Analytic Philosophy (book review) Aaron Preston

The History of an Illusion


100818: i do not know if this is a five- let alone on a sort of philosophy i do not much read (analytic) but this book was an easy, convincing read, from an author who has obviously read and thought a lot about analytic philosophy. i have done neither. i have never thought to offer any argument, any disagreement, with what seems(ed) to be a massively successful philosophical edifice, so i find his book particularly enlightening. i am just glad somebody has braved such dangerous heights...


my father as scientist once suggested i read outside of my comfort zone, challenge all sorts of philosophy, to this end i started to note places the work was done, the year published, the type elaborated, the authors, the works, then even tried to approach what too often impressed as reading math... this and the four russell and four on wittgenstein has suggested to me that such perception of arid logicism is mistaken perception, that on this and on that occasion there are interesting thoughts in analytic philosophy, even past all the if and only if, and as much of the wide range of philosophy i have read have review shelves- from america, asia, china, england, france, germany, india, italy, japan, spain, i have to admit i have room for a dedicated review bookshelf (philosophy-analytic)... though then i have to read some. after all, i have a shelf of feminist philosophy and such only on occasion is updated, and are thoughts of (mostly male) analytics maybe less foreign to me than of all the various women thinkers...?


as far in ‘continental’ and ‘analytic’ this book goes far enough back in history to find origins for both 'schools' or 'movements' or 'traditions' though the important 'founding texts' are from around 1880 to 1920. the argument of this work is that there is no logical core to analytic thought, that it is apparent that the great early work of analytics are something invented, something even certain thinkers closely allied with will in time refuse identity, that in development analytic thought follows the usual progress of any philosophy in creation and struggle for legitimacy: 1) first phase, proclaiming revolutionary aspirations, promising logical ‘dissolving’ rather than trying uselessly to answer incoherent questions, then 2nd) the second phase as a self-conscious movement is brought ‘tradition’, certainty that analytic is promoted, vigorous protection and denigrating all other ways of thought, no longer ‘revolutionary’ but now ‘traditions’ much time is multiplied by time and space, english and american professional philosophy happy to fall in illusions, then in 3rd) the third phase, cracks showing in the pillars, simple errors that should have been seen before but the illusions of analytic are revealed illusions and everyone runs away from the tower before inevitable earthquake... and this entire career of thought has been resolved in about half a century...


so is it right to wrangle in outliers of thought (or so continental seems to be for many analytics) of privileged philosophy students, to decide for them, to teach them, this is the only way to 'do' philosophy, losing all of us who think there are more ways to do philosophy, analytics closing places in the united states/england/canada where such interest is ignored, where the simple ‘truths’ of this tradition are not recognized- and you really are just not good enough at math... this is my case. i do not know math, i have never known math, i probably never will know math, but i have come to believe math is not the only or to me most interesting way to know and be aware of the world... and it is particularly this book that alleviates any envy/ignorance/unread status i have felt in such prejudicial lack of math, this book offers a way past the historical and maybe geographical and language if not also conceptual schism of continental/analytic philosophy... this book frees me to read the sort of philosophy i want to read rather than nurturing through math questions that will never be answered, from titles to introductions, chapter headings, from the first sentence... but also i remember that language is not the final proof and last and most recent 'turn'... there is perhaps something referred to before reference...


i read on. this is a five not simply that it inspires reading another book, this five that makes cogent arguments that maybe i should just go with what i know i like... this five saves me from reading so many more books... and instead maybe read the books i am interested in...

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