On the Origins of Analytic Philosophy [Book Review]

Grazer Philosophische Studien 35 (1):153-173 (1989)
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Analytic philosophers have until recently been reluctant to pursue historical investigations into the Central European roots of their own philosophical tradition. The most recent book by Michael Dummett, however, entitled Origins of Analytic Philosophy, shows how fruitful such investigations can be, not only as a means of coming to see familiar philosophical problems in a new light, but also as a means of clarifying what, precisely, ‘analytic philosophy’ might mean. As Dummett points out, the newly fashionable habit of referring to analytic philosophy as ‘Anglo-American’ leads to a ‘grave historical distortion’. If, he says, we take into account the historical context in which analytic philosophy developed, then such philosophy ‘could at least as well be called "Anglo-Austrian"’ (p. 7). We here show the implications of this assertion for a more adequate understanding of the relations between analytic and Continental philosophy.

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Barry Smith
University at Buffalo


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