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.
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".
Acknowledgments ix Introduction to the Two Volumes xi PART ONE: 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 TWO: 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 THREE: 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 FOUR: 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 FIVE: 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