The two chapters here on twentieth-century philosophy indicate how the course of philosophy looks to specialists in the area. Many new approaches and theories have been put forth and developed in various ways. At this point, it is hard to assess where we are and where we may be going in future philosophizing.
There has been a tremendous divergence between the concerns and approaches of philosophers in the English-speaking world and those of the French and German worlds. Over the last half century, there has been fairly little contact between these philosophical worlds. In the United States, a kind of mixing is beginning to occur that might lead to new possible ways of carrying of the philosophical quest.
Up to World War II, the American philosophical scene was dominated by pragmatic philosophy and British idealism. In the 1930s, many European intellectual refugees came to America and found havens in colleges and universities. The logical positivists from Vienna seem to have had the first major impact and to have generated an American form of positivism. More slowly, people trained in phenomology and existentialism in Germany and France came here. Both movements had to translate their texts, explain them to the American audience, and show their relevance to thinkers here. Also in the 1930s, some American scholars came in contact with Ludwig Wittgenstein and his teachings and brought his way of philosophizing to the American scene. After the war, many more went to study at Oxford and Cambridge to imbibe the new kinds of analytic philosophies, and some of the leaders came to the United States to teach.
For a few decades, there was little communication among the new kinds of European philosophies that were becoming the vital part of the American philosophical