The Routledge Companion to Twentieth-Century Philosophy, edited by Dermot Moran. London: Routledge, 2008. xvi, 1024 p.


Notes on Contributors ix

Preface and Acknowledgments xiv

Introduction: Towards an Assessment of Twentieth-Century Philosophy / Dermot Moran 1-40

PART I: Major themes and movements  41

1 The birth of analytic philosophy / Michael Potter 43

2 The development of analytic philosophy: Wittgenstein and after / Hans-Johann Glock 76

3 Hegelianism in the twentieth century / Terry Pinkard 118

4 Kant in the twentieth century / Robert Hanna 149

5 American philosophy in the twentieth century / James R. O'Shea 204

6 Naturalism / Geert Keil 254

7 Feminism in philosophy / Andrea Nye 308

PART II: Logic, language, knowledge, and metaphysics  345

8 Philosophical logic / R.M. Sainsbury 347

9 Philosophy of language / Jason Stanley 382

10 Metaphysics / E.J. Lowe 438

11 Epistemology in the twentieth century / Matthias Steup 469

PART III: Philosophy of mind, psychology, and science 523

12 Philosophy of mind / Sarah Patterson 525

13 Philosophy of psychology / Kelby Mason, Chandra Sekhar Sripada, and Stephen Stich 583

14 Philosophy of science / Stathis Psillos 618

Part IV: Phenomenology, hermeneutics, existentialism, and Critical Theory 659

15 Phenomenology / Dan Zahavi 661

16 Twentieth-century hermeneutics / Nicholas Davey 693

17 German philosophy (Heidegger, Gadamer, Apel) / Karl-Otto Apel 736

18 Critical theory / Axel Honneth 784

19 French philosophy in the twentieth century / Gary Gutting 814

PART V: Politics, ethics, and aesthetics 849

20 Twentieth-century moral philosophy / Rowland Stout 851

21 Twentieth-century political philosophy / Matt Matravers 883

22 Twentieth-century aesthetics / Paul Guyer 913

Glossary 966

Index 997

Commentary by Ralph Dumain

In his introduction Dermot Moran makes an effort to be fair to everyone, though the balance of the book fails in following up on this promise. He contrasts the prevailing philosophies at the beginning of the 20th century with those at the end, highlighting continuities and innovations, giving attention to the increased participation of women as a major innovation. Moran mentions my favorite of the classic American philosophers, Roy Wood Sellars, and this Sellars does get some attention in a later chapter. Moran mentions Marxism (Lenin and Mao specifically) as probably the most influential trend of the 20th century, but Marxism is otherwise glossed over except when it blends in with other continental thought streams such as existentialism or is otherwise part of 'Western Marxism', or fits into some other thematic narrative. (Moran mentions the importance of Marxist political thought in the West following World War II.) Critical Theory gets a chapter, at least. (There is a section on Marxist aesthetics in the aesthetics chapter, with brief mentions of Lenin and Trotsky.) The history of Soviet philosophy is absent. There is no mention of Evald Ilyenkov, whose thought has outlived the USSR and has a foothold in 21st century thought. Moran mentions the Yugoslav Praxis SchoolMihailo Marković and Gajo Petrović in particularin passing, but this school appears nowhere else in the book. The historical trajectory of Polish philosophy is mentioned, but there is no mention of the Poznan School. Leszek Kolakowski gets scattered references, mostly in relation to non-Marxist subjects. Karel Kosik is not mentioned, and in general the Eastern European Marxist-Humanist dissidents are ignored, except when one or two of them fits into another narrative. Moran admits that the whole Soviet bloc effectively disappeared from the eyes of western philosophy. Because he is French, Althusser gets noticed. Gramsci is included in the chapter on political philosophy, which is where Marxism as such mostly resides in this book. No other Italian Marxists get noticed. Lukács is prominent throughout the book. Non-western philosophies (Chinese, Indian, African, and Islamic are mentioned) are, for reasons mentioned in the preface, not treated in the book, but some non-western world views show up in the chapter on feminism. (Marxists such as Luxemburg and Zetkin show up in this chapter as well.)

The subheadings of Moran's introduction are indicative of his approach: The long twentieth century; Continuities, discontinuities, novelties; The ongoing legacy of the nineteenth century; Philosophy at the dawn of the twentieth century; Husserl's "ground-breaking" work; The revolutionary importance of Gottlob Frege; Two main traditions: analytic and Continental philosophy; The evolution of the tradition of analytic philosophy; A suspicion of grand narratives; Philosophical self-reflection; Twentieth-century philosophy and the meaning of Europe; The World Wars: fragmentation and dislocation;

Moran evinces a necessary skepticism about the categories of "analytical" and "continental" philosophy, but as they delineate, however imperfectly, certain trajectories, regardless of their similarities and interpenetrating influences and concerns, Moran nonetheless is bound by them in his attempts to sum up the century. "Philosophical self-reflection" is itself symptomatic of the limitations of his own reflexivity as well as that of others, regardless of the skepticism about grand narratives and skepticism about the 'skepticism about grand narratives', and his stressing of the importance of an historical understanding of philosophy, which we owe first and foremost to Hegel. One would have to begin with a critical examination of reflexivity itself, what effectivates it, and the limitations of a formalist approach or guilty self-consciousness. Here the desire to be open and tolerant effectively obscures the tacit presuppositions of this inquiry. Regarding the 'meaning of Europe', Moran recognizes that only a handful of influential European countries get real recognition as producers of philosophy, regardless of the output of 'lesser' nations or the national origins of various philosophers recognized elsewhere. Moran addresses the problem of recognizing the peculiarity and particularity of problems inherited and addressed by specific traditions at specific times, and what is different when philosophical systems originating elsewhere are incorporated into different national contexts. In the concluding section, speculating about the future and summing up the preceding century, Moran speculates. Perhaps "...Heidegger and Wittgenstein will continue to be seen as the leading figures of the twentieth." Moran wrestles with identity and diversity, and analytical and continental approaches, and the possible merging of the two standpoints.

From the foregoing, you can rightly surmise that I have a problem with the perspective of this whole approachcertainly the tacit even more than the explicit perspectiveas well as with the selection of philosophers and trends to be highlighted. If I labeled it a bourgeois perspective, you might think I have a simplistic view of the subject matter, or worse, you might unreflectively agree with me. However, there is an objective content to this anthology as well as selectivity. There is a sense in which 'leading figures' are leading figures and have to be accounted for, and then there is another perspective which views their significance quite differently or eschews the perspective of 'leading figures' altogether. There is not only what was done, but what should have been done and what needs to be done given a conception of what in the final analysis matters, and from this interpretive standpoint, the objectivity of the first approach doesn't stand up to a higher stage of reflexivity.

So, if one characterizes this as essentially a bourgeois perspective on 20th century philosophy, what do we mean by 'bourgeois', and how would one rewrite this from a Marxist perspective? It took over a thousand pages to document as much as this book does, so approaching the same material and more from a different vantage point would be a formidable task at the very least. What it would not be is an exposition of 'Marxist philosophy' or an argument for Marxism or the delineation of a Marxist philosophy of specific subject matters (beyond the analysis of social organization) as a separate doctrine apart from the advancement of human knowledge in all directions. Marxism is above all critique, and not an 'ism' at all. Furthermore, if one inspects the specialist literature in various areas, including that of the Soviet bloc (when it was still alive as such), one will find that Marxists, without necessarily drawing attention to Marxism (but sometimes to 'materialism') made non-doctrinaire contributions both critical and affirmative in the most abstract matters of logic, epistemology, and ontology, which in their abstractness involve both objective and ideological content and configuration. Scrutinizing the very premises on which various schools of thought proceeded, and the historical and socially constituted environments in which certain problems and premises were taken to be importanton this level one might judge the ultimate fate of the various philosophical trajectories. 'Marxism' itself, crystallized as a philosophy in the Second International and interacting, opposing or mixed with other philosophical trends, was a development expanded beyond Marx's focus, and beyond Engels too though he can be credited and blamed for giving 'Marxism' a general philosophy. 'Marxism' could not at that time take into full account ideas that were being developed in the sciences, mathematics, and logic, and in fact even forgot the dialectical nature of the critique of political economy itself. These limitations were institutionalized and compounded, or partially alleviated at various points by various specialists and scholars in the 20th century, but there is no 'grand narrative' even of Marxism itself, let alone of the universe of knowledge. And there is none in the bourgeois 'mainstream' either, as the best that has been done is in studies of specific trends, historical periods, national and linguistic contexts, approaches, schools of thought, studies of which would all have to be tied together, to begin with, to form an historical picture, which taken as a whole may not be exhaustively knowable in a generalist fashion. But we can ask certain questions and formulate a perspective for inquiry, that goes beyond the documentation of philosophy's greatest hits.

6 September 2021

Looking through the rest of the volume, Isee that there are a couple scattered pages on Marxism, a couple more on Adorno, and maybe a few others, but we get the stingiest accounts of Marxist thought. There is a small section on Marxist aesthetics, which begins with Lenin. Otherwise, Soviet philosophy does not exist, except for its scattered mentions as a bête noire. On the other hand, feminism gets a whole chapter.

Well, this is a sizable chunk of an enormous database under constructions that has a long way to go. There is several web sites on the theme of "philosophy without gaps" including sites on women philosophers. All of this is necessary not only to document the history of thought, but as a basis for understanding why it has developed as it has. There are newer, artificially created categories such as Aztec Philosophy, Afro-Caribbean philosophy, et al. Much of this is ideological charlatanism in action, but the raw information therein as well as the development of pseudo-philosophy form part of the picture. There are also, importantly, specialized studies, of how Indian, Chinese, and Japanese thought were transformed under the impact of modernization, instigated at first by Western expansion. Beyond the raw data and partial interpretations, there needs to be an overall evaluative enterprise that can coordinate all these specialized studies, so that we can not only fill in the gaps, but fill in the logical and social picture of why these thought streams have developed as they have. There are of course, other major 'world languages' besides English, not to mention other languages which are historically vital in philosophy but are bound to small nations (e.g. Poland), some but not all output of which gets transferred to world languages.

18 October 2021

American philosophy in the twentieth century by James R. O'Shea, pp. 204-253.

Contents: - Lasting themes in American philosophy from Charles Sanders Peirce - William James, John Dewey, and other classical American pragmatists - Varieties of realism, naturalism, and positivism from 1900 to 1950: The New Realism Critical Realism The revolution in logic and the conceptual pragmatism of C. I. Lewis Logical Positivism - Mid-century developments: from positivism to ordinary-language philosophy - One case study in philosophical continuity and change across two generations [i.e., father & son: Roy Wood Sellars and Wilfrid Sellars] - Analytic philosophy in the naturalistic American style comes of age - Neo-pragmatism and other recent developments

Much of analytic philosophy, with or without pragmatism attached, has always seemed to me to have misguided foundations, but this article makes sense out of much of its evolution in the USA. Of greatest interest to me here is the treatment of my favorite of the classical American philosophers, Roy Wood Sellars. His son Wilfrid was central in the development of analytical philosophy in the USA, but his orientation was fundamentally different from the others’. This article outlines how Wilfrid both continued and updated his father’s legacy with the new logical techniques coming in from Europe. This is the first time I’ve seen father and son contextualized and compared in this way. This article helps for gaining an in to the impossibly complex philosophical evolution of the 20th century, the whole of which nobody has or is even able to render.

18 October 2021

Philosophy for the Future: The Quest of Modern Materialism: Foreword & Contents
eds. Roy Wood Sellars, V.J. McGill, Marvin Farber

On Unreflective Reflexivity
(Review: Hilary Lawson, Reflexivity: The Post-Modern Predicament)
by R. Dumain

The Partial Sociology of Philosophies: The Historical Perspective of Randall Collins
(An Unfinished Review)
by R. Dumain

Mihailo Marković on systematic philosophy in 1975
by R. Dumain

Reflexivity & Situatedness Study Guide

American Philosophy Study Guide

Philosophy for the 21st Century: A Provincial Bibliography

Philosophy of History of Philosophy & Historiography of Philosophy:
Selected Bibliography

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