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This book proposes ways to solve some main problems of present-day theoretic philosophy by returning to something more akin to ordinary language strategies. The stalemate in contemporary philosophy of language is due to a continuing, implicit positivistic effort to mimic the methods of natural science. This scientistic philosophy of the ‘latest novelty’ made for ‘immediate consumption by specialists’ has entrapped itself in self-created pseudo-problems, fragmenting analytic philosophy in almost unrecognizable ways and sacrificing the indispensable element of comprehensiveness. By reviving forgotten methodological procedures, this book tries to unify in a systematic way some of the best insights of not only exponential philosophers like Wittgenstein, Frege, Russell, Husserl, but also of influential theorists like Dummett, Tugendhat, Searle, Donald Williams, and even of some classic authors. Furthermore, it exposes some of the main fallacies popularized by the clever but scientistic expansionist reductionism of formalist philosophers from Quine to Kripke and Putnam. In this way it shows how some central questions of philosophy could regain the proper integrity of their true epistemic place. The book is simply and clearly written and can be understood by any reader with a basic training in analytic philosophy.
This book is extemporaneous, exemplifyig a new way of treating a subject. According to it, our present philosophy of language is like a headless mule that has lose its ways through a continuous, unconfessed positivist effort to mimic the procedures of science. This scientism has fragmented analytic philosophy in such a way that it has lose a fundamental treat of any philosophy, which is comprehensiveness. This book finds and unifies creatively the best insights of philosophers like Wittgenstein, Frege, Russell, Husserl, Dummett, Tugendhat, Searle, Williams, and even some classics, in a systematic way. Then again it criticizes the challenging but scientist reductionism of formalist philosophers from Quine to Kripke and Putnam, which are references to the mainstream. In this way it shows how central questions of philosophy could regain the integrity proper of their epistemic place, with swiping results for the contemporary philosophy. The book is exceptionally readable and made to be understood by any person with a basic training in analytic philosophy.
This book was inspired by my growing awareness that the philosophy of language developed before the Second World War often seems more powerful and nearer to the truth than the kind of compartmentalized scientistic philosophy of language that the community of ideas has increasingly adopted since the War and that is almost hegemonic today. After W. V-O. Quine and particularly after Saul Kripke, this later Anglo-American philosophy of language has accumulated many very insightful scientistic-formalistic objections against all kinds of truisms accepted by the old analytic philosophy, with the result that descriptive metaphysics – which is a systematic enterprise relying on commonsensical truisms and aiming at comprehensiveness – turned out to be almost impossible to realize. As this book will show, the stalemate of much of the present philosophy of language results from the authority of these new views, which often corrupt philosophy through a positivistic-scientist abusively formalistic deformation of procedures that deprives central philosophical questions of their proper epistemic place. This book aims to show the power of the old views, on the one hand by systematically reconfiguring them under new models, and on the other by offering evidence of the ultimately equivocal character of many new ideas. Its guiding thread is a critical blend of ideas mostly developed by Wittgenstein, Frege and Husserl. If the views defended in this book are correct, they should have sweeping implications for the present stage of philosophy of language.