Ordinary Language and the Unordinary Philosophy of Peter Achinstein

Steven Gimbel and Jeffrey Maynes

in Philosophy of Science Matters

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199738625
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894642 | DOI:
Ordinary Language and the Unordinary Philosophy of Peter Achinstein

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In 1959, Peter Achinstein left Harvard and his Logical Positivist-influenced teachers and spent a year working at Oxford during the heyday of ordinary language philosophy. In his writings on evidence and explanation, we find competing influences from both. His explicative methodology and his rigorous approach show the deep influence of Rudolf Carnap and C. G. Hempel, while his historical contextualization and use of pragmatic machinery show his debt to J. L. Austin and Peter Strawson. Achinstein's work in the philosophy of science can be seen as the result of taking the competing views in a debate in the philosophy of language from the generation that preceded him and synthesizing them into something more fruitful.

Keywords: Peter Achinstein; Logical Positivism; Rudolf Carnap; Carl Hempel; pragmatism; scientific evidence

Chapter.  5181 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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