Saturday, July 18, 2009

Leitgeb Offers an "Untimely Review" of the Aufbau

Topoi has a fun series of "untimely reviews" of classic works in philosophy commissioned with the following aim: "We take a classic of philosophy and ask an outstanding scholar in the same field to review it as if it had just been published. This implies that the classical work must be contrasted with both past and current literature and must be framed in the wider cultural context of the present day."

Hannes Leitgeb has carried this off with great panache with the Aufbau. The opening paragraph sets the tone:
Philosophy is facing a serious crisis, but no one cares. When
German Idealism, Existentialism, and Marxism allied with
Sociology, Psychoanalysis, Cultural History, and Literature
Studies in the early 20th century, all attempts at conducting
philosophy in a style similar to that of the scientists got
expelled from the High Church of Philosophy. The creation
of the Wykeham Professorship in Hermeneutics (formerly:
Logic) at Oxford and the Stanford Chair of Textual Non-
Presence (formerly: Methodology of Science) are wellknown
indicators of these, by now, historical developments.
The best philosophical work since then is to be found in the
history of philosophy—if one is lucky. One cannot help but
wondering what turn philosophy would have taken if
someone had picked up the revolutionary developments in
logic and mathematics in the 1920s and directed them
towards philosophy. Maybe there would still be logic
courses in philosophy departments? Who knows?
Here's hoping that some more classics of analytic philosophy get similar treatments soon!

2 comments:

徐若瑄Vivian said...
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Amelie said...

That's why starting as a Philosophy student, I ended up escaping to theoretical Computer Science.. (c.f. Moshe Vardi's paper, "From Philosophical to Industrial Logic", that's exactly the path I took) but it's nice that there are still a few people like Hannes: it seems everything's not dead in Philosophy!