English Philosophy since 1900

By G. J. Warnock | Go to book overview

Chapter I
THE POINT OF DEPARTURE

IN 1924 and 1925 there appeared two bulky volumes with the general title Contemporary British Philosophy. They make strange reading today. Their title itself, even then, was doubtfully appropriate. For the philosophical landscape which, in their own odd way, these books illuminate is that of a period some years earlier than their dates of publication. The essays of which they consist were written for the most part by philosophers who were already veterans, and the few contributions by younger men stand out most awkwardly among their venerable companions. The editor of the two volumes, J. H. Muirhead, expressed his belief that British philosophy had been brought back 'into the main stream of European thought', and added the hope that 'the present generation' would remain and prosper in that stream as he conceived it.1 This hope, as the work of his younger contributors might well have led him to suspect, was doomed to almost immediate extinction. It might have seemed reasonable enough in, say, 1900; but it should have been clear by 1925 that the scene had changed, was changing, and would continue to change.

This transformation, though its early stages appear to have eluded the notice of Muirhead, has become by now a sufficiently conspicuous fact. It has been often

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1
op. cit., First Series, p. 323.

-1-

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English Philosophy since 1900
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • Note to Third Impression x
  • Chapter I - The Point of Departure 1
  • Chapter II - G. E. Moore 12
  • Chapter III - Bertrand Russell 30
  • Chapter IV - Logical Positivism 43
  • Chapter V - First Retrospect 52
  • Chapter VI - Wittgenstein 62
  • Chapter VII - Categories and Dilemmas 94
  • Chapter VIII - A Qualification 107
  • Chapter IX - Second Retrospect 116
  • Chapter X - Logic 124
  • Chapter XI - Metaphysics 136
  • Chapter XII - New Questions 146
  • Chapter XIII - Philosophy and Belief 160
  • Short Bibliography 174
  • Index 179
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