Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

Since philosophy is largely the activity of reflecting on modes of thought, it is not surprising that its own methods are subject to its scrutiny. While different schools have frequently made claims for the one correct approach to philosophical problems, the march of history has not seen any consensus emerge. The early 20th century was dominated by philosophical attention to the nature of language, issuing in the two schools of analytical philosophy and phenomenology. Logical positivism and later linguistic philosophy were successors of the former, whilst a more historical approach to the nature of conceptual schemes is one of the legacies of the latter. Currently there is reasonable enthusiasm for a ‘naturalism’ that sees the activity of philosophy as continuous with that of science, differing mainly in the abstract nature of its problems and subject-matter: see naturalized epistemology. However critics doubt whether there is very much resembling science in the work of thinkers who enjoy this self-image, which can therefore seem more to be a piece of self-deception or science-envy. There is a natural temptation for philosophers to model themselves on the best accepted paradigms of successful disciplines of the time, be they mathematics, theology, history, linguistics, physics, or neuroscience.

Subjects: Philosophy.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.