Kantian Journal

2023 Vol. 42. №3

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Kant and Analysis



In the current dialogue between two authors with different views on analysis, philosophy, and the use of labels, the leading question is: How should one understand the expression ‘analytic philosophy’? Lewin argues that as there are no generally agreed tenets and methods of what is being called ‘analytic philosophy’, the name is to be replaced by a more specific one or abandoned. Williamson defends the use of this phrase, claiming that it is quite serviceable, as it relates to a broad tradition of influence, while it is not even required to adhere to the method of analysis in any distinctive sense. Lewin counters that, in this case, ‘analytic philosophy’ is too empty. One could heal this by conceptual analysis of ‘analytic philosophy’ — but then Kant, for whom philosophy is inherently analytic, would be a proponent of analytic philosophy. Another option is to follow Ryle’s ideal of a label-free, coherent and honest thinking. As Lewin argues, Williamson’s views seem at least partially to agree with Kant’s conception of the difference between philosophy and history of philosophy as well as empirical analysis and the underlying empirical realism. Williamson replies that he uses ‘analytic philosophy’ in its current meaning, which is not composed of the meanings of ‘analytic’ and ‘philosophy’. The current use is different from the earlier ones and not applicable to Kant. He argues against the transcendental idealism and the coarse-grained distinction between analytic and synthetic and a priori and a posteriori that requires an update.


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