on with the subject. Presumably they can reasonably be required to read something. When Harman was urging people to say ‘No’ to the history of philosophy, he was not taking a stand against reading lists.

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