The Edinburgh Companion to Twentieth-Century Philosophies

The Edinburgh Companion to Twentieth-Century Philosophies

The Edinburgh Companion to Twentieth-Century Philosophies

The Edinburgh Companion to Twentieth-Century Philosophies

Synopsis

The Companion is organized into two sections, each one of which reflects the developments of the Anglo-American Analytic and the Continental European philosophical traditions respectively. An appendix presents the main accomplishments of non-Western philosophies in the same time frame. Each section discusses the main movements and fields of the discipline throughout the century. The authors have maintained a balance between the historian's commitment to breadth and accuracy with the commitment of the systematic philosopher to the engaged point of view and to critical reflection. The result is a distinctive reference book made up of a series of philosophical studies -an invaluable companion to anyone who is searching for a panoramic but also reliable and challenging presentation of the philosophical ideas which shaped the last century.

Excerpt

Accepting the responsibility of putting together a companion volume for the twentiethcentury philosophies was both humbling and exhilarating. Humbling, because, whatever decision one makes for the organization, scope, and purpose of such a work, one must first embark on a daring journey of surveying, identifying, connecting, and distinguishing vast bodies of knowledge, opinions, polemics, problems, putative solutions, interpretations and framings. Faced with such a daunting task, one soon reaches the conclusion that the only way to bring the volume to its completion will be to stretch to the very limits of one’s knowledge and that, no matter how many precautions one takes, the frame, the connections and identifications, as well as the silences and omissions in it, will be broadcasting the editor’s shortcomings to one and all. But compiling this volume was also an exhilarating endeavor. Once the limits of one’s knowledge have been accepted, and the interpretive work of the imposed frame has been welcomed as the indispensable gift of reading, even the compilation of a companion volume emerges as a kind of doing philosophy – rather than merely registering what is available to the eye of the surveyor. Moreover, the humility imposed by the immensity of the task stresses the need for a truly collaborative venture that multiplies the interpretive frames and displaces the limits of one’s own knowledge towards the strengths of one’s collaborators – a multiplication and a displacement that are both reassuring and unsettling.

The present Edinburgh Companion to Twentieth-Century Philosophies addresses readers who have some acquaintance with the philosophical preoccupations of the twentieth century and who seek to increase and render more coherent their understanding of these preoccupations, with the assistance of men and women whose research and writing are more advanced than their own. Graduate students in the humanities, and members of the educated public belong here. But the present companion volume is also addressed to professionals who will appreciate the texts that offer overviews of certain areas of philosophical investigations while avoiding the standard encyclopedic synopses by inspecting their chosen subject through a more personal lens – albeit with a few important exceptions. Given the centrality that the issues surrounding sense, mind, language, and values have acquired in the analytic philosophical tradition of the twentieth century, the authors of the chapters on logical positivism, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, and ethics were encouraged to opt for something approximating an encyclopedic presentation. Reading these four chapters would give a fairly accurate picture of the ambitions and agendas of the . . .

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