Friday, November 16, 2018

The Methods of Analytic Philosophy - Daily Nous

The Methods of Analytic Philosophy - Daily Nous: People like me, who have been trying to do philosophy for more than forty years, do in due course learn, if they’re lucky, how to do what they’ve been trying to do: that is, they do learn how to do philosophy. But although I’ve learned how to do philosophy, nobody ever told me how do it, and, so far as I would guess, nobody will have told you how to do it, or is likely to tell you how to do it in the future. That’s the opening of “How To Do Political Philosophy,” a set of remarks by G.A. Cohen published in On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice, and Other Essays in Political Philosophy.   It’s also the subject of a recent post by Eric Schliesser (Amsterdam) at Digressions & Impressions. Why wasn’t Cohen ever told how to do philosophy? Schliesser considers a few possibilities: (A) “analytic philosophy was free of methods” (B) the methods were kept quiet, perhaps because (B*) people thought “the methods of philosophy cannot be explicitly taught/said, but have to be shown via example/exemplars.” (C) “those of us who have learned how to do it struggled so hard to get where we now are that…we think you, too, should suffer,” perhaps because (C*) “we’re now selfishly reluctant to give you some of the fruit of our struggle for free” (D) “the methods of (early to middle) analytical philosophy were not u...

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