Re: analytic and continental thinking
- 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(or Blanshard is out of date)?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
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:
>aids created by ourselves or in the hands of the inexperienced they
> <<<<<<"theoryphil2004" wrote: Ultimately these terms are heuristic
can be heuristic handicaps for blinkered ways of thinking.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>the thinkers at hand nonetheless emphasizes four positions that are
> 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
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.
- 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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