analytic philosophy

style of philosophy

Analytic philosophy is a tradition of philosophy that began around the turn of the 20th century and continues to today. Like any philosophical tradition it includes many conflicting thinkers in a broad umbrella with its own particular lineage and history and so is resistant to a clean-cut summary. Some aspects generally found are a fascination with modern scientific practices, an attempt to focus philosophical reflection on smaller problems that lead to answers to bigger questions, and valuing clarity and rigor in one's philosophical thoughts and arguments. Analytic philosophy became dominant in the Western world at the beginning of the 20th century. As a philosophical practice, it is characterized by an emphasis on argumentative clarity and precision, often making use of formal logic, conceptual analysis, and, to a lesser degree, mathematics and the natural sciences.Central figures in this historical development are Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, G.E. Moore, Gottlob Frege, and the logical positivists. In the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Scandinavia, the majority of university philosophy departments today identify themselves as "analytic" departments. Analytic philosophy is often understood in contrast to other philosophical traditions, most notably continental philosophies such as existentialism and phenomenology, and also Thomism and Marxism.
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