Philosophy in the Mid-Century - Vol. 1

Philosophy in the Mid-Century - Vol. 1

Philosophy in the Mid-Century - Vol. 1

Philosophy in the Mid-Century - Vol. 1

Excerpt

The situation of philosophy to-day may well give rise to perplexity. It is marked by a renewed interest in, and a lively concern for, questions related to philosophical topics, not the least among those outside 'professional' circles. Yet the present state of philosophical discussion is characterized not only by an unusually large variety of approaches and divergent positions, but above all by sharp disagreement as to the very nature and purpose of philosophy. Every discipline is constituted by a modicum of agreement concerning its subject, method and aim. However, among philosophers to-day there is, it appears, little accord as to the delimitation of their subject, dissension regarding the proper method, conflict about the aim of their pursuit. To the adherents of some of the most influential schools their own conception is the only admissible one; whoever does not share it, will no longer be taxed with faulty argument and erroneous conclusions: his very questions will be ruled out of court; worse still, his activity may be deemed devoid of meaning.

Within several of these schools, the discussion has reached new heights of precision and subtlety; and novel developments of considerable interest bear witness to great vigour and acumen. These energies are mainly devoted to the penetrating analysis of positions within a given, sometimes narrowly circumscribed, orbit and to the skilful elaboration of appropriate techniques. At the same time, it is a rare thing to find instances of a fruitful dialogue between thinkers of differing allegiances and persuasions, a dialogue in which their basic assumptions would be called into question.

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