Philosopher Quentin Smith rejects the widespread view that analytic philosophy is indifferent to important questions about right and wrong and human meaning. In this probing book he provides the first critical history of analytic philosophy from its inception to the present day, boldly argues that analytic philosophy has always concerned itself with the central issues of existence, and shows how analytic philosophy leads to a new ethics and philosophy of religion.
This book is the first to provide a critical history of analytic philosophy from its inception in the late nineteenth century to the present day. Quentin Smith focuses on the connections between the four leading movements in analytic philosophy — logical realism, logical positivism, ordinary language analysis, and linguistic essentialism — and corresponding twentieth-century theories of ethics and of religion. Through a critical evaluation of each school’s theoretical positions, Smith counters the widespread view of analytic philosophy as indifferent to important questions about right and wrong and human meaning. He argues that analytic philosophy throughout its history has revolved around the central issues of existence, and he offers a new ethics and philosophy of religion.