Handbook of Analytic Philosophy of Medicine

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Handbook of Analytic Philosophy of Medicine by Kazem Sadegh-zadeh (English) Hard

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But how might one define metaphilosophy? One definition owes to Morris Lazerowitz. One alternative definition construes metaphilosophy as the philosophy of philosophy. Sometimes that definition intends this idea: metaphilosophy applies the method s of philosophy to philosophy itself. That idea itself comes in two versions. The thought here is this. Metaphilosophy, as the application of philosophy to philosophy itself, is simply one more instance of philosophy Wittgenstein section ; Williamson ix.

Metaphilosophy stands to philosophy as philosophy stands to its subject matter or to other disciplines Rescher , such that, as Williamson puts it loc. On this definition, metaphilosophy is post - philosophy. Two things. Indeed, those construals have little content until after one has a considerable idea of what philosophy is.

Such indeed is a third possible reading of the philosophy-of-philosophy construal. Now, just what does so pertain is moot; and there is a risk of being too un accommodating. Explicit metaphilosophy is metaphilosophy pursued as a subfield of, or attendant field to, philosophy. Metaphilosophy so conceived has waxed and waned. In the early twenty-first century, it has waxed in Europe and in the Anglophone English-speaking world. This article will revisit all of those topics in one way or another.

1. Problems in Delineating the Field

However, even when waxing, metaphilosophy generates much less activity than philosophy. Certainly the philosophical scene contains few book-length pieces of metaphilosophy. There is more to metaphilosophy than explicit metaphilosophy. For there is also implicit metaphilosophy. Many philosophical views — views about, say, knowledge, or language, or authenticity — can have implications for the task or nature of philosophy. Thus if one advances an ontology one must have a metaphilosophy that countenances ontology.

Similarly, to adopt a method or style is to deem that approach at least passable. Moreover, a conception of the nature and point of philosophy, albeit perhaps an inchoate one, motivates and shapes much philosophy. But — and this is what allows there to be implicit metaphilosophy — sometimes none of this is emphasized, or even appreciated at all, by those who philosophize.

Much of the metaphilosophy treated here is implicit, at least in the attenuated sense that its authors give philosophy much more attention than philosophy. One way of classifying metaphilosophy would be by the aim that a given metaphilosophy attributes to philosophy.

Handbook of Analytic Philosophy of Medicine by Kazem Sadegh-zadeh (English) Hard

Alternatively, one could consider that which is taken as the model for philosophy or for philosophical form. Something else? A further alternative is to distinguish metaphilosophies according to whether or not they conceive philosophy as somehow essentially linguistic. And many further classifications are possible. This article will employ the Analytic—Continental distinction as its most general classificatory schema.

Analytic vs. Continental Philosophy - Daniel Kaufman & Crispin Sartwell [Sophia]

Those metaphilosophies are distinguished from one from another via the philosophies or philosophical movements movements narrower than those of the three top-level headings to which they have been conjoined. That approach, and indeed the article's most general schema, means that this account is organized by chronology as much as by theme. One virtue of the approach is that it provides a degree of historical perspective. Another is that the approach helps to disclose some rather implicit metaphilosophy associated with well-known philosophies. But the article will be thematic to a degree because it will bring out some points of identity and difference between various metaphilosophies and will consider criticisms of the metaphilosophies treated.

The article employs those categories solely for organizational purposes.

But note the following points. Bertrand Russell, his pupil Ludwig Wittgenstein , and their colleague G. In Russell and Wittgenstein such analysis was centrally a matter of logic. Russellian analysis has two stages Beaney 2—3 and section 3; Urmson First, propositions of ordinary or scientific language are transformed into what Russell regarded as their true form.

Michael Beaney

The next step is to correlate elements within the transformed propositions with elements in the world. It is decompositional and reductive inasmuch as, like chemical analysis, it seeks to revolve its objects into their simplest elements, such an element being simple in that it itself lacks parts or constituents. The analysis is metaphysical in that it yields a metaphysics.

Logic in the dual form of analysis just sketched was the essence of philosophy, according to Russell ch. Nonetheless, Russell wrote on practical matters, advocating, and campaigning for, liberal and socialist ideas. But he tended to regard such activities as unphilosophical, believing that ethical statements were non-cognitive and hence little amenable to philosophical analysis see Non-Cognitivism in Ethics.

But he did come to hold a form of utilitarianism that allowed ethical statements a kind of truth-aptness. And he did endorse a qualified version of this venerable idea: the contemplation of profound things enlarges the self and fosters happiness.

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Russell held further that practicing an ethics was little use given contemporary politics, a view informed by worries about the effects of conformity and technocracy. On all this, see Schultz And he agreed with Russell that language and the world share a common, ultimately atomistic, form.

Only some types of proposition have sense or are propositions properly so called , namely, those that depict possible states of affairs. The cat is on the mat is one such proposition. It depicts a possible state of affairs. If that state of affairs does not obtain — if the cat in question is not on the mat in question — then the proposition is rendered false but still has sense.

The same holds for most of the propositions of our everyday speech and for scientific propositions. Matters are otherwise with propositions of logic. Propositions of logic express tautologies or contradictions; they do not depict anything — and that entails that they lack sense.

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Nor do metaphysical statements make sense. Such statements concern value or the meaning of life or God. Thus, they do try to depict something; but that which they try to depict is no possible state of affairs within the world. A complication is that the Tractatus itself tries to say something metaphysical or at least something logical. Consequently the doctrines of the book entails that it itself lacks sense. Accordingly, Wittgenstein ends the Tractatus with the following words.

Here is the metaphilosophical import of all this. Accordingly, and as just heard, we are to eschew such talk. Yet, Wittgenstein's attitude to such discourse was not straightforwardly negative. For, as seen, the Tractatus itself is senseless by its own lights. There is an element of reverence, then, in the 'passing over in silence'; there are some things that philosophy is to leave well enough alone. Like Russell and Wittgenstein, Moore advocated a form of decompositional analysis.

But Moore uses normal language rather than logic to specify those constituents; and, in his hands, analysis often supported commonplace, pre-philosophical beliefs. Accordingly, Moore tackled ethics and aesthetics as well as epistemology and metaphysics. His Principia Ethica used the not-especially-commonsensical idea that goodness was a simple, indefinable quality in order to defend the meaningfulness of ethical statements and the objectivity of moral value. Additionally, Moore advanced a normative ethic, the wider social or political implications of which are debated Hutchinson Later sections criticize that idea.

Such criticism finds little target in Moore. Yet Moore is a target for those who hold that philosophy should be little concerned with words or even, perhaps, with concepts see section 2.