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Re: analytic and continental thinking

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  • theoryphil2004
    Hello Scarey Interesting comment on what analytic philosophy consists in. If Blanshard is claiming that the below are typical of what constitutes analytical
    Message 1 of 37 , Dec 23, 2005
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      Hello Scarey

      Interesting comment on what analytic philosophy consists in. If
      Blanshard is claiming that the below are typical of what constitutes
      analytical philosophy then perhaps he should also conclude that
      analytical philosophy (so defined) is no longer the dominant tradition
      in the UK or America. Does Blanshard go on to say how many
      philosophers hold onto 1-4 at the moment? I can't think of anyone
      (still living) who holds onto all four but perhaps I am not up to date
      (or Blanshard is out of date)?

      It might have held sway for a biref period between 1920 and 1940 (Ayer
      and Early Wittgenstein (although he never held onto 2) being paradigm
      figures perhaps) but the below doesn't look to have any recognisable
      hegemony over other views today. Even the aforementioned figures
      amended their views over time. Of course some people still hold on to
      modified forms of the below, but we should expect that as ideas have a
      tendency to evolve, diversify and become more sophisticated. So
      whilst the below clearly do not apply to Sartre I do not think that
      they apply to the majority of what passes for philosophy in this
      country either. So much for a rigid distinction then.

      On the positive side at least Blanshard isn't claiming that analytical
      philosophy originated with Behaviourism and he is making a mature
      attempt to pick out some features that were prominent at a certain
      period of history and no doubt have a residue amongst a variery of
      philosophers today.

      I notice that you say Sartre is in the "Continental" tradition
      (assuming that there is some sort of unifying feature of something
      called "Continental" philosophy) but did not say what makes something
      a work of Continental philosophy. I think this may be even more
      difficult to specify than what "Analytical" philosophy consists in
      since there was never an attempt to define and thereby unify what the
      subject consisted in as there was with the paradigm "analytical"


      In Sartre@yahoogroups.com, "scarey1917" <scarey1917@y...> wrote:
      > <<<<<<"theoryphil2004" wrote: Ultimately these terms are heuristic
      aids created by ourselves or in the hands of the inexperienced they
      can be heuristic handicaps for blinkered ways of thinking.
      > Well, yes of course we have to avoid "pigeon-holing", but there is
      >some objectivity here with regards to philosophical tendencies. Brand
      > Blanshard in his book "Reason and Analysis" describes the modern
      > analytic (or neo-positivist) philosophy as basically a modern re-
      > working of themes from Hume, and while emphasizing the diversity of
      the thinkers at hand nonetheless emphasizes four positions that are
      more-or- less typical. 1)logical atomism -the attempt to reduce
      reality to its most "atomic" bits with a corresponding "ideal"
      language; 2)the verifiability theory of meaning - the notion that the
      meaning of a statement is its empirical verification process; 3) the
      "analytic" nature of a priori statements - the claim that necessary
      truths tell us nothing about the world, are merely conventional; and
      4)the emotive theory of value - the idea here that value statements
      are in themselves neither true nor false but merely express the
      sentiment of the speaker. On the other hand none of these concerns
      apply to Sartre; in both his existentialist and later neo-Marxist
      phases he is clearly in the "Continental" tradition. The sub-title of
      BN is, well, you know. And obviously the main influence of CDR is the
      "Western" Marxist tradition that began with the young Lukacs.
    • Lou Eugene
      That s an interesting point you made. Sorry I haven t able to respond, I ve been really busy lately. Menal life is pretty accurate, considering that
      Message 37 of 37 , Jan 24, 2006
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        That's an interesting point you made. Sorry I haven't able to respond, I've been really busy lately. "Menal life" is pretty accurate, considering that "consciousness" is very vague when you hear about it. As far as Man being "naturally violent" I think this is inherently true. It's like most of us have to rely on the rules and laws of society keep us from "giving in", while others can draw that control within themselves. I don't know if that particular topic can inspire an interesting discussion, but I would like somebody who's well-versed in Sartre to respond to this while referencing some of his texts.

        scarey1917 <scarey1917@...> wrote: "theoryphil2004" wrote:<<<<<<<So there is no inconsistency in being
        created and being free. There is only an inconsistency between being
        an inanimate object such as a paper-knife and being free...The other
        criticism that might be levied at Sartre is to question whether his
        rejection of human nature is warranted or not.>>>>>>>>>

        And it gets even more complicated, Theoryphil. In the last paragraph
        of E&HE Sartre states that "Existentialism is nothing else than an
        attempt to draw all the consequences of a coherent atheistic
        position." But then a few lines later he says: "Existentialism isn't
        so atheistic that it wears itself out showing that God doesn't exist.
        Rather, it declares that even if God did exist, that would change
        nothing." So evidently even if the supreme artificer created us, we
        are still stuck down here with our unsupportable total freedom,
        including the freedom to tell God to go jump in the lake! We decide
        the significane of God, just as we decide the ultimate significance
        of things, situations, and ourselves.

        And don't think that a view of human nature as a "given" or even the
        acceptance of the "unconscious" mind would be a problem for Sartre's
        theory of freedom, as long as such nature or mind were relegated to
        the side of the Situation which the for-itself freely takes up, or
        not. So for example one could argue from Sartre's point of view that
        man is "naturally violent", but then go on to say that this "given"
        receives existential significance within the project of the for-
        itself (I decide to give in, or not, to these given tendencies).

        In "Being and Nothingness" the ultimate problem is Sartre's total
        identification of man with consciousness, which of course is the
        influence of Descartes and modern philosophy. But consciousness is
        only one aspect (a very interesting aspect!) of man's total being. As
        Marx said, consciousness is the consciousness OF an objective being.
        Lately I have prefered the term "mental life" rather
        than "consciousness", since the former would take into account all
        the various unconciousness functions that make up about 99% of brain
        activity and which belong to the being of man.

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