10750 Introduction to Analytic Philosophy

Credits: 4 intermediate credits in Philosophy

Prerequisites: Introduction to Logic, Mathematical Logic

Author: Yuval Eylon

The analytic tradition is the dominant philosophical tradition in academia today in general, and in the English-speaking world in particular. The aim of this course is to survey some of the major developments since the inception of analytic philosophy at the end of the 19th century, up to the later part of the 20th century, and to raise the main questions with which it grapples and the strategies developed for their resolution.

The analytic tradition is not a school. There is no unifying theme, method, question, or style that is common to all and only analytic philosophers. One important characteristic (though hardly anyone ascribes to this view today) was the “linguistic turn” – namely, the idea that all philosophical problems could be traced to issues in the philosophy of language and thus resolved, whereby the philosophy of language would replace epistemology as the “first philosophy.” Nonetheless, analytic philosophers work on all traditional issues in philosophy such as ethics, aesthetics, the philosophy of mind, etc.

The course focuses on major debates concerning issues such as the nature of philosophy, necessity and certainty, and the relation between language and the world. The aim of the course is to provide a solid background that will enable students to pursue advanced courses. Works by the main figures in the history of analytic philosophy are discussed: Frege, Moore, Russell, Wittgenstein, the Logical Positivists, the Oxford philosophers, Quine, Davidson, Kripke and Putnam.