Analytic philosophy is hard to define. It is not a particular doctrine but a loose concatenation a number of approaches to problems. It is not only strongly linked to scientism’s belief that only the natural sciences can give rise to knowledge, but also has strong humanistic ties with the great thinkers of the past and their philosophical problems. Analytic philosophers’ activities are not defined by one characteristic. Avrum Stroll, unaffected by these difficulties investigates the commonalities between this impressive breed of thinkers called analytic philosophers. He then ponders the purpose and meaning of philosophy. What are its tasks What information, illumination, and understanding can it provide if it’s not one of the natural science? Stroll’s book is full of clarity, humor, and philosophical sophistication. It presents a comprehensive overview of major developments in logic, philosophy, epistemology, and metaphysics over the past century. This is done by focusing on the most influential thinkers. The major themes of twentieth century analytic philosophy are the invention of mathematical logic by Gottlob Frege and its independent development in Bertrand Russell. They also discuss the importance of science in understanding the world of philosophy, such as logical positivism and philosophy of language. Austin, Wittgenstein and Moore refuse to consider logic an ideal language superior in natural languages. This book is filled with speculations about who, if any, will be included in the pantheon. Stroll also discusses Rudolf Carnap’s theories, W.V.O. Quine, Gilbert Ryle and Hilary Putnam are also examined.
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