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Russell, Ryle, and phenomenology: An alternative parsing of the ways

posted on 2023-05-22, 17:29 authored by James ChaseJames Chase, Reynolds, J
“Analytic philosophy” does not, of course, exhaust philosophy per se. In current practice, the term contrasts the analytic tradition to much traditional philosophy and to much so-called “Continental” or “European” philosophy—hence the familiar, albeit contested, distinction. We have argued that methodological preferences and exclusions play a significant normative role in facilitating and constraining the kind of work done in both analytic and continental philosophy (Chase and Reynolds 2011), but in this chapter we examine two moments in the historical and methodological relationship between analytic philosophy and the largely continental tradition of phenomenology. A consideration of this relationship is of special interest to understanding the history of analytic philosophy. First, insofar as any continental “other” plays a continuing role in the self-image of the analytic tradition, in a manner that is more than mere stereotype, it is phenomenology; early in the tradition, phenomenological projects are marked out as problematic by such analytic philosophers as Russell, Carnap and Ryle; late in the tradition, philosophers such as John Searle and Daniel Dennett continue to distinguish their respective projects from apparently related ideas in phenomenology. Second, there is a close historical alignment in the emergence of analytic philosophy and phenomenology in the early 20th century, and in some aspects of their subsequent development, whether or not one endorses Michael Dummett’s claim that—like the Danube and the Rhine—they began from the same source but then develop increasingly independent and divergent trajectories (Dummett 1993). While Dummett’s own account was put forward as a challenge to earlier views that regarded analytic philosophy as essentially Anglo-American, precisely by emphasizing its Anglo-Austrian geographical and historical credentials, we argue here for the need to complicate Dummett’s somewhat linear story of gradual divergence.


Publication title

Analytic philosophy: an interpretive history


A Preston






School of Humanities



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