Philosophy, Logic, Science, History


Faculty of Philosophy

University of Cambridge

Sidgwick Avenue

Cambridge CB3 9DA

United Kingdom


Analytic philosophy is sometimes said to have particularly close connections to logic and to science, and no particularly interesting or close relation to its own history. It is argued here that although the connections to logic and science have been important in the development of analytic philosophy, these connections do not come close to characterizing the nature of analytic philosophy, either as a body of doctrines or as a philosophical method. We will do better to understand analytic philosophy—and its relationship to continental philosophy—if we see it as a historically constructed collection of texts, which define its key problems and concerns. It is true, however, that analytic philosophy has paid little attention to the history of the subject. This is both its strength—since it allows for a distinctive kind of creativity—and its weakness—since ignoring history can encourage a philosophical variety of “normal science.”