What is Analytic Philosophy?

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In trying to answer the question What is analytic philosophy? I shall follow two methodological principles. (i) The first was suggested by Peter Hacker and reads: ‘Any characterisation of “analytic philosophy” which excludes Moore, Russell and the later Wittgenstein, as well as the leading figures of post War analytic philosophy [for us these are John Wisdom, Ryle, Austin, Strawson and Dummett], must surely be rejected.’ (Hacker 1996a, p. 247) The correct definition of analytic philosophy must cohere with the philosophy of its generally recognized founding fathers. (ii) Any characterisation of ‘analytic philosophy’ which was massively represented in the history of philosophy in the past, must be rejected too. To be sure, Moore, Russell and Wittgenstein, and later also Ryle, Austin and their friends, were doing a type of philosophy which they consciously understood as new—it was intrinsically New Philosophy. The problem was only that this newness was difficult to identify and define.
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